Launch Debugging

It wasn’t until I got my revamped web site all uploaded yesterday that I realised there were a few bugs, as I suppose there often are with projects of this scale.

The main problem encountered was my coding. All links were shown as [typical] /linkname but in the uploading process they were saved as /linkname.htm I quickly got around this problem by renaming them all via my FTP client back to /linkname This got the site up and running. A cheeky fix but it worked.

However, as I am a perfectionist at heart and I wanted ease of use in future uploads I decided to re-code all the pages, all 107 odd desktop and mobile, to suit.

I’m not sure what you did today.

Now, I shall start the actual process of updating my files so the site is properly fully populated.

To get the full site experience go to vinceunlimited.co.uk

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vinceunlimited Version 5 Launched


Dan, dan, delah! Der, der, der, derrh! Tah Da! And however you might spell a drumroll. vinceunlimited.co.uk has roared into stage 5!

And it’s a return to the original vinceunlimited concept idea. I have gone back to basics and have elected, once more, to learn how to and then do all the web-coding myself. And appropriately, the latest standard for web coding is HTML 5. So I’ve had to learn a whole bunch of updated rules.

Plus to do this properly I also had to learn the associated coding for CSS and Javascript. If you are unsure what all this means basically the HTML bit handles the layout and words, the CSS stuff seperates out the colours and styles and the Javascript jibberish allows complex page selection such as the Random Page Selector button actions on each page.

My original vinceunlimited site, forseeingly known as version 1, was catipulted onto the main stage in October 2003. It was hand coded in a contemporaneous version of HTML.

Version 2, appeared on the internet in May 2005 with coding that took my site to the next level with a better layout, a sidebar and dual colours.

I always struggled with getting HTML coding to set and wrap around images and with image links and couldn’t find the time and way to code version three which was planned to look like the image but I was saved all this effort by the introduction of Apple’s colouful WYSIWYG iWeb App so this became the basis for actual version 3, in March 2010.

Are you paying attention to these dates? A quiz will follow.

But Apple had other ideas about keeping the iWeb pet project alive and I had to find another way to maintain my web prescence.

In 2012, July to be a bit more precise, with the development of FaceBook and Twitter, personal web-sites seemed to be going out of fashion. The era of the common blog had really started. And this bandwagon was truly seized upon when I clambered aboard this WordPress site, effectively making this the fourth version of vinceunlimited.co.uk

But WordPress is mostly about piggy-backing on other people’s hard worked designs and trying to disguise this plagiarism with a bit of personal customisation. I always found this awkward and unsatisfactory so decided to go back to first principles and code the thing again myself, hence version 5.

Have I bucked the trend? Am I just showing off? Or am I just avoiding the sheeple? These questions and less will be answered in the next few years.

For the full vinceunlimited story check out the Versions link at vinceunlimited.co.uk

This is a copy of the first page added to the re-launched hand coded vinceunlimited.co.uk web site, version 5.001. You will have to visit the webpage to enjoy the full experience.

The image depicts the original design for vinceunlimited version 3, now the basis of version 5

Pod 012 GeekLife

Welcome to another episode of the vinceunlimited podcast.

In this episode Vince talks about growing up as a Geek then issues an appeal for help

This is a podcast from the vinceunlimited series of podcasts, available for subscription via iTunes or the back pages of GeekWeek Monthly

This podcast was written and performed by Vince, recorded on an iPhone via the Mobile Podcaster App and uploaded direct to WordPress from within the App to vinceunlimited.wordpress.com Other ways to waste your time can be had by searching ‘cat’ on the internet

Pod 012 GeekLife

Pod 007 Appwatch

Welcome to another episode of the vinceunlimited podcast.

In this episode Vince outlines some of the App ideas he has and concludes by anticipating a unique smart watch app

This is a podcast from the vinceunlimited series of podcasts

This podcast was written and performed by Vince, recorded on an iPhone via the Mobile Podcaster App and uploaded direct to WordPress from within the App to vinceunlimited.wordpress.com

Pod 007 Appwatch

Pod 005 Lanserguided

Welcome to another episode of the vinceunlimited podcast.

In this episode Vince finds a feature not on the spec sheet of a new Mercedes-Benz S Class then attempts to find ways of going quicker safely before considering the implications of the self driving vehicles of the future

This is a podcast from the vinceunlimited series of podcasts. Which will come as no surprise to the regular listeners

This podcast was written and performed by Vince, recorded on an iPhone via the Mobile Podcaster App and uploaded direct to WordPress from within the App to vinceunlimited.wordpress.com

Pod 005 Lanserguided

Pod 004 Wearabull

Welcome to another episode of the vinceunlimited podcast.

