Showing posts from January, 2008

Mac intro videos - they should have done these years ago

Ah, I just found out about Apple's new 'How to' videos. As a PC die-hard (by history, not necessarily by choice), I've often wondered just how one is supposed to 'use' a Mac. I've tried a few times in PC World and got into trouble. But credit to Apple for videos like this - I think a little light just went on in the back of my head....


Now this is taking a hobby to the extreme - though if I were a space agency then I'd be knocking on this kid's door to sign him up. Click through to see details of the Halo 2 project , in which for a few hundred dollars a young man launches a balloon to outer space and back, taking pictures and videos along the way.

Rocking like a Hurricane

Ah yes, if you hadn't already realised, I'm also in a 'mid life crisis' / 'forty-somethings' rock band. Shed Music 's the name, here's a clip of us live, playing a Neil Young cover version this week, at Reading's 3Bs venue:

Mass upload to Google Docs!

Aha! I'd been putting off putting many of my own documents online in Google Documents, not because the software wasn't up to the job of editing them, but because I couldn't bear the hassle of uploading them one by one. A Google developer has now put up a sample application demoing the Documents API - DocList Uploader , that does exactly what I needed. Just drag and drop all my bits into the window and bang, they're all on Google. Very, very cool, and hopefully just the start of more Documents functionality.

Legoland effectively sexist!

Alright, a slightly sensationalist headline, but I thought I'd share my experience of the Legoland theme parks and my own family... When my daughter was 4, we went for the first time and she absolutely loved it. So much so that we plumped up for an annual pass for all of us and we then went about 10 times in the year (hey, we live only 15 miles from a park!) in which she went from 5 to 6 years old. Again she loved it, but the novelty was starting to wear a little thin by the end. Since then, we haven't been and she doesn't miss it very much. The thing is, Legoland suits all different age ranges but in specific striations, if I'm allowed to use that word. Or perhaps 'niches'. For the 4 to 6 year old girl, there's plenty to keep them amused that doesn't require huge queueing. For the 12 to 20 year old teenage girl, the more sensational rides will be more attractive and they'll have the patience to queue for them. Yet for boys, Legoland works from 4 to

Facebook is 10% genius and 90% utter rubbish

Sorry to burst everyone's bubble (and Facebook's valuation) but despite the great idea of a social network with no glitzy graphics or annoying soundtracks or immense animated gifs (MySpace, Bebo, etc.) Facebook has itself succumbed to 'utter rubbish'. I've no interest whatsoever in knowing the minutae and trivia of 100s of my contacts who I normally only speak to once in a blue moon, let alone be poked, or invited to meaningless online gift exchanges or games. If I were Facebook's founders, I'd have sold the site last summer at Facebook's peak. It's only going to plummet from here....

The Adsense bubble deflating at last?

From 2005 to 2007, I've been a very happy bunny. Putting Google Adsense adverts in the margins in my various web sites has resulting in some significant pocket money that I've err.... put to good use. And declared to the tax man, by the way. But all the time, I wondered. How long before people have seen the same adverts time and again on many different web sites and stop clicking on them out of curiosity? For specialist sites and adverts I guess there's still a place, but I'm pessimistic about the online advertising world generally, looking into 2008. Certainly my own Adsense income has been falling by 10% a month for the best part of a year now - how do you view the archetypal Google ads on almost all web sites? Do you ignore them? Consciously, or unconsciously? Comments welcome!

An alien interface from Star Trek

.... or simply THE best way to find space hogs on your hard disk. Rather than drill down folder by folder trying to spot large files, or do a complicated Windows query, just run Sequoia View and you can see at a glance where your space is going. Right click a culprit and open up the folder it's in with a click, then zap it with shift-delete in the usual way. Super.

Preposterous! I'm trying to give Ikea my business!

What a farce. We were trying to buy an item from Ikea, the Swedish furniture empire. Turns out they have an online shop. Good-oh. Turns out they deliver to my area. Good-oh x2. So I started filling in the login/delivery forms on the shopping basket/checkout system. I entered all my card details and hit 'Submit'. 10 seconds later I see the above error. Hmm.... Not good. I phone the number and the guy says 'Are you trying to use our online shop using a laptop?' What? Why on earth should that make a difference? 'Ah, he says, our system doesn't work with laptops'. But, I spluttered, that should make no difference whatsoever. Don't you mean that it doesn't work well with err.... Vista? I said, striking out in the dark? 'Ah yes, it also doesn't work with Vista or Firefox. Or laptops' he said. I asked if I could give the phone guy my order instead. 'Oh no, we don't take phone orders'. Quite staggering. I'm trying to give this com

2008 and the year of Mac? Or Ubuntu?

Argh, I hate computers. After battling a problem with my Vista laptop, wherein it wouldn't play some MP4 files but would others (all using Quicktime Player), it turned out that the problem was an obscure incompatibility between Quicktime and Vista's ReadyBoost system (adding USB stick memory to cache system files). Go figure. Who on earth could have connected those two?? I've been eyeing up a Mac for ages..... but hang on, it was Apple who wrote Quicktime Player, so they're not exonerated here either. So I tried installing Ubunto Linux on a spare laptop, to have a play. Five HOURS later and the thing still wasn't even installed. I gave up. 8-( Why do computers have to be so complicated and erratic?