A monitor worth buying

The Samsung LE40A656A1F

For most computing usage a 19 inch monitor should do just nicely, but sometimes you need something a bit bigger to complete the task. Luckily we’ve entered the era of low cost high definition LCD Monitors/TVs. This Samsung behind me is my new toy, at 42inch its the biggest monitor I’ve ever owned, and I have to tell you, its just great. Its also wall mountable.

p1010923

 

More info:

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/audio-visual/tvs-and-accessories/tvs/samsung-le40a656a1f–314171/review
http://www.hdtvtest.co.uk/news/samsung-le40a656a-review-20080605115.htm

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How old are Disney Characters?

Disney Characters are so, so OLD, yet Disney have done a great job of somehow keeping these same OLD characters fresh over all these years.

 

Pluto,

 the friendly Disney Dog was born in 1930, that makes pluto 79 years old (2009).
Pluto started off being called Pluto the Pup, and his main role was as pet dog to Mickey Mouse. Pluto is one of the few Disney Characters who is not anthropomorphized (Given human features).

 

Donald Duck,

 is one of the most famous Disney Cartoon Characters around, which is no suprise becuase he’s been around for 75 Years. Donald born in 1934 is best known for his quick and hot temper. Donald’s supposed to be entertaining to watch because he’s constantly getting into trouble, or the side characthers in the show give him a hard time, his reactions and voice are what make him worth watching.

 

Goofy,

is really a dog, except unlike Pluto he is Antropomorphic (been given human traits). Goofy is Mickey Mouses best friend, and born in 1932, he’s 74 years old. His mainly famous for being exceedingly clumpsy.

 

Mickey Mouse,

 the oldest of all the Disney Characters, is really OLD, 80 years old to be precise. He’s the main icon for the Disney Company. Walt Disney himself originally did the voice for Mickey Mouse. He’s known as the worlds greatest cartoon character, and is still very much alive today.

Why is YouTube so slow?

If you need to read this post, then you might even be questioning “Is it something you’re doing?”. The answer is NO! Its not your fault. YouTube wasn’t always so laggy, but its been laggy for a long, looooong time. YouTube don’t seem to be addressing the problem. I don’t think YouTube even acknowledge they have a problem.

Most of us with broadband connections browse YouTube on anything from 1mbps – 20mbps, when it comes to YouTube it simply doesn’t matter, You’ll get major lag.

Its no suprise really YouTube is a victim of its own success, its one of the most popular internet sites in the world, and it serves massive amounts of video content every day. The problem is, YouTube just don’t have the bandwidth capabilities to cope with all the traffic. The lag you experience is because YouTube servers are stressed to their max.

YouTube continues to grow out of control, they need to address their performance issues. YouTube in the techworld is getting a bad name because of this.

Less Commonly discussed Windows 7 Features.

Lately when you hear about Windows 7, all you’re hearing about is Shake, the new task bar, and Homegroup.

I’ve just installed it as a primary OS, and these are some more obscure facts.

  1. Windows 7, comes with IE8. IE8 has not been released yet. I think its kinda cool that IE8 was included and not older IE7.
  2. Skype 3.8 (Latest at the time) has compatibility issues. The solution is to download Skype 4 Beta 3. But as everyone knows Skype 4 Beta Sucks, still I’m in a good mood, so I’ll comply for now.
  3. UAC is a lot less intrusive, and not so annoying, usually its the first thing I turn off, well its been 30 minutes and its still on 🙂
  4. The “Vista Search Sucks Issue” IS finally fixed. THANK YOU MICROSOFT for doing something right! Its not 100%, but it does mean I can uninstall custom search tools, and find non indexed files again.
  5. The task bar and quick launch are combined, when a window requires an action, its icon glows on the task bar, doesn’t flash and annoy +10 points to the developers who thought of this.
  6. AVG free works with Windows 7, sorry can’t afford Nod32 🙂
  7. Its very easy to secure a removable HDD using BitLocker, right click action and follow a Wizard. Unfortunately its not so easy to secure your system drive.
  8. Paint still sucks, its interface has been redesigned to use a ribbon, but its still a sad little application.
  9. There is no “classic” view in the control panel, but the control panel looks pretty easy to use, so no complaints there.
  10. Windows and Icons draw quicker with less all round lag.
  11. Media Player 12 is clean. A lot of people give media player a bad wrap, but its a first class media player, has been since version 11.  
  12. Same games as Vista. Exactly the same, not enhanced or rewritten.
  13. Same defragmentation tool, no user interface.
  14. No need to store everything in txt files, you can now create notes, which are also indexed for each searching. Just good for real basis notes.
  15. New command line – called Windows Powershell, this is really worth a look at for most developers
  16. Calculator looks better, has some new conversion features
  17. Gadgets are suddenly usable, because they’re not attached to the side bar.
  18. Still no iPod integration with Media Player.

