Wednesday, 7 December 2011

DieselTekk is now an archive - long live MyEarBooks

This site and it's content will no longer be updated (as you may have gathered) since I am now too busy with other activities.

DieselTekk has been a joy, however as my priorities have changed a great deal over the past couple of years I can no longer contribute towards this site.

It's content will remain for the next year, after which it shall be removed.

These days my blogging efforts can be found at MyEarBooks, a blog dedicated to podiobook and audiobook reviews, news and author interviews.  It has been live since 1st November 2011 and has already grabbed the attention of many, having over 1000 visitors from all over the world within the first month.
Interviews with authors such as Bill Schmalfeldt, Larime Taylor and Greg Crites who have each talked about podcast novels that I have reviewed are live on the site for all to read and comment on.

If you would like to find out more please take a look at this link

I thank you all for your dedication to DieselTekk and now I am signing off.


Thursday, 2 June 2011

Windows 8 - New features & REAL video released!

There has been a great deal of speculation since the launch of Windows 7 as to what Microsoft will be doing with their next operating system and today some real information has come from Microsoft, with video footage, regarding the new GUI interface which has been designed with tablet and touch computers in mind.

Windows 8 takes the same 'tiles' form as Windows Phone 7, a rather intuitive information heavy interface designed to give users an 'at-a-glance' overview from all their running applications and this seems to have translated well to the desktop of Windows 8, at least going by Redmond's video.

I can see the benefit of this highly stylised new way of presenting information, especially for tablet PC's and mobile phones but until I have the opportunity to play with it myself on a conventional 'keyboard & mouse' PC then I cannot yet sing it's praises.

I am also concerned regarding the system overheads this new interface will incur. When Windows Vista launched it came with the Sidebar (came straight out of hell) which used massive amounts of CPU and RAM for very little benefit. Windows 7 still has the widgets but the Sidebar is gone and while the widgets are still there, they are not turned on by default.

This new interface looks fantastic but is not a complete replacement for the current Windows Start Menu, taskbar and system tray we all know and love, it seems to basically be just another (albeit giant) widget and this concerns me.

As i said before, I will reserve judgement until I get my hands on the beta and you can bet that I will be running it to death just as I did with Windows 7.

Please feel free to share your opinion in the comments!

Monday, 23 May 2011

#Apple to Replace Tabletop Product Signage With #iPads - Seriously?

Apple iPad to replace tabletop signage in Apple Stores

So according to this article on Mac Format's blog, Apple have decided that normal  traditional tabletop signs (indicating features, prices etc) are not good enough and as such replaced them with iPads running a custom app.

Are these guys serious?  While some of us sit around looking at the iPad, lusting and trying hard to justify purchasing one, Apple are using the damned things to display a price!

Graham Barlow of Mac Format has this to say on the matter...

"It’s a great idea, and really promotes the iPad as a business tool."

NO IT'S NOT Graham!  It's wasteful and just goes to show how over-inflated the price of the iPad really is.

In my shop tabletop signage costs me roughly £5 at most.  An iPad starts at just £399 at the Apple UK store.  Thats a difference of £394.  So Apple can justify the difference because this method effectively demonstrates an alternative use for the iPad?

Come on guys, stop showing off!


Saturday, 21 May 2011

Monolingual for Mac - Removes Unused Language Packs to Save Space

Monolingual is a free application for Mac OS X which promises to remove unused language files, keyboard layouts and architectures from your hard disk drive in order to reclaim storage space.
I came across this app on Sourceforge and liked the idea of reclaiming a few hundred megabytes.
Running the app is simple; just tick the boxes against the languages, keyboard layouts and architectures that you want rid of and click 'Remove' when done.
Monolingual will then happily chug away identifying items to remove.
I was quite shocked and really happy to read when it was all done that Monolingual had removed 2.1GB of redundant 'stuff' from my installation, much more that the 200 or 300MB that I had anticipated!
Visit Monolingual's page at Sourceforge to download for free.

Friday, 20 May 2011

iPhone 5 Prediction and Speculation

iPhone 5

iPhones are the hot topic everywhere, all of the time.

I love my iPhone 3GS (8GB) and I would love to get hold of an iPhone 4 but alas saving for my wedding is far more important (says my fiance!).

However no blog about technology would be holding it's head above water without at least one article about this upcoming new release from Apple.

The iPhone 5, (which could also be the branded as the iPhone 4G or iPhone 4GS) will most likely be released in September, when Apple usually refreshes it's iPod line up.  Why they would break this cycle I do not know, so it's a pretty same assumption that September is when we can expect to see the new iPhone.

Each new iPhone is the past has been thinner, lighter and faster, so another safe prediction would be that the new iPhone will follow this trend making it even more desirable that previous Apple offerings.

