Wednesday, 30 May 2007

nz schools vs microsoft

...Microsoft Office programs have been ordered to be removed from about 25,000 Apple Macintosh computers in schools.
The Ministry of Education did not renew its deal for the programs, meaning that students using the Apple computers will not have access to common programs such as Excel and Word unless the school buys the software independently. ...

NZ Herald article via slashdot

It's about time Microsoft *really* started supporting education, by giving schools free or almost-free licences of Office etc. All those kids will probably go on to use Office in their jobs/home PC's so help grow the user base.

But there's also a great argument for this being a good opportunity to switch over to NeoOffice (an OpenOffice implementation on Mac), or other 'office' type apps (the google suite?) - and show them there's not always just one solution available. I've used NeoOffice, and while it's features aren't as strong as MS Office, or 100% compatiable, it's still fully usable for doing most word processing/spreadsheeting functions.

So... should schools be teaching the 'mainstream' apps to make life 'easier' in future, or teaching concepts they can apply to any application/solution? Personally, as a trained scientist who was taught concepts, and had to figure out how, where, and when to apply them, I'ld go for the second option, but that's just me. :) As a Software Tester, the same principles apply, so I can walk into almost any Testing job and quickly get up to speed on the systems/processes/applications in use. Brings to mind the old "teach a man to fish" proverb huh.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

I gave in...

finally created a facebook profile.
not sure I like it yet... seems to be YASS (yet another social site). Guess I'll give it a while to sink in :)

Sunday, 27 May 2007

POTD: anzac services

Originally uploaded by rachaelr.

Photo of the day: I think this is one of my favourite pics from the NZ Anzac day service at Gallopili, Turkey this year. I like how sharp it is (kinda hard with my el budgeto zoom lens, but the bright sunlight helped a lot), and how the dude in the green uniform is concentrating really hard.

Friday, 25 May 2007


d.Construct is another user experience conference i'm considering attending...
7th September 2007 in Brighton

Some of the same presenters i've seen at the fowd conference earlier this year - hopefully it's not too hung up on web design, as that's such a small part of user experience/interface design.

I like the idea of their web design -- if I'm looking correctly, as time goes on they'll update the site to follow the standard progress of a site design - starting at hand sketched wireframes, and moving through the design process to being a *finished* product in August.
Tho if it was me doing this, the text on the page needs to be more hand written (or at least look like it's been cut out and stuck down), lots of red scribble and arrows and unreadable notes, and the logos etc 'taped' on for that really authentic sketched interface look :)

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

i live by the (stinky) river

hmmm a perfume based on the smells of london?

sewers? the stink from the underground? old-man-hobo-pee? mm yep something i really want to be wearing on a daily basis

[link from Londonist]

great filler text

so many apps leave blank spaces or boring messages when fields/text areas have nothing to display. kudos to google calendar for making their 'comments' area a bit more interesting :)
Sorry, nothing to read here. Try Google News if you are bored.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

shameless fundraising plug

I have (foolishly?) entered the Race for Life in the City of London on 3rd June with my Mum.
Only 5km, so I can always walk if i'm that unfit! Go ahead and sponsor me on the link below.

the future is unwritten

Saw The Future is Unwritten last night at the Barbican.Great film if your into The Clash or music documentaries.

yah. wot he said.

great movie. tho there were two kinda surreal bits where they interviewed johnnie depp, i guess he musta been on a break from filming of pirates of the carribean - bandanna, dreads and the funny beard dreads too. everyone was laughing out loud at those bits :)

I so want one of these

pimp my r2d2 shirts & hoodies - from £20 at the pleb

[link via shiny shiny]

good error pages

The technorati 500 server error page is a good example of what to do when your site blows up - a bit of fun and no confusing stack traces :) I like the bloglines plumber too, but don't have a screenshot of that right now.

(Edit: yeah I am bored at work today!)

buy me

some of the images from our greece/turkey holiday are on shutterstock for sale... go on you know you want to!

i'm only dribbling a little..

so yet again the war on wifi health risks is flaring up, with the latest 'scientific' report (article via the beeb) saying there is no health threat.

I'm not going to wade in on this (much), but to say we use wifi at home and have done for years now, and i'm not growing any tumors or having flashbacks, so seems to be fine for me. And the mice living under the kitchen cupboards aren't mutating much more than normal for London :). As they point out in the bbc article, human-generated radio waves have been around for over a century, and anyway, any long term genetic damage wouldn't be seen until many generations down the line. The health benefits of not tripping over network cables in the middle of the night are enough for me.

Monday, 21 May 2007

planning to fail

today's Dilbert hits a little close to home...

Stock up on the red bull and mentos...

...Blizzard have announced StarCraft 2!
Can't see a release date, but they've said it will be for PC and Mac (yay!).

Aaah those long nights of caffine and gaming... I've pretty much given up the gaming, but if this comes out on Mac, and it will run OK on my MacBook, I may be back :)

Yeah I know, I missed this announcement by like three days...

New Printer

Picked up a new hp c5180 on sunday - all in one inkjet (scanner, copier, printer w borderless photos at 9600 res). The test photo I printed came out as good as a photolab - not sure how economical the ink is, but we'll see. Going to use it to print wedding invites - even with the cost of the printer, I think it will be not a lot more than getting them printed 'professionally'.

It's a 'network' printer so can either plug it in to a pc via usb, or straight into a router and viola, networked printer :) works fine with mac, and Kerry also has it running on his gentoo laptop.

Now to get rid of the old lexmark... think it's going to go onto the freecycle lists to go to a good home.

As a side note, we ended up getting it from the Apple store on Regent street (as it's such a pain waiting for deliveries in the post...), and that was pretty painless! Grabbed an 'apple dude', told him which one we wanted, he went and got it, scanned it into a handheld device, jammed the credit card in the same handheld, and grabbed a email address to send the reciept to, slapped on an apple sticker and we were out the door. Nice!

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Last day...

It's our last day on holiday today.. in Athens, flying back to London tonight.
Got a few hundred pics to sort out when we get home!!