Blog

The thoughts, opinions, happenings, and just plain ramblings of a seemingly boring person.

Google’s New Look of Doom & On Virgin

Google has been busy rolling out it's new look, and even after using it on a few products for a while now, it isn't getting any better for me. As i've ranted about before, the grey-washing of colours across it's services (most eye-soringly in Blogger entries) is truly perplexing.

But I can live with bland and unlively colour changes; what is bugging me the most is basic usability impediments. Google used to be really good at this type of thing, making highly usable and accessible services. Just to use the new Reader look again as an example:

Google Reader snapshot

Other than the … Read more →

New Mobile: HTC Desire S

HTC Desire SIn what is probably the shortest intervals between new mobile phones since I started using them, and barely a year since I got my last new one, I have a new mobile.

After going up to Bribie earlier this month for a break, my Vodafone based mobile had no access to data at all, and I found myself having to use the Mrs' iPhone to check emails. During the last year on my small Android phone, I have noticed a lot of developers neglecting the small screen size (and associated resolution) in terms of developing apps and features. Plus … Read more →

Terrible Reader Updates & NAS, Media Player Gadgetry

A few months ago I criticised Google's upcoming interface design for Gmail as being bland and not user friendly. It seems in the past week that in rolling out this design across all their products Google has taken the remodelling knife to my beloved Google Reader.

I've loved using Google Reader for over five years as my main web and RSS aggregator, but their recent update has really irked me. I was expecting the colour-washed interface (which is still terrible btw), but to the point of making link colours the same as normal text, terrible text-size scaling, and the … Read more →

Star Wars on Blu-Ray

Star Wars Blu-ray set coversThis week the complete set of Star Wars movies was finally released on blu-ray. Like the eventual release of the original trilogy on DVD all those years ago, I was of course quite excited.

As is usual with each new release, George Lucas had included a lot of mostly unobjectionable minor changes that might make a little sense, some ones that are completely unnecessary, but also at least one major change that has people scratching their heads in frustration and millions of geeks posting on forums their fury on how their childhood has been ruined (see the 'Han Shot Read more →

Rant: Why Wash the Colours Away?

iTunes left menu interface comparison, new washed out version 10 colours on the left, the previous version on the rightIn terms of computer and application interfaces (either hardware or software) I'm pretty critical of a lot of 'fashion' or 'trendy' changes that have absolutely no practical improvement, and especially those that are in my opinion completely unpractical.

Years ago I criticised Apple's fashion of white that permeated to most other technology manufacturers and into society in general.

Now it seems there is a general shift to washing away colours from program interfaces. One thing we were taught in interface design at uni (although that was a while ago), is that in addition to logically and easily shaped and recognisable … Read more →

VMware Geekness, EPL, Cowboys and Aliens

VMware PlayerOther than for work, I've been playing around with virtual machines for quite a while. I use them mainly to test out operating systems that I am interested in, notably on this blog the release candidates for the previous two Windows releases. I also use them to try software and other stuff that might be dodgy so I don't expose my 'real' computer to threats.

I've been using VMware Workstation which is VMware's flagship and somewhat-costly product for workstation testing and trialling. However, I didn't know that sometime recently that VMware opened up their free 'Player' software to include a … Read more →

Mass emails & Canon purchases

In the past week I organised for the inaugural Bribie e-newsletter to be sent out using a professional email service. I ended up using MailChimp, which, other than the very amusing images of monkeys delivering mail, is also a fantastic service for this kind of thing as they provide a free service for less than 2000 subscribers and a monthly send limit of 12000 emails.

You can see the online version of the newsletter here, and if you are interested in getting put on the list, you can sign up here.

It was an interesting experience; since … Read more →

Internode Pricing Woes & Construction Begins…

Recently it's been very disappointing to see my ISP, Internode, revising it's Naked ADSL plans in a very downwards direction. The price-point that I'm on now ($60/month) fetched me 70GB of quota when i signed up just over a year ago, then later last year moved up to 150GB for the same price. Now they're making users on that plan pay an extra $10/month to keep the same quota, or take up the new plan at the same $60 price-point which only includes a measly 30GB of quota.

Partly the reasons given for this almost unprecedented decrease in value is … Read more →

Google+ starts to take shape

Google+ LogoIn the past few weeks Google has unveiled a decent competitor in the social networking market to Facebook. Following their rather weak previous attempt in the form of Buzz well-over a year ago, it seems Google have finally thrown a bit of weight and money into developing a decent Facebook competitor.

At the moment the service is what Google calls a limited 'field trial', which for me begs the question: has Google dropped the term 'beta' for describing these types of pre-release versions? Maybe keeping Gmail in a state of perpetual beta for years means the term had lost it's … Read more →

Am I a Logitech Fanboy? New Mouse & X-Men

Logitech G9xIn the past few weeks the middle-click button on my trusty Logitech MX 400 mouse that I got about five years ago was starting to play up. This is especially concerning as the middle mouse button is what I use as melee-knifing in BC2, and the last thing you want in close quarters knife-combat in BC2 is to have an unreliable mouse button for that action.

The MX400 is a great mouse, and a five-year tour of duty is nothing to baulk at, but the time had come for a replacement. Of course five years has seen the MX400 go … Read more →