Geeky Stuff

Zune can't squirt no more


One of Microsoft's most touted features for their latest "iPod killer", the Zune, was to be able to let someone else borrow your song for three day, through a process nicknamed "squirting", before it would automatically expire. Well, it seems that two of the largest record companies in the world, Sony and Universal Music, didn't like that idea and through the options they set on songs you buy from Microsoft's Zune music store are denying you the right to do this with their music, upwards of 40-50% by some counts. The best part is that there's no promotion of this little factoid, the only way to find out if the music you paid for the right to squirt is to try it and see if it works! Ooppsie! I guess it goes back to Steve Jobs' idea of just letting the person you wish to hear the song to just listen to one of the earpieces on your iPod. Duh!

Ruby on Rails v1.2 is out, go get it


Today saw the final release of the third major production-ready release of Ruby on Rails, everyone's favorite web development suite. This new version boasts a bunch of new features and tweaks, with lots of small little touches that make your fingers sing - the official v1.2 announcement lists many of the bigger improvements but you really should do yourself a favor and pick up the Agile Web Development with Rails (2nd edition) book for a thorough explanation. As I work through it (on my Super Secret Project) I'll mention a few bits 'n pieces that I think are worth highlighting, the things that make you enjoy life and being a web developer :)

HD-DVD has won the high-def media format war?


It appears that HD-DVD will win the high-def media format war, if history is anything to go by.

History lesson: In the 1980's Sony's Betamax tape standard lost out to JVC's competing and technically inferior VHS tape standard primarily due to the adult entertainment industry's backing of the latter's lower production and media & equipment costs.

While Las Vegas's played host to 2007's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), down the street was the adult entertainment industry's annual convention where many studios announced support for the more affordable of the two new high-definition media standards: Microsoft's HD-DVD. While Sony's Blu-Ray is admittedly a superior technology, as Betamax was versus VHS, it is the media costs, production costs, playback-equipment costs and popularity of the players (in part due to Microsoft's XBox360's popularity, which has a HD-DVD player available for it, versus Sony's Playstation 3 with its Blu-Ray player) that has sold them.'s file format now an ISO standard


Great news today as the OpenDocument file format, used in the excellent word processor / spreadsheet / presentation application, was ratified as an official ISO standard. This means many things, from the fact that many major international corporations and organizations will start using it as their standard file format instead of the inferior Microsoft formats, but that also people world over now have security in the knowledge that files they create in this format will still be accessible for years to come, regardless of any one company. This is akin to how in the 90's the various Internet service providers stopped using their own custom messaging system and standardized on regular RFC 2821/2822 email, letting customers of one communicate with friends and family who had the audacity to use another company. Hurray for common sense finally succeeding against one corporation's profits.

Free website analysis and profiling


I got an email today to say that Quest Software was renewing support for their two free website analsysis products. Funnel Web Analyzer will scan your website logs to generate traffic reports while Funnel Web Profiler scans your site itself to generate lists of content statistics - word usage, code errors, etc, etc - very useful stuff indeed. The profiler is written in Java so it might run on OSX or Linux, but the analyzer is available in separate downloads for Windows, Linux, OSX and Solaris.


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