Performancing Metrics

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

LCD Scandal "Resolved"

So, somehow I missed the boat on this one, but apparently there have been accusations slung around that the major manufacturers of LCD screens, on everything from cell phones to televisions, have been colluding for years to artificially drive up the cost of LCD screens in a bid to make themselves more money without actually having to work.

I found this out today as I overheard a radio broadcast suggesting to listeners to check into a settlement that may get them a partial refund on their LCD-screened product, so I decided to look into it.

So, as the story goes, in and around 1999 at least seven major LCD producing companies banded together to form an alliance to insure that they could control the price of LCD screens and charge as much as they liked (here, here, and here).  They referred to the near 60 meetings as the "Crystal Meetings" (here).  This sounds way too ridiculously spy-movie for my comfort, almost enough to make one paranoid.

In 2006, they either disbanded or got caught, I'm not sure which, the details about everything get fuzzy around here, but by 2008, there were complaints being lodged in US courts (here).

Overall, this really makes me nervous as a consumer.  I'm not really complaining that much over the price gouging, thats something that corporations are notorious for.  I'm worried over the fact that so many of the players in the industry were involved.  There were seven who settled, but there are many more that haven't, and are fighting against the system.  Things like this are definitely causes to the global recession, and we can't have any more of this.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Search Reality

Just thought I'd share some of the humor I see in analytics numbers for all of you tech geeks out there interested in the business side of things.  This graph, taken from the analytics of our own website, I feel accurately reflect how search really works online:

I mean, do you really use Bing or Yahoo?  I know I haven't been on either of those sites for months, at least.  I mean, hell, Linux use has a larger piece of the pie.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Welcome Back!

Welcome back one and all.  Did you have a merry Christmas?  Good.  And have a happy New Year, too.

But on that note, I'd like to let you Digital Fruit Fans in on a little secret:  Digital Fruit celebrates the twelve days of Christmas, so we will be continuing on with our holiday celebrations and retail sales until the sixth of January.

So Merry second day of Christmas, and have another cup of eggnog, this is going to be a long one.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays

Just taking a couple of minutes to wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ah, USB Experiments

So, I being the geek I am, picked up a USB experiment interface, and have been enjoying the process of putting it together.  Its one of those kits you pick up at Radio Shack, and put together on your own.  A very high tech hobby kit, like the old computers used to be.

Anyways, I've finished assembling the thing, and I got to try it out on my computer the other day.  It works wonderfully.  Every part of the card works exactly as it should, so I know I at least have decent skills when it comes to soldering parts together.

But now comes the really fun part.  Now that I'm done with test the card with demo programs provided with its SDK, I get to write my own software to utilize this thing and its inputs and outputs.  A whole world of possibilities awaits, all at my disposal.  Guess I better get busy then.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Klout

I found out about a new service the other day that I'm still not sure about.  Just like FourSquare and its potential for violating privacy, Klout.com has a potential to really piss people off.

The idea of Klout.com is that everyone has clout within their community, and this should be recognized with in the online community as well.  They give you a score between 0 and 100, and award you with little things as you accomplish goals.

Honestly, its all starting to sound a little formulaic to me.  Its the same concept as Four Square, just on line.  Log in and make sure everyone knows you're the resident expert at what you talk about.

I'm giving the service a try, but if in a couple of months, I don't get some positive feedback for my actions, I'm probably deleting my profile(which you have to do even if you haven't signed up and don't want Klout to give you a score).  So, I'll be back in a couple of months to review, and that will be that.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Did You Forget Chrome OS?

I remember last year how big a deal everyone and everything seemed to be making over Chrome OS.  They were talking about how it would revolutionize the way we compute, and that we would all love and embrace it immediately.  Now I know that hindsight is twenty-twenty, but this is just laughable.

I thought the whole idea was terrible from the start.  An OS that can't do anything unless you're online?  There are so many things that can go horribly wrong with that idea.  And yes, I am aware that there are off-line options for some Chrome OS apps.

But the thing that made me laugh the most on this most forgotten "world changing OS" is that there were plenty of people that were saying Android(and here, and here) was only a temporary stop for Google, and they were only using it to get people over to Chrome OS.  Yeah, that worked out well.

With the user base of Android sitting nice and pretty, and the user base for Chrome OS nonexistent, I'm pretty sure that Chrome OS was a failed revolution.  Honestly, I've heard no news on this system in almost six months.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Next LAN Party

Okay Digital Fruit fans, our next LAN Party event is the 15 of December.  Its this up-coming Thursday, so make sure to mark it on your calender.  The game of choice will be Lord of the Rings Online.  Its a 7.2 GB download though, with a two hour intro for new characters, so you might want to start this one early.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Um, Confused

I'd like to say that my confusion was actually short lived, and this story really just made me smile.  I order something off of New Egg on Black Friday, and they package arrived yesterday.  I opened the box, found a sea of packing peanuts, plunged my hand in to find my prize, and pulled out this:





Ridiculous but true, I received a single package of coffee with my Black Friday splurge.  Do you think they were trying to keep me awake?  Cause I really don't want to offend them, but I don't drink coffee, I get my caffeine cold from a can of Coca Cola.

A Sad Sad List

Because this is becoming too much of a problem, I'm listing here a bunch of programs that have been broken by the lax interface compatibility of the Unity desktop environment.  I'll also be listing if they work properly in Gnome 3, so if you prefer to stick with certain programs, you'll know if you have a second option.

Well, here's the list:
  • IBM Lotus Symphony - Works in Gnome 3
  • Vuze

Aluminum Drive update 2

So, just a quick mobile post, after yesterday's recycle round-up, we've saved up $50.91 towards electric generating equipment.  Thank you one and all for your help with this project so far.  We've got about one fourth of our goal for the year, so we hope that you keep going strong with your aluminum donations.  I'd like to take the time today to ask you to think of anyone you know, just one person, that may want to particapate in the

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Last Post of the Month

As we come to the close of this November, and the Thanksgiving rush has settled down, we here at Digital Fruit get ready to gear up for the Christmas season.  Its something pretty big for us here, we are a media content creator.  So that means Christmas specials, Christmas music, and something rather new on the scene, Christmas video games.  (Plus all of the written Christmas stuff, too.)

With that in mind, I'm hoping to get blog posts in, but if things get busy, I'm not sure how well I'll do getting all of the typing in.  This year I have the benefit of mobile blogging via the Android platform, but even that has its limits.  Also, we celebrate the twelve days of Christmas, which means our celebration ends around noon on January sixth.  So in case I don't get to you before then, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Micro Blogging Spam

So, would you like me to twitter you?  Sounds dirty doesn't it?  And that is apparently what a new wave of twitter accounts are hoping for.  I'm sure the problem has always existed on Twitter, but I've noticed a vast increase in the number of annoying, porn-related accounts that keep following the Digital Fruit Twitter account.  Its really kind of sad.

And unfortunately, this kind of thing is usually a sign of the death of a service like this.  When things like porn become an overwhelming dog pile on a service like Twitter, it shows the vast number of people using the service, yes, but it also sends those users fleeing in the thousands.  Most decent people don't want to be flooded by porn adds or explicit invitations on a daily basis, and will quit using a service if this is what happens.

Now Digital Fruit has no desire to leave Twitter, I find it a good way to pulse the general flood of information floating around the web, but I can't see the average consumer putting up with this crap.  I'd like to petition the nice people at Twitter to put up their best effort in stopping this kind of garbage from overwhelming users.

I would like to say that this article is written based on just my personal experience with Twitter, as there are very few people in my local area that actually use the service.  If I'm an isolate incident in this community, I'd like to then make it know that I'm having this problem with Twitter.  Does anyone have suggestions for improvement?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Linux Sucking Bad

So, as I've been bemoaning the current crisis in Ubuntu-land (mainly Unity), I decided to hop on over to another "high-quality" linux distribution, and see how things were going.  Oh how disappointed I was.  Meego has died.  And while I had my back turned, too.

Now, I was a little upset with the death of Moblin, because Moblin was cool, slick looking, and worked well on the hardware it worked on.  But then I played around with Meego for a while and found it to be a decent, if slightly unwanted, replacement to Moblin (I had plans to use Moblin as a more user-friendly OS to sell on computers for people who just want to use a computer, not fight with it).

