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

The End of My Affinity for Google: Reader to be Shut Down

Google Reader Shut Down

Today it was announced that Google will be shutting down its online RSS-feed aggregator, Google Reader. Ironically, I first found out about the announcement through Google Reader as I am subscribed to the Official Google Blog through it.

To say that I am disappointed with this news is an understatement. Along with Gmail and Google Calendar, Google Reader is one of three Google products that I use all day, every day.

After trying to find a suitable RSS aggregator almost seven years ago, I eventually settled on Google Reader and have been using it every day I've been on … Read more →

Display and Graphics Updates

Sapphire HD7950 Vapor-XAt the end of last year I replaced our aging Viewsonic 20" 16:10 1680x1050 monitor with a brand-spanking-new Dell U2312HM LED-LCD 23" 16:9 1920x1080 display. Part of the reason why I persisted with the old monitor for so long is that I am pretty picky with my monitors. Other than swivelling and height-adjustability (musts for me), the main thing that I was spoilt by was the built-in speakers; it is so convenient not to have to worry about turning on speakers separately, or having another thing to have to plug-in to power.

I ended up getting the Dell because they … Read more →

Office 2013 & The Last Day of My 20s

As tomorrow is my 30th birthday, today marks the last day of me being in my 20s.

Honestly, it is a little depressing, but I am also thankful to have made it this far. Here's to a fantastic next decade!

Over the past few days I've been having a little bit of a play with the newly released Microsoft Office 2013. I had received a free upgrade after purchasing a license of the 2010 Home and Student Edition late last year to update Despina's laptop after receiving much consternation from her about still having to use Office 2003 (which I … Read more →

Expensive HDMI Cables are a Rort: Don’t Be a Sucker

HDMI cableI've been wanting to write this for a while, and keep on forgetting.

Yesterday my parents got a WDTV, and as a result, needed a new HDMI cable to connect it to their TV. Being  around the Carindale Westfield, we decided to try and get the HDMI cable from there, so we went to a couple of the electronics retailers to try to buy a reasonably priced 1+ metre HDMI cable.

JB-HiFi had a generic brand 1.2m for $30, Dick Smith's had their own DSE generic brand 1.5m for $40, Harvey Norman had Philips 1.5m for $50 and a Monster … Read more →

New Year, New USB Drive

USB DrivesSo begins another year, and if you're counting, 2013 marks the beginning of my 10th (!) year maintaining this blog. Wow. I feel old, and marking another decade of existence next month isn't making me feel any younger!

The other day I bought a new USB drive. Along with my WD Passport external hard drive, my Sandisk Titanium USB drive is probably the oldest piece of technology that I'm still using (at 4.5 years old).

For it's replacement, I went for the Sandisk USB3 32GB Extreme. Pictured are it with my last 2 USB drives. Over 10 years, this new … Read more →

Is Google Becoming Evil? Free Google Apps No More

Google Apps Not FreeI'm a big Google user; and by that, I don't just mean that I use their search engine.

Over the years, I've increasingly centred my online life around the company's products: I use Gmail for email, Google Calendar is now my organiser, I have an Android phone that syncs to both, and recently I also used Google Docs (now 'Drive') for collaborative docs and spreadsheeting during the house construction, and so on.

But in considering all that, probably the single product that I've voluntarily advertised, espoused, and assisted friends and family in terms of setting them up with, is Google Read more →

Cannon Upgrades: SSD Goodness

Intel SSD 330 SeriesIn the past few days I have upgraded the trusty old Cannon with an SSD (Solid State Drive).

Our main desktop computer (The Cannon) was getting pretty slow under all the bloat that had accumulated over the past almost-three years, so I thought a change was in order. If I were to follow tradition, the three year mark is usually when I would start looking at putting together a brand new build, especially with a new version of Windows coming out, but The Cannon build has aged really well over that time.

It's probably due to the fact … Read more →

Aus. Government Abandons Internet Filter Plans

It was 'shelved' as a policy prior to the last Federal election, but now the Australian Government has finally publicly abandoned its quite stupid policy of implementing compulsory internet filtering. I have been a quite vocal opponent of the policy since its announcement in 2008, and am not surprised by this backdown.

Since Julia Gillard's toppling of Kevin Rudd, following the 2010 election the implementation of the filter was never going to happen. Poll after poll showed its unpopularity, and internet experts and technology industry insiders' continuous criticism on whether it could be practically implemented, let alone be effective … Read more →

Goodbye Faithful Clock-Radio & Loopers

Old Clock RadioIn this past week I said goodbye to my faithful clock radio that has been my bedside accompaniment for the past 17 years.

My Dad had got me the clock radio/CD player (Sony ICF-CD800) on an overseas business trip in 1995; I was 12 at the time and marvelled at the ability to play CDs in my own bedroom. Yes, CDs!! Remember those? 😛

It played its last CD quite a few years ago, and since then I've really only used it as a clock and an alarm. It's a considerably sized device because of the CD tray and speakers, … Read more →

Compulsory ISP Data Retention

Government internet spyingFor all the goodwill that this government has generated among IT people with the NBN, it always seems to have something up their sleeve that goes way too far in terms of people's "safety".

Previous plans for compulsory internet filtering have thankfully (and hopefully permanently) been shelved. Now the Government seems to be proceeding with plans to make ISPs and telecommunications providers compulsorily store and retain customer usage data for two years. Whilst it hasn't yet been revealed specifically what 'customer data' will be retained, one can presume that for ISPs it will contain customers' internet browsing histories.

This type … Read more →