MSFT's new Zune incompatible with Plays For Sure


In 2005 (IIRC) Microsoft released a media initiative called Plays For Sure along with a number of both device manufacturers and online music stores. The idea was that you would be able to buy any number of devices from different companies, then buy music from different stores and be sure the music would work with the player. Well, it seems Microsoft has had enough of this idealistic "partnership" or "play nice for the consumers" thing and is going back to their old practice of locking everyone out: their new Zune players are incompatible with music bought for the old stores and the old players will not be compatible with music from the new Zune store. Yeah, that's why people still buy Microsoft products / services, they like having to re-buy everything every two years. Good on you, MSFT!

Now, lets compare that to Apple's iPod and iTunes Store: every single iPod sold since the beginning is still able to play music from the store today, and every new iPod is still able to play music bought from the store on day 1. Yes, it is vendor lock-in, but at least they tend not to give their customers the shaft quite as often. And they have BSG ;-)

Gallery2Export tip - upgrade PHP!


At home I use the wonderful Gallery2Export plugin for Apple's iPhoto photo catalog program into a Gallery2-based online album. It has generally worked great, but yesterday when I was trying to upload Halloween pictures it stopped working. Some fiddling later, including going through the hassle of trying another plugin (iPhoto2Gallery, which also failed), I finally upgraded the website from PHP 4.4 to PHP 5.1, and... it magically started working! Hurray! I've no idea if that was the actual problem or if it was just sheer luck, but its working again and now I can get back to the fun of sharing pics with my family :-)

WindowBlinds can cause general instability


No way! A system hack cause general instability, say it ain't so! It is true, folks, after uninstalling the bling-bling that is WindowBlinds, some nagging issues that had plagued both my home and work PCs disappeared. Gone are the general slowness, the jittery-as-a-junebug movie playback and games, and here to stay are improved load times, faster screen refresh and the ability to play any movie I want while I still work without thinking Max Headroom has taken over the world. Yay!

Image block rotation using


Here's a handle little Javascript function that'll let you rotate a set of DIVs as needed, e.g. to rotate a series of images for a slideshow. It uses to do a very simple looking yet quite appealing slide in/out. You'll need to load the prototype.js file and' effects.js file before running the code. One thing to note is that you can use any object to do this - DIVs, IMGs, etc, just assign the IDs accordingly, which is useful if you need to rotate entire code blocks and not just individual images. Enjoy!

// Shuffle a series of divs using
// Set it up like this:
// var shuffle_list = ['div1', 'div2', 'div3']; // an array of DIV IDs to rotate
// var shuffle_time = 8000; // 8 seconds
// var shuffle_effect = 'blind'; // the effect to us: 'appear', 'blind' or 'slide'
// setTimeout('imageShuffle();', shuffle_time);

function imageShuffle() {
if(arguments.length == 1)
var i = arguments[0];
var i = 0;
var next = i + 1;
if(next >= shuffle_list.length)
next = 0;
new Effect.toggle(shuffle_list[i], shuffle_effect, {queue: 'end'});
new Effect.toggle(shuffle_list[next], shuffle_effect, {queue: 'end'});
if(i >= shuffle_list.length)
i = 0;
setTimeout('imageShuffle('+i+');', shuffle_time);

Content filter plugin for Firefox


A common problem for parents is whether their children will accidentally discover unsavory content while online - an innocent search for "boobie joke" might get them more than they were expecting. There are lots of programs out there that purport to solve this, but the majority of them simply keep lists of inappropriate websites that you have no control over, which very often have political motives behind the content blocking. Enter a plugin for Firefox called ProCon which puts the control in your hands, so you can decide what is appropriate or not. ProCon allows you to block specific domains and URLs, block words that appear in the page itself, and add sites to a "whitelist" so that they're never blocked. While not the most powerful, it certainly is a step in the right direction and parents who are concerned about their children's viewing habits should definitely give it a try.


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