Today 10 years ago .. remembering 9/11 – in the IOL newsroom.

I was working for Independent Online (IOL) at the time and around 3:30 decided that it was time to hit the road and go home.  As I was walking through the newsroom my eye caught one of the many TV’s in the newsroom that happened to be on CNN.  I could not believe what I was seeing.  For a minte or 2 we all just starred at one another in disbelief and though by ourselves, can this  be real.

Me going home came to an abrubt halt and the newsroom became a hive of activity.  I was in charge of technology at IOL and we started thinking of what this will mean to our servers and the kind of traffic we could expect.

IOL was the first news site that had the story up and we immediately saw a spike in traffic.  We kept a watchfull eye on the servers and at the same time needed to ensure that the journalists had an optimum system to keep the stories flowing and keeping the site updated.  That day I came to respect the open source stack that we ran to serve IOL.  It did not strain at all under the load and just kept on ticking.

At about 11pm that evening things started to quiet down a bit and we could go home for some sleep while the night shift kept things going.  Early the next morning we were all back in the office to keep the news flowing.

Although we were looking on from afar, it felt like we were right in New York and today my toughts go out to all in America and the rest of the world that lost loved ones and friends.  I know it is a day I will never forget.

Jelly Bean comes after Icecream — next version of Google’s Android

From the folks at Phandroid and AndroidandMe comes the news about the next pet name for Android .. I quote from Phandroid:

If you’re an Android fanboy (like me) there’s probably been a night or two where you kept up late wondering what Google’s name for the next version of Android would be. Well, toss and turn no more! According to a “trusted source” over at ThisIsMyNext, the next version of Android could be named — wait for it — JELLY BEAN. That’s right. Keeping true to Google’s alphabetical order, we’ve seen Android versions Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and now (possibly) Jelly Bean. Keep in mind it was long rumored that “F” would be Flan before later revealing itself to be Froyo.

and from the guys at AndroidandMe:

 Google has a tradition of naming Android versions after desserts. Ice Cream Sandwich is currently one of the hottest topics, as it’s the version we are all waiting for at the moment. It’s the Android version that will democratically unite tablet and smartphone software into one.

Due to the fact that ICS will be such a huge jump, we’ve not stopped to think about what Google will name the next Android version. If we follow the tradition, it should be a dessert starting with the letter J. We’ve heard a few assumptions, like “Jello,” but according to Thisismynext’s sources, it will be called “Jelly Bean.”

UPDATE: There is an update on this and apparently “Jelly Bean” is only one of the names in the mix.  Wonder how many food names are there which starts with a “J”, not many I can think of and do not think Google will just go with “Jam”.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to WordPress — good read for all WordPress users

I am a huge fan of WordPress and use is for all my websites, be it for blogging or any form of content management. Came across The Complete Idiot’s Guide to WordPress and from what I have seen, it is well thought out and well written.

It is not technical but rather on how to make WordPress work for you. The book covers the basics, essentially explaining the significant difference between .org and .com versions of WordPress, as well as how categories, pages and tags are used. The book’s best guidance is a result of Gunelius’s (the author) reliance on Web designers’ experience. For example, she recommends the plugin All for One SEO by Joost de Valk, a Web designer favorite in the blogosphere.

What you will learn reading The Complete Idiot’s Guide to WordPress

  • How to create policies regarding comments, privacy, and terms and conditions of usage
  • A few words about CSS and HTML
  • How to manage feeds and subscriptions
  • The subtle differences among categories, pages and posts, as well as managing hierarchy and navigation
  • How to use links and polls
  • How to insert advertising into your blog
To make sure you have a copy for your book rack .. get it at Amazon below.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to WordPress


New From: $11.81 USD In Stock

Nvidia Tegra 3 based Asus Transformer probably called Asus Transformer 2

I think I am going to hold off a bit in getting my Android based tablet. The idea was to get a Asus Transformer which is a Nvidia Tegra 2 based tablet.

The Nvidia Tegra 3 is the new Quadcore processor from Nvidia in the Tegra series and the next Asus Transformer will be sporting this processor.

The AndroidGuys wrote about this and I quote

There has been constant speculation about which device will feature the new quad-core processor from Nvidia. The first device was suppose to launch in August although will now be pushed back until possibly early 2012. According to Fudzilla, a group of sources have stated that the quad-core 40nm Tegra processor (Kal El) will be seen in the Asus Transformer 2. Since the first Transformer shipped with the Tegra 2, its only obvious that the next would ship with the Kal El processor. The Transformer is already one of the most unique Android tablets and with the addition of Kal El it will become the most powerful.

Current speculation is that this new Asus Transformer 2 will come in at the same price point as the current Asus Transformer tablet.  So it looks like I have to wait a bit in getting that tablet.

Asus Transformer Tf101 10.1-inch Tablet


New From: $399.95 USD In Stock

How-to: Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread on HTC Desire – Stock

At the moment it is almost impossible to get Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread on your HTC Desire directly from HTC or any one of the operators.  In South Africa I would reckon that this will never happen.  

