Archive for the “Technology” Category

Wordpress is once again up to date.  Nice to keep things current.  Of course, I should make a post to test that everything works as expected.  I’m also treated myself to a late Christmas present and bought a Logitech G110 keyboard.  It’s a great keyboard and I love the features but I just can’t seem to get the proper feel for it!  It’s actually a bit frustrating going from a 12 year old keyboard (yeah, old, huh) to something new and not being able to hit the keys with proper accuracy.  Practice, practice, practice said the Zen-master to his student.

Aside from the keyboard, I’ve been playing with some twitter integration on the blog – since I seem to update twitter more often lately in short rapid bursts.  The only problem is it won’t be much of a blog if the only content is a history of twitter posts.  I do try though!  I need some interesting content to post…

iPhone development is going fairly well.  I did try to submit an application to the Apple App Store but unfortunately it was rejected due to possibly copyright/intellectual property infringement on Fox’s defunct TV series Arrested Development.  The app featured one image and two sound bites from the show and yet somehow this could infringe – what ever happened to fair use?  Well, the app was a bit of a novelty and didn’t serve a real function.  However, it has been a good experience in learning iPhone development and finding some common problems and solutions.  I’m continuing to work on a more functional and useful app that I hope can be submitted and approved shortly.

Hope everyone has a great 2010!

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Testing a post with the iPhone wordpress app

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I finally bought Guitar Hero World Tour for Wii yesterday.  Since it’s still a bit hard to find in stores and I’m cheap, I went the second-hand route and found a for-sale ad on the local Kijiji for $95 and the seller was only minutes away from my office.  Thinking it was a good opportunity, I picked it up but unfortunately when something seems too be good to true, it usually is.

After specifically asking the seller about the condition and any problems with the instruments, I was told everything worked fine and was hardly used.  Getting home and testing everything out, sure enough, one of the cymbol pads on the drum was completely dead.  Although not something I typically do, I asked the seller if I could return the defective kit and was not surprised to get no for answer and an “explanation” of how the cymbol should be easy to fix considering I “saved $100″ (A brand new kit costs $140 in stores).

This deal smells more like a well planned rip-off.  Looks like it will be up to me to fix it and the first step will be some Google searching.

I found some information that a common problem with the drum and cymbol pads where the wires inside become loose with wear.  I took the cymbol apart and the wires appeared to be fairly well connected but I re-soldered them just to be sure.  Unfortunately that didn’t fix the problem.

Fortunately, I came across this tip on instructables.com where the small printed circuit board may be defective and they show a method to bypass the PCB and connect the pad wires directly to the output jack.

With some fresh wire and some careful soldering (only burnt myself a little), I reconnected the cymbal pad to the kit and it worked!  Not only did it work but it worked perfectly!

I’ve had very positive experiences with the local buy&sell websites overall.  I’ve bought and sold computer hardware and even got a dog through the online classifieds.  It’s a bit unfortunate that I got bit by a dishonest seller but it’s something that that will happen to most people eventually.  There were some warning signs about the seller that I now recognize after the fact but in the midst of the excitement of getting a new toy and given the positive past experiences, I made a poor decision.

Fortunately with some searching and soldering, everything worked out fine in the end.

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User interface is a basic fundamental of computing.  Applications must present themselves in a clear and easy to follow method in order for users to accept them.  I believe this is why iPods and iPhones are so successful.  An MP3 player in itself is not a complicated device – it plays music.  Simple, right?  The iPod and iPhone have really set themselves apart from other similar devices by presenting the user with a very clean, polished, consistent and easy to use interface that makes the device a pleasure to use – not a chore.

I’ve been working with the Microsoft Exchange 2007 management tools for a while and found the user interface to be very inconsistent and visually chaotic.  Alas, this is true for Vista which is why it  has not achieved mass acceptance whereas Apple products are happily found everywhere these days.

Anyways, here’s a good example of why I find the Exchange 2007  Management Console confusing:

Exchange 2007 Management Console

The operation was to remove a permission from a mailbox.  Apparently this was successful.

Reading the screen left to right, the first image presented is a red X followed by a green checkmark that says “completed”.

At first, an end-user isn’t sure what to believe – did this operation work or not?  On reading futher, it would appear the operation completed correctly but since the operation was to remove a permission (indicted in the long technical command description), the icon presented is a big red X – which is generally used to indicate a failure.

OK, I see what is going on here and now understand it now.  However, the initial screen presentation can certainly be confusing and mistaken for an error.  Some might think it is a minor detail but a proper well designed user interface should never leave an end-user confused.  Confusion will only impede acceptance of software.  Software that is not accepted will lead users to find alternatives.

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The upgrade from Fedora Core 6 to Fedora Core 11 seems to be complete.  ESXi made this a whole lot easier since I was able to build the new Fedora 11 system in parallel to the running Fedora 6 system.  Usually due to lack of hardware, physical space or internet ports, I’ve had to do a hard cutover from one system to the other without the benefit of proper testing.  ESXi really made this a breeze with the virtualized environment and having the capability to snapshot the system at different points just in case of something breaking.

It’s nice to be running an up to date Linux distribution again to see what’s new and shiney.  There’s some new things in Fedora 11 to learn and it’s good to see the continued evolution of Linux as I’ve been Fedora Core user/administrator since version 1 dating back to 2003.  Prior to that, I had used RedHat Linux and even before that, Slackware Linux 3.0 dating back to 1995.  Slackware 3.0 was my first experiences with Linux so it holds a special place in my heart…awww…the memories.

With all the upgrade talk and the reminiscing, let’s take a look back at my humble website over the years thanks to www.archive.org:

Before 2001: A few personal webpages here and there just to learn.  Sorry, no archive and it’s probably better that way :)

September 2001: My first stab at a personal web log before the term “blog” was coined.  It was a good way to present some information, share pictures and learn more about PHP, XHTML and CSS.  Hard to believe that I actually recommended Internet Explorer at a time.  The site had some decent growth to it but became harder to manually manage updates with the growth.

March 2005: Gave a new software package called Serendipty a try.  Much improved layout and automated management.  Combined with Coppermine for photo galleries, the site had a more complete and polished look.  Both packages made it easy to add new content and functionality.

October 2007: Always keeping an eye on new options, I gave Wordpress a try.  I was impressed fairly quickly how Wordpress was faster, cleaner, more functional and even easier to use than Serendipity.  Wordpress has a very strong community behind it always adding new functionality and features.  I’m very impressed by how much Wordpress has grown over the last not quite two years to take advantage of all the latest web trends and yet Wordpress has been made even easier to use.  I look forward to Wordpress’ future and the new trends/technology that can not be foreseen at this time.

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OK, that was easy.  click click upgrade done.

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Been a while since I upgraded something so I spent some time friday evening (wooo the excitment) upgraded my ESXi 3.5 system to the 4.0 release.  The upgrade was pretty easy and straight-forward with the instructions on vm-help.com.  Fortunately, VMWare makes the vSphere client and updata utility an easy download now so you can skip the steps about manually extracting it from the ESXi 4.0 upgrade file before starting.  Remember to backup your virtual machines just to be on the safe side.

The next upgrades now will be Wordpress 2.8 (easy!) and upgrade to Fedora 11 (not too hard).  Stay tuned!

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Haven’t had much to post lately – obviously.  I’ve been spending a lot of time on Twitter and enjoying some of the short, yet useful, 140 character or less nuggets of information that go by.  It’s a neat little service and I do enjoy using it but it’s hard to say what the future holds for it as another social networking/information exchange website.  Please feel free to follow me on twitter or enjoy my updates on the sidebar of this web site.

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