Category Archives: Technology Blog

Genesis Framework for WordPress review

Genesis Framework is a great framework for WordPress. Hmm, I do explain it a little better in the video ūüôā ¬†Basically this video talks about Genesis showing you what can be done with the framework and a theme (this website being the example).

Please do check it out and comment.




 

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Reviewing the WordPress Genesis Framework and Eleven40 theme

For those that don’t know, Genesis is a Framework by¬†Studiopress¬†with a default theme you plug into WordPress. Its not free, you have to buy it, but unlike free themes and many premium; because its a framework you have lots of options.

With click of a button you can change your screen to have header and content, just content, header, 1 sidebar and content, header and 2 sidebars and content, etc… You get the idea, you can change your layout to a number of configuration. But it doesn’t stop there. Genesis also contains an SEO element; it allows a number of places to place widgets and all this from the GUI; no code required.

Add a little CSS to place items more precise and you soon have a very professional looking webpage. In my testing; in 1 hours I went from a drap site to a quite semi-pro looking site; check out http://www.techno-info.co.uk for an example.

Also; keep your eyes peeled for up and coming review if interested.

Old git’s guide on technology – technology growing up

Lets investigate this title a little, am I an old git? Well git; many friends would call me at times (by the way; git is a¬†British¬†slang word meaning stuff like idiot, fool, bugger and to maybe use a stronger word as bast@#d – you get the meaning). Anyhoo back to being a git; at times yes.. Old? Well not so sure on this as depends on perspective. As in my early 40’s some would¬†classify¬†this as now being old but.. others not.

So; having spent sometime shooting down the first 2 words in my title let me detail why this is being written. It really more about me and technology as I have grown to give insight. Kind of came about as I was watching a few weeks back a video about how the Commodore 64 became 30 and thinking about how my technology life has changed.

So, this story start back sometime in the late 1970’s to 1981. We¬†weren’t¬†a rich family,¬†in fact¬†money was¬†certainly¬†tight so purchasing technology back then was really a no no. To give you an idea I believe we didn’t even have a colour TV until I was mid-teens (around ’84ish) and so watch everything in black and white. This would certainly be an alien concept to kids today including my own (do they still even make B&W TV’s now?).

Anyhow, so technology wasn’t cutting edge in my house and often watched TV at a friends in colour. Anyhow, moving forward my first really introduction to technology in a computing sense was when we got our TV game for Christmas; this I believe was late 70’s but could have been 1980. Anyhow, basically back in them days a TV game consisted of a box that plugged into your TV and two sets of paddles with buttons. Most games on there were varients on pong (you had say football which has 2 paddles on screen and box round area with two goals). The system I had also had some motorbike games which you used paddle for speed to try and jump a number of cars.

Here is a link to information on a similar if not the same TV game system I had back then http://www.old-computers.com and just in case in future years to come; if page gone here is a picture of said system

Lovely ah. But this was cutting edge tech and me and my brother played many a hour on this TV console until it broke after years of service. This certainly drove my technology want and next to come was our Atari 2600. We had the classic woodgrain one and not the second gen (for want of a better description) which had a matt dark grey base. Again for those that have never seen this then here is a link to the Atari 2600 Console and a image of the one I had

Now this was a game machine. You plugged in¬†cartridges¬†to get your different games and had classics such as Pacman, Space Invaders, etc. Now;¬†compared¬†with today’s standard of games many would look at this and think “O my god, crap graphics!”. But back then this console was like the PS3 or xBox 360 – it was cutting edge in gaming. We used to play games for hours on end and pacman (where you got a life for every maze you finished) we used to have like 200 lives to play with.. But this was the console to have and even now some still going on eBay.
Atari were cutting the technology back then and my first introduction to touching a computer was in a electronics shop where they had an Atari 400 computer and Atari 800 computer (images below)

 

 

These were real computers that could also take cartridges. Although for a number of weeks when we visited story (every other week we went and used to pursuade my mom to go into the shop) I used to just type my name until one day some kid showed me :

10 Print (“Your Name”)

20 goto 10

That little program kind of hooked me onto computers. So, we have to move quite quick here now as I have lots to cover… Next in line of my technology advancement came my ZX81 with 16k expansion I bought of a friend. the¬†ZX81 Computer¬†(image below) was the¬†predecessor¬†to the ZX80 which I would have loved as it came in kit form. This was a great calculator; I mean computer to start with (I do have a much more powerful calculator at home) and I did many a small program and even altered my basic flight sim game (written in basic) to have fun.