Now, Meego has been replaced with another system, Tizen, and you can't even get a hold of it as an operating system.  So, instead of another stable option to Ubuntu and Fedora-core, we are once again left with only two stable users, and only one is really competing in the consumer space.  I'm starting to get why some people ditch Linux and go back to Windows and Mac. 

Aluminum Drive update 1

For all of you who have been donating to the Digital Fruit aluminum drive, I'd like to update that we have collected only about twenty dollars so far with this years drive.  Our goal of $200 is still a long ways off, and we only have one more month left to the year.  But we still have a lot of aluminum to cash in today, and we hope with the holiday season that you have been keeping us in mind with each can of soda you drink.  Help Digital Fruit reach its goal of $200 by turning your trash into cash.  Thanks, and I'll update the totals later.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Project Headshot, Update 1

So, I told you I'd be blogging the progress of Project Headshot here on the blog, so here is my first update for the project.  Today, I've got a short clip of one of the songs I've been helping to re-master, its called Why Walk,


So check it out and let us know what you think in the comments area.  And I'll be updating soon.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Vision for the Digital Age

While sitting at my parent's place this Thanksgiving, I was talking to my brother about how we are both disappointed in different ways about the way digital technology is going, and the causes involved.  We both came to a general conclusion of what we thought would fix the issue, and strangely, our conclusions were almost identical.

We both have a vision of a world device-agnostic, where whatever system you were working on, whatever way things worked, it was more modular and less proprietary.  You want to use a specific piece of hardware? Thats okay, we're sure it will work, because everything is interchangeable.  Even better, software is, too.  If you have it, it will run on that system.  Whatever system that may be.

Now, this kind of world is still a long ways off, and might always be.  But as my brother and I kept talking, I realized that Digital Fruit is already starting to do its part.  I have always been committed to bringing the content Digital Fruit designs to as many people as possible, which means providing it on systems that agnostic.  And I will continue to be committed to this goal.  I want all of our video to run on your computer, no matter what.  All of our video games, too.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New CG Art Coming Soon

I'll be posting a gallery of CG artwork done by myself and fellow Digital Fruit Associates soon, so I hope you'll drop by and take a look.  Also, if any of our readers are wanting to set up their own gallery, send me and e-mail at andrew@digitalfruit.biz.  If there is enough interest, I'll setup a log-in system and a devoted page.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Next Lan Party

The next Digital Fruit Lan Party is taking place on Thursday, December 15.  So keep your calendar open and head on down.  If you are interested in attending, contact us through text message at 360-268-3819.

Um, This is Starting to Suck

I'm really getting sick of this.  I've been using Ubuntu solidly for almost two years now, and the last few months have really stunk.  With the release of Ubuntu 11.10, I was forced over to using the Unity interface, and it sucks.  I find little to like about this, and the number of bugs keeps piling up.  I can understand Cannonical's drive to stay competitive in the tablet marketplace, but make a freaking tablet version then, don't piss off your core user base by making them use something nobody wants.

I'm putting out a call for anyone who cares to read this and has the interest, lets make a push to take back our desktop.  There needs to be another option, one that is as good as Gnome 2 was.  Lets make Cannonical see that they have made a mistake, and they need to correct that.  Leave comments here, send me e-mails with your ideas, and write about your displeasure to Cannonical, and tell them something has to be done.  We don't want them ruining something it has taken the Linux community a long time to create, a truly unified distribution.  (And no, the irony that the program now fragmenting that unified system is called Unity.)

Until next time, catch you on the flip-side.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Next LAN Party

So, Digital Fruit's next LAN party is scheduled for a tentative November 15.  Its a tuesday, and I would like to remind people to bring their own surge protectors and network cables along with the usual computer and peripherals.  Cover charge is $5, so have it ready at the door.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Suggestions for Funding

I'm printing a quick one here to see if anyone has any suggestions on how to procure funding for some of the current projects we're working on?  I'm looking to start a Kick Starter page for the Epic RPG project, but this situation won't work on all of our projects.

Any suggestions you readers have are greatly appreciated, and I thank you in advance.  We always value your input.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Project Headshot

So I'm up this late working with local artist Mel Taylor on Project Headshot, his latest musical colaboration.

With a mixture of rock, metal, jazz and blues, it looks to be an impressive show of musical force.  Digital Fruit will be working closely on the development of this project, and we'll be posting updates as the project progresses.  So check back often.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mobile Blogging

So, I'm testing out the new Blogger Android mobile app and seeing how well it works for mobile tech posting.  So far I'm rather impressed.  Its simple.  And I mean its really simple.  When you load it up all that comes up is a two button menu, title and content boxes, and publish, save and delete buttons.  Just te bare essentials for writing posts on the go.
Its quick, simple, and effective.  Everything it needs to be, so I give it four out of four fruit.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Why Does Time Escape?

I've been musing for the last fifteen minutes over where time flies.  It always seems like I start off strong on the new year with this blog writing thing, and then it takes several serious dips over the course of the year.

Though after several minutes of deliberation, I've come to the clear conclusion that it is because of summer, fall and holiday events, it is nice to note that I do get some time to myself in the winter, one of my favorite seasons.  Work has been good here at Digital Fruit lately, though our 2011 cellphone numbers still haven't gotten compiled, and for no other reason then I've been letting other things be more important.  Like earning money.

And with all of the work I have been doing, I've gotten a couple of new ideas for things to develop for Digital Fruit's website.  We now have plans to set up a streaming radio system, something like Pandora or Last.fm  and we hope to have the first working version up soon.  unlike Pandora or Last.fm, though, Digital Fruit will be working towards dishing out local content in a geographic recognition system.  Depending on where your computer pings in the server from, the system will try and stream music from your genre of choice done by local bands that submit the work to us for approval.  Once we get the details hammered out, we hope that this will be an awesome addition to our web offerings.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Kind of Ticked off

Honestly, when you do something nobody likes, its not usually a good idea to continue down that path.  But OS designers seem to just keep plugging away, deteriorating good designs in the search of something new.  New is not a guarantee of better.

And as shocking as it may be to people that know me, I'm actually ranting today on my personal operating system of choice, Ubuntu.

For almost a year-and-a-half now, I've been an avid user of Ubuntu, and have sung its praise from the roof tops.  But now I'm complaining.  I went and up-graded my system to ver. 11.10.  I didn't know that this was the release that was officially killing support for Gnome 2, so I was forced into using Unity, Ubuntu's new desktop.

The problem I'm having with it, and the problem that will soon plague Windows 8, and possibly even Mac systems, is the move to completely touch-centric UI.  And with Unity, it shows.  Everything has been shifted, re-arranged, and altered, and the problem is, it isn't quick or easy to get around with a mouse.  Now, if there were obvious plans to move everything to tablets, and this would satisfy the computing needs of everyone, I could see the need for these kind of changes.  But there are no such plans!  Tablets suck as full form factor computers, and have very limited options in terms of hardware.  The desktop is still the major hardware platform of choice.  Most people still use a mouse and keyboard.  So now, in stead of my computing experience being easy and efficient, I'm stuck relearning a clunky interface.  (For those Linux fans that are saying to themselves, 'just switch to Gnome 3', Gnome 3 is at best, unfinished, and I will not say what I think about it.  In a head-to-head, I actually prefer Unity, its designed more like the other modern OSes out on the market.)

I'm hoping there are enough complaints about this that the Ubuntu developers take notice, because if they don't I'm tempted to do something stupid enough as to try and develop my own desktop, because I don't see much of a future in the other to major OSes either.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Web Comics

So, I've noticed over time that web-comics, no matter how horrible the particular comic may be, always have really slick designs for their sites.

And I mean always.  I've seen comics before that look like they were scribbled by toddlers in daycare, and they have a site that looks like it was designed by a professional flash programmer.  And I realize that some of them use things like Frontpage and templates, but you would think at least one of them would have a terrible interface.  But nope, never.

It really makes me wonder if the artist coming up with these comics think that just by using a sweet-looking site design, they guarantee their site's popularity.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lan Parties Monthly

So, Digital Fruit has started hosting monthly LAN parties, hopefully giving the geeks of Aberdeen something to do.  We are planning them on the go, though, so you'll have to check in periodically to find out the dates.  We'll be posting them on our Facebook page.

