Masterchef is a huge hit, then why not Mastergeek?

If you live in Australia like I do, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (or behind a PC) you’ll no doubt have heard about Masterchef. The TV cooking show that has channel Ten’s prime time viewing hour, most nights of the week.
Or maybe you have seen one of those singing shows such as The Voice or Australia’s got talent.
They all follow a similar model. Get a large number of people with a common interest. Place them in an environment that tests every part of who they are. From there skills to their character. Then the boring ones get kicked off and the really good and exciting ones stay on.
Well I think it’s about time that we had a TV like that for geeks (and no, Beauty and the Geek doesn’t count!). We’ll call it Mastergeek.

It will test everything known to a geek plus some. Invention tests from scrap piles of electronics where geeks have only a mater of hours to build a robot. Pressure tests where geeks will be pumped with caffeine and then set about the task of hacking a seemly impossible network…all while keeping there heart rate under 80 bbm. The stakes will be high…but the glory of wining higher.

Move over Masterchef, Mastergeek is coming.

Calling all (Geeky & non Geeky) Android Users. – Free 50GB of online Storage.

I myself am not geeky enough to take the plunge to an Android phone (although after seeing and playing with some of the newer high end models, I am definitely  recommending them to others), I don’t mind sharing information that I find about them.

Here is an offer to get 50GB of free online storage with Box. Free, forever. All you have to do is grab the Android app. Go….., go now. Then let me know how it goes.

Get the app here. Box for Android. [via gizmodo.com]

Telstra’s great outage. – What [didn’t] really happen.

Earlier Today Telstra had a little issue or two…with the countries internet. Here is how I imagine it going down.

Geek Jr: Arrr Sir, we have a bit of an issue at the moment.
Senior Geek: (who’s just returning from lunch) Well Jr, just spit it out and tell me what’s wrong.
Geek Jr: Well the light has stopped flashing on the internet.
Senior Geek: What do you mean the light has stopped flashing on the internet?
Geek Jr: The link light, that usually sits here and flashes all day as the country watches YouTube…it’s broken or something.
Senior Geek: (getting a little worried and red in the face). Well have you tired turning it off and on?
Geek Jr: No sir, didn’t think of that.

Senior Geek: (stomps past the Jr and reboots the router).
Both Geeks: Stare at the router for what feels like an hour as it powers up. 1 light, 2 lights, 3 lights. The flashing light begins to flash again.
Geek Jr: Look you fixed it!
Senior Geek: Of course I did. Haven’t you learnt that, that’s all we get paid to do yet! Idiot. (goes back to playing minesweeper on his PC).

Telstra’s great outage – The internet wasn’t the only thing broken

Telstra had a bit of an outage today, which resulted in a large number of customers not able to access the internet. But that wasn’t the only fault that they had. One of my large customers that I perform my geek magic for has a couple of offices, both of which alerted me to the issue after it arose around 1:37 today. I originally through that maybe just the exchange was playing up, so I decided to log a fault. This is usually a painless process given it’s a business account. A quick call to their 13 something number, I get to talk to an Australian and then it becomes someone else’s problem. Only problem, I couldn’t get through. (usually there’s a press 1, then 2 menu, but nothing). Hmmm maybe the exchange just blew up, let’s try the mobile. Nope, nothing. Ok, let’s call our account manager. I got him on the line, he said, try this other number. I tired that one, I was connected to the menu. I pressed 5, then 1, then 2 (Telstra Business Internet Fault). After about 1 miniute the call was just dropped. Hmmm strange. I called back the Account Manager. He was just heading out of the office, and had since had a number of other clients call him about the issue. After telling him the issues I was facing, his response:

Telstra: You have Bruce’s email don’t you?
ageek: Yes
Telstra: Just send him an email outlining the 2 faults that you are having, both with the 13 numbers and your internet.

Hold the line a second…The internet has stopped working. Last time I checked, email runs over the…internet.

Telstra….

Setting up a blog – Part 4 – Your First Masterpiece (How to write a post).

I can see it in your eyes

I can see it in your eyes. Your just bursting with ideas about what you want to write about. Ideas like how to cook the perfect roast chicken, how to sew that amazing dress, and Who is Leslie Carter?

Before doing anything else technical, we need to capture a small section of this flowing stream of creativity out and turn into a post on your blog.

What’s a post? A post is similar to an article that you might find in a magazine or newspaper.

How do we create one?

Login to your wordpress administration panel. (http://yourdomain.com.au/wp-admin) and use the username and password you created when you first installed Word Press back in Part 2 of this series.

