Tuesday, 4 May 2010

I’m I Really That Much of a Geek?

Well in short, yes. I have a talent (or habit) of tinkering with technology just a bit too much. Thankfully for the sanity of my better half, and the well being for my bank account, this curiously is not all consuming. This said over the past weeks I’ve started using a few interesting pieces of software…


If you are anything like me, you’ll probably have a hundred pieces of (normally random) information and ideas spinning about in your head an any one time. These short notes use to end up either on my whiteboard, as post-it notes, or hidden in Outlook.

Stickies from Zhorn Software (wasn’t he a baddie in a bond film?) is a nice little piece of software that helps keep all this information together and so far has proven invaluable in the three months I’ve been using it.


Bored with Internet Explorer? Well there are lots of alternative net browsers out there. For a long time I had been using Mozilla Firefox as my main web browser but I switched over to Google Chrome at the beginning of the year. Chrome is great and I love the minimalist interface however I had a few issues.

So a couple of months ago I downloaded Opera and I have to admit I’ve been pleasantly surprised. It is a little bit slicker and more powerful than Chrome (for example, it has a built in mail client), however it has a similar interface, which on a laptop makes the best use of the available screen space, plus I really like the speed dial feature.


Computers are fab, however if you want to watch videos (from say, BBC iPlayer), you probably want to watch it on a nice big TV, from a comfy sofa. At this point the normal computer OS (Windows, Linux or whatever) is a bit rubbish.

This is where a “10 foot interface” come in. As the name suggests, these are designed to be operated from 10 foot using a traditional remote control. Windows Media Centre which comes with Vista and Windows 7 is the most common software of this type, however they are many others.

Boxee is particularly interesting as it ties in a media player (with a very pretty interface) that uses internet sources heavily (to identify stuff as well as , with an element of social networking and integration with services like Twitter and Facebook. Considering this software is still at Beta stage and I’m running it on a really old laptop, I’m impressed.

Even more interestingly, Boxee have teamed up with D-Link to come up with some hardware, the Boxee Box to run Boxee on. If nothing else it is visually very cool (although completely impractical but never mind) and the remote is very clever.

Windows Live Writer

And lastly, today I downloaded Windows Live Writer. This is a dedicated application for writing blog posts (I’m using it to write this post). I’m sure there are plenty of other (better) alternatives, however this is an improvement on writing posts using Blogger’s web based tool.

Better still, I can use it offline and write whilst flying or on the train which is fantastic from my point of view because I do a lot of travelling.

Best of all of this software is freely available online! Anyway, normal hobby related service will resume shortly…

End of line.

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