We hope to see anyone local there, so call in an make your reservation.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Jim Henson Google Doodle

I find it funny that when someone as big as Google does something trying to be artistic, no one gets it.  With today's Google doodle, Google users get to be puppeteers, using five digital puppets to play around.  But the doodle has no sound, and apparently people are freaking out about it.[1] 

But when I sat there playing with the doodle, I just laughed.  Google really had made them puppets, and by doing so, forced people to do something they haven't done in a long time: use their imaginations.  Just like the master puppeteer himself, Google was expecting you to voice the puppets yourself.  So, I challenge anyone who reads this blog and specifically this post, to create a video of you playing the voices of these puppets, and post them on Youtube.  Maybe we can start a viral trend.  Who knows.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Spammers

Just recently, we've gotten our first attempts at spam here on the blog.  People have left one line comments saying things like "Great job!" then just posting the name on the blogpost and then their website address.  Honestly, this is both funny and annoying.

Its funny because they think that it will get their website traffic on Google and Bing, when in all actuality, it gets them traffic for phrases like 'Great job', which are so general as to do nothing for your webpage.  (The phrase actually generates hits for a sketch comedy show by Tim and Eric.)  So I laugh because they are putting in all of this work for nothing.  No one will find their site.

Its annoying because as a moderator for a blog, I have to go through the comments posted on this blog, and check to make sure they aren't from legitimate viewers who really just want to thank us.  (I know that sounds lame, but you don't want to offend someone actually reading your blog by deleting their comments, no matter what those comments are.)  I don't like having to spend any extra time reading through worthless comments meant to help someone else's website rise to the top.  I'm seriously considering creating a black list of blog spammers so that my fellow bloggers can quickly search the list and find out if the comment is from a known spammer.

With such a list, spammers would have to personally apply for removal, and would only be given so many chances for re-admittance to the blogging community before they would be permanently blacklisted.  It sounds like a great idea to me.

So, if you, as a blogger are annoyed by all of the comment spammers out there, leave your rants, stories, and suggestions for a solution as legitimate comments to this post.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sinage

Just to start, when I went to start writing this article, I found my spell check didn't have signage down as a legitimate word, and, frustrated by this, I went and looked it up.  Signage apparently isn't recognized as a word in anything but American English.  Isn't that weird?

But that is not the topic of discussion for this post.  The post today is about how the world is starting to have problems separating things from the virtual world we have on line, and the physical world our bodies reside in.  Case in point, this picture I took at the Puyallup fair yesterday:
Come on, push my button
What I would really like to see in this situation is not a giant plastic sign, but a giant plastic Facebook like button with a wireless transmitter and a fingerprint identification system tied into a database on Facebook, because then there would at least be a reason to attach giant like buttons to fences.  As it is, this is just lame.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Our Vision for the Personal Cloud

I've been hearing for a couple of years now all about cloud technology, and how great its going to be for the consumer.  Yes, its great to get at all of your data anywhere you want, but other than that, I don't really find the appeal of a corporate cloud system.  Personal clouds, though, I see some real potential for.

Imagine this for a second;  you are sitting in your living room, reading something on you tablet, a comic perhaps, and you laugh out loud.  Everyone else wants to see what was so funny, so the come to crowd around you and your tiny little tablet.  At this point, you realize you have two options, you can either bump it to each persons tablet, or slide it to your television.  You go for the second, and slide the comic towards you much larger flat screen and magically it appears, without having to be turned on, and without you having to press anything special.

These kinds of things will be possible with a combination of personal cloud technologies, home server systems, and location aware home devices with wireless and gps capabilities.  The ground work is already laid down with several other technologies already on the market, and soon you could play a video game on one screen, need to move to another room, and just flick your game onto another screen, be it a portable or a console or PC.

And one of the best parts is, running the home server to operate these functions could be something the size of the Mac Mini, and with improvements with things like the Atom and ARM processors, they could get even smaller.

So, as the post is titled, the cloud has potential, yes, but I'm not that interested personally.  I think what will be more revolutionary is the way devices inside our own homes will interact.  A personal cloud seems to be something more natural and powerful.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Long Pause

Umm, wow, have I ever been out of it.  I guess I've kind of let time slip past me lately.  This one is just a quick post saying I am in fact alive.  Got back from Colorado a week ago, and that was an awesome trip.  I tried to take advantage of the Borders closing sales down there to pick up some more programming books.  And while I did find some rare gems, I was depressed how everything in the computer sections down there seemed to be books on how to make money using your iPhone.  I'm really hoping those were the leftover rejects, but I'm have a funny feeling not much of the computer section was moving in the first place.

I'm going to be working on updating some things soon, so I will post along with those updates, so I will try and keep things up-to-date.  Bye.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Google Getting into the Anti-Malware Game

I was just checking out my twitter feed today and found a tweet from Google on how they're helping out in fight against malware.  And honestly, I think its brilliant.

Here is the link to their blog post on the subject.  Reading through the article, I find the concept amazingly simple.  Google has found the proxy servers that host several of the Fake AV virus' out their and alerts a person when their computer is sending data to Google through those proxies.  The alert only appears in Google's search results, so even seeing it at all tips you off that your computer is infected, making the act of faking the alert to get people to install something worse almost pointless(I stress the almost because if some one is gullible enough, any fake alert is worth it to virus hosts).  A very simple way to help people purge their computers of virus'.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Road Less Traveled

I was reading an article today on Tech Republic about this new decade being the decade of the developer.  While I agree with that 99%, I have a slight problem with part of this discussion.  The author, Jason Hiner, Editor-in-Chief of Tech Republic, makes a point of applications being more modular and streamline, doing only one or two tasks very well.  And he's not the only one I've read that is on this kick.  There are a lot of tech writers that think apps will eclipse software suites.

I have one serious issue with this, though.  Where I do feel that focus is important in an application, and Microsoft certainly abused the added-features element of software, I think that the days of simple one-off apps that serve a single function are temporary.  As time goes on and smart phones and tablets become more mainstays, the applications on those platforms that will survive the holocaust of apps that is to come, will be the applications that keep you from having to leave to do something else related.  Its why we have software suites to begin with.

As I see it, this is just a repeat of the early days of computing, where the world was big and new and everyone wanted their piece of it.  Once the dust has cleared, and the winners settle on the top of the pile, I think we'll see a return to dependence on key sets of applications, and that they will be all-in-one wonders, because honestly, those are the systems that sell best to consumers consistently. (I mean, really, when was the last time someone bought a printer that just printed?)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Finally, Google+

So, I've been searching up and down all weekend to get one of those elusive Google+ invites, but to no avail.  And, just when I was beginning to despair, I get an invite from my brother.

And with a thank you to him for that, I was able to play around on Google+ for most of the afternoon, and I'm kind of sad to say that I only used Facebook for a couple of months before switching to something new.  Honestly, it only took me a few minutes of use before I was ready to shout for joy and say "thank you! something that makes sense!"

With my case, this whole Google+ thing will amazingly useful as a business owner.  Using adsense and analytics, along with adwords and webmaster tools, I can see integration of these along with my social network becoming something I use regularly, and not just something I feel obligated to update every once in a while.

Also, the circles method of contact management is awesome.  I've gotten a lot of trash talk from my wife about all of the people I've friended on Facebook, and how can I possibly be friends with all of these people?  Well, now I can put business associates, friends, family, fans and acquaintances all in their own tidy little place, so next time my wife sees how small my circle of friends is, she won't have anything to say except, "You need to meet people."

The Netflix Dive

Wow, I never really expected people to complain so much about a five dollar change in their bill.  But then again, when your bill was only $9.99 a month, a five dollar increase is pretty significant.  As Digital Fruit has plans to set up a streaming service for our digital video content, we're watching this situation closely.  And honestly, its looking pretty gnarly.

The massive amount of customer backlash at Netflix over changing their pricing plan has made a huge amount of noise all over the web.  I mean, I got links to two different articles on the topic in my inbox for Digital Fruit, and another two separate articles in my personal e-mail inbox, all within a couple of hours today.  I see more clearly than ever now people are very serious about their entertainment media.

Though it seems very laughable now because of our lack of content, Digital Fruit will, for the foreseeable future, keep our video content streaming for free from our servers, paid for by advertising dollars, not subscription fees.  You can count on it.

So, any of our readers subscribers to Netflix?  How has this turn of events treated you?  Are you fine with a five dollar increase, or will you be finding a new method to get your media?  Let me know in the comments section.

Will You Wait for Google+?

