Skip navigation

Category Archives: Technology

Ok, so after about 3+ hours of routing around in the horrifying Windows registry I’ve made a fix for the Safari install through Apple’s Software Update. Incase you missed it read about it here, here and here.

Being a member of the Digg community I’ve seen the reaction to this and I feel, like the majority of people that this is the wrong way to introduce users to new software, and install it over an updater.

Ok, I’ll get to the good part, the fix!

Just a few registry values and you are sorted.

Download these 2 files (I’m sure they can be merged but I’m too tired and maybe lazy to check if they can) and then add them to your registry.

File 1File 2

Want some info on what they do? They just make your system think Safari is installed, and therefore tricking ASU into thinking you have it installed. Now for the smart bit (well I like it), the current version of Safari is 3.1.525.13 (afaik), so if you just added the current version’s registry entry, the next update you would get the annoying popup again. So, to avoid this, the version you download from here puts in the highest version possible (again afaik) 255.255.65535. Also, the beauty of this is that if you do decide to install Safari at a later date, it will overwrite this so when an update comes out you will get it in the ASU like normal. :)

Please let me know if this works, doesn’t work. I accept no responsibility if this breaks your system or messes anything up.

Also as an aside, I noticed something when I started out looking for a fix. I looked through the files Apple uses to let ASU know that there is an update and seen in the Safari specific file, the attitude of the Apple team about this:

        // they do not already have it, but should get it

        if(minVersion == "0.0.0.0.0") {

            return true;

        }

This is the line of code which means that if you don’t have it installed, the update pops up, which is what everyone is getting and see the comment above it. Yeah, we’re not impressed Apple.

Hope this helps you,

Alan.

Now that the Google Phone has been confirm, it is rumored that Google will be using the OpenMoko platform on Google designed hardware.

According to Phoronix.com, “A friendly penguin has told us at Phoronix that Google is looking to team up with OpenMoko for their “gPhone”. Google will not be using the FIC Neo1973 GTA01, but they will be bringing the open-source OpenMoko platform to their own hardware, which looks to be manufactured through HTC, and making a few changes along the way.”

I did predict that the Google phone would be Linux-based (although I suggested Ubuntu :( ) and a commenter on one of my posts informed me about the OpenMoko project(the Neo1973 running OpenMoko, pictured right).

Could this phone be even more hyped than the iPhone?

You may have read my last post about the things the so-called gPhone needs to have to beat the iPhone. well it looks to be confirmed that a gPhone prototype has been made and is doing the rounds at various carriers around North America and Europe.

This rumor seems to be confirmed by the Wall Street Journal, here.

Analysis by two news sites:

‘Google is believed to have spent “hundreds of millions of dollars” on its mobile phone project and has courted Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, and others as possible partners for carrying a Google-designed phone. According to anonymous sources, Google has multiple phone prototypes and envisions a day in which mobile phones will be ad-supported thanks to services such as those Google provides.’ -Ars Technica

‘Google Inc. has developed a prototype cell phone that could reach markets within a year, and plans to offer consumers free subscriptions by bundling advertisements with its search engine, e-mail and Web browser software applications, according to a story published Thursday in The Wall Street Journal.’ – Computer World.

So it appears the gPhone is really and will more than likely be in our hands a year from now. Stay tuned…

There must have been thousands of rumors about the iPhone in the past few months. But has this provided the perfect quiet development time for Google to roll out its own phone? Here is a list of what the gPhone needs to makes the iPhone just another smartphone. Is it just me or are there too many phones in that last sentence…