Pay peanuts, get… yup Monkies

Before you think about quitting your day job, and moving to Cyprus, living on the beach with an internet connection doing a few oDesk (www.oDesk.com) contracts a month for bread, you have to ask yourself, are you Indian enough for the task?

I’ve been on and off oDesk for a while, and whats really good about it is the availability of jobs, the problem is that whenever a job opportunity comes along on oDesk, at least 20-50 Indian developers will put in a bid next to your name, and ultimately no matter how low you think you’re willing to get paid on the job, you’ll find an Indian can easily outbid you. Just due to the sheer number of Indians bidding, and the prices they’re willing to work for, its all a bit laughable for a developer working in the west.

Well my father taught me one principle in life, if you pay peanuts you get monkies. Here is a real job description from oDesk which proves my point.

PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE GOING ON: IF YOU AREN’T ABLE TO BE AVAILABLE FROM 10AM – 10PM CST (-6 GMT) TO WORK WITH US AND OUR CLIENTS THEN DO NOT APPLY FOR THIS JOB. IF YOU HAVE ISSUES SHOWING UP TO WORK AND BEING RELIABLE THEN DON’T APPLY FOR THIS JOB. IF YOU HAVE ANY DRUG OR ALCOHOL ADDICTIONS THAT WILL KEEP YOU AWAY FOR DAYS OR WEEKS, THEN DON’T APPLY FOR THIS JOB. IF YOU HAVE A HARD TIME WORKING EFFECIENTLY OR KEEPING DEADLINES, THEN DON’T APPLY. IF YOU GUARANTEE SOMETHING TO A CLIENT AND DON’T DELIVER, THEN YOU SHOULDN’T APPLY FOR THIS JOB. IF YOU CANT CONSISTENTLY DESIGN TO THE QUALITY OF WORK IN YOUR PORTFOLIO, THEN DON’T APPLY FOR THIS JOB. IF YOU APPLY FOR THIS JOB AND AREN’T ABLE TO FOLLOW ANY OF THE RULES ABOVE THEN YOU WILL BE FIRED IMMEDIATELY AND PAYMENT WILL BE IMMEDIATELY DISPUTED WITH ODESK. In all reality, we have hired a number of people on here and other freelance sites that haven’t been reliable and have had a number of problems. We cannot and will not tolerate this type of behavior with any freelancers that work like that. With that being said, we are looking for a graphic/web designer for our company. You MUST have a portfolio and you MUST be able to design in a web 2.0 style. Also, you will be in charge of HTML coding your web designs for us. Most of the stuff that we will have you do are simple one page designs, logos, product covers, etc. You will need to have experience with both web and print design. Candidates with PHP or other programming experience have a better chance of getting the position and also getting more hours. We are a very fun and successful company to work with and we take care of our people. Let us know if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from everyone soon.

Free English to Czech, Czech to English translator

If you need a free multilanguage online translator, have a look here – http://translate.google.com. This is worth a mention because until you’ve tried it, you have no idea how good it is. It does other language combinations too. Its not perfect, but it does a good enough job at translating English to Czech and back again. Its so good I’ve started using it for business purposes.

What I really like is that the people who use it can contribute to improve translations, so its not just another translation machine.

English TV in Eastern Europe

The year 2009, not 1989 or  1999, yet it seems the majority of European Countries still don’t broadcast english TV.  This is not so much a problem if you’re just passing through on vacation, but I’ll tell you, as an English speaker living abroad, you really do miss watching TV in your own language.

Most westerners sign up for some kind of satelite or cable package, while in the US or UK, these packages might not be “cheap”, they are certainly affordable for the average man. Bottomline the average westerner in 2009 is used to having 20 or more watchable channels to flick through. Its true, most people, even die hard IT geeks also enjoy chilling out, just watching a movie, some sport or a wildlife documentary. Most of us, at least once a day.

Recently I tried to find a solution to my dylemna, an English Speaker, wanting English TV in Eastern Europe. These are my findings.

My first thought was – I’ll just find an internet TV provider to subscribe to, pay them 20-30 dollars a month and get it over with. I have to tell you, such a service does not exist. Amazingly in 2009 native Internet TV broadcasting stations do not exist. Gobsmacked, how about you?