     So, as I have been watching the news media and reading the blog posts that seem to be everywhere about the new social network Google+, I've been chomping at the bit to to try it out for my self.  I've heard of sneaky workarounds, but they require you to know someone on the inside.  Sad as it is to say, this techie just isn't high enough on the food chain yet to even know someone invited.
     But with all this hype and fuss over Google+, will people wait?  I don't know how long Google plans to keep Google+ a field test, but is it good to hype your product before you even know when it will be available publicly?  Will customers wait?  I wanted to ask our readers again.  So, will you wait for a chance to sign up for Google+?
     I will speak for myself and say that what I've seen and heard of Google+ is enough, I'll be their on opening day to sign away(as a Blogger blogger it should be quick, Google already has my life history).  I'm anxious to hear whether you will, too, and if you do, add us to your tech circle.

Monday, July 11, 2011

In Appreciation of Blender

     Blender is a unique and interesting program.  Originally touted as the open-source attempt at a full on production suite for computer generated content, it has grown into a industry level computer graphics application.  And, even though I the program is available for free from www.blender.org, I think Blender has an amazing place in the world of the GPL to remain free, and yet generate amazing amounts of revenue.
     My sole reason for this idea is that within the world of video production, it’s the content produced that makes the real money.  The companies that create this content spend thousands and thousands of dollars customizing scripts for the specific project they are working on, and for a program like Blender, some of this work can get translated into new features.  Plus, under the GPL, any production company can modify Blender and make it better, which just furthers the capabilities of Blender as a whole.
     So, I don’t see it as farfetched at all to think that one day in the future, the CG program of choice in Hollywood could be Blender, (I mean, heck, even grand old Pixar uses linux for their OS).

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Quick Mental Musing

     My quick mental musing today is to whether or not Android, iOS, and Win Phone 7 really qualify as full operating systems, or just useful user interface, like the things your blue ray player run on?  Honestly, this is a question I've been ruminating on for some time now.  So many of the major changes going on in the computer industry are based off of these three systems, but are they really anything more than quaint toys we used to access greater content?  Without the functionality of the cloud, are these devices even worth messing with?  And if the cloud concept fails, will the fascination of the general public still be so fixated on the 'smart phone'?
     I have my opinion, but I'm not here to rant.  I want to know what the readers think.  Leave your thoughts and rants in the comments below, and let me know whether or not you think some changes need to happen to the current touch tablet interfaces, to make them into 'more of an OS'.  Thanks.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why Should We Fear the Rain?

     I keep reading online about this impending flood of change as to how consumers will be using their technology in the near future.  The techie movers and shakers keep proclaiming amazing changes in how we work with, interface and play with technology.  It stands to be an upheaval of biblical proportions.
     I think they're all idiots.  In every article I read, and every story I see, I'm shocked with how dry and worn out the rhetoric is.  Its the same things people have been shouting for years, and they haven't happened.
      First, I read an article earlier about how by 2021 we will be using glasses that project directly into our eyes with lasers so we can see the world around us and still interact with our 'teleputers'.  We will control computers with our mind.  Sound to go to be true?  As the old saying goes, it probably is.  I'm not saying that we won't be able to interface with our computers like this someday, but I definitely don't see it happening within two years.  I mean, look how long it took touch screens to actually make their way into consumer electronics.  It took a video game hand-held console American's said was only for children to bring this concept into the home.  The patents for such technology were introduced in the 70's!  Yet it took almost thirty years for them to make it into the home.
     Also, brain wave control of the computer may be more difficult then scientist realize.  This sort of technology is based on mapping the way that impulses are transmitted through peoples brains.  But unlike modern, finicky computers, the biological computer of the brain is a system that can sustain a certain level of damage to its transmission systems.  From their it can repair, or re-route, existing pathways.  Our brains actually do this more often than we think, and this can certainly pose problems with electronics used to track its finite operations.
     And household humanoid robots?  This is an area I'm not even going to touch.  According to futurists, these were suppose to be in our houses by the late eighties.  And that's all I'm saying.  (Quick side-note, if this is something your into, check out Asimo.)
     More realistically is the constant complaint that desktops are dead, that all people will be doing their computing on the mobile landscape.  I would also call foul on this one.  The reality is that our world has become electronic, and that we are constantly seeking interconnection.  But this interconnection has also increased our intelligence as a society.  This means that advertising hype over something old isn't as effective as it once was.  We don't get bated into the trap that we must upgrade for the sack of a few ghz of speed.  But we do have to have whats new and edgy, no matter how intelligent we are.  The place of the desktop in the home isn't gone, we just realize that we don't have to upgrade as often as we used to.  The life cycle of the modern desktop PC, in my opinion, will actually increase, because there are just certain things better done on a desktop.
      What I'm getting at is don't expect a flood of change.  Change in the tech world isn't as quick as computer companies want you to think.  It's horribly dependent on patent licensing and social trends.  It has huge setbacks due to marketing.  And it is, in the end, just another thing in your life that requires money.  So if consumers aren't walking around holding umbrella's, then it will be more of a drizzle than a downpour.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Sixth Player

     In Digital Fruits ever constant work to find the best of anything digital for our customers, we have been testing out new software products available for free off the internet.  And today we have a sixth contender for internet browser, Midori, from which I am writing today's post.
     I actually found this program by chance when looking up information on wikipedia, and found it has a listing in Ubuntu's default repository.  I downloaded it for both Ubuntu and Windows XP, and I'll be featuring it in an upcoming review of which browsers perform the best, and on which systems.  That will be coming in a few days, we still have to run tests on a few more systems.
     As to what Midori can do; its a web browser, just like any other.  As of yet, I haven't found any distiguishing features that make it stand out from the fab-five of web browsing.  I'm going to be doing some more intensive work as time goes on, so expect an update in the future.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Aluminum Drive

     So, Digital Fruit is having an aluminum drive, where we are collecting up cans and other pieces of scrap aluminum(most notably heatsinks) and recycling them to generate proceeds for the purchase of solar panels.  We figured we could help the environment out twice as fast if combined initiatives.
     So, if you want to bring any cans, or have a desire to help by setting up a collection site, go to www.digitalfruit.biz/contact and contact support.  We thank the community in advance for their support.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

All Work and No Play Makes Me Tired

     So for the lack of posting lately, all I can say for it is that we have been busy here at Digital Fruit.  There have been some minor updates to www.digitalfruit.biz, and a lot of tech support being done.
     I've also been taking pictures to post up on one of our other web properties, www.picapedia.info, where we are trying to create an online photographic encyclopedia.  I've been taking the pictures I'm sure will be difficult to get any other artist to submit willingly.  You know, mundane stuff like pictures of watches and roadsigns.  I've also got some great shots of certain cars, so those my be more interesting to everyone.  Once this site really gets going, I'm going to devote more time to the interface, setting up a search function and an indexing database.
     And finally, we are looking into setting up an arcade of simple on-line games for our fans to play.  Things like tank destroyer and sudoku.  Maybe even Mahjong.  So, look forward to more postings about that.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Our First Serious Attempt At Animation



video


     Although simple and childish, this animation was more a lesson in patiences and resolve.  I'm continuing the piece, and will post the updated versions up until the final version, which I'm hoping will be about 720 frames, or 30 seconds.  Yep, thats right, when this is done, I will have drawn 720 individual images for this little show, and I hope you'll enjoy watching it as much as I'm enjoying making it.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Some More Help

     So, lately people have been showing a lot of interest in working on the video game we are creating, working title: Epic.  We have two artists working on sound and visual, another just for sound mixing, and another enthusiast that may get on board for programming.  In all, that moves our little group up to six participants, and we're looking for more.  Anyone interested contact Digital Fruit at (360) 593-6082.  Leave a message or send a text that you are interested in working on Epic, our RPG title.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

iPod Update problems in Windows

     So, you have an iPod, and you use Windows.  You are part of a very large community dabbling in crossing different OS's.  And now you've hit a snag.  You're trying to update your Apple technology with a Windows copy of iTunes, and you get a little error box that pops up and tells you there was a problem installing and your network has timed out.  You try the disgustingly large download again, and the same result.  What's wrong?  Don't worry, you're not the only one with this issue.
     This problem stems from Apple stalwartly believing that no one needs an anti-virus.  So, the quickest fix, at least if you are using Kaspersky, is to simply turn off your antivirus.  Then you run the update again and all should be well.  Hope things turn out alright.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ack! Internet Blackout!