I bought the ZX81 with pocket money from my paper round but then next computer my parents bought me was my Commodore 64; again image below.

The¬†Commodore 64 Computer¬†was the computer of the day to have. Don’t get me wrong, there were a few classic computers of that day like¬†Oric 1,¬†Dragon 32¬†and even the¬†Mattel Electronics¬†Aquarius¬†(this is lesser known but a friend of mine had one and the D&D game on it was classic). Of course, not to forget the real competitor to the Commodore 64 which was the¬†Sinclair ZX Spectrum¬†which was the next one on from my old ZX81 of course.
Anyhow, the C64 was the computer of the day for gaming and is also what made me write this blog. I had mine for about 3-4 years although friends had them for much longer. This had dedicated sound with Sid, great graphics and 64k of memory. You were required to buy the separate specialized tape deck for the C64 from which you read your games and wrote your programs. By the way, for many of the impatient gamers today that have to wait 30-60 seconds for a game to load; imagine having to wait 15-20 minutes hehe.
The C64 was the computer that drove me to playing computer games and writing computer programs. Again gaming on them had the state of the art games and sound and programming in the in built basic was fun and interesting.
I did fall off the computer wagon for a while as after the C64 I went back to a console which was the Sega Master System.

On this we played many a fun game and was again merely plugging in a cartridge. This was also the start of the Sega and Nintendo battle of the consoles (I never owned a Nintendo until the Wii).. This was a short fall as had this for around 6-12 months before going to my next computer which was a Atari again.
This one was an Atari 520STFM which I got around 1988/9

At the time the Amiga was going string but part of me didn’t want to go with the classic in crowd and also I was able to get one of these easier than the Amiga at that time. Graphically this was close to what the Amiga could produce with only the odd game being slightly better. But I loved my Atari STFM. This was also my first introduction to owning a computer with a floppy drive.
Again this pushed my learning to program skills as we (myself and another friend who bought this) got hold of HiSoft Power Basic and started to write a database. We never actually finished it but did have a majority of the system written.
Later 1990 I decided to go with my friends (especially seeing my other friend with a 520 had moved) and move over to the Commodore Amiga 500.

After purchasing my 500 I went out on extras. First came the 512k expansion giving me my 1Mb (1024k) which we really needed for games, demos, etc and my external second drive. Next game my Philips CM8822 Mk1 monitor; and finally my Action Replay Mk3. This was the first system I had actually spent money on upgrades and extras and ran with it for around around 2 years till around early 1992. I swapped the setup for a 386SX20 laptop which was state of art then.
However, having that for just a few weeks I sold on as missed my Amiga so decided to go for a Amiga A600; which I then sold after a few months to buy the Amiga A1200 on the weekend after its release. I still have a A1200 today although slightly upgraded as I changed the Roms to be 3.1 and have a 68030 upgrade board with about 8Mb of memory. I also have a CD Rom drive so if had had all this back in 1992 when I bought it I would have been loving it.

