Performancing Metrics

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yuletide BC

     And now for some yuletide bull crap from Microsoft.  When reading through an article about how Microsoft has finally scrapped the genuine Office validation system, I read this quote:

The Office Genuine Advantage program was designed to notify many customers around the world whether their copy of Microsoft Office was genuine. The program has served its purpose and thus we have decided to retire the program. Given our strong commitment to anti-piracy, we are making several new investments that will allow us to engage with customers and help victims of fraud. If you believe that your Office software may be counterfeit, please visit Microsoft’s How to Tell website. You may also learn more about Microsoft Office products or purchase or download a genuine copy directly. If you have additional questions or otherwise require support on this issue, please contact us for support options. (ZDNet article)
     Honestly, this almost made me want to puke.  I want to know in what twisted, messed up world Microsoft has every thought that software validation ever protect anything more then their own assets.  No one really cares about whether their software is genuine, as long as it works.
     Now, if software validation could somehow guarantee that software you are about to install isn't malicious and infecting your computer with a virus, I might think that it was worth using.  But honestly, who do they think they are kidding, saying that Windows Genuine Advantage protects you from anything?  All it does is add another annoying step to the process of using your computer.  Grow up Microsoft.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Submission Incomplete

     I hate having to enter things like this in, but I’ll be having to retract my entry into the Jerusalem 2111 contest.  It is now four days till the deadline, and I simply don’t have enough content created to submit a video for this contest.  With certain life and business changes that have come up in the last few months, what seemed like an easy enough task, create a CG video of 1-3 minutes in length, became an overwhelming task that seemed to demand more and more time I didn’t have to complete it.  I’m sorry.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Website Update

     Hello everyone!  This is Andrew again, and I'm just dropping in to let all of you know that DigitalFruit.biz is getting a huge overhaul over the next couple of days.  Check back in regularly to see just whats going on.
     Till then, catch you on the flip-side!

Diagnostics

     So, Digital Fruit is in the middle of acquiring new diagnostic hardware.  With these new tools we'll be able to more accurately assess computer problems that aren't readily visible.
     We will be investing in a power supply tester, a PCI post card, and network cable tester.  With these tools, finding problems, even with small networks, will be made much, much easier.   So, in our attempts to bring more quality to our customers, we will press on in acquisitions of the tools we need to make this work.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Options (As Far As Your Computer Goes)

     So, I'm getting ready to try out the Meego variant of netbook operating system today.  This got me to thinking.  There are a lot of options out there for your computer these days.
     There are the standard classes;  Mac, Windows, Linux, Solaris, BSD, and true Unix.  But within each of these groups there are a slue of choices as well.  For Mac, you've got either OSX or iOS.  Recently within windows you've got XP, Vista, and Win7.  Linux, well, I'll just list my favorites: Ubuntu, Moblin, Meego, Red Hat, Mint, Suse, Debian, Android, etc.  (Way too many options for Linux.)  Solaris you can either pay for or download OpenSolaris(for now).  BSD is like Linux, everyone has their own flavor.  And Unix has all but disappeared from the main stream, but there are still places that have a copy of some type of UNIX.
     So, with all of these options, which one is the best?  None, really.  There is so much variation within the computing world that you really can't claim one is better than the other.  Each serves it's specific purpose.
     But, with this list, I can start to show a bigger picture of what niche each system fills.
     Lets start with Mac.  Of its two major variations on the market currently, iOS is easier to explain, so I will start there.
     iOS is for those of you who want a mobile device that is stable and supported.  I know there are Android fans who will argue this to the sun and back, but in an honest and unbiased view, iOS is more stable, and more supported.  It has a central company behind the reins and they manage their products very well.  Plus, iOS devices are sleek and stylish, if that is one of your major concerns as far as computing goes.
     Next, Mac OSX.  This system really works well for people who need to work with computers but don't really want to deal with computers.  If you need to connect to the internet, do business online, or manage a professional career in graphic design, a Mac computer is probably the system for you.  These computers come at a higher price tag, but for the most part come with everything right out of the box.  Don't believe me, go to your local software supplier and look at the software title offerings available.  The Mac section may take up one eighth of what's offered, but will only contain programs for professional careers, or small business applications, and the occasional Windows crossover program.  If you want a well supported system, with lots of software available right off the bat, this is where you want to look.
     Next, the Windows empire.  This series of operating systems is treated as just such a thing, on more in long running line of previous OS's.  Where it lacks in out-of-the-box luster, Windows makes up for in shear volume.  Anything and everything you could ever want to do with a computer is supported and possible in a windows environment.  Plus, it is the most widely supported OS in the world.  If you know your way around the computer a little bit, and you want to use your computer for whatever you come up with, a Windows PC is probably your greatest friend.  Also, THERE IS NO OTHER PLATFORM FOR PC GAMING!  I have had discussions with people that you can get Linux to play anything a Windows PC can, or that you can play plenty of games on a Mac, but honestly, I've known people who've had to give up their spendy MacBook or give up on their moral code of only using open source, just so that they can play the latest RTS or first person shooter.  If you're into gaming, don't bother with other systems yet, they haven't gotten to the point of being useful.
     And now for the largest section in this review, the Linux base.  Because there are so many different variations that can do so many different things, I'm focusing on two variants in this article, Ubuntu and Moblin, because these are the two variants Digital Fruit supports.
     Now, you usually run a Linux box for only a hand full of reasons.  You are either a more experienced computer user who has a moral or personal objection over paying gobs of money to Microsoft for the same old thing year after year, your a cost conscious business that can hire a full time administrator, or you are a web host that really really needs stable servers.  But for a budding group of people you use Linux because its cheap, and its convenient.
     The last group of Linux users are people who've found out about Linux distributions like Ubuntu.  Ubuntu is a Linux distro designed for people who know very little about the internal operations of Linux, but don't really feel like paying for new software just because a business decides you haven't given them enough money so they are going to drop support for your product.  Easy enough for people without experience to use, Ubuntu gives you a great computing experience on a budget.  Downsides:  though this all may sound magical and make you wonder why the world hasn't switched over to Ubuntu, there are some downsides.  There is a huge lack of support over Linux in general, and Ubuntu is only one of thousands of versions of Linux.  So, if your computer breaks, there are very few people trained to fix it.  Also, I have yet to find a distribution of Linux that didn't have a moral goal behind it.  As admirable as this is, operating systems and computers in general are tools, to be used by people for whatever purposes they may imagine, so to build one on a specific moral pillar may cause problems down the road. 
     Then there are distributions like Moblin.  Moblin has a moral point, as well, but its kind of a funny one.  Moblin aims to be the best Netbook operating system ever, or at least the best one you'll ever see.  The problem this creates is that it is only usable on netbooks or nettop devices.  These tiny computers are meant to be companion devices, or access terminals for web-based use.  This makes this OS centered around a busy lifestyle, and if that describes you, I'd give it a shot.  If every there were an OS to describe abstractly, I'd have to call Moblin energetic and bouncy.  Though maybe not geared to the more mature generation, I can see Moblin take a hold in the mobile teen generation.  The only retail outlet pre-loading Moblin that I've seen, though, is us, Digital Fruit.  So if you'd like to see a demo, drop on by and we'll be happy to show you, or you can just check out the video shown in this post on the blog.
    Well, with out going into too much detail, this has been a quick over-view of Operating Systems currently out on the market.  Digital Fruit has always believed that the best buying decisions are made when a customer is informed about the subject.  If you have any other questions concerning these or any other operating systems, head on over to http://digitalfruit.biz/techsupport, or just call us at (360) 593-6082.  We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Oops I Did It Again