     So, its great to be back.  For the last forty-eight hours Digital Fruit has been on an internet blackout because of some billing discrepancies with Qwest communications.  Though not completely settled, we have been able to restore service.  So, I'm back, and I'll post again soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

First Facebook Faux Pas

     Have you ever done something you knew was bad, just to see what the outcome would be?  I seem to be one of those plagued with this ailment.  But, as it seems, only when it comes to computers.
     I received a post on my wall the day before last that seemed ridiculously fishy.  Curious about that, I went to the wall of the friend that had left me the post, and decided that this post was generated by a Facebook virus.  Feeling curios, I booted up a virtual machine of Windows XP and went to the page of the place that post lead me too.  I followed the social engineering instructions on this new Facebook wall, knowing quite well this was a set up.  (This particular one was about getting to track people "creeping" you Facebook page.)  After following the pages instructions so I could "find out who was viewing my facebook page", I was re-directed to a page that was talking about taking surveys to win a free iPad 2.  Having sated my curiosity and feeling bored with this game now, I exited out of Windows XP.
     I then noticed that my account had sent every one of my friends the exact same message my friend's account had sent me.  Not really caring much about my Facebook account, I shrugged, deleted the post from the most immediate friends on my list, and went to bed.
     The next morning, my e-mail was flooded with comment notifications about postings from friends.  All of these posts were from people concerned my Facebook was infected and warning me to get it fixed.  I then realized I had committed my first Facebook faux pas, I had clicked on something that lead to a potential security hole for my whole group of friends.
     I was mildly surprised at the reaction of my small community of friends.  Their response was quick and decisive, full of advice on how to fix my dilemma, and parental style warnings not to click on things I don't know where they'll lead.  The chance that I might have caused a security leak was a serious ordeal.
     Needless to say I'll be more careful next time, and set up an account specifically for virus hunting.  This experience opened my eyes as to how seriously people take their Facebook, and how easy it is to for the average person to get sucked into these kind of plots, I mean, everything on the virus' Facebook page looked legitimate.
     Well, here's to hoping for a safer internet, and I'll catch you on the flipside.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Appologies, But Not Our Fault

     Sorry for the lack of posts the last few days, but as I'm sure at least a few of you heard that the Blogger system was down for the last couple of days after a failed maintenance update.  So, I'm going to use this catastrophe to highlight one of the huge failings of the computing cloud system, and why personally owned software is still a very important part of personal and business computing.
    What happens when the company you use for cloud services fails?  I'm not implying that Google is going to suddenly cease to exist, but they definitely fail sometimes.  And when you have a lot of your personal work and entertainment invested in the services these big companies provide, you take a monumental risk.  Say you have a business report that is absolutely necessary for a meeting the next day.  You log into Google docs and try to print it off, only to find that the document in question can't be accessed because of a system failure you can't have fixed by your local tech support guy.  What will you do now?
    Don't get me wrong, I think the idea of anywhere access is great.  Bought into it in the days of e-mail with services like Hotmail and Gmail.  But I also believe in being smart about things.  The best solution?  In my opinion, the best solution to problems like this one is synchronization.  The data being saved on your personal system, and on your cloud drive, simultaneously, and the applications, (at least to read the files), as well.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Big, Bad Meanie

     So, Microsoft is buying Skype.  This seems to have a lot of people up in arms about how Microsoft will kill yet another great part of the computing experience.  But honestly, does anyone really believe that Microsoft is still the big, bad meanie they once were.  What with lost market share in the mobile phone industry, the internet browser department, search engine, and in personal computer sales(thanks to Apple), I personally believe that Microsoft is having to put on a much nicer public face.  Times are changing.
     How I see the Skype purchase going is like this: Microsoft will leave it alone.  Right now Microsoft is looking for something that will bring in steady revenue.  Relying sole on the sale of software that moves in five-to-ten year cycles won't work in the future.  People have come to adopt new technology much quicker as prices have fallen and the market has saturated with competing products at lower prices.  This is where Microsoft has been hurting.
     To top that off, they have taken some major hits in what products they produce.  In the last year they have had to trim their company by quite a bit.  A lot of good talent was lost, and that makes Microsoft eager to regain some of their status in the computing world.
     So, I would have to say that I think the purchase of Skype will be in the best interests of Microsoft if they just leave it as it is.  Skype already has a huge customer base, and that means that they already have the ability to generate revenue.
     The only casualty I can see coming from this is the loss of support for the Linux variant of Skype.  It a long shot though, so I'm not really worried.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Premise for an MMORPG

     So, what's a good premise for an MMORPG?

Monday, May 2, 2011

C++ IDEs for Linux

     So, today's post is covers something that shouldn't be so lacking in Linux, a good C++ IDE.  I have no idea why there aren't hundreds of decent-to-good IDEs for Linux, but in my search to learn Ubuntu, I've had troubles finding IDEs that are even usable.  So, to help other budding C++ Programmers, I've decided to list and review the best options I've found thus far.
     As odd as it may seem, there are only two environments that make the cut in this review, and one that I think has promise if it gets a little more TLC.  And the two that top this short list aren't even C++ development environments, they are Java environments that have C++ extensions.  The first, and my personal pick for number one, is NetBeans 6.9.  This one is ironic, because for many years I have been a detractor of NetBeans as an IDE, because it had a terrible interface, and left you in the dark as to the process you were going through.
     But this latest version is astounding simple.  In Ubuntu 10.10, all I had to do was was look through the repositories, and click install.  After that, it was a simple matter of going to the NetBeans site,

Sunday, May 1, 2011

New Month, New Posts

     So, I know that the month of April was a slow month for the blog, and, sadly, a slow month for Digital Fruit.  But it was still time well spent.  The time in study and R&D was well applied, and some new projects and products are stemming from that time.  So sorry I didn't type much here, but let me just say, there was typing.
     So, I thought I would just step in and say my peace for today, and let everyone know we aren't dead.  We're not even resting.  Soon, we'll have things ready for you to view and play with.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why Linux is a Viable Commercial AND Home Option

     So, I've been thinking a lot lately about why Linux hasn't really established itself as a viable personal PC option yet, and that has lead me to think about why I think it could be viable personal PC option.  I guess, standing on the ledge looking out into the broad world of PC manufactures, with Digital Fruit taking its first baby steps out into that wider world, I'm contemplating our best options.
     That said, this is my argument as to why Linux might just be the operating system of the future, and why Digital Fruit will begin supporting Linux as well as Windows and Mac OSX.
     First off, cost is the major reason anybody supports Linux of any variety, and probably the most compelling reason to use it now.  Linux, based off of open source code, doesn't have to be free, it can be sold, it just can't be locked away under restrictive licensing agreements (it has an agreement, called the GNU Public License, or GPL, but it a simple document essentially setting anything it is attached to as public domain).  This holds a lot of power in the business world, especially in small businesses.  It allows them to only concentrate on the cost of hardware, they don't have to worry about OS costs.  Plus, most of the modern business software available on Linux distributions is either cheap or open source as well, so it falls into the same boat.
     The second reason I have for liking Linux as a personal PC option is that it has the support of community.  Instead of having a small group of people working on OS development, (and by small, I really mean 200 - 500), you have thousands of invested programmers on major Linux distributions working to come up with the best product they can, and with out even insisting on getting paid.  This means that in the best case scenarios, more gets done.  It isn't a perfect system by far, but I have seen some amazing things happen in a short amount of time on open source projects, and Linux is no exception.
     The third reason I think Linux will be a viable option for the personal PC is it's ability to cross the device barrier.  With our world becoming even more interconnected all the time, Linux is the fastest OS to jump any device barrier, because the design is so morph-able in the first place.  Linux can operate on everything from the bios chip-sets on motherboards to full-scale super computers, all without having to change your distribution (if you choose the right distro).  So, with the capability to go anywhere, on any device, I think Linux might just be the system to propel computing into the future, and I'm personally looking forward to it.
     So, I'm sure I'll get plenty of complaints against this article, but I stick by my guns.  I've seen a lot of things happen in the computing world in my time, and I have to say, that as far as I see the technology space moving, Linux fits best to fill the void. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Grueling C++ Regiment

