Sunday, 29 June 2008

Cisco Training

Cisco SystemsImage via WikipediaAs a young IT professional I never really had a Cisco certification, although I have always wanted to give it a go. Cisco is a rapidly expanding sector of the IT business, which is itself rapidly expanding, so it shouldn't present any problems as far as work opportunities go. So now I'm seriously considering getting some kind of Cisco certification.

So far most of my experience has been in the Internet area, with both HTML/Java programming and Network infrastructure, so Cisco will certainly be a good area for me to move forward into. The infrastructure is actually very well supported, and there is no lack of companies using it. The IP Networking looks like a good starting point for me, and should give a good solid founding in core Web technologies for a business environment.

Hopefully this training will provide me with a good founding in searching for career opportunities. From what I've seen, it should put me in good standing with a good many local companies, and is a widely recognised certification option. In terms of advancing my personal career this should go well.

In terms of training I believe this will be a useful option as well. The training programs appear to be vigorous enough for my liking, and there's not much trouble with too little workload.

Does anyone have some useful experience with Cisco training that you would like to share with me and the readers of this blog? Just post a comment and I'll update this post with the details.
Sponsored by Cisco


Time is of the essence. With computers this is especially true, and as all IT enthusiasts (otherwise known as "geeks") will know, the computer can gobble up literally your entire day. But how much is really necessary to get done what you have to get done. The answer might surprise you.

Just think, for a start, how much time to you spend on Facebook (or MySpace)? For me, maybe 1 hour per day, and most of you will spend more. Then what about blogging. For me, about 2 hours. Then add another 1/2 hour for checking the news, and 1 hour for emails, you're looking at 4 1/2 hours spent online each day! That's over a quarter of the daylight hours! And of course, all this estimate is ignoring the time spent playing games and watching TV.

And they wonder why we are getting obese.....

How to get your money back on a crash

Have you been in a car accident lately? I was nearly in one the other day, it's amazing how easy it is to run in to other cars on the roads today. What many people don't know though, is that if you get in a crash that wasn't your fault and your vehicle value decreases, you are eligible for a payment from your insurance company.

Advocate Auto Claims is a US firm that specialises in this. Check out their website for a free estimate of how much you should get paid by your insurance. And, best of luck if you live in Georgia - you are entitled to this payment even if the accident was your fault! :)
Sponsored by Advocate Auto Claims

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Mozilla Firefox - The Browser (tm)

Mozilla FirefoxImage via WikipediaMozilla Firefox has become a legendary success story in the history of computing. Over 39% of people use Firefox according to W3 stats. Never since Internet Explorer was bundled with PCs has the world seen a single web browser become so widely used in such a short period of time. So what makes this browser such a success? Here are some of the best features of this award-winning browser (although I advise you start your Mozilla Firefox download now so that it can be ready by the time you finish reading :-):
  • One-Click bookmarking
    Don't you hate it when you bookmark something and immediately have to type in details about it or click OK? Well, your troubles are now gone. Just click the "star" once to add a quick bookmark. Click it again to edit the details.
  • Increased browsing speed
    Did you know that Firefox is one of the fastest web browsers around? I run Firefox on Windows Vista and it runs like lightning. Not that Vista's fast. :)
  • Platform native look and feel
    This is specific to the new Firefox 3. Run it on a Mac and it looks like Safari. On Vista, and it mimics IE7. Perfect for those aesthetic-freaks.
Besides these there are also a heap of cool features, including tabbed browsing session restore, an smarter integrated Google Search, a popup blocker that blocks the right sort of popups, solid protection from spyware and adware, automatic security updates, real privacy protection, and most importantly, an enhanced Internet browsing experience.

So why are you still browsing this with IE? Download Mozilla Firefox today!

Finished Exams

I've finally finished my exams now.....
(Sorry, I couldn't resist that!)
So, basically I'll have a lot more time to spend on this and other blogs. But, as usual there's a catch. I leave for World Youth Day in two weeks. If you want me to post about something in particular, please let me know (my email is ignis.animi @tt geemayl dot 6om.) Otherwise, I'll just keep doing my normal stuff.

Btw, paid posts have made over $150 in the past month off this blog. w00t!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

It's Magic!

In the olden days (yes, I'm talking about the 1900s!), magicians used to perform dazzling feats of physical endurance and courage. Harry Houdini was one of the most famous - he could open any lock ever made, and not only that, but he could perform many other marvellous tricks such as breaking out of a box filled with milk, which required great physical skills.

Today however, we have a new kind of magic. Performers such as Criss Angel explore the spiritual world more than the physical.

The Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas is currently running shows starring Criss Angel. His illusions and performances will be showing on "Dark Wednesday and Thursday". If you'd like to see his show, check out the Luxor website. You'll be entitled to an amazing show of modern illusion-ism and art.

