Random bullet points

I’ve been too busy recently to pay much attention to this blog, and with the impending holiday coming up (see first point) I won’t be doing much blogging this month either. So a bullet point list of stuff…

  • The Maxwell family is going on holiday! We’re taking Elliot on her first big trip to see family and friends in London and Amsterdam. Really looking forward to this.
  • On the topic of our trip, www.tripit.com is probably the best new site I’ve found recently. It’s one of many online trip planners available, but what makes it different is that you don’t have to manually enter in your itinerary – you just email them your itinerary that the travel agent gives you, and they instantly convert it into a trip planner and email you back your login details! Great idea.
  • Cafenet need to get a better password reset form on their website. I needed to get urgent access to my emails but I had forgotten my Cafenet password. You can reset it from the Cafenet site but they just email it to you – obviously no good to me as I need to log in to Cafenet to read my emails. Couldn’t they just text it to me, or ask me a couple of security questions to reset it??
  • Microsoft are releasing the source code to their .Net framework libraries. But pay close attention to the wording though – they are not open-sourcing their code as that would imply that you can modify the code or contribute to it. You won’t find any of the Microsoft guys saying that the code is open source, more along the lines of "opening up the source…" or "releasing the source code…" The code is released under the Microsoft Reference License which is effectively a read-only license – no modifying or redistributing. If you’re a Dot Net developer looking for better debugging ability, this is for you. If you’re an open source developer wanting to look at the code for help with your project, beware – you should read this eWeek article first.
  • I’ve gone back to Vista, after vowing to avoid it until at least service pack 1. There is just one feature which I’ve decided I can’t live without and that is the hybrid sleep function. For a mobile user, this is essential – it allows you to start up and shut down within seconds by putting the computer into a sort-of "deep sleep". It’s somewhere between the normal sleep and hibernation. All the fans turn off and the computer goes into a ultra low power state so that your battery doesn’t drain. If you’re thinking that the hibernation feature in Windows XP is just as good, then you haven’t tried hibernating with more than 2GB RAM – it’s almost as quick to cold boot than to un-hibernate a computer with a lot of RAM.
  • I’m going to miss the Technet Unplugged event in October due to aforementioned holiday. That’s a pity because it looks like a good one.
  • The whole "Office 2.0" space is really hotting up at the moment with new announcements every day. Zoho has an online database application to go with the rest of their office suite. Google now was a presentation app for their Google Apps suite, but it’s far too basic to be useful at the moment. SlideRocket shows how to do online presentations much better – but you wouldn’t want your internet connection to go down during a presentation, so not sure how sensible it is (and we all know how flaky internet connections are at conferences.) Now Adobe has a cool looking word processor built on Flash/Flex/Air/Whatever – basically it runs in a browser but the technology they are using means you can take it offline too. (maybe SlideRocket need to look at that too.)
  • Is it just me or is Apple starting down a slippery slope towards becoming as ‘hated’ as Microsoft? I didn’t mind the fact that they dropped the price of the iPhone so soon – especially since they offered a $100 gift voucher/peace token to disgruntled customers. But it does bother me that they have turned people’s iPhones into bricks. These are the same early adopters that flock to the MacWorld conferences and evangelise their products for them, for free. And you can’t even say that the iPhone bricks were an unfortunate side-effect of the update – Steve Jobs himself said that Apple was prepared to play a cat and mouse game with hackers who try to make their iPhones more functional. This is all about money and greed and it wouldn’t surprise me if more and more Apple fans start turning against their beloved company.
  • On a related note, I’m looking to buy a Nokia N95. This has all the functionality that’s missing from the iPhone, just not the big screen or cool interface. I want the high quality camera, GPS and maps, Exchange sync (Nokia app takes care of this), Java apps, HSDPA modem, and no lock in to any particular carrier. The current model has come down in price recently, but that’s probably due to the 8GB model coming out that also has a larger screen (2.8" as opposed to 2.6") Do I wait for the new, expensive model, or pick up a bargain and settle for less. (I think I’ll wait…)
  • I’m planning to read three books while away on holiday that I’ve had for a while now – Getting Things Done by David Allen, The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris, and The Dip by Seth Godin – probably in that order too.
  • I’ve spent the last few evenings getting my accounts in order, and I’m always amazed at just how good Xero is to work with. The improvements they made to reconciling accounts are just incredible, I reckon Xero saves me around 1 to 2 minutes per bank transaction and if you add it all up, Xero becomes far better value for money than any desktop finance application that I’ve tried. It’s important for me to justify it like that  as I still sometimes wonder if I’m paying too much for the service.
  • I fell off my bike the other day trying to go too quickly down a flight of stairs near Frank Kitts Park. The huge graze on my leg wasn’t as bad as my damaged pride when the old lady I had just zoomed past came up to me to find out if I was OK…

OK – that’s enough for now…

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