August 8, 2010

This looks promising.

This web site that lets you convert audio, video, documents, images, etc.  I have only tested converting a video format from .mov to .wmv which was ok.  However it also accept a youtube address for the target source – which means that you can download a clip from youtube to a format of your choice.  This will probably be closed at some point because any easy way of grabbing from download that I’ve found ends up being closed.

Online Bible Reading –

April 13, 2010

Yea, I know I don’t tend to post much faith stuff here.  In fact perhaps this should be over on the Christian Visualist blog but it isn’t really visual so here it is.  When looking up the bible online I’ve often used and it is still fine at what it does.  However, I have recently been experimenting with the oddly named

YouVersion isn’t only an online bible that you can search for passages, read sections and switch between translations, it also adds several tools to aid, encourage and sustain regular bible reading and personal study.  Here are a few of the features I’ve found useful:

Readability: The panel on the left shows the passage you are currently reading and it is possible to quickly and easily find a passage and change translation.  However, as you read down the text this panel seamlessly continues through the Bible from Chapter to Chapter and even across books.  I haven’t seen this anywhere else where getting to the end of one chapter means clicking on a link and waiting for the next section to load.  It is a subtle improvement which makes reading much more natural and you don’t notice how much you have read and aren’t as aware of chapter boundaries.  It is also possible to read two different translations in parallel and although I only used this a few times it is useful.

Reading Plans: There are currently around 30 reading plans, such as ‘Gospels in 30 days’ or ‘Chronological in a Year’, etc.  Using these you can access the readings on the web site, via RSS reader or on your mobile.  The plans help you keep track of your progress while allowing you to read on  or catch up as necessary.

Note Taking: There are a number of ways of making notes in YouVersion just like underlining or scribbling in the margin of you Bible.  You can bookmark or add tags to a verse or passage to remind yourself of something or for more detailed notes use the Journal feature where you can have multiple journals – so far I’ve got one for a reading plan and have just started another one for a new series of sermons at church – I’ll see how it goes.

Mobile Access: This is how I first discovered this site.  The YouVersion App for Android, iPhone or Blackberry gives you access to your account on and therefore your reading plans are updated if you read the passages on your phone.  It is also possible to quickly look up any passage and switch versions.  As I’ve discovered more features of the web site I would like to have seen more of these available via the phone and indeed it is still being developed.  Ideally I would like access to my Journals in order to make notes during a service rather than pulling out a laptop which so far isn’t something that happens easily at our church.  It would also be good to have a default translation on the phone itself rather than always requiring a mobile signal in order to read anything (this kills reading a passage during the commute to work via underground).

Cost: did I mention this is all free?

One of the features that I haven’t really got a handle on is the social networking side which seems to be part of the conception of this site.  I can see how it might be useful for a group or church but as I’m using it this doesn’t seem an important feature.  That said, the Contribution sections easily lets you see who has made a Contribution (or comment) on the passage you are currently reading.  In my opinion it is interesting to see other people’s thoughts, and some of the comments seem to come from churches in the form of sermon recordings, videos or extensive notes but as you can take or leave it.

Those are my thoughts, I would be interested to hear what other people use for online, ubiquitous bible reading or study and any pros or cons of these?


May 21, 2009


Dropbox – changing the way I work

May 15, 2009

dropbox_logoThis is possibly the best online tool, application, thingy since sliced-bread!  OK, so sliced-bread didn’t work very well online but hey!  I’ve been using it for only a month or so, but it just keeps impressing me and is revolutionizing the way I do many things.  It is ideal for keeping current files that you might want access to, anything which takes collaboration between multiple users or means working on different machines.

The simplest description of dropbox is software that creates a folder on your machine (PC or MAC) which automatically syncs with an online version of that folder whenever the computer is online. This means that it…
1 – Creates a backup of your files online, and
2 – you can access those files using a web browser when away from your computer.

Next, you can install the dropbox software on multiple machines.  So I have installed it on my home mac and two PCs I am currently using at work.  This means that anything I’m currently working on (in either work-life or life-life) I can keep in “dropbox” and it syncs in the background so that wherever I am the files are there I don’t have to fiddle with memory sticks or remote logon to grab them…
3 – seamlessly stores and syncs these files on all your machines.

