Jun 072012

Time for some Microsoft bashing… err… promoting! Yup, I don’t do that too often, for obvious reasons, in my opinion.

There are plenty of apps out there which let Android users automate tasks, performing their pre-defined actions when specific conditions are met. Microsoft thinks it can do one better than that, though, and has plans for a whole scripting system based on giving its users a large degree of control over just how their phones behave, without requiring lots of custom apps for every given situation.

Called on{X}, Microsoft is first debuting the system for Android, where it uses JavaScript to interpret end-user instructions. In order to make it accessible (despite its rather technical underpinnings), Microsoft breaks the relevant chunks of JavaScript code into triggers and actions, all configurable through a convenient GUI. By stringing together these bits, users create on{X} rules, which can then be shared with others online.

For instance, one on{X} rule might contain the triggers for the time being 8 a.m. and the local weather forecast mentioning rain, with the action that an alert should be displayed on the phone advising you to grab an umbrella. Others might contain triggers that detect when you’re out on a jog and a text message from a friend arrives, letting your phone automatically text back that you’ll respond when you’re done with your workout.

This certainly sounds like a system with great potential, and a lot of flexibility. However, its success or failure could lie with the strength of its development community, and just how appealing the pre-configured rules it shares with other users are.

While on{X} hits Android first, Microsoft hopes to bring it to other mobile platforms in the future. Yes, you read that correctly. on{X} is not supported on Windows Phone!
Hmm, a perfect place to quote Alanis Morissette:

And isn’t it ironic…don’t you think
A little too ironic…and, yeah, I really do think…

May 092012

Move over, Flipboard! Google Currents is here to stay!

As of today, both http://evert.meulie.net/ & http://donateaday.net/ are also being published via/on Google Currents. Google Currents is a social magazine application for tablet computers released by Google in December 2011. It is currently available for Android and iOS devices. The application covers a variety of sources and offers a list of featured content that includes Forbes, CNET, ReadWriteWeb, and now the 2 above-mentioned sites! :wink:

I’m not quite the expert yet in Currents Producer, so bear with me…
(Currents Producer is a web-based self-publishing platform whereby publishers can customize the presentation of their content on Google Currents)

Want to subscribe?
http://evert.meulie.net/ –> http://www.google.com/producer/editions/CAow49CfCA/evert_meulie
http://donateaday.net/ –> http://www.google.com/producer/editions/CAowmeqfCA/donate_a_day
And if/when I ever get > 200 subscribers, I’ll end up in the Google Currents catalog :cool:

Apr 122012

Yup, currently my Nissan LEAF is nothing more but a GPS+radio in a airconditioned metal box on wheels. Auxiliary systems like the radio, Sat Nav & AC work just fine, but the engine won’t start.

I’ve done some Googling, and the problem seems a lot like the one reported in a posting in the LEAF wiki.

Nissan is aware of this issue and issued a technical service bulletin addressing it, NTB11038. The fix is to have the Vehicle Control Module (VCM) reprogrammed by a Nissan dealer. A side effect of the reprogramming is an improvement in the accuracy of the Driving Range Display.
The weird thing is that my LEAF has been in for service at Brennes Auto for this exact software update on March 29th! (I haven’t been told whether the software update was needed/has been applied). After that the car hasn’t been used for a week because of holidays. On April 10th it behaved normally, and yesterday the problems started.

Of course I don’t know for sure whether this is a NTB11038-issue but it almost seems like they went healthy->faulty software on March 29th. If that is indeed the case, they f*cked up big, big time!!

I hope to hear from them today. Hopefully that they have fixed the problem, but at the very least with an estimate on how long it will take. And they’re not done with me until they tell me exactly what was wrong. A ‘well, we dunno what was wrong, but now it works’ will not do.

Day 3 (I’m realistic and excluding weekends in the count)
The peeps at Brennes auto have determined there is something wrong with the ‘big’ battery, tossed my LEAF on a flatbed and transported it to Oslo. Apparently there is the only location with the equipment & expertise to check/fix this…

Finally… Today, on April the 26th, I could collect my LEAF again! :-)

Mar 072012

Now that governments more and more want to enforce four-letter words like SOPA, PIPA & ACTA on us, you may just want to be 100% anonymous/untrackable out there every once in a while.
Or perhaps you simply want to appear to be online from a different country, to watch the latest Simpsons episode on Fox or listen to music via Pandora.
You could of course use a proxy site like Anonymouse, Proxy Browsing or Hide My Ass!, but that isn’t 100% foolproof and it only works within your browser.

Enter VPNtunnel. This Swedish company offers 100% anonymous access to the Internet. What they provide is not a simple proxy, but a full-fledged VPN. As their name suggests, VPNtunnel connects you via a Virtual Private Network to the Internet so that it appears you are online from the location of the VPNtunnel server (instead of your actual location). It is 100% secure and will also work with other applications (like Skype, Steam, µTorrent & Tribler) & protocols (like FTP, BitTorrent & VoIP).

NB: Only via Sweden you’re 100% anonymous! As they write in their TOS/Privacy policy:

1 – Sweden – In accordance with swedish law, we do not store any data at all on our swedish servers. In other words, on our swedish servers we are able to provide a maximum of personal integrity.
2 – The rest of the world – Due to other countries laws, when you connect to any server that is not swedish we will store ip and timestamp logs of when you login and logout of our service for 30 days.

Currently they offer servers in Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, USA, UK, Romania & Russia.
You can exactly specify in their GUI which application(s) on your PC should use the tunnel, and which ones should connect without. Another neat function is that you can specify that your connection should change IP address every 30 minutes, or even every 5 minutes.

Keep in mind what they state when it comes to illegal activities: ‘The user is not allowed to use the service in any illegal way. “Illegal” is to be understood as something that does not correspond with SWEDISH law’. The keyword here being ‘Swedish’, so as long as you don’t threaten to take candy from a baby, you’re probably safe. :cool:

Various forms of payment are accepted and all give you access to the 1 plan they offer: unmetered access, 24/7/366 (it’s a leap year!). Prices are between €3.71-€5/month (about $4.87-$6.60/month), depending on how many months of service you purchase at once.

Check them out! You won’t be disappointed…

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