Nybbles and Bytes...

loves good coffee!

Nybbles and Bytes...

wants to know if you need this button on your keyboard...?

Nybbles and Bytes

...loves exotic places...

Nybbles and Bytes

is occasionally old school...

Nybbles and Bytes

loves smartphone debates...!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's official! People are seriously worried about escalator handrail hygiene...!

Ok so it's not REALLY official... but I was checking on my Blog visitor stats today on Google Analytics, and it made for some interesting reading.
The numbers aren't huge as my blog is still new and still gaining momentum, but nonetheless they do indicate that my post on Escalator Handrail Sanitizers is the most viewed part of Nybbles and Bytes (excluding the landing page):

1. / 153 84
2. /2009/10/no-more-dirty-escalator-handrails.html 30
3. /2009/10/free-flash-animated-tag-cloud-for.html 18
4. /2009/10/n97-firmware-should-be-here-this-week.html 18
5. /2009/09/nokia-to-release-next-firmware-update.html 11
6. /2009/10/who-or-what-is-global-verge-are-we-on.html 11
7. /2009/10/dont-you-just-love-free-software-grab.html 10
8. /2009/10/its-gonna-be-big-week-for-windows.html 7
9. /2009/09/winston-pigeon-vs-telkom-whats-your.html 6

So firstly, why is this is the case and secondly, what does it mean?
To answer:

1. Not entirely sure... but next time you visit a shopping centre, watch as the people around you cling to the escalator handrails for dear life, completely naive to the fact that there could be millions, no trillions... no even better - ESCALARILLIONS* of tiny little critters cruising up and down those handrails, just waiting for some unsuspecting human hand to hitch a ride with...
With that nice image in mind, I suppose it does kinda make sense that people would want to know more about a product which makes escalator handrails a cleaner place to be :)

2. Not much, except that companies who are in the Escalator Handrail Cleaning business are going to be pretty busy in years to come!

* - "Escalarillions" is not a real word, nor does it refer to an actual number. :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

N97 Firmware 2.0 released!

It is finally here - the long-awaited new firmware for the Nokia N97 has arrived!



From the Nokia Europe website:
This software release improves touch screen usability, allowing you to scroll smoothly through content by flicking the screen. Ovi Maps 3.1 brings 3-D maps, more accurate positioning, and improved search. Nokia e-mail (Nokia Messaging), Ovi Contacts, Ovi Store, and VoIP support have been added. This release also includes improvements in memory and battery performance, and in image and video stability. To get this software through your device, select Applications > SW Updates and choose the software you want to update. Alternatively, this software release is available through the Nokia Software Updater.

Don't expect a quick update mind you... the download is 143MB!
It will be interesting to see if this update delivers as much as it promises to... let's hope so!

Nokia launches its first TD-SCDMA device - the Nokia 6788

Beijing, China - Nokia today announced the Nokia 6788, its first device for TD-SCDMA - China's domestic 3G standard, at an event in Beijing.
The Nokia 6788 is the result of close collaboration between Nokia and the world's largest mobile phone operator, China Mobile.


From the press release:

"Speaking at the event, said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEO of Nokia: "Nokia sees TD-SCDMA as being central to the successful evolution of 3G in China, and so is fully committed to this 3G standard. With a wide range of integrated China Mobile applications, the Nokia 6788 marks a new level of collaboration with China Mobile and offers enriched experiences to China's 3G users. Nokia plans to introduce more TD-SCDMA phones in the near future, further boosting the development of this 3G standard in China."

The Nokia 6788 features a 5-megapixel (2592 x1944) camera with a dual-LED flash, a 2.8" QVGA display, and is built on the hugely-successful Symbian S60 platform.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Don't you just love free software? Grab yours now!!

There ain't no such thing as a free lunch, or so they say.
Well now there is - go grab your free lunch at www.nch.com.au.

NCH offer audio, video, business, telephony, FTP, backup, imaging and other software, all for free.
There are options to purchase the "Pro" offerings, but most of the free products carry all the features you will ever need.
I can personally recommend the following NCH software:

- Wavepad Sound Editor.
Load up your wav files, MP3's and more - then click here to see the full Wavepad feature list.

- Express Burn.
Burning software to create and record audio and data CDs quickly and easily on Windows or Mac.

- Express Invoice.
Seriously decent and easy to use invoicing software - highly recommended. Click here for a full feature list. 

There is a whole host of other software available from NCH, for both PC and Mac - check out their full product list here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Explore the Sky, Moon, Mars and more in Google Earth...

Google Earth took the world by storm when it first appeared, and each update has added amazing new features to what is already an incredible program.



Recently Google introduced some awesome new features to the program, but I frequently come across people who have no idea that there is a whole other side to Google Earth.
In the latest version (available here), if you click on the "View" menu and then click on "Explore", you will see 4 options:- Earth, Sky, Mars, Moon.