Gmail on phone

  1. Touchscreen - Well that much is obvious! One of the iPhone’s main selling features is that it has a good touchscreen. Any phone planning on over taking it will need as good, if not a better and bigger touchscreen.
  2. Google Apps ready to roll – Gmail, Google Calendar, Maps, Search, gTalk, etc. all pre-installed and ready to use out of the shop. Enough said here.
  3. A full OS installed – The iPhone has Mac OS X, the Google Phone should have Ubuntu! And what better time than when Ubuntu is developing a version of its OS just for mobile devices… Also in Google HQs, Google employees use specially adapted Ubuntu distributions. Why not adapt the mobile version as well to suit Google’s needs?
  4. 2.9GB of an inbox! – And I don’t just mean email inbox! All text messages you receive will be stored in Gmail for viewing anywhere in the world with or without your gPhone. You’ll never have to clear out your SMS inbox again or realise you deleted that important text message from a friend or collegue confirming your meeting time and place. Of course if you still had the message and didn’t recognise the meeting place just select it and map integration will provide driving directions if you need them.
  5. EDGE!? Google laughs at EDGE! - Or at least it will when it buys the old 700MHz wireless spectrum which is up for auction soon. Basically with this Google could supply broadband to every device on the network (which it already does in San Francisco with Wi-Fi), which kinda kicks EDGE in the pants! Along with the iPhone! With this network Google could, if it wished, supply unlimited data for free (if you haven’t noticed it likes giving lots for free, think Gmail, Google Earth, etc.), or a high bandwidth for free and then unlimited for a flat rate. Of course, any search or homepage on this network with either be Google.com, Google.co.uk, Google.fr, Google.au… You get the picture.
  6. What a phone without Talk? Google Talk? – With this network Google could supply anything up to and including streaming video and audio i.e. Youtube (which it now owns) and iTunes Music Store integration. Possibly even video calls in a new and radically improved Google Talk, which hasn’t seen an update since January 1st! This update would bring SIP compatibility, video conferencing abilities, Skype and AIM communication and a linux version (if the gPhone is indeed linux-based). This new and improved Google Talk could also provide the voice calls to landlines and other mobiles not just other Google Talk users.
  7. More flashy than the iPhone – meant literally, the gPhone will need Adobe Flash player installed to compete with the iPhone. Rumored to be included in upcoming updates to the iPhone (or at least eventually installed onto the iPhone by a hacker) Flash will have to be installed from go or easily installed onto the gPhone.
  8. Full screen, stereo and all that jazz in many formats – The gPhone would of course include a media player possibly designed by Android, a company acquired by Google some time back, that would do all the usual things a media player is required to do. The iPhone does a pretty good job on video playback but isn’t it a pain when you have to re-encode your video whenever you want to put it on your phone? The gPhone could make life easier and support multiple formats and take up where the iPhone left off.
  9. Lets have a party! A 3rd party! – The iPhone only allows web apps to be run on it which for developers is like smacking them across the face and saying your doing it for their own good. A Linux-based gPhone would have endless development possibilities and have a low security risk due to its secure nature.
  10. And see that dotted line, don’t sign it. – Last but not least, the gPhones needs to be available without a contract to AT&T or any other network. It’s the first thing hackers tried to get around when the iPhone came out, and something that is putting many people off getting one. Tied to AT&T, it will cost you at least $1439.76 for the two year contract and that’s without the price of the iPhone. If the gPhone was contract-less, there would be no reason not to get one, unless of course your tied to your iPhone contract! ;)

Of course the gPhone would also need proper Bluetooth support (on the iPhone you can’t send a photo over BT), Wifi, 2MP+ camera, Video recording (which the iPhone doesn’t have), MMS (again lacking on the iPhone), games, voice recording, 4gb/8gb options, and good battery life.

I think Google could pull this off. If they did, I could see the craze of calling things iSomething going out of fashion pretty quick. gPod anyone? :)

Still on the look for a Joost invite? Why not leave a comment and I’ll send ya one shortly. Then you can experience the wonders of Joost!

Alan.

Last weekend, I was getting a bit bored with Windows XP, I decided to install Ubuntu. I’d seen sooo many guides for users who wanted to make the move from Windows to Ubuntu, but what really made me move was Beryl. Beryl is an amazing window manager for Linux that just blows Vista’s Aero out of the water, just have a look on Youtube. Luckily, I had a Ubuntu CD to hand (v6.06 LTS) so I popped it in and I was off! Or so I thought… As it was loading, it kept hanging on ‘Mounting Root System’ and would drop back to text mode and just stop there!

I turned to the great Ubuntu community and found out that my motherboard, an Asus P5B, was the source of all my woes and that maybe, just maybe Edgy (v6.10) would help. I was in luck as my friend had a Edgy CD. I popped it in and I was off again! The Live CD booted and I got a chance to have a look around an OS I had tried once before briefly. (Offtopic: I think it would be great if Vista had some sort of LiveCD, even if it was a basic feature version of the OS for repairs, recovery, etc. Anyway, stop getting distracted!). Everything installed quickly without any errors, while I was browsing the web, gotta love a live CD for this alone. Then I rebooted when it was done but was given a Grub Error 21! Which, after some searching, I found out meant that it couldn’t find the hard disk! The Ubuntu forums, informed me that it was because of this blasted motherboard again, well more specifically the Jmicron SATA controller on the MB.

