A web log, a test of my web design software, stories about the absurd, the dumb & interesting stuff.
Copy / Paste pictures into GmailCloud computing is the future. I’ve believed this for a very long time - even started a company doing cloud-based software more than 10 years ago. I’ve been surprised how long it’s taken to become established, but cloud-computing is now becoming mainstream. And there’s almost no type of software that can’t be done better in the cloud.The highest profile examples are web-based email, such as Hotmail and the current king Gmail (from Google).But one problem of using a web browser to operate software such as Gmail or Google Docs (web-based Office applications) is a pretty basic one - you can’t copy pictures from desktop applications into web-based ones. If you do a lot with graphics and photos, as I do, this is a real pain. The only way to copy a graphic from Word, say, into Gmail, is first save it from Word then in your email program select Upload, browse to the image and upload it to the server. And some email systems don’t even provide image upload.Well here’s a utility that solves the problem. It’s called PicturePaste. It’s great. (I would say that though.)10 years later my prediction that cloud computing was the future proved to be prescient. It should be obvious (well it should be to any company starting out now) that desktop software has had its day, web-based software is now the only option that matters.The Web Browser is the operating system. Going forward Windows doesn’t matter, nor OSX, nor Linux or any desktop OS for that matter. Only the browser matters. The browser is the OS.My PicturePaste utility had a limited life - solving a flaw in web-based editors that should never had existed in the first place. The browser makers eventually solved the problem (supporting copy / paste from external apps), so PicturePaste became redundant. I sold more than 10,000 copies so it’s was great fun while it lasted. Thanks to everyone that purchased and used the program.Let’s screw the bankers - tax them 98%I'm no lover of banks, but when I see the witch hunt going on in the media regarding the bankers bonuses and bankers in general I despair. This is a McCarthy-style witch hunt, lead by the media (as always), whipping up anger, hatred and jealousy. I never thought I'd live to see 98% taxes imposed on anyone in this country, but that’s what is now imposed on bankers. No it’s not the 50% ‘bonus tax’ you thought it was. It’s a lot, lot more than that. Of say a £200,000 bonus, 98% of it goes as tax. Unreal, but true. Check this out.Android is going to be hugeFor those that don’t know Android, it’s a mobile phone operating system created by Google. And Android is going to be larger than the iPhone, by far, for exactly the same reasons Microsoft Windows beat Apple the last time a new platform emerged.I can’t stress how significant Android will be to the future of computing. Read moreBad RobotAndroid is actually crap. It’s a broken robot.‘Hang on, you just said it is going to be BIG, in capitals no less’ I hear you say.Ah yes, but big doesn’t mean good. Just look at Windows. In the early days the Mac was better, and Windows merely adequate. But ‘adequate’ was all that was needed when it was a cheap as peanuts and everyone wanted to get on the PC bandwagon. Apple was not interested in licensing the Mac OS. So Microsoft cleaned up. Eventually Windows got a lot better and after a while it was actually better than the Mac (back when Steve Jobs was no longer there and Apple was run by a bunch of corporate types who had no clue). Over this period of relatively few critical years, Microsoft gained the world. (See above.)So why is Android bad? There are some major technical drawbacks to Android.Read More...Google ChromeGoogle Chrome is a fine web browser. You should really try it. The best things about it are;•It’s fast•It combines the address bar with Google search. Just type a web address or a search string. It's just smart. Obvious, nice.•It has a clean and simple GUI. And this is really where they deserve credit, a super-clean, simple user-interface with almost no window clutter. OK they break one of the basic GUI tenets that you really should not break (no standard File, Edit...menus). You can get away with this on a browser because so few menus are needed. (Note, break this rule in mainstream apps like Word Processors at your own cost - are you listening Microsoft?)Small points like the status line that pop-ups up only when you need it (e.g. when hovering over a link. It slides into view at the bottom and then slides away, maximizing document viewing area). Nicely done.And then they go spoil it all by some unforgivable screw-ups. It doesn’t handle pop-up blocking properly. It’s hard to believe, but you can only block all pop-ups or none. You can't make exceptions on a site-wide basis. So websites that rely on pop-ups are