Category Archives: Ideas

Could 3D Printing be Internet Dating’s Next Step?

It’s occurred to me that it doesn’t matter how many photos you see of a prospective Internet date you see the reality on date night can often be a very different one indeed.

Whilst reading about some 3D printing technology recently I thought that a possible next step for Internet Dating could be for dating websites to require a front and profile shot uploaded and they could then render a 3D model on the website for prospective partners to view. Going one step further you could make a 3D print of the face, maybe at designated 3D print house which are spreading rapidly, the prospective partner could then get a real sense of the person before meeting them and avoid any awkward first dates.

Alternatively it could just be really creepy to print off strangers faces.

Self Imposed Poverty – How to force yourself to save more

Most people would say money burns a hole in my pocket, that’s not entirely true, I’m not as frugal as some, but I enjoy the money I do have and have enough to get buy on.

But, I’m trying to save to buy a property and so every penny counts. Changing your spending habits takes discipline and saving as much as I need to in the time that I want to takes a lot of saving, thus a lot of discipline.
So I’ve been trying out self imposed poverty.

As with most of you, in the last week of a month I’m pretty poor, and start spending more frugally, watching what I spend more, making the cheaper choices and so on. So what if I move the poverty line? What if I shift the date when the pinch hits forward to midway through the month?
So the last couple of months after I get paid and my regular transfer to my savings occurs, I transfered an extra £100 to my savings.

So now I’m poorer sooner, but start spending more frugally sooner. Even if I need grab that money back towards the end of the month I’m not dipping into my regular savings, and I’ve already started spending more frugally by then anyway, so will have still made some in roads to spending less that month than I otherwise would have.

So what do you reckon? Think you can try and impose some poverty on yourself for your own greater good?

 

Apache mod_rewrite Redirecting Directories Without Looping

Wow! It’s true what they say, mod_rewrite rules are a dark art, and whilst I’ve combed the Internet to find, what I thought would be a simple redirect, I’ve found countless examples that didn’t work.
So now I have one that does work I’m sharing.

Goal

To redirect hits to a subdomain sshwindows.webheat.co.uk to a subdirectory (in my case cause that is the link to the page within my wiki) /display/sshwindows/

Traffic to any other domain hosted on this same server should not be redirected.

All without looping.

Solution

Check two conditions not just one. Check the host header and the uri to ensure the root had been hit, and only then redirect.

Code

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^sshwindows.webheat.co.uk$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} /$
RewriteRule ^(.*)?$ http://sshwindows.webheat.co.uk/display/sshwindows [L]

For me I put this into my /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default file, but you can equally put this into a .htaccess file. For me this was to be a global thing.

Additional Notes

The [nc] is the no-case flag to make the host header match case-insensitive.
The [L] is the Last flag, so after this rule no further ones will be processed. In all honesty I don’t need this here, but that part came from another source and it’s 4am so I’ll be damned if I’m going to remove it now when it’s all working 🙂

Tablet’s will not cure all that ails you

As I read the article Tablets Will Transform the Classroom [OPINION] I found myself getting increasingly frustrated at this article’s view on what Tablets like the iPad, Galaxy Tab, etc would bring to the classroom.

Scraping texts books is one thing, though I suggest that many publishers are still dragging there heels into this century, afraid that everyone will automatically pirate all books and their cash flow will disappear. Text books are heavy and dull, and largely in some ugly typeface that is hard on the eyes, so by all means makes them available as an ebook.
However  believes that tablet computers will enable teacher to facilitate teaching at different speeds/levels in a single class. I’m unclear how this magic would happen, unless the under paid teacher is likely to want to spend three times the amount of time working on class plans for three different levels that all tie in together at key points so that the teacher can orate on them.

I’m all for students learning at their own levels, I believe that it encourages great growth and keeps students interested in their studies, instead of waiting for everyone to catch up with you or feeling like you are never going to catch up to others.
But this is more an argument for virtual learning environment(online learning), and having the whole class plan/notes available and having students progress at a pace that is comfortable to them. In this case the teach becomes almost like a project manager, ensuring that the students stay on schedule for their milestones, but allowing students who are so inclined to zoom ahead.