     Sorry for the horrible Britney Spears ripoff, but I felt it best illustrated how dumb I think this latest Square-Enix development is.
     I'm talking about Final Fantasy 14.  I've been a long standing fan of the Final Fantasy series, starting off with the original game on the NES, but I've been worried lately about the health of the series.  All the way up to the ninth installment of the series, things seemed to be going golden, everything the square team touched was magical (at least to my young eyes), and each game far surpassed the last, in technical achievement, game play, and graphics.  And the later games had magnificent story lines.
     But Final Fantasy 14 seems to be attempting to re-attempt a previous campaign.  A campaign that failed horribly.  Does anyone reading this blog really remember the story of Final Fantasy 11?  No?  I didn't think so.  A brilliant design team wasted years of development to come up with a game that lost its audience in a matter of months.  No one I know played the game for more than six months.  And only the devoted fans of Final Fantasy lasted that long.  The game supposedly had everything to make a great MMORPG, graphics, great character design, unique lifestyle and combat system.  But the most important part of any artwork was missing.  This great master piece of visual achievement had an almost none-existent story.  None of it seemed believable.  You weren't really sucked into the game at all.
     After Final Fantasy 12 made the leap back to single player console, and shocked the world with a gripping story of the effect of the ravages of war, I, as a die-hard fan of Final Fantasy, I slept easier knowing that the beautiful tales of Final Fantasy were something that would remain where they belong, on the single player systems.  Final Fantasy 13 didn't upset this balance either.
     So, imagine my dismay then, when walking through Wal-Mart today, to turn and see a case I didn't recognize, bearing a name I did.  But the number wasn't one I was familiar with.  I had heard rumors of Square Enix working on 14, but nothing solid had really materialized.  Then suddenly, sitting in with PC games of all things, there is FF14.  I thought to myself, 'No, it can't be.  They didn't really try it all over again, did they?  But sure enough, there it was on the synopsis on the back.  Online.  And my spirits fell. 
     And as to the title of this post, I am terribly disappointed with Square Enix for trying to push through something that already failed so miserably the first time.  I had hoped that they would have learned not to dabble into areas where they are not wanted.  The problem with the world of gaming is that as much as the critics want it to push the boundaries of new,  their artistic and cultural value dictates that they remain rooted in tradition.  These games have become our means of chronicling the values and desirable attributes of our society.  More than books, more than movies, more than even the spoken word.  Video games are our cultural center, and we must not forget that people find comfort in the familiar.

Google Blog SEO tip

     I'm learning the hard way that Google SEO is not an easy task when you write a blog.  With links numbering in the thousands, and plenty of keywords and HTML modifications, nothing seems to be coming about on the blog.  The only people who seem to be coming to the site are people who already know it is here.
     But I have noticed one thing with the eleven months of blog posting, that the number of hits to the site seems to correlate directly to the amount of content I post on the blog.  The more often I post, the higher the numbers seem to be.  This leads me to the conclusion that frequency of content is more important to the blog's SEO than any other tool.
     Hopefully armed with this, all you other neonate bloggers will be able to use to bring your blog into a greater light.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Moblin Mobile OS

Well, its not that often anymore that something genuinely surprises me in the technology world.  Tablet PC…eh, seen that.  Windows alternatives…eh, played with those.  Fancy new game console…yawn.  They all seem to run in the same direction, and they just force me to get newer and newer hardware just to keep up.

     Today, though, I got one of those genuine surprises, with Moblin OS.  Not necessarily because of its innovative design, or the way things just flow, but because I actually had to down-grade my computer to get the OS to work.  When was the last time you had to dumb down a computer to get it to run something cool and new?  I can’t even think of a time.  And usually it isn’t a good indicator either.  But after a few hours using Moblin, I found I was really impressed with its performance.  It really just seemed to work well, even with limited graphics capabilities.  Which is what really surprised me.  Here I was, using a computer that didn’t really have a lot of power behind it, and it was out performing more powerhouse systems.

     But this OS isn’t without its limits.  There’s one major draw back.  Its proprietary.  It only works on Intel Atom based processors, or processors compatible with that architecture.  I’m working on setting up a retail line of these PC’s, making inexpensive computing available to everyone, but these really aren’t for everyone.  They are meant for people really into the social scene, people who are media centered, and people who are on the go.  And I mean really on the go.

     Here is the intro video of Moblin v2.0, and anyone who is interested in learning more about Moblin, or installing it on their netbook or net-top device, visit DigitalFruit.biz, call us at (360) 593-6082, or visit www.moblin.org.

Moblin v2.0 intro video

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Problems in Digital Land

     Well, they say that a good thing can't last forever, and I'm not sure which is failing faster, the government or the internet.  Now, I'm not a person who's into the whole "Big Brother is watching you" scenario, nor do I dislike the United States, but some of the actions our congressmen are participating in just worry me.
     Todays worry comes from a little side article I read in this months Maximum PC magazine(Holiday 2010, pg 12).  It isn't available on-line yet, but when it does, read the monthly on tech law.  This one is a killer.
     An act sitting before congress even as I type, titled The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, is trying to limit our freedom to view content on-line.
     The way that the bill works is this:

"The bill creates two blacklists of Internet domain names. The first can be added to by a court, the second by the Attorney General. Internet service providers (everyone from Comcast to PayPal to Google AdSense) would be required to block any domains on the first list. They would also receive immunity for blocking domains on the second list." (quote found here)
      This horrifies me.  This is the kind of strict regiment communist China takes to control their people.  I'm not sure I like idea of a judge deciding I can't view a website because some one, some where on the sight uploaded a picture or video that had copyright under someone else's name.  This kind of legislation could be used to block you from ever viewing YouTube, or FaceBook, or even Blogger!  This is preposterous, and I believe this needs to be dealt with.  Head over to DemandProgress.org if this is something you don't feel is right, and help to stop our country escape from limitations of freedom.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

App Glitch trouble

     As if daylight savings time isn’t trouble enough, now the iPhone alarm clock app has a glitch with repeating alarms.  If you had an alarm set for something it was ringing an hour late.

     I’m wondering how in the world a problem like this ended up happening.  From what the reports say, the actual clock rolled forward, the alarms just didn’t go off on time.

     As a programmer, I can think of only a couple of scenarios that would create this situation.  First one, that the iOS doesn’t really change for daylight savings time, some coder just wrote a couple of lines of code that make the clock display one hour more than before when the country is on standard time.   Then, when the app sets alarms, it sets them not according to the time being displayed, but the actual internal clock time.  This is just bad coding, something that could have been prevented if QA had just double checked the code.

     The second option is more worrisome.  The only other possibility I can see is that for some stupid reason, the iPhone and related devices all have a second internal clock, one that follows DST, the other that follows UTC, resulting in the possibility of setting your programs clock settings to the wrong clock.  This would be a major engineering oversight, and would throw another wrench in the already shaky reputation the iPhone 4 has. 