Goodbye Antennagate!  The embarrasment caused by the iPhone 4's antenna issues will be a thing of the past with the release of the iPhone 5.  This is perhaps the safest prediction of all.  Aliens could land on planet Earth after travelling hundreds of thousands of lightyears to get here and be completely baffled by the iPhone's newest antenna technology!

The camera of the iPhone 5 will be better.  With the majority of new, high-end smartphones being released to day having a camera rated at around 8 megapixels it is safe to predict that the iPhone 5's camera will be on par with these, with the good old Apple twist (it'll somehow be better than other camera's with the same functionality, megapixel count, physical size etc... that's how Apple does things!).

It will be black (or white).  Personally I would like a yellow option too.

Speaking speculatively I believe that the iPhone 5 will (finally) sync wirelessly with iTunes.  We have asked for this feaute for long enough now and I believe that Apple will have taken this into account with the iPhone 5.  I am also expecting a great deal of fuss to be made with regards to interacting with 'the cloud' (iCloud?) which will likely enable Apple authorised and hosted streaming of content via it's MobileMe (or iCloud) service.
Widgets, which although I doubt will be available on iPhone 5, or any other iPod product, are something that I would love to see available within iOS.  Despite being a bit of an Apple fanboy, I do get some Android-envy when I see my missus playing with her widgets (ahem)!

Please share your thoughts on this article in the comments below!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

MarsEdit for Mac OS X [an in-testing review] First Impressions

I am not keen on paying for software, in fact my company is founded on the belief that the best computing experience for the average user is based on the least expense possible.

Most people do not require paid for software, which is why when it comes to blogging I recommend all my customer's use Microsoft's very FREE Windows Live! Writer, which i have mentioned many times on this blog before and is generally accepted by most bloggers as the worlds best software for blogging.

However I use Mac OS X more and more these days and trying to find a good app/program for blogging on the Mac is not an easy task.

I have briefly tried Red-Sweater's MarsEdit in the past and the results were not good; I was new to OS X back then.  Now, nearly a year on I am much more conversant with the delights of Apple's OS X and after reading Luke188's brief review of MarsEdit I have decided to give it another shot.

First Impressions

I have to be honest, MarsEdit does not come close to Windows Live! Writer in stakes of appearance or functionality.  It is a boring application to look at and nothing seems 'obvious'.  Maybe this is because I am so very used to Microsoft's product and my view is tainted?

I prefer WLW's page presentation.  When creating a post in WLW I can see as I type exactly how the finished article will look.  With MarsEdit I am typing black text onto a white background and that is it.

Setting MarsEdit up for use with DieselTekk was simple though, as Luke explains in his article...

"The setup was extremely easy and fast, once I entered the URL to my blog and my account details, I was in. It couldn’t have been more simpler."

So setup was simple, and creating a new post is simple (just click on the New Post icon in the toolbar).  However I missed somehting here... after clicking on the New Post icon i was presented with the option to create the post in Rich Text or HTML.  I have not yet found a method to change from my current option (Rich Text) to HTML.

Inserting a image is a simple procedure; select Media from the toolbar and navigate to the picture (or other file) of your choosing, make some choices regarding size, alignment, ALT Text etc and thats about it.

My son, Tristan, a few years agoMedia options (or rather more specifically image options) are severely lacking.  I can not as yet find a means of adding a watermark, adjusting paddings, tilt's, reflections or any of the other fun stuff I am used to being able to do with images within Windows Live! Writer.

The image shown here (to the left) of my son could be made so much more interesting with WLW but MarsEdit seems to think either it is fine as it is, or if I want to edit the image in anyway then I am happy to do it in another program.  MarsEdit, you are wrong.

Over all I am less than impressed with MarsEdit and I don't think it is because I have been spoiled by the likes of Windows Live! Writer; I think it is because other than offline creation and editing of posts it offers nothing that my blog's control panel offers already.  While Blogger is not the most powerful of blogging platforms, the online post editor presents me with all the same options as MarsEdit and more, such as the insertion of Amazon Ad's (not that I use them).


So I conclude at this point it time (although I shall continue to use the demo of MarsEdit for a few more posts yet) that MarsEdit offers nothing over Windows Live! Writer from Microsoft other than being a Apple Mac OS X native app that seems to integrate well with the operating system.
I would very much love to see Microsoft release Windows Live! Writer on the Mac, so please Baulmer et al, please!

Oh and one last note, one which is very important and might somewhat explain away my cynicism regarding MarsEdit - MarsEdit costs £23.99 in the App Store.  Microsoft's product is free.  If I am to pay for an app on the Mac that is not nearly as good as a FREE app on Windows then it needs to be a pretty special piece of kit.  MarsEdit needs to impress.  Right now, it does not.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

How To: Disassemble the 2TB USB Samsung Story Station External Hard Drive - Photo Guide

0-driveThere are many reasons you may want or need to take apart your Samsung Story drive; maybe the drive has failed and you wish to use the caddy for another disk, or maybe the caddy has failed and you intend to use the Samsung Spinpoint HDD inside in another caddy or PC – either way it may not seem at all obvious how to break the device down so I have prepared this guide.
Click images for larger view

Monday, 2 May 2011

#iOS #AppStore lacks blogging apps!