unusable (and a lot of perfectly legitimate, commercial websites use pop-ups). Yes you can choose to see any individual blocked pop-up, but you can't say ‘allow pop-ups for this website’. So Chrome simply can’t be used for all practical purposes for some mainstream websites (like my banking website actually). Extraordinary.So all in all - you’re probably better off with Firefox still until Google fix this. I gave up on I.E. a long time ago, and by all account (from colleagues that use it), I’m better off staying away.I wrote this more than ten years ago. In that time Chrome came to dominate the browser space. It became so dominant that Microsoft gave up trying to compete with their own browser. Eventually they decided to build a brand new version, called Microsoft Edge, based on Chrome. Ten years ago it would have been unbelievable to consider Microsoft would adopt their rival’s product (they can do this because the heart of Google Chrome is open source. Nowadays I do not use Chrome. Microsoft Edge is clearly better (less bloat - more speed - you know I like that.) Another browser called Brave, is even rapidly gaining market share by eliminating most ads on web pages - less tracking your activity - more speed. Both are based on Chrome source code. One must not forget Firefox that remains a great browser also - in some way better than any other (fast, very smooth scrolling).The level of technical ignorance in the UK is staggering.Two examples that want to make you cry.I always liked the TV show QI, hosted by Stephen Fry, and assumed it was, at least reasonably, accurate in its myth busting. But today’s ‘Fact of the day’ on their website, is one of the dumbest things I’ve read in a long time. From their website:It's not just that, as surely everyone knows, nothing travels faster than the speed of light, but it would be ridiculous to suggest it goes the speed of sound, let alone the speed of light.Are QI playing some game? Some test to see how many viewers / readers (idiots like me) can be cajoled into writing and pointing out their ignorance. (Perhaps the show should be called Quite Ignorant). Perhaps this is some type of reader intelligence test perhaps? ‘Just how stupid a fact can we publish to provoke our readers to react?’The calculation to work out the speed of travel of the crossing point of a pair scissors is so simple a 10 year old should be able to do it. The answer is about 16 miles per hour. So much for ‘faster than light’, it’s not even faster than a bicycle!Like an idiot, I wrote to QI to tell them they were idiots also. So I got an answer back from the QI elves, as they call the researchers, (credit where it’s due - I didn’t expect an answer) and they clarified that they was talking about a pair of scissors one light year long - which by my calculation is about a 6 trillion miles long.Oh good. So that’s fine then. Silly me, I should have known their scissors were 6 trillion miles long.They even point at an article about it: http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Relativity/SR/scissors.htmlThe trouble is everyone goes around believing rubbish like that 'scissors go faster than light’, because they forgot to qualify they meant a pair slightly larger than you could fit in your pocket. And then, as the above article explains, even with a pair of scissors 6 trillion miles long it would not close faster than light! Arrrarrarrahgg.
What is ‘cloud-computing’? It’s relatively new jargon for an old idea. It means web-based software, or client-server, and really it’s no different than the decades old mainframe-terminal style of computing. In the modern context it means the software is controlled by or run in your web browser, served from the Internet (the cloud), rather than being installed on your local computer. Web-based email (e.g. Gmail, Hotmail etc) is the most popular ‘cloud computing’ application.Checkout Wikipedia’s definition
I came across a pretty mainstream website that hosted streaming Flash movies, with a big warning to all users who had updated to the latest IE8, apologising that all movies stopped working, and asking them to choose another browser. Well done Microsoft.
How fast does the crossover point on a pair of scissors travel? Simple. You take the length of your scissors (say 3 inches) and the time it takes to close the scissors fast - say 1/100th of the second (you couldn't do it that fast), and you work it out for yourself. The crossover will travel the 3 inches in 1/100th of a second = 300 inches per second = 18,000 inches per minute = 1,080,000 inches per hour. So that's as near as million inches-per-hour. Sounds fast. How many miles is a million inches? Use the little known Google calculating feature. Type “1000000 inches in miles” into your Google search (no need to press enter even) and it immediately tells you the answer 15.7So the real speed of a the cross-over point is about 16 miles per hour.