After getting so far and falling at the last hurdle, it just annoyed me too much, so I searched high and low on the internet for a solution. Not many people have had luck with this motherboard but after a recent BIOS update, some people were able to get everything working smoothly. After updating the BIOS to the latest version, Ubuntu booted perfectly! I followed a few guides on the internet to download the ATI proprietary drivers (as the others wouldn’t work with my gfx card), I installed Beryl. Oh wow! Just after v0.2.0 is released. If you have Ubuntu or any other Linux distro that supports Beryl, use it! It’s not only so much fun but it makes my life so much easier. The 3d cube is excellent for managing open windows and after using Beryl for a couple of days I found it made no dint in productivity, possibly improved it in fact!

Of course, this is where I do something really stupid! :hangs head in shame: I decided to install Windows Vista (no this wasn’t the stupid thing!). I had been using Vista in a virtual machine for a while but after finally finding that second hard disk, I decided to let it break free from the virtual machine. I resized Ubuntu’s partition (<-stupid thing!) and made room for a NTFS partition for Vista. Ubuntu then wouldn’t boot! So after my sufferings just hours before trying to get Ubuntu to work nicely with my graphics card and get Beryl installed, I had to format everything and start fresh! :screams of frustration!:

I installed Vista first this time and set that up nicely, then Ubuntu came next, the ATI drivers again and Beryl. And now everything is perfect! I’ll soon compare them head to head in a few different areas so stay tuned! I think that Windows XP has done its job and will have to start to consider retirement in the near future. What will take its place on my PC? I’m not quite sure yet… Maybe both Ubuntu and Vista? I’m not sure if I could just stick with Vista by itself. It would drive me mad! But Ubuntu just doesn’t have DirectX, which is what I live for on a computer. Imagine not being able to play Half-Life 2 or Crysis when it comes out! Sorry but that’s good enough reason to stick with Windows for the minute, even if it is XP. But Ubuntu is my choice for web browsing, email and word processing.

All my music listening happens on my computer. So my media player is very important to me, which is why I have tried lots; Winamp, Windows Media Player, iTunes, Real Player, etc. My personal favourite is iTunes and it’s not because I have an iPod, I don’t, I find that it’s the best all rounder, easy navigation, clean interface, organises my music and my music sounds great :). But now in the age of open source software, a new media player has hatched! Songbird is a new media player that hopes to be the best of the best. A one to rule them all sort. Nice idea but it’s not there yet. Here’s the low down so far.

  • Songbird 0.2.5 has just been released so it is far off the ‘big boys’, Windows Media Player 11, or iTunes 7.1.
  • It can play almost everything you can throw at it: MPEG Audio (mpga), MPEG Layer 3 (mp3), MPEG4 family including FairPlay (m4a, m4v, mp4, m4p, m4b), Ogg Vorbis, Speex, AAC, WMA, WMADRM, FLAC, LPCM, ADPCM, and AMR.
  • Runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OSX.
  • Songbird can easily can its ‘feathers’. Feathers are the skins, so you can change your interface from white to black mid song. And the handy thing is they are easily editable so you can make your own if you feel like it.
  • Browse the web within your media player. Because Songbird is built on the same Mozilla foundation as Firefox it is as capable of browsing the web as you favourite browser. Also if you come across a media file that Songbird can play online, Songbird can play it without leaving the web page, instantly.
  • Organises your library just like iTunes. (Actually the layout has a iTunes feel to it that struck me instantly the first time I tried it.
  • Speaking of iTunes, Songbird has support for your iPod and any other USB mass storage device. Just like Firefox, anything Songbird can’t do straight away, a plugin from the Songbird website should teach it and get you up and running.
  • Did I mention it comes in over 45 languages, full support for playlists, integrated web search and a mini mode when you don’t want it in the way? Oh and CD importing and burning is on its way.

All this and it’s only a 0.2.5 beta release for developers! Looks very promising!

So, why am I still using iTunes you might ask. Well because it’s a 0.2.5 beta release! It crashes more often than I’d like and has slooow response times, eg. takes 9-11 seconds to open on my PC (which has 2gb of RAM and a Core2Duo CPU!) and there is a slight lag when say you click pause (noticeable in the screen cast, link below).

