Category Archives: Technology

Cool Shirt, Cool Search Engine

Blekko T-Shirt
Blekko T-Shirt

I just got a new t-shirt sent to me by Blekko, the new search engine. Blekko has a lof of cool stuff that I have written about on my other blog, at Contoleon.com.

Aside from sending me a really cool new t-shirt, Blekko is cool because it introduces a few new tools in an easy to use format. As cool as the SEO tools are, there are a lot of cool things there just for everyday use. A few of these features are:

  • Being able to create groups called Slashtags and limiting your search to just them. For popular searches that are overcrowded, like blogging or music, this restricts the search to known credible sources, cutting the spam.
  • The ability to edit and manage Slashtags can be shared, making it easier for you to collaborate to create groups of sites that are credible and useful for later use.
  • Searches, including terms and slashtags, can be ordered by relevance or date, making it easy to find the most recently updated content. This search can then be subscribed to as an RSS feed.
  • They also sent me a cool t-shirt, because I emailed them after this post: Blekko’s Launch Rocked: 10 Thoughts.

TL;DR

  • Create Slashtags of sites and other Slashtags, search only them
  • Share editorship of Slashtags to pool knowledge
  • Subscribe to searches as RSS feeds
  • Cool free t-shirt

CamCard, Business Cards & Less Typing

CamCard
CamCard, how to avoid too much typing

Business cards are archaic. Inscribing some information on a piece of ex-living flora is not a perfect fit for a digital world. Getting the information from its dead tree format into a useable form is annoying. Unless the card has something like a QR code or a smartphone app like CamCard.

CamCard scans a photo of the business card and imports the details it recognises to your phone’s contacts. It is mostly accurate and any errors it picks up can be corrected when you get to preview the information imported, before it is added to your contacts. Unlike information sharing apps like Bump, you won’t be restricted by who may or may not have it installed and set up. CamCard works with normal business cards, as they have been for decades.

The other week my boss was at a conference. He had just recently installed CamCard on his iPhone, and loved it. It scanned cards fast, and mostly accurately. The cost of the full app in the end was worth it, especially compared to how much time he would have lost had he had to enter the details manually.

CamCard works well, and can save heaps of time. While I wish Bump was more widespread, rendering business cards obsolete, for now there is a need for apps like CamCard.

My6sense on Android

My6Sense for Android
My6Sense for Android

My6Sense is one of the most used apps I have installed on my phone. It combines Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz and RSS feeds in the one place and sorts it based on user behaviour.

The app is good at following links from Google Buzz and Twitter. Facebook and Google Buzz comments are supported, and so are likes. The app can also share any content through Google Buzz, Twitter and Facebook, as well as whatever options the phone can provide.

The biggest problem I had with My6Sense was the lack of good OPML support for importing my feeds on Google Reader. As a result my install of My6Sense is biased towards Google Buzz and Facebook. My6Sense also comes preloaded with a range of ‘Popular Feeds’, which are easily removed.

My6Sense’s ‘Digital Intuition’ and how the app’s learning process is tracked for the user is really cool. The ‘Your Digital Intuition’ progress bar encourages the user to continue to use My6Sense by giving feedback on activity and managing the user’s expectations with the one feature.

It would also be great if it could mark Google Reader feeds as read and if there was a mechanism for dropping Tweets, Google Buzz and Facebook updates faster out of the relevant list as their value drops faster than a blog post.

My6Sense is a very good app for skimming through and managing the large volume of content most people end up being buried in.

TL;DR

  • Makes it easy to quickly browse through feeds, which is great for mobile phone usage.
  • Lets you know how good it thinks it is at sorting your feeds.

Bump for Android

Bump for Android
Bump for Android

Bump is a cool little app that shares information between two phones that have been knocked together. Using the phone’s sensors, Bump determines which phones have just touched, and shares the selected information and files between the two handsets.

It is available on both Android and iPhone right now, so potentially should have a good userbase. I was going to trial Bump as an alternative to business cards at September’s Mobile Monday in Brisbane. However, most of the people I spoke to either did not have it installed or had not set up their details. I didn’t even take any business cards with me.

When I did get a chance to try it out, it was rather cool. As well as letting you manage your contact information through the application, you can also attach additional information, images and applications to be transferred. The only drawback I have encountered with this app is the lack of users, even in places where you think they should be.