As it was though I was only destined to own my Amiga A1200 for about a year. In 1993 I decided to go back into education and because I was doing computing I sold my loved A1200 and bought a PC. It was a generic build 386SX16 and came with a 512k graphics card, 640k of ram and a green screen monitor. It did also come with the full Wolf3D game so had some fun playing and found many a public domain game buying the disks from sites.
Yes; for those that have never lived without the Internet; back then you had public domain software and bought the disk with it on from suppliers. Same a big patches for games (I remember getting my Ultima 7 upgrade from them). Not long after that I got a grant funding my college work and was able to upgrade my system to a 486SX33 with 1Mb ram and also got a 1Mb trident graphics card. O they were the days.
1994 I went to University (as a mature student of 24). There I was introduced to the Internet which is probably my longest used technology along with Sun Microsystems and Linux (again I still use Linux today). The internet (and linux) was a bit different back then with text based webpages. Not long after I started using it then you could put a picture on your page – those were the cutting edge days. I also remember in 1995 some of the computer science final years doing work in Java which was an influence on my as I did my final year project in Java.
As I say, this was my biggest time of technology growth although computer wise I only went from a 486SX33 to a 486DX4-100 in the summer of ’95. However I had been influenced greatly by computer programming back then (well that was what I was doing as a course really) and the internet.
Summer of 1996 I did another upgrade to a P133 (or rather an equivalent chipset) but still staying with the PC. Back then I was coding lots and remember having a 2400Baud modem and logging into one of the free trial internet providers. But for most part used my university internet along with a zip drive (100Mb a disk) to get files – along with 96 or so floppies for my linux distro – installing was a LONG process).
We’re moving quicker now as this is getting to be a essay. Summer 1997 and graduated; started working for a small development company but then left and went to work from a LARGER tech company where I got to play with loads of tech like Risc system based computers etc. Summer ’98 got a P200MMX processor.
Moving even quicker 1999 moved, got P2-400. Over next few years it was P3-666 then into AMD processors in early 2000’s (around 2003). I didn’t go back to Intel until the C2D came out as prior to this I was using AMD 3800 X2 processor. Anyhow, since then I have gone C2d, Quad core then onto i7 ¬†(had 2 generations).
But also over the past 3 or so years I have also gone with some Apple Mac systems owning first a Mac Mini (intel first dual core) then a C2D Macbook Pro, C2D iMac, G5 Power Mac, Xeon quad core 3Ghz Mac pro and now finally have a i5 Mac Mini which suites my Mac needs perfect running After Effects and editing suite. Some may say why not bigger but you be surprised how well my i5 2.5Ghz Mac mini with 8Gb ram runs it and such a small box.
I haven’t mentioned the xBox and xBox 360 along the way as well as the Wii but I do have all these still plugged into my TV. However, computers still are the top tech that I own and work with.
When I was starting in computers is was a Nerd thing and nobody that was cool so to speak would have anything to do with the geeks. However, these days computers are the thing and the better you have the higher your standing. The Internet and social media has brought computers even to those that were too cool back in the day..
This is a brief history of my tech and you can see it has progressed well over the past 30 year or just over. What about you, have you got a similar tech history? I would love to hear how your technology has progressed.

How good is the Adobe Cloud – My Review of my usage of the cloud

For some time I wanted to have the latest Adobe After Effects (I had CS3) and wanted to use Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc. But like many non-students I couldn’t afford the 2500 pound notes they they were asking so I looked and thought of the possibilities..

Then came the Adobe Cloud. For those that may not know what it is (is there anyone); Adobe decided to put most/all of their software offering onto a cloud system and charge a monthly amount to access all of this software. So for one monthly charge you can get Premiere, AE, Photoshop and all the rest of the great software.

I found this VERY appealing.. Especially seeing I could get a special 12 months rate as I have AE CS3. So for 27GBP ¬†(this computer has no pound sign) a month for 12 months I can access software, and if calculate up its like 324GBP (here or there as couple bits of change in fee too) which is less that the Master collection. And you get a couple of extras in the Cloud not on the DVD’s. Ok for standard subscription its about 20 pound more a month but.. as you can see on my blog for August Adobe are doing the special rate deal which works out to about the same as I pay.. Bargain..

So, after that long build up.. what do I think. Well, I sold my copy of Vegas Pro and Final Cut Studio 3 as I seem to only use Premiere Pro now. You can even have an install on your PC and again on your Mac… You get 2 license installs of each software I believe. AE and Premiere plug nicely together too; integrating your video creation.. Dreamweaver is fantastic; doing some online development for a project I am working on. Photoshop; well; lets say I removed some stuff from my holiday photos..

