My first social media policy


Despite seriously considering deleting my Facebook profile in the past, I haven’t managed it, yet. The downsides are still just about outweighed by the way I use Facebook, i.e. very little. That’s my choice though and after a conversation in the canteen recently, I started wondering whether it was right to effectively start building up a social media profile for someone before they’ve even been born!

Despite Google’s unhelpful profile name policy, Eric Schmidt apparently commented that young people may need to disassociate themselves from a trail of embarrassment online by changing their names. I can see his point, but wouldn’t it be worse if your dad had created a Facebook profile for you?! You’d need to change your name at least twice!

So, given it’s not possible to control information on Facebook, we’ve decided to try and avoid putting anything there on behalf of the bump. Not that we’re picking on Facebook- we’ll be avoiding posting anything on the other social networking sites too. This is a bit of an experiment at the moment, along with the whole (very wide) parental minefield, so the bump’s social media policy may evolve over time. For a start it needs a better codename!

We do still want to annoy at least a few people with news and photos when bump’s big day finally arrives though, so we’ll be sending out announcements via ‘old fashioned’ electronic mail and Short Message Service. (And there will definitely not be any live blogging!)

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Intermission


At the risk of stating the obvious, I’m having a short summer break from blogging, mostly due to an ongoing project to buy a new house. That’s not exactly been going smoothly, so when we do eventually move I’m sure there’ll be a few posts on the subject! Until then I’m wondering whether to blog at all, and perhaps stock up a few posts for a new season, or just stick to the odd short ramble. Here are a few bite size updates from the last few weeks for example…

It seems a bit like I’ve spent every spare minute on Rightmove but investigating house locations has been the perfect opportunity for a spot of mapping; after initial success with Open Street Map, I’ve made a few more edits. I did think the map was pretty complete where I live but on closer inspection there are actually quite a few details missing.

I’ve also spent a bit of blogging time playing with Google+ instead. Meh. I think the most interesting thing has been the discussions around using your real name, but that issue is not exactly unique to Google+.

Exploring the Android Market looking for apps that will work on the Joggler has been a welcome distraction. Need to add a few more to that list, including my new favourite clock. I’m impressed with how well the Joggler has taken to it’s new life as an Android device, but it is somewhat tied the wall, so I’m seriously tempted to buy a ‘proper’ tablet. I’m sticking to my dumb phone so I want something portable enough to make it out of the house on a regular basis. For a budget option the Andy Pad seems like it might be worth a look, except that I’d want to try before buying, and now there are rumours about a Samsung Q mini tablet/giant phone, except that’s not going to be cheap at all!

And we’ve been on holiday to Germany, which was much more fun than any of the above.

Need another holiday already though!

New Joggler Apps!


Not technically new apps for the Joggler and as I’m not expecting to see any of those again, I cheated: all these apps run very well on the Joggler… after installing Android! I think my quest to find a better alternative to the stock Joggler software is finally at an end.

There are still a few apps left to find a replacement for but I didn’t use these ones much anyway: O2 Calendar, Video, Games, YouTube and Messages (SMS). Here’s what I do have working so far:

Clock

I’m still looking for something to use as a standby screen but, if all else fails, I can write my own now. I like the retro clock widget for a date display on the home screen though.

Photos

Perhaps not the obvious choice for showing photos. I quite like the RealPlayer app, unfortunately it doesn’t play music from my media server, so for now it’s only there for photos.

Music

It doesn’t seem to want to display album art, and the Joggler doesn’t do wma files, but this is definitely an improvement over the Joggler’s standard music player!

News

Works reasonably well on the Joggler’s screen and has feeds for pretty much anything.

Sports News

Added a whole page of news for Jo’s team!

Weather

At a glance weather. All weather forecasts are a work of fiction anyway aren’t they?!

Traffic

The Google map traffic layer is a definite improvement on the Joggler’s original traffic map.

Tools

I have to say, the Button Savior app was a genius suggestion; no more getting stuck in full screen apps!

App Shop

Android Market has that pretty well covered, although the AndAppStore also works, so another massive win over the Joggler’s selection.

