May 16 2009

Mailinator Email

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 10:03 am

A friend (who is currently considering starting a blog) told me about an interesting email service that he uses called Mailinator.

Actually, I used to achieve something like this using a catch-all. I thought it was very useful for giving individuals and companies spontaneous email addresses that I could later convert to a real email account. However, it does make you very vulnerable to spam :(

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May 15 2009

Vodafone Roaming Charges

Category: Business,TelecomsTeknovis @ 7:28 am

I read last night that Vodafone is abolishing all roaming charges for the summer!

I think that this is brilliant, and I hope that it becomes permanent! Also, I hope that this is rolled-out across all Vodafone operations!

You can read more about this in Summer roaming promotion ā€“ mobile roaming service from Vodafone.

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May 14 2009

Vodafone Application Store

Category: Mobile Computing,TelecomsTeknovis @ 1:18 pm

Vodafone has announced that it is creating an online application store. I think that this is an interesting move, because as far as I am aware it is the first time that a mobile phone network operator has actually created its own application store.

This announcement is evidence of the shifting role of telcos from simple bit-carriers to providers of value-added applications and services. This is turn should increase revenues significantly, without incurring proportional costs.

I think that the advantages of this strategy to users are:

  • Identifying and sourcing new applications becomes easy
  • Purchasing new applications becomes seamless due to integrated charging
  • Access to new and innovate services

I think that the advantages of this strategy for developers are:

  • It reduces the barriers-of-entry for smaller developers to get their applications to the users
  • It reduces the need for developers to market and promote their applications
  • It eliminates the need for developers to collect revenue from users
  • It enables developers to write applications that access resources within Vodafone’s network by using a Vodafone API.

So it is a win-win-win situation!

For more details about this story see Voda joins app store wars with smart pipe approach.

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May 13 2009

Brightkite FriendFinder

Category: Location Based ServicesTeknovis @ 5:40 pm

I came across another FriendFinder LBS today called Brightkite. It is interesting to see that this LBS includes many social networking features. I wonder is it only a matter of time before the mainstream social networking web sites start to include location functionality. Maybe they do already!

There is a great promotional story on the Brightkite blog titled New Feature: Brightkite now gives you more legroom… I was considering joining, but then I read Why Iā€™m giving up on brightkite (for now). Now I am not so sure :|

Perhaps there are lots of other similar LBSs of which I am not aware! Perhaps I should make a list of them, and then try them! All I need to do is find the time…

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May 12 2009

Skype Typing Indicator

Category: SoftwareTeknovis @ 7:39 pm

I noticed during a Skype chat today that I was able to know if the other participant was typing a response to me or not! I never knew that Skype included this functionality. Indeed, I actually thought that it could not include a typing indicator due to copyright and/or patent reasons. For example, see VOTE HERE for “typing status” indicator.

I understand from Skype 3.1 Beta for Windows ā€“ SkypeFind and typing indicators that the typing indicator has been available for some time, and this article also contains a nice animated image showing the typing indicator in action!

I am unsure of how well the typing indicator is implemented in the various versions of Skype. I was using Skype on Windows when I noticed it, and the other chat participant was using Skype on Linux.

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May 11 2009

Linux Articles

Category: LinuxTeknovis @ 12:43 pm

I read two interesting Linux articles this morning. The first article provides a very general introduction and overview of Linux. It is The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Linux, and it contains four parts:

The second article discusses several different Linux distributions in detail. I will still use Ubuntu, but if I had to choose another I would choose Fedora. Regardless, the article is interesting to read. It is There’s Way More to Linux than Ubuntu: 8 Distros Compared.

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May 10 2009

Irish Internet Tax

Category: eGovernmentTeknovis @ 9:09 am

I read an interesting article about the Irish Government attempting to indirectly tax all computers with Internet access earlier this week. If this is true, I think that it would be a disastrous decision for Ireland!

The full article is New Irish Internet Tax?, and there is more discussion in New Irish Internet Tax?.

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May 09 2009

Irish Income Tax Calculator

Category: eGovernmentTeknovis @ 11:20 am

I recently came across a useful Irish income tax calculator called taxcalc.eu.

It has been updated recently to reflect the continuously changing income tax rates. However, I cannot attest to its accuracy :o

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May 08 2009

Firefox Spell Check

Category: SoftwareTeknovis @ 5:23 pm

I remember that when I first read that Firefox was going to introduce a spell check option I thought that it was a bad idea because it was just unnecessary bloat. Now I use the spell check feature all the time, and I think that it was one of the best enhancements ever!

I have installed several dictionaries from Dictionaries & Language Packs, and I normally use English (British) as my default language.

However, recently I have noticed that the spell check is not always catching all of my mistakes :( Sometimes, if I change language to another, and then revert back to English (British) it correctly identifies the misspelt words. However, this does not always work :(

I do not know why this is happening, but it has caused me to edit a number of my posts to correct the spellings :o It is really annoying!

Since I am writing about the spell check in Firefox I will also highlight a really useful tip! Firefox does not by default spell check text in text fields (single line text boxes). However, this can easily be changed as described in either Quick Tip: Spell Check Firefox Text Input Fields or How to Enable Spell Check in Text Fields in Firefox.

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May 07 2009

Ubuntu or Kubuntu – The Verdict

Category: LinuxTeknovis @ 8:28 pm

I recently wrote that I intend to start using either Ubuntu or Kubuntu as my desktop operating system in Ubuntu or Kubuntu. Since then I have downloaded the 9.04 version of both operating systems. I installed both of them simultaneously on my main computer as guest operating systems using VMware. I also installed each of them as the main operating system on a spare computer that I have. Both operating systems install very easily with very little user interaction, and they both correctly identified all of my hardware. That impressed me, because I often hear horror stories about Linux and hardware!

After using both operating systems for the last few days I have come to the conclusion that they are both excellent. However, I need to choose only one of them! So ultimately I am going to choose… (drum roll) … Ubuntu!

My reasons for choosing Ubuntu are mainly:

  • It seems to have much more official support.
  • It seems to have a greater user-base, and therefore there is more information about it online.
  • I felt that the applications that came with Ubuntu were more complete. I generally prefer applications that have very limited, but specific, functionality.

The greatest appeal of Kubuntu was the lovely KDE interface. I thought that the default GNOME interface was very bland, but luckily it is very configurable. I will blog about the changes that I made to it.

I found solutions to all of my initial problems online. The Internet really is great for these things! However, there are some deployment type issues that I do not know how best to deal with them.

  • On my Windows installations I like to create three logical drives: The C drive is used for the operating system; the D drive is used for the applications; and the E drive is used for the data. Ideally the C drive is on its own dedicated physical disk for performance reasons, and all other logical drives can be on a single physical disk. The use of these logical drives makes upgrading very easy. I do not yet know the best way of configuring an Ubuntu installation with multiple physical and logical hard disks.
  • On my Windows installations I store all my data in a single logical drive. Therefore, there are two locations that are associated with my user account: my settings and my data. My current understanding is that my user settings and my user data are all stored in the same location in an Ubuntu installation. This seems a bit messy to me!
  • I currently use the roaming profiles features of Windows so that I can log into any computer on my network and I will have my most recent settings. I do not know how to implement this on an Ubuntu installation.

My current intention is to keep using Ubuntu as a guest operating system until I feel confident enough to wipe my hard disk and use it as my host operating system! I will keep blogging about my progress here!

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