Yarr like a Pirate in EVE Online

Yarr like a Pirate in EVE Online
Yarr like a Pirate in EVE Online

To celebrate International Talk Like A Pirate Day, I decided to stop being a carebear for the day, and engage in some EVE Online frigate PVP in low sec. I had my ship and fitting selected, and was ready to explore space.

My frigates were in another system. So after I set my pod onto autopilot, I went AFK for a while. When I came back I had reached my destination in Korsiki and there were two frigate wrecks next to my pod. I was still in high security space, so whoever decided to take pot-shots at me whilst I was AFK was really bored. And persistent.

Kestral Fitting
Kestral Fitting

Curious, I started to talk to them, and once I mentioned I was aiming to indulge in some frigate PVP, they challenged me to a one-on-one.

As a rule, shooting at another player in high sec will lead to a swift and deadly response from the NPC security forces, but there are exceptions. If a player steals from a cargo container or wreck, the owner has the right to fire on them. Once the owner has been fired on, the thief can respond in kind. This game mechanic is also often used to initiate combat in high sec.

We dropped cans, and started. Since we were both in frigates, me in a Kestrel and the other in a Merlin, it was looking close right until I managed to jam them long enough to inflict more damage than they could recover from, or inflict on me.

1 – 0

It was a great start to the day, and I set off to Tama, a high traffic low sec system. There is always PVP in Tama, thanks to its proximity to the Caldari base for Faction Warfare PVP. I was not wrong, there were a lot of pilots in dangerous ships lurking in Tama, but nothing that a lone Kestrel would have a chance of damaging.

After jumping around the system, avoiding the dangerous ships and trying to find something closer to my level, I docked in the only station in the system. After a short break I undocked. Into a waiting gang. Of hostile ships. Fortunately I had bookmarked a point directly in front of the station I could warp to in case this happened. So had they. They quickly hobbled my ship to stop me from getting away, and promptly blew my ship out from under me.

1 – 1

The mistake I made was to hesitate on warping a second time. The moral of the story is if you need to run don’t stop running. But I forgot this, so now I am in a cargo ship shopping for more ships. I managed to find 26 Kestrels cheap, so I bought them. Hopefully I won’t run out any time soon.

I needed to find new hunting grounds, so I headed down to Aurohunen in my new, recently fitted frigate. Apart from a small gate camp, there was not a lot happening, until I saw a Destroyer in one of my scans. He was flying through the asteroid belts of the system. A Cormorant should usually be on even footing or have an advantage over what I was in, proving the pilot knew how to get the best from the ship. He didn’t.

Taking an educated guess at where he was, I warped in and managed to take him completely by surprise. He was locked and his warp drive disabled before he had a chance to escape. Once his shields and armour were shredded he opened a conversation asking for mercy. I stopped firing and chose to give a different kind of piracy a go, so I demanded a ransom. Unfortunately the pilot was on a trial account and had only been playing for a few days. He had no real money and nothing good in his cargo hold. In the end I just let him go and wound up having a long conversation, filling in the gaps in his knowledge that the tutorial left.

1(2) – 1

I continued on my way through low sec space, and apart from being chased around the belts for a little while in Dantumi by a cruiser and creating a few new safe spots to warp to, not a lot happened. At least until I got to Passari.

There were two different cargo ships on the scanner, and they seemed to be moving among the planets. So I went there to look for them.

A recent addition to EVE is planetary interaction. Simply, players can now build structures on planets to produce trade goods. These trade goods can be collected at the Customs Office in orbit around the planet. In low sec, this creates a predictable location where you can expect to find cargo ships.

This is where I found the Bestower. It had no escorts, and it did not last long.

2(3) – 1

Trouble at the Custom Office
Trouble at the Customs Office

I looted the wreck and in the excitement of a good, classically piratical kill, promptly forgot a few important facts and warped into range of the security guns near a space station. They opened fire. Because my criminal timer had not yet expired from destroying the Bestower, I was fair game, and I lost my ship and some of what it carried.

2(3) – 2

Fortunately there was enough left on the wreck that I was still able to profit from the act of piracy.

First Annual International Talk Like A Pirate Day Tally:

Lost Ship only.
225,000 ISK*
225,000 ISK*

Destroyed Ship only.
285,000 ISK*
(841,640 ISK*)
497,750 ISK*

Loot Cargo Salvaged.
842,367 ISK

* Based on ‘base value’, which due to the economics of EVE may or may not be accurate.