All in all the software is fantastic. Installation from the Cloud is by a software manager that also notifies you as soon as updates are available. Its just one click and it downloads and installs. The best bit though is that more software is coming to cloud and you can access right away. Lightroom recently came onto the cloud; I now have that.. All in all there are like 16 or 17 applications..

You do need to have internet access to run software though as it does check you have a valid cloud subscription when running each software. I had my internet go down once and could not run the software – this certainly is a bad thing if wanting to edit a video or webpage while on the train; unlike if bought DVD version; but its a price to pay to get access.

All in all I think you can pay for around 4-5 years of cloud access for the cost of the Master Collection? OK, so you never own anything at the end of it unlike if buy the DVD. But unlike the DVD the cloud offers updates to newer versions too in the cost from what I am led to believe. So when CS7 comes out you get access without paying a upgrade cost like the DVD versions.

All in all I am loving it for my current monthly subscription. Will I continue it when it goes up in price? I don’t know.. But for 12 months at this bargain rate, if you want to get access to After Effects or Premier Pro then you could take up the August only offer and give it a try.. If after August; still go check them out as it still maybe worth it for you…

One for the sm.. Well big guy

So, its been reported that HTC have won a case against Apple over the swipe to unlock feature. Now personally I think this is a good thing as if Apple had won then Android phones would have to rethink along with lots of other OS.

No I like Apple products, don’t get me wrong; but I hate the way that they are so tied in to Apple only and they hold a hammer fist approach to most things which drives up the costs. That’s one reason why I do have more software, hardware, etc in my PC – although I do love my little Mac Mini (ya). But more and more Apple seem to be trying to hold down everyone (like Samsung) which is quite funny as these little guys provide some of the vital parts for things like iPad screens – but there you go..?? Anyhow, ya to HTC.

That said, I then saw a story in the news about Android phones being used as botnet some researchers have found? Evidence has been uncovered, it reckons, that spam has / is being sent to Yahoo mail servers by Android devices. Now this is scary from my perspective as imagine the phone bill of all that potential data usage ūüôā ¬†that is unless these botnet softwares only do it when plugged into wifi.. Would that be a user friendly botnet? I would presume that people writing these botnet softwares wouldn’t care about your bill??? So; if had an Android phone (like me) take note on what apps you download

ACTA rejected by the EU

So, hands up how many of you are happy that Acta has be rejected by a vote in the European Parliament. This must now be that last nail in the coffin for this controversial anti-piracy agreement? For those of you that have never heard of it; I won’t go into the details… but lets say that if it had passed it would have been a very bad thing – not just to those doing the piracy but for all of us that use the internet.

So tight would it have been that there was a worry that it would stifle freedom of expression on the internet.Many likened this to the other controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa).. As an example it has been mentioned in the past that if these acts did pass things like doing a gaming video (which can be argued as your own rights) would have to stop and be removed from sites such as YouTube.. How many of you have made one of those?

That’s not to say that we shouldn’t try to stop piracy.. Or at least maybe have cheap licensed sites where we can download and watch movies, tv shows, etc.. Maybe if film companies put money into this then they would limit piracy? Just my thought of the day???

How do you create an online store to make money

Well, in today’s online world we all want to try and grab a bit of that pie. We all like to buy and sell online and making cash online has been a limited¬†privileged¬†or secret¬†art form¬†costing money to have you page created. That is until recent times. Now you don’t even have to have stock to make money from sales online.

What am I talking about? Well companies such as Amazon now allow you to create a virtual store linking into them from which you earn a percentage for each and every sale that is done through your store. This offering from Amazon is called an aStore and is very easy to do. You go onto their page, join their affiliate program and create you aStore choosing what items you want (or categories of items) to sell. Once you’ve done that it gives you the code you put on your page (or a link if you choose) and that’s it. Add that to your page and you have an online store.

More affiliate and associate schemes are becoming available now for every day users although you still have to spend time to drive sales through them. That is the bottom line in that you don’t need products, you don’t need to code, you just need to get people to go and buy.