This would also allow for some learning disabilities to be catered for, larger text for people with learning disabilities, colour schemes adjusted for accessibility, etc.

I do agree that this is an excellent opportunity for academia to get with the times, but in order to do that teachers/lecturers need to get up to speed, and be completely competent with the Operating System and Office applications at least.
Students need to emerge out of  secondary school completely familiar with computers and, perhaps more importantly, the ability to investigate and work out how to use a new applications or systems without having to be walked thru it.

The tablet is not a magic bullet, no bit of technology is really, but how people use technology and continue to do so is important, and the future of computing in the classroom depends on all parties involved investing themselves in the technology, not being afraid to work with it and to be creative in the ideas that they come up with for how the can get more use out of the technology in the classroom.

Why You Should Put Your Friends In Boxes

I’ve fairly recently entered into a new relationship after my last one ended about a year before. When I broke up with my last girlfriend Facebook became a bit of a painful experience for me, seeing everyone having such a great time when I was feeling down in the dumps but more so because Facebook had a plethora of photos of me and my ex-girlfriend on at various events we’d been to over the years together.
As they were painful to ok through I didn’t go thru and remove all of them, I just ended up stopping looking at them. In time it was no longer painful and I moved on but I didn’t bother going back thru all my photos to delete

Now I’ve entered a new relationship and, of course, my new girlfriend isn’t too happy about seeing photos of me and my ex on Facebook. As such I’m faced with the labourious task of taking all the photos down or changing the permissions so that my girlfriend can’t see them.
As more than just my ex and I are in these albums and the others in those albums might like the photos of them and want to keep them online still, changing the permissions seems like a logical option. Note, that’s man logic, girlfriend logic would probably dictate that I’m keeping them online so I can look through them whenever I want. I’m going to work with man logic for this post.

So if you want to prevent your new girlfriend from seeing photos of you and your ex by exclusion then you’d need to go through each album the very instant you add your girlfriend on Facebook and add her as someone who can’t see this album.
Far better than when you start dating a new girlfriend you put her and friends who are likely to be in the albums with you, into one Facebook friend list, then only allow access to that group.
That way if you need someone to see those photos you have to add them to that group, rather then have to hide it from whomever you need to.

As such it seems like putting your friends, and girlfriends into little boxes is the best way to ensure that people don’t see what they don’t want to see.

Security: Where’s The App For That?

So you might be on the ball enough to change your Facebook, or Google settings to use HTTPS, the secure way to browse websites. However when you fire up your Facebook or your bank app on your smart phone are you still being smart? Is it using secure protocols to talk to the servers or is everything you do being sent in clear text over your coffee shop’s wireless network.

It’s reasonable to assume that the lack of up roar from the geek community means it is secure, but with no visual indication of this end users aren’t to know. Stats mentioned in the news lately suggest that app usage is starting to outstrip website usage. This is fine for most end users, however it should be done right and securely, and there should be transparency if this security to the end user.

Time O’The Signs

Via gizmodo.com, and email a couple of webbased service pricing changes that affect me came to light this week.

Mozy.com is cutting it’s unlimited service to a tiered pricing system. There’s a couple of things that suck about this, firstly a service that was costing me in the region of £3 per month, and I was backing up 350GB too was now going to cost me over £22, and secondly they only gave half a month’s notice in which to decide and either migrate your data or pay up.

Now it took me the best part of a month to back up my data in the first place with Mozy.
I’m now in the process of backing up to Carbonite which will cost £5 a month for unlimited backups.

I can see that an unlimited model can be unsustainable, you will always end up with some people abusing it, but with that sort of offer you are playing the averages game, assuming that most won’t and so are covering the costs of those who will.
Why they jumped the pricing up quite so much I do not know. They are going to lose customers in great swathes.
They cited trying to make customers more aware of the data they are backing up, but surely this defeats the set it and forget it motto that they use to sell the product in the first place.

