Ian Hoar – Passion for Technology – Geeking Out - Technology, Web, Toys, Games, Design, Entertainment, Gadgets, & Geeking Out

Copyright protection scripts: What are you thinking!

CopyrightI happened across an interesting website today with loads of useful information and photos. Unfortunately this site was using one of the most absurd web practices, a copyright protection script. What is a copyright protection script, it’s a JavaScript that completely breaks a users experience and fails to protect anything all at the same time. I’m sure everyone has stumbled across one at least once in their journeys across the web, especially if you like to open links in new tabs.

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Bell Canada, a company that just doesn’t care

BellBig faceless corporations are never fun to deal with, but with a litter perseverance and a lot of patience you can usually get what you paid for. Whether it’s trying to buy a laptop without an extended warranty, or waiting on hold while you ask for a box to return your second malfunctioning Xbox 360, in the end things usually work out. The frustration and time wasted is generally outweighed by your desire for the product. Sometimes though, there is no hope; sometimes you have to throw your hands up in the air, surrender and yell at the top of your lungs “Bell Canada, I give up, you suck and you suck bad”. You could also write it down and share it with others.

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2008 year of the smartphone

This year has been without a doubt, the year of the smartphone and Apple has led the charge with it’s iPhone. Touch technology seems to be all the rage now, and of course Apple introduced it’s first smartphone last year, but their second phone reached a far greater audience with more countries and recently announced sales of 6.9 Million iPhones.

I of course jumped on the iPhone bandwagon, but before I did I spent a lot of time researching many of the smartphones out there. At the time just before the second iPhone was launched there were a lot of great smartphones on the way, but none were out yet. Now that the iPhone has been out for a few months a lot of new devices have emerged. One of the reasons I bought the iPhone was because Apple was ahead of the curve, now a lot of the other manufacturers have similar offerings, but are any of them really iPhone killers? I decided to do a quick smartphone round up to see what’s currently out there.

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Quick! Stop writing your blog, it’s so 2004

According to Wired writer Paul Boutin we Bloggers should all pack up our bags and move along. In his article “Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004” he does hit on a lot of valid points, but there are also glaring oversights. Either this is link bait and I’ve taken it hook line and sinker or this guy is seriously out of touch with the Blogsphere.

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Why Flash sites usually suck

FlashI’m seeing much less full on flash sites than I used too, but I seem to be seeing more flash portfolios. If your only goal is to be a Flash developer than that’s fine, but if you want to be seen as a web designer / developer and your site is 100% Flash, you’re probably not going to impress anyone.

Why Flash sucks — most of the time

Flash usually sucks because it is used in places where it’s not needed, breaks usability basics, or tries to deliver a rich media experience to people who don’t care. Lets face it, most of us are not coming to a site to see Flash animations, flashy enter pages and load dialogues; sure this was impressive 5 to 8 years ago, but most of us are over it now. I remember animating menus, playing with collision and elastic algorithms I found on the web and drooling at the newest Flash in the Can awards which are still pretty impressive. It was really cool and fun, and there are a lot of places where this will still fly if done right, your website may not be one of them.

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The future of electronic paper – a flawed vision?

Electronic paper, and e-book Readers are all based on a pretty cool technology that is truly something you have to see to believe. E Ink is the brand name manufactured by E Ink Corporation and it really does look like paper. The first time you see it you realize that it has a completely different feel to it than your standard LCD display. You can check out an E Ink display at the Sony store or anywhere that sells E Ink based readers.

Lately E Ink has been getting a lot of press. Earlier this month Esquire showed off the worlds first ever E Ink magazine cover. This brought visions of the science fiction film Minority Report to many people and an environmental disaster in the making for others. There are also many e-readers being released with iRex to introduce a 10.2-inch E Ink reader next week. Although I love the technology, I think the current vision of E Ink by the press and blog sphere is somewhat flawed.

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Custom 404 error messages and how NOT to do them

User friendly error messages are an important part of good site usability, especially if you do not want to scare away a lot of your less web savvy users. A 404 page not found error message is one of the worst kind because if it is a new visitor there is a high probability they are going to click away to the next best site. If you have a friendly 404 you might be able to salvage the situation.

A 404 error message means that the server was successfully contacted but could not retrieve the file requested by the client (browser). This can happen because of an outdated or expired link, a linking error on the site itself, or a user typo.

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Rogers, Bell, Telus, you’ve got competition, and soon!

Smart PhonesFor the past few months something has been happening in Canada’s telecoms sector; an auction for wireless spectrum licences. The auction is now over and the outcome was more positive than most analysts expected. The Canadian goverment pulled in tripple what they expected, a whopping 4.2 billion. The verdict? This should be good for Canadian consumers and it’s about time. Federal Industry Minister Jim Prentice said,

The industry now has an unprecedented opportunity — thanks to the government’s Advanced Wireless Services policy and auction — to develop products and services that offer choice to Canadian consumers and businesses. We think consumers will be the big winners in this auction.

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Gravatars, what are they and how do I get one?

Gravitar LogoA few days ago I added Gravatar functionality to my blog. A Gravatar is a unique picture or icon of yourself which is stored online and globally accessible by blogs that implement Gravatar, or globally recognized avatar. When you post or comment to Gravatar enabled blogs your own avatar will show up on that blog if you have signed up for one on the Gravatar site. It’s a nice way of making your posts more unique and personalized.

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MeeMix Internet radio – a social music site that learns

Mee GameLast night I saw an ad for MeeMix while on Facebook. The ad was engaging enough to get me to click it, but that’s usually where the engagement stops. Not so in the case of MeeMix, an online social radio site. You are immediately thrown into the application. It asks you to enter a song name (I must admit, it almost lost me here as it was not finding any of my first songs) and then either starts playing it or suggests a list of possibilities.

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