POKE is the personal weblog of Marcus Campbell, a computer
programmer who was born in Canada, brought up in Northern Ireland and
currently living in Vancouver.
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Steve Jobs at the D5 Conference, May 30th 2007:
client is the result of a lot of technology on the client, that client
application. So, when we show it them they're just blown away by how
good it is; and you just can't do that stuff in a browser."
marriage of some really great client apps with some really great cloud
services is incredibly powerful and, right now, can be way more powerful
than just having a browser on the client."
Steve Jobs at the WWDC, June 11th 2007:
full Safari engine is inside of iPhone and it gives us tremendous
capability, more than has ever been in a mobile device to this date. And
so, you can write amazing Web 2.0 and Ajax apps that look exactly, and
behave exactly, like apps on the iPhone."
Update: Apple Press Release, June 20th 2007:
new Apple-designed application on iPhone will wirelessly stream
YouTube's content to iPhone over Wi-Fi or EDGE networks and play it on
iPhone's stunning 3.5 inch display"
"To achieve higher video
quality and longer battery life on mobile devices, YouTube has begun
encoding their videos in the advanced H.264 format, and iPhone will be
the first mobile device to use the H.264-encoded videos."
14 June 2007 · 0 comments
Just in case you're trapped on one side of the DNS timeline, somewhat akin to a less bloody Cube 2, I'm in the process of moving scuttle.org
onto a new host. Like anything involving DNS voodoo (as well as
exporting, rebuilding and importing files and data) it'll probably take a
Up until now it had been hosted on the very capable, UK-based 34SP.com that I've been happily using for years now. (In fact, tecknik.net is still hosted there.) The uptime has been great, the support has been great and I'd happily recommend it on that basis.
Now, why would I switch?
- My account expires again this week.
still relatively cheap for a year's hosting, but you don't get a lot of
bang for your buck: the space and bandwidth allowances are really quite
stingy and I've ended up paying quite a bit more in overages over the
- According to the details on the e-mail reminder sent
to me, existing accounts apparently aren't automatically given the same
limit increases that new accounts are advertised at.
- Load times were really starting to struggle.
- Now that I'm living on the other side of the world, I figured it'd be nice to have my data a little closer.
- Which reminds me: the exchange rates make it more expensive still.
I decided to make the jump this morning and pick one of the few hosts
in North America that I always hear about on these Internets. After a
bit of humming-and-hawing, Dreamhost stood out as the most obvious choice for me.
allows tonnes of space, tonnes of bandwidth, supports lots of
programming doodahs and has very few limits at all on what you can add.
For instance I could, and probably will, host all the domains I own on
this one account. Above all it's still fairly cheap and, while there are
always a claxon of complaints whenever things go barmy, they seem to
have a good reputation.
Of course, getting a $97 discount off the
first year made it even sweeter… but it also caused me more grief to
find a promo code that gave the full discount but wasn't going to
eventually reward some scuzzy spammer. (Search for 'dreamhost promo' and
you'll see what I mean.) Although referrals and commissions come off
the same lump of cash, meaning affiliates get nothing for offering the
full discount, affiliates still get a wee bit for referrals of
It feels a bit coarse to stick my own Dreamhost promo
code in a post that's really about switching hosts but I'm going to do
it anyway because, frankly, it helps people who were gonna switch anyway
and doesn't funnel any benefits to OMGZORS! SUPERGREATPROMOCODEZ!
Anyway, we'll see how the new host malarky goes.
13 April 2007 · 3 comments
This morning I noticed that an Nvidia screen was appearing before
Gnome loaded, implying that the proprietary drivers had (somehow)
decided to kick in. I took that as a sign that I should try to install
Xgl and Compiz so that I could enjoy all the whizzy effects I'd seen
demonstrated on many a blurry online video.
turned out a lot easier than I thought. The main two packages —
xserver-xgl and compiz-gnome — are in the Ubuntu repository these days,
ripe for the picking. After grabbing them, I thumbed through these handy instructions written by a guy called Dave Hayes and was able to write a new session option that would load all the right guff automatically.
I installed gset-compiz to tweak the effects I wanted without having to
fiddle with parameters, followed by cgwd, so that I could pick new
themes. That said, the "choice" compiz users have at the moment is
roughly between 50 knock-offs of Vista and 5 knock-offs of OS X.
Which shouldn't be a surprise, given the technology.
The effects really are impressive on first run: smoothing, drop shadows, opacity, wobbly windows, Exposé-esque window management and, of course, manipulating workspaces as the faces of a cube. Sweet.
from the fact that I don't use multiple workspaces, ever, and the
wobbly windows lose their appeal after five minutes, the remaining
improvements do a good spit-polish job on Gnome. If they ever get
bundled by default in a distro like Ubuntu, I can easily see it turning
the heads of a lot of non-techies who would otherwise be distracted by
21 August 2006 · 2 comments
It may be a little late to bring this up, considering it was two
months ago, but it was really cool to see Scuttle mentioned in the changelog for Opera 9.0:
exported to HTML are now in the Netscape Bookmark File Format, making
them compatible with Yahoo bookmarks, Scuttle, MyBookmarks, etc.