In this episode Vince explains he is an Ideas Man who doesn’t exploit his ideas. He cites some historic examples then muses on current trends in wearable tech such as smart watches and Google Glass

This is a podcast from the vinceunlimited series of podcasts

This podcast was written and performed by Vince, recorded on an iPhone via the Mobile Podcaster App and uploaded direct to WordPress from within the App to vinceunlimited.wordpress.com. It can also be found and subscribed to on iTunes

Pod 004 Wearabull

WatchPad

As the Apple WWDC draws closer the fervent ramblings of all tech commentators are reaching a near hysterical shriek about a supposedly new Apple iWatch. Even Apple’s competitors are getting in on the act with rumours about watches from other phone and tablet manufacturers such as Samsung, Microsoft and Google. However no one is looking beyond this point. So obviously I must.

I think the easing of device suppliers into a traditional watch industry will trigger a backlash from the real watch makers who might just think the crossover could work both ways and some interesting concepts may follow.

For instance, Breitling has adorned the wrists of many a wannabe pilot so it would make sense for them to branch into tablets that perpetually showed dedicated flight sim apps. The detailing would be fantastic but there may be too many buttons on the side of the chronograph model for an Apple purist.

Rolex may wade in with an ultra high quality phone, costing about fifteen thousand pounds. Think Vertue but with added bling. Unfortunately the thick gold case would be far too heavy to hold in one hand and there would be about £30 of glittery stain left on the pavement every time it was dropped.

Timex would opt to sell a device for about £3.50 and it would have so many functions it would confuse an Android App enthusiast with a degree in Multi-tasking.

And finally, TAGHeuer will think about building a phone fit for F1 drivers. This would be all carbon fibre and feature all sorts of seemingly unnecessary edges.

And if you think I’m just jesting try searching for Tag Heuer racer smartphone in your favourite browser. The post iWatch time is already upon us

Driving Like Me

I don’t like anything.

That is to say I don’t LIKE anything.

I don’t mean I don’t like any thing. That would just be ridiculous. Or perhaps suggest my only experience of tech is the Amstrad emailer phone, the Sinclair C5 and the Blackberry Playbook.

What I mean is I never click on little digital thumb symbols to give my unadulterated approval of anything I see on the Internet. It is beset with implication.

It is such an easy thing to do and I often think I would love to give a simple little nod of approval to an article that’s posted or a comment made. A nice way to encourage the author to keep up with their fine work.

The problem is I’m aware that the simple little LIKE feature can be a powerful tool in the hands of a menacing Corporate Social Media baron.

Say for instance I read a great tip on how on how to mend a leak in a Dutch levee and so added my approval. Before long and unbeknownst to me, my contacts may be bestowed with the message that Vince likes Dykes. My mates would exclaim, “Crikes, Vince likes Dykes.”

As you can see I am no longer controlling my Internet profile. It is being blown out of proportion to my original simple and contemporary appreciation of my friend Michael’s great posting on travelling Dutch waterways – Mike’s Bike Hikes On Dykes – if you’re interested.*

I personally wish the LIKE button remained just an innocent way to compliment something and where I would most appreciate this function is when I’m out and about on the road.

Imagine a LIKE button feature on cars using a simple dash mounted switch to display a screen mounted message. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just flick your knob every time you saw something you appreciated on the road. And a little LED screen message popped up with the word LIKE.

You could use this to commend other motorists on good behaviour such as being let out of a side turning, leaving a proper stopping distance or generally getting out of my way when I’m trying to get home quickly to listen to a live video podcast.

I would love to get an acknowledged thumbs up for a great overtaking manoeuvre I had just performed or perhaps to dish one out as appreciation of you bringing out your posh new sports car on a wet Wednesday.

The natural extension of the motoring LIKE button is the obverse DISLIKE message. This would be applied for commenting on bad driving such as cutting in, poor lane discipline or running over a child.

And in this interconnected world the messages could be linked. When a LIKE or DISLIKE is given it could be Bluetoothly transferred between vehicles. In this way all the LIKEs and DISLIKEs could be tallied up over a period to give a measure on how considerate a driver you are.

The downside would be that before long this score would be wiretoothed to your insurance company to affect your premium. And unlike Stock Markets this value never seems to go down as well as up no matter how many LIKEs you would receive.

Another vehicle to vehicle message could be based on the the ‘blue flag’ indicator commonly seen in F1 racing. Imagine having an illuminated blue lamp to signify that the car behind is going quicker and is wanting to get past.

