Category: Technology

Twitter-ific!

Jul
19
2009

I really didn’t expect Twitter to get as big as it has when I initially signed up almost a year and a half ago. I’ve only made 6 “tweets” since then and never really got the gist of this social networking gem. Of course now after seeing how fast it’s grown, I can understand how this social phenom has reeled people in.

So what is Twitter? Well if you’ve been living under a rock, Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service created by Jack Dorsey. Twitter asks this simple question: “What are you doing?” By responding with a 140 character limit text response (which can be sent from your cell phone, instant messaging or the web), users are able to connect to other people (followers) and basically let everyone know (or read all about) the mundane actions of their daily lives.

Sounds fun, huh? I didn’t realize that so many people were voyeurs in a sense, or enjoyed being exhibitionists (although I have been guilty of a few status updates on Facebook). Which brings me to this hilarious video my friend showed me on YouTube, from “Super News!” on current.com (hilarious site… be sure to check it out). “Twouble with Twitters” pokes fun at all the Twitters out there and makes wonder if this is truly how our generation (e.g. the 20-somethings) communicates now: “By detached, bite-sized, yippity-yap”. And brings up a point: what ever happened to picking up the phone and calling your friends, instead of just randomly shouting what you’re doing into the “darkness” hoping that someone’s listening?

YouTube Preview Image

Hopefully I haven’t summoned the Fail Whale (then again, maybe that would be a good thing). That Twitter bird with it’s blank eyes and hypnotic voice is kind of freaky…

Norton Knows Customer Service

Mar
16
2009

Norton from SymantecI turned on my computer this morning only to find out that my Norton 360 All-In-One Security software didn’t load up. When I tried manually to start the program, I got a message telling me that my trial has expired and that I needed to activate it. Trial? Excuse me? I purchased the software from Future Shop last September and still have over 5 months of subscription coverage. So I’m thinking, what’s going on? I even tried clicking the “activate” button on the program, but after it was authorizing for a couple of seconds the window just closed. So I decided to visit Norton’s support website for answers.

I noticed a prompt to connect to a live chat with a technician. I figured that I didn’t want to be stuck on the phone for hours like I have been with other company’s customer service departments. I was connected with a technician within 5 minutes. After explaining the problem he suggested opening a remote connection so that he can try to figure out the issue and solution first hand. After assuring me that none of my personal files would be tampered with, I gave him the a-okay and he took control of my computer.

Now I knew that this type of technology was available, but I didn’t realize that consumer software companies were actually making use of it. So I quickly went to the kitchen, got a snack and sat back while “Selvakumar” tried to find the glitch in my Norton software (seeing my computer have a “mind of its own” was cool). After getting the same error message I did, and trying to repair the 2.0 version of Norton 360 that I had, he offered to install Norton 360 3.0 for free for me, since it would most likely solve the weird issue I was having with my version.

Of course I said yes, and he even restarted my computer and installed the program for me.  After re-opening the chat window,  he gave me a “welcome back” message, asked if there was anything else, that I’d probably be contacted by email in regards to completing a survey about the support I just had and bid me a good day.  Now Norton is working perfectly (well for now at least) and I couldn’t be more grateful for the help of the technician.

Kudos to Symantec! You have one happy customer right here. :)

One day to go… at least I got my laptop

Aug
31
2008

Well, I officially have one more full day before I head off to Kingston for the next month for teacher’s college. My room looks like a tornado hit it with all the clothes strewn around! Packing can be stressful, especially if you keep on thinking that you’re going to forget something.

I got the biggest stress off of my chest on Thursday: I got myself a laptop for school, because God knows I’ll be hopeless without it. I initially wanted to invest in a MacBook Pro. But after careful consideration I thought that all that money the package would cost me was a bit too rich for my blood. The MacBook Pro is currently retailing at $2300 at the Apple Store (after my student discount), and they also have a free iPod ($419 for the Touch I wanted) + free Canon printer (about $100) promotion. Plus, I wanted to jump on the Adobe Creative Suite software promotion ($449 for Photoshop, Flash, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, InDesign and Fireworks), get Apple Care ($279 for students) “just in case” and up the RAM in the computer to 4GB. So before all the mail-in-rebates I was looking at close to $4500. Did I really want to max out my credit cards and I haven’t even paid my tuition for school yet? Especially since there are rumours that there’s going to be a huge MacBook Pro update in the fall? No. So I went to Future Shop and bought a PC.

