Czeers Solarboats

Apr 30
Posted on April 30, 2008 21:49 in Offline, Technology

Czeers is a startup by a former house mate David Czap and a friend of his. What do they make? Solarboats! Based on the winning race boat of the 2005 Nuon solar boat challenge, these boats feature a unique design with zero emissions.

Oh, yeah, and they are fast (see video below)!

Appdate #12: 1Password

Apr 30
Posted on April 30, 2008 0:58 in Software

I have recently fallen in love with 1Password to solve loads of my password issues. The product has been out their for a while already, but some things recently changed that make this the perfect product for me. The goal of 1Password is to help you remember your logins for websites under 1 password, including helping you create new accounts on sites by letting you define certain identities (introduction video).

All of this feels a lot like what OpenID providers like to solve, and I honestly still love OpenID when possible, but for me the reason to use 1Password comes from a totally different direction: the iPhone. Entering login forms with your extra secure password on the iPhone can be an pain in the ass, so in comes 1Password that allows you to securely sync your login forms to a bookmarklet on your iPhone. Then, on the iPhone you simply go to a login form, run the bookmarklet, enter your PIN and login with the account you select.

1Password is only $34.95 and definitely worth the money for people who have either an iPhone, or any other reason why they can’t remember their passwords.

8 Things You Didn’t Know About Me (tagging meme)

Apr 30
Posted on April 30, 2008 0:22 in Offline

Melinda just did a “8 Things You Didn’t Know About Me” and tagged “anyone who read the article” to feel free to do their own version. Admittedly I do read her blog and so here I am writing my own list of 8 things you probably didn’t know about me.

  1. I have had three consecutive Guinea Pigs who all died tragically before their time. The first one died because of the fumes that came from the new vinyl carpet that my parent’s got, the second because of the fumes coming from the new paint from our neighbour’s fence, and the third died because I gave it Guinea Pig food without vitamin C (Guinea Pigs have a natural vitamin C deficiency and therefore need to get extra vitamin C in their food. Any food that calls themselves “for Guinea Pigs” that doesn’t have this is clearly a scam!).
  2. I have a case of Pectus Excavatum which is a harmless genetic deformity in the chest. It is nothing serious but it does lead to some cool facts like: my heart is actually on the left, not left of the middle.
  3. Even though I am Dutch, the only drugs I ever used were some very weak hash brownies. I also tend to tell people that in contrary to believe, people in Amsterdam don’t do that much drugs, it is mainly the tourists that do.
  4. I never had a true Dutch girlfriend until Melinda got her Dutch nationality last year. I leave it up to your imagination if this is because I had many foreign girlfriends or none before Melinda.
  5. Although most of you know me with my glasses, I have only had them since I moved to the UK. I had been complaining about my eye sight for a while and Melinda kept saying “all was perfectly fine”. In the end I ended up having a cylindrical correction of -1.5 and -2.
  6. I have flown an airplane when I was 18. This is because I used to study Aerospace Engineering before realizing I was a major geek. It was a Cessna 150 and it was the best flight I ever had. It was also the second flight I then ever had, which brings us to…
  7. The first flight I ever made was a parabolic flight. For this who don’t know what this is, this is when an airplane makes a quick ascend and descend leading into a free fall, creating weightlessness for the passengers. It was done in a Fokker 50 and gave us a total of about 3×10 seconds of near-astronaut experience.
  8. I once built a bedroom media centre in a desktop drawer cabinet by screwing the main board upside down against the top of the inside of the cabinet. The HDDs and dvd player were glued against the back of the cabinet, and fans were hanging from the side to keep things extra cool. It was a bliss to clean as almost no dust fell on any of the parts.

Now that I have given my list, I would like to tag Alper and Martijn to give us their list.

My 2 Cents on the BarcampLondon4 Signup Fiasco

Apr 25
Posted on April 25, 2008 0:00 in Events

So today quite a few people got pissed of at the BarcampLondon4 organizers for royally screwing hem over. What happened? A few weeks ago during the registration for first batch of tickets the ticket registration “accidentally” opened an hour before it was supposed to, greatly disappointing me and a few others who set their timers for the supposed time. 