     But in the end, what’s done is done.  If you’re looking for the solution that Apple came up with for this problem, its here, but they say the problem should have been fixed on the 7th.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Microsoft Kinect Finally Arrived

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20021679-1.html     So, the Kinect is finally on the seen, and the reviews are in.  Unforeseen downside, lack of playable space.  From every review I've even glanced at, the least of the Kinects problems stem from having to be at least 5-6 feet away from the camera(CNet).
     Television size seems to be a problem, too.  If your TV isn't big enough, the system won't work.
     But back on the space issue, even articles with a positive slant towards the Kinect have nothing positive to say about the space limitations.  Like this article from the Seattle Times tech columnist Brier Dudley:
The biggest concern in my older Seattle house was making room to play Kinect games, which require at least 6 feet of clear space in front of the TV, where the Kinect sensor sits. Moving a coffee table barely created enough space in my living room. Executives I talked to were sensitive about the space issue, saying they tested Kinect to be sure it worked in small homes in Japan and New York City, but the ideal setting is clearly a big, suburban rec room.
     I'm sorry, but to me, this seems a serious issue that should have been better handled at development time, not written off as something that the consumer will just have to deal with.  Video game history is rife with failed input devices, (The DK Bongos for the Nintendo Gamecube come to mind.), and the failings always come from design.  And honestly, the problems with design don't end with space requirements.
     Apparently anything else that moves within the range of the camera sensor may end up detected and assumed to be the player.  Which means anyone who wanders behind, or, heaven forbid, in front of the player while they are playing, creates the possibility of misfired motions that could end in the tragic loss of a players lives (once again, see CNet article for details).  The system even requires you to move stationary objects like furniture out of the way so it can properly identify you.
     And on the note of identifying, this system may even have problems identifying dark-skinned races.  Game Politics is even going so far as to label the system racist.  Though I'm sure it wasn't intentional, are there not enough African-American employees up in Redmond to properly quality control this device?  The fact that two out of three darker-skinned employees couldn't log in to the system properly under perfect lab conditions, this project really needed more work before seeing the public. (Game Spot article here.)
     All in all, I'm not expecting the outrageous numbers Microsoft plans on by the end of the year.  5 Million units by January?  Not happening, and if they claim it does, the numbers are doctored, just like most of the comments posted within two hours of the devices release claiming it is the 'Next evolution of gaming'.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Verdict: Win 7

So, I decided to finally sit down and write a post about my opinion of Windows 7, now that I’ve had a computer with it installed for over a month now.  And to be fair, I’m even writing this post from a Win 7 computer.  And to be blunt, I’m not impressed.

As much as everyone keeps ranting that this new version of Windows is the greatest thing since sliced bread(Win XP), I’m disappointed.  All of the hype, and this system still seems to be as clunky and backwards as most people found Vista to be.  Sure, I’ve seen some improvements, but over all, the design seems stunted.

Like when I go to download a file.  Windows 7 can not figure out what to do with it.  it doesn’t know if it goes in the downloads folder, the pictures folder, or the documents folder.  It just seems to play musical chairs with the file and then randomly pick a location where to save it.  And before I get people scolding me because ‘I just don’t know how to use my computer’, remember that the reason you now have a devoted downloads folder is because Microsoft is trying to build a system that just knows what you want.  You want to download a file?  We know where it goes!  Only they don’t.  I’ve tried downloading audio files from download sites like Amazon mp3 and from my Ubuntu One account, and podcasts from podcast sites, and three out of three sites, Windows tries to download the file to a different folder each time.  Then I have to go through and select the right folder for the download.  Little conveniences are only convenient if they work.

Next, the start menu.  I’m really getting tired of Microsoft’s automatic detection software trying to figure out what I use on a regular basis.  I have at this moment five applications listed in the start menu’s auto-detect list that I have used only once, and have never opened again.  But four different applications that I use regularly on this computer are not listed.  Great example is the program I’m using to write this blog post, Live Writer.  A very nice third party application for writing up blog posts, but I have to keep digging through the annoying depths of my start menu to get to it.  And this is one of the programs I use the most on this Windows 7 PC.

I guess what I’m trying to get at with this post is that despite the fact that this operating system is built on firm foundation of security,  it tends to annoy more than satisfy.  And I really hate having to re-learn the locations of systems settings that really have no need to be put into a new location just because Microsoft is trying to make their new operating system different then their last.  Its annoying.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Koobface for Mac

     The ever proper Mac computer is now facing web-threats like the rest of us, it seems.  An early release of the Koobface worm has been found on several Mac computers, expanding the size of the Koobface botnet into a much broader spectrum.  (Source: ZDNet)

Chrome OS

     So, I’ve been hearing all sorts of buzz for the last couple of years about Google’s Chrome OS.  But where is it?  It seems Android, a far more complicated OS, has been on a faster track for development, so what’s holding up Chrome?

     I’ve decided to investigate.  Since Chrome OS is open source, and the development environment suggested by its developers is Ubuntu 10, I’m going to try my hand at compiling Chrome OS, then I’ll get back to you loyal Digital Fruit Customers and tell you what’s going on.  Its investigative journalism at its best, pure experience.

     So, wish me luck!

Help Increase Web Presence

     This is a call-to-arms, a request for assistance, the gentle nudge of a friend.  Digital Fruit is in the middle of a campaign to increase its web-presence, and anyone who frequents this site, please, link either to digitalfruit.biz or digitalfruitblog.blogspot.com.  Any link will help, but if you post about something you read on the blog, or something cool you see on the site, and tell other people about it, that helps a whole heck of a lot more.  So please, help your local neighborhood tech geek, and pass a link.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

First Model for sale!

     So, against the better suggestions of the website I'm hosting the sale of my 3D models, images, and textures, I'm selling my first model on-line.  The link is here: http://www.the3dstudio.com/product_details.aspx?id_product=373884. Its a model of a troll head I did in Blender, so if any of you use blender, and aren't too interested in having to create your own content, think about picking it up.

New Software Added to Our Arrsenal

     So, in our efforts to do the best quality video production we can, Digital Fruit has acquired a new program for computer graphics.  We've added Daz 3D Studio to our array of 3D production tools, and so far, we're impressed with the setup.
    The best benefit I've found to using DAZ Studio 3 Advanced is that it does the icky stuff for you. Not many people want to spend hours and hours setting up the perfect rigging, or even just a decent rigging, for a mesh. That, and not everyone feels they have the skill to do all the work of designing a whole 3D scene.  DAZ Studio takes all of the guess work out of it.  And even with just the free models downloadable from the website, there is a heck of a lot that can be done with this program.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Office Suite Winner

     So, way back on August 4 I wrote a post about office software suites and which one I liked most.  So, after almost three months working with most of the options(the 30 day trial of Microsoft Office 2010 expired in September), I have come to the conclusion that my original decision still stands.  IBM's Lotus Symphony takes the pick.
     Why? Because of its ease of use.  Since that article, I have helped a customer who knows little about the workings of computer software to streamline his business paperwork using Symphony's spreadsheets, I've started writing a novel using the documents part, and I've really been looking for a reason to create a presentation using the slide show, but can't really justify it.  So after all of my experience using Symphony's charts, spreadsheets, page layouts and calculations, it just flows well, like Microsoft Office used to once upon a time.  Plus, any need I've had for Symphony as of yet, it has worked like a charm.  So, congratulations IBM, you're the winner.

