I was given this Sony Vaio laptop from our local LUG, it has Ubuntu on but I needed it for my accounts so dual booted Windows XP with the license stuck on the bottom. It's been a while since I've had a Windows laptop as I'm used to OS X on my iMac.
Most my friends chat on MSN messenger/Windows messenger/MSN/Windows Live Messenger (or whatever it is branded now) so I installed the Windows version. A few years ago the program was just an instant messenger for chatting to people, now it's so bloated I had to write this blog to highlight its problems.
As you can see almost 50% of the application interface is taken up by elements that have nothing to do with instant messaging! (Tabs can be hidden in the options but this is not default).
Compared to the Mac version there is so much bloat that detract from the original idea of the program.
Even though there are no search boxes, tabs or adverts the Mac version of the program remains highly usable and easy to use and look at.
I did a quick redesign in Fireworks of the Windows version to make it look better.
I've basically cut out all the crap - the program is back to its roots - for chatting to people online. All it needs now is some brushed aluminium.......
We?re now over a month into the new round however Planetarion has its lowest turnout ever with less then 6000 players. This may seem good but considering in Planetarion?s prime they had over 100000 players 6000 is poor.
The round seems as dull as ever with no major power blocks and most alliances running for themselves. My galaxy for one gets incoming every 2-3 nights and has a serious problem with trying to get any defence, this is a shame as we do have some good veterans to the game. The graphics have still failed to get an update and we haven?t heard from the creators it seems in weeks. Rumour has it that they are still working on another game or what ever they decide to go into after Planetarion finishes. The game at the moment seems to being run by what?s left of the pa crew.
It is unknown the financial status of fifth season AS at this current time but as the round did have a fairly poor signup its not looking good. It seems that Planetarion is coming to the natural end of its life cycle and people are a bit fed up with Planetarion as you do with all games. Planetarion has however lasted a lot longer then many other games and what it has created is a massive community on irc and the forums that will be around for a long time yet. The future of netgamers is still uncertain as it looks for more partners to continue to keep the irc network popular.
Triple X is the big action film to his our cinema screens this October so we thought we would go along and take a look. The film stars Vin Diesel who you may remember from the hit film The Fast and The Furious. xXx is directed by the same person who directed the fast and the furious and has a lot of great stunt and action scenes.
I thought the story line was well thought out with plently of action all the way through.
Diesel stars as former extreme sports athlete Xander ?XXX? Cage, notorious for his death defying public stunts. He is recruited by an NSA agent named Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) to try to succeed where other agents had failed. His mission takes him to Prague where he becomes friendly with a group named Anarchy 99, which to Xanders horror intends to kill off major cities with biological weapons. Xander makes it his mission to stop this from happening thus saving the world.
My particular favourite scene had to be with Xander snow boarding down a mountain with an avalanche of snow right behind him, it was gripping and original though maybe not the most realistic of situations but what can you expect! The film has been greatly compared to the James Bond series that has its next film coming out next month. Though the similarities could be seen with the Bond series I still thought the film used a lot of good original stunts which kept it entertaining.
Overall I thought xXx was a good film worth seeing before the likes of Harry Potter comes out soon. If you like action then its worth seeing, if you like cheesy films its also worth seeing, though if your looking for a quiet night in maybe this isn?t the film for you!
Our recent article - 21 Ways To Develop Cancer has caused quite a stir with a number of sceptics and people with first hand experience with electro magnetic radiation (EMR). A number of comments suggested we talk about how to avoid EMR where possible. Certain people are more sensitive to EMR than others, in a similar sort of way to how pollen effects only certain people. The effects of EMR can be as simple as headaches to life threatening cancer. It is impossible to cut out EMR from our daily lives however we can minimise our exposure to it, with the help from Safe Living Technologies and the guest writer of the previous article - Martin Weatherall I have compiled this list of advice to minimise exposure.
- Avoid living near a mobile phone masts or radio/TV transmitters.
- Avoid using cordless phones, especially DECT phones as these transmit radiation even when not in use.
- Avoid using wireless baby monitors or wireless security systems, where possible hard wire them in.
- Where possible do not use wireless routers - use CAT5 cable.