There is also a new Cirque Du Soleil performance featuring CRISS ANGEL called 'CRISS ANGEL Believe'. This show will be another marvellous showcase of talent. You can see more details at the showcase here.

And if you don't think you can afford it, here's a comp for you. Text 'Believe' to 22122 for a chance to win 2 tickets to the 'Criss Believe' show. You better hurry though, there's not much time to performances and you wouldn't want to miss out!
Sponsored by CRISS ANGEL Believe

Social Networking

Now everyone knows what social networking is. Usually though we associate it with technology - mobile phones, blogs and so forth. I just thought I'd take some time to remind you of another very powerful networking tool: face to face communication.

It's often neglected in our modern world of technological progress, but face to face is still the best way to communicate. Why don't you try it today - actually talk to someone across the desk instead of sending them an email!

A Second Skin Style with Halloween Costume

We all enjoy looking for the best kids Halloween costumes. It's an exciting and happy time for all of us, especially the kids. But did you know you could buy them online too? Costume Cauldron sells heaps of costumes useful for Halloween. The site's chock full of cool pictures which should entertain the kids and give a good idea of what the costumes look like. And best of all - I've got a secret back-door discount to share with you!

To access this secret discount (I won't reveal the amount to you, you'll just have to go and see!), just visit the Costume Cauldron site. Go to the homepage halfway down on the right and click on the brown comma in the line that reads “Our Store now has over 8,000 masquerade items for you to choose from!” This will let you in to a special discount only accessible through this back-door! Now you'll be able to get your halloween costumes for even cheaper and easier using this online store.

Now, what sort of costumes are accessible through this site? Pretty much anything you might wish for. No matter what your child's taste, there should be a costume to match it here. Now-days you need to have a huge wardrobe to keep up with the neighbours, so maybe you could even get a few costumes per child and switch around for a few years! This would save buying new costumes but still keep a fresh appearance for your friends.

So Check out the site. Maybe you'll find a costume for you. You don't even have to restrict the dressing up to just the kids - I've got dressed up many a time myself, and it does help at a party if the adults get in the spirit too! Have a look at these two costumes if you have time, they're my personal favourites.

If you're interested in finding more info about Halloween too, check out this article. It's actually quite interesting to find out the roots of the celebration.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Update on World Youth Day - Australia's Biggest Ever Gathering

World Youth Day in Sydney 2008 is going to be Australia's biggest ever gathering of people. Expecting to attract over 120,000 international visitors, the closing mass should top 500,000 attendance. Run by the Catholic Church, this event will bring in over $180 million in revenue to Australia from the overseas visitors.

The Youth of Australia and the world are excited about World Youth Day. It will offer a great chance for young people and adults to grow in faith together. It's now only 22 days to WYD, so the frenzy is growing as Randwick racecourse is prepared for the huge celebration and youth pack ready to leave. See you in Sydney on July 15!

The Devil Sucks! (and cleans your house)

5238dd240x180publicNo, I'm not talking about the ex-angel that lives in the underworld. I'm talking about the new Dirt Devil AccuCharge Vacuum cleaner. This little devil certainly does suck, but in a good way - and it's wireless.

Wireless vacuum cleaners are becoming more popular now-days, and the Roomba cleaner is even robotic. But historically these machines have been power hogs - using many more resources to carry around battery power with them. The Dirt Devil is a huge improvement, claiming to use 70% less energy than other comparable systems.

But enough marketing talk. How is the Dirt Devil really going to be a help? Well, let's take a look at the way I currently vacuum a room.
  1. Locate the vacuum cleaner (usually takes about 30 minutes)
  2. Call in some help to wrench the cord from it's hole
  3. Unplug my computer to find a spare powerpoint
  4. Start vacuuming the room, only to find that "the cord doesn't reach"
  5. Switch off and unplug the vacuum cleaner
  6. Repeat from step 3 until whole room is clean
Does this sound familiar? Not only is this a common situation, but it's really quite a waste of time. The solution is to either buy a vacuum cleaner with a longer cord, or get a Dirt Devil. A wireless cleaner alleviates all but steps 1 and 4, reducing the vacumming process from 6 to 2 steps. To me, this figures.

And if you worry that cleaning the floor is damaging the environment, the Dirt Devil is a good choice. This is the first cordless vacuum to be Energy Star approved, and the 70% energy savings help cut down on your power bill, besides the environmental advantages. I have to admit though - I'm just excited about the wireless, and I'd probably buy this vacuum cleaner even if it was the biggest power hog ever made!
Sponsored by Dirt Devil AccuCharge

Complete Mayhem

I don't know how many posts are going to go up from now until next week, as I have an exam on. So this post will be pretty much a mess, with various things from various different places. I would like to keep up my 10 posts per week, just for PPP's sake. Speaking of that, you know what happened? This blog, The Big Byte, now has a PageRank of only 2. Yes, that's only 2! (Previously it had been 4). I think this is mostly due to the fact that PayPerPost seems to be in Google's Black Book - that is, any blogs that run paid advertising will automatically have their PageRank reduced. So that's not very good for me, but thankfully SocialSpark still works allright.