No Smartphone, But Maybe a Tablet

     I'm still getting all the buzz about the latest smartphones, and how they're going to replace all of our traditional computers.  I still think this whole bit is bunk.  Smartphones just aren't capable enough to replace all the computing needs a of a modern person.  So, needless to say, I'm not considering a smartphone in the near future.
     What I am considering, though, is a tablet.  Now, once again, tablets are not a full-on computing device.  It will never replace the use of a full tower PC.  But as a companion device for recreation and display, I think I could do a lot with one of theses.  Especially with a personal cloud system. 
     Think of it.  All of your personal data and applications stored and run off of a small home server, or even better, a serious server. and the tablet just used for input/output and display.  You could play games, even some serious games. Web surfing, business presentation, and, of course, reading and video.  With a display stand, video in other parts of the house other than the living room and computer office space would be easier than ever.  Personal wi-fi would make it all simplified.  The possibilities of these little tablets could be amazing.  That kind of convenience really attracts my attention.
     But I'm not sure I'm considering an iPad, I'm not a fan of a closed system.  I'm a tech geek who really likes to modify, so I'm definitely going for something android driven if I buy it soon.  There are a couple of options I'm looking at already.
     First on my list is the Dell Streak.  Though much smaller than any of the other tablet options out there at the moment, it seems to be way more capable of mobility, which fits better into the way my life is going at the moment.  With a 5" screen and the mobile Android OS, it does seem more like a smart phone, but I like the idea that it has access to the mobile market place.  Also, there are a myriad of connection types.  The lack of wireless N connectivity is kind of depressing in such a next generation device, but forgivable.
      The only other option near release at this point is the Samsung Galaxy Tab.  With much more impressive stats, this tablet with a 7" screen looks more appealing, but with my experience with Samsung phones, I'm really iffy about it.  But as I said, the specs look really nice.
     So, I'm going to keep on to these tablets, keep my fingers crossed, and hope that good things happen.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Lax Security from Facebook

     Again, the notorious Facebook.com has added another security hole to their already shoddy site.  You know all those fun Zynga games you play?  They've been leaking out your personal information.  Even more than they already were.
     Over the last year, Facebook has been found to care so little about the personal information of it's customers that it has been signing away your information to any advertiser that pays to put an ad on their site.  But now the information is leaking out from the games you play through the site.  Farmville, probably the most popular of the games on the Facebook site, has been leaking out the names of people playing, and a list of any friends they have on Facebook. (See ZDNet, and The Wall Street Journal).  With all these breaches in our security, and the fact that only ten people police the whole online Facebook community, this should be something everyone should be jumping ship on.  This kind of lax attitude doesn't need to be re-enforced, or it will only get worse.
     (For more discussion of Facebook creepiness, see this Halloween article on ZDNet.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Finally Fraud Fighters

     Just a quick announcement, we got the fraud fighters section of the Digital Fruit website up and running.  For a quick link, its here:  http://digitalfruit.biz/techsupport/fraudfighters.  I hope to be able to set up a shorter, more memorable link soon, but I've no idea how long that will take.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Possible Alternative to Facebook

     I know it is a bad thing to get your heart set on an internet start up, but after reading an article in CPU magazine, and this article on MaximumPC.com, I'm starting to get a little bit excited about the prospects of the Diaspora project.
     The thing that excites me the most though is how well thought out the idea is though.  To make transition easier, the programmers of Diaspora haven't limited the system to just those using Diaspora.  Anyone can tie their current Facebook or MySpace or Linkdin page to their Diaspora node, and their friends on Diaspora can see all of their profile information.
     Though not quite to a public release yet, I'm hopeful.  This may be a system I can get behind.  If, after reading the article above you feel interested, head over to www.joindiaspora.com, and check out the project.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ah Ha!

     Now the truth really comes out!  Back in June I gave a scathing review of what Microsoft has touted as the end all motion control system for a video game console (article here).  And I still stand by that review.
    But the murky waters of why Microsoft would shell out all of the cash and time to develop such a terrible idea for a device are beginning to clear.  In a statement here http://research.microsoft.com/apps/video/dl.aspx?id=139046, we find that Microsoft probably didn't spend all that much in R&D on the Kinect project.  Its probably just a side step from the LightSpace project that Microsoft Research has been steadily developing.
    Whereas the Kinect sounds stupid to me, this LightSpace project has some serious potential.  Think of the scenes from Iron Man, where Tony Stark just starts working some mad computer mojo without any input device.  That potential for computing in the future will make the development effort now well worth while.  So, here's to the LightSpace project, and every geeks dream of a better computing world.

New Edition to the Fleet

     So, Digital Fruit is adding yet another site to our fleet of maintained domains.  The Chico, California Costume shop, Masquerade, had launched a new website and we at digital fruit will be maintaining it.  The site is right here at masqueradestore.biz.  If you're from the Chico area, you should head on over and check out the shop, any one else, just go to website and ogle the pretty pictures.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Helping to Stop Internet Fraud and Hacking

     While Digital Fruit is by no means the greatest authority on internet fraud and malware, it is something we deal with on behalf of our customers.  And, in the attitude of prevention being worth a pound of care, I've finally gotten something started for the Fraud Fighters section of digitalfruit.biz.  I'll hopefully have it up by tomorrow night, and then we can discuss what this part of the sight will really be about.
     What we have started right now is a listing and review of several internet ads that seem to pop up on just about every sight you go to.  Some of these ads are from legitimate business, most are from people just trying to scam you out of hard earned dollars you've worked so hard just to get, and would probably like to keep, I'm sure.  I'm hoping that this list will start to grow into something that our customers will appreciate and use, and that it will help keep people from getting duped.
     Till next time, I'll catch you on the flip side.

Andrew

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tech Talk: I Hate CSS

     I know that not everyone out here is a programmer or a web guru, but I'm pretty sure that any one visiting this site has used the internet (dramatic pause), good I knew you had.  Well, today's rant is on the annoyances that always seem to crop up when I'm designing a new website.
     And the problems always come from Cascading Style Sheets.  Don't get me wrong, CSS is certainly better than things used to be, (anyone remember inline styles?),  but there is still a lot to be desired in my book.
     The more I work with Cascading Style Sheets, the more I realize that the system seems to be backwards.  When trying to float a group of objects to make your site a little more elastic for different screen sizes, you have to declare the last one first if your list is floating right.  Why not just design the dang system to look at the object, see it floats right, and then check for other right side floaters after it, sticking them in a line behind the first?  Its seems like a simple concept to me!
     That, and the general lack of ability to center any of your content simply.  There are a million different ways to get you content to center for special situations, but no easy way to simply say, 'hey, center that image in the middle of it's block!'  That is annoying.  You would think it would be easy just to attach it to the other inline element properties, and just set an inline-align property, making anything inline centered within it's box.
     And one other thing I would have to change about CSS while I was at it, I would make sure that CSS properties were a bit more clearly defined.  Some of the properties you can use in it are just plain baffling.  I can still remember when I was a young web new comer and I was reading the HTML 4 Bible, and trying figure out how to change the bullets on a bulleted list.  And I can't imagine how many people have had problems trying to figure out what in the heck the clear property does.  Self-documenting code is heaven-sent, and more and more groups designing these languages should try for it.  Yes, most of CSS is self-explanatory, but it isn't really that complicated of a mark-up language.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Digital Fruit, the Next Generation!

     So, just a really quick celebratory post announcing the start of the second generation of Digital Fruit.  My daughter Alice was born on the third of this month, extending our happy family to a total of three!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Digital Fruit Artwork For Sale

     So, Digital Fruit Animation has just recently set up an account with www.the3dstudio.com to be able to sell CG work that we have completed to anyone who wishes to purchase it.  All of these proceeds will be going to help Digital Fruit Animation build a better studio situation, and feeding our ravenously hungry render farm to complete CG work more quickly.
     So check out our section at The 3D Studio, and see if there isn't anything you like. 
See my stuff at The3dStudio.com

Jerusalem 2111 Sketches

     Though I don't have any scanned into the computer yet, I've gotten 25 sketches of different parts of the Jerusalem 2111 project done.  I'm hoping to have many more done by the end of the week, and have some more preliminary work done to show off.  I'm also requesting photos from a friend who will be going to Jerusalem shortly.