I travel, ahem, promptly but always leave a good stopping distance. This can confuse the average, ambling, myopic driver ahead, loping along thoughtlessly in an outer lane. He hasn’t used his rear view mirror since 1973 and refuses to use the perfectly adequate and strangely empty lane to his inside but will politely move over if it is bought to his startling attention that another car is on the road and wishes to travel quicker. Even if on passing he immediately re-engages his previous position once more in that unfathomable lane change manoeuvre.

The ‘I want to overtake you blue flag light’ would be more polite than the traditional aggressive flash, the inside lane parallel formation drive with attendant shrug or the oft-used rear approach to within 6mm of the bumper. The latter being the favoured approach by drivers with four interlocking rings on their grille.

Incidentally all small Japanese cars driven by the elderly will have to have their blue flag message light illuminated every three minutes by law as they are invariably in the way.

I say bring on car to car comms. I would LIKE that.

PS if you like this blog click the LIKE button. I know I wouldn’t.

PPS *Did you really Google this?

Minnie’s Mini’s Mini

The two subjects that most interest me at the moment are cars and computers and they do so for much the same reason.

Both technologies are full of shiny new things promising thrilling, interactive experiences barely limited by previous experience. And integration of the two is becoming closer. Or more specifically, the computery stuff is getting more and more wedged in the cars, as I’ve yet to see anyone promising actual reality travel on a mobile phone chassis.

The self-park, auto-cruise, blind-spot, iPod-connected, SatNav world of our auto-world is coming along nicely. However whilst a new phone, laptop or operating system is muted a few months ahead of release new cars take much longer to develop, possibly years. The cost of getting a chassis wrong is much greater than accidentally releasing a heavy, spiky edged laptop in purple that fails to attract an audience. If your latest hatchback is a dog the whole breed can suffer and we do not forgive easily [do we poor Lancia].

But cars are increasingly having to differentiate themselves by their included technology, perhaps because they find it so difficult to distinguish themselves in the homogenous world of exterior automotive design.

As an example, my car, a year 2000 Jaguar, could be an all time classic because the dials and gauges on display look like they developed glacially from a WWII Spitfire but the simple green-LED trip computer, inbuilt text only SatNav and multi-CD changer date it, by sheer coincidence, to around the year 2000. No Bluetoothing, WiFi enabled MP3s here. Electro-technology develops at a vastly different speed than mechanical stuff.

So my first thought was why not combine the two. It’s happening a little bit with iPod connections in almost every new car, allowing a feed of your latest downloaded beats into the built in car speakers. But this cable connector dangles the device on the seat next to you so when the new MapApp is opened it’s hardly conducive to safe viewing.

As I’ve said some now incorporate all that SatNavery, iPoddery and SeatAdjustery into their colourful, dash mounted, fingerprinty, widescreen displays but in a decade or less won’t they seem just a little bit, say, 2012ish.

The answer lies in an updatable colourful, dash mounted, fingerprinty, widescreen display that can move with the times. And the computer world is conveniently supplying these already.

Initially the iPad seemed the answer. A popular and current, ever customisable device that has secured a solid foothold in the market. But few cars could afford the dash space for a plug-in behemoth the size of a small plate of kippers. Then Apple released the Mini. All the adaptability of a full sized tablet almost designed to fit in a reasonable dash opening.

If you were currently launching your latest Sports Utility GTi 4 x 4 convertible Sportwagon hatch wouldn’t it make sense to let Apple or even others such as Samsung do the flatscreen bit for you so you can concentrate on the important things like finding ever more inventive ways to incorporate cup-holders.

Your new dash-tablet could be programmed to interact with your car in ever more cunning ways, such as service/sensor monitoring, lap timing and cheap fuel finding. And there are a host of third parties that will do the awkward development bit of this for you. Just charge a fee for your API integration. Simples.

OK you will have to allow some small flexibility over choice of device that will fit in, in case your Audi owner went for Android, your Mercedes customer wanted a Mac or your Westfield’s chap wanted a Windows device if they choose to. OK silly point, no one who buys a car with the intention of wearing a flat cap will want a screen that does more than show the oil pressure warning lamp.

Just one caveat. When I specified my Jaguar I could have been at the forefront of this technology/car interfacing. But right now my car would be fitted with a great plug in Motorola StarTAC flip-phone. And who wants one of those today?

The Social Medium

I don’t like what you post on FaceBook. Or the way that Twitter is used. I’m annoyed why photo sharing sites are ignored and think that most LinkedIn comments are preposterous. But don’t worry, all is fine.

