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

My newest website

ThemePassionOver the past few months I have been working on a new project. I really wanted to try something different, something I personally enjoy. I find writing about anything you are not actually passionate about can be a real drag, so with that in mind, I picked a topic I knew I could write well for, get excited about and stay motivated for. With that said it’s time to reveal my newest website ThemePassion.

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Philanthropy in Kenya

AfricaThe company I work for, Ariad, is currently undertaking something fantastic that I feel deserves attention. Ariad has always given a lot to philanthropic causes in the past, but this is probably one of the biggest contributions we’ve made to date. Two years ago Ariad formed a partnership with Free the Children and donated $40,000 to support infrastructure development in rural Kenya. This is amazing on it’s own, but this year the company helped send 10 employees to visit Kenya to see first-hand our donations at work. While they are there, they will help build a school, visit local communities and end with a safari in the Maasai Mara.

Before they left I was pretty excited to help set up a blog so they could document their adventures in Kenya while they were actually there, and the experience still fresh in their minds. So far the stories have been nothing short of amazing and I’m proud to work for a company involved in this kind of philanthropic work. You can find out more, and follow their adventures on our Kenya Blog.

Adobe CS5: countdown to release date

It seems like only yesterday Adobe CS4 was released and now we are already hearing the rumblings of Adobe Creative Suite 5.

There are already some sneak peak videos on the Adobe Creative Suite 5 launch site, but those of you who really want to be the first in line to hear about what’s new in CS5 will have to register on the the CS5 launch site. The “exclusive global launch of Adobe Creative Suite 5” is on Monday April 12, 2010.

Fingers are crossed for some awesome features, and a release date. That said I really hope Adobe has fixed some of the issues plaguing the Creative Suite. Some of the applications feel bloated and slow. Sometimes it’s not only about what’s new, we want rock solid apps that work as flawlessly as possible. It would also be nice if past features were never taken away.

A new passion and a new blog

Over the summer I discovered a new passion and hobby; sailing. This filled many of my weekends and some of my evenings for the last two and a half months of summer. I think I can say I have truly been bitten by the sailing bug, and once that happens there’s turning back.

So what’s a new geeky sailor like me to do with all this new found experience and information? Well, share it all on a blog of course, so about two weeks ago I got to work on setting up my new blog. The domain name was the first thing I needed to secure and wow did I get a good one. I don’t know if you have ever tried securing a good domain, but searching for one quickly becomes frustrating. What’s worse is the fact that there’s lots of great domain names out there just being squatted. Put it this way, something as obscure as imhMedia was taken for the .com and I had to register the .net for my personal portfolio site. You can imagine how surprised I was when I looked up windandsail.com and found it was available. It’s a blog about what it’s like to be a new sailor and everything I learn along the way. So without further ado I welcome you to my new blog Wind and Sail.

Wind and Sail

Is wireless charging the future?

PowermatSome seriously cool technology was shown at CES 2009, but one that really popped for me was wireless charging. This looks like it’s going to be the future of how we charge things.

It’s a new technology that could be dropped into our counter tops, end tables and dressers. Drop your cell phone on your dresser and it starts charging. What about wireless blenders, coffee makers, toasters, you name it. Someday your whole counter top may be a giant charging terminal. Think of what this could do for laptops. Maybe even public areas will have charging surfaces in the future. It really gets you thinking, but the real key is getting manufacturers to build this technology into our devices and have it work seamlessly anywhere. I nominate Apple first.

Check out some of these technologies on Wired and and watch an iPhone get charged wirelessly on Gizmodo.

New Fido logo, website and plans? No system access fee either!

Are things changing in the Canadian mobile carrier space? It sure seems like it. Fido recently changed their logo and gave their entire website a makeover. There a no longer cute dogs all over the site and the new branding is a dog house, but no dogs. So not really a big deal right? Bell changed their site and logo this summer too, but the real change for Fido was in their removal of system access fees, something that is quickly becoming very unpopular in Canada. My fee was over 7 dollars a month, and that really adds up over time, and what’s it for? It’s basically a hidden fee and that’s what stinks about it.

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Google Earth for the iPhone and iPod Touch

Google released Google Earth for the iPhone and iPod Touch today. I’m a huge fan of the PC version of this great application and have killed many hours traveling this virtual world known as Earth. If you have never tried out Google Earth then I highly recommend downloading it now. You can view the entire planet in 3D, see photos, read Wikipedia entries and download different data overlays. This only scrapes the surface, but it’s an incredible application, and best of all, it’s free.

So how does Google Earth hold up on the iPhone? Well obviously it’s a bit trimmed down, but still much better than I thought it would be. You can see photos, Wikipedia entries and move around the earth in the typical intuitive Multi-touch way that we are all so used too. You can even twist two fingers to rotate, and if you tilt your device the accelerometer kicks in and allows an angled view so you can see the 3D surface of the Earth. You can also use the iPhones GPS to find your current location on planet Earth. The application runs fairly smooth on the iPhone, but I did notice a few hiccups which sometimes even happens on the full Google Earth.

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Poverty, we can make a difference – Blog Action Day 2008

I am a little late with this, but today was Blog Action Day 2008, and this years topic is another issue I am passionate about and that’s poverty. I try to give aid whenever there is a terrible disaster somewhere and I have a sponsored child through World Vision. Late last year I sponsored a second child for my Mother. It’s a strange feeling doing something like this, although it feels great knowing you are helping in a very small way, it also makes you very sad to know that people live in such poverty, especially children.

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Apple’s new brick laptop to be announced tomorrow?

Apple LogoThere has been a load of buzz over the past few days about Apple’s new MacBooks. Rumours of a sub 1000 dollar laptop along with speculation of a new manufacturing process that allows Apple to produce them for less are fueling the buzz. The new laptops are being code named “brick” and it may refer to a new manufacturing process.

On Tuesday, October 14th Apple has invited media to a special notebook event, so the wait to find out if the rumours a true will be over tomorrow. AppleInsider has more details and photos of the laptop.

Techcrunh also has details on the new laptop and CrunchGear will be there for the announcement.

(update: Engadget will have Live web coverage of Apple’s “The spotlight turns to notebooks” event.)

Another inane idea, more physical media!

The days of physical media are almost over. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Blue Ray disks bite the dust in a few years and I’m not the only one, but that’s another topic. The future is online and the only thing really holding back online adoption by the masses is clumsy DRM punishment for customers who buy music and movies online. Most people don’t even know what DRM is, but they do know what it means when they find out they can’t copy a song from their favourite device to their new computer (I’m looking at you Apple). This is severely annoying and the industry still doesn’t get it. We have been able to rip, share, and use our CDs and DVDs on any device we saw fit, but unfortunately this is not the case with our downloaded purchases. The industry needs to stop locking down things we paid for! Stop treating your paying customers like criminals, the people pirating this stuff will continue to do so and you only hurt legitimate users.

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