Ego's

The reason I hardly ever post on internet forums are other people’s ego’s. A quick wander through avforums highlights this – a massive amount of people who think they know everything and who are willing to force their view on the world, sometimes too forcefully, sometimes inaccurately. At the same time I really appreciate reading other peoples views and opinions as they can be more helpful than magazine reviews which I still suspect can be bought for a price.

This can happen on blogs too. Take a trip over to Binary Bonsai and you’ll see a messy rant between the owner and Paul Thurrott over Vista and some images. Nasty and over the top – for a guy to rant about theft in respect of a Vista screenshot and then to see some windows fanboys jump on the bandwagon highlights some of the issues I see in forums. Ego’s.

I just wish that people who post frequently and strongly would think about their response if they were speaking to the person in a room or in a group of like minded others – would they be that rude? Would they rant? Maybe they would but I really do doubt it. Maybe forums and commenting systems need a ego setting that checks for ranting, highlights the issues and doesn’t allow you to post for 30 minutes….a cooling off ego system.

Pseudonyms

Today I was called….

“the guy that brings in all the CD’s”
“the guy that shouts at her all the time?”
“the guy that knows about computers”
“the guy that has ‘turned on by technology’ on his website!”
“the guy that has more gadgets than I will ever allow you to own!”
“I don’t care how many X-Box’s that guy has, I’m not buying you one!”
“If you like that guys CD’s so much why don’t you feckin well move in with him?”

and those were just the things I know about. I’d hate to think how long the list would be if I overhead a few other conversations today. Still, as the quote said it’s better to be talked about than not talked about. I think.

World Cup 06

This is by far the best tournament I’ve ever watched. Great games, spectacular goals and for the most teams willing to attack and win games rather than settle for draws. It’s only failings are the officials. Five per match and yet when the referee is obviously losing control not one of the other four can step in and take charge. Referee Valentin Ivanov in tonight’s Holland-Portugal game awarded sixteen yellow cards and four red. Totally ruined the game for me. Deco can feel particularly hard done by, Figo can feel lucky. The ref never even saw the Figo head butt as he had his back turned so I can only assume a linesman made him aware and yet he only awarded yellow. I also thought the Dutch diving went unpunished…for the sake of the game finishing tonight it was probably just as well.

Graham Poll also lost his cool the other night yet no one intervened. I only hope Fifa can get hold of the situation before they blot the whole tournaments memories with referee’s who seem more intent to make a name for themselves rather than let football do the talking. Tonight’s cards will also have a big impact on the England game as Portugal will be without Deco and Costinha and when (ok…..if) they progress who will they be without then as another five players are carrying the threat of a semi-final ban. Shame….sort it out Fifa.

LocoRoco

Shocking – a new game for the PSP that isn’t a racing game, doesn’t involve killing people with an assortment of weapons and if you didn’t know better you would have thought you were playing a Nintendo console. The game is LocoRoco.
Loco Roco Screenshot 6

The aim of the game is to guide the LocoRoco to the end of the level. The controls are simple, the level designs are great – colourful and imaginative but it’s the animation that really stands out. Amazing. There are also lots of secret areas (think Mario) to explore so it’s not simply about getting to the level end in the quickest time. Music is just right – makes you smile which is pretty much the whole point of this game. I wish there were more like this on the PSP. Games that you can quickly pick up and play for 20 minutes without getting bored or spending most of that time creating characters, going through training modes etc. If you’ve got a PSP try out the demo – well worth it. Full Flickr set here.

Loco Roco Screenshot 7

Flock Hands On

The first official beta of Flock was launched last week and as it promised so much I gave it an extended test. Eight months ago I was pretty scathing about Flock. Not for me was the upshot of my brief trial. So why is it now so close to becoming my default browser?

The browser has established itself as the most used app on a pc, for me at least. Get news, share opinions, shop, blog, download etc etc etc. No other app is used as much as the browser. So to move application it has to be as quick as the opposition, render pages accurately and also support easy migration from your old app. Flock is based on Mozilla (same code as Firefox) and I found the import of data to be excellent. Cookies and form data were imported as well as favourites although how the favourites were stored is another matter – more on that later.