Anyway, I said this was going to be a bit of a mess, and it is. I don't have time to write this properly, and I've got to go for music lessons shortly. So, don't worry about posts not coming up in good time - just be patient!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Got a light? Or make that a Spark.....

Most advertisers will know about PayPerPost, the online advertising network. But did you know that a relatively new company has been generating buzz since it was launched?, from IZEA, offers many of the features of PPP in a more social environment. Advertisers and Bloggers can create relationships (or "friendships") and there is scope for non-monetary incentives through the use of "sparks".

SocialSpark already has a wide range of advertisers, selling products about as diverse as the blogosphere can handle. But I'd like to see more traditional advertisers adopt this platform, as it's really a great way to connect advertisers and bloggers. Unlike PPP, SocialSpark allows real interaction between advertiser and blogger, so that the unseemly aura of "sponsored" posts is largely avoided. The advertisers don't even need to offer money for the post - you can just offer a "spark" which will let you choose whatever reward you want, or even no reward at all for a truly unbiased review!

I hope that SocialSpark will be able to avoid the plague of issues that have surrounded previous companies in this area of sponsored posting. Most of all, it will be important to see if SocialSpark is singled out by Google and penalised in the same was as PPP. The company is trying to avoid this by such techniques as nofollow links, so it should be relatively safe. Certainly, if you are afraid of signing up for PPP because it may affect your SERPS, you need not have the same fears of SocialSpark.

Although the long-term success of SocialSpark is yet to be seen, the future looks hopeful for this new company. If you're an advertiser looking for a low-cost solution, SocialSpark might be for you.

Sponsored by SocialSpark

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Firefox 3 Downloads Reach World Record - 5 million downloads!

firefox logoWell, they've done it! According to the Download Counter, Firefox 3 has now officially reached the "amazing" target of 5 million downloads in the 16 hours since release. Downloads so far are rolling in at a tremendous rate of 10 thousand per second. That's using up around 20Gbits/s of bandwidth - don't we all wish we could get that! :)

5 million downloads is a heck of a lot! Even Mozilla didn't appear to be expecting this, they said in the faq: "Let's shoot for 5 million--the sky is the limit!"

For those who don't know yet, Firefox has aimed for a world record on the first day of Firefox 3's release: The most unique downloads of any software product in 24 hours. You can Download Firefox 3 Here, or check out the World Record.

Firefox hits 4 million downloads

firefox 3 logoAccording to the official count, the total number of Firefox 3 downloads has now topped 4,000,000. The aim is to reach 5 million by tomorrow, and so far it looks as if that is going to happen quite soon. So if you haven't already downloaded Fx3, click here to join the World Record!

Please download Firefox 3 by 11:16 a.m. PDT (18:16 UTC) on June 18, 2008. That's 11:16 a.m. in Mountain View, 2:16 p.m. in Toronto, 3:16 p.m. in Rio de Janeiro, 8:16 p.m. in Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Rome and Warsaw, 10:16 p.m. in Moscow, and June 19, 2008 at 2:16 a.m. in Beijing and 3:16 a.m. in Tokyo.

Latest project: curl-based login

I've often wanted to check for status updates behind login-protected pages, which doesn't work properly with RSS based solutions. Many programs, like Page2RSS would work for standard pages, but not for login based ones. For this purpose, I'm currently working on a curl-based solution that should login, and check for updates to a page. I'm not sure if I'll actually be able to make RSS feeds out of that, but regardless I should be able to do a unix script to make a desktop alert. Here's hoping it all workes out allright.....

Free Email Marketing

Here's a Freebie for you: GoldLasso, makers of Email Marketing Software, are offering a free email marketing evaluation to new clients. The evaluation, valued at $2,500, includes a free 15 page report. Email marketing is one of the key ways for a business to reach out to customers today, so it's important to make the most of the information you have, both in terms of software and campaigns.
Visit to sign up and get a free email marketing report.

Wine 1.0 Released

Finally! After many years of waiting, Wine 1.0 is released! Although perfect compatability with all Windows software has not yet been achieved, many current titles work well, including Photoshop CS2 and Power Point Viewer 2003. Between this and Mono, Linux users have quite good Windows support.

Web Hosting Ratings

I'm currently looking for the best choice in custom hosting for my blogs. The articles at Web Hosting Rating has helped enormously for me to learn the details of web hosting. From choosing the cheapest web host to learning how to manage a domain with cpanel tutorials, this site has it all. There are a few articles for each category, which helped me to choose between various options. I found the Scripting tutorials particularly relevant - I've never seen a good review of the three major scripting languages side by side before. (From this review I've chosen PHP).