I did manage to track down some legal relay services for established TV providers, such as Sky or BBC. I was amazed to discover English TV in Eastern Europe is a bonefide luxury, this might astonish you, the price of English TV in Eastern Europe per month is about the same price as your monthly payments would be on a new mid ranged car. It’s daylight robbery. Let me pull out the quotes.

In Czech Republic 40 Czech TV channels via cable cost you 300 crowns a month – approx 10 pounds. There are no hidden or additional fees.

For 40 English TV channels – this is what you’re in for no less than 3000 crowns or around 100 pounds, this includes a setup box, and another 125 pounds a year Sky retainer. This price is also not realistic, because it does not include the satelite dish, any of the hidden costs or taxes. I should also point out that while in UK people are earning a pound based salary, some people in Eastern Europe don’t earn much more than 400 pounds a month. I found another bold company offering Sky via an internet stream, all completely legal because you need to buy a Sky subscription before they’ll stream you. All this for over 4000 crowns a month, quality not great.

Its just kinda frustraing there are a lot of English speaking people in Europe with no affordable TV solution in our own language. Even 1 provider offering 5 English channels would make this place seem so much more like home.

My thoughts on Windows 7

I see Windows 7 as a true “Take it or leave it” offer. Microsoft are well aware that You’ll end up taking it, after all anything is better than Vista and XP is getting kinda old.

To be fair, it seems the boys in Redmond are doing something right. I won’t lie to you and say Windows 7 is the perfect operating system, but again anything has to be better than Vista.

What’s really good about Windows 7?
Microsoft have finally caught on to parallel loading of device drivers and services in Windows 7.  Services now finally also load on demand, so Windows 7 will boot faster than XP or Vista. I guess technologically this is a huge leap forward for Microsoft Operating Systems. Most people can’t believe this – “loads quicker than XP? Are you sure”, if you think about it, its again no great shakes, Operating Systems are supposed to get better in time, not worse!

Why most people will upgrade from XP or Vista?

The gaming community need an OS capable of running DX-10, so ANYTHING has to be better than Vista, and XP only has support for DX-9.

 General computer users will be sold new equipment with Windows 7 preloaded, and typically they won’t get any choice in the matter, exactly the same way as right now if you rush out to buy a laptop, you’ll find its Vista Ready.

XP die hard users are not that in love with XP, but its a practical option at the moment, if Windows 7 can run leaner than Vista, then perhaps XP Users will consider an upgrade. One concern here is that I’ve noticed a lot of the compatibility marketing assumes an upgrade from Windows Vista. I’ve seen no assurance about a clean upgrade from XP.

Corporates that are currently still on XP, will need to make some kind of jump. Microsoft are fully aware that upgrading to Vista, usually involved an all out hardware upgrade rollout, a hoop most corporates were not stupid enough to jump through. I believe (and this is just a hunch), Windows 7 business edition might run in an “extra” lean business mode, to send out a message to corporates that this Windows is designed for work purposes, not a “WoW toy”. I also predict Microsoft will tie in some motivation in the form of network wide management, etc to add some real value business value to Windows 7.

 Final thoughts

Do I personally think Windows 7 will be another reject?
I think it would be a lot more interesting to see the events unfold if Windows 7 was to be another complete disaster released by Microsoft. Linux would certainly get some more followers. Don’t hold your breath though, this simply won’t happen. I don’t think Windows 7 will be an amazing operating system, but it will be better than Windows Vista, unfortunately it will never be as lean as XP. I personally have stopped using Microsoft desktop operating systems, and have opted to use their server os’s which have leaner kernels.

Final Final Thoughts

One problem Windows 7 still has, which will annoy some of you, is the Vista style search. The search is fine for searching through “my documents”, but unfortunately won’t search your whole computer (even if you tell it too). Microsoft have redefined the meaning of “everywhere” to the locally logged in user’s folders, typically C:\Users\username. I’ve heard its possible to change the search provider, but a lot of the search functionality is hard coded into the start menu unfortunately.

A site gamers will definitely want to bookmark

If you’re a gamer, you’re going to want to check out this site:
 http://www.systemrequirementslab.com/referrer/srtest

It has the means via a light weight browser based java applet, to detect if your computer is capable of running certain games. Most popular titles are selectable, and I did a few test runs, and was pleased with the quality of the results. It tells you exactly why your computer does not pass minimum specifications for a game.