Posts Tagged ‘tech’

New Addition to the Family

Posted: 03/05/2011 by Toby in Family, Informative

Don’t ask me why I’ve coloured the whole picture grape, but i wasn’t getting the look I was after so I just started playing with the colouring. Anway. This thing is pretty cool. We’re still learning what we can (and can’t) do with it. At one point we were on skype in one room with it, and called the PC, and the kids were running back and forth laughing their heads off watching each other on the webcam. The movement was quite smooth too, considering all the bandwidth was going through the same internet service.

The first thing that went on were a bunch of kids stuff – games, learning puzzles and so forth. If anyone has suggestions, feel free to shout them out.

And, if you wanna facetime, or skype, just let us know!


Posted: 20/06/2010 by Toby in Informative
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Reading about Tencent over on Techcrunch. it’s the superbig internet company you’ve probably never heard of. if you read this blog, you probably don’t care who’s bigger than eBay or Yahoo, and honestly nor do I really, but I was struck by what the CTO said, according to the article (here).

Tencent has also made forays in online payments and ecommerce, but it has had the least success in that category. The company isn’t giving up. I met with Tencent’s CTO Jeff Xiong in Hong Kong last week and when I asked him what the company’s core strength was, he answered “patience.”

Frankly, patience isn’t something you hear about in the tech world much. What you do hear more are words like ‘agile’ and ‘rapid’ and ‘nimble’ and ‘responsive’ maybe even ‘cutthroat.’ Is it possible to be nimble and patient? I suppose it is. To wait for the right moment and then to act. It also makes me realise that some of the other large companies, such as Google have been patient in some ways. A lab, for example, requires patience while amazing solutions are cooked up, and the gadgets and tools that come out of Google Labs are pretty neat, but they didn’t get made in one day.

On the other hand, as the article goes on to say, the position that Tencent is in will not last forever, they need to captialise on their position before someone else captialises on theirs.

I just thought I’d share that strange concept of patience applied to technology.

Also, according to the article, Tencent’s main product/portal is QQ.. so I googled it, and the resulting website was very different from the sites I’m used to. It’s a little bit Yahoo! maybe, but still not very interesting, and just covered with words. Utilitarian, you might say. Check it out!

Fahrenheit 432

Posted: 20/05/2010 by Toby in News
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You remember the book, by Ray Bradbury, with the unforgettable title ‘Fahrenheit 451’ referring to the temperature at which books combust (never mind the fact that it’s actually 450 degrees Celsius), in which the characters sit in front of floor-to-ceiling screens covering all four walls (our hero’s wife only had 3 walls, a fact she was most unhappy about)?


I think of that book whenever I see monster flat screen TVs, and I think how we’re getting closer and closer to that strange vision, my kids likely living it when they grow up.

I have taken a step closer to this science fiction dystopia and bought my first flat screen TV ever!

Instead of viewing it with the proper amount of horror and quickly swiveling away from it on my creaky wooden chair, lighting a candle and bending over a sufficiently worn leather bound Rob Roy, adjusting my spectacles and scratching my unwashed woolens just under the back of the knee, I feel fulfilled.

Fulfilled is the wrong word, and in a tiny tiny sense still right because I made myself wait for this moment. I’ve wanted this particular TV for several years now, even back in the States, I was obsessive about going to the TV section of the store and looking at the latest price for Bravias.  In the States though, we had a TV, and it was good enough for our needs, and we had kids with grubby hands and lips touching it on a constant basis. Now that we’re here, and re-accumulating, and getting ready to move out to our own place, well, how could we possibly without a telly?

The post is titled 432 because we haven’t quite got to 451, and the television is a whopping 32 incher.  I honestly didn’t think we needed anything bigger than 26, but there’s hardly any of them around second hand. I think they get put in the bedrooms as the front room TV gets bigger and bigger. This one I got off a Canadian CG programmer who was going back to Canada. Practically brand new for less than half what he paid. Gumtree.


Posted: 31/03/2010 by Toby in Other
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Back in the old days when I was young and had no worries in life, my family happened upon a game that we got from a neighbor or church friend, or something, with a hand drawn picture of some colonial setting, I think, and it was mysteriously called “The Settlers of Catan.” I think it even took a few days or weeks before we cracked it open and tried to play it, and to our astonishment, it was fun, creative and challenging, and anybody could win – almost. I think there were some rules out there about laying out the tiles and the numbers, but we were almost never so regimented, we just laid out the various types of land and water, and started rolling the dice, man!

Anyway, I bring this up because I learned today that there’s a Settlers application for the iPhone! Now I wish I had one, just to play that game on it. As Wil Wheaton said, a board game on an electronic portable device is actually a super cool idea.

And we’re not just talking chess here.

FYI Wheaton uses bad language – like it’s geek speak or something

Dear Franklin Covey

Posted: 08/02/2010 by Toby in Informative
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Just to clarify, there’s no one (I hope) that goes around by that name; this hypothetical letter, and literal letter to Collins Deben (now that name wouldn’t be as unfortunate, even though at the same time it is more corporate sounding), is addressed to a company.

Dear Franklin Covey,

What were you THINKING when you decided to cut costs by making my pocket original weekly pages back to back without the in-between pages of Notes and Tasks, huh?  Those in between pages were a huge differentiator for me, as no other planner that I know of allows that much space for me to keep track of the week.

Thankfully an employee at Collins Deben noticed that the cornerstone weekly had the extra pages still, and sent me it, thus continuing my unfortunate addiction to paper diaries.


Toby O’Hara

I wrote a letter of appreciation to Collins Deben yesterday, it’s going in the mail sometime today (thanks honey) for noticing that I could get the pages I needed with the other style pages. And I was in such a hurry I didn’t even change the font from Times New Roman.

A new thought just occurred to me, I wonder what most people use nowadays? I think Palm was on to something, I enjoyed it while it lasted, but in the end preferred the paper format. I guess people are using blackberries and iphones to keep their date books and take notes.

Speaking of iPhone, I’m going to carry on my mother’s independent streak and distaste for the mainstream and when my phone dies I’m getting a Motorola Droid, Cliq or hiptop. So there.

yes I like Google that much.

Computers and Commercials

Posted: 22/08/2008 by Toby in Funny, Informative
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If you like computers and you like commercials, and you’re a little nostalgic, and easily entertained, then check out this link.  It’s a page FULL of collected computer ads and their endorsers over the years, going back to the 80’s.  William Shatner is in the lineup; that alone is reason enough to check it out.

Main Viewer

Posted: 20/08/2008 by Toby in Informative
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Finally, the moment I know my mother has been waiting for, a reason to hook up the computer to the main viewscreen. For a long time now, television and movies have been migrating to the internet first in illicit form, and now in completely sanctioned form. And not just sanctioned, by television stations and movie companies, but television stations are putting their content up for all to see.

What reason am I referring to? Star Trek is available, any episode, any season. Check it out.