The Things You Own, Own You

This morning while perusing some news items I came across an interesting article on SMH about people who spend money on gadgets they can’t necessarily afford, don’t need the features and certainly don’t have the computer savvy mind to “drive” these devices.

As a gadget geek I scoffed at the implication that people are so silly that they buy devices they don’t use, but then suddenly found myself looking inwards to think about how I use my technology and just how much value it all adds to my life.

The first thing that comes to my phone. Every time I bring it out of my pocket geeks, and non-geeks alike, look in wonderment and start asking me about the features. When I tell them about the 5MP camera and GPS they are so impressed that they begin to talk about wanting one. But do I even use it?

To go through my rather extremely extensive geek collection and lay out how much I use, this might take a while but will paint a pretty accurate picture of what I need and don’t need.

Hold on to your hats.

Nokia N95
GPS – 3 times in 6 months
Camera – often more than once a day
Web – several times a day
SMS – several times a day
Calling – almost all day constantly – it’s my job

Work Blackberry (new, but this is assumptive)
E-mail – all day
Phone – all day, it will take over from my N95 for work calls
Web – several times a day
Calender / extra feature – all day

All features – for a few hours a day or every other day

iPod 60GB
Music – every morning and afternoon after work
Video – once a week or maybe less

iPod Nano 4GB
Music – several times a week jogging, ideally, but actually not as often as I should
Video – never

Canon 350D D-Rebel
Photos (d’uh) – once a week but maybe less

PSP (Playstation Portable)
Games – less than a few times a month
Internet – Not often, but I should use more such as RSS on the bus
Other features – Never

Haven’t touched it in years

Printer – not in years
Photo printer – even longer
Desktop PC – over a year
Television – in storage for over a year
iPod Shuffle – over a year
Palm T|X – over a year since I smashed the screen, but didn’t use enough at all

Plus god knows how much else that I can’t even think of…

How much of this stuff just belongs on eBay? Maybe just making some streamlining to my life to use fewer gadgets and use them more often? There is just too much junk here and considering most of it is portable, I have none of it with me (barring my phone of course) on a day-to-day basis.

What is your experience of buying technologies you don’t use? How many hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars worth of electo-crap do you have lying around your house?

Firefox Extensions

I’ve used Firefox for a long time now and tried out various extensions to make life easier. Some I have deleted, some I have kept, but here is the list that I have found most useful.

General/Utility Extensions

  • Sage would have to be the best newsreader I have ever used, and the fact it’s inside the browser makes it doubly useful.
  • Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer allows me to synchronize my bookmarks between Windows/Linux and my USB drive when I am away from my computer.
  • Gmail Manager notifies me when I receive new e-mail to my Gmail account.
  • VideoDownloader is an extension that allows you to save the video files viewed on Youtube, Google Videos etc.

Blogging Extensions

  • JustBlogIt makes writing my A-sides a very simple task. This plugin allows me to make quick entries to my blog, automatically creating the links you see on the right of the website.
  • allows me to add links to my account for viewing on the right hand side also.
  • Google Notebook is what I use to collect notes when I am writing. It’s an online scrapbook of thoughts.

Development Extensions

  • Web Developer allows me to live edits of CSS and view valuable information about a website when I am designing.
  • Colorzilla, an eyedropper for a website, it allows me to quickly grab and change colors when I am designing.
  • MeasureIt is a plugin I don’t use often, but it helps me when I want to know how wide a div/span is or a banner needs to be.
  • IE Tab allows me to see what my site looks like in the shitty browser known as IE.

What the fox with firefox?

Firefox has been my choice of browser for quite a while now, but I never understood just how great it was until I discovered the power of the extensions available.

Anyone currently view my weblog in Internet Explorer will be tollerating a banner at the top of the page advertising Firefox and probably even seeing a few small differences in the way the site is supposed to look. This is because as much as I have tried to be cross-browser formatter, sometime IE just sucks.

Here are a bunch of Firefox extensions that I use on a daily basis I thought I’d share with anyone who either hasn’t had a look at extensions or just hasn’t looked at the ones that I use. And if you haven’t even downloaded Firefox yet, shame on you!


Bookmarks Synchronizer – A great utility that allows you to upload your bookmarks to an FTP space somewhere. Terrific for backing up and making sure you can have your bookmarks wherever you are.
WebmailCompose – A great way to compose email simply and easily when you use webmail rather than a program like Thunderbird or (*puke*) Outlook.

