New Designs all around

new site designThe regular visitors to my website would have noticed the new website structure and design that I finally got together; to say that I am proud of my work would be understating the huge pride I have in my website.

Humbleness aside, I have not been the only website to recently update it’s design:

TheOpenSurgery an open source and tutorial based website by Jason Dugmore recently finished with updating a new layout and logo.

TechMongrel another technology based tutorial and review website by Matthew Vorster had a great monster logo addition.

And lastly NoBoxMedia an Ajax, DHTML and JavaScript site by Robin Pietersen finishes off my list of new website updates (the Noboxmedia website update coincides with a SEO competition which is currently running).

All three website owners are colleges from my University days and I believe these are excellent examples of great websites, for content and design, to assist any developer in today’s chaos of information.

A special Thank-you to Robin Pietersen for introducing me and teaching me the basics of Adobe Photoshop; I wouldn’t have been able to put my current or past website designs together without the initial teachings I got from him.

“Hey you! Stop that!”

Would this work here, in a busy SA street?

The UK is adding loud speakers to its public camera system to allow the watching controllers to tell people to stop misbehaving. I think the first few times would scare the person into stopping, but what if they don’t understand English? Or what if the person breaking the law ignores it, send out the flying squad?

This 500 000 UK pound project will see many more cameras with speaker attachments in the UK, lets hope it’s money well spent.

EMI Removes DRM

If this story had been released yesterday I would have thought it was an April Fools joke.

Today, Apple and EMI announced higher quality, DRM FREE music available for download from iTunes. (DRM music will still be available from EMI, but only in lower quality formats)

This has got to be the biggest step towards a better managed digital music era than any other to date, I can picture Tom, Molly and Veronica jumping for joy, mores the pity South Africa still can’t use the iTunes store.

Google on both sides

Google makes big news two days running; on one side being sued for copyright infringement, and the second for assisting users privacy. Here is my breakdown of the two articles:

Viacom sues YouTube (and Google) for copyrighted video clips

Viacom inc. (the owners of MTV and comedy Central) is suing YouTube (Google) for $1 billion claiming copyright infringement.  Aside from this being a ridiculous amount of money it will also put the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DCMA) ‘safe harbor’ clause under the microscope.

YouTube has so far not implemented any copyright detection systems into it’s video service, but has always removed copyrighted content at the request of the owner timeously, even when Viacom labelled some videos copyrighted ‘Viacom’ when in fact they belonged to other parties.

Google seems firm in it’s stance that they and YouTube are within their legal rights with regard to copyrights.

Google Privacy move

On the flip side of the coin, Google has been praised by privacy groups for it’s move to make users search information anonymous. Currently Google keeps user search information (IP address, cookie info and search string text) indefinitely; with this announcement Google says that any information that they have no legal obligation to keep (like say ‘how to Commit Murder’) will be anonymised after 18 to 24 months.

Currently the only criticism of this move by the web search engine is the time that they do keep the information.

For me, Google seems to own my life, a little anonymity wont hurt a bit.

Auto Gamer

I have heard of people using scripts and key mapping to get the upper hand in games, not cheats, just little tools to give them that last little edge over their competitor or the game AI.

This little trick on the other hand seems to be taking tools to a whole new level. US gamer (and car mechanic) David Harr decided to build a machine that would start and re-start Perfect Dark Zero (Xbox 360) and by doing so would gain him the required 60 points to unlock his next skill level.

Simple, and effective.. but is it cheating?

[Original article BBC News]

Samsung – fastest Graphics chip

Samsung Electronics announced on Friday that it has increased the data transfer speed of the world’s fastest graphics memory (GDDR4 ) by two-thirds. This means that the semiconductor, telecommunication and  digital media company is again leading the way in manufacturing the fastest memory chips.

Using 80-nanometer production technology, the 4Gb/s (2.0GHz) is 66 percent faster than today’s fastest commercially available memory, a 2.4Gb/s GDDR4.

The chip, available in 512Mb density, has a 32-bit data bus and hopefully will be seen in the commercial arena by March 2008.

Sony not looking back

Sony in an effort to get the award for most mistakes made in releasing a new product ever, is planning on releasing a slightly different version of its new console, the PS3, in Europe this March.

The Euro version of the PS3 “will not play as many old games as American and Japanese models,” says the Japanese corporation.

