Archive for June, 2006

Google Checkoutâ„¢: US Only

Friday, June 30th, 2006
Google Checkout

Google now has a competitor to PayPal: Google Checkout.

Unfortunately, it’s only available to people in the US.
This can be deduced from the signup form where you enter your credit card #, address and country, but the country is static text that says “United States”.

Well, maybe I’ll be able to use it around the same time I can actually purchase TV shows from the iTunes Music Store, another US-only experience.

3D sound

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

An interesting post on 3D mp3’s
was posted on Wohba.
You don’t need special sound equipment – standard stereo headphones should do the trick.

Vienna – open source Mac RSS reader

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006
Vienna

Vienna

I’ve been using Vienna
for a while now and am comfortable with it replacing my old standby, NewsFire.

Being open source, a relatively large community has grown around it, and one user has
written a detailed review
which is worth a read.

Blogging with TextMate

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006
Blogging with textmate

TextMate helps you blog

TextMate, a very impressive text editor for the Mac,
has built-in support for writing blog entries and editing old entries, etc.

You can see it in action
in this screencast.
I am writing this entry right now using the exact same techniques.
Apparently there is a “yowza!” moment at the end involving a dragged image, so I’ll add one when I get to that.

Okay, it is interesting, but I’m not sure if I will use it.
It uploads the dragged picture to the WordPress-configured images directory on the server and inserts a link
into the blog, complete with alt tag and width/height.
Very nice, but I don’t like to put my pictures there.
I prefer to put them on pics.tnir.org.
Ah well.

Tokyo Drift

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

A rotten tomatoes rating of 5/10. Learn some Japanese, lose the liberalism and get ready for some pounding J-pop, screeching tires and short skirts. Wahoo. Plot spoiler: They plunked a big-honkin’ Nissan engine into a Mustang. Hm, was there something else in the plot? I guess I’ve forgotten. Incidentally at the moment, I drive a car with a 345hp Nissan engine with an electronically variable cam, DVC off-switch and the Tokyo Drift soundtrack in the CD tray …but it’s missing the Japanese version of the Carpenter’s “Top of the World” that played in the movie. Speaking of which, I also have “Audio Slave’s” “Doesn’t Remind Me” in there, with the lyric “I walk the streets of Japan ’till I get lost, because it doesn’t remind me of anything”. At least the physics was a lot better than F&F2.

This is the correct review of the movie: LA Times

For the fashion-conservatives among you, the Sanja Milkovic Hays-designed miniskirts deserve special attention from the censorship board. But it’s not exactly Clockwork Orange, I guess.

Did I mention I hated Lost In Translation recently?

Primus offers 22 Mbps ADSL2+ service in Canada

Wednesday, June 14th, 2006

Check out
the press release.
It’s very marketing-heavy, and they keep mentioning “a Canadian CLEC” without naming them!
Geez.

Basically, by the end of June, the 22 Mbps service will be accessible to 3 million Canadians.
They will be setting up a beta group to use it at the same rate they’re already paying for normal DSL.

Since there is no specific new product, I assume they are doing technical trials and don’t have a marketing “package” for this service yet.

Just once I’d like to see a clear press release that says something like: “Now offering 22 Mbps service for $50/month, $4/month for static IP, $100 for new modem, $10/month for additional IP addresses, $5/month for no traffic shaping or protocol prioritization”.
You know, something useful.

Swinging Towards Sony..

Sunday, June 11th, 2006

(Some info copied from my ReidNews post)

Friday night I had a chance to compare Iain’s, Jeff’s and Vartan’s cameras.
I got their details, plus those of Debbie’s camera.

 Panasonic DMC-LX1K  8.4 Mpx  $500 US @ J&R, good flash  Iain
 Panasonic DMC-FX01  6.0 Mpx  $300 US @ J&R, $400 CA @ Aden   Jeff
 Canon PowerShot SD550   7.1 Mpx  $330 US @ J&R  Debbie
 Sony CyberShot DSC-W7  7.2 Mpx   discontinued, excellent flash  Vartan

Vartan’s Sony DSC-W7 is no longer available, so I searched on JR.com for similar models;
I also threw in the Canon PowerShot S80, which seems to be the high-end point-and-shoot for Canon.
Cameras are sorted by descending price:

 Canon PowerShot S80  8.0 Mpx   $500 US @ J&R 
 Sony CyberShot DSC-N1  8.1 Mpx   $400 US @ J&R 
 Sony CyberShot DSC-W100   8.1 Mpx   $330 US @ J&R 
 Sony CyberShot DSC-W70  7.0 Mpx   $300 US @ J&R,
$367 CA @ TigerDirect 

Jeff says that Aden Camera is a good place for buying cameras in town,
but the price difference is overwhelmingly in favour of online purchase, despite the warrantee issues.

Comparing the flash pictures taken by the three cameras, I was most impressed with Vartan’s.
So, since Vartan’s camera seems so impressive, the Sony DSC-W70 looks interesting.
The DSC-W100 even moreso. The DSC-N1 is super-cool, but has no viewfinder at all.
A failing shared by Iain’s Panasonic.

Update 2006-06-14: rejiggered the table to show the same info better, adding links right in the table to J&R pages.

Sony alpha DSLR

Friday, June 9th, 2006

July 6th is the launch of the 10 megapixel Sony alpha DSLR born of the Konica/Minolta purchase. It supports their lens mount. The 70-200mm lens seems awfully expensive. That is to say, what I did with a Nikon D200 and an old 70-200 at the ISU figure skating championships for $2.2k will run you $4.4k with new alpha equipment. See Sony Style

Two pages per tab browser

Wednesday, June 7th, 2006



I would love to see tabbed browsers support two pages per tab. This option would work well when using widescreen/large resolutions.

Here is the mock-up of my idea:

First page in Tab 1
Image 1

Second page in Tab 1
Image 2

The sub tabs within the first tab allow the user to switch between the two displayed sites. The active site is in colour
while the secondary site is in grayscale. Every tab could contain two sub tabs. It would a preference setting.

Digital Cameras, June 2006

Sunday, June 4th, 2006

So what’s the state of the digital camera market right now?
I ask because I need to replace our now-dead Olympus D-510 Zoom.

I’d post a picture, but, well, .. it’s dead.

Canon PowerShot s80

Canon PowerShot s80

I’ve always been impressed with Jeff and Debbie’s Canon Elph cameras,
but I also really like Vartan’s 7 Mpx Sony CyberShot and Iain’s 8 Mpx Panasonic.

I have a limited budget though – I’d like to spend around $300-400.
I would love to get the
Canon PowerShot S80,
which JR have for $435 US, but after conversion to $CDN ($480)
and taxes and shipping and good memory card (say $100), it will top $620 I am sure.

So if anyone can recommend a camera that is closer to around $300 before extra costs, let me know!

Update:
Okay, never mind, I am going to get the S80.
The plan is to spend $650 or less for everything.
That means, the camera, the US dollar rate, shipping, and big memory card/stick.

Pros: 7 Mpx[!], slightly wide-angle lens (28mm), records movies @ 640×480/30 fps and 1024×768/15 fps
Cons: manual slide-cover to activate, proprietary power source (not AA)

Hmmm.. then again, there’s always the Canon Digital Rebel XT,
an 8 Mpx SLR back for $600… ergle.


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