September 03, 2010

Firefox to make history..

Writing about web page http://www.conceivablytech.com/2089/business/firefox-to-make-history-about-to-surpass-ie-in-europe/

It's been a while since I saw something that made me feel the need to dash off a quick blog entry.. but this tech news item did it for me this morning.

Firefox is probably only a few months away (assuming the trends continue) of surpassing IE as the most used browser within Europe. Worldwide it's still a way behind IE.. but IE's domination of the browser market looks to be slowly coming undone, with Chrome already gaining 10% marketshare in Europe and about 8% worldwide.

It's great news. I really never expected anything to take IE's crown in terms of how well it was adopted by the public at large..


April 08, 2009

Spot the problem with this story..

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7990927.stm

I'm reading this story in disbelief. Is it April the 1st again or something? The headline reads: Four ecstasy pills have been found inside a computer game bought at a High Street store.

The story goes that a family bought a pre-owned video game for their 12 year old son from a local branch of Gamestation, but upon returning home found a quantity of class A drugs stashed inside the case. This is of course bad and a serious mistake by Gamestation.

But I'm more interested in the other story, which is conveniently nested within the article - and has been nicely eluded to by the writer of the article. The story which in which a family (who are outraged at the discovery of drugs in this video game title) were buying Grand Theft Auto 4 (an 18 rated video game) for their 12 year old child. I'd sympathize a little more if this was a copy of Sonic the Hedgehog or something - but this is an 18 rated game. As in, not suitable for anyone under the age of 18. What the hell were they doing buying this game in the first place?!

The age restrictions are there for a reason. Grand Theft Auto contains scenes of violence, sex, and drug abuse. It isn't even remotely suitable for a 12 year old. If action is taken against Gamestation, I think I'm going to turn into some kind of 'parental ignorance' vigilante. I've witnessed with my own eye, parents buying copies of Grand Theft Auto for their children and the sales assistant dutifully advising them that the game is rated 18 for unsuitable scenes only to be dismissed with a "Yeah - whatever.. it's fine.." type comment. I'm astounded and appalled that a story like this can make its way into the press without the real issue here even being commented on.


April 03, 2009

Insight into to how Google do servers & datacenters..

Writing about web page http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-10209580-92.html

Picked up on this link earlier today and had a few minutes to read it. Pretty awesome stuff. Interesting things that leapt out were:

  • Google have their own completely bespoke server chassis design, complete with individual battery backup modules per server rather than having a UPS for all of the servers. Other intelligent power conversion technologies are built right into the mainboard.
  • Google datacenters are comprised of self contained "datacenters in crate" - standard 1AAA shipping containers, each packed with 1,160 servers! As the article points out, Sun Microsystems and a number of other companies have been touting this technology for a couple of years but Google have been doing it since 2005.

Well worth a read!


February 25, 2009

The power of veto?

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7907991.stm

This story caught my interest yesterday, even though it received only a passing mention in the media. I'm not generally one for political commentary as, frankly, I don't understand a great deal about it. But it just interests me how the government can essentially censor documents which would (and I quote) do "serious damage" to Cabinet government.

I don't understand how, when the government supposedly works for us and subsequently *everything* they do should be in the best interests of this country, there can be discussions like this which are anything other than above board. I understand the need for secrecy and confidentiality of course, but this makes absolutely no reference to that and simply states that the contents of the minutes would be damaging to the Cabinet.

If they're damaging, they should be released! How are they allowed to veto this? Most disappointingly the conservatives were behind blocking the release of minutes, but at least Sir Menzies Campbell had something appropriate to say on the matter which mirrored my own views on it:

"This is a Government which, when introducing measures to limit personal freedom, says that those that have nothing to hide should have nothing to fear. If the process of reaching the decision to embark upon an illegal war against Iraq is still supported by the Government, why haven't they the courage to let us see the minutes of the Cabinet?"

Quite.


October 31, 2008

Mirrors Edge (Xbox360 Demo)

Writing about web page http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYYlfDvhSQw

Follow the link to gameplay video of a title that, for me as a casual gamer, came out of nowhere until I saw it being discussed on some forums this evening.

The game is a strange cross between the sport of Parkour and films such as Equilibrium - if you can imagine such a thing. You play a character (Faith) who is a sort of messenger for the underground in a police state type future - and the game basically involves getting about the impressive maps to reach key objectives, whilst acrobatically avoiding (or fighting) the police that get in your way.