I mentioned in a previous article that one of the reasons I continue to use Windows as well as OS X is that I prefer to write bog posts using Microsoft's excellent (and free) Windows Live! Writer which is arguably the most highly regarded piece of software used by bloggers for creating content.

So just a short while ago I took a look on the iOS AppStore to see what blogger friendly apps were available for download to my iPhone, hoping to find a swath of innovation from app developers worldwide.

What I found was disappointment.

Searching for "blogspot" - which is my blogging platform of choice - resulted in just 13 apps.
Some had nothing to do with blogging ai far as I could tell, the rest were all paid-for apps, not one had above a three star rating!

In an ideal world I would be able to say "there's and void, I'll fill it!" however I am not a software developer of any kind and lack the skills to produce anything that would serve anybody, not even myself.

So I would like to invite any iOS developer who has produced a product that is capable of creating new content for my blog (in the form of articles with image, video, links etc) to contact me so that I may review their app here.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

#NowPlaying - Complete with #Hashtags @NCBRadio

For those interested I have decided that from this point on I shall be formatting my post titles so that they are more useful within the Twitterverse.  That possibly means '@'s and #hashtags all over the place but it should help with advertising my posts within that medium.

Anyway, moving along I wanted to make mention of my new daily listening habits.
It used to be that I would listen to music on my iPhone, either through the music I have downloaded to it, or via Spotify.  Both of which are excellent sources, but offer less variety even when played 'on random'.

I want my music to be played to me, I don't want to make decisions about what I listen to nor do I want the ability to skip through songs I don't want to listen to at that time.  I t may seem backward, but when I have these facilities available while at work or at home, then the music is distracting.

The obvious choice then is the radio.

However the radio has drawbacks too.  I cannot stand local radio stations, they bore me.  They are not for me; instead they are aimed at a particular listening demographic of which I do not think I necessarily belong.
Ad after ad after ad, some trying to be funny, some with the most annoying jingles that get stuck in my head like a migraine... again, distractions.

As for national radio, well the only one I can find that plays the kind of music I want to listen to is BBC Radio 1, which plays the same songs over and over, show after show, day through night, through day again.  Repetition is boring and again, distracting.

Lately I find myself listening to NCBRadio, a small, non-profit, enthusiast created and led broadcast available to all and any via the internet.
The music is not always necessarily to my taste, the few ad's (even the one for my Company, Evolve) can get annoying, but it's easy to listen to and for that I am grateful.
Songs are rarely repeated, the ad's (although repeated) are quite few and far between and I can safely broadcast it in my shop without fear of controversial language upsetting my customers.

Give them a listen, NCBRadio may not be to your taste but it's always worth trying something new!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Why I am less inclined to use Facebook

Facebook has many advantages for it's users.
Facebook makes it easy to find friends old and new, it makes it easy to communicate and see what is going on in the lives of your connections.  Games, chat, private messaging, photo and link sharing, forums...they're all there in on place.  Facebook.
People can pretty much live out their entire social life online; from one website alone.  Facebook.

There are also many disadvantages.
I could happily re-list the above advantages here as disadvantages too; ut I am going to pick just one, the last one "People can pretty much live out their entire social life online; from one website alone.  Facebook."

Why is this a disadvantage? Because, to put it simply, the good always comes with the bad.
While people are happy to put up a status update saying how they've enjoyed their day at a themepark, or how pleased they are that their 2 year old has stopped using a nappy; they're also more than happy to write about how their partner is lazy, their ex is good for nothing and their 'friends' are two-faced, backstabbing pieces of crap.  Flame wars are rife, with arguments flying back and forth in the public's eye as if everyone wants to know everything about everything.

People start up 'Like' pages so that like minded individuals can chip in their two cents worth about how they hate a particular individual, business or group.

The point of this is simple, there is just too many opportunities for HATE on Facebook.

So I am moving away from Facebook and all of it's bullshit more and more as each day passes.  I have already reduced my 200 or so 'friends' to less than 100; I have left more groups (or Likes) than have left, I rarely post anything up in status updates, it's rare that I comment on anything.

So where am I moving to?


On Twitter I can follow those I want to and anybody who wishes to follow me can without my having to follow them in return.
I can get all my favourite bands updates, software news, friends statuses etc without all the crap that goes along with it.
Additionally people are less likely to air their dirty laundry on Twitter simply because they have less space to do so.
People cannot type more than 140 characters in a 'tweet', therefore they are so much less likely to rant than they would on Facebook where the scope of a status is practically an essay of hate.

I guess this guy says it all really...

Please air your views on this matter in the comments below!
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