Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Sony Reader Touch Edition PRS-650

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It's new - it's sleek - its touch - it doesn't require a 3G account nor WiFi as it relies on direct USB connectivity to a hosting PC or laptop - it's not locked to a book chain, supplier or country!
Read all about it here
Here's an except of the review....
No two ways about it, the Reader Touch (more specifically, the PRS-650) is a gorgeous piece of hardware. The front bezel and spine are cool-to-the-touch brushed aluminium, the rear panel has a grippy rubberised plastic coating, and the whole unit feels as if it’s been put together with a craftsman’s fine attention to detail. It’s solid as a rock too, and feels nicer to hold than the Kindle.
The Reader Touch boasts 2GB of internal storage, plus twin memory card slots on the top edge for expansion (one for Memory Sticks, one for SD cards [up to 32GB cards]). On the bottom edge resides a 3.5mm headphone socket for listening to audiobooks or MP3s, while a stylus is tucked into the top right-hand corner for making notes.
It has three input methods,
  • finger touch (for page turns and navigation), 
  • stylus (page turns and annotation) 
  • button (for page turns and navigation)
The interface is a tad slow but definitely very usable.
Available from Borders in Australia for $299 (as at Sep 2010) which makes it a bit pricey compared to the 3G and Wifi equipped Kindle at $247
It's probably worth noting here that ...
Australians pay about $4 per book more than in the US because Amazon could not reach an agreement with Telstra to run it's service. They didn't want to use other providers due to coverage issues, so instead it uses expensive data roaming provided by AT&T in the US.
So in fact you are paying for the data every time you download a book and you are locked to their supply infrastructure.

The unit does not ship with a power supply as it is USB powered, but you can buy a generic (e.g. Dick Smith) PSU for under AU$20

Requires the Sony Reader software installed on your host PC to manage your books - app is free from the Sony e-bookstore at and looks very similar to Adobe Digital Editions
We just contacted Sony (Australia) to inquire about battery replacement.
They were most helpful and are fully researching our inquiry, but initial feedback suggests the battery will be a Li-Ion so should give three-to-five years life, however, because the battery is sealed within the unit, it will be covered by the unit's warranty initially.

More info as it comes to hand

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Google Advanced Search parameters

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To Open the Google™ Advanced Search panel with other than the default 10 results used to require the parameter &num=nn where nn was something like 20, 30, etc.
That stopped working recently (Sep 2010) and it appears you now need to follow that parameter with &as_qdr=all thus...

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Water Fights can be EXPENSIVE!

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15 Feb 2010 - our 16yr old has a party at our place and invites a group of friends.
Part of the activity is an organized water-fight.
At 52, Dad(me) decides to stay out of the fight and man the filling of the water stations from the tank.
The inevitable happens when it is noticed that Mr S is NOT wet!
Standing filling a water station, I did not see the attack approaching from behind.
The first I knew was when a full 20litre plastic pail of water hits me side-on mid-shin as the attacker slips, loosing hold of the full pail and throwing it against my leg as he runs toward me, instead of throwing the water over me.
After the initial shock and pain, I continue to fill the water-station but suddenly realize my leg is swelling visibly and rapidly before my eyes.
I hobble inside and call for assistance in the form of R.I.C.E. (Rest Ice Compression Elevation)
Fast-forward through x-rays, an ensuing infection resulting in copious antibiotics and a venous ulcer, which at its peak was about 150mm long by 50mm wide, many visits to the GP as well as visits to a plastic surgeon and several months under a general surgeon.
Now ... over 7 months later ... the leg no longer bleeds and apart from a cavity in the tissue where the ulcer was, is mostly recovered.
I just totaled up all the Dr, Specialist and Chemist bills relating to this "little incident" ....
$2,008.13 which after refunds still comes in at the grand sum of $1,474.53 so 
BE WARNED! water fights can be expensive, painful and horribly inconvenient ... but then ...most things in life come with a degree of risk

Some useful resources on differing architectural models

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Apart from the OSI model at the technology layer, the following links describe some of the enterprise layer models
There is the Zachman Framework .... have a look at this page which references it
You also have EAF (Enterprise Architecture Framework) – this page also has a comprehensive list of the various architecture methodologies available
A much more simplified model is described on this page under the Architectural Layers section
I also came across a reasonable explanation of the Agile architecture while I was researching

16 weather links

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Full Disk
Water vapor  Large  Color
Last 24 Hours  Play
0.2 sec/image

Qld lightning - near real-time (as opposed to Energex 15min delayed feed)

Aust MSLP (Mean Sea Level Pressure or Synoptic)

Colin J Sanders  Automation Analyst, Dip Elec., MCSE, ITIL, PRINCE
Technology Tamed ®
A.B.N.      13 442 206 580

Windows Junk Files Phone Scam

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Earlier today I get this "Private Caller" phone call on our land-line phone. The caller starts in with this ethnic dialog spiel ...
Caller: "Hello, May I speak with Mr Sander please"
Me: "Mr Sanders speaking"
Caller: Mr Sander, I am calling about your computer problem. Are you at your computer?
Me: "No! Who is this?"
Caller: "I am from Global Computer Repairs, we are going to help you clean up the junk files on your computer, can you go to your computer and turn it on please."
Me: "I don't think so!" "Who gave you my number and where are you calling from?"
Caller: "Please go to your computer so I can help you with the problem"
Me: "EXCUSE ME! I did NOT request your help and you are intruding on my privacy! I am a computer tech and take care of my..." CLICK! (caller hangs up)

What really scares me is that people are resorting to cold-calling to social-engineer folk into allowing them access to their systems in blatant person-to-person conversation! 
How many less techno-literate people will have been suckered into this scam before it gets taken down?
- Automation_man