The demo gives you a nice tutorial to get used to the initially baffling controls, and then throws you into a good opening level to give you a feel for the game. And it certainly does not dissappoint in any area. It looks, sounds, and plays excellently.

I got the demo on Xbox 360, but it comes out mid November on Xbox 360 and PS3, and sometime later on the PC. Definately worth a look.


October 23, 2008

McCain vs Obama Dance Off…

Writing about web page http://www.break.com/index/unbelievable-mccain-vs-obama-dance-off.html

I don't think anything else needs to be said. This has to be one of the coolest things i've ever seen! :)


October 14, 2008

Windows 7 to be called… Windows 7

Writing about web page http://windowsvistablog.com/blogs/windowsvista/archive/2008/10/13/introducing-windows-7.aspx

I've never been a fan of 'names' for software - the "big cat" naming schemes for MacOS X and the absolutely dreadful Ubuntu naming schemes have never really sat comfortably with me. I think "Vista" was the icing on that particularly bitter cake though.. never could a name so obviously have come from a marketing department. Even better was the marketing gumpf that came out at the time to accompany Vista. I'd like to quote one particularly memorable example from the press release that came out, shortly after Microsoft announcing that Halo 2 for the PC would be a Windows Vista exclusive:

"Why are you releasing Halo 2 for Windows Vista only?
As Bungie Studios and Microsoft are dedicated to delivering a top quality translation of Halo 2 for the PC, their efforts require the use of the best available technological platform for Windows games. Windows Vista will help bring clarity to our customers and help them get more out of their personal computing experience, allowing them to focus on what matters most to them."

Clarity to your customers? What does bringing clarity to your customers have to do with tying Halo 2 to Vista?

Anyway - I digress. The point of the blog post was to link to the announcement from Microsoft that the next version of Windows (codenamed Windows 7) will in fact be released as Windows 7. And I for one salute Microsoft - no marketing crap, just the version number. I suppose we'll still get about 23 different versions of Windows but I'm glad that progress has been made in at least one area!


October 10, 2008

Obama is a terrorist..

Writing about web page http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/09/mccain-palin-rally-attend_n_133240.html

Not my words I hasten to add but I couldn't think of any other title for the blog entry. I've been following the US elections with some interest, and even downloaded the full 2nd presidential debate a few nights ago as a podcast.

Saw this link this morning and - well I think it speaks for itself. It makes for scary watching to be honest.


September 24, 2008

Blue Socket App for iPhone/iPod Touch

Writing about web page http://www.melloware.com

Following positive reviews from fellow ITS folks, and of course the endless guff on the internet about them, I recently caved and bought an iPhone 3G (which is great - bar the battery life). One of the things I was immediately interested in resolving was the need to sign into our Bluesocket wireless system through Safari every time I enabled WiFi.

A colleague here in ITS suggested I should use the built in VPN support - but I had tried that and it didn't want to play for me. I think that was something I was doing wrong though as it works ok for him.

An alternative solution presented itself in the form of a £1.19 application on the Application Store just called 'Blue Socket' - a standalone app which retains your username & password in the Preferences section. You just load it and it signs you in to the Bluesocket system automatically - then you're free to get surfing. 

I ran into some problems with it initially but it was the outstanding support from the developer that made me feel duty bound to come and plug the application as he worked with me over the period of a week, sending me new beta builds until we got it to work properly on our system. The new build should be going on to the app store in a week or so.. it's definately a useful little application! 

His website (with more information) is linked up above.


September 02, 2008

Google Chrome beta released!

Writing about web page http://www.google.com/chrome

I overheard the eLab guys chatting about this earlier today but didn't expect a beta to follow so swiftly after the (unintentionally early) release of the comic press release. There is a Windows version available now with a Macintosh version to follow a little later on down the line.

First impressions are hugely positive. Memory footprint seems modest compared to Firefox (despite all the optimisations in FF3), and the rendering engine seems very very fast on most sites. The UI is predictably uncluttered but surprisingly pretty, especially on Windows Vista where it makes full use of the Aero 'glass' effects. 

So far I love it and will probably be using it a hell of a lot more...

(screenshot of the browser in action included for those who are too lazy to download it) :)

Chrome Browser..



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