10 To Guard 500 Million

     It's a laughable joke.  Really it is.  The idea that 10 employees could watch over the accounts of 500 million people that are constantly logging in and updating and checking and etc...  but apparently that is what Facebook thinks is sufficient.  In one of the largest growing websites of our times, Facebook has ten people to watch over all of us.  And the claims these ten people make about how effective they are set them in a position to rival Superman.
     But in true Orwellian style, the doublespeak is readily apparent.  Stating the Koobface gang has an extensive botnet that's stealing $35,000 dollars a week (see this ZDNet article), then claiming that they are keeping pace with attackers and that only one percent of people using the service have ever been affected by malware from the site(see Threatpost.com).
     As I said before, a joke.  There is no way that only ten people have sufficient ability to monitor all of the traffic Facebook garners, correlate with law enforcement to combat hackers, handle customer service issues, and develop new systems to be able to prevent future attacks.  As some one starting a small web start up and probably biting off more than he can chew, I would have trouble trying to pull this off with a system of only 500 customers, so ten for approximately 500 million.  Not possible.
     Facebook needs to wake up and realize that they can't keep ignoring their customers and that they can't keep ignoring their position as a global hub of information.  They need to take their responsibilities seriously.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Jerusalem 2111

     So, I, Andrew Petersen, on behalf of Digital Fruit, will be making an entry into the Jerusalem 2111 video contest.  This is a contest for a video about what Jerusalem will look like in 100 years.  I plan to use this to showcase my talent in three dimensional design, and to help me work out some of the bugs in my render pipeline.  I hope this will be a great learning experience, and will help me to learn the development process for CG video.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Post 100!!!

     So, now that we have reached the mythical 100th post, I think that it is time to celebrate.  What better way to celebrate than to have a sale!  Any one who comes in to Digital Fruit and mentions the this one-hundredth post will get $10 off their next tech.  This promotion will run until the end of October, so any of you late comers on the back to school wagon, or just those haunted by the ghosts of fall, drop on in and get $10 off your much needed tech service.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You'll Be Missed, Brian Woods

     I know that I'm posting this late to be breaking news, but that isn't the point of this post.  This post is something of a memorial.
     I'll be honest, until my wife read me the article on today.com, I would never have known who Brian Woods was.  Now I do, and I'm sorry he's gone.
     Brian Woods was only 33, a married man, and an expectant father.  He was also the lead designer at game house Relic Entertainment.  If what I've read has any truth, he and I have a lot in common.  But the attributes I hope to share the most are love and bravery.
     Why, do you ask?  Because in Brian Woods final moments, that is what he exemplified.  Dieing in a car crash, he had the presence of mind and heroic heart to turn the vehicle he was driving just right so that his life was taken, and the lives of his wife and unborn child were saved.  As an expectant father, I can certainly relate to those feelings I'm sure he felt in those final moments, and I can only hope I would be so good as to do what he did in those same circumstances.
     To his family, my condolences, for I know he will be missed, and to Brian, farewell.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Eureka! I've Got It!

     Nightmare Before Christmas quote aside (I've been listening to the soundtrack way too much lately), I really have got it.  I've been having problems using Blender's built in distributed rendering to work in Windows, and I hadn't even tried messing with it in Ubuntu,  when I had a strike of brilliance!  The error message I was getting led me to think that my problem was in using a natively Linux program in a Windows environment.
     When Blender would load, it would tell me it couldn't open the file at such and such location, giving me a huge string of text that wasn't anywhere near what the proper file path was.  So, I went in, mapped the folder to a network drive on the other computers that I was using, and tried opening again.  This time the file opened without a hitch.
     Then I simple directed Blender to this new network drive for the location of the render, and voile, simple render farm.
     I know this post seems rather cryptic, but anyone who has tried to use Blender's built in render farm has probably spent time pulling their hair out because of it.  I hope this helps any young, aspiring Blender artists to achieve their dreams.
     Till next time, catch you on the flip side.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Checking In

     So, just checking in and making sure I keep all you fans out there updated to the goings on of Digital Fruit.  I'm in over my head, but here's the news.
     First, the Eeble cartoon is coming along fine.  I haven't had much time to do more animation, but character development and scene setup have progressed smoothly.
     Second, Epic, though still behind schedule, is moving along.  I'm getting help now with composing the score, and with story development.  We're working to polish it up and make it really shine.
     Thirdly, the tech side of things has been booming, with calls coming in daily.  This probably contributes to the delays in the other projects, but that's okay, its money now to fund projects later.  Some nasty bug cropping up on this end though, so watch your online habits carefully.
     Fourth, my learning of the 3D suite Blender is coming along nicely, and I'm finding that once I've found some research material, the learning curve isn't as steep as I originally thought.  I'm going to try and enter into some CG competitions here soon, and maybe Digital Fruit will get some kudos.
     Finally, web site development of digitalfruit.biz is kind of at a standstill.  All the studying I've done in Javascript has been hampered by the fact that I can't get any of my own code to work on a website.  I'm going to have to redouble my efforts and start from the basics again, going over everything until the problems with my designs become apparent.
     So, that's all for now, I'll write again with another update.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Props for Opera

     So, I'm sitting here writing a post awarding a browser the Digital Fruit seal of approval because only one of the Fab Five(IE, Chrome, FireFox, Opera, Safari), actually renders the Digital Fruit website near-100% with no fuss.  This award goes to Opera, which is the only browser I haven't had to fight tooth and nail, using all sorts of CSS tricks to try and get the website to work 100%.  If any of you want to know what I'm talking about, got to the Opera website, download and install it, and then go to digitalfruit.biz.  See how nice that looks?  That is the work of a good browser if ever I saw one.
     I'm now going to go and work on getting this site to look proper in the other four browsers. :(

Friday, September 3, 2010

Website Update

     So, its just a quick update today.  I've finally gotten the video mechanics for digitalfruit.biz up and running, and so now the hard labor can begin.  I'll post again when I have something a little more substantial.
     Talk to you later.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dredging Up the Dead!

     Ha!  You thought I had forgotten!  But I now have a full second of test animation for the Eeble cartoon.  I'm also introducing two new characters into the Eeble cast, Mr. Carrot and Mrs. Parsnip.  Only Mrs. Parsnip will be making an appearance in this first cartoon, but as Eeble has an accumulated history in my creative works, I'm sure I'll crop up using him again.
     So, as a teaser, here is a sketch frame from the parts I've been working on.
     Talk to you next time.
     (Update, here is the link to the Digital Fruit TV section and the one second clip.  I know it isn't much, but its the first step forward.  digitalfruit.biz/entertainment/video/eeble)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Short Term Power Production Goals

     After doing some personal research on the subject, I've come to find out that higher yield solar panels have become much more affordable than they once were.  With all total combined equipment, it will be much more reasonably within Digital Fruit's price range to start taking us off the non-renewable power grid, and start building a renewable power grid of our own.  We're shooting for the range of about five hundred dollars to take our first computer off-grid, and we will start from there.  So, know that our hard earned tech dollars aren't just going into fancier hardware, but into making sure that we will always be around to run that hardware, and that plan to make a impact on how technology is used.
     On that note, Digital Fruit just participated in the third annual Power IT Down day.  On August 27, Digital Fruit shut down all computers, and in fact went so far to ensure that all computers could not be drawing power by shutting down the power strips and surge suppressors.  This effort has been made to help cut down on power consumption, but also to help out others who may be suffering.  Though Digital Fruit's electronic footprint was not large enough to track for donations yet, all the extra savings from the project were donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization trying to help severely wounded service men and women.
     Overall the greening efforts put on by Digital Fruit will not only benefit our customers in terms of environmental friendliness, but because it will help Digital Fruit become a self sufficient company, something that has been forgotten as of late.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Another Voice

