Monday, 24 January 2011

A rail fiasco.

Was reading the front page of the Metro on thursday last week (20th Jan),  The headline was "Fares to soar to end rail crush" and there was me and probably a lot of other people thinking that adding an extra carriage to the train would help.  After all the government wants us to use public transport and leave our cars at home.  Seems like enough toffs has probably complained that they can't read their morning paper.  So how do they propose to get around it well put the prices up and make the poorer people make their own way to work.

Surely the trains have to have insurance to run.  According to the Metro in their article some trains are running at 240 - 350 (Approx) over their capacity which is approx 150% capacity.  Compare this to if I hire a taxi, the taxi is only insured to handle x amount of people.  I'm not sure of the law in regards to this but if the police stopped a taxi that was insured to have 4 passengers and there were 7 passengers the driver would probably get nicked.  Are the rail bosses putting our lives at risk for profit.  I've traveled on an over crowed train and the only place I could stand/sit was in the connection area between two carriages you know the crumple zone.

The government needs to implement a law if they haven't already that states that a vehicle may not carry passengers that exceed

A) The maximum capacity.
B) The maximum insured capacity.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Is it a bird is it a plane? - Nope just a logo.

I see that the W3C have decided to release a logo that envisions the qualities of the HTML 5 definitions the blurb on their website states

"It stands strong and true, resilient and universal as the markup you write. It shines as bright and as bold as the forward-thinking, dedicated web developers you are. It's the standard's standard, a pennant for progress. And it certainly doesn't use tables for layout."

While I don't disagree with this i wonder just how many sites will actually put a "Built with HTML 5" logo on the page.  Honestly I haven't see "Built with HTML 4" in a very long time so I suspect that we will only see it on developer websites that are to do with either learning the HTML layout or to define if a plugin will produce HTML5 content. Or will it creep into site design as a buzz word that will be used to sell systems to clients.  A tick box on the tender document as it were.  From a design point of view I like the logo and the page shows it rendered differently for different sites in the "Build it and they will come" section.

Check out the logo page here.

Let me know what you think of the new logo in the comments below.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Tedcast - Episode 1 - Meet the N00bs

So, I've been invited to start a video podcast with some guys I know that are all into tech its our first try so let us know what you think.  I'm sure that it will get better with time.

Metro UK app - review

This app annoys me it expects an Internet connection to be on all the time. When you open the app it keeps asking for your email address and doesn't remember you didn't want to give it out to be spammed by them. The second thing is that the format is that of a scanned page with each being downloaded separately. It makes it hard to use and clunky it's a pity because they could have done this so much better. All I can say is thank god that Apple blocks flash cos I'm sure that all the paper ads would be flash based. Don't get me wrong I love reading this paper on the bus. It's just that the app doesn't work for me.

What they should do in my opinion is redesign the app to have all the stories as separate articles with or with out photos. Have each article preceded by a picture of one of the adverts under the heading "This article sponsored by" and a couple of buttons "Skip" and "More Info" below. That way they can sell mobile advertisements. They should have the whole paper download to your mobile device over night. Lastly the app should have articles in categories as I'm interested In tech and science articles and not gossip.

Tell me your thoughts in the comments

The problem with Moble/Tablet devices

I was reading the How to Buy Into Android at the Worst Possible Time [HUMOR] on and it made me think about this topic now the above link wasn't meant as a rant or flame war but rather to highlight the issue that when you develop the OS and the hardware you are sort of responsible for backwards compatibility.

Take Apple for example they dropped support for the first generation of the iPhone's lately and i heard that the iPhone 3G wont be getting update iOS4.3  as a consumer I'm happy for this because I got updates for a while on my device.  I don't know if  the above is generally true for every android device, but it highlights that device manufactures are going well its not financially viable for us to upgrade existing devices as that will break a sales channel "We want people to upgrade their hardware" as that makes us money.  So why should they push through an OS upgrade.  What needs to happen is that people get the option to upgrade with backups taken before and the ability to restore to previous OS if the upgrade doesn't work.  The update should also be flagged by your manufacture as tested with  your device if they have tested it and it works so people can either.  Choose to wait for the manufacture to tell them its OK to install or follow a blogger/website that tests the device with the latest version and lets you know its working before you download and run it on your machine.

I'm not writing this as a I'm an Apple fan boy we win sort of thing, but rather I'm a consumer this is how it should work.

Traditionally with a PC you get a OS and you can upgrade OK normally you have to buy a new OS (Mac & Win) with tablets you lose this capability you will have to either hack you tablet of choice or hope your manufacturer pushes an OS update out.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Apples iPod iTouch apps keep crashing.

