Fatherly love at its best

Ok this doesn’t really have much to do with technology, although I would never have heard of this otherwise I suppose.

Here’s the start of a mightily touching story you should read in full:

I graduated High School this week. When my Dad said he had a present for me I thought I was getting some cheesy graduation card. But what I received was something truly priceless. Following the ceremony he handed me a bag with a copy of “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” by Doctor Seuss inside. At first I just smiled and said that it meant a lot and that I loved that book.

But then he told me “No, open it up.” …

Seriously, read the rest and if you’re a parent I guarantee at least a lump in the throat.

How to remove the Flashback Trojan from your Mac

If you hadn’t heard, up to 600 thousand Macs (mostly in the US and Canada) have been infected with a Malware trojan called Flashback.

The chances of you having it aren’t huge, but if you’re concerned and have used Apple’s own Terminal program before, then here’s how to check if you have it. But before you even do that, check your OSX’s Software Update (in the Apple menu at the top left) to download a Java update.

Why iTunes Match is an absolute dog of a product

If like me, iTunes is the centre of your digital music consumption, then you may have considered using the new iCloud based service called iTunes Match. What it does (for approx $25 US per year) is scan your iTunes library, matches it against the songs Apple has in its inventory, and then uploads any unmatched songs to iCloud. THe end result (theoretically) is that your entire music library is now in the cloud and can be access by any wi-fi iDevice.

Unfortunately for what seems like a significant number of people, the reality is a lot different. For me the deal-breaker is play counts. I’ve always set myself a little challenge each year to play each and every song in my iTunes library each calendar year. Therefore I have a smart list set up that includes any song not played since January 1st this year. Since setting up iTunes Match in late January I’ve seen that playlist constantly increase it’s play count. I have an iPad 2 as the only current device that uses iTunes Match to stream music (I did have my iPhone using at as well but gave up in disgust as you’ll see below)

An example from just yesterday (on my primary device i.e. the one from which all content was uploaded to iTunes):

Number of songs left in playlist prior to updating iTunes Match: 6994
Number of songs left in playlist after updating iTunes Match: 7029
Number of songs left in playlist the next morning after launching iTunes: 7175

There’s no obvious rhyme or reason to it and it drives me insane. Have a look at the scope of issues on Apple’s own discussion forums and you get the gist of a range of other issues with the service. Whether it’s play counts, upload issues, crashes or lost music, there’s a bunch of problems with this paid service. It certainly has promise – if it worked like it should, I’d probably be writing a gushing article on how great it is and awaiting the Apple fanboy accusations.

My advice right now is: avoid iTunes Match like the plague until some much-needed bug fixes are put into place.

Over to you: do you use iTunes Match and if so have you had issues or not?

Controlled Quantum Levitation: with some fun added

Cutting edge science plus some fun, equals this:

I give it ten years before we’re all riding around in nitrogen fuelled land-speeders. You heard it here first.

The perfect Xmas food gift: edible bling

I love a good piece of food that looks like gold or silver. Ok, not really, but if I did I’d buy a shed-load of this allegedly harmless and edible bling spray to coat my Tim Tams and Zooper Doopers in:

For those worried about ingredients, it contains all these ‘harmless’ sounding things: Ethanol, Butane-E943a, Isobutane – E943b, Propane-E944, E555(Potassium aluminium silicate), E171 (Titanium Dioxide), E172 (Iron Oxides and Hydroxides)

So there you go – why eat another non-gold or silver piece of toast? You know it makes sense.

Throwable camera ball

As the months go on I get more and more excited by the whole 3D printer thing. If you’re not aware of them, 3D printers actually allow you to create objects directly. Once they hit consumer affordability levels, watch for some of the super cool things that emerge alongside the endless pile of crap most of us will create.

One such example on the cool side of the equation is this ball that contains 36 cameras. Have a look for yourself:

So imagine: in five years time, most of us will be ‘printing’ out products, possibly as advanced as these (though that may take a little longer). Do you believe it or not?

[via Extreme Tech]

A geek’s tribute to Steve Jobs

It’s been quite a day with the death of Steve Jobs at 56. I spent some time putting together a small graphical tribute that shows how Steve’s original and subsequent leadership of Apple had an impact on my life. It shows the Apple gear I’ve owned over the years, with some nostalgic words thrown in.