Internet Radio

It’s pretty basic but, with a local radio added from Global Streaming, AndroRadio does a solid job. I’m leaning towards Resco Radio at the moment though since the UI is a bit nicer, plus it has a volume control which is very handy without any hardware controls.

Google Maps

Yes!

Probably the best addition to the Joggler is having a working web browser, so for loads more stuff there’s no need for an app. I can check bus times with www.mytraveline.mobi, and look up trains on www.nationalrail.co.uk for starters. Definitely the best value gadget I have!

Google Wave invites


I have a whole bunch of Wave invites for anyone who wants one, especially if you’re interested in the Homecamp Wave. Just reply to this post using the email address you want me to send the invite to. Here’s how to find Homecamp once you’re Waving:

“@jamiei Search for homecamp with:public in the search input (but not the contact search). once you found it, simply click follow #homecamp” @yellowpark

To help me sift the genuine requests from the spam, please include a short introduction along with your request! (Bonus points if it’s homecamp related.)

Google plating


This post is brought to you from the new Google Chrome browser.

I’m sure there will be some in depth and deeply technical reviews about Chrome before long, if there aren’t already that is, but here are my first few thoughts:

  1. First thought
  2. Second thought
  3. Third thought

So far Chrome looks reasonably solid- solid enough to risk writing a blog post on even! I certainly like the sound of tabs in separate processes, given the number of times a website has taken out all my tabs. I usually have far too many tabs open I admit… but I’ve not yet caused the entire internet to crash as a result!

Playing with the about:memory page was interesting as well, especially with other browsers listed with Chrome. Interestingly Opera 9.5 was using less memory despite having more tabs open. Both Opera and Chrome have gone for a cut down interface, which I prefer, although there does seem to be a fairly random split of menu items between Chrome’s “Control the current page” and “Customise and control Google Chrome” menus. I imagine a lot of time was spent deciding what should go in each… oh well.

It’s great to have another browser to spice things up, and I love the new tab page- Chrome will most definitely be staying installed, along with Opera, Firefox and IE!

Update: Some thoughts from other people:

Extra, extra! A roundup and review of the media hype on The Register:

House blogject/tweetject experiments


Now that I have my home server pretty much sorted, I’ve had a chance to start experimenting with a few ideas for what to actually do with it.

It’s already publishing CurrentCost data, along with several others, but it’d be nice to do a bit more. One thing that is definitely on my to do list is to hook it up to Twitter. Andy’s house uses Twitter to communicate, which is getting some interest. It’s easy to twitter something from a home server, although not quite so easy to make it interesting, or at least not way too talkative and repetitive. Plus Twitter is a fantastic way to get text message alerts from your house (and a million and one other uses).

The other thing I’d quite like is a nice web based dashboard to replicate some of the information on the CurrentCost screen, but it’s only a tiny home server and, while it does run XAMPP, there’s not much memory left afterwards. It would also be kind of nice to avoid any security holes by not running my own web server. I’ve done a few experiments and it looks like WordPress is the perfect answer: I’ve added a House page which I can update with Google graphs using mtsend.py. The alternative would be to use new posts each time, which would be great to keep a history but that would probably fill up my weblog with even less interesting stuff than is already here!

Quite pleased with the results so far. Now I just need to actually automate some of it!

Google wide web


Earlier today I was reminded that working with computers all day gives you a different view of the internet to, for want of a better word, normal people! For instance, I don’t use Google to find sites I already know about, preferring URLs or del.icio.us, while I think to some people Google is the internet. They use Google, and feel lucky, when they are returning to a previous site. I was also asked why Google doesn’t always find the right site- they were looking for a hotel and the search results included the one they were looking for, along with hotels of the same name in different places. Targeting the right search results to people, instead of adverts, might be interesting, if we’re going to be watched anyway that is.

Later in the day Google failed me as I was unable to find anything about some artwork from my time at Warwick (it was a traffic cone and plastic pipe triffid-like sculpture which appeared in different locations around campus each day – brilliant – but can’t find it anywhere using google, or on flickr, hmmm). Still, it seems that Warwick blogs and I did stumble across a review of something I was thinking of getting for a spot of DIY home automation. Perhaps random Google search results are the modern day alternative to reading tea leaves?