I've been using the iPod Touch a lot lately and I must say that it's a brilliant device.  I write up most of my blog posts while on the bus then when I access the work wifi I post the entry.  I've started to notice that a few apps crash on me for example Tweetdeck crashed when I clicked on the Updates menu button on the bottom of the screen.  It had 293 items on it and when I reopend the update had none on it so it had definitly went to the server to mark them as read before crashing. 

I was talking with my brother in law as we were listening to some tunes on one of the music tv channels on sky.  We were chatting about knowing the name of a song with out looking at the screen and I was talkign about Shazam so I downloaded the free version as its not a product O would use on a regular basis.  I tried to run it to show it working something that I had never seen my self but was told by lots of people that it was a great app.  After clicking the "Touch to Shazam" button and waiting for the circle to complete it just closed.

Now I don't know if its the fact that I don't reboot my device on a regular basis or if its part of the functionality of the apps running in the background but I was wondering if any others had the same issues please leave a comment if you've had this issue.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

The perfect iPad app for an airport shop

Was standing in Dixon's Travel shop in Birmingham Airport Terminal 1. When I spotted an iPad and thought I would have a look at it. So after hitting the home screen button the screen displayed the first screen of installed apps and the first thing I spotted was iGun app. It was like one of those big red buttons that have a neon sign pointing at it and saying "Do not PRESS!!!" well of course I didn't play with it. that's all I would need when waiting to get on a plane is to start making gun shot sounds.

I mean I'm not crazy enough for that.


Sony Sues Playstation 3 Hackers - OSNews

by (Thom Holwerda) on 12 Jan 2011
original :

I read this on the bus this morning and it made me laugh.

"Well, it would appear that Sony isn't particularly pleased with the fact that their console has been hacked into oblivion. It has officially filed suit against the fail0verflow hacker group and Geohot, after filing a temporary restraining order yesterday to try and remove the jailbreak information from the web (how cute)."

OS News

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

How I want to pay for my software

How many times have you bought a game played it for a couple of hours and then dropped it because the doesn't catch you just right and how many times are those games over the £20 mark. Quite a bit I'm sure and why should I have to pay so much for a game that doesn't live up to the hype. What I would love to see is a company that allows micro payments for games I think that the STEAM system would be great for this. So lets take the Call of Duty series of games as a starting point. I've owned quite a few versions of this game except for Modern Warfare 2 (I objected to removal of dedicated servers) so no money from me for that game.

So I've bought and played Call of Duty 3, Modern Warfare, World at War & now Black Ops. If I was producing a micropayment system I would make it bill the user for every hour of play lets say 50p and here is the crux up to a total bill of £30. Lets say you download and install for free the new "Black Ops" game then you start playing once you have played 60 hours you will have paid for the game with out any problem, now if you didn't like the game or any reason and only played 3-4 hours then your only billed £2. Of course if new patch comes out that fixes a load of problems then you are more than likely to come back and play the game again or at least try it out and get billed another couple of quid.

Basically you will play the games that interest you and that you play if the game developers make a game that entertains you, then you will play it and feel comfortable in paying full market price for the game. An example of why this would benefit the consumer is the "Quake Wars Enemy Territory" game definitely not worth the money in my opinion but as a PC Gamer I can't return the game to the store for a refund as you'll be told "its already been installed".

For instance I played "Modern Warfare" for at least 2 hours every day for 2 years that's 700 hours. If companies were willing to do this then they could add in game purchasing for expansion packs.

This would also work for other software not just games.

Monday, 10 January 2011

My ideal Operating system - folder structure

Ok I've spoken about storing a complete application in a single .app folder that when double clicked will act like an application. Which keeps within my keep it simple motto.

Next I'd like to talk about your basic computer's set up. So let's say you have got a computer and your running my ideal OS on it how would the file structure look to a new user? Would it be complex looking like Linux. Which to be honest still confuses the hell out of me. Or would it be like windows that seems to change every version but does put most of the files into one of three folders windows or variant, program files and lastly documents and settings. Or what about the Amiga another operating system that has loads of folders that cover the root folder of the machine.

Well I would start by having a single folder containing the OS that would be hidden and would be called OS.

A folder called apps with .app files contained in a category based folder tree structure.

A folder called user data that holds a folder for each user to save private information too.

An important note about this is that while the is folder is hidden it is not in accessible. Also the app folder structure is re-definable by the user but when a .app folder is down loaded you would be asked where to save it the default would be apps/category/subcategory/...