They are the only faults I can find with it! I’m going to keep testing out every version that comes out as I can see Songbird becoming my player of choice in the near future, but for the moment it is not ready to replace my beloved iTunes! Maybe by 0.5, it’ll be more stable and responsive but already it’s packed full of features and giving the likes of WMP and iTunes a run for their money.

So see Songbird in action, check out the Songbird screencast and click here to visit the Songbird homepage and maybe give it a try yourself.

Since yesterday or the day before, there has been a lot of fuss about people getting paid to digg stories up and down on Digg.com. Examples: Digg probe hits a nerve, Digg can still be rigged, Wired buys votes on Digg, and of course the article that started it all: I bought votes on Digg.

I can see the problem with this; Fair and honest promotion of stories gets left behind and only those who are willing to pay, can get their stories to the front page of Digg.

Ok I got that but it also has the easiest solution! http://www.usersubmitter.com/users/feed/0beae52d0258935b19543e37b0d681eb = RSS feed with latest Paid to Digg Stories. Simple, all Digg has to do is sign up to the site, usersubmitter.com, and once you join you get all the paid-to-digg stories in a RSS feed (individual to each person). That way Digg will know which stories are being paid for without all the algorithms, checking which members actually follow the link to the site and the same members digg the same stories.

It’s that simple! The whole problem is sorted this way. Quick and easy, oh and should work for any other paid-to-digg sites that crop up.

By the way, occasionally when there are no stories, the feed says “At this time, there are no stories to Digg. Please check back later.” There is not a problem with the feed, it’s just the service has no stories for people to digg.

Enjoy,
Alan.

I recently blogged about Joost, the free TV on-demand service created by the same people that created Skype and Kazaa. One of my points in that post was that if Joost was to make it big and become mainstream when it came out of beta, it would have to have lots and lots of content that could interest everyone. Well, today Joost has made a deal with JumpTV, a massive TV company that owns over 250 stations in over 70 countries. The details have not been announced yet but it means that a lot of new quality content will make its way on to Joost in the near future. This is great as it shows how committed the creators by continuing to make this service bigger and better.

I was reading a few blogs, as you do when your on the internet, and one topic kept popping up. Payperpost is a relatively new service for bloggers that lets them get paid to write about certain products and services. Now that sounds interesting to me! A student always in need of money, getting paid to do something that I’m already doing. Hmmm… However! Many people are divided by this idea of getting paid to blog as they think that the opinions expressed will be biased.

I can see where they come from, many people would jump at the chance to get paid to write a few paragraphs whether they believed in what they wrote or not. Imagine getting paid about $10 to say that some new mobile phone is worth buying or a new website is worth visiting. Not bad, but I couldn’t blatantly lie about something and say that’s it great just because I was getting paid for it. I have morals! And standards! And ethics! But not everyone does and that is what some people fear; blog posts becoming biased towards companies because they are being paid.

I think that bloggers should be upfront and say “Yes, I’m being paid for this post”, and state whether the opinions are their own or bought. They can do this on a per post basis or by using a disclosure policy covering their whole blog. By doing this, readers can choose to read the post or not and the trust between blogger and reader can remain intact.

Being a curious person I decided to take a look at the Payperpost site. The site has a few rules for blogs that wish to apply eg. must be over 90 days old, more than 20 posts, & no gaps larger than 30 days. However the front tells you little of what sort of things you have to write about. So I did the obvious thing and signed up to have a look inside. You don’t need to add a blog straight away which was fine by me because my blog doesn’t meet most of the criteria and I’m not sure if I want to head down that route just yet. The ‘opportunities’, as they are called on the site, range widely from writing about dating sites to Sony Ericsson’s latest phone.

Payperpost also has two affiliate programs that could cause less division among the blogging community. The first is a referral program in which the referrer gets $15 once the referee’s blog gets accepted. That’s not bad for putting a small button on your site! The second more useful program is called ‘Review my post’. Any member can put a badge on the bottom of their posts and get paid $7.50 when a Payperpost member clicks on it and writes a review of your post on their blog. They also get paid $7.50 for their troubles, by the way. The button seems to apply to any post made on that blog not just the one you clicked from.

What I find interesting about this is that the blogging community thrives on links from one blog to another, something which I had planned to start including in my posts, and getting paid to link to and review blogs will only increase this trend. What this will mean to the blogging community, I’m not sure, maybe nothing but I know I have seen a lot of those little ‘review my post’ bars on blogs that past few days. On the ethics of accepting payment for posts, I think it’s ok once the blogger states that they are being paid for it.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.