Performancing Metrics

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:

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


     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?