Thursday, 23 August 2007

Sell to a Million

My company is developing a new business networking site called Sell to a Million. As well as all the usual social networking facilities such as private messaging and allowing users to gather friends in their profile, this facility also has an Internet directory and blogs.

All of this is under the same umbrella with a single log in.

Both the directory and the blogs (if required) appear on the Internet without logging in so they can help your web site's search engine ranking by adding back links.

The site is free to join although enhanced listings are available for a very reasonable fee.

Take a look now: Sell to a Million

Friday, 17 August 2007

XP it is

Well the new laptop arrived. I tried Ubuntu but it really wasn't having it. I suspect the new hardware is a little bit ahead of the makers of the Unix operating system and I may have another try when a new Ubuntu version comes out.

So having failed with three versions of Ubuntu I installed XP. No problems at all; I told it 18 times that I am not American, did 42 updates, added the drivers which came on a disc from the manufacturers - Novatech and off I went.

However the wireless network failed about every minute. I rang the nice people at Novatech and they asked me to post it back. They couldn't fix it either so they sent a replacement. Ubuntu still didn't like it so I now have a shiny new pooter running Windows XP.

XP has got more like Vista. They have seriously tightened up on the security - making it much harder to get on a network. The default workgroup seems to have changed from MSHOME to WORKGROUP - like on Vista - which is a potential pitfall. Anyway after more faffing than I was expecting, I have a machine on the internet, sharing files around the house.

The updates required to get Windows XP to a state of readiness are too long winded. I think it took 5 seperate updates to get Service Pack 2 and Internet Explorer 7, but not Media Player 10.

I am going to do some work with it now.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Now what's going on?

Vista has steadily been getting less bad.

The "sleep" mechanism works nicely now, especially if you turn all programs off first. Networking also works better than earlier with other Windows machines; less so with Ubuntu but I doubt if Mr Gates is too bothered about that.


This morning Windows decided to update my machine. I lost a monitor. I had four screens yeaterday and after the update I had three. Windows had decided to set two of my monitors to run from the same output. Took me twenty minutes to work that one out.

Now I have discovered it has unticked a little box for me. It's a really anally retentive thing they brought in with Internet Explorer that asks your permission before sending forms in case the evil internet sees what is on your clipboard (where stuff goes when you use the copy function). Any way if you are brave and you want to stop the message coming up:

Do you want to allow this webpage to access your Clipboard?

If you allow this, the webpage can access the Clipboard and read information that you've cut or copied recently.

follow these simple instructions:

Alt, T ( to get tools in Internet Explorer 7)
Internet Options
Custome level
Scroll down to: Allow Programmatic clipboard access
Tick enable.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

What OS?

I have just bought a new laptop, which I am hoping is going to be a stonker. The question is which operating system to put on it. It is due to arrive on Tuesday so I have two days to ponder.

Vista is not an option. Apart from being seductively beautiful it is suffering from acute hypochondria, is incompatible with every item of hardware in my house and is rubbish at networking and file sharing.

XP is an option. It suffers none of the faults of its younger sibling and everything works on it. The one thing that puts my off slightly is having to use anti-virus software that will slow my computer down - especially if I have to renew it every year.

Ubuntu would be the geek thing to do. It's free, it works, it doesn't require anti-virus software because installing viruses requires both utter stupidity and a good knowledge of the operating system. The most dangerous thing you can do with a virus on Ubuntu is forward it to a Windows user.

I also like the challenge of Ubuntu. On a basic level anybody can use it. If all you want to with your computer is surf the net, read and send emails and use spreadsheets and documents, Ubuntu is the operating system. If you want to a little more; like play DVDs for instance (which I don't but I would like the facility just in case) then you have to talk its language a bit. All the instructions are out there on the net but it isn't for beginners.

One thing putting me off Ubuntu is the lack of a decent FTP program. File Transfer Protocol is the way that most of the internet is published - certainly the corner of it that I am responsible for. CuteFTP is the program I use for this purpose on Windows machines and unfortunately nothing gets close to it in the Open Source world - that I have found anyway. I need an application that will allow me to edit files on the server. Ubuntu's best program gFTP will allow you to do this but pressing save just saves a temporary file - it doesn't publish it to the internet.

In terms of compatibility there is not a great deal to choose between XP and Ubuntu; both know where to get suitable drivers from.

The one I haven't mentioned yet is OS X. I would like to play with Macs just for the hell of it, but for £511 I have got a machine with four times the memory and half as much again processor speed that I would have got if I had purchased from Apple - pound for pound. Unless I wanted to process big video, which I don't, I just can't justify the price of Mac hardware.

The other option is Fedora. Like Ubuntu, it is another flavour of the Linux operating systems that are growing in popularity. But unlike Ubuntu it seems to be still aiming at the bum-fluff computer nerd stereotype. A quote from their web site shows why I think this:
Why can't Fedora play mp3 files?

Why is mp3 popular? Because it's better than everything else out there?

No. mp3 is popular because its creators licensed it broadly to spur its adoption. Then, once it was the de facto format, they started to enforce their patents aggressively and restrictively.

The Free and open source multimedia codecs such as the Ogg family of codecs are superior, and they are not patent-encumbered. Never have been, never will be. That's why we support Ogg Vorbis (lossy) and FLAC (lossless) for general audio, Speex for speech, and Ogg Theora for video.

For those people who insist upon using mp3, it's not difficult to figure out how to get these players. Still, we'd much rather change the world instead of going along with it.

This is the wrong attitude to take, MP3s have won - people have MP3 players not Vorbis players. As it says, Fedora will play MP3s; so why fight against the system.

I am going to go with Ubuntu, if the machine will take version 7.04. It it answers me back I will give it the XP disc instead.