stone city

The potential of Clouds.
December 1, 2008, 8:02 pm
Filed under: gadgets, geekery | Tags: , , , , ,


More and more, we as computer users have our head in the clouds. We’re depending less and less on even making sure our feet are firmly planted on the ground at the same time. The elegant combination of netbooks and web apps is quickly bringing browser tech to the forefront in an unprecedented way. My most commonly used applications? Fluid-enabled versions of Facebook, Hiveminder, Flickr and Remember The Milk. And Firefox is always the first thing I open and the last thing I close. I think Mail is the only hard drive-based app I actually use anymore (besides Transmission. Shhh!).

Here’s yet another step skyward. It’s a new operating system from the makers of gOS, the Linux-based OS that powers Wal-Mart’s bargain basement Everex-brand netbooks. It’s also based on the Linux kernel, but it borrows some obvious cues from a certain Google-branded internet browser. The name of the OS is itself “Cloud,” and it boots in mere seconds. Basically, its a browser optimized for using web-apps, and not much else.

The beauty is that we no longer need much else. Even Microsoft Office, long the only real “required” piece of software on most people’s computers, is fairly easily replaced with Google apps or Zoho. There’s only one place I use Office anymore: at the actual office. And even then, in a better connected, more technologically current environment, I could probably largely avoid it if I wanted to. As a freelancer, I have little cause to ever open Microsoft’s Office suite, unless I want to see how it performs in a new OS environment.

As a MobileMe user, I’m well aware that moving to the cloud is not without its downsides. Still, I’m generally excited about the prospect. I’ve always been annoyed that so much of my notebook’s precious hard drive space is given over to applications that take up far more than their fair share of space. More and more, I can give that storage back to media, where it belongs. At least, that is, until streaming media matures to the point that it elminates the need for keeping local copies.


I’m still chuffed about this, but hey.
November 28, 2008, 8:16 am
Filed under: emotion, geekery | Tags: , , ,


As you may or may not know, I use MediaTemple’s excellent Grid-Service hosting. It’s a bit pricey, but their client list is testimonial enough, and everyone I know who needs dependable hosting services goes there. The cost was the reason I was actually peeved when they sent me an email alerting me to their special gift card deal. You can give hosting to someone, for $95 a year, domain inclusive. Or you can give it to yourself.

Yes, it’s a lite version of their Grid-Service package, so you get half the disk space, have the transfer limits, fewer websites, etc. but it still would’ve suited my needs, at this stage in Verbosaurus‘ development. I host Sister Grimm off of my server as well, but still, what I have is probably overkill. Grr.

Griping aside, you can find out more about the deal here. If you’re looking for hosting, this beat most other offers I’ve seen for what you get, plus MediaTemple is a serious step up in customer service and dependability compared to others. When they ask for a referrer url during sign-up, just use “”, to abate my rage about not getting this deal myself.

Free WiFi for Bell Customers at Starbucks.
November 26, 2008, 7:59 pm
Filed under: caffeine, geekery | Tags: , , , ,


It might not be AT&T’s all iPhone-user deal, but some of us still get to use WiFi free at Starbuck’s here in Canada.  If you’re a Bell customer. Which I am. This is the only time I’ve been happy to say that.

Here‘s how to do it, if you’re lucky/throttled like me.

The laziest possible way to save the rainforest.
August 27, 2008, 2:40 pm
Filed under: geekery, green

For those of you who use Google (a small minority, I’m sure), and like trees (or at least don’t actively dislike them), Forestle uses Google’s engine, overlaid with their own not-unpleasant UI.  Unlike Google, though, Forestle forwards all of its advertising revenue (after covering basic admin costs) to adopting and protecting the rainforest.  Each search you conduct using Forestle saves an area of rainforest roughly the size of your computer monitor.

Unless you’re Siemens.