Month: August 2005 (page 1 of 2)

K2

Upgraded the site to a new theme – K2 from Michael Heilemann is a turbo charged theme for WordPress which is more than a theme – it’s a mod. Supports numerous plugins and comes with it’s own option panels. Currently still in beta and a little rough round the edge’s but like this theme I do. I’ll be updating more through the week with some new plugins and pages. For the moment there’s a few links that may be broke – they’ll be fixed soon enough.

Also moved all images from my host to Flickr. Makes cleaning up my web space a bit easier and hopefully future upgrades will be a lot tidier. It took a while but what else was there to do on a wet and windy day, apart from watching the cricket – I’ve become a closet test match watcher!

House improvements update

New FenceNever did I think painting a fence, and only one coat at that, would take so long. But it did. All day Saturday and Sunday to paint the bitch and although I’ve still got the second coat to put on it’s looking top smart. Main difference is that the fence is straight and sturdy and won’t sway in a gale as proved by last nights wind. In an ideal world we’d put the same fence up on the other side but our neighbours aren’t playing ball and if I’m being honest…they are a pain in the arse. I guess that’s a neighbours role.

Anyhoo – soffits and guttering is also painted and the garden tap is fitted – ironic since the weather has turned since it was fitted. Apologies to everyone for ruining their summer. Just the windows and door to get fitted and some painting inside and our ‘upgrades’ will be complete. Joy.

 

Good to Talk and search and…

Google’s been busy – Google Talk has been unleashed and an update to Google Desktop. The Talk application allows anyone with a Gmail account to talk to one another or just IM as per any of the other IM apps. Free, simple and open source as it’s built on Jabber protocol. Nice.

Google Desktop is more than a simple upgrade. They’ve dropped the ‘Search’ from the title and now include a Sidebar that similar to the sidebar that was once in the Vista beta’s and can be picked up as freeware elsewhere. The desktop search is also more refined, popping up in a small window similar to MSN desktop search. Nice. The sidebar is pretty ugly though. Although it can check your Gmail account, weather, has a quick launch window and can check stocks and shares it’s all been done before and clutters up the desktop. I prefer to use just a search entry box and see the results.

What’s frustrating is that there is a lot of duplication between Google, Yahoo, MS and others all clambering for the same market. Where’s the originality? Kottke article expands on this some more – WebOS anyone? Maybe one day but the confusion between what the big players offer, an increasing lack of trust in web browsing and e-mail never mind web apps and the 80-85% userbase who will never switch from IE 6 makes me think that MS will be in control for the foreseeable future and that a suite of web apps may be useful but will never truly replace desktop apps. And remember – as a company gets bigger it gets all the more hated.

Now You See It

New monitor with flashYet another game show reference – this could be a trend. Anyway – the new monitor has arrived and it’s fantastic. Why didn’t I buy an LCD ages ago. It’s a 19 inch LG (LG 1980Q to be precise) and I can’t fault it’s image or the design of the monitor itself – there’s just so much room on my desk now. The screen rotates and mirrors as it’s physically moved and the buttons are heat sensitive – well there had to be a gimmick of some sort to make it worth purchasing. Highly recommended.

Note – no dead pixels yet although I’ve avoided temptation after the PSP hunt.

 

The Price is Right

Xbox 360
£280. That’s the price for the Xbox 360 in the UK and it will be launched this year (rumoured last week in November). This is the first console that has been released so close to the USA launch – kudos to MS for doing that and also coming in at a respectable price. The £280 gets you:

  • Xbox 360 console.
  • Xbox 360 Hard Drive. 20 GB and detachable.
  • Xbox 360 Wireless Controller. Nice but has a range and battery life of up to 30 feet and 30 hours of life on two AA batteries. Not much so the battery pack and charger become essential purchases.
  • Xbox 360 Faceplate.
  • Xbox 360 Headset.
  • Xbox 360 Component HD-AV Cable. (I NEED to buy a Plasma or LCD screen)
  • Xbox Live Silver membership – who cares – I want Gold.
  • A bonus Media Remote: Included for a limited time, the integrated control centre for the entire digital experience lets consumers play DVDs, movies and music, as well as access their Windows® XP Media Centre Edition 2005-based PC’s controls with a single remote. Nice.

I reckon that’s quite a bit of hardware for £280. It would have been nicer if it came with HD-DVD but it’s still an impressive package. Not so good is that a cut-price 360 will be available for £210 that has everything except no hard disk, no headset, a wired controller and no free remote. This will be the first console to launch with different hardware options which for me means developers will code against the lowest hardware specification – no hard disk. This might not sound a big deal but the Xbox took great advantage of the hard disk so it will be disappointing if dev’s feel curtailed by this step. It also seems strange that MS have spent the last 3 years building up Xbox Live, have spent the last three months talking up the new 360 service and the online marketplace which will have lots of paid for downloadable content yet launch a console which doesn’t have the headset or the hard disk. Odd. Unless they were trying to get near to £200 and/or the price point of the soon to be launched PSP.

With around 4-6 must buy launch titles it’s going to be an expensive Christmas. I can’t wait.

 
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