Blogging Extensions allows you to make a collection of links for use in weblogs and other only applications, but post makes it easy for you to add the links.
JustBlogIt – This simple plugin allows you to make a new weblog entry with a link to the current page you a using. Especially good if you are using WordPress and Asides.
Sage – Possibly the best news aggregator. Ever.

Design and Development Extensions

BBCode – A simple way to add HTML/XHTML/BBCode to your text entry boxes. No more trying to remember how to bold your text or how to make a list.
ColorZilla – A great way of getting colors from webpages. The latest site redesign would have taken another 10 days without this puppy!
IEView – A great way of instantly opening up an Internet Explorer window. As much as I hate it, sometimes dumbasses don’t program for Firefox.
Web Developer – Easily the most handy development tool made for Firefox. Instantly edit CSS, outline elemtents, validate HTML and much much more!

Another phone down!

I’m yet again looking for a new phone due to unfortunate, but funny, circumstances. If you have a mobile phone comment on this entry with what kind of phone it is, what you like about it and what you dislike about it? If I am going to buy another mobile, it had better be a good one!

Maps, Chat, Search, Mail and more? Oh dear!

When search engines were first invented there were so many to choose from and none did it right. Google began Google Search and instantly hit the jackpot. Why? Because it wasn’t filled with a bunch of shit you don’t need and had everything you did need. You didn’t need complex search strings, you just needed a few keywords and you’d find the page you were looking for. A perfect example is the fact that if you put in “mitch malone” into google, you instantly find my 3 main websites – this is since I am most likely the only Mitch Malone with a large web presence – and it’s followed closely by an ocean drilling researcher by the same name.

Now Google Inc have managed to further their Internet Empire™ eveb further by launching Google Talk! Google Talk is based on Jabber (which is a good thing) and can be used in a lot of different jabber clients (such as Psi). Why is this so good? Jabber is a very stable chat platform and with Googles backing, can only get better.

I’ve long been a big supporter of Jabber for several reasons. It’s stable, it’s cross platform and web-browser friendly, and most of all in most cases it’s completely free of advertising. In saying that, it’s always annoyed me because majority of the public servers tend to have major problems staying online when traffic gets hot. In particular, their gateways (a.k.a. transports) can barely stay online and I always end up back with using MSN, ICQ, Yahoo! Messenger, AOL and a bunch of other crap that should have been eliminated.

So if you have a Gmail account, give the new Google Talk a try! If you don’t have a Gmail account, comment here and I promise to give you one. If you would like to add me to your contact list I can also provide you with my address, but I’d rather not do it here so again leave a comment. Sign up, get using it and soon we’ll be living in a marvelous world that is free of evil empires like MSN and ICQ! C’mon kids!

Help Mitch Podcast

Wow, things on the weblogging scene just seem to grow. Every other day I find an interesting weblog and take a peak into someones life, but now I have discovered an even more interesting side to weblogging; podcasting. For those who are uninitiated a podcast is almost like an online radio show, where rather than reading to a weblog you listen (generally on an iPod, obviously) to it. There are new news aggregators for it such as iPodder (Windows/Mac), iPodderx (Mac) and Doppler (Windows) which will automatically download the mp3 files to your computer. It’s not essential to have an mp3 player because you can simply listen on iTunes or Winamp, but it’s a definite advantage to be able to listen on the run.

In my research I downloaded a few different aggregators, but finally settled on iPodder to download my feeds. At present I have trialed a few different podcasts and even enjoyed the odd one, but I am becoming a bit of an Adam Curry fan. After listening to his show for the last week or so, I have become convinced that I will give it a bit of a go and make my own Podcast. This will not begin until bananas on toast is relaunched, but I am definitely thinking of doing a tech talk show where I will discuss technology, software, give advice and answer questions.

“What is the point of this shit?” I hear you ask. Simple: I need you to give me ideas for the show. I am a pretty easy speaker and I can generally keep interest, but the hardest part of any radio-style show is finding something to talk about all the time. Send your ideas, questions, thoughts, any advice, tell me that I should shut up or anything else to and help me get something interesting out of this. If it sucks, I’ll delete the subpage and we’ll all just pretend it never happened. Agreed? Agreed!