     So, I've decided that I have to master the language of C++, and I'm setting out to do it as fast as I can.  I'm not just focusing on the basics either, but getting prepped for serious game development.  I'm studying as much as I can on the subject, and going as deep as the rabbit hole will take me.
     With that in mind, I decided that I would share the laborious path I'm traveling, in case anyone else dare to travel this sordid road.
     My journey began with a book I've already reviewed here as a product pick, Course Technology Beginning C++ Game Programming, which is an awesome primer on C++.  Then to round out the corners, I'm in the middle of reading Sam's Teach Yourself C++ in 21 Days, which is harder to understand, but goes much more in-depth into the language of C++.  For a basic reference, I picked up both O'Reily pocket references for C and C++, as it seems both are necessary to actually understand the language.
     From there I'm branching off though, in two different forks.  The first will be 2D game development with a cross-platform approach, studying to build games for Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX.  So far I have only two books planned for this section, Game Programming All-in-One, by Jonathan S. Harbour, as it covers the concepts of basic 2D game development, and because it uses the Allegro cross-compatibility library.  Following up there, I'm going to be buying up Advanced 2D game development, a book by the same author.  I haven't read this one yet, so I'm hoping it will be just as good.
     Then, when moving into 3D game programming, it will be Windows only for the first little while.  The first two books I'll be covering there are Beginning Game programming, by Jonathan S Harbour, and Beginning DirectX 9, by Wendy Jones.  These two books get you started on the concepts of using DirectX 9 directly for developing 3D games.  But as they are both basic primers, I'm going to have to finish of the set with 3D Game Programming All-in-One and Programming Role Playing Games with DirectX, as both of these are huge manuals for studying 3D game development.
     And, this is just the beginning, there are plenty of topics I have to research in C++, so I'm sure I will be able to add to this list later, and get a complete study course up for anyone who really wants to learn about C++.  Till next time, I'll catch you on the flip side

Considering Options for R&D

     So, I'm sitting here tonight and pondering over the best way to fund Digital Fruit's R&D department.  Much of what we do here at Digital Fruit is greatly enhanced by the research we conduct, currently on people's free time.  But the best research gets done when people have time to devote to it and an incentive to work.
     Which poses a problem, because there is currently no room in Digital Fruit's budget for R&D.  Heck, were still working on getting our advertising budget up to snuff.  So, I'm contemplating setting up a Paypal donations button on the website, our Facebook, and possibly here on the blog.  But personally, I'm not too up to date on the ramifications of asking for donations for a part of a business thats for profit.  So, I'm asking out to the great ether of the internet.  What do you reader's think?  Leave comments and help Digital Fruit out with its dilemma, and help us provide a better computing world for all.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ubuntu Software List

     Its been almost a year now, and I've essentially converted completely over to Ubuntu.  One of the major factors that has assisted in this transition has been the abundance of software I have found that is cross compatible between Linux and Windows, and that happen to be open source.  So, I figured I'd help out those searching to make the switch from Windows to Ubuntu by providing a list of these softwares and where to download them.
     So, to start of this list, I've got a list of programs developed by Google, and we'll move on from there:
Picasa 3
http://picasa.google.com/linux/
Google Earth
http://www.google.com/earth/index.html
Google Chrome
https://tools.google.com/chrome
Google Voice
https://www.google.com/chat/video
Filezilla
http://filezilla-project.org/
(I suggest using Ubuntu's repository to download)
HP Linux Driver
http://hplipopensource.com/hplip-web/index.html
Blender
http://www.blender.org/
The Gimp
http://www.gimp.org/
Skype
http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/get-skype/on-your-computer/linux/
Scribus
http://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/Download
(I suggest using the Ubuntu repository)
Inkscape
http://inkscape.org/
(I suggest using the Ubuntu repository)
Thunderbird
http://www.mozillamessaging.com/en-US/thunderbird/
(Once again I suggest using the Ubuntu repository)
Firefox
http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/new/
(Ubuntu repository suggested)
Vuze
http://www.vuze.com/download
(Ubuntu repository suggested)
IBM Lotus Symphony
http://www-03.ibm.com/software/lotus/symphony/home.nsf/home
Adobe Reader
http://get.adobe.com/reader/
(Not actually open source, but preferred for reading PDF)
Eclipse
http://www.eclipse.org/

Update 09-22-2011

Here are a couple of other programs you can enjoy both on Ubuntu or Windows, and even Mac for some of them:

XBMC
http://xbmc.org
(difficult to install on the latest Ubuntu if you don't know what you're doing, but so worth it if you're setting up an HTPC.)

Miro Internet TV
http://www.getmiro.com
(use the repo!)

VLC Media Player
http://videolan.org/vlc/
(use the repo)

I hope that this list of cross-platform softwares has helped any of you trying to make the switch over to Linux, but are left pining for the familiarity of windows.  If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail me at andrew@digitalfruit.biz.  I'll be glad to share some pointers.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Suggested Courses For Web Design

     I thought I would just take a few minutes today and suggest a course of action for anyone interested in learning the skill of web design.  This is something of a tricky field, because you've got to have a one part designer, one part techy, and three parts determination.
     So, for a web designer, there are several key ingredients that can help you on your way.  First, your training.  As someone who has done both the higher education method, and the self taught method, I have to say I prefer the self-taught method, at least as far as the technical skill is concerned.  Far too much of the collegiate study I did concerned its self with useless web history that has long since been forgotten by the general public, and has no place in its future.  I know that if you forget your past you are doomed to repeat it, but learning about graphic-less web browsers and old Javascript security issues doesn't help a new web designer in any way.  You will never have to deal with these issues again.
     So, as to my suggestion about teaching yourself, after many years of digging through Borders and Barnes and Noble, and pouring over the listings of Amazon, I have found O'reily's Head First HTML with CSS and XHTML to be the best starting point, followed by their Head First Web Design and Head First Javascript manuals.  These three books form a good ground work, even if Head First HTML seems a bit dated, (it makes the bold claim that there will never be another HTML, because everything is moving to XHTML, and now we are sitting here with HTML 5 being the next big web technology).
     With those three books under your belt, the next suggestions I have are couple of websites.  These two references have been the ultimate resource for advanced web designing, with all the darkest and taboo topics brought to light.  The first, http://www.w3schools.com/, outlines every possible tag and style you can possible use in web programming.  The next deals strictly with design: http://css-tricks.com/.  This one website has been one of the most amazing online resources I have ever found for web design.  Any layout problem or design issue, and the guy who writes this blog seems to have it fixed, or at least an explanation as to why it can't be fixed, which is really useful when your customer is irate because something doesn't look exactly the way they want it to.
     So, if you have any aspirations to be a web designer, this has been my path, more or less, and hopefully you can benefit from my experience and avoid the pitfalls I stumbled blindly into.  Good luck, and happy reading.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Game Developers Needed

     So, I'm putting this out here in the hopes of maybe finding enthusiastic people willing to work on something without threat of pay.  Digital Fruit needs involvement on some of its video games, but with no really development budget at the moment, those involved would do so of their own free will, with out the hope of pay, or at least anything decently resembling pay.  I'm offering this project because it will provide anyone interested the opportunity to put down something on their resume.
     We're offering this to anyone willing to collaborate on the project, artists, programmers, game designers, marketers, anyone looking to pad their career in game development.  If you find yourself interested, email me at andrew@digitalfruit.biz to let me know and I'll get you the list of game projects that are currently in development.  Anyone willing to help is welcome, you don't really need any experience, just a desire to work and the will to listen.
     If you would like to help but have no knowledge of the discipline you prefer, we do have a list of materials and tutorials for study, and can happily answer any questions you have in the learning process.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

DF Con Update

     Tonights post is a really short one.  I just wanted to update our customers as to what will be taking place so far at DF Con.  We've got some nifty stuff going on.  We're working on a game for the new Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets, and we should have some updated work on Epic the RPG in time for DF Con.  Some other possible software projects may be showcased as well, but we haven't gotten everything else straightened out yet.
     We will also be displaying the DigiFruit Mini 1 computer, based on Intel Atom technology, and we should have two different operating systems installed for showcase by then.
     And, if we're really lucky, there may be some footage from projects being worked on by Digital Fruit Animation ready by the time DF Con roles around.  Stuff that may even warrant the big screen, (and by that I mean the silver screen).  So, who knows at this point, this may be the coolest thing we've done yet.  So till then, catch you on the flip side.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ah, High-End Equipment

     I told you yesterday that I had a really great product review coming up, and boy is this thing awesome.   Though I will tell you now it is not for the faint of heart, the price tag is something most would choke on.  Today's product pick is the D-Link Xtreme N Storage Router.  And let me tell you, if you want a router that does it all, this thing does it all.
     Equipped with four gigabit network ports, full 300mbs wireless N, the ability to add a hard drive for internal storage, display port for viewing photos and network stats, and date and time functions, about the only thing this router doesn't do is play your music.
      And its performance isn't too shabby, either.  As of this writing, I don't have a hard drive installed to test with yet, but all other stats are top notch.  This thing sings.
     Though, as a router, I really don't have much else to say on the matter, it handles my data, well, and that is the most important characteristic of any router.  The D-Link Xtreme N Storage Router gets a solid 5 out of 5 fruit, and is our pick for a high-end home router, if it isn't a bit overkill.  So, until next time, catch you on the flip-side.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Long Lapse

     Wow, its been a few days hasn't it?  I've kind of fallen by the wayside, flu's to blame, but I'm back and posting tonight.
     First thing, the first pieces of on display for DF Con 2011 showed up, some stuff from Intel to help answer questions customers might have over some of our new product line.
      Also, a surprise package from our most generous investor arrived, and I'm floored.  So, a new product pick tomorrow, and all of you get to find out what it is.  I need a little more time to put it through its paces.  Until then, catch you on the flip side.

