Thursday, March 23, 2006

Free calls for you and me

As most [some] of you know I've been using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) (where your telephone calls go though your Internet connection) for over a year. Honestly there are some minor issues (some times you need to reboot the SIP box) but you can expect that for the savings you can make.

Engin is the provider I use and they have just offered me a deal where if I pass-on business they will sell the VoIP SIP box for only $1 (normally $139) which is a bargain and removes the biggest barrier for starting to use VoIP.

You'll still need to have a full time broadband connection. So those of you on ADSL will still need to pay for the normal phone line rental (but I think you can get a cheaper version if you only want ADSL on it, no calls - see your telco). So it may only be on financial benefit if you make a lot of calls.

I use it is so that I don't have to pay the ridiculous $29 (or whatever it is now) monthly phone line rental fee. I pay $9.95 a month and all calls to any landline in Australia are only 10 cents and un-timed. So everywhere (STD and national) is less than what you'd normally pay for a local call. Also you can call other Engin users (like me) for free. You also get cool things like CID and voicemail for free (my missed calls get sent to my email as a sound file - techie or what?)

PS. I'm just telling you this because I know some of you are intereted in it not because I'm getting paid by them. Although I do get a referral fee, but I'm doing this for you. Let me know if your keen.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Alert: Validation wanker

I was to chicken to post this on the WSG mailing list, so I thought I'd point you:

This is such an abuse of the "Validator" link, IMO. Although the site's code validates it is so "bad" on so many levels. For example:

  • inaccessible text in the image
  • a description in the 'keywords' meta element
  • HTML comments before HTML is declared
  • horizontal scroll at 800x600
  • presentation in html (#ffffff on body - which could be shorted to #FFF)
  • extraneous divs (<div id="form">)
  • inline JavaScript
  • no form validation (even on the server side)
  • a form that alerts the user it worked even before it did
  • <br> tag for spacing

I'm sure there is more.

The RSS validation link even fails.

Please do not flame me for this post. I know that my sites are not perfect (always trying) but this brings "validation wanking" to a new level.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Now with Ads

You may have noticed that this site now includes Google AdWords. I decided to give Adwords a try after much persuasion from Brendon Sinclair ("Podcast", "Newsletter"). So there they are. Enjoy - or don't. Let me know what you think in the comments.

When signing up for the ads I came across this condition in the Google AdSense Online Standard Terms and Conditions to which I am instantly forced to violate [as I signed up though Blogger].

4. Parties' Responsibilities. You are solely responsible for the Site(s), including all content and materials, maintenance and operation thereof, the proper implementation of Google's specifications, and adherence to the terms of this Agreement, including compliance with the Program Policies.

How can I be solely responsible for the maintenance and operation of the Blogger service?

Also another term (this time from the Google AdSense Programme Policies) which I have no control over.

Your site must not contain broken links and must be launched, functioning, and easily navigable.

I guess anyone that I like to will have to help me out on this one by forever ensureing that your current URLs never change and that you site never goes off-line.

I have reported both of these issues to Google and will update your if I get a reply (but like most large internationals I'm not expecting to get one).

Also do not know if the Ad links are even working and am unable to test them as it is against the terms for me to click on the links. I'll have to get my dog Patch to test them. Good boy.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Sit where your told

On Monday night I went and saw the Johnny Cash life story "Walk the Line" which I thought was a very good movie - but this is not a movie review. I want to complain about the cinema (naming names: Greater Union Castle Hill) and their decision to bring back reserved seating. This is such a bad idea for so many reasons.

  1. It slows the tick buying process. You are now asked where in the cinema you want to sit.
  2. It makes it harder to come to the movies with friends (as we were) as you now have to buy your tickets together if you want to sit together.
  3. You now have to "hunt" for your seat
  4. You maybe "forced" to site next to someone you don't like (like a crying baby)
  5. It causes conflict when you sit in someone else's seat (like I did).

But worst of all, and what pissed me off the most (and it takes a fair-bit to piss me off) was the fact that the little asile number lights are turned up to full brightness for the entire movie. It was like having one of those little pocket torches pointed at the side of my head the whole time. Not fun.

We have now boycotted this cinema and have since been to the new Hoyts at Blacktown twice. Being a new cinima everything is much better there anyway (except for the queues)