27 May 2006

Bon Echo Alpha 3

Just released is the final alpha of the Firefox 2 web browser. Here's what's new since the alpha 2 release.

Update Jun 1st: So I've been using alpha 2 and then alpha 3 for some time now, and both were stable releases. Really I can recommend you use alpha 3 over Firefox Not as many extensions are supported, but it's just as stable and you're missing out on some cute features.

The next release, beta 1, is due on July 6th. Hopefully that release will feature tab overflow as lots of times I have many tabs open and this is noticeably missing.

My New 8.1 Mega Pixel Camera

Just bought a Vivitar ViviCam 8300s digital camera (picture). It's a mammoth 8.1 mega pixel - way more than I'm used to with at first 2.1, then 3.1, and 1.3 on my mobile phone. It also has 3x Optical Zoom. Optical Zoom being something I've always wanted, but never had, until now. It also features a massive 2.5" LCD screen, again more than I'm used to.

I did some checking on Vivitar's best digital camera. The ViviCam X60. It's 10 Megapixel, features a 2.8" LCD, 6x optical zoom, and has anti-shake.

The first two advantages over my camera would be nice but are fine with the lower specs, the 6x optical zoom I could really do with but then when I do eventually get a new camera I'd be looking for a 12x zoom, and the anti-shake feature whilst great is not essential since I also just bought my first tripod.

Another New Printer

With my Epson Photo Edition D68 still all but new, I was given another new printer for fixing a computer. This one, a Samsung SPP-2020, is interesting in that it's one of those printers used for only printing out small photos.

26 May 2006

Remote Control Pro

Although a little buggy, Remote Control Pro, is a great free program I've been playing about with now that I have two machines networked. The free version being limited to remotely controlling just one machine. But then currently that's all I need.

So now, from either machine I can easily control the other as though I were sitting at the other machine. Okay so full screen video is a little jerky, and it didn't like a full screen 3D game I tested, but otherwise the results were pretty impressive.

As an added bonus, from the second computer, I now have a pseudo form of Internet sharing.

25 May 2006

Networking & Internet Sharing with AOL

On Tuesday I installed a second PC, and on Wednesday I got a Crossover cable to network the two. Both computers already had a network card, so that first part was already taken care of.

Networking them was a simple case of just plugging the Crossover cable into each computer and running the Windows XP network setup wizard. Actually I was getting nothing until I discovered my main PC's network card was disabled; something I'd done two years ago when I'd built the machine, and forgotten about. It would have been nice had Windows XP informed me of this, but it appears that's asking too much. With the network card switched on though it took seconds to obtain file sharing.

Now being that my Internet connection is AOL DSL (USB) I wasn't holding out much hope for Internet sharing to work, and sure enough it didn't. The gist I got from searching online for info is that Internet sharing with DSL is simple and straightforward with most providers, with AOL being the notable exception.

One good tip I can give from pottering around is that you can connect to AOL without any of their software. Simply uninstall AOL. It's likely best to then also uninstall the modem driver and reinstall it. Then run the Network Connection Wizard and add a new connection to the Internet. For your username put your AOL email address (not your screen name - so john@aol.com, not john), and for the password put your AOL password. No phone number is required because it's broadband.

Now your computer is more crap free, your hard drive has more free space, and connecting is much quicker.

Unfortunately though, I had to reinstall AOL and return to using the AOL dialer to connect because it meant I could no longer have a network. I'm figuring a lack of a router, so no way to direct the LAN/Internet packets is the cause. And just to complicate matters further, I've read that AOL doesn't like some routers.

21 May 2006

Mobile Phones Lack of True Colour

I've noticed with photos taken with mobile phones, that (lack of a flash aside) it's not the resolution that's holding them back from taking respectable photos, it's the lack of true colour support (i.e. 24-bit/16.7 million colours).

1.3 megapixel is now the norm, resulting in a maximum of a respectable 1280x1024 pixel photo. But compare a picture taken with a digital camera and a mobile phone, and it's clearly evident that the digital camera's picture, has much more vibrant colour and far greater depth of shading, all thanks to its true colour support.

With that being said, I did some checking. Basically camera phones, including top of the range, and those yet to be released, support 262,144 colours. Others have just 65,536 colour support.