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Month, New Work

     So, as a new month dawns, I have decided that working on Digital Fruit is far too much work and I'm calling it quits.  I think I'll sell out all of our research and projects to some other digital business.   Honestly, I don't know why I got into this in the first place.  So, thats it, I'm done.  Bye.
     (If anyone hasn't figured it out by now, this is an April Fools joke.  We are doing great this month and already have a couple of customers, even though it is the first of the month.  We'll post something serious tomorrow.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Remote Access

     So, I'm in the process of getting the first Digital Fruit server up and running, and I've come to something of a hiccup.  I have no more video outputs.  But, luckily, I had a solution almost immediately; remote access.  Like a KVM, only better, because I can access the server from almost anywhere in the world to maintain and work on Digital Fruit projects.  Now I just have to figure out how in the world I'm supposed to do that.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Web Work

     So, I'm working on a pitch for the Grays Harbor Corvette club website, and I think I finally got it.  I was standing at the counter at my day job, thinking about nothing in particular, and it struck me.  So I'll be looking for a web address for the site.  Any suggestions for things we should try?  Leave any ideas in the comments section of this post.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Digital Fruit Now an Intel Technology Provider

     As of yesterday morning, Digital Fruit has become an Intel Technology Partner and will begin training on Intel specific products and services.  So, if you have any questions about Intel processors and main-boards, feel free to ask any of our Digital Fruit Tech representatives.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Equipment

     So, in our constant drive to provide the best for our customers, digital fruit has procured new diagnostic equipment.  It wasn't everything I wanted to buy, but it was most of the equipment I mentioned earlier on the blog.
     I decided on the purchase because some of our tech work has been taking too long, and some fixes had to be determined by process of elimination, instead of the much quicker diagnostic methods these tools provide.  And being able to get the customer their computer quicker is what we're about here at Digital Fruit.  So, once we can get our hands on all of the equipment we need, Digital Fruit will be able to provide the best service to our customers.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sick and Tired, of Text Files

     I've gotten sick and tired lately of having to type up code in a simple text editor.  Things did improve when I started using Notepad++, but the world still is not right.  When programming in C++ I usually use Bloodshed Dev-C++, but this open source project has not really been updated in a long time.  So, I'm going out on a search for a better IDE.  So far I have only two options, Microsoft's Visual Studio, or the Eclipse IDE with C++ extensions.  I'm not really sure about either of them.  They both seem to be clunky to me.  So, if anyone reading this blog knows of any other IDEs, I would greatly appreciate the input.

DF Con

     So, I realized I've been talking about DF Con in passing, but I haven't actually come out and said it.  We are holding a convention to showcase the work that Digital Fruit has to offer.  We plan to hold it June first, though we are having trouble obtaining space to hold the event.  Once that is settled, we'll have more details on what's going on.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

    Sorry that I've missed so many blog posts lately.  Things have been extremely busy around here.  We're trying to make some headway on programming Epic, and things are getting down to the wire for DF Con.  I'm hoping that we get enough RSVP to hold it.  We're using it to show off what we've got.
     We're also working on a couple of website proposals, and I'm confident we'll be adding a couple more sites to the Digital Fruit web ring.
      So, I'll try and post as often as possible, but there might be a couple of missed posts until all of this gets settled.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Testing Browsers for Compatability

     I spent some time this afternoon testing out how compliant with HTML5 all of the current generation, and a few of the next generation, browsers are.  With all the focus on making computers web-centric, this is becoming more and more important.  Compliance to the HTML standards ensures that everyone using a site will have the same functionality and look appear on their screen.
     On that note, I'm sorely disappointed with the results I've gathered.  I'm seeing a lot of efforts to comply with HTML5, but none of the browsers are there yet.  But that isn't what really disappointed me.  It was the fact that there was so much discrepancy between operating systems using the same browser.
     Between the major three OSes, Firefox, Opera, and Chrome and widely varying results.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Basic Media:(And Why They're Needed)

     I thought I'd touch a little on some computer philosophy.  This stuff is just the realm of computing wisdom, which, unfortunately, is almost never followed.  Economics drives computer usage, not intelligence.
     So, today's philosophical discussion revolves around the topic of hard-copy media, things like books, VHS, Cassettes, CDs, and DVDs.  These media are the foundation of the digital age, and there is an important reason they remain so.  Permanence.  Most of the modern conventions of simply downloading a video or song, or even a book, lack the permanent nature of basic media.  Sure, with all the advanced formats you can have all sorts of interaction, and you can manipulate the information how you choose, but that is one of the very reasons these mediums aren't useful for storage.
      We store information because we do not want it to change, because we need something to refer back to, to be able to remember our past.  So, things like books, CDs and DVDs need to be kept, and I'm not talking about burnt discs either, they degrade over time.  Actually cast CDs and DVD's will last a lot longer.  You should always have a lasting hard copy of your stuff.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wow, Quick Return On Investment

     Now, I'm one of those number crunching guys.  I like statistics, I dig percentages and economic formulas.  And I'm bad enough about it that I'll combine all these different collections of data and numbers to try and see a greater pattern.  But today its just sick.  I logged into my e-mail today to check the usual, and see if any of our regular customers had contacted me in need of assistance.  As I looked through the e-mails, I found one from a new customer telling me that she had seen our facebook page, wanted to know what we are about, and if I could fix her laptop.  I responded back, and started thinking.
     I used a free facebook advertising credit yesterday, $50.00.  I set the maximum I was willing to spend on advertising a day to fifty bucks because I figured I wouldn't really get anyone to click.  I showed off by including in the add a QR code linking to our main website, and the add link took people to the Facebook page.  Clever, I thought.  Maximize our exposure.  Increase profit margin.
     When I checked our ad budget for today, almost all of our ad budget was gone.  Twenty seven people had clicked on the actual add for Digital Fruit.  TWENTY-SEVEN!!!  I don't get those kind of numbers on this blog currently.  The thirty-five dollars spent had already net us one customer, my brain told me.  That customer will probably need a system restore or a virus removal.  That could net around seventy dollars.  That's a return on investment of almost 200%!  And this was only after twenty-four hours.  The cost of manpower put into the making of that add constituted only about three dollars worth of time, and here, after only one day, we had a customer knocking on our door, so to speak.  That is some serious ROI.
     So, whatever reservations I may have over Facebook, I have to say, it is a really powerful marketing tool.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Digital Fruit on Facebook

     Just a quick little one, pointing to our page on Facebook:

     http://www.facebook.com/pages/Digital-Fruit/116558811753125

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Product Pick: Beginning C++ Game Programming