I’m curious why they opted for a model which costs users so steeply. Switich to Carbonite has nearly doubled my cost of back up but is still a negligible cost for an offsite backup for me, where as Mozy’s new model was a hike I couldn’t swallow.

Last.fm is the other network based service that is changing it’s pricing model. Now wanting users to have premium accounts in order to stream to devices.
I’ve got no issue with a great service like Last.fm trying to have a workable long term model, but I think this change is lacking in a couple of ways.
I use a Sonos S5 for my music needs at home, and often stream Last.FM via it, in fact far more than I used to on my computer. Thru Last.fm I discovered new artists based on artists I already liked or by listening to Last.fm ‘radio’ stations based on a tag. If I liked a artist enough I’d go and buy their album.
So here’s a few thoughts, shouldn’t the record companies be paying Last.fm a subscription fee to keep playing artists on their label and enabling new listeners to find their artists.
Also now, I can listen to Last.fm for free on my computer and even put that thru a line out into my Sonos to get the same audio quality, but I can’t use my Sonos S5 to listen to last.fm directly without paying £3 a month.
Maybe they should move to an ad supports free version like Spotify and premium users get no ads.
My issue is that for £3 a month, I get the same service I’ve had for free for years, nothing extra as far as I can see, no exclusive offers, or even the option to choose which artist’s album I want to listen to and listening to in it’s entirety, no I get to listen to a random selection of songs based on one criteria I specify.
At which point I have to question, do I pay £3 for discovering music, or do I pay £10 for spotify and then get the option to listen to albums I want to hear and be able to download them for offline playing on my iPhone?
Last.FM I’m an advocate of yours, I want you to succeed, I want to support you, but you’re not offering me anything that I can’t get for free. Innovate to survive, please!

What’s in the future for the iPad?

Apple ipadI’ve been a bit quiet hear so far this month whilst my work get’s busier, but that’s not to say I’m not constantly thinking about technology and our future with it.

At best I can only see I’ll use it as a portable web reader for reading web documents away from my desk.
For instance the other day I had a couple of web documents that I needed to get my head around so I printed them both and went off somewhere quiet to get into the documents. However, any decent eReader can provide a similar function, though admitedly I’d need to print to PDF the docs and load them to the eReader.

Either way an iPad seems a bit of over kill for that. Maybe the apps that come to the iPad will make it more essential.
For now I’ll stick with my iPhone to fill the app gap.

This is the Future of Transport in London

Gizmodo posted an interesting article today http://gizmodo.com/5530730/b+cycle-the-gps+equipped-bike-sharing-system-i-want-right-now

This is very similar to a cycle system I was envisaging for London about 6 years ago except more techie. GPS wasn’t so prevalent when I was dreaming up my idea but both ideas contain the key factor. The fact that you can pick up a bike from one location and drop it off at another.

For years I travelled into work, the majority of my journey being on an overground rail line into London Bridge station and then I had to negotiate the shorter distance to Shoreditch. I looked into getting a folder bike at the time but I would have nowhere to store it at/near work.
As such I resorted to buses and tubes, much preferring to be above ground when possible, especially in summer.

More recently I live within walking distance of a tube line and have got rid of my car as driving across London was an unpredictable drain on time, any one incident on the way could add between 30 to 60 minutes on a journey. Many of the journeys I could get a tube, but many more I would happily have been able to cycle had I had anywhere to store my bike at the other end. London is addressing this with more and more cycle rack to lock your bike to, but when you want to be able to change plans at a moments notice, as is common in the thriving London you having the system that Trek is putting in place in Denver makes even more sense.

Mindfulness of Technology

www.twitter.com/tinybuddha‘s post http://bit.ly/dwYuNh I’m inspired to think 2 things:

  1. There is no digital replacement for a hug. So hug someone.
  2. You can use the batteries in your life to regulate some good habits. For instance. If your mobile’s battery is running low at the end of the day, think you’ve done at least as much work and so should do something positive. Meditate, switch off, recharge by sleeping. You could also pull the power from your laptop and use the battery life of your laptop to regulate you taking a breaking. Stash your charger in a drawer so you can’t just whack it on charge quickly.