    So, this is just a quick input, but I've found another voice out on the internet that has some positive things to say about Ubuntu 10.4.  Its Zdnet blogger Zack Whittaker
     In the article linked to with his name, he discusses what reasons he has for liking Ubuntu, and I actually have a few more for my own personal list.  I've been building a new rig for a couple of months now, and I finally have it operational.  Not finished, but operational.  And I've been stuck with a conundrum.  I haven't shelled out the cash to pick up a copy of Windows 7.  (I'm tempted not to, but I need to put it on this system for game demos.  it will definitely be a dual-boot system though.).  So, because I can't stand having a brand new system sitting around without be operational, I put Ubuntu 10.4 on it, and once again, wow.  The speed, even on a system with 2gb of ram, its amazing.  I'm shocked with how fast the computer actually loads, and I'm hard pressed to find anything it can't handle quickly.  And for the skeptics, it isn't just because I put a blazing fast new processor in it.  This is a budget build, and only has a 2.6ghz dual-core in it.  Nothing an inexpensive show floor computer can't compete with.
     All-in-all, the more I work with this operating system the more I'm sold on it.  But there is a dark side to this tale.  The original PC that I installed with Ubuntu has been having hardware issues, and has corrupted its installation.  Now I get to find out just how easy it is to fix a computer running a rogue operating system.  More next time.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Call Out For Reason

     As I read more about the Google-Oracle lawsuit that is going on right now, a suit which might decide the fate of the Android phones currently fighting the iPhone, I'm worried.  As I've read in this document, page 9 lines 25-27,  Oracle intends for all copies of anything Google is distributing that is using Oracles java must be disabled or destroyed.  Well, when you flip over to the Google Android source code page scroll down to the section that talks about building the source code, you can see that Android itself is built off of Java.  There is also a much more technical discussion here, from a gentleman that works in the programming field as a java programmer.  He discusses how Android is in fact an implementation of Java.
     Now, to why all of this worries me, and why it matters.
     The lines I sited from Oracles lawsuit documentation state their intentions should they win the suit.  From a source I have that is familiar with the previous owner of Java, Sun, a lawsuit like this one has been tried before, and Sun did win.  That sets legal precedence.  What Oracle wants isn't money, they want the destruction of any Android operating systems.  That means that a possible 33% of the US cellphone market could suddenly get shut down if Oracle wins.  That's staggering.  And as much as I feel the iPhone may have done the smart phone game better, I hate to see any open system go down because of stupid business decisions.
     So, as for the title of this post, I would like to make out a call for reason.  Anyone who thinks that software patents and copyrights on systems that are generally and publicly used do damage to the world of digital media and electronics, please post your comments in the form of a petition.  State that you've had enough!  Lets be heard.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Just a Quick Update

     So, I've just dropped in to say hello to all of the people out there in Digital Fruit land.  As far as things go here, I'm working on three different promotional posters for Epic, and I have no time on my hands.  These two things don't seem to go well together, but I'm hoping to get some more time, (fingers crossed).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Looking For Input

     So, I'm looking to get an intro animation designed for anything that comes out of Digital Fruit Productions.  I was originally thinking of something akin to the Paramount stars.  You know the ones.  They start out large and up-close and then whoosh to the back to arc over the mountain.
     But then I got to thinking about why production companies put those animations in front of everything they make.  Its because it causes a unifying factor.  People associate those intros with quality.  You see the Paramount mountain, you know that this movie was seriously made.  The Tristar pegasus.  The Disney Cinderella castle.  All of these are uniquely associated with the companies that put out high quality visual productions.  That is what I plan to do as well.
     So, back to the title of the post.  After thinking this over, I decided that I needed something that would stand out a little more than my original idea.  So, I thought and thought and I think I may now have a winner.  Plain and simple, the animation would consist of a blank screen, black, gray, or maybe light blue, and then with a cartoonish dropping sound, the digital fruit logo would hit like a falling man-hole cover, clanging and spinning till it came to an abrupt stop.
     Now here is where all of you come in.  I need feed back as to whether you can visualize this description, and whether or not it would leave a lasting impression in your imagination.  So, please, if you read this post, leave a comment, and help out your favorite digital media company.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Title, Um I Forgot

     You know, I had a whole blog post planned out today, and even had it written out somewhere, but it seems to have escaped me.  I'm going to have to go and look for it now.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Microsoft Office Alternatives(Return of the Pick)

     In my constant attitude of upsetting social norms, I'm posting once again on an alternative to the usual Microsoft product.  Not that Office isn't useful in the workplace, but frankly, I'm sick of paying two hundred dollars for a full version of Office that does essentially the same thing for me as the version I bought two to five years ago.  Its annoying.
     In step the alternatives.  At a slightly lower price point, Word Perfect is the only other commercial alternative to make it here on the list, and as far as my experience reaches, the only thing that could make me want this program over Microsoft Office is the security.  And the only part about the security that seems better is password encoding.  A person who knows what to do with a Microsoft office file can break a password that keeps people from viewing information you saved in only a couple of seconds, unless some serious updates have taken place in 2010 I don't know about.  With Word Perfect there is Unix based encryption used to secure each file, which either takes special software to break, or a whole heck of a lot of time and energy.  So your average wannabe will have a heck of a hard time cracking that. But in the end, this is just pitting one feature against another.
     Which doesn't win any battles in my book.
     So, what other choices do we have?  Either shell out hundreds of dollars, or be left behind and unable to keep with the technological age.
     With the modern hype on cloud computing, Google Docs has been making some serious headway on the front of collaborated documents and access anywhere convenience.  But I don't find it very useful for any of my serious writing.  There is just something that seems more comforting in keeping things saved on my own computer.  And I'm not always impressed with the interface with this one.
     And then there are Linux solutions.  The two worth mentioning are OpenOffice.org and Lotus Symphony.  Out of these two, the most widely used is probably Open Office.  This long running open source rival of Microsoft Office has done a lot to further open standards in office products, but sadly, has been suffering for a long time from the decline of Sun Microsystems, the corporate entity that started the project and maintains it.  With the recent purchase of Sun by Oracle, no one seems to know what the fate of Open Office may be.  It may get better, it may get worse.  All I'm going to say on this one is that its nice for its compatibility with just about everything.  I have certainly gotten my use out of this program with this feature alone.
     The final product on this illustrious listing is Lotus Symphony.  Now, I've only been using this one for about three months, but the more I learn about it, the more I like it.  And since this article is simply a list of my personal favorites, and not really very scientific in its evaluation, I'm putting my vote in on Symphony.  Its as fluid and visually appealing as Microsoft Office, based on open standards like OpenOffice.org, and doesn't cost me a dime.  I'm currently enjoying the tabbed documents feature will trying to piece together a novel I'm working on.
     In the end though, the office product you get to use probably isn't your decision.  But if you happen to have the unique option of making your own choice, my advice is try out each of these products for yourself, and find which one works best for your needs.  Each has its redeeming factors(I will admit I didn't exactly give fair comparison here, I'm hoping to post about that latter, but I need to do more thorough tests), and each will have its frustrations as well.

Friday, July 30, 2010

AT&T 3G!!!