     So, it feels really weird to be doing a book review on a digital technologies blog, but as I have re-associating myself with some of my less used programming languages, I thought it might be nice to share some of the titles that helped me learn the trade of programming in the first place.
     Beginning C++ Game Programming, by Michael Dawson, was my first step into programming with any variant of C.  And honestly, I'm glad it was.  While not a full dive into the deep, deep underworld of C++ programming, it is easiest manual I have found for starting out.  Its coverage not only discusses the syntax of the C++ language either, like some manuals I've since picked up, but it covers the topic like you are completely new to programming.  It discusses ways to accomplish in code what you're thinking in your head.
     What I really like about the text, though, is that it comes at the subject of game programming by teaching you how to program easy, text based games, keeping you interested in the subject matter, and finishes up each chapter with a large project that works you gently into doing larger, multi-file projects.  This approach helped me to overcome the overwhelming concept of learning a programming language all by myself, with no teacher or mentor.
     Though the title has changed somewhat since I bought my copy, (it is now called 'Beginning C++ Through Game Programming, which I think is an attempt at being less misleading in the title), the content of the book remains the same in the third printing of this book.  And, at only $19.99, its a steal compared to the thirty dollars I shelled out for it back in the day.
     For anyone, both aspiring professional or simple hobby enthusiast, this book is the perfect starting point for anyone trying to break into the world of C++ programming.  And, to top it off, Michael Dawson has published several other books, and many of them on the subject of game programming, that, having read this title, you will have a better understanding of how they work.
     Looked at by itself, the book is thin for a programming manual, but it is an essential step to the goal of becoming a game programmer, and it won't go outdated.  This book would have worked with computers twenty years ago, and I'm sure it will still be usable on computers twenty years from now.  It is an investment in your future, and well worth the twenty bucks.
     Sadly though, as much as I love this title, it only receives a four out of five fruit.  That is only because there are some subjects I think could have been added to make a more rounded study of C++.  The book is just a primer, but I did have questions when I finished reading.  Overall, though, I think this one book has been the most instrumental in starting me off as a programmer.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Twitter Feeding

     So, after a day of being signed up on Twitter, I find that I'm using it more as a mental clearance store than anything else.  It kind of chronicles my mental musings, not in a semi-productive way like this blog, but in a trash filter sort of way like wastepaper basket.  If a thought is getting in my way but I might need it later, I find myself typing it into my Gwibber client on the Twitter stream.  I see how this collective conscious thing can be useful to data miners and psychologists, but I really don't get how its useful for the people typing.
     I'll have to do some more research into how useful Twitter really is, and check to see if it isn't just a PR thing.  More on that later, though.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

We've Become Twits!!

     So, today marks a landmark of a landslide for Digital Fruit.  Caving to the social pressures pressed upon us by the community, we now have a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.  We hope these two new tools in our electronic arsenal will be useful in promoting our image and our work.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

First One has Arrived

     So, the final pieces for the DigiFruit 1 model Atom-based computer came in today, and we've assembled the first one.  We're running Moblin 2.1 on it at the moment, and it works swimmingly.  I'm not sure how well it'll sell, but I'm just happy it worked out.  We've got a couple of customers already in line for this model, and I'm hoping that this cost-effective computer will sell well in the economically depressed area of Aberdeen.  The price point for this computer is roughly $250.00, for just the tower, and will cost an extra $80.00 if you want Windows instead of a more price-savvy OS.  If you have any interest in one, head over to the website and place an order.  We look forward to your business.

Lame Product Blocking

     I can't believe Microsoft is still at it.  In an attempt to block further advancement with their competitors, Microsoft is blocking the download of the Firefox 4 beta in IE8.  If you try and download the beta through IE8, it throws up a nasty looking warning message stating that the beta is malicious software.
     I could understand if this warning popped on some dodgy site in the dark alleys of the internet, but this is the site of one of Microsoft's largest opponents in the browser business.  How do they justify this?  I would love to hear the explanation.  I'm just sick of over controlling corporations insisting that their product is the only one you can use.
     Here at Digital Fruit, we will work with, and service, products from any other software or hardware vendor.  We may make our own, but we are first and foremost a customer service business.

Monday, March 7, 2011

New Computers on the Way

     Our first retail line of computers will be on the way soon, the DigiFruit 1.  Its an Intel Atom-based nettop and will most likely be running Moblin 2.1.  We're still in debate over Moblin or Meego.  Not sure which is the best choice.  Anyone one reading this have any say?  Let us know in the comment section.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Driver Problems

     I still cannot get over the fact that, after twenty something years, Microsoft would have gotten it right and included basic drivers for almost all standard hardware.  I mean really, there are only so many network cards, and they only use so many chip sets, and they all use the same protocols to communicate.  So why are we still having to fight and search all over the internet to get a driver for a common piece of hardware?
     And heaven forbid the piece of hardware is your internet connection, be it a NIC, or modem.  You can't even connect to the internet to get the driver.  So then you either have to go and use another computer connected to the internet and download and transfer the file, or, in the worst case scenario, you have to take the computer into the shop and pay some one just to get it running.
      With all of the resources and the power in the tech industry that Microsoft has, you would think that they would have solved this one little problem by now.
     So, in the search for something better, I will keep my eyes peeled for a system that solves this, and the best way to handle it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Terrible Ripoff! (or Maybe Not?)

     It has come to my attention today that countless innocent Windows users are being tricked into a better, faster computing experience!  This heinous crime is the result of a Linux distribution being spread by all of the major computer manufacturers.  All of them call it something different, but the culprit in this scenario is product called SplashTop.  This new threat to your overly-complex computing lives will make things simple, way too simple.  I mean, how will you survive without all the headaches and confusion created from using a product meant for the corporate world, and not your living room?
     But enough with the pessimistic metaphor.  I've been reading up and studying on this whole SplashTop thing, and its seems to me to be an amazing idea.  So, you take the idea of Google's Chrome operating system, apply a bit more power, and add in a corporate backing with a user friendly idea, and it seems a little too good to be true.  From what I've heard, this little app-like OS can boot up and get you on the internet in about ten seconds.  With a little more guidance than Chrome OS, this system feels like a winner, and the best part is, you don't even have to give up your Windows OS.  In fact, there doesn't seem to be a way to install SplashTop without Windows.  It installs just like a normal application, and can be uninstalled from your computer in just the same way.
     As of this writing, though, I am not able to test out SplashTop, because of hardware compatibility issues with my systems.  Apparently none of them have the right combination of supported hardware.  So until I get one running that can support SplashTop, we will all just have to speculate.
     Until next time, catch you on the flip side.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

FaceBook

     Today's post is short, and consists mostly of a simple question.  Do you, the customers of Digital Fruit, think Digital Fruit should get a Facebook account?  I know that I, as a writer, complain about the way Facebook is handled, but the technology is sound.  If it meant widening our customer base, should we just deal with the potential problems Facebook could create?

Monday, February 28, 2011

     Hi

     (this post was done as a sarcastic response to my wife saying I should just post hi and come back and sit on the couch with her. )

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Electronic Filing

     In the efforts of reducing waste, I'm trying to file all of my taxes electronically this year.  But I'm stuck with a problem.  To sign up for a business to electronically file in the state of Washington, you have to have already filed a tax return under the name of the business.  To me, this seems kind of counter-intuitive.
     But for personal taxes, you can just go to Turbo Tax's website and they'll have it done for you in no time.
     So lets recap.  I'm complaining here because a business, which really will only be paying money in, has to take the long route and file by paper and pay the extra money to have it processed by someone else or spend the hours figuring it out, but the individual, who will probably be part of the fifty percent of Americans that will not pay any taxes at all this year, gets to use the easy filing system.  I think theres something wrong with this.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Embedding Video in a Blog Post

     I’m writing this one tonight because I didn’t realize it needed to be written.  I guess I thought this was just one of those things that people knew how to do if they were on the internet.  But apparently there are a lot of people out there that don’t know how to embed a video from something like YouTube or Vimeo on their blog or Facebook page.

     This is actually a simple task once you get the basics down, and can be made even easier if you have a nice service for hosting your blog that makes embedding a two-click process.

     First thing you need to do is find a video you want to insert on you page.  Once you have the desired video, look around the video player, either on its screen or just below it.  There should be a button titled “embed” usually including a </> somewhere near it.

EmbedButton

     When you click on this button, a bunch of text usually pops up on screen, hopefully already highlighted. 

EmbedText

     Once you have the text highlighted, then either hit the provided copy button, or use Ctrl + C to copy the text.  Now head on over to your blog or social network.  If its cool like Blogger, their will be a button that you just press and it will walk you through a dialog of how to insert it.  But if your blogging platform is older or just doesn’t provide the functionality, just enter the html editing mode.  Their, just find where in the post you want to add the video, put the cursor there, and press Ctrl + V for the paste function.  When you go to publish you post, it will now display a video from a video service.

     A simpler method can usually be used to upload your own files, too.  So try it out and let me know how you’re doing.