Using Ubuntu

Well, I am trying another operating system in a virtual environment. I have to say that the display sen looks far better than Windows. Ubuntu just looks clearer and crisp compared to what Windows XP has…I am not sure why. So far the experience feels good. I am still exploring what Ubuntu is like. For basic stuff it looks interesting, but I am not sure as to what it will be like for more commercial type programs.

Microsoft Word and WordPress

I have managed to get this running that is linking images from say Flickr into a Microsoft Word 2007 blog post. At the end it is quite easy really. The first step is to:


The way one does is to insert a picture (as shown in the illustration) as normal.



Then the second step:


Then copy the image address link and paste it into the dialog box that comes up. Press OK.




And that’s all there is to it. One day I think I will make a video out of all this. But this is just for starters. Hope that helps anyone out there. I will answer any questions to the best of ability.

Feed Readers

RSSBeen a bit busy for the last few days, but I am back to start writing about what Feed Readers are. In a previous post, I talked about a service called Feedburner which adds some value to your feeds. So I am now going to talk about the other side of RSS Feeds. RSS Feeds can be akin to the headlines on the side of a newspaper section that gives you an overview of what is that section. RSS feeds allows you to handle a lot more information or feeds than reading all web sites in one go.
A feed reader allows me to do that.There are a lot of feed readers available and this is what I am going to talk here. There are web based feed readers and then there is client applications feedreaders. Web-based Feedreaders These are feedreaders that are based on the web. Some of the web applications that are out there is Newsgator Online, Bloglines, GoogleReader. All of them have a mobile application so you can browse your feeds on your mobile device such as a PDA or a cellphones.

Then there are the client feed reader applications. Some examples of a client feed reader applications are NewsnetWire (a MacOS application), FeedDemon, BlogBridge. Client feedreaders are quite nice to use if you would like to have complete control of downloading the feeds and so forth. Myself? I have used client feedreaders for a while but now I am sold on web based feed readers. The main reason? Mobility and Accessibility. With Web based RSS readers I can view my feeds from anywhere I like. If I change computers, like when I updated my computer, my RSS feeds were all there. With my other client applications that would not have been the case. I would have to back up my data files.


Feedburner Feedburner is a service that helps you measure the number of people subscribed to your blog feed. Why is that important? Well many people measure how popular a blog is by the number of hits that you receive in a particular day. But that does not show you the real readership. It used to be that many people read web sites by using a browser and they visit a site. But now people consume more information than ever before. Reading a blog in a feed reader (where all the information is consolidated) make reading content far far easier. (Defining what a feed reader is going to be another topic.) Therefore measuring how many people subscribed to your blog makes perfect sense. You’ll find on most blog sites that it is littered with “chicklets“(look at the bottom for a proper definition on the linked word ‘chicklet’)

Feedburner works well on all blogs and if you click on the RSS feed link below on this blog or this one you can see it in action. There are tons of things you can get Feedburner to do with the feed. You can monetize it, podcast enable it (if you post a mp3 file to your blog), and many more. It is very powerful stuff. Google has recently bought over this company and they have enabled a few extra services that were paid only previously which is very exciting.

Democracy Player

Democracy Player is a Open Source video player, but it is more than that. It is a video podcast client, which means that you can download channels on the Internet (technically they are called RSS feeds). They have an expiration date so it will time out after a certain time and then the player will delete the file. Or if you like the file, then you are able to save it. It can play a wide variety of formats, like Youtube, DivX, Xvid. with many more formats.

It’s a shame that in New Zealand, the data usage is regulated. We are only allowed a certain amount of data before we are either slowed down or charged. Otherwise this would be a killer applications in New Zealand. At the moment it will only be able to benefit the places where data usage is not a problem.

Democracy Player
Screenshot of the Democracy Player

Slim Server – your music streaming server

Picture the scene. You have a desktop that houses your main music files and you are working on your laptop and you want to stream the music files? Sure you can use a program like Itunes to share the files but then that would mean that you have to physically walk over to the computer that has the music and then turn on Itunes and then go back to your own machine and then start streaming it. Wouldn’t it be nice to sort out your own playlist and then hook into it like a radio? Or perhaps you have a mobile device that you want to be able to stream your main music library? Then Slim Server is something that you might want to have a look at. It uses a web interface that searches your music library for mp3 and then indexes it into its database. You can then create your playlist and then stream it over your network.

You have control over the playlist and it recognises different varying types of playlists. You have control over the repeat or shuffle. Then all you need to do is to open an URL (http//servername:9000/ to be exact) in your player and voila, your music is streaming like Internet Radio. It is very handy. Some things that I find a bit disconcerting is the lack of progress bar, but remember this is streaming so I guess its ok. Screenshots to come.

Here are some screenshots that I have taken of the web interface. One for the web playlist and the other is the music library.

Play Library
Music Library