Here it is, for what it’s worth:

Sigh: Sydney’s first oxygen bar

It had to happen eventually – the oxygen bar fad has come to Australia. The full press release:

Australia’s first Oxygen Bar launches at Darling Harbour!
Please let us know if you are interested in:
o   Review dates/times – arrange with us
o   Press Release & Fact Sheet – attached and below
o   Interviews/shoots at the Oxygen Bars available – interview with Co-owner Rob Azar
o   Images at – http://www.flickr.com/photos/cardinalspin/collections

Oxygen Bar, a Breath of Fresh Air for Sydney
Sydneysiders can now smell the Lavender, Eucalyptus or Jasmine, not at one of the city’s many florists, but at Australia’s first ready-to-breathe oxygen bar, recently opened at Darling Harbour.
The O2 Bar Oxygen Station has over 15 exciting scents to be breathed for up to 15 minutes at a time for maximum effect. Coffee lovers can grab an airborne cappuccino, or follow their nose to the fresh scent of vanilla bean, coconut or lime via the Bar’s many aroma infusers.

The best part, 02 visitors receive a direct hit of 90 percent oxygen with each aromatic breath. Oxygen in our air typically offers just 21 percent, but at a higher concentration oxygen can create feelings of increased energy, refreshment, and stress relief.   Greater concentration, increased memory and athletic performance after oxygen sessions are also commonly reported.
Oxygen bars have been a huge success overseas, particularly the United States, Japan and in large cities, providing an escape from pollutants, allergens and impurities found in air. Oxygen is also revered for its anti-aging properties.

Not just for health lovers, oxygen is an effective detoxifier getting a reputation for offering a faster way out of dreaded hangovers. Say goodbye to late night booze munchies, or breakfast kebabs. Party lovers can get back on their feet in no time, by flooding the body with calorie free oxygen to overcome a hangover.

Frequent fliers will also appreciate a dose of 90 percent pure to restore their depleted levels of oxygen, the main cause of Jetlag. And stress heads will benefit from taking a deep breath of oxygen or ten, to repair the body’s impaired ability to properly take in and utilise oxygen when stressed.

90 percent oxygen requires no sugars, caffeine, shakes or crashing when the effects wear off.  Oxygen is a natural and harmless way to rebalance the body’s oxygen levels for faster recovery and increased vitality. 02 is also a relaxing way to stop and smell the roses, tangerines or watermelon.

Sydney’s first O2 Bar is open seven days a week from 10am until late. A hit of oxygen costs $1 per minute, with 15 minutes just the right amount of time to feel recharged and rejuvenated.

O2 Bar has eight oxygen stations attended by O2 tenders who provide disposable cannulas to each visitor to place around their nose.  Free i-pad access and water is offered to visitors who want more activity while they breathe.

Address – Shop FF08, Level 2, Harbourside Shopping Centre, Darling Harbour

Email – oxygen@o2bar.com.au
Website – www.02bar.com.au <http://www.02bar.com.au>
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/O2bar-Oxygen-Station/#!/pages/O2bar-Oxygen Station/140937395991188
Twitterhttp://twitter.com/#!/OTwoBarSydney

Trading hours:

Mon – Wed: 10:00 am-9:00 pm
Thurs: 10:00 am-10:00 pm
Fri – Sat: 10:00 am-12:00 am
Sun: 10:00 am-9:00

Of course, like any press release, there’s plenty of hyperbole. As far back as 2003, concerns have been expressed about Oxygen bars. Wikipedia has a fairly good overview of the phenomenon as well. My favourite phrase in the press release is “calorie-free oxygen”.

Over to you: will you be turning up to partake of a whiff or two?

Ten funny Star Wars videos

It’s time for another one of our regular humor posts. This time I thought I’d go in deep and pick the ten best videos that parody Star Wars. Obviously it’s objective and feel free to add your own picks in the comments. In the meantime, enjoy:

1. Injured Stormtrooper

2. Star Wars Help Desk

3. Lego Star Wars – The New Guy

4. Never Call Me At Work

5. Chad Vader : Day Shift Manager – A Galaxy Not So Far Away

(If you haven’t watched Chad Vader before, you haven’t lived. Check out all the episodes)

6. Star Wars Episode 3: A Lost Hope

7. Grocery Store Wars

8. Empire State of Mind

9. Interrogation Droid

10. Star Wars: The Empire Brokeback

Google Plus: Facebook killer? Hitler says maybe

Although it’s been done to death, the Hitler Downfall Meme still gives me plenty of laughs. With the ramp up of Google Plus over the past week, there’s been plenty of talk about it becoming a serious competitor or even eventual killer of Facebook.

After 24 hours of using Google Plus myself, I though an addition to the Hitler meme was called for. So without further ado, enjoy Hitler’s take on Google Plus:

For what it’s worth, I’m very impressed with Google Plus so far – it’s certainly had a more promising start than Google Wave and I can see over a year or two it’ll get significant traction. A big thanks to Raulan for the invite and sorry I don’t have any invites to hand out.

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