2007.07.16

Why I Think David Hewlett is a Cool Guy

First some history and then I'll get to my point...

In early May (2007) I started to use Twitter after a bunch of people at my work told me they were all using it and it was a lot of fun. So I created an account and start twittering about what I was doing during my day just like everyone else. I too started to think it was fun, and I still do.

A short time after, I received an email from Twitter about some recommended twitter'ers [Noun: Someone that uses twitter.com on a regular basis]. David Hewlett was one of the highlighted twitter'ers so I added him to my friends list. To my surprise he added me back. Not that I'm all that special mind you, he currently has over one thousand friends! I figure he must get a twitter every minute or so with that many friends.

Now I didn't really know who David Hewlett was, so I looked him up on Wikipedia and IMDB. He's probably mostly known for his current role in Stargate: Atlantis which I've never seen. However, I liked him in the Cube which I recently rented. He wrote, directed, and stared in A Dog's Breakfast this year. It sounds interesting, but I haven't seen it yet.

So in conclusion, for being a science fiction actor and letting the world know what goes on in his daily life I here by declare that David Hewlett is a Cool Guy (TM).

This message was encrypted with ROT-26 cryptography. Attempting to circumvent this encoding is illegal under the DMCA.


2007.07.19

Miro Internet TV and Video Player

The other day, while try to figure out how to make an RSS feed in Muse I found this page from a google search. At first I glanced over it, but upon a quick re-read I noticed the link to an interesting application called Democracy Player which upon clicking re-directed me to Miro. Miro bills itself as a free open source internet TV and video player.

Miro sounded pretty cool and they had instructions on how to install it on Ubuntu (not to mention Mac OS X, Windows, Fedora, Debian, and Gentoo as well). So I added their repository to my sources list, updated, and installed Miro. I couldn't find an application icon to launch it, so I just ran it from the command line. After a few quick questions it was up and running.

Wow is this thing cool and intuitive. As I clicked away, I very quickly had videos being downloaded in the background. Diggnation, Ask A Ninja, X-Play, Google Tech Talks, etc. Then I tried a custom search against YouTube and Google Video for Compiz and Berly. After showing me a list of videos for each it allowed me to create a feed from my queries that I could then subscribe to — very cool.

As I write this it is busy downloading some 100+ files I've already selected. Six are waiting for me to watch them now. Clicking on the Miro Guide presents me with some featured video feeds and the currently most popular. This is very similar to how iTunes works as well. Did I mention it was intuitive?

I could go into all of the cool things this application can do, but you really need to just install it yourself and start playing with it. I haven't been this excited about an application in a while. I might have to call this one a "killer app".

Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?


2007.07.20

One Laptop Per Child Google Talk

Using Miro I watched a Google Tech Talk video about the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project the other night. I was following this project about a year ago, but haven't revisited it since.

It seems like it is coming along nicely. It was very interesting to get more information about the technical details of the hardware and software that will be used. Also, I don't think I really got it until I watch Ivan's presentation.

And for those of you like me that want to have a look at the development end of this device, they have an ISO SDK Live CD.

In fact, one of the saddest but most common conditions in elementary school computer labs (when they exist in the developing world), is the children are being trained to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint. I consider that criminal, because children should be making things, communicating, exploring, sharing, not running office automation tools.

— Nicholas Negropontes (OLPC)


2007.07.21

Embedded Twitter in your Web Site

Twitter is a pretty cool social application that allows friends to say current with what each other is doing on a daily basis. Recently I found out about their badges that allow you to embed Twitter content into your web pages.

Here are two examples and the code that produced them. Simply replace nullman with your Twitter username.

<div class="twitter">
  <h2 class="twitter-title">Twitter Flash</h2>
  <object type="application/x-shockwave-flash"
          data="http://twitter.com/flash/twitter_badge.swf"
          quality="high"
          width=176
          height=176>
    <param name="movie"
           value="http://twitter.com/flash/twitter_badge.swf" />
    <param name="flashvars"
           value="color1=26112&amp;type=user&amp;id=nullman" />
    <param name="wmode" value="transparent" />
    <param name="allowScriptAccess="always" />
    <param name="pluginspage"
           value="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" />
  </object>
</div>

You'll want to follow the instructions here to pick the color you want. However, I recommend using the above example code that I got from GIO's Blog instead of Twitter's because theirs is not XHTML compliant.