Not that there's much to be proud of in inadvertently helping to promote a ropey old bookmark format, but still…
21 August 2006 · 0 comments
I've just released a new minor version of Scuttle — 0.7.2 — that includes
a few minor bug / compatibility fixes, cleaner URLs using Mod_Rewrite,
watchlist feeds, three new translations (Danish, Lithuanian and
Brazilian Portuguese) and a handful of updated translations too.
also the first release I've done in Linux using a heap of new tools so
I'm hoping I haven't managed to banjax it somewhere along the line.
Update: Aye, seems I broke the first ZIP file by uploading it as ASCII instead of binary. Doh. I was so used to having an FTP program on Windows which autodetected all that malarky that I forgot all about it on gFTP.
28 April 2006 · 2 comments
Justice Peter Smith, the judge in the copyright case between the
authors of "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" and "The Da Vinci Code",
apparently snuck an encrypted message into his judgement. How cool is that.
I've managed to eke out the following italicised letters:
…but I haven't started working on it yet.
I've gone through it again now that I've had a bit of sleep and it
seems that I had missed quite a few letters. I've corrected the sequence
accordingly. As you can see, regardless of what the article in The
Guardian claims, there are definitely more than 25 letters after
Update: In the end
it didn't take very long before Dan Tench, the laywer/journalist who
broke the story, managed to get prompted enough into breaking the code
27 April 2006 · 0 comments
Over the past 10 years I have, on occasion, willingly subjected
myself to a severe punishment known as trying to switch to Linux without
first being an expert in it. The Linux vicious circle.
began many moons ago with my attempts to dual-boot Slackware (ha!) on a
rusty ol' Compaq — failing immediately when I couldn't get beyond the
console and bare-bones X because the integrated graphics chip wasn't
supported. As years passed, I tried handfuls of releases — Debian, Red
Hat, Suse, Knoppix, Slax etc. — in the hope that one would be the Linux
messiah, with automagical built-in support for everything.
new release had clear and impressive improvements, but it became very
clear to me that Linux without an Internet connection was going to be
impossible to troubleshoot. Originally this problem was solely because I
only had dial-up, and on a separate machine at that, but these past few
years it has been frustrating to know that all that stood in the way of
me and Happy Linux Land was my wireless card. If only I could get my
wireless card to work in Linux, I could find out how to get my wireless
card to work in Linux! Repeatedly booting to Windows and back was simply
It was only with my latest, and perhaps third,
attempt at Ubuntu that I have finally had success in activating my
wireless card and receiving a working Internet connection.
Believing the latest release is often the best, regardless of stability disclaimers, I decided to try the latest testing release of Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper Drake).
truly is a lovely distro, built on Debian's great hardware support and
further improving its ease-of-use. The installation, although typically
lengthy, was as friendly as installing a new operating system could be.
My only sticking points were in repartitioning (not being absolutely
certain whether resizing the partition referred to the existing or new
one) and, perhaps the cause of future grief, skipping the wireless setup
because I didn't have my WEP key written down.
16 April 2006 · 1 comment
37signals apparently just can’t resist complaining in public about its customers. It’s astounding that any company would think this is good business practice. The fact that they try to weasel around it in the comments is even more pathetic.
12 April 2006 · 2 comments
it probbly an't the bet iea to make nother attempt at ual-booting
linux the ame evening i pilt rink over my poor lptop. hy an't liuid an
eletroni jut get along?
Update: you know you have
a problem when ctrl an alt aren't working. i've manage to massage some o
the letters back, but the keyboar stroke somehow spread to other keys
while i was sleeping.
getting a key to work again is a long boring
process of popping off the keys, taking out the spring mechanism an
suggestively playing with the nipple-esue button unerneath. i on't know
the specifics of why it eventually works, but it seems to.
10 April 2006 · 2 comments
Apparently Blizzard decided the best way to make their downloader not suck was to make it run all the time.
This was really the most obvious solution: leaving millions of uploads
active instead of the limited selection of users that are still
Blizzard, however, didn't seem to think people would
object to paying for the pleasure of World of Warcraft leeching their
spare bandwidth on the sly. They removed the ability for the customer to
choose to share their bandwidth and they did it without much fanfare.
enough, I didn't get to see if this intrusion even improved the
download speeds. Knowing that the downloader usually sucked, I managed
to get the UK patch off a website before it was released to the European
servers. That, at least, took a fraction of the usual time.
04 April 2006 · 5 comments