An omnibus of tech posts by s Futurologist on software development
Friday, 30 May 2008
Dell adopts fewer keys like me
Interesting to see that Dell has just adopted my idea
of dropping the F-keys on their up and coming Mini Inspiron
;) They just need to drop CAPS LOCK, DEL and the Windows keys now. The Dell comes in at 50 keys total, still not bad -- the keyboard just needs to be at least 27 cm wide to be usable by a touch-typing adult.
Now.. will any manufacturers come out with a DOVAK keyboard layout? ;)
Thursday, 22 May 2008
Better UK post codes
Current post codes take the form of 8 alphanumeric characters, but that only indicates a street (or one side of the street typically).
What we really need is a post code which includes the property reference.
So CB1 2QP
which is Abbey Street in Cambridge gets an additional number at the end to indicate the property number, making it CB1 2QP 14.
Each post code may have up to 999 properties on it, and so the number can be anything from 1-999 (does not need to be zero padded). The 14 does not necessarily need to correlate with the building number, but if the street is numbered, those numbers should correlate. If the buildings have names they should be assigned a number.
So when we phone up to give our address and order something, we only need to provide CB1 2QP 14, and not need the person at the other end to select our house name from a big drop-down list.
Labels: Post, UK
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
UK road signs
For those of you who've not driven the UK before, it's a bit different compared to Europe, we've still not adopted the standard road signs for Motorways and even speed signs (UK just displays a white circle with black diagonal line across to mean 60 or 70 mph)! So you will have to figure out the UK sign system, which isn't always logical.
Also the UK is still using Imperial
measurements for road distances too, which is a shame considering schools and all professions work in Metric!
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
UK driving on right hand side of road
The Romans drove on the left, as does the UK and Japan, but 72% of the world drives on the right side of the road, with Sweden switching to the right in the 60s. Should the UK follow suit and allow us to import our cars from Europe? See wikipedia for the origins
, but being right-handed suits having your right hand potentially free because you are driving on the left side of the road. Generally boats all drive on the right side of shipping lanes. Also planes on a collision course towards each other each turn left to avoid a collision.
Like eating with Knife and Fork, those right-handed take Knife, the more complex of the two to operate in their right hand. How does this compare for driving? Having driven on both the left and right I always find myself crusing with my right hand on the steering wheel, which shows that steering is best suited to to being right-hand drive like the UK is currently. The gears are very easy to operate on a stick or automatic in either hand I find.
Time for the UK to switch to be the same as the rest of the EU?
Labels: Europe, UK
I'm a KDE user, on Kubuntu. but it's more and more evident that it will fade away eventually because its often just a testing platform for the developers. Consequently the UI isn't great, its inconsistent, confusing, and the Windows of the GNU-Linux desktop space. Take for example the default settings of KWrite and Krita to dump out backup files of every file edited with the ~suffix. How many users are going to understand that? and Krita doesn't even have away to disable it! Also the names are silly, does a user really want to have to load KWrite to type? or would they rather just load "Notes" like they can on mobiles and tablets like Nokia 770 etc.
I've used Gnome on the other hand, and to me KDE is going to be more of a testing-space, which completes with the prime desktop, Gnome. Competition is always very useful, it's just a shame KDE isn't a polished desktop like Gnome has become!
Thursday, 15 May 2008
Firefox3 Intelligent Search Location Box
The smart web location box in Firefox3
will be much more useful when it takes advantage of the stats it has to hand. This is essentially a development of the idea I posted back in 2004 Technique to Facilitate Intelligent Functionality Tailored to Each User
. I see the Search box as dupicating space, the browser should really have a single "Location search box". When the addresses in the bar start with http:// then they are URLs, when they are keywords separated by spaces they should be treated as a search query.
One other thing I would love to see is a "Save page" (snapshot) button which just grabbed all the content and stored it in an HTML WebDoc archive
, these could be recalled later from a history. A prime use of this would be when I have booked my flights, but my email confirmation has not arrived yet.. I need to either print the web-page.. or hang-on and keep the page open until an email confirmation is processed so I don't use track of the confirmation reference.
These archived pages are static (the generated HTML layout) in that they can't be modified, they can be printed or forwarded as emails in their format as they appeared when the snapshot was taken with the click of the "Save page" button.
In the future, when the off-line file-store, email inbox/sent/drafts and online storage of documents is eventually unified... these snapshots of pages would show up as "Easyjet.com Flight booking -- saved 15 May 2008" in the "Saved" folder. So we can return to the archived pages for future reference should the airline loose track of our tickets! It will even be possible to forward them as the archive Easyjet_Flights.webdoc
file I am sure ;)
Labels: Future, Web
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
Swaffham Wind Turbine Norfolk
If you're interested in eco-power generation, the Swaffham Wind Turbine in Norfolk operated by Ecotricity
with the EcoTech Visitor Centre
on-site is definitely worth a visit!
Be careful to book though, as the opening times are pretty erratic, like no bank-holiday opening! and only the last Sunday in the month is open.
The EcoTech Visitor Centre phone number is 01760 726 100, but they often don't staff it or have an answering machine with opening times either. Worth a visit if you can manage to book.
Labels: Environment, Swaffham, Wind
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
freesat UK digital HD service launch today
UK Digital Satellite TV has been around for a couple of years, but today it launches
as one integrated system with 7 day programme guide all setup!
The DVR (Digital Video Recorder) option isn't available yet, but TVs from Panasonic are on sale
with HD support integrated now! Channels now include BBC HD
and soon ITV1 HD. Now just need Channel4 to exit their tie-in with Murdock's BskyB and a couple more channels ;) Use MythTV
DVR to share those programmes around the house.
Monday, 5 May 2008
Mister became Mr., which dropped the punctuation to become Mr. Mrs and Miss combined to become Ms. and then Ms without punctuation.
How long till we simply go for M. ? and then Just "M Smith". The only problem is what happens when the first initial is needed and that is an "M", looks a bit silly as M M Smith.
Germany generaly does H. now instead of Herr so it seems only a matter of time.
Time for a new phone
I've been looking at getting a new phone recently, my Sony Ericsson K800i is 18months old and tech has moved on. The Nokia N95 isn't that much better than what I've really got, but the N96
looks promising, even if it still has the tiny 240x320 QVGA display! The Sony Ericsson W999i
looks ace, and features the QWERTY rocker-button style keyboard which was popular on the M600 and P1i.. but it's not out yet.
My fav would be one of the two models out only in Japan at present: Sony Ericsson SO905ics is a 5MP Cybershot phone complete with FWVGA (864x400 px) DVD resolution display. The other choice is the Sharp 922SH, again decent screen size and handy QWERTY keyboard, but I don't know if this is touch screen, which is really needed for browsing the interweb (so hard on E90 as no stylus!). Hopefully equiv models to 922SH and SO905iCS will be released in GSM+3G unlocked varieties soon so I can give them a try.
Sunday, 4 May 2008
Why are youTube links not the name of the clip? Take http://youtube.com/watch?v=HiUwKQzNXA8
for example, when it could have been http://youtube.com/watch?The_Cameron_Sneeze_Clip
! One of them lets us know what we are getting when we click on it in an email from a friend etc.
Labels: Google, youtube
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