Now what to do if you want Gingerbread on your phone?  If you not interested in the stock HTC ROM which included Sense then you can install the CyanogenMod Rom and the easiest way to do that is via the ROM Manager which you can get in the Android Market.

Now if you want the stock HTC ROM with Sense then I have found only one worthwhile ROM and that is the one by XDA developer, teppic74.  I have been using his ROM for the past year (FROYO one) and have not had any issues with it.  The Gingerbread one is even beter than the Froyo one.

You can find everything about this ROM on the XDA forums at http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1200261 and all the downloads are also there.  

Note that to flash this ROM you will need ClockworkMod Recovery v 2.5.0.7 and not the version 3 or later.  The scripts do not run in the never Recovery.  Also you will need to wipe your existing phone incuding apps and data.  So make a backup with something like Titanium Backup.

The one big advantage in this ROM is the better functioning of standard move to SD card.  I do not make use of a2sd so depend on this functionality.  In Froyo I ran out of memory soon and on Gingerbread it seems a lot better.

Happy flashing and hope you will like your new Gingerbread ROM.

Review: Dreamhost as a webhost – excellent experience and the best hosting I found.

I do not often promote a service but decide that one is worth promoting. I have been a Dreamhost customer for the past 3 year and have not had any bad experience yet. In fact the experience has been excelent so far.  

I have been using webhosting companies for the past 10 years or so and had dealt with a few,  One of my main requirments is hosting multiple domains since I do host domains for other people.  I ended up with Dreamhost abour 3 years ago after going through 2 or 3 other hosts that just did not come to the party when needed.  My first years hosting costed me something like $20 dollars and I just said that I had nothing to loose in trying them out.  It is now 3 years later and I have not looked back.  

I am a techie so like to play around with things and Dreamhost allows me to do it, whether it be with Shell access, a SVN server to do my version control or some fancy PHP stuff I am playing with.  There is just one thing missing, GIT, Dreamhost, can you add GIT Server to your offerings?

When one follows their blog or their Twitter feed then one is always informed about what it going on, what server is in trouble and what they doing about it.  Oh and I love their April fools jokes also.

This blog and my other personal blog is running on Dreamhost. I have also got a fair amount of other domains for friends and customers running on Dreamhost.  There is not many hosting companies out there that give you Unlimted domains, Unlimited bandwidth, Unlimited MySQL DB’s and Unlimited storage for only $8.95 per month. 

So if you in the market for a hosting company then I can highly recomment Dreamhost.  You will not be sorry and will never run out of capacity.

On the other hand if you just looking for somebody to host your blog and email on your own domain then contact me via the comments to this post.  I will get in contact with you and we can set something up.

Is SwiftKey X Beta the best Android keyboard around .. I think so.

A couple of days ago I installed the new Beta of Switkey keyboard on my HTC Desire Android phone and must say I am impressed with it.  It is now called Switchkey X (assume the X is for next generation).  Here is a screenshot of the keyboard using Tweetdeck (my other favourite Android app).

What I like about this keyboard is that it looks at your Facebook, Twitter and gMail and learn your language style.  Although I started off with US English, it quickly adapted to my style of language including all the Afrikaans words I am using.

Here is an article on Android and Me that have a writeup on it. Also this Youtube video gives a very good introduction to it:

The app is currently in beta so it is free in the Android Market.  When it moves out of beta and become a paid app then I will definitely buy it.

Geek in me — Linux in your browser using JavaScript

This is just so awesome … running Linux (Linux (none) 2.6.20 #3 Sat May 14 19:08:30 CEST 2011 i586 GNU/Linux if you run uname -a) right in your browser and this is a working Linux as you can see from the screenshot below.

You can see I cd’ed to the root directory and did a ls -al to list the directory structure.  Also had a look at what user is running with a whoami and you will see that you are root.  Go to http://bellard.org/jslinux/ to have a play with it.

ASUS Eee Transformer Pad and Android 3.0 software update

The Asus Eee Transformer Pad was only released a couple of days ago and it already received it’s first software update.  Android was updated to version 3.0.1 and it mainly added new Asus Software that was not ready when the tablet was released.

One thing that I am looking at when deciding to buy a new tablet is how quickly the manufacturer (Asus in this case) release new software updates.  This is a very good sign from Asus.

 

Android Tablet from Lenovo – the ThinkTab

As mentioned in my previous post .. I am current investigation a 10.1 inch Android Tablet.  The latest one to enter is Lenovo Android Tablet with an optional keyboard.

Here is the specs for it.  

From what I could read, the USB 2.0 port is on the tablet and not the optional keyboard which in my book makes more sense.

Everyday a new entrant is entering the Android Tablet market but what would interest me much is the support after the initial release.  How quicly updates gets pushed out to the devices? How close to the original Google Android each device stays .. the more customization is done, the longer it normaly takes to get updates to the market.  My opinion is to stay with people that knows the Android landscape like Samsung, HTC and Motorola.  It will be good to see how Asus and Lenovo fairs in this market.