Collaboration!  I can create a folder within my dropbox and share it with another user.  So, time for an example: I am in a team getting ready for an event in the summer,  we have started to put everything in a shared folder on dropbox which means that we can all see running orders, scripts, images, videos…  so we can all see what’s going on as dropbox gives you notification of any changes which tells you what others had added or removed.  It also makes working on documents much easier than email attachments.  But lastly for this example of collaboration – when we get to the actual event we will all have exactly the same files on all our machines so if anything goes wrong with one machine, someone forgets their machine or just needs to check something without booting up their machine… all good, no swapping around USB devices and trying to find the most up to date version of a file (I hope).  This gives me number four…
4 – can share folders and collaborate with other users.

OK, that’s all very good but now it gets a bit more useful.  There is a special functional folder called the Public Folder.  This is fantastic!  Frequently I need to send someone large video files, presentations or high quality images, that are too big to attach to emails.  I have used sites like or to do this and would still recommend them.  However if I put a file in my dropbox Public folder, once it syncs up online I can get a “public link” which I can then email to anyone – they click on the link to download the file without having to join dropbox themselves.  Much more friendly and straight forward than the swapping web sites mentioned. So…
5 – can make files available for others to download by putting it in the Public folder

In a similar way you can create and share photos very quickly, easily and ‘privately’.  All you need to do is create a folder within the special Photo folder and again you can get a URL to send to those you want to share the photos with.  I already use FLICKR fairly heavily, so I haven’t used this much but I put up this little example (this link will die in a few weeks when I take the example down so if it is broken don’t bother telling me)…. which brings us to…
6 – create and share photo galleries

Lastly, it does it all ‘properly’!  It works!  It works really, really well!!!  There is version control, you can roll back to previous revisions of the file, see who worked on it, when and even which machine, etc. this includes deleted files whether removed by you or someone who shared. Dropbox handles conflicting edits correctly (so, if two people work on the same file at the same time, then which version becomes the ‘real’ one) – I’m not going to explain because you would understand it better if you tried it to find out for yourself.  In other words….
7 – It works really, really well!!

Of course, it is worth mentioning that for 2GB of space it doesn’t cost a penny, yes….
8 – It’s free  !

2GB free – not good enough?  You can get others to sign up and for each one who does you both get an additional 250MB up to a maximum of 3GB….
9 – Max 3GB free space!

Lastly, in case you missed it.
10 – It’s free  !

That’s my 10 reasons for using this.

( One problem I’m having with it is the time taken to upload large files, I’m getting under 20kb/sec upload rate at the moment and I’m not sure whether the bottleneck is my broadbans speed or dropbox. )

Street View fun

March 21, 2009

Google Street View was launched in the UK this week, so like many people I had a look around my area to see if I had been caught picking my nose or scratching myself.  However, I don’t seem to be around my flat, I’m not in the coffee shop or walking about the neighborhood.  I’m not driving because I found where my car was parked.  So basically I have no idea where I am on Street View.

streetview-woodlandsWhat I did find just around the corner was that there was a comfy chair ‘at’ the bus stop around the corner.  I remember this being there for a few weeks,  it doesn’t seem to have been picked up by any of the papers as one of the odd things to find on streetview, but I like it and wonder how long it will be there and if those hilarious drunken students(*) who played this prank know that their hard work has been recorded in this way.

streetview-woodlands2(*) ok so it may not have been students, or indeed drunk and call me boring but I don’t think it is hilarious either I have just typecast them – it’s my blog, I can do that.

What is it with Chinese people ?

February 13, 2009

I saw this article on Gizmodo that used the google auto-complet feature to see what people are searching for.  In this example if you type in “I am extreemly” as the screen shot shows, google lets us know that there are 4,750,000 hits for “I am extreemly depressed”, in fact most of the results are fairly depressing…


However, the figure that jumps out is that there are 303,000 results for “I am extremely terrified of chinese people”

But before you rush off to search for all these sites about people suffering from this phobia it seems that since Gizmodo posted this news there have been lots of other people pointing to the post and discussing why there are so many sites about “I am extremely terrified of chinese people” (in much the same way that I am now).  So much so in fact that if you are now actually terrified of chinese people it would be difficult to find support online becuase all the top hits are pointless blogs (like this one) talking about the fact that there were 303,000 results for “I am extremely terrified of chinese people” and now there are many more.

BTW, the fear of Chinese or Chinese culture is real and is known as “Sinophobia

Also, for the record, I like chinese people – but don’t get me started on Belgians!!

Future Me

March 8, 2008

Do you ever talk to yourself?

Does it make much sense?

Why not talk to your future self by sending an email using Future Me?

This web site sends an email to your email address at a given date in the future (obviously – if it could send an email to a date in the past you could really mess with your life).