GOODBYE 600kb

 

Our boys have spend many, many hours complaining about the internet speed at our house in Canada – downside of living right beside a golf course. I don’t blame them. We had a “6MB” link and were lucky to get 600kb down on a good day and 150kb up. I know, it could have been worse – I could have been on Xplornet.

Not anymore. High definition video conference while watching IPTV while streaming music, talking on Vonage, watching a Netflix video and running 3 XBOX live sessions at the same time anyone?

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And this was a wireless signal over a TP-link pocket router. Wait till my network kit arrives.

FLICKR BADGE & GALLERIES

 

I have been playing around with WordPress as a colleague told me my site was a little “generic” (He may have said the design is boring (smile)). His is quite intricate.

Over the coming weeks you will see a few updates. I found that Flickr badge generation an interesting way of creating a gallery.

It seems that Galleries are harder to set up than they should be in WordPress if you are not self hosted. A few tidbits were found in the official support site and the “unofficial” site.

I am on a quest of creating a photo stream across the header of my site, it seems to be harder than it should be …..

TAKING THE NEXT STEP IN PAPERLESS

 

This weekend I took the next step in my quest to get my carry on luggage weight dropped, signing up for a digital magazine service. Seems like there are a number of ways to go after this one, buying single magazines on sites such as Amazon Kindle or iTunes (As long as you are Apple centric) or signing up for a service like Zinio.

After reading through the pro’s and con’s, I am starting on Zinio as it has a large selection of magazines, it is easy to share right from the app if I want to send someone a clip, the text only mode is a fantastic way to strip out the ads and I can subscribe once and read it on any device (PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, iPad …..). That being said it isn’t perfect, for example, Wired, Fast Company, Strategy+Business and a number of others are no where to be found.

My first subscription? Macworld. This ex-Microsoftie is still figuring that beast out. It isn’t quite as easy as people say ….

 

ABSENT POSTER

 

It has been almost 2 weeks since I last posted, which can be blamed on a trip to the Turks and Caicos (more to come on that), quarter end, Grade 8 graduation (proud to say both boys made honour role), the sun finally coming out and of course, the new iMac 27”.

I have been playing with it for a couple weeks now and have watched about 40 podcasts on how MACs work. It is a unique experience as I play with a lot of technology and there are very few times that I am such a duck out of water. I found the whole transition quite perplexing as it is just so different and not without issue.

I would say the saving grace has been Parallels virtualization software. This is an amazing piece of work as it gives you a full Windows emulation as if it were a MAC, without the awkward looking window within a window. Simply click on the Windows application you want to launch from the tree and it shows up as if it were a MAC window (they call it Coherence).

Why has this been the saving grace? Because of Hotmail. It would seem that Hotmail works fantastic on an iPad and iPhone thanks to the Exchange integration (allowing for calendar, contact and full email-folder synchronization) but does not work on a MAC. Even with the new version of Office MAC and Outlook, it does not work and there is no IMAP support. So as this dawned on me I started to sweat about having to do a full family conversion to Gmail just to use the MAC. I have nothing against Gmail (I have a Gmail account that I use for personal business email), but I just do not feel like doing this right now. Maybe later when the sun isn’t shining, the pool isn’t open and the golf course is closed. But not now. Plus, the Windows Live mail client is the best in the market (Sorry Thunderbird).

Which is why I am using Parallels, the Windows Live Mail icon is docked and runs beautifully. It has also made it simpler for me to do some transitions like music and other things.

That aside, the iMac is just a beautiful machine with a few very unique offers like the magic trackpad which is amazing once you know all of the tips and tricks.

ORDERED

 

It is ordered. The Microsoft household has their first Apple on the way. Granted, the Apple will be surrounded by 5 PCs and a number of XBOX360s, so we remain Microsoft centric. We will see if it passes muster.

I ordered up the iMac 27”. One thing is for sure, the iMac monitor is one of the most striking monitors on the market. There is something very impressive about Apple’s industrial design and as this will be on the kitchen desk, the ‘All in one’ feature is very appealing on the clutter and cord reduction front. Although, it may disappoint our cat (even though he is a little too big for this now).

2010 Kipling Sleeping

It will be very interesting to see if that claim of ‘just so simple’ is true for someone who is totally unfamiliar with the OS .. and no fervently biased toward Apple (smile).

A FEW FAVORITE PODCASTS

 

I have always been an Audible fan, listening to books in the car. Recently, I became a podcast fan thanks to my Samsung Tab and Google Listen. As I drive to the office (or to the airport …) I fill the open time with podcasts. Here are a few that I have come to really enjoy:

  • The CBC podcast:  A 4-5 minute podcast that gives you high level Canadian news.
  • BBC world news:  The world in 20 minutes with great special guest commentary.
  • BBC Business news:  20 minutes of business.
  • HBR Ideacast:  Usually around 12 minutes long, they give a good synopsis on up and coming articles.

I have dropped the Wall street journal podcast as I find it too US centric and find the Bloomberg podcast and The Economist podcast hit or miss. I also listen to a few general interest podcasts; The New Yorker, TEDTalks and Slate, with my favourite being Stuff You Should Know, from the How Stuff Works website. The hosts have a dry sense of humour and report on a range of topics. To get you started, a few podcasts that were very enjoyable:

  • What is mountain removal mining?  Bring out your internal eco-warrior on what is happening in the poor areas of the US (and I am sure on other areas of the world), through a different type of strip mining that involves explosives, huge industrial waste, destruction of valleys/wildlife and serious health issues for the locals. A sad story of economics overtaking logic (they could mine the old fashioned way, but this way requires 1/3 of the labour). You can watch a good video synopsis here.
  • Can the sun kill you?  I found it amazing that we will get 80% of all of our sun by the age of 18. Thank goodness that parenting and information have advanced. I know my boys have never had big water blisters on their shoulders from too much sun (Something that I remember as a regular occurrence as a child … sunblock in the 1970s, what is that?)
  • How Knights Work  The boys and I had a drive so we listened to this podcast on the way there and back. I never understood the whole squire thing, now I do and the boys loved the topic.

I love the net.