One that I did find with true colour support however is the just out, Nokia 6126, which even has a massive resolution of 240 x 320. With the same colour and resolution support is the Nokia 6131 and 6133 but they haven't been released yet, and aren't yet featured on the official Nokia site.

Picture Organising

Over the last week I've been organising the pictures on my free Flickr and Photobucket accounts. It's time-consuming, but worth it. I'm uploading my photos to Flickr, and all other graphics to Photobucket.

Having things stored online is absolutely the best way to ensure you don't lose your personal files (as well as making them highly accessible). Hard Drives go screwy, and disks get scratched or misplaced, but online storage has saved the day for me on a number of occasions, and many a file has been lost because I didn't have them stored online.

17 May 2006

Firefox Usage Continues to Grow

Here's some current figures on the percentage of Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer users.

Firefox now enjoys an 11.79 percent of global use, with Canada at 16 percent.

15 May 2006

USB & Digital Photography

With my recent purchase of a Bluetooth USB Adapter, and a photo printer, I've taken my USB port requirement up to 5, and ideally 6. The problem is, I only have 4 on my desktop computer. So today I bought a 4-port USB hub.

I also installed my new photo printer today, thanks to the USB printer cable I'd got the day before.

With a test print done, it became immediately clear I required some picture frames. I had some, but purchased another 5 to keep me stocked up.

13 May 2006

Bon Echo Alpha 2

Just released is Bon Echo Alpha 2, the working title for the much anticipated Mozilla Firefox 2 browser. I've been following the status of this project for some time now, but since the Alpha 1 release was essentially just under the hood stuff, I decided to wait until the release of Alpha 2 to try it out.

I keep unconsciously moving the mouse pointer to the very right to close a tab. I like the change, it'll just take some time to get out of the habit. The inline spell checker and new improved search box are great, and the new Add-ons feature looks good.

Release Notes | Download here | My submitted feedback

Of interest is that the last of the alphas, before beta 1, is planned for release on the 26th of this month.

Bon Echo Alpha 3 Timeline

12 May 2006

Bluetooth USB Adapter

Another first for me is using Bluetooth. For the last 24 hours, I've been putting wallpapers, MP3s, and .3gp videos from my desktop computer via USB onto my mobile, and firing them over to another mobile via Bluetooth.

In fact today I went and bought a Bluetooth USB Adapter/Dongle for £24.99. Now I no longer have to keep plugging in the USB cable, and the other mobile can now also communicate with my desktop computer. There's now even the added bonus of being able to operate my PC using my mobile.

I also got around to activating my ShoZu account and sending my first photo via them, to my Flickr account.

11 May 2006

My First Mobile Phone

On Tuesday [9th], I finally decided to buy my first mobile phone. Mainly because they now increasily act and feel like pocket PCs.

I wanted one compatible with the ShoZu service, and so from Tesco in Aberdeen, I purchased a Sony Ericsson V600i, for £99.99. (And also an Epson Stylus D68 Photo Edition printer, and 100 sheets of HP photo paper.)

The phone has a 176x220 resolution, 1.3 megapixel camera, plays mp3s, Bluetooth, infra-red, has USB and a cable provided, Java, radio, and a light for taking night photos.

Really the phone's only shortcoming is its limited storage space and no memory card option. There's roughly 20Mb, plus whatever all the files that comes with the phone, takes up. Aside from that though, the phone is fairly excellent.

08 May 2006


Featured on the Flickr site, is a free service called ShoZu, that immediately caught my attention. If you have one of their supported phones, currently 47 models, then you can enjoy instant uploading of your photos to Flickr. A good mobile phone review site, can be found here.

07 May 2006


It's been some time since I posted to this blog, and a while since I've tried out Flock. But with Firefox 1.5 now released, tested, and patched for a good time now, and with a new version of Flock just released, I figured I'd try it out. In fact I'm using its in-built blogging feature to make this post.

From what I've experienced so far of this new version, it appears a lot better than the previous version I used; 0.4.10. That version was the first time I'd tried Flock, and whilst I was intrigued by what I saw, I promptly realised it was still in its early stages of development, and so uninstalled and returned to Firefox.

This version at the very least, gave me an excuse to get a Yahoo account, to allow me use of Flickr for the photo sharing features in Flock. For some time now, I'd been wanting to try out Flickr, and Yahoo's new-improved mail services that aim to compete with the mighty GMail, something I've recently(ish) signed-up for.