Select "Sky", and your PC / Mac is transformed into a high-power telescope, capable of zooming deep into the night sky. Just as in "Earth" mode, double click on any insignificant looking dot in the sky and soon all of its hidden glory is revealed:



Select "Mars" or "Moon", and you get to see Mars or the Moon in full 3D, much like you see the Earth:





Streetview is another groundbreaking feature in Google Earth, and something which Google are currently busy implementing in South Africa ahead of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.
The cars that Google use to collect the data for Streetview, carry an array of cameras mounted onto the roof of the vehicle, such as this one spotted in England:



Apparently the Google team covering South Africa are using the Toyota Yaris as their camera vehicle of choice.
Have you spotted any in your city?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's gonna be a big week for Windows...

The long wait is almost over, and Windows 7 is only 2 days away.

I am sure that many users will breathe a sigh of relief as Vista's replacement hits the shelves.
Early in its life, Vista quickly developed an infamous reputation for the acceleration of grey hairs, in technicians and end-users alike.
Personally I found Vista to be acceptable when used for day-to-day office tasks (Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, surfing the net, using Skype, playing the occasional game etc...)

It all went rather banana-shaped though, if you tried to throw too much at Vista at once.
Softline's Pastel is a great example here, with Vista requiring some serious tweaking, poking, prodding and patching in order for Pastel to run in a near-stable fashion.

Now Microsoft promises a stable and ground-breaking new operating system in Windows 7.
Beta releases among testers and end-users have produced promising results, so we can only hope that this bodes well for the newest addition to the Microsoft stable.

Looking back, Windows 7 marks 24 years since the first iteration of Windows was launched.
Let's take a quick journey back in time to see where it all began...:

- November 1985 Windows 1.01
- November 1987 Windows 2.03
- May 1988 Windows 2.10
- March 1989 Windows 2.11
- May 1990 Windows 3.0
- March 1992 Windows 3.1x
- October 1992 Windows For Workgroups 3.1
- July 1993 Windows NT 3.1
- December 1993 Windows For Workgroups 3.11
- January 1994 Windows 3.2 (released in Simplified Chinese only)
- September 1994 Windows NT 3.5
- May 1995 Windows NT 3.51
- August 1995 Windows 95 4.0.950
- July 1996 Windows NT 4.0
- June 1998 Windows 98 4.10.1998
- May 1999 Windows 98 SE 4.10.2222
- February 2000 Windows 2000 NT 5.0.2195
- September 2000 Windows Me 4.90.3000
- October 2001 Windows XP NT 5.1.2600
- March 2003 Windows XP 64-bit Edition (IA-64) NT 5.2.3790
- April 2003 Windows Server 2003 NT 5.2.3790
- April 2005 Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
- July 2006 Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs
- January 2007 (retail) Windows Vista NT 6.0.6002
- July 2007 Windows Home Server
- February 2008 Windows Server 2008 NT 6.0.6002
- October 2009 Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

What do you think they will call the next version of Windows...?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Who or what is Global Verge? Are we on the VERGE of one huge scam?

This kind of subject always strikes a certain chord with me - I suppose my scam radar is just super-sensitive!

I received an email a few days ago, which made claims about what sounds like a fantastic new Internet / Voice / Telephony product, soon to be launched in South Africa and at a fantastic price to boot.

It casually made mention of some big industry names, e.g. MTN and Neotel, and proceeded to drop hooks and keywords such as "High Speed", "Free calls Worldwide", and the biggie... wait for it.... "Business opportunity" (this one set off my alarm bells...!).

Anyone who has been ripped by certain unnamed "network marketing" companies in the past, will tell you that they were approached with a "business opportunity" and that the seller was "extremely excited" about it.
What really gets my suspicions up is the totally blind enthusiasm that is put forward to potential buyers (or victims if you prefer) - no matter what you throw at them, they have some vague, unclear yet totally enthusiastic answer for you.

I won't say too much more on this subject - rather check out this link, and then check out the Global Verge homepage - then decide for yourself.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How to make people take the stairs instead of the escalator...

Take one bland-looking flight of stairs, convert it into a giant piano overnight, and what do you get the next morning?



Don't you think we should have this kind of thing in our malls, airports etc?
It would certainly make shopping more fun!

N97 Firmware should be here this week...

The long-awaited Firmware update 2.0 (or 20) for the Nokia N97, is due out sometime this week, according to online sources.



The update has pre-emptively been hailed as a "re-launch" of the phone, and is rumoured to include a host of stability fixes, new pre-installed apps, improved keyboard usage, optimized memory (C:) usage... and so the list continues.
Click here to see my previous post on this topic.

It's gonna be a biggie!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Have you dropped IE for Opera? I know I have...

We all get stuck on using one piece of software for a certain function - for years now I have been a loyal supporter of Internet Explorer in its various forms.