If you want an example of what one of these stores can look like goto http://www.bracknellcomputerrepairs.co.uk and select the Store option. There you will see a aStore I setup. O, and if looking to buy please feel free Рafter all your buying from Amazon and helping me out too

How to blog for money – eye opener

Before I begin, don’t get me wrong I do have advertising links and Amazon affiliate stuff on my blog(s) as its would be nice to earn a little for content. Though I have to say I don’t ūüôā ¬†so I don’t think earning from blogging is a bad thing but things can be an eye opener.

Out of an interest I decided to go to google.com and search for “how to blog for money”;¬†surprisingly¬†it returned 3,750,000,000 results… So 3.75 billion results from that simple search.. I mean, the sheer number of blogs and sites that have this is immense. With such a number of people in the entire world of the Internet trying to earn money you either have to be outstanding OR lucky, or expect little cash…

Needless to say we are not condoling clicking on links just for sake of clicking as this doesn’t do anyone any good – advertising is only to be clicked on to find out more about item advertised. This blog post is more about opening peoples eyes that if trying to earn money for a blog then you may not get as much; if any; as you expect…

See the other 3,749,999,999 of you around ūüôā

A week away and Adobe Cloud it active

Well, I certainly picked the wrong Friday to go on holiday ūüôā ¬† but little did I know back in Jan/Feb that I would have, first, subscribed to Adobe Cloud and second that it would be activated the day I went away for a week.

Anyhow, I saw that email about it being live while surfing on the free wifi in the hotel I was staying at in Majorca and although envious of those playing with CS6; I was still enjoying the sun.

Fast forward till last Saturday (19th) and I was back in the UK ya. Up to my PC (I can install and run software on both my Mac and PC – but chose PC for initial install as more Harddrive space) and I was off – downloading 16 items.

So far I have cut one quick vlog video using Premier CS6  (nice); played a little with the tracking in AE CS6 and looked at Photoshop CS6. O; and I have looked at Muse and Dreamweaver which maybe fun going forward.

Moving forward I will certainly be giving my thoughts on the CS6 products – or rather those I use. At the moment, for example, I’m finding it hard to see use of Muse. Its a nice interface for building site but when I went to edit page the in editor seemed quite weak. That said, after playing more I may find a better use???

In the mean time; anyone else had opportunity to play with the CS6 tools.

Cheapest way to upgrade a system???

Is there a cheap way at the moment? I was checking out upgrading my PC from the i7 920 to a i7 2600 now that the new processors coming out and was still surprised to see costs high. As an example, I was watching a bundle of cpu, motherboard and memory go on ebay for over 320GBP.

I then saw some Advent (Curry’s own brand I believe) complete systems going for around 450GBP which were i7 2600, 8GB memory, 2GB WD hard drive, ATI 6770 and all the other general stuff. So for just over 100 more you get an actual PC. Buck for buck the entire PC works out cheaper. OK, the motherboard is one of cheaper ones; but with i7 2600 still costing 224GBP in shops…

One idea you may want to follow (and something I am testing having got one of these PC’s) and my idea (that is if I don’t like the configuration of the system; i.e. the case look) is to strip out the processor, motherboard and memory and replace with parts I want to upgrade from; in my case the i7 920. Then resell the system with a smaller loss. So my aim for example is to make 320-340 back meaning I will have upgraded for around 110GBP.

Now; at a later date I may want to upgrade the motherboard – but this still will mean I paid 110 for processor and memory.. Make sense? Certainly considering that with motherboard it would still be below 200 and not over 320. Could even swap out 2Gb hard drive for a 500Gb got spare – even more financial sense.

Now; I may get back later and think “I like the design of this system” and so swap out the 6770 and put in my 6950 and sell on other system. But; either way to me this seems like the cheapest way to upgrade.

I’ll let you guys know in a few weeks if this plan works out.. ¬† Anyone want to buy a i7 920 gaming system with 12Gb of ram and 6770 ¬† ūüėČ

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