Next time I'll talk about the desk top interface.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

How Sweden turns human body heat into useful energy


Engineers in Stockholm have discovered a new way to trap and use human body heat.

At Stockholm's busy Central Station, engineers use heating exchangers to convert body heat into hot water and then pump that water to an office building next door, providing it with environmentally friendly and cost effective heating.

The process can reduce energy costs by up to 25%.

Xanthe Hinchey reports.

Friday, 7 January 2011

PHP guys release fix for Double numbers hanging servers

Original :

The PHP development team would like to announce the immediate availability of PHP 5.3.5 and 5.2.17.

This release resolves a critical issue, reported as PHP bug #53632 and CVE-2010-4645, where conversions from string to double might cause the PHP interpreter to hang on systems using x87 FPU registers.

The problem is known to only affect x86 32-bit PHP processes, regardless of whether the system hosting PHP is 32-bit or 64-bit. You can test whether your system is affected by running this script from the command line.

All users of PHP are strongly advised to update to these versions immediately.

Call of Duty - Black Ops - review

So I've been playing Black Ops since it came out and I must admit that when its working its a great game and quite playable at 30 fps. I like the types of game you can play so its not just the normal Death Match, Capture the Flag, Domination type modes but the wager matches really make it fun. The ability to play a game where the weapons are the same for everyone really balances the game out bringing it down to skill and GFX power. I love the Recent Servers tab that allows you to see the previous servers you were on quite handy when you find a server that fits but the game crashes. Allows you to come back to it easily. The game has definitely become more stable lately as well which definitely helps I went through a period where the game would crash after 30 seconds of game play.

The couple of things that really needs updating in my opinion is the period between a game ending and a new one starting. You get a couple of seconds to post a quick message but not long enough for a conversation as your score card kills your message on you then your redirected to the loading map screen for the next game. You would think that by now developers would be putting you into a "lobby" where you could chat while the game loads the next map. Also changing the message location to be lower would be much better nothing worst than trying to look over text in the game.

I'm running it on a Quad Core 2Ghz Machine with 4Gb Ram & 2x 512Mb Radeon 2600HD graphics cards and only getting 30fps though sometimes it does jump to 50fps but not in game play.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

PHP thinks its a pentium PC forgets how to count.

Original Article : The Register

Its been reported that PHP has a major flaw in versions 5.2 & 5.3 that cause a really large floating number to cause the computer to use 100% CPU. Which means that you could take down a PHP web site with out having to use a DoS attack. This of course is reported as a problem for 32bit machines and not 64bit, The value as reported in The Register is 2.2250738585072011e-308

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Liverpool to trial 200Mbs powerline broadband

Original :

According to Brian Turner over at tech watch Liverpool council is go trial broadband over electricity cables and at 200mb's that's fast.

From what I can make out it's not exactly like the local Ethernet over your houses electricity network. They talk about having to install hardware in the 1000 new builds that are going to be part of the trial and there might be some issue with interference with radio signals. The broadband would be at a different frequency than the electricity.

Originally read from Tech Watch

My ideal Operating system - defining how apps work

My ideal OS would make life simple for me or rather my wife as a user I shouldn't have to install anything let's take the firefox browser as an example. I like the browser and use it on multiple machines and not always the same OS on these machines.

So if I want to put firefox onto a new machine I run off to the firefox website and download the version I want some times having to choose the architecture \ OS that I'm running.

What I would envision is a single download say it's effectively a JAR file but the OS is told that on a double click to go into the folder and execute the .exe file.

If you copy the .app file to a new architecture and a version for that architecture doesn't yet exist yet it alerts you to check for a newer version.

My wife thinks I'm addicted to coffee

I'm not, I'm addicted to information. I hate being off line, take Dec 20 one of many people sitting in Birmingham airport watching screen to see when we would take off. Except I had one extra piece of information that others didn't. I knew that only one plane flew our route so while everyone was watching the departures board for our flight information to be updated. I was watching the departures board in Belfast to see if the plane was leaving Belfast at all.

Having information makes us feel safe and comfortable so why aren't some companies giving us the real information rather than marketing bullshit?

It's funny but my addiction to information seems to have snuck up on me. It just while lying in bed after reading all the news posts and having no network connection now that I realise I'm an addict.

Spend today thinking about what company RSS feeds to add to my google reader account. It's mad but some days it seems that news appears in blocks from lots of different sources.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Nintendo issues warning on 3DS games for children

original post

So Nintendo have announced that children under 6 shouldn't use there 3D DS as it can hurt their eyes. This makes me wonder how will the bigger tv manufacturers will respond and they need to so that sales are not effected. If one device is not safe for children what about the rest?