It just seems though that the more Microsoft update IE, the slower the damn thing gets!
In an attempt to make my life easier, I tried out Google's browser Chrome, expecting miraculous results.
Although the results are pretty darn good, Chrome eats up your resources if you run multiple tabs within your browser.
Each tab in Chrome opens a new instance of the chrome.exe file, so pretty soon your 10 tabs are munching away at your system resources with great vigour, and you are left sitting dazed in the cloud of smoke pumping out from your now over-stressed PC (or Mac)... :)

Having used Opera Mini on my phone for some time, I decided to try out their PC browser (also available for Mac OS X) to see how it fares in an already overcrowded sector...



"Wow" is the only word I can use to describe my initial experience - the interface is clean, the tab switching is slick and fast, the navigation is clever and logical... the list just goes on and on.
Currently I have 12 tabs open in Opera and my system is sailing along quite happily - impressive!

There is something about Opera that just gives it that edge over other browsers I have used - can't quite put my finger on it.
All I can say is that I am converted - so long Internet Explorer!

On the mobile front, the Beta release of Opera Mini 5 is also making waves among cellphone users.
Check out some of the features of this awesome browser:

- Tabbed browsing (works really well)
- Speed Dial (puts your favourite sites at your fingertips)
- Touch & Keypad (optimized for both touchscreen and keypad phones)
- Password manager (saves your personal information for social networking sites etc.)
and more...

Get Opera here.

Get Opera Mini here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Free Flash Animated Tag Cloud for Blogger

If you use Blogger to host and maintain your Blog as I do, the default way to list your tags is using the Label widget, which creates a bulleted list of all the tags in your posts.

Why not rather spice up your tag list, and get a free animated tag cloud like mine on the right - just go to:
http://www.bloggerbuster.com/2008/08/blogumus-flash-animated-label-cloud-for.html



You need to insert a bit of HTML into your template but it's pretty simple and well worth the effort for what you get!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

100% Freeware games - for real!

Now here's a seriously decent site to add to your bookmarks:
http://www.caiman.us/ offers free game downloads in a large variety of genres.

Stop right there if you are thinking: "ahh no it must be shareware" or "it's probably full of adverts" etc. etc.
It's all 100% FREEWARE!

Again, stop right there if you are thinking: "well they're probably all dodgy text-based games"...
These screenshots of random games I picked should change your mind...:


F1 Legends


Star Wraith 2


Missile Storm


Glest


Paintball Rogue

So head on over to http://www.caiman.us/ and get your fix in free gaming now!

Time to chill again...

Aurel Manea (http://www.aurelm.com/) has once again uploaded some amazing landscape photos, taken in Iceland.






Don't you want to just pack your bags and catch the next flight out when you look at these photos??

Friday, October 2, 2009

Add a Polaroid border effect to your photos for free with Poladroid!

Do you miss those old Polaroid photos with the chunky white border?
Well now you can add that same cool effect to your photos, thanks to Poladroid - "The easiest and funniest Polaroid Image Maker".
Get it now at http://www.poladroid.net/.



Quick and easy to use, simply drag your photo into Poladroid and it does everything for you.
It even develops the effect slowly just like the real thing - seriously cool!

Free all-in-one chat software - Google Talk, MSN, Bonjour, Yahoo and more...

Here's a nice piece of freeware - Pidgin combines most of the common Instant Messaging platforms into one nifty piece of software. Get it for free at http://www.pidgin.im/.

You can use Pidgin to chat on the following chat networks:

•AIM
•Bonjour
•Gadu-Gadu
•Google Talk
•Groupwise
•ICQ
•IRC
•MSN
•MySpaceIM
•QQ
•SILC
•SIMPLE
•Sametime
•XMPP
•Yahoo!
•Zephyr

You can also download plugins to expand the capabilities of Pidgin - e.g. to support Facebook,, MXit, Twitter etc.

No more dirty escalator handrails!

Don't you just love clinging onto those handrails when you use an escalator?
Ever wonder what may be clinging to you...?

Not a pretty thought - probably thousands of people use escalators in malls, airports and shopping centres daily. Now as much as I have faith in the personal hygiene of the average Joe Soap (no pun intended), those handrails just feel downright grotty.

Enter Greenburst - http://www.greenburst.co.za/. These clever folks have come up with a handrail sanitzer, which is now being used worldwide, as well as in malls right here in JHB. Their first South African installation is at Eastgate Shopping Centre.
The technology uses U.V. rays, which (apparently) kill 99% of all micro-organisms (apologies to all you good germs out there... you're going down!!)

The system also features an audio-visual component, whereby messages or adverts can be relayed to shoppers using a large LCD screen built into the unit.
Emergency broadcasts can also be uploaded to the screens to alert shoppers and passers-by, using the built-in wireless network.

What will they think of next...??
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