If you're looking for information about web hosting, or even just curious about some terminology used, I encourage you to check out Web Hosting Rating. They're working on a redesign of the site, and although I think the old look is alright the new one is better. And please tell me about your experiences with web hosts - just leave a comment, it only takes a few seconds!

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

IT Qualifications

Here's a question for all of you: what did it take to get into your current IT job? I'm having quite a bit of difficulty currently in getting an IT qualification, but somewhat surprisingly I have job opportunities everywhere! Did you need a qualification before you started your current job?

I know the education system in Australia is seriously messed up, but I didn't really know what a managerial nightmare it would be simply to do a basic degree.

Monday, 16 June 2008 is live!

SocialSpark is the latest big thing in the blogosphere. Moving on from the negative aura that has often surrounded PayPerPost, SocialSpark ushers in a new era in paid-for blogging. Or rather, one might call it a new era in Advertiser-Blogger relationships, because SocialSpark is all about relationships.

Firstly, there's this thing called "props". It's basically the same as a diggs. You see somebody you like, you "give them the props" (click the "prop" button). Someone with lots of props is well-reputed, somebody with less props fades to the background. Besides this, there is the ability to make (and break) friendships. This has the potential to become a powerful tool - if the advertisers make friendships only with the people whose posts they are happy with, then this will be a reasonably accurate measurement of how well a person writes. Only time will tell whether or not this comes to fruition or not.

SocialSpark's slogan is "Get Everyone Talking". My profile certianly lives out this goal: in the 12 days since I joined my profile has received 26 props, and I've got 33 friends! That's certainly a powerful connection machine, it only needs to be seen how to utilize that power for a useful purpose.

There is certainly great potential in SocialSpark. At the moment, it is lacking the leverage of big-name advertisers, but no doubt these will come as the site expands. For now it might be worth checking it out - you've got nothing to lose, and you could end up making a few bucks in the process!

This post is sponsored by SocialSpark

XT3 - The Catholic Facebook. Or is it?
Bringing the Gospel of Xt (Christ) into the 3rd Millennium

The Catholic Church has just launched a new social network called XT3, designed to assist youth in connecting prior to World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia. Some people are calling this the "Catholic Facebook" but I think it goes further than that. There are quite a few uniquely Catholic features, such as "Ask a Priest" and what are you praying for. This site looks like it's going to be quite big, it's already got thousands of members.

Check it out - join the coolest social network here.

Get Hot New Stuff for Cheap offers a collection of discount and bargain coupons for hundreds of popular online stores. The coupons are sorted into categories for ease of access, including Apparel and Clothing, Internet Services, and Pet Supplies. There's even info on free diet analysis and info on the top weight loss program.

Say you wanted to buy a computer from Dell. Instead of checking out the Dell Computers website directly like you would normally, why don't you have a look at the Dell Coupons section of the site? You could save hundreds if not thousands of dollars simply by looking at what is dicounted before you buy. It's just like walking down the street and looking for the sales, except that you have even more choice and flexibility through being able to browse, choose and complete your product choices online.

To help you in keeping up to date with the various coupons, there are special sections for Hot Coupons, Expiring Coupons and New Coupons. There is even an RSS feed, so you can subscribe to be notified whenever a new coupon is added to the online directory, enabling you to really keep up to date with the latest bargains.

This site has coupons for hundreds of sites, so there is no need to worry about missing out on a deal because it's not in the list. The site is regularly updated, and offers a great chance to pick up some real bargains in the world of online shopping. A couple of nice touches like the Related Deals section and store identification help to bring this site out in front of the crowd.

I might be getting an iPhone!

As per latest financial discussions, I might be getting an iPhone! It all depends on whether I can pre-order it to be sent down to World Youth Day, where I'll be at the time of launch. If all goes well, I'll buy it on the 13th and get it sent to wherever I am in Sydney. Then I'll be able to live-blog WYD with WiFi access hopefully - so keep posted (no pun intended!)

I've set a Spark Alight....

socialspark logoMost advertisers will know about PayPerPost, the online advertising network. But did you know that a relatively new company has been generating buzz since it was launched? SocialSpark, from IZEA, offers many of the features of PPP in a more social environment. Advertisers and Bloggers can create relationships (or "friendships") and there is scope for non-monetary incentives through the use of "sparks".

I've just signed up for SocialSpark, and I like what I've seen. SocialSpark already has a wide range of advertisers, selling products about as diverse as the blogosphere can handle. It's really a great way to connect advertisers and bloggers. Unlike PPP, SocialSpark allows real interaction between advertiser and blogger, so that the unseemly aura of "sponsored" posts is largely avoided. The advertisers don't even need to offer money for the post - you can just offer a "spark" which will let you choose whatever reward you want, or even no reward at all for a truly unbiased review!

