Thursday, January 01, 2009

.Nerd Update

As per usual it's been a while since I've put together a significant gadget / tech related post. So here are a few of my new favorite .nerd web-services / programs.

1) Portable Apps: Do your network administrators treat you like a simpleton? Do you have admin rights over your computer? Can you install whatever you want when ever you want? When our company transitioned from a 300 person firm to a 9000 person firm the network security got way strict. If you try hard enough you can get admin privileges over your machine, but they still do not support FireFox. That's right, a big engineering and design firm uses Internet Explorer 6.x... a browser which was first built during the medieval era of the internet. It's slow, doesn't work on the majority of "open-source" developed websites run by the federal government and is just clunky compared to any browser developed in the last 5 years.

Portable apps to the rescue!!! Developers have essentially re-packaged hundreds of open source applications so they can be installed and run off of a USB thumb drive. This allows you to take all of your favorite programs and settings with you to any PC. Some of my favorites are Firefox of course, Notepad+++ (powerful text editor which parces out XML files nicely), the GIMP (open source photo-shop), Pidgin (a Chat client that supports all the major services), and Open Office (you'll always be able to open Access Databases and other MS office files).

2)'s one click
This is great for the impulse buyer. Once you get your Amazon account set up, you just activate one click, and wala... with a single click what ever you want is one its way to your door. Really stream lines online purchasing.

Oh yea and don't forget the iPhone app. Amazon already had a good mobile web-site for the iphone, but the new app lets you take pictures of items with the phone, and will return the price for you... no more wondering in if you can find something in the store cheaper online.

3) Last
If you've never listened to internet radio... this is the site to try. Enter the name of a song, band and start your own radio station. What set's last FM apart from other sites is it's iPhone app and it's broader integration into concerts and music discovery. Very cool site.

(have you seen the video for Metallica's first single off the new album?)

I'll be adding a lastFM widget to the side of the blog so you can preview songs that I've been listening to... so web 2.0.

This sounds super cool... I'm wondering what the catch is (check out the how to). Seems like a great way to share files via the blog. Instead of messing with FTP sites you upload files you want to share with someone and then send them the url for the "drop".


  1. Anonymous11:08 AM

    On another Amazon note - you can download DRM-free MP3s from them now too.. often at a much better price than iTunes (they've got $5 albums). So instead of clunky M4Ps that you've got to authorize computers to use - you can get straight MP3s that you can copy and move at will.. at a better price. Viva la Revolution!

  2. ooooh! I'm interested in that file sharing one....I have tried in vane to figure out a way to get my mucky little paws on the podcasts from radio 1 DJs Pete Tong, Annie Mac and (of course) Zane Lowe - all of which you'd have heard me gassing me on about previously.
    Thing is I can't as you can only do so if you live in the UK. I don't anymore.
    But - my parents do! Is this a simple-parent-proof piece of kit to allow them to post to ...say...this blog?