In the left hand column there is a menu, toward hover over the item titled “Posts” then select “All Posts” from the menu that pops out.

Now you’ll be presented with a table of all your current posts, here it will list ones that are published (viewable on the internet), and also in drafts (only you can see them). Everyone always gets one called “Hello World” as a default starting post. You can choose to either delete this one (hover over its name, “Hello World” and select “Trash” from the menu that appears below it), or edit it (by clicking on its name).

There are only 2 required fields (and 2 optional) when writing a post. The headline/title and the content.  For a visual overview of getting started view the following graphic (click to enlarge).

All the jargon explained:

Title – This is the Name or Headline for your Post.
WYSIWYG Editor – This is where you type in the main body content of your Post, you can also insert media such as images or video in this space. It’s a lot like using Microsoft Word.

Publish Box – Allows settings such as:

Status(Draft, Pending Review, Published)
Visibility (Public – Anyone can see it, Password Protected – only those with the password can see it, Private – only you can see it (and to other editors or admins within your site) )
Publish Time (you can back date posts to make it appear you are organized, or set a date in the future to schedule the post if you are super organized)

Categories – Just as you would group the same type of files in a folder on your computer, you can group posts together in similar topics. You can choose as many Categories as you like, but its best to stick with under 2.

Tags – Tags allow similar content to be linked together, so that it’s easier to find. For example with this series, it focuses a lot on WordPress, so WordPress is a common tag, it also focuses on blogs rather than websites, so blogs is another tag, etc.

Once you have these basics worked out, you’ll be on your way to becoming  a professional blogger in no time.

Missed a bit? Check Out Part 1 – Buying Domains and Setting up Webhosting. Part 2 – Installing WordPress or Part 3 – Setting up Google Apps.

Image Credit

Hello YouTube! – Unboxing a Brother MFC-J6710DW

There is just something special about opening that new box for the first time. Whether it be a present for a special occasion such as a birthday or at Christmas. Or just opening a new piece of technology for the first time.

But some people take this experience too far, they get to the line in the stand between alright and too far and jump it with all they can, the result: Unboxing video’s on YouTube. We are those sort of people. So here we are, the very first (of hopefully many) YouTube videos.

This video was shot on my iPhone 4S (so that you can experience EXTREME close up product shots. There was no holding back in this video, everything is exposed!)

The product in question is the Brother MFC-J6710DW. It set us (well the client) back around $360AUD, but can be found for under $300AUD if you shop around.

Here is a break down of the main features according to Brother:

Main Features
  • Up to 11″ x 17″ Scan Glass. To easily scan large documents in one pass.
  • Up to 11″ x 17″ Duplex (2-Sided) Printing. For creating professional, high impact, two-sided documents.‡ Also saves paper.
  • Built-in Wireless & Wired Interfaces. Easy to setup wireless (802.11 b/g/n) or wired Ethernet networking.
  • 3.3″ Widescreen Color LCD Display. Easily navigate through menus and preview faxes
  • Dual paper trays (up to 250 sheets each) for total capacity of 500 sheets
  • Uses Super High Yield (XXL Series) Replacement Ink Cartridges. Save More, Print More with Super High Yield Ink Cartridges. LC79 XXL Series replacement ink cartridges provide approximately 2,400 pages (black) and 1,200 pages (color)‡. Our efficient 4-cartridge system means that you only change the cartridge that needs to be replaced‡.
  • Fast Print Speeds. With speeds up to 35 ppm black and 27 ppm color (Fast Mode).‡ Up to 12 ppm black and 10 ppm color (ISO/IEC 24734).‡
  • 35-page Auto Document Feeder. For unattended fax, scan or copy using the up to 35-sheet ADF.
  • 3-Year Limited Warranty. Provides assurance and reliability.
  • Powerful scanning software. Allows for scanning directly to your media cards.‡
  • Single sheet bypass tray. Allows convenient, straight-through, single sheet feeding for up to 11″ x 17″ paper, envelopes or thicker media.
  • ENERGY STAR® Qualified
  • Print, copy, scan and fax up to 11″ x 17″ (ledger size) for high impact business documents.
  • Brother™ iPrint&Scan. Free app download for wireless printing (JPEG, PDF & web page) from and scanning to your Apple® Android™ or Windows® Phone 7 (JPEG only and scanning not available) mobile device‡.

 

Time for some new wallpaper. – February 2012

Arr February. The month of love, the last month of summer and of course, the shortest month of them all (although this year, we get an extra day – yay). New years resolutions have long pasted and for many its the start of a new year at school and uni. What better way to celebrate in the new month, than with some new calendar wallpaper.