SocialSpark has 4 main points in their code of ethics:
  • 100% Audit-able In-Post Disclosure
    As you can see, there is a disclosure button at the bottom of this post. SocialSpark makes it easy to ensure the readers are informed about sponsored posts.
  • 100% Transparency
    One big difference between SocialSpark and other blogging networks is that SocialSpark shows the public who is posting what. If you accept a sponsored post, any of your viewers will be able to visit SocialSpark and see exactly what your relationship with the advertiser is. This provides a very meaningful incentive for publishers and advertisers alike to "stay clean".
  • 100% Real Opinions
    Well, this can never be guaranteed, but from what I've seen SocialSpark takes all reasonable precautions to ensure that people are allowed to write what they think, not what they're told to write.
  • 100% Search Engine Friendly
    SocialSpark tries to help bloggers and advertisers to avoid "paid post" penalties in search engine rankings. This is achieved by automatically making all paid links "nofollow". This also helps avoid disputes in the case of a full no-follow blog.
I'm pretty enthusiastic about SocialSpark, and looking forward to taking more opportunities with them. If you're a blogger looking for a more ethical way to make money than PPP, maybe you should check out SocialSpark.
Sponsored by SocialSpark

Friday, 13 June 2008


Official Google Blog: Our agreement to provide ad technology to Yahoo!
Check this out. I knew it was coming!


I've got a lot of pracs to do right now, so don't worry if I'm not posting, or online in the next few days. Exams are coming up too, so I may be missing from places like Facebook, Skype, LibraryThing and the Schoenstatt Youth Forums.

If you have any ideas or want to contact me in the meantime, visit my Nature Photos site and click the email link.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

When you're looking for a break....

There are so many personals web sites today that it's hard to sort the scams from the goodies. Every website in it's own right will claim to be “the solution” to your needs, but how do you really tell which one is best? The answer is to use a review site, which summarizes multiple other sites with a review of the quality of each. One such review site is

This site provides reviews of many popular sites, such as Perfect Match, eHarmony and Yahoo Personals. Each review provides a link to the website reviewed, along with full information about the features of the particular website. Each review is fully investigated and verified, so you can be sure that the information you are receiving is in fact correct – at least, so far as this information is verifiable. All websites maintain some anonymity, so you can never be absolutely sure that what you are seeing is correct anywhere online. You should check carefully before visiting and submitting personal information to any of the sites listed, no matter how good the review. Remember, all human nature is fallible!

That said, if you use Prime Dating Sites you should be fairly safe in terms of what you know about a site. It will certainly help you, if you choose to use one at all, to make a reasonable choice. Review sites are very useful on the web, and Prime Dating Sites is one of those.

Why I posted a disclosure policy

Or: The English version of what I posted yesterday.

Short story: PayPerPost requires you to post a disclosure policy on your blog, to let people know that you accept paid posts. I had to do this.

Long story: Two of my posts were rejected because I didn't have a disclosure policy. For this reason, I had to use PPP's online disclosure policy generator to create a policy for my blog. Basically, it says that I do accept paid posts, but I still keep all my posts honest. So although the available opportunities will affect what I post about, they won't affect what I say about them. Make sense?

Anyway, it's there. You can read all the technical jargon, or you can just read this post. I know what I'd do! :)

MindBody Management Software

According to the website, MindBody online offers "Business Management Software for the Personal Service Market such as Yoga studios, Hair Salons, Spas, Health clubs, Martial Arts dojo, etc.". This sort of business is becoming popular nowdays, but there aren't many software programs specifically targeted at this market.

Mindbody offers help in three distinct business areas:
  1. Business Management Software
  2. Web scheduling and e-commerce
  3. Strategic Marketing and Education
This makes the product especially useful as Appointment Scheduling Software, Hair Salon Management Software or Spa Management Software.

In terms of business management, Mindbody helps in many areas, including keeping your schedule accessible to clients and staff, client information tracking and staff management. But many generic software packages can do that. One of the best things about this software, is that Mindbody also provides the capability to keep your business open 24/7 - online. Through the integrated online store and scheduler, clients can register for appointments or even buy products!

Even better, Mindbody not only helps you improve the business you already have, but gives you the marketing tools that you need so that you can run your business and build your business - simultaneously. Tools are available to analyze client activities and create reports based on customer needs. You are also provided with tools to manage email marketing.

Overall, Mindbody is a solid product with a rapidly expanding market. The company provides not only this software, but also tracking data integrated with their tools, for the perfect store management solution. Check it out - Mindbody just might be for you.

Microsoft Bashed by the EU

The European commission has accused Microsoft of monopolistic practices quite harshly in a recent speech. Personally I think they deserve it - all the negative press I've ever seen about Microsoft has been true. What do you think? Any Microsoft fan boys out there, or are all the fanatics F/OSS devotees?

An interesting Idea

Pressed4Time is an intriguing new dry cleaning company offering franchise opportunities right now. What's unique about this company is that they don't just dry clean. They dry clean on the road.

To tell the truth, I had never even thought of mobile dry cleaning. But now that I've seen Pressed4Time, it sounds like a great idea. With the on-demand nature of today's culture, this business could really take off.

