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How Time Flies

Posted by | Posted in Geek Stuff, Random, Technology | Posted on 21-04-2010

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I last posted. I guess that’s what happens when not a lot out of the ordinary happens (or perhaps when you find yourself playing a certain PC game a little bit more than you should do…)

So, as I’ve got a bit of time this afternoon (thanks to a successful roll-out of new web apps here at work) I figured I’d post my thoughts about… stuff.

Firstly, as the whole world must know by now, there’s a massive dust cloud sweeping over Europe that’s been caused by a nice volcanic eruption in Iceland. Volcanoes have erupted before, of course, but none have caused this much disruption. For the best part of a week, all air travel in most major European countries has been halted, stranding millions of people abroad, or indeed, here in the UK.

I know a couple of people who’ve spent the better part of a month stranded in India as a result of the volcano, and while I’m sure their holiday was awesome, missing out on university work (and seeing friends and family again) is probably not a great idea, and so this volcano issue is no doubt giving them as much of a headache as it did for, say, John Cleese, who reportedly paid ¬£3300 to get a cab back to Brussels (from Norway). Crazy stuff.

Yesterday, much to my amusement, Gizmodo leaked details of a prototype for Apple’s latest shitfest – the iPhone 4G (as it’s being known). As anyone with the tiniest hint of tech-related interest and an internet connection will know by now, the phone was found in a bar in California after an Apple employee (who still has his job as far as we know) lost it. It was picked up by a guy who recognized it as an iPhone, but after asking around the bar, he found that nobody claimed it, and upon closer inspection, found it to be more than just an iPhone.

It was encased in an iPhone 3GS case, but there were subtle differences that the hawk-eyed nerd noticed that gave away the fact that it wasn’t quite an iPhone. After taking the thing apart, he saw that it was, in fact, an unknown iPhone model and appeared to be genuine.

You can read the full story over at the Gizmodo blog post, followed by an official letter from Apple asking for the thing back (which in most people’s eyes means it must be the real deal. Was the whole thing set up? A lot of people think so, citing numerous other viral marketing techniques along similar lines. Either way, though, it’s got the tech world excited about the possible features of the next iPhone. I just hope that Steve Jobs cracks a funny about it at the next keynote speech. Not that I’ll be watching it, of course.

That is, of course, the big tech news of the week. Other bits and pieces include Google finally rolling out their new search results page to lots more users (including myself). For the last couple of weeks, whenever users search Google for porn on the net (or whatever it is kids search for these days) the SERPs (or, Search Engine Results Pages) that come up have a new and improved interface.

People have both commended and criticised Google for their (sometimes over-simplified) UI, but I’ve always found their results pages very useful indeed. I have to say, though, that I’ve often wanted just a little more from them, including a bit more colour, and the removal of those hideous dark blue underlined hyper-links. Thankfully, the Google Crystal Ball is working wonders, and they’ve updated the results pages with just that – a bit more colour, and some decent looking links.

The best part about the new UI for me, though, has to be the real-time status feed updates. The kind people over at Twitter, Facebook, and other micro-blogging websites have given Google access to their status (or tweet) feeds, and so alongside the usual ‘images’, ‘news’, and ‘maps’ search options (among other things) Google now has a results page for ‘updates’. This takes you to a Twitter-like feed of constantly-updating, real-time status updates regarding the subject of your search. For instance, I’ve been reading every laughable tweet about the iPhone 4G all afternoon, without having to refresh the page. It replaces the one annoying thing that I don’t like about Twitter – the fact that you have to manually refresh the page to get fresh tweets. Google Update search results solves that problem, so the lazy-inclined can rest easy.

There are also reports that the Chinese cyber-attacks on Google back in January, whereby Google was attacked and had some data and intellectual property stolen, actually did more harm than first thought due to the fact that the theft of Google data included not only email address books of certain China-based human rights activists, but actual source code for some Google services, including the universal login system that Google uses for nearly all of it’s public services. Mental! If you’re a Google user like I am, that has to get you a little worried. It’ll be something I’ll keep a close eye on as it could affect me quite significantly, but hopefully Google can do something about it. (EDIT: Google already has done something about it, so we’re safe… for now.)

On a less technical note, I’ve managed to resume my usual gym routine that I’d somehow managed to avoid in most cases since January. Thanks to a stag do in Amsterdam in the summer, I figured I should probably try to get in slightly better shape that I am right now, so that I can go on holiday and look my best.

(Insert a night’s sleep here)

Sorry about that, I found myself with something to do here at work at 4:59pm yesterday, and didn’t have a chance to finish this post before I went home – typical. I’ve lost my train of thought now too…

Back to the Gizmodo/iPhone 4G thing – Gizmodo have been whoring the story over the last 48 hours it seems, with regular round-ups of the latest goings-on, including an article about why it can’t be a deliberate leak.

On the DJing front, I’ve got a couple of mixes lined up, it’s just a case of finding time to record them. There are so many good tunes around at the moment that no sooner have I found a few I’d like to include in a mix, then I find yet more. I’ve got a couple in the works – a really mellow prog trance set (which will include my fave tune at the moment) and a faster psy-trance set. A work¬†colleague has also said to me that he knows a DJ who has a regular spot on HouseFM, who’s willing to take a listen to my mixes. I might even be persuaded to upload them to Kiss FM’s Sunday Midnight Mix submission site (depending on how good they are, mind you.)

Right, that’s it from me. Back to reality!

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