I suspect you feel the same about my use of social media. And probably the way your other contacts do all this as well. It’s because there are no rules here so we make up our own.

The reason that I dislike all this is that you don’t use these social networks as they should be used. Which is to say that you don’t use them in the way that I interpret they should be used. I’ll give you an example.

I don’t use FaceBook to store and distribute my digital photograph collections. For a start I would think it presumptuous to assume you’d like to see them all and I do like to keep some of my life to myself. Plus if I wanted to share shed-loads of pretty pictures I’d use a proper photo-sharing site, like Flickr. It’s the way it was first devised and shall always remain so.

Some selective photos of mine are published on FB which may be of interest to the few friends and family I save this site for. And every one of them is in focus I might add.

Ephemeral photos that I take are much more suited to the casual nature of Tweeting so you only get to see these if you follow me there.

Which brings me neatly onto the issue of followers and contacts. And a specific question. Why do you have so many? Yes, on the face of it it seems flattering that so many others want to be in your gang but there is a limit to these things and too many lessen the impact. It is a privilege to be considered a friend but not if everyone is. And I think it impossible to follow the posts of more than fifty or so active others, across all sites. So how do you manage your seventy, seven hundred or several thousand?

So this is how you should use Social Media.

At present FaceBook is the worst of the lot. It has become a dumping ground for everything that is good or bad in social media and tries to emulate and steal the ideas from every other format. It wants your posts, your pictures, your locations, your timeline, your soul. By all means use this as a one stop shop if you know no better but as you are are reading this I guess you do know better so don’t!

If FB must be used, use it only for close friends and family. Restrict posts to interesting things about what you are getting up to. If you need to arrange a meeting use the phone or text.

Only share photo collections on photo-sharing sites such as Flickr. And group them by activity, event or date. With all miscellaneous content clearly labelled so. And just delete the duplications and the ones with your damn thumb in the corner.

Don’t however treat Instagram as a photo sharing site. Use this to create interesting, vivid content not as a place to dump every photo of parties, pies and peers.

Respect your Twitter stream by properly following just a handful of people who genuinely interest you, whether they be friends, famous or followable.

Your friends and relations do like to see where you are and what you are doing there so use a site designed for this purpose such as FourSquare. Or If you are watching something try sharing with GetGlue.

Keep LinkedIn professional. Only post relevant notes about your career and work related issues. And no avatar photos of you on a beach or the piste, unless that is your workplace.

If you can’t think of anything amusing, pertinent or interesting to say post nothing. And when a thought enters your mind carefully choose the appropriate medium.

Only selectively re-quote or link to other peoples content. Stop constantly referencing other people’s stuff. If I had an interest in their diatribe I’d find it myself. Save the plagiarism for satirists.

Ignore Google + because that upsets geeks, was far too late for the party and Google should stick to searching.

Only please don’t do any of the above. Because you are you not me.

Augmented Reality

Sooner than you can say head up display we’ll all be meandering around pointing our mobile devices at the world and immediately knowing that the shop to your left is offering 50% discount on crop tops, the restaurant to your right has a bean soup salad special for just £6.73 and the bus about to run you over for not actually paying attention to the road is going to Tottenham via Purley Green.

Yes the future is just about here and it is going to be augmented reality mad.

This is a great technological advancement and will enrich our lives like nothing else. Soon you will never be caught not knowing your neighbour’s dog’s name or how late the six fifteen to Manchester Piccadilly will actually arrive. Our computers will overlay street names, ingredients on tins and localised weather forecasts as if we couldn’t live without such information.

And when the tech really gets going it won’t be a mobile phone held aloft but a pair of high tech glasses. Google have already broken ground on this one. Soon it will be so uncool not to wear glasses.

The only downside will be the inevitable viruses. Not the predictable blank screen version although that won’t be pleasant over your whole vision of course. No, fear the augmented pranksters.

Oh, it will start very friendly, perhaps with odd additions such as the next bus is due in 316,928 years, size 10 – you’ve got to be joking madam or this bacon is suitable for Jewish vegetarians.

Then it will move on to projecting strange images. UFOs will appear up in the sky, Zebra crossings will appear to have actual Zebras crossing and irksome gnomes will pop up all over the place being positively irksome.

Finally like all things it will eventually follow the more sinister route. Lord Lucan will be sat on park benches all over town, brick walls will suddenly appear in the central lane of the M25 and eight foot scorpions will be lurking in every Fried Chicken doorway, even in Kentucky.

Who cares that the building society is lending at 0.03% over base rate if the Troll behind it is eating a goat?

You have seen the future here. If you have those glasses of course.