Here's some info straight off the Pressed4Time website:
Established in 1987, we are an international company with an outstanding track record and a rich future. As the largest company of its kind, we operate 170 franchises in 33 states and Canada.
Obviously they're not really such a small company. Covering two countries and 33 states already, the business has a proven success story. Pressed4Time was named “one of the Best Franchise Buys Under $100,000” by National Employment Weekly. And I believe them. I'm not a dry cleaner myself, but it certainly sounds like a good idea.

So what do you get for investment in Pressed4Time? Firstly, a low-cost incentive based royalty structure.
You remit 6% of gross revenue up to $20,000 per month. For monthly gross revenue in excess of $20,000, your royalty is 3% regardless of the number of vans your franchise operates.
So if you make over $20,000 per month you get decreased royalties, in turn boosting your business. Nice move. Plus, you get training to help you out in the wild.
Travel to our Home Office in Massachusetts where you’ll spend time on the road with an experienced Pressed4Time franchisee and several days in the classroom for formal training;
In addition to this training you also receive manuals and continued assistance throughout your business's life.

If you want to request more information about Pressed4Time franchise opportunities, or just check out the whole idea, visit the Pressed4Time website. If you're looking for an investment in the dry cleaning area, Pressed4Time could be a good idea. With a large established franchise base and intensive training programs, you'll certainly be off to a good start.

Plasma Theming - Doesn't even compare with Vista

Yes, some people have been complaining that KDE4's Plasma looks like Windows Vista. Well, complain no longer. Liquidat has posted a gallery of KDE4 Plasma themes, and boy do they look good! As you can see, you're not even restricted to single colours for the theming!

KDE4 Rocks!

CDEarth - Classic PC games on Mac too

Finally here's another great release of video games available for both Mac and PC. CDEarth is a great combination of many classic software games for the PC, but also available on Mac OSX. Read the press release below:

CD Earth LLC,( is excited to announce the release of the Greatest Classic Video Games CD now available for Windows PC and Mac OSX.

The new CD includes 10 classic games and will be a sure hit with anyone who played the original video games. Stack falling bubbles, break through brick walls, stack colors against the clock, eat cookies while avoiding pesky ghosts, pop balloons with harpoons, smash tomatoes plus rescue a princess all while putting your spaceship back together.

Preview of some of the games on the CD:

1. Break through over 50 unique, challenging levels. Power the bouncing ball to smash through brick walls. Lots of power-ups plus extra balls, energy balls, extra lives, weapons, glue, bonus floors, paddle expansion and extra score make the game even more fun.
2. Gobble up cookies while escaping from hungry ghosts in this updated version of the classic arcade game.
3. Smiling bubbles. Don't let the friendly smiles fool you. Group the falling bubbles to make them explode before they reach the top.
4. Pop balloons with a harpoon and avoid being hit in this fast-paced game.
5. Run and jump through multiple worlds, fighting off enemies by jumping on them or bumping them from below.
6. Eat your tomatoes. How many tomatoes can you smash in ten short minutes? If you have the time to spare, this game has the vegetables just waiting to be eliminated!
7. Colorful, addicting game where you quickly lineup blocks of the same color before time runs out.
8. Guide a lost traveler from outer space, through towers and across cemeteries to collect what he needs to rebuild his spaceship.

Customers can get this Greatest Classic Video Games CD for free by test-driving the CD Earth Software Library Club:

About CD Earth, LLC
CD Earth ( believes everyone should experience the benefits of a great software library. To help customers expand their software library, CDEarth offers a wide variety of some of the finest quality software on the market today through its unique Software Library Club. CD Earth's catalog includes software for families (, children (, home and office (, computer graphics ( and, of course, computer games (

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Disclosure Policy

This policy is valid from 11 June 2008

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. For questions about this blog, please contact David Webb (ignis dot animi at geemail dot com).

This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.

The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content.

The owner(s) of this blog is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

This blog does contain content which might present a conflict of interest. This content may not always be identified.

To get your own policy, go to

Online Coupons

When was the last time you bought something online? If you're like me, that's probably fairly recently. Now, one of the great things about buying online is that you can use coupons from anywhere with your order. If a special deal is available in Australia, and an American wants to take advantage of it, they can in most cases. If they know where to find the coupon codes.

While searching for Godaddy coupon codes, I recently found Best Online Coupons as a source of free vase, cash discount and other online florist promotions. I picked up a few discounts for godaddy here, which worked perfectly when completing my order. This site has the biggest range of coupons I've seen anywhere. Whether you're buying a computer or searching for discounts on food products, chances are you'll find a coupon here. I now check up this site before buying anything, to see whether I could get it for cheaper. Some of the discounts are quite significant, so you could end up saving a big deal throughout the year.