     Just a quick one tonight, but I just wanted to let the people of Aberdeen know that AT&T 3G coverage is now available.  So all you iPhone and iPad owners out there should be rejoicing!  You now have full functionality.  And for those of you not feeling Apple love, you can still be excited if you have a 3G capable phone through AT&T.  My phone even celebrated with the display of a little 'G' over my status bars.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Trouble With iPhones

     Being someone who really does enjoy his service from AT&T, and is pleased with the functionality of his simple Sony Ericsson W518a,  I have noticed something of a saddening trend:  how many people have switched over to AT&T over iPhone envy.
     Now, if you really do like your iPhone, this article is not for you.  But for those of you that made the change in carrier just because you had to keep up with the Joneses, I would like to speak with you for just a moment.
     Why?  Why do people switch over to a new carrier just to get a phone they may or may not like?  Why do some people have to make a big deal over their purchase of something as simple as a phone (and yes, I do realize that the iphone is in no way simple, but it is still just a phone)?
     Its because we desire things that seem exclusive.  Heck, just look at Apple itself, they've made an empire out of being elusive and elite.  And people continue to eat it up.  It isn't because Mac are better, or because they're more functional, but because they are shiny.  Every thing about them is sleek and stylish, and people buy into that.
     Which brings me to the conclusion of this discussion.  Having looked at the numbers of Digital Fruit's annual cell phone survey, I've noticed a shift, slowly creeping away from the local Verizon population to other cell phone services.  The largest of which has been to AT&T.  Almost all of those new phones and plans are the iPhones people have been buying.  Can one phone really bring that many people?  It can if its shiny.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Am I the Only One?

     So, I was just reading through some blog posts, and I found one on MacDailyNews about Mary Jo Foley, a Microsoft blogger that just recently purchased an iPad.  I was shocked.  Not by the article, which was the usual, computer-politics driven garbage, all about how one system is far superior to another because we worship it (and yes, you Linux and Windows people do it too).  No, what shocked me was the comments.
     People seem so zealous over something so trivial.  The business-driven geeks of the world have striven for so long to make your operating system irrelevant, and content available on whichever system you chose, that trash-talk about how one OS outweighs another seems like sad sales pitches.
     Now if these people making comments had had valid concerns with the ease-of-use or the security and usability of Windows, I would have taken them seriously, but I found none after roughly twenty posted comments.  Not once did I see a comparison of features, or how things really are better on the other side.  This whole damn world of computer consumers seems obsessed with the religious cult of (insert Operating System Here).  Its stupid.  The people posting on Mac Daily News need to get over their buyers remorse, realize that they're computer is not a god, but a piece of machinery intended to entertain or make productive, and get over brand labeling.  So do the people on ZDnet (all of you Verizon addicts).  And the people on any of the other thousands of blogging and news sites out there who get so sure that their chosen system is the center of the computing universe.
     I can guarantee that if its a system out there, I can find a way to program in C++ on it, so in the end, they all end up the same lumps of hardware.  (Though that is another school of contention, but I won't rag on them here.)
     So, to the whole world of zealous, cultist computer users, grow up and get over yourselves.  I'm out. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Death of Another Phone

     As the trend seems to deepen, more damage seems to be happening to major cellphone companies.  With what seems to be a disbanding of Motorola, and problems with HTC, its disheartening to hear that Google has ended the Nexus One phone.
     As I read today in this blog post from ZDnet, Google is now ending the Nexus One, and the web store that goes with it.
     I'm disappointed, because this means that one more of the iPhone's competitors has gone down.  I'm not against the iPhone or anything like that, but competition is the driving force behind innovation, and if no one competes with the iPhone, more problems like those plaguing the iPhone 4 will crop up.  And that isn't something anyone but their competitors should want.

Vending Troubles

     So, today I spent some time walking around the Tacoma mall, and I marveled at just how much you can get out of vending machines these days. Its a tech geeks dream. Anything from a new PSP Go, to an iPod touch, to USB thumb drives of Star Wars and Hello Kitty. it was crazy.
     And then there was the methods of payment. Not only did most of these machines accept the usual bills and coins, but I finally saw some of those credit and debit readers that I saw so many years ago in California. Some even had interactive touch screens for selecting my choices.
     Though there was a sobering reminder that just because something is new and technologically advanced, does it mean that it will work better. When I slid my debit card to get a nice cold Coca-Cola, what I got was a charge one dollar more than what the machine had displayed for the price of the coke, and no coke. Yep, that is correct, the vending machine digitally ate my change. I was furious. I then cursed the machine to suffer in the lowest circle of Hades, and vowed to contact my bank later to block the charge.
     So, with my new-found experience with the wonders of modern technology, I'm happy to say that we have a long way to go before we get to the utopian world of trouble free shopping that always gets advertised. I think we're closer to the mad-cap mayhem that was often seen on the Jetsons, with the wonderful trappings of society constantly failing, and the same old complaints issuing from consumers lips. I'm happy because this means there is still a place for something like Digital Fruit, because problems are what we fix.
     Till next time, I'll catch you on the flip side.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ubuntu 10.4 Update

     So, now that it has been about two months, I decided it would be a good idea to revisit Ubuntu 10.4 after all the glitter and glamor have worn off, and I've really had a chance to get to know the rogue operating system.   And I still stand by my previous review.
     I'm still learning the ins and outs, but over all, my experience with Ubuntu 10.4 is solid, and I find myself actually wanting to use it over Windows and Mac.  At least casually.  Which is where I find myself in a strange predicament.  I still use Windows for my web development, and for programming, and for gaming, and for video encoding, and for... well, you get the picture.  But when I want to go and just surf the net, or check my e-mail, or update my blog, or listen to music, or do just about anything the casual computer user really does(even time-waster gaming), I find myself using Ubuntu instead.
     So, I'm not sure if I'm alone in this, but I seem to have become a closet-casual Linux user.  And I'm happy about this.
     So, along with this change, I'm now testing out software that is compatible across at least Windows and Ubuntu, with easy .exe and .deb installers that people with no background in computers can use.  I want to really explore and find out if this casual Linux use can really change the way I use computers, and, at least personally, if the penguin can win me over.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Power Outage Opportunity

     So, we had a power outage here the other day, something about a car hitting a pole, and it left me with some time to work on alternative power methods.  I've really enjoyed tinkering with the different components that I'm learning about, and that power outage was the first test.  Sadly, I was only able to work with candles, so the amount of energy I was producing was minimal, but I was able to produce 1.89V of power stably, and was using that to charge a 1.5V battery.  It was fun, but I've learned that my knowledge of power production has a long way to go before I can apply any of it to the business of Digital Fruit.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Working the Gossip Grindstone

     Well, anyone with an AT&T smart phone in Aberdeen may soon be in luck.  Trucks with equipment designed for finding the best place to set up a cellphone tower have been seen driving around Aberdeen.  There have been four seen in the last week alone.  My source has told me that they are looking to set up 3G service in Aberdeen.
     This brings a couple of benefits not necessarily obvious to everyone.  First is the ability to own and use a 3G capable iPad or iPhone, something we've been lacking in the local area.  This is good because it not only allows local people to use their iPhones with 3G, but also AT&T customers from out of the area will have it too, making their experience in Aberdeen better.  The more Aberdeen stands out as a positive place, the better things will go for Aberdeen.
     The other unseen benefit is the ability for AT&T customers, whatever their phone, can purchase and set up a plan for a microcell.  Also called femtocells, these devices extend from your usual internet service 1500ft of cellphone service for up to four different devices.  This helps to improve coverage area and stability of the network as a whole, and it makes sure that just about anyone's whole house will be guaranteed coverage.
      So, that's all I've got from the rumor mill for today, till next time.

Happy Fifth of July!