Flock - New ItemsI thought the previous version of Flock was slow, not just in the application itself but also rendering web pages – not so this version. Almost all of the extra functionality worked well and was snappy in use. Web page rendering was fast and accurate. I also love the look of the app – more like a Mac than a Windows app although after using Vista there are some influences from there too. You can easily see when there is new photo or news content – a small orange circle shows you when your contacts or RSS feeds have been updated. Makes for an easier browsing experience.

Photo’s
Flock - Flickr tag searching on your photo's or your contactsFlock integrates with Flickr and Photobucket via a Photo’s topbar. Once you allow the app to talk to your Flickr account it will check to see if your contacts have added any new photo’s and let you know when there are new ones to view. You can easily select your own photo’s or your contacts to be viewed in the topbar. Click on the photo to view it in the browser itself. You can also view your own, contacts or public photo’s by tag. The topbar totally changes how I use Flickr and now makes it easy to keep up to date with new content.

Flock - Upload PhotoIf this wasn’t enough Flock also comes with it’s own uploader application to make publication to Flickr easy. Drag photo’s from any webpage to the topbar and it will launch the uploader app (which can be launched independently at any time). Using this app you can crop, rotate, resize images before uploading and create a new set, add to an existing set and then upload your images. You can also select files from your hard disk or just drag from explorer onto the app. Works really well and your newly uploaded images are instantly viewable in the topbar. More details after the jump. Continue reading “Flock Hands On”

Sneaky Orange

Opened my mobile phone bill and spotted that from 1st July Orange will now charge £1.50 to receive a fully itemised bill. As usual they will auto subscribe you to this great feature unless you opt out. To opt out text BILL to 2018 or call 150 from your phone and speak to customer services. You can get itemised billing online for free but obviously times are tight in the land of Orange. I’ll be keenly looking elsewhere as my contract is up and I don’t like underhand actions like this by companies I use. Just don’t see a phone that I want to get.

Sky HD Update

A new firmware update is being pushed out for Sky HD boxes. Details of the fixes can be seen here but include the time loss issue I mentioned and increased stability. Good to see official Sky reps keeping users informed in forums like Digital Spy. Sometimes they do listen.

Vista Beta 2

Vista - DesktopFirst screen from my freshly installed Vista Beta 2. After partitioning my drive to allow for dual booting with XP and getting an iso image to finally burn correctly I installed Vista tonight. It took around an hour and a half to install but this was unattended so you could wander off and watch some football while it churned.

Flickr set is up although with only a few screens to begin with. Quick impressions – boot time is long, looks to be more security aware, couple of nice window opening effects, alt tab nice, speed seems ok which was surprising, Windows Update managed to install all my drivers which considering the pc is two years old was pretty impressive, XP still works, there still some Win 95 icons in there – it’s not crashed yet. I’m really wanting to test out day to day functionality like search, robustness etc as I’ve almost made my mind up that my next pc will be a mac…the beta will be a good test before I switch. More updates when I’ve used it in anger.

Ok – first night with it. Not done much except install Office Beta and also anti-virus. Thought I would use AVG free but once downloaded I tried to run it but Vista wouldn’t let me install – there are issues that might break Vista and I should contact the suppliers to pester them for a fix. Sigh. Microsoft though have sorted out a PC-Cillin anti-virus package that runs for the length of the Vista beta – that installed with no issues.

Tried Media Centre – worked OK although it seemed to crash on building my music library. Started it off well before the England game tonight but by half-time it stil hadn’t doen anything. Stopped the program, set-up library via Media Player 11 and it seems to be ok now. It’s either really slow (pc left unattended for 90 minutes yet failed to import 5000 tracks) or it crapped out.

Saying that system feels really usable. Office works well and one O/S has loaded it doesn’t feel any slower than XP. Need to delve into search though and see how that works. Pop-ups asking for permission to run apps and install programs is a tad frustrating too.