So what if you don't shop online? Now's a great time to start. Postage and handling are often reasonable, so shop around and find the deal that's best for you. If you use the online coupons as a starting point, you can then search to see if that is really the best price. More often than not, the discount coupon will make the store a lot cheaper than the competition.

Using these coupons I was able to register a .com domain with Godaddy for 10 years for $70. That included email hosting and a basic ad-supported webspace. I recommend you try out these coupons - there just might be one for you!

Fedburner finally Married to Google

Feedburner announced integration with Google accounts in April, and are now taking the next step in integration. Feedburner will soon be available from and existing feeds will be transfered to (see here for example).

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

A breath of fresh air

I've had some sort of allergy for quite a while where I'll be sneezing all day some days, and fine the next. At first I thought it was the computer, but thankfully that turned out to be safe! I still haven't found out what causes the allergy, but it seems to be related to the air. When I went on a trip to the mountains recently it stopped completely for a few days. So I went around and had a look for a air cleaner.
The site at Air Cleaners Guide offers a comprehensive overview of the types that are available. From looking here I think the Hunter might be for me, as it's so cheap. Hopefully it will be able to solve my problems for a while at least - I don't want to be blogging in-between sneezes!

The iPhone that everyone's been talking about

The new 3G iPhone is now out! I won't even bother to link to any articles or post the details, as most of you will already know all about this. Just wanted to say that I'll be looking forward to it's launch, as there's a fair chance it's going to be launched in Australia too! Here's looking forward to the 11th....

Monday, 9 June 2008

Online Backup

Online backup is a big business today. And surprising to say, it doesn't end with Mozy's Free Backup Service. Today I'm going to review my latest discovery, IDrive - Online Backup.

IDrive shouldn't take long to download - if you have a broadband connection that is. Online backup isn't really an option on dialup, so before you sign up with any service, you should make sure you have a fast connection. That said, it is possible to use IDrive on a dialup connection, but you'll have to leave it running all night and be prepared for frequent dropouts.

For the record, I began my first install of IDrive on Windows Vista. The whole process was fast and flawless, without even prompting me for UAC. This was one of the easiest Vista installs I have seen in a long while.

The setup process, although not explained, is also very easy. In fact, the default settings are fine for most users, with the most commonly used Documents, Desktop, Pictures and Videos selected for backup at 2:00am every day. I had to tweak a few options to enable the Public folder and stay within my free 2GB storage limit, but overall this process was smooth and easy. The one difficulty I encountered was minor - unticking a folder in the top frame does not remove the folder from the backup list. This has to be done manually by right clicking and choosing "Remove". Although this could be confusing for some users, it is quickly mastered and doesn't interfere afterwards.

Other features of this product not covered here include a handy bandwidth check, and "IDrive Explorer", a Windows Explorer clone for your online storage space. There are also recent enhancements including the ability to manage backup set and schedules via the web interface.

IDrive is certainly a solid product, and well worth the free 2GB account. It's good to see innovation in the online backup sector, and hopefully this will continue in future versions. If you're looking for a stable and well-designed online backup service, then IDrive might be for you.

IDrive recently won the PC World '101 Best Freebies' award. The company claims to outperform the competition by a factor of at least 30% for both backups and restores. IDrive offers encrypted online backups for free (up to 2GB) and 150GB storage (for $4.95/month).

Weak US Dollar drives business in Europe

The LA Times reports that the new Nintendo Wii Fit is hard to find on US shelves, partly because of the weak US Dollar: '"[Nintendo] is also is shrewdly maximizing its profit by sending four times as many units to Europe, reaping the benefits of the strong euro," says Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities. "The shortage demonstrates one consequence of the weak dollar. We're seeing companies ignore their largest market simply because they can make a greater profit elsewhere."'"

Hopefully this will help the Australian market too. At present the conversion rate is about $0.95.

Friday, 6 June 2008

No More video plusbox in Google Search

Google search no longer shows Video plusboxes. I don't know why they've removed this feature, as it was quite handy to me and others. Maybe they found it too hard to integrate third party results accurately, but I think there must be another answer. Anyone have any clues?

Looking upwards....

I've always been an astronomy fan. Even before I built my first computer, I was lying out on the ground looking upwards through a small pair of binoculars, pinpointing the constellations and trying to find Orion's nebula. Unfortunately I was hampered to some extent by lack of proper optical instruments. The binoculars were fairly cheap so I didn't get a very clear view. Now I've found OpticsPlanet, which seems to offer good quality optical instruments online.

The site claims to offer a "great place for people to explore, learn about their hobbies and find the best gear to suit their needs". When I first visited I expected to see a flashy, graphics covered store, but was surprised by the clean-ness of this site. It loaded in no time, but certainly doesn't skimp on content.

The pages are clearly SEO'd, with many terms highlighted in bold, lots of specialized pages and lots of content on each page. But this is good for me as well, because I can find detailed information about practically anything on the site. Almost every second or third word is linked, so if you want to find more information, it's not far away.