HP Pavilion DV9934CA LaptopAnd a sexy PC laptop it is. Not as sleek as the MBP, but boy is this thing shiny! I went with HP, since I’ve had positive experiences with them in the past (all three of my last computers were HPs). I got the Hewlett Packard Pavilion DV9934CA. I wanted to stay away from the 17″ laptops since they were “too big” for all the travelling back and forth I’ll be doing, but this model had the best specs for the best price ($1149).

  • 320GB hard drive
  • 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5750 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 8X DVD+/-R/RW DL with LightScribe
  • 17″ screen
  • Integrated Webcam
  • Integrated WiFi and Bluetooth
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8400M graphic video card with 256 dedicated memory
  • Lots of inputs including HDMI, SD, S-video, and 4 USBs

Not bad if I do say so myself. This is the first laptop I ever owned. So now I can look cool and head to Starbucks, sit down and publicly write on my laptop like the rest of people! It’s also the first time I’ll be using Windows Vista. At first I was kind of wary because of all the issues I’ve heard of others having with it, but it’s not too bad so far (but all those “are you sure” security authorization questions get kind of annoying after a while). It took about 2 hours so set up and create the Windows Vista recovery discs and a charge lasts about 2.5 hours. The video quality is great though… watching Flash Point on the 17″ screen looked great.

Future Shop was having a printer promotion as well, so I got a new HP printer/scanner/copier for $10 with the purchase of my laptop (anyone want to buy an older 990cxi printer? :D ) I stood my ground and stayed away from the $300 product service plan (those commission-based associates can be very pushy). Now all I need is to find a case/sleeve that fits it right (I think I’ll be creative and make my own). I just wish it would fit comfortably in the new Enyce bag I bought at Winners a couple days ago!

Sprout: The Online Multimedia Content Creator

Mar
12
2008

SproutI came across this site about a month ago while I was searching for new, simple ways of creating dynamic widgets on the web. I’m glad the Google gods were good to me, because Sprout has made my job soooo much easier! What is Sprout, you ask? Well, basically:

Sprout is a quick and easy way for beginner and pro users to create living content including, websites, banners, videos, music, photos, RSS feeds, calendars and more.

After I initially Googled the Sprout site, I signed up to be on the “private beta” list, and created a small group of media player-type sprouts. Today, Sprout is officially in “open beta”, so if you feel inclined to test your multimedia design prowess, give it a shot.

I also noticed today that Sprout featured two of the sprouts I created: one for Erykah Badu‘s new album (on the homepage) and one for Sheryl Crow‘s latest album (on the “what is sprout” page under “promotional”)! Sprout is definitely a great way to get your ‘widget’ out there and spread virally on the web. A very effective promotional tool.

Of course I do feel a bit sad that a few of my Flash/Actionscript skills are becoming a tad obsolete since now everyone from novice to pro can create amazing sprouts so easily, but who am I to complain? Less work = a more happy me. :D

With the public release of Sprout Beta, there are a lot of cool features to aid in the creation of sprouts: pre-built templates, dozens of components, and additional properties. Kudos to Sprout and their great team for creating a great open-source product that’s accessible to everyone!

Online Stock for Nintendo Wii Going, Going… Gone!

Dec
14
2007

All you people searching for a Nintendo Will console this Christmas were in luck today. Futureshop.ca had two separate stock replenishes of the popular gaming system of 350 units and they were all gone in a matter of minutes. If you didn’t already have your customer profile set up, or were busy fumbling through your wallet looking for your credit card then you were probably out of luck.  Many of their stores sold some of their last shipments before Christmas this morning as well.

This screen grab was taken at 4:18pm (click for larger version):
Futureshop.ca - Wii Sales at 4:18pm

And just over 10 minutes later:
Futureshop.ca - Wii Sales at 4:30pm

I’ve never seen such a demand for item since the Tickle-Me-Elmo. I for one wasn’t about to wake up at the crack of dawn this morning in the cold to head to Future Shop and purchase one in store. All the people who managed to get one before the holidays are pretty lucky because this is one hot item (two years running). It sucks when many of these people buying up all these Wii’s are scalpers trying to make a quick buck from the high demand of this product, while there are eager children waiting on them as Christmas gifts.

Other online retailers that had the Wii in stock at various times today: Costco and Best Buy.

Next online rush: Wii Fit