Smashing Magazine is a great resource for such wallpaper and here are my top picks of the February 2012 collection. (view the full collection on Smashing Magazine)

To download these and others in the best resolution for your screen check out Smashing Magazine’s site for the links.

 

 

Setting up a blog – Part 3 – Making your life easier with Google Apps

This is Part 3 of our series, Setting up a blog. Missed a post? Check out Part 1 or Part 2.

2 things bug me as a geek.

1)      People with their own domain name, but advertise a gmail or ISP address as their email address. It looks cheap and unprofessional.

2)      Not having everything in sync. I like to be able to pick up my email whether I’m at my laptop, on my phone or out at another computer.

Well luckily there is a way for me to have my cake and eat it too. To be able to have a customized email address (me@mydomain.com), and to have my mail in sync across all my devices, and still have a “cool” webmail client (the same as gmail). Google has the answer, and it’s called Google Apps.

Google apps allows you to use the feature packed web based applications that Google uses in Gmail, with your own domain name. So you get all the features of a Gmail account (gmail webmail, google calendar, google Docs, and access to the other 65+ services Google offers) with using your own domain name.

The only downside to Google Apps is the setup that’s involved. But they have made it really easy to do, and our friends at VentraIP and getanamecheap have made it even easier.

A side note before getting started: Google changed their terms of service for this product back in May of 2011, prior to then, you were able to associate 50 users to your account for free. They have reduced this limit down to 10. If you want to have more, you have to upgrade to the business edition which is approx $5 per user, per month.

Let’s dive in.

1)      Go to the sign up page for Google Apps and click on the button “Get Started” in the right sidebar.

2)      Fill in your domain name, followed by “submit”

3)      Fill in the rest of your details.

A few hints: use whatever you want your email address to be as your username. So if your name is mary and want to have mary@maryscollections.com use mary (sorry if someone is using that email address).
You’ll also need another email address in case you forget your password.

4)      Agree to the Terms and conditions and press “I accept, create my account…”

5)      If everything went well, you’ll be asked “How would you like to set up Google Apps?” – Click on Express.

6)      Follow the guide here. (it’s a lot of pushing next you can leave at any time, it’s just the first step that is important). If this is your first time setting up Google Apps, then you should work your way through it so you can gain a better understanding of how it works.

7)      The first step is “Verify Domain Ownership”. Click on next until you see the screen “Recommended: Add a DNS record to your domain’s configuration.” In the drop down box scroll to the bottom of the list till you find “Other”.

Then you’ll be presented with an ugly long piece of text like:
google-site-verification=asdjasd89234lkj12hsad832nfj934jf94fj4f9fj949jf7adkje83

Copy this ugly piece of text.

Open a new browser Window or Tab and Login to either VIP control with VentraIP or the domain manager for GetaNameCheap.com

VentraIP

On the right hand side under “Accounts and Services” click on “Manage Hosting Services

Next to your domain name there’ll be a drop down with “– Options –“. Select “Google Apps DNS”. At the bottom of the screen there is box to paste in your “TXT Record Validation” code. Paste that ugly piece of text into there and press “Add Google DNS Records”.

GetaNameCheap.com

Loginto your account here:

  • Then under “My Account” in the main menu, click on “Manage Domains”
  • Click on the domain you wish to edit.
  • Click on “All Host Records” in the left hand menu.
  • Under subdomain settings enter the following:
  • 1st Box: mail. 2nd box: ghs.google.com     3rd box: select cname.    4th box: 1800
  • Then Under mail settings, select “user” then “Automatically set MX records necessary for Google Apps Email ” And press save to save all the changes.

Wait 5 minutes. Now go back to Google Apps and press Verify. That’s it, you’re done!

There are some more options that you may wish to set.

Geek Tip: Setup a Custom Webmail URL.

It’s easier to remember: http://mail.yourdomain.com.au to be able to check your email than http://mail.google.com/a/yourdomain.com.au so Google allows us to change the domain to the easier to remember one.

It just takes 4 easy steps.

  1. Click on Settings in the Google Apps Administration main menu bar (the top blue one), then click on email in the left hand menu.
  2. Under “Web Address” click “Change URL”.
  3. Select http://mail.yourdomain.com.au (Leave it as mail) and click continue.
  4. Then on the next page “I’ve completed these steps”. Your done.

(but hang on, I didn’t do anything. When you changed your DNS settings before, you automatically set up the other cname web address for you in advance).

This is Part 3 of our series, Setting up a blog. Missed a post? Check out Part 1 or Part 2.