Verdict: OpticsPlanet offers a wide range of products, and with the best price guarantee offers the lowest prices around. If you don't mind the SEO'd site flavour, and you're looking for hunting, astronomy, or other optical equiptment, this site is for you. Otherwise, you can try looking at the site through Lynx!

More links: OpticsPlanet Microscope

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Google Gadgets for Linux

Finally! Google has released Google Gadgets for Linux. And best of all, it's open source. This is now integrated with Google Desktop, and it will be interesting to see how this pans out alongside Plasma's widgets for Linux.
Google Open Source Blog: Google Gadgets for Linux

Music Lyrics

We all have to take a break sometimes. Even us tech people. Yes, you do need a break!
For those who like rap, check out Rap Music Lyrics. They've got a pretty good range of artists, and although I'm not into rap myself it looks pretty good to me. Has anyone else tried this site yet?

Microsoft Search Together

Here's an interesting idea. Microsoft's Search Together claims to "allows groups of people to collaborate on Web searches" This is quite an ambiguous definition, but in theory is a good concept. Normally you have groups of people standing round a computer offering suggestions while one person types. This can be quite inefficient. If people could collaborate on this searching could become a lot more productive. Only problem is, it's restricted to IE and Windows / MSN.

Anyone interested in helping me develop an open alternative, with either PHP or perhaps the Google AppEngine Python framework?

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Furniture from home (Website Review)

You might think that this post is a little off-topic for a technology site. Well, in a way it is. But what I'm reviewing about this site is mainly it's functionality as a web site, not a furniture site. Although the market is part of it, I'm a tech reviewer more than a furniture sales person. So, without further ado, let me introduce Furniture From Home.

My first impression: this is a very well designed site. Not only the design itself, but the HTML and CSS is clean, and consistent. The site doesn't take long to load on my 256K connection, which is also a bit consideration for many users. Website design professionals could learn from this site.

Diving deeper, the site continues to live up to this standard for the most part. One of my favourite features about this site is that it displays perfectly on smaller screens, while not compromising on the bigger screens. The breadcrumb navigation at the top is also extremely useful.

Overall I would definitely recommend this site to a friend, knowing it is easy to use and functional. Well-designed and coded sites are rare across the web, but this is one of them in my opinion. Certainly if you're a web designer I would take a look, and if you're looking for furniture you can be sure that you won't run into many issues navigating the site.

Further links: Bedroom Furniture | Home Office Furniture | bedroom set for sale

Monday, 2 June 2008

How to Solve the Third Question - Google Treasure Hunt 2008

This third question had me slightly confused. As I had no knowledge of network theory, it seemed at first too big a problem. But then, when I Googled the solution, I found that others felt the same way. And really, you don't need great network knowledge to solve this problem. All you need to solve the third problem in the Google Treasure Hunt 2008 is common sense and the ability to follow instructions.

Firstly, a bit about how network routing works.

Third Question:
  • 1- Start at node S
  • 2- First, add the current network node to the path. If D is the current network node the algorithm outputs the path and ends since the packet was just delivered to D. Otherwise advance to the next step.
  • 3- Iterate each routing table entry:
  • 4- D matches the Nth entry's network? Set the current node as the Nth entry's target gateway and Jump to step 2
  • 5- D does *not* match any of the routing table entries? Set the current node as the current default gateway and Jump to step 2
So what does this actually mean? Basically, given the starting node, look for the destination IP address in the three Routing Table Entries. If it's there, follow on to the IP address specified in that table entry. Otherwise, follow on to the default gateway. Repeat this process until you come to the destination node. It's that simple!

This doesn't even need a program to calculate it. I performed these operations by hand, and it only took about 10 minutes. I'm still waiting on the answer, but I'm fairly confident that it's correct. If you want a spoiler for the default question, click here. The next question's coming out June 3rd (tomorrow) so you'd better hurry if you want to answer this!

By the way, if you're puzzling over those "/24"s, check out Route summarization on Wikipedia.

The Treasure hunt has been a great opportunity so far for the geeks of the world to get creative with some problem solving. I've enjoyed it, as I'm sure many others have. Hopefully Google will continue to promote these "fun" activites, as they get the developer community active and give Google a good image in so far as community involvement goes. Thanks Google!

Update: My answer was correct! :D

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Crush or Flush

Crush or Flush is an interesting site, mainly featuring chat. Privacy features are one of the key points here:
Privacy and safety are built in. Unlike traditional sites where members can hide behind multiple profiles tied to different e-mail addresses, on Crush or Flush™ you can only have one profile that is tied to your cell phone number. During the sign-up process, your cell number is used to verify that you are a real person, and there can only be one profile per number. If someone harasses you or causes a problem, we will block his number and that person will permanently disappear. No one every gets your e-mail address, real name, or cell phone number - they always remain private.
For those who are interested in maintaining privacy, this is certainly a good site. As they say, you can always link up later. :)