This issue on its own would not be a large problem, but combined with the other setbacks (late releases, large price tag and bad publicity) that have plagued this console, I think it is just one setback too many for this console NOT to damage Sony… Badly.

New Apple iPhone

Introducing the iPhone (this one from Apple), After the release of Linksys iPhone I was sure that Apple was either; not going to release a phone for sometime to come or not going to name it the iPhone.

Turns out I was wrong on both accounts. Yesterday at Macworld Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced to the world the Apple iPhone.

iphoneac5.jpgNow I must be a little jaded, but I was expecting something better, well maybe not better, but definitely something more. This wonder of technology has touch screen, Internet and email, WiFi, Bluetooth, Quad band, 2 mega pixel camera, and either 4 or 8 GB of storage. So why am I not impressed?

The phone is not 3G enabled, so all my email and Internet is routed through EDGE, Apple touts it’s built in Safari browser as a “the most advanced web browser ever on a portable device” But Opera and IE are available (and have been available for a few years already) on mobile devices, both offering similar features. I’m glad it has quad band, but for a phone only being released in July of 2007 I would expect a little more than just 2 mega pixels in a camera.

I would have also thought that with increases in flash memory space, that offering fixed memory would be a limiting factor. Looking at this phone, except for the touch screen and WiFi my Nokia matches (I have a MMC slot, so I can set my memory size to the size I need), and if I get the Sony Ericsson P990i then I have the iPhone without an apple logo, actually both my phone and the Sony Ericsson are 3G capable.

These are valid points, I have passed over my pet peeves with the device, like the gloss look (a look that showed scratches so well with the black iPod Nano’s), and the size. I am sure that many people will disagree with me on this, but looking at the iPhone, I think there are better, smaller and sleeker mobile devices out there.

Apple wants to reinvent the phone, I think they missed that boat by a few years.

The busy weekend

Fun weekend, a little crazy, but generally all good.

My engagement ring was finished sooner than expected, but this allowed me to surprise my girlfriend.

Yip, I am officially engaged :), it’s actually a vey very good feeling; somehow i didn’t think I would feel any different, but it feels good.

And due to some unforeseen complications with my future home (having to move in sooner than expected), I will be getting married next year May. About 4 months earlier than expected…. So suddenly finding a venue has become a priority. Strange how that happened on the weekend I get engaged. Go figure.

Birthdays and general celebrations kept me busy for the balance of the weekend (except for 2 hours at the movies with my fianceé, watched “The Lakehouse”… mmm ).

Some travel news

Tom is at it again. My good friend is taking his wife and two young daughters overseas. Permanently!

I’m not sure if the UK would be my first choice if I needed to choose a different country as home, but everyone to his own.

He (Tom) has decided to document the process of getting the documents, to the flying over, to the actual experience of adjusting to a new country. So in aid of that he has made a blog, with accompanying Podcast.

Only one post so far, but he has been away from his PC for the past week.

His “Cultureshock” blog can be found here

Your iPod could cause hearing loss! {RANT}

I have just finished reading an article on CNET’s website about a person who is suing Apple for making a “defective product”, the person says the Apple iPod is defective because it can cause hearing loss if you play songs too loudly with the headphones in your ears…

I think many things when I read news articles, but when I read articles that revolve around suing a company for some strange reason, I think three things:
Firstly I think, “Only in America”; this is a generalization, but I think it anyway.
Secondly I think, “This is damn stupid”; I think I should sue JVC for allowing me to install a sound system in my car that can literally blow eardrums, because they didn’t warn me properly before hand.
Finally I kick myself and wonder why I never thought of doing it first.

Well the last thought is just me being greedy, but the rest makes some sense. Why do the American courts allow these cases? Is the general public so lacking in common sense that a supplier needs to label each and every single thing that you could possibly do with the product (including, “Do not place up backside, it may cause injury”) just so that some average Joe does not sue them for not warning them in advance.

This is something I will never understand, but I guess more and more people are finding it easier to blame someone else, especially big companies, for their [people, not companies] own errors in judgement. – No that is a little to lenient, blaming some else for their own STUPIDITY!

I wonder if how far this iPod case will go, and I especially wonder if Apple is going to pay this off out of court to save them some hassles.

Future iPod warning: “May cause hearing loss…” – what I would like to add – “…if used by idiots!”