I've written before about the blurring of offline and online worlds and here is a great example of the concept in action; an interesting program that allows you to integrate your Flickr account into the file system of your Linux-powered computer, making it as easy to upload and download files as copying and pasting between folders.
If you have treated yourself to a High Definition (HD) TV the chances are you aren't using it to its full capability. According to a recent report in The Register, only 1.7% of Western European households have the equipment necessary to receive HD broadcasts, and these consist of only a handful of channels.
4777333366448844433777712226666 - a crazy long number, but what does it mean? It represents how you input 'greenhughes.com' into a browser on a mobile phone in terms of key-presses, that is without the pauses required to input the address correctly. Entering an address into a mobile web browser can be a time consuming and pretty miserable task, this example just takes you to the front page, if you wanted to get the RSS feed, which can work really well on a mobile phone, you will be confronted with an even longer task. Every day we walk past resources that feature web addresses with our mobile phones, like adverts, books, magazines and don't bother to use our mobile devices with them. Why? Well it just takes too long. This leads to a bit of a lost opportunity, fortunately there is a way to get web addresses, text and phone numbers onto your mobile by using a technology known as mobile codes, a two dimensional barcode (rather than the one dimensional bar codes scanned by the tills at shops) that contains a small amount of information within it that can be transferred by using the camera on the mobile to pick up the mobile code and turn it back to text. The whole process is quite painless for the user and takes advantage of the cameras on phones that have improved greatly over the last couple of years.
Last week I had the pleasure of being at the SocialLearn workshop held for OU students, staff (including many Associate Lecturers - the vital members of staff who act as learning mentors to students) and alumni to discuss and get input for the SocialLearn project (a next-generation educational social network platform, more information can be found in Martin Weller's slideshow).
I can't help noticing the number of Asus EEE PCs around now, it is strange to think that twelve months ago these weren't really about and there was still discussion of when will be the "year of the Linux desktop". Of course, events took a different turn, and suddenly the desktop didn't seem so important anymore. The real prize was a computer that was small and convenient, inexpensive and easy to carry about.
Note to Ubuntu and Easy Peasy users: Your Huawei E169G should now work out-of-the box with later versions of Ubuntu (8.10 onwards) and derivatives. Lots of other modems work too, like the E160G.
Update: I've attempted to automate the steps above by using a package, have a look at: Huawei E169G - the easy way
Yesterday I treated myself to a new mobile internet "dongle" to go with my Asus EEE PC. I decided to go for the Huawei E169G usb modem as it matches my black EEE, however there is a small problem with getting this device to work straight away. The problem is that the E169G is a composite device, which basically means that it will ask as a USB memory stick until it is sent a command to tell it to be a modem. The EEE doesn't know about this so you can't use it straight away as a 3G modem in the connection wizard. Fortunatelty, back in April Dale Lane documented in his blog how to send the modem the right command to be able to use it wil the EEE, his blog post on the topic is worth reading as it explains the background to the issue. After experimenting with my friend Keren Mills' E169G (thanks Keren!) to check that I could get this method to work I took the plunge and got my own one. Following the instructions on Dale Lane's blog I was able to send some commands manually to the unit to get it to switch but what I really wanted to do was to get the EEE to recognise the device automatically so I can start a 3G connection without having to run any commands in the terminal. Fortunately this is possible.
If you've been trying to watch YouTube videos or use the BBC's iPlayer site on your Asus EEE PC you might have noticed that it it is not possible to use these services in full screen mode. YouTube videos just play in a bigger window when you try to activate full screen. Trying to watch the videos when embedded on their webpages can be a little frustrating as it wastes available screen space (on what is quite a small screen anyway). Fortunately, this is quite easy to fix.