Why I’m not excited about iPhone 6S

Why I’m not excited about iPhone 6S

I bet you’re all looking forward to the next iPhone. You can bet your phone company is. A new iPhone for phone companies is like all your Christmases at once, with the Melbourne Cup and Moses parting the Red Sea while throwing out fist fulls of hundred dollar bills to everyone. I bet you’re probably wondering how much better Angry Birds and Candy Crush will be on it too right? Well I’m not excited. Why? Here’s a few good reasons. Blood diamonds, blood smart phones Albeit this is a criticism of all electronic devices. There are a lot of very exotic mineral called coltan that go into making those electronics. A lot of the coltan comes from small war torn countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. Apple basically ‘plead the fifth’ and say they aren’t liable if their precious metals come from Congolese war lords. In fairness, Sony have also come under some scrutiny for being less than socially responsible as well. Needless to say where you have war lords, you have child labor. Do you feel good about upgrading your iPhone every year or so now? Read the source articles: Where Our Bloody Gadgets Come From (Vice) Conflict Minerals, Rebels and Child Soldiers in Congo (Vice) Worker suicides and mass exploitation.  Foxconn are the Taiwanese owned, Chinese based manufacturer of iPhones. In 2010 alone they had 14 suicides, which continued until 2012. At the time (2010) Steve Jobs said in the media these suicides were the result of ‘personal’ issues. A report based on findings from several Chinese universities describes the conditions at Foxconn as that of labour camps. Apple were urged to take...
Why is vinyl so cool?

Why is vinyl so cool?

As a vinyl tragic, I thought I’d put something together about why I love vinyl. I don’t get it. What’s the point? Good. Don’t! It’s not for everybody – end of story. I don’t get plenty of things from why people think they can’t like the music they liked as a teenager to those stupid pastel coloured polo shirts with the collar up and little polo horses on them. I also don’t get protein shakes and cup cakes and my life is all the better for it. It’s totally inconvenient. Yes it is but that’s entirely the point. You can listen to Spotify in jail basically, over your phone, iPad at work or whatever. Possibly even in a sewer in Rangoon. But how often can you sit down and put on an album, listen to it linearly from one side to the other. The point is, it’s a total luxury to sit down and listen to music the way (and the order) it was INTENDED to be heard. No skipping of tracks or random play. You can really get the discourse of an album when you just sit and listen to it. Go places you’d never normally go Vinyl hunting has sent me to some of the craziest places in the world. Op shops (thrift or charity stores in other parts of the world) in country towns, the Thieves’ Market in Lisbon, the most decadent parts of Shanghai, you name it. You can log onto iTunes anywhere. Or buy a CD from a service station. But as Lemmy once said, the chase is better than the catch. Besides there’s...

Divi WordPress template review

I put together a web site for a local business the other day South Melbourne Health. Being an avid WordPress nut it was a no brainer which CMS to use. But what template to use? Responsive templates are a must these days (e.g. one template that adapts to tablets, phones and desktop screens automatically). This is a realm where you have to pay for a template as they’re quite involved. I chose the Divi theme from Elegant Themes. It cost roughly $50 Australian but I’m pretty happy with it for bang for buck. You don’t have to do any CSS because it gives you a really simple to use page builder template. Half the value in the template is right there. It also lets you add a lot of features people expect from a web site these days automatically. For example full page window sliders, Google Maps (albeit the map out of the box is pretty basic and won’t let you provide directions) and loads of icons you can use for headings. I haven’t played under the bonnet with WordPress for a while, so there was a bit of a learning curve. But nothing too serious. Nothing you can’t pick up and be fluent with in 5-10 days. Yup, WordPress and Divi is a pretty good combination. If you’re hesitating to actually but templates don’t. It’s well worth...

Reflections on the MBIT degree. Some advice

Between 2009 and 2013 I studied a Masters of Business IT at RMIT in Melbourne part time.  This is my personal view on the degree and the university. I strongly recommend you talk to others and form your own view. Why did I choose the university? I like the fight in the dog. RMIT had to be bailed out by the state government 7-10 years ago because of an epic IT fail. I believe the bail out was around $50M. But they were honest about it. The effective CIO of the uni talked about how rational people made very rational decisions and failed. But the uni seemed to thrive after coming so near to the brink. They really aggressively started marketing to international students and appear at least quite profitable. That honesty really impressed me. Secondly the uni is very convenient. It’s right in the CBD and meant you don’t need to travel. Finally it was about half the price of studying at Melbourne University’s Business School. Sadly I’m now lead to believe it’s had the degree. One thing that was clearly obvious in the MBIT program is that mature aged students working full time are a minority. Something like 10-20%. A great deal of the students are international. Many of which are in their early twenties who have gone straight from undergrad to postgrad. Many who have had no vocationally relevant work experience in IT. It means that there is very limited scope to make real connections with people in a similar disposition to you. That’s where I see the true value in a degree and I think...

Nokia Lumia 1020 just plain rules

Edit. After a recent trip to Japan there’s something truly awful about this phone. It does not support Google Maps at all. Whether via an app or by web browser, Google have conspired to make Google Maps fail on Windows. A bit frustrating when you’ve spent months preparing a Google Map for your holiday. As soon as I blog this, the thing will probably break! But I’ve had it for just on seven months now and it hasn’t missed a beat. Battery life is about 1.5-2 days, call quality is good and it does exactly what it should do. It’s a smart phone, not a smart arse phone. Now the real shock, I love using Windows 8 – on a phone. I’ve heard it’s hideous to use on desktop and a tablet. However I’ve had no problems so far running it on a smart phone. It just does what you need it to do and gets on with it. Now this phone’s party trick is the 41 megapixel camera. As far as I can see it’s actually 36+5 megapixels. In other words it takes a ginormous photo and a regular one. So your phone doesn’t crap out loading up detailed pictures. A bit cheeky but fact of the matter is it takes pretty good pictures. For the first time ever, I went on holiday with just the phone and not a camera. No regrets. Just awesome shots. In the office it integrates perfectly with Outlook mail too, as you’d expect. You can do a lot more with meeting invites too than you can on Android or iOS. The Office...

Which media server is best?

Streaming media from your computer to the TV is a fiddly exercise. It’s a tenuous and fiddly exercise at the best of times, but well worth it. It means no computers, keyboards or messy wires in the living room, but not without a lot of hard graft. Over the last few years, I’ve tried quite a few approaches. I’ve gone from a Phillips Streamium device to the Playstation 3, which is worth getting almost for the streaming function alone. So far I’ve tried 3 media servers: TVersity PS3 Media Server Windows Media Server Based on my experiences since about 2007, here’s some pros and cons for each. Windows Media Server pros: runs straight out of the box (whether you like it or not) requires very little setup or tweaking fairly reliable Windows Media Player cons: often get ‘no title’ messages when looking for media (I think this is WMP indexing files, but I have disabled it for this reason) can’t play MKVs or other HD formats can’t convert video on the fly to a format friendly to your setup (e.g. HD to standard def) can’t configure when (or how, or how often) it indexes media TVersity pros: It’s free Will convert media on the fly so it’s compatible with your streaming device (e.g. Xbox, Playstation) It’s lets you configure which directories you want to share out, on screen menus etc highly configurable, e.g. how often you want to index media lets you view your media by date added to system (very handy) can let you play internet services through your TV like Youtube and RSS It groups like directories...