- Where possible use your mobile phone on hands free but without a Bluetooth headset. Aviod using a mobile phone in your car without an external antenna as the radio waves will be reflected back at you from the metal chassis. If your phone has poor signal in the car an external antenna should improve your call quality too.
- Only use a mobile phone or cordless phone for emergency calls only, use a corded phone for all regular conversations. Avoid using a mobile phone if pregnant and do not allow a child under 16 to use a mobile phone at all.
- Try not to keep your mobile phone in the same pocket all the time, if possible keep it away from the body in a bag or on a desk. Otherwise rotate it around the body.
- Avoid using the Microwave, it doesn't do anything good for your food anyway and will flood adjacent rooms with radiation.
- Minimise the number of electronic devices around your bed, this can include lights, alarm clocks, telephones, extension cords and electric blankets. Battery operated devices such as an alarm clock are good replacements.
- Make sure you don't sleep near your fuse box or distribution box.
- Avoid living near or under high voltage power lines. The same goes for electric sub-stations and transformers.
- Avoid all unnecessary exposure to x-rays and CT scans.
- Drive cars that have low electro magnetic fields.
- Make sure electronic devices are grounded (this is not such a problem in the UK as we have three pronged plugs unlike the rest of Europe and America).
- Avoid using a dimmer switch in the house as these emit high magnetic fields and cause dirty electricity.
This article from Safe Living Technologies provides a lot more detail about how to cut down your exposure to EMR.
Running your own business can give you the freedom and peace of mind that no ordinary job can offer. Below, we’ve rounded up ten top tips for sole traders to consider…
1.Set up your business as soon as possible
Becoming a sole trader is simple – all you have to do is sign up on the Government website, and then keep a record of your business’ sales and expenses and submit a Self Assessment tax return at the end of every business year. The good news is that, after paying tax, you’ll get to keep 100% of your profits, so getting organised and signing up your business as soon as possible makes sense. Otherwise, you may have to submit the previous year’s finances and back-pay your tax, which can be time-consuming, stressful and costly.
There are a whole host of benefits of working for yourself, but one drawback is self-motivation. If you’re struggling to know where to start, create a calendar and organise where you’ll need to be, what you should be doing and how long you’ll need to do it for.
3.Get the best deals
Just as you would for your personal finances, you should shop around to get the best value for money on things like rent, marketing and insurance. If you have a van, for example, then you can find cheap fleet insurance quotes on websites such as Be Wiser. It pays to use price comparison websites and haggle to get the best deal – it almost always results in a discount.
4.Start your own website
Your website is your online shop front – it's where people will go to find out about what you do. Whether you're a mechanic or a hairdresser, a website is essential – use a web design tool such as Web.com or hire a professional web design company to create one for you.
5.Do some marketing
Nobody is going to buy from you if they don't know you exist, so do some marketing to get the word out. Consider printing off leaflets, set up social media handles for your business and put an advert in the local newspaper – every little helps in the early days of a company.
6.Save money when you can
Taking out a small business loan can work, but it pays to have money set aside for when you need new equipment or want to expand. Rather than boosting your salary or splashing out on expensive work meals and outings, save money as and when you can for a “rainy day”.
7.Collect money as soon as possible
Whenever you’re hired for a job, you should send out an invoice for the work – that way, you’ll be able to collect money and avoid being scammed. We recommend sticking to email-based invoices, as that way, customers can’t argue that their invoice was “lost in the post”.
8.Monitor your competitors
When you're in the early days of running a business, it's crucial that you identify your competition. Look around to see who else is offering services similar to yours, monitor their marketing and online activity, and see what they're doing differently to you. You can learn a lot about your industry by copying best practices from your competition, so don't be afraid.
9.Set up a bank account
Although you don’t technically need a separate bank account as a sole trader, having one can keep your personal and business finances from intertwining. Get business earnings paid into a separate account that you can monitor, and then transfer wages into your personal account. That way, you’ll be less tempted to spend money you’ve earned for your business.
A one-man-band business can be great fun, but it can also be lonely. Network with other business owners and industry friends, as they’ll not only keep you company when you’re sick of working alone, but they could become useful contacts when looking for new work.