General

Five fantastically amazing things
24 January 2007 in General | Comments (5)

So I’ve been “tagged” much like everyone else who has a blog and thought why swim against the current, embrace peer pressure and offer up scintillating facts about myself. Lets keep this short, strap yourself in…

  • I once donated blood to impress a girl. I’ve done it more than once, but that was the reasoning behind one of the times.
  • I wrote a Tetris clone in assembler (MASM to be precise, made it a bit easier).
  • I’m awful at maths and yet somehow managed to pass Statistics at university despite playing Red Alert 2 on my laptop in most statistics classes.
  • I’ve never brought or sold a single thing on TradeMe.
  • I wrote an application at high school that pretended to be the computer game Doom (we were not allowed games) and managed to harvest about 200 accounts from the school domain, including some teachers accounts.

Phew, there you have it. I hope you all feel a closer spiritual bond with me now :) In the essence of sharing I’ll tag the following folks:

Chan, James, James, Andrew, Gabe

- JD

P.S. Thanks Darryl & John for tagging me

I need more action
11 September 2006 in General & Intergen | Comments (8)

Recently I’ve had a spider around my desk at work – I come in each day and it’s built an even bigger web which is kind of interesting. Gabe has been having a chuckle all day about this photo he snapped claiming it’s proof I don’t get any action!

I couldn’t resist posting the picture though, either I’m too busy to action things or I’m not busy enough :)

To Action

Note that I’ve sharpened the label that says “To Action” on the tray to make it easier to see :)

- JD

WTF is Web 2.0?
6 September 2006 in General | Comments (21)

Web 2.0

Recently there has been some hot debate about what the definition of Web 2.0 is. We’re starting to see requests for ”Web 2.0 compliant” web sites and it’s all starting to raise some questions.

Just what the heck does Web 2.0 mean?

My personal view is that Web 2.0 has zero meaning but is more an annoying buzz word that has, unfortunately, caught on with people. I find it frustrating because their is nothing you can do now that you couldn’t do before which would add validity to increasing this arbitrary version number of the Web. It becomes dangerous when people ask for something that is Web 2.0 because almost everybody has a different interpretation of what it means.

I guess you could argue that a term doesn’t need a definition – much like the word “love”, it doesn’t have a singular definition but in technology a term should have a meaning in my view – we make things complicated enough as it is.

So in the interests of open discussion, what is Web 2.0 to you?

 - JD

$9000 interest a day
6 May 2006 in General | Comments (0)

This article on stuff.co.nz just made me smile and I thought I’d throw it up on here for other peoples amusement :)

Basically a guy in wellington ordered a new credit card which should have cost him $9.95 but the bank charged his account over 12 million dollars! That’s 9,000 dollars in overdraft interest a day.

Full article: Bank changes 12m for card

- JD

Netvibes
27 April 2006 in General | Comments (4)

There is plenty of chatter about Live.com and how it [sucks|rocks] from various NZ .Net bloggers.

I’ll stay away from the discussion other than to say I like that they’re trying new things – it’s better than nothing. Now, what I would like to see is the general experience being more like NetVibes. Again, trawling through my statistics I found I’ve had several hundred hits from http://www.netvibes.com

In terms of portals (which I don’t personally love) it’s pretty cool. The multiple tabs (drag the widgets onto them), the fact I can name the page what I want etc – it all seems a lot smoother than Live.com.

Anyway, that’s all I really wanted to say for now :) Like everyone else I’ll try and get my post Code Camp review out soon.

– JD

User Interface Design
15 February 2006 in General | Comments (1)

I like to think that I’m one of those geeks who actually has an eye for a nice UI. I’ll usually notice if there is a single pixel incorrect in a gradient, if buttons don’t align or aren’t a standard size. I’m not big on writing console applications because I enjoy the UI design process too much (“The UI is the system”).

As part of this interest I like to read occasionally on various topics relating to UI design. Reading about things a bit more in depth than how to space buttons is something that I get from Phil Cockfield’s blog. Phil has a tonne more stuff about interaction and design – my tiny mention here doesn’t give credit to that – you’ll just have to read for yourself :)

This morning I found the Yahoo UI Blog which is a nice place to read up about design pattern in web UI. If you’re into reading about the Review Design Pattern or Rating an Object Pattern this is a good place to start.

Now I don’t want to give the impression that I know too much about UI – it really is just a pet interest, so if anybody has some great links to UI related content I’d greatly appreciate it. Do you have a site you refer to about all things UI?

Update: Dan reminded me of Jakob Nielson’s website

- JD

Google selling out?
21 December 2005 in General | Comments (0)

So Google managed to hook into AOL before Microsoft but it may have sold part of its soul to do so (link here for story).

Google has agreed to push AOL sponsored content more, including placing their content higher in results. I see this as a step backwards. Google built their reputation on having simple UI, clearly separating advertising and having non-intrusive advertising by using text instead of images. It seems that part of the deal with AOL has also pushed Google into agreeing to use images in their advertising too. I wonder how long before their search results are clogged with advertising.

It might seem minor at first, but it’s these small cracks that Microsoft can exploit.

Interestingly Microsoft found abuse of the Google AdSense system and have published information about this abuse. It’s never a good sign when a competitor can show obvious flaws in your systems. I guess Google don’t have the smartest systems in the world after all.

It will be interesting to see how Google goes next year. Perhaps 2005 will be the year they jumped the shark.

– JD

iPod Christmas
21 December 2005 in General | Comments (0)

In a few days we should all be heading off on holiday and taking some much deserved time away from our computers. Christmas is about the only time of year when I actively choose not to use a computer for a week or so.

While I enjoy the time away from my computer for a short while, I do miss my music collection and keeping track of what’s going on around the place. This year however I have my video iPod so I can take some stuff away with me. I’ve been trying to get some pod casts down and loaded on however I’m having a few problems/annoyances:

  • When I add a new RSS feed is there a way to make it get all the items automatically? I hate having to click “get” for each one.
  • If you can’t automatically get them all, is there a way to make iTunes handle more than 2 downloads at a time?
  • I’ve been told the setting to “Get All” from PodCasts only applies to when the RSS updates? Not initially adding it.
  • The whole PodCast handling capabilities of iTunes seems klunky at best – is there any better tools out there for managing this content?
  • I have iTunes at work set to not automatically manage my iPod. When dragging on videos it puts them in as music – and won’t play the video. This is despite the fact they are designed for the iPod and it actually displays the video icon next to the “song” (video). Any ideas on how to fix this glitch?

Some of these probably are me doing something really stupid – but if I don’t ask I’ll never find out :-) Overall everything is going well with my iPod, I have lots of content for the summer but these small annoyances are getting to me.

– JD