Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hello, this is Google, your operator, speaking

From ZDNet

Google has begun testing a new click-to-call service that lets people speak with advertisers on its search results page without having to pick up the phone and dial.

A Web surfer can click a phone icon adjacent to an ad, enter his or her own phone number and then click a "connect for free" button. Google's service calls the advertiser's phone number and when the Web surfer picks up the receiver on his phone, he or she hears ringing as the call to the advertiser is connected, according to a Google Click-to-Call frequently-asked-questions page..

Unlike voice over Internet Protocol, a technology that sends voice transmission over the Internet, this service appears to connect two parties over the regular phone lines. However, Google declined to provide more details, including the specifics of the technology employed.

"We won't share your telephone number with anyone, including the advertiser," the FAQ states. "When you're connected with the advertiser, your number is blocked so the advertiser can't see it. In addition, we'll delete the number from our servers after a short period of time."

It was unclear how broad the test is. A few sample searches for frequently searched topics, such as "shoes," "electronics" and "mortgage," failed to turn up any of the icons. However, blogger Greg Yardley was able to obtain screen shots, which he posted last Wednesday.

Google said it pays for the calls, whether local or long distance. However, the Web surfer may incur airtime fees depending on the mobile phone plan used, the FAQ said.

"Google is always considering new ways to provide value to its advertisers and we frequently run tests of potential new features and products," the company said in a statement sent via e-mail. "We are currently conducting a limited test of a pay-per-call model, but we don't have any additional information to share at this time."

Allowing customers to reach advertisers through the computer could increase the value of online ads, particularly for companies like Google, which reaps nearly all of its revenue from advertising.

In August, Microsoft said it had purchased Teleo, an Internet calling company with the potential to allow MSN to offer click-to-call capabilities.

IBM has said it will integrate click-to-call technology from Avaya in Lotus Notes and other applications. And Yahoo has tested click-to-call in instant messaging.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Making Firefox the default Browser

Unfortunately there are still a lot of websites that actively do not support Firefox. Why you wouldn't support a browser that actually follows web standards beggars me.
The ATO (Australian Tax Office) business portal website is one of these.
I have to use their software and when I do I need to make IE the default browser else it has a spit. They also use a release of JAVA several versions behind the current one, so I have to keep a machine available with this configuration just so I can do my tax reporting. It is very frustrating.
It got worse when I thought I would see if I could get it to run on my new machine. I figured I could always put Firefox back to being default after I finished testing. Well that was easier said then done. Some Googling found this most helpful page.
After I changed these settings:
Go to your Desktop; Open My Computer; Click Tools -> Folder Options; Go to the File Types tab, and assign the following things to Firefox: URL:HyperText Transfer Protocol URL:Protected HyperText Transfer Protocol URL:File Transfer Protocol HTML File HTM File (optional); When complete, load FireFox, click Tools -> Options, and click 'Set Default Browser'.

I found that it now opened tabs from Outlook in Firefox - the way it used to - so I didn't need to try the second option.
"Solution #2: SetBrowser (freeware)
Try a freeware utility called SetBrowser to force your system to use Netscape, IE, or Opera."

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Using the Canon S2 IS to create small videos

John has written a great post outlining the steps to producing small video files using the S2 IS. I guess you could do this with any camera that produces movie files.

I will give this a try seeing as we have the same camera.

1. Shoot video with Canon S2 IS
2. Import video into Quicktime
3. Select the desired sequence and export movie to image sequence
4. Import images (31 in this case) into Photoshop Elements
5. Create new file. In this case 350x300 down from 640x480
6. Copy, paste, and position each of the 31 photos creating a 31 layer document.
7. Choose "save for web" select animated GIF
8. Save

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Play Risk via Google Maps

Risk via Google Maps!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Corsairs Voyager Flashdisk takes a pumelling

Boston Limited take Corsair's rugged new flashdrive for a test drive - literally. They soaked it, washed it, boiled it, cut the grass with it and ran it over. Nothing fazed it!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

World Usability Day

Today is World Usability Day

World Usability Day was created to help everyone know more about the ways to help create a better user experience of our world.
we have collected
stories about "everyday usability" - examples of the simple ways that technology is Making It Easy in this world.

If you have ever come across a product that was confusing or just did not work as expected, you can print a usability violation form and let the manufacturer, software developer, or other business know.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Liquid Cooled Thermaltake TaiChi PC Case

I have just about finished setting up my new PC. I got a Thermaltake Tai-Chi case with a liquid cooling kit. So far it is working great - cool.

We had a little problem getting the coolant to fil the radiator and hoses but eventually it did. My suggestion if you buy one of these is that to avoid heat damage to your CPU use an old AT power supply that doesn't need to be connected to a mother board to work and connect the molex connectors to the cooling pump. Then slowly add the coolant until all the air bubbles are flushed out of the system.
I havent seen the chip (CPU) temperature exceed 39 degrees Centigrade. Most of the day today it was lower than the Motherboard temperature. (Without airconditioning running the ambient temperature in the house would be around 25-28 degrees and in my office it is hotter due to the number of PCs running; today 4 + a laptop.)

In side there is a:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ CPU Previous review on this site
3GB Corsair DDR RAM
4 x Western Digital Caviar SE16 250Gb S-ATA Drives
Liteon DVD ROM
ASUS GeForce7800 GTX 256M PCIe Video Card (I only got one at this stage but I can pair these in SLi if I want.
Creative Audigy 2 ZS Video Editor Sound card
Creative Giga Works S750 7.1 Speakers
Enermax EG701AX-VE 600 Watt PSU
I am running 2 19" Viewsonic G90f+ Monitors in Dualview mode
Input a Logitech G7 Laser Wireless mouse and a Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard

This machine was sold to me by the great guys at Computer Alliance where I buy all my gear, partly constructed by them and finished by me with some help from my mate Jamie.