The Premise

Now what happened was that EventWax (the system used for signup) is a stupid-ass system that’s unable to “open” at a certain time. It can only open on a certain date. So by going to the right URL a few people managed to get their tickets before the official opening and spread the word to a few others. 

To solve the issue, the organizers released the 2nd batch of tickets at the official time, giving all the others including me the chance to fairly signup. So, when the 4th and final batch was released yesterday at 11am, I had set my timer to register a ticket for a good friend of me who I finally convinced to also come to his first Barcamp. I typed the URL I remembered in my browser and Safari autocompleted it for me as it remembered it from the history.

Safari didn’t send me to the official site though, but to the not-so-secret URL that allowed anyone to sign up before 11am. As the first batch of tickets quickly sold out to people who figured this out I quickly did the same and signed my friend up on his email address. 

Now comes the bad thing: I later found out that the Barcamp organizers had send an email to my friend’s email address stating:

Heya there,

I see that you’ve already booked a ticket to londonBarCamp4.

While (as you have seen) eventWax is allowing you to book we are only honouring registrations from 11am onwards when we post a link from the barCamp homepage to the registration page – it’s only fair.

I’m afraid I am going to have to cancel you ticket but please try to register again at 11am.

Follow the link from
http://barcampgcap.eventwax.com/barcamplondon4

Obviously I never got that email as it was send to my friend’s email address and I send a disgruntled email to the organizers afterwords. They send me an email back that they wanted to do things fair this time and that it wasn’t really their fault but the fact that EventWax had quite a whole in their signup.

Conclusion

The conclusions that I could take from this are numerous. First off EventWax is a shitty system that I will NEVER use as it is flawed. Secondly I learned that next time I sign up for someone else I should do it on a *@cristianobetta.com email address so that I get the confirmation and cancellation emails.

The GCap crew that is organizing the Barcamp though could have done their stuff better too. First of there was the problem which lead to me having to sign up for a friend: all the signups were at 11am. Not just he but quite a few others too had this issue. Take a look at the upcoming page and twitter (yes we are alowed to complain on twitter) for more details.

Secondly the organizers should have realized after the first fiasco that EventWax sucked and moved signup times to 12am as that would have solved all their issues and automated the process for them.

Let’s hope the rest of the organisation of the Barcamp will be much better and we’ll have a magnificent two days in central London. I haven’t given up yet.

My Bookmarks For April 19th – April 23rd

Apr 24
Posted on April 24, 2008 0:02 in Links

My Bookmarks For April 13th – April 19th

Apr 19
Posted on April 19, 2008 17:04 in Links

Appdate #11: NicePlayer

Apr 19
Posted on April 19, 2008 12:51 in Software, Video

It’s been a while since I did an Appdate, but here is number 11.

Today’s pick is called NicePlayer and it is as they say themselves “Quite simply, the nicest media player for Mac”. In the backend NicePlayer uses Quicktime and all available components to playback media, but in the frontend there is a major difference.

The frontend look is very fresh and exactly what I needed. First of, the entire app can be made to “float on top” which is a major issue if you like to watch video on your 13-inch MacBook while doing some other work. Quicktime doesn’t support this and that has bugged the hell out of me for years.

But even then, if you manage to get Quicktime to float on top with some third party plugin, you’re still stuck with that bulky Quicktime interface. The NicePlayer interface though, is border-less, buttonless, and therefore only uses the minimal screen estate needed for playback. The look is a lot like those embedabble flash players you find on video sites like Vimeo, but instead it is an actual desktop app.

NicePlayer is open source, free as in beer, and only 2.8mb to download. And with joy I can say that it is my new default media player.

Geek Dinner IRC Channel

Apr 14
Posted on April 14, 2008 17:24 in Events, Software

Geek Dinners is going retro!

After some fun during the “Over The Air” conference (some people were playing keynote-bingo) we decided to launch our own IRC channel. Why? Because we can. Plus, it keeps those lengthy discussions between Geek Dinner attendees away from your Twitter feeds.

Where? irc.freenode.net, channel #geekdinner. Everyone is welcome and you are allowed to talk about anything! If you’ve never used IRC before (which means you were probably born after the introduction of the World Wide Web) feel free to ask us over Twitter/MSN/email for instructions.