     Happy fifth of July everyone.  Seeing as I'm a family oriented man, I'm late getting to a fourth of July post because I was out watching fireworks with my wife.  So instead, you get a fifth of July posting.
     In the spirit of independence and innovation I have been slaving for days over technical manuals re-learning everything I know about web design, in an effort to build a project I hope will help Digital Fruit grow to help other businesses with their unique problems of on-location and in-store work.
     I guess, to clarify, I've been building a system where I can enter in the elements of a customers order, like their contact information and their computer type, along with other relevant information into a web form, which will be securely transmitted back to the business computer, via the web-server, and save and print itself right there at my office, ready to be filed.  I'm also going to add elements to that so receipts can be printed on-site for the customer, so myself and future techs will have less to worry about carrying around.
     I also hope that this will keep us more organized, because it will help to centralize the paper work required to run a business.  And this is how I hope to help other businesses.  With the model I'm planning to build, this application will be able to be easily modified and redeployed to a customers needs, so that it can be used in millions of different business situations, and at a much lower cost than most other commercial alternatives.
     So, I'm hoping to get this system up and running very soon and to have a prototype ready for redeployment by the end of summer, and if not then, the end of the year.  So, wish us luck, and we'll see you on the flip side.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Digital Fruit Website

     Well, I have to say I'm impressed.  After a lot of work, and some real frustration, the Digital Fruit website is coming together nicely and is starting to show some real promise.  The design and color combinations are clean and simple, and I think it is pleasing to the eye, not overly cluttered (which I was afraid of because I'm guilty of that from time-to-time).  I'm thinking that with a little more time, the application of some javascript and PHP, this site will be right up there with some of the bigger pages.
     And yes, I am indulging in a little bit of narcissism here, but its late and I've put a lot of work into this page, so I guess I feel justified.  If you'd like to see for yourself, head on over to digitalfruit.biz and tell me what you think, positive or negative, I'll take it either way.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Kin Dies, Xbox Next?

     So, with the death of the Pink project, and Microsoft's new Kin mobile phone, the world seems a little less Microsoft, or at least a little less under their control.  And what with the "re-organization" of the entertainment department within Microsoft, its starting to make this blogger wonder what is really going on in the land of home entertainment from old MS.
     So, with all of this stirring and controversy, I get the feeling something is going to happen to the precious Xbox system that Microsoft has clung to for so long.  Its been reported since the first Xbox system came out that it wasn't making the company money, but it really caught on here in the states(international sales were something of a different matter).
     But I'm not sure what Microsoft is doing.  Are they pulling the plug on the Xbox project to pool their financial resources against a greater foe, say Apple or Google?  Or are they cutting the other areas in a hope to re-address the Xbox and focus on something that the public seems to want out of the entertainment department?  Either plan would seem to benefit the company, and they certainly can afford to keep at the fight with the Xbox.  I'm looking forward to seeing how this develops, either way it plays out.

Product Pick in Reverse

     It has been so long since I've done a product pick, and it will probably be a long time before I do another really good one.  Today's article is actually something of an anti-pick.  I had the opportunity today to try out Netflix's live streaming to the Wii.  Unless you are already a big fan of the Netflix system, this will not be the feature that sells you on it.
     This sad addition to the Netflix family has a simple set up; you are given categories pre-selected by Netflix, and then given a selection of movies for these categories pick by the happy people at Netflix.  That is all.  I have always been one for keeping things simple, the most user friendly and elegant systems are usually so.  But there are certain features of any system that are essential, and must be included.  The streaming to the Wii does not have these.  There is no search functions for quickly finding just the right movie for you, there is no menu system to set your preferences in movies, heck, there isn't even a decent navigation system.  I was constantly having to turn the Wii remote away from the sensor bar just to keep the pointer from interfering with the other controls.
     So, as you can guess from this very short review, I am not impressed by the Netflix streaming to Wii.  I'm not sure if I'll even try it out for the Playstation 3.  All I can say is that this whole experience has been a big disappointment.  I don't suggest using this to anyone.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Problems with Perfection

     I've just been reading a blog posting talking about how the top computer systems, Google, Windows, Facebook, and the iPhone, are too big to topple.  I'm not for or against any of these technologies(with the exception being Facebook, because of its general lack of concern for its customers, and in my opinion, its worthless point in existing), but there is one problem with perfection: Price.
     The writer of the blog post makes a comment at the end relating all of these technologies to sliced bread, saying that if something isn't broke, don't fix it.  But the problem stemming from that is that people aren't willing to pay for it either.  Once someone has gotten their hands on something that is perfect, they will never need another one, or if they do, they will feel cheated for having to pay as much as they did originally.  That's the problem Microsoft faced with XP, no one really wanted a change, and many still don't.  So the only way to get  people away from that system and get them to start paying for things again was to simple quit making innovations to it.
     So, with a need for imperfection essential to the business model of all the major companies, I would beg to differ on the idea that, like sliced bread, the major technologies of our time won't be toppled.  Some one is eventually going to be bold or stupid enough to knowingly create something better, that won't need constant repair and replacement, and they will put it at a price point that will have it flying off the shelf. (Or in the case of Google and Facebook, redirect all of their traffic.)
     Human beings naturally seek to become better, its how we've gotten to where we are.  So with that mindset, these giants will either need to put themselves out of business, or one day they will have to graciously accept defeat from a superior product, which will then in turn be replaced thereafter by something else, until we somehow reach a point at which there can be no improvement.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Quick Blurb 1

     Just a quick blurb:  Both the Digital Fruit website and the Split-Shot Charters Website will be overhauled in the upcoming days.  This may cause some erratic behavior out of these two sites.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Launch At Last (Well, Sort of)

     Well, I've learned a valuable business lesson, don't get your hopes to high.  I really had planned to have the whole Digital Fruit site up and running when I announced that it was officially on-line, but I'm going to have to settle for just the joy of telling everyone that something is up and running on the web.  So, for now, I'm letting everyone know that good things are coming to those who wait, and I'm really hoping to dazzle everyone.
     One of the things that I have in store is streaming video.  Something akin to hulu.com, but not quite so amazing and all encompassing.  What I hope to make out of this Digital Fruit TV is a place to showcase all of the animated work I hope to complete, both with computer graphics, and with traditional ink and pen.  I also hope to make this part of the site a place where budding new filmographers will be able to post their work to showcase to the community, so expect a local section in the future(I still have to figure out the logistics of how to work such a service).  I will say, though, that this will not be something like YouTube.  Any work submitted will be viewed by a committee assigned by Digital Fruit and evaluated for content and quality.  This section is to showcase the best of local talent.  It is not to be a garbage dump for all of the goofy things people like to do with(or without) their friends.
    And the last bit that I'm hoping to showcase, though it seems a long way off still, is the video game my wife and I have been working on for some time.  Things with that are developing, but not at a pace that I'm happy with, so this will probably be addressed in late blog posts, and I'll get some reader feed back about what to do about this problem.
     That's about all that I have to say for tonight, and I hope you readers will log back in soon to get the rest of the scoop about the Digital Fruit website and how things are progressing with it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Senior Options

     Another quick idea for company development and business decisions.  I've been considering, at least temporarily instating a senior's referral program, where seniors that are retired and on social security will be able to gain vouchers for referring other customers.  These vouchers would make them eligible for a free tech service.
     How they would get these vouchers would be to apply for the program either in-store or on line, then when a customer would come in and say that so-and-so had referred them, they would be put on the mailing list for one of the vouchers.
     So, what does everyone think?  I'll be waiting for comments on this one before I really make a decision.