Thursday, May 31, 2007

Google is buying Panoramio

Just received an email from the folks at Panoramio, telling me that they are going to be bought out by Google.

From the email:

Panoramio is going to be acquired by Google!

The deal is set to close in about two weeks. We're excited and we hope you are too! The acquisition will be an overwhelmingly good thing for Panoramio uploaders and viewers alike. Uploaders will get to leverage Google's reach, increasing the exposure of their photographs to photophiles around the world. Viewers will get to choose from a larger universe of photographs as Panoramio becomes more widely known.

This is excellent news, as it means that Panoramio will now be able to start using the immense Google infrastructure for the delivery of user submitted photos.

Update: There's more here on the Panoramio blog. I've reposted the blog entry below in case panoramio gets overwhelmed with Digg traffic:

We are very (and we mean very) happy to announce that Panoramio will be acquired by Google.

The integration of photos from Panoramio in Google Earth has been so successful since John Hanke suggested it that we see the acquisition of Panoramio as a natural consequence. We have tightened our relationship with Google Earth more and more in recent months, and at the end we decided to walk one step further. After so much work together, honestly, we couldn’t imagine a better scenario than selling Panoramio to Google. Most people upload their photos to Panoramio to share them through Google Earth, and it’s way cool to see Panoramio’s photos in Google Earth, so the upcoming acquisition reaffirms the current win-win situation.

For now, our user interface will not change; accounts, urls, features… We will keep working for Panoramio as a team, but this time using Google infrastructure as Panoramio further integrates into Google’s mapping technologies. We will also keep answering e-mails directly as much as possible.

The upcoming acquisition will bring many advantages to Panoramio users, starting with a better infrastructure to improve the reliability of Panoramio, more frequent updates of Panoramio’s Google Earth layer, and more resources for some invisible tasks that take time out from working on new features.

To watch our little project grow since its conception one and a half years ago has been an amazing experience, and we hope to make it even bigger with this step and with your continued support. We have worked hard to arrive to this point, but we know we could not do it without all of you, the wonderful community of people that upload their best photos to Panoramio. You deserve all the credit. There are no words to say how honoured we feel when someone decides to choose Panoramio for sharing their photos.

We have lots of ideas in the pipeline. Our baby is still growing, so stay tuned!


José, Joaquín and Eduardo

Well done guys! One and a half years of darn good work has paid off.

KDE4 - kwin bling demo

In Kwin composite brings bling to KDE, Troy Unrau writes about the forthcoming kwin effects in KDE 4, and has posted several YouTube videos.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B2

Over at Doom9 a new processing key has been posted. According to "arnezami", this key opens up all newly released (and many to be released) HD DVD and Blu-ray discs.

Google Maps Street View

Google Maps has just become even more awesome. "Street View" launched for selected U.S. locations.
More details here

Update: A list of interesting places is being compiled by LaudonTech

Update 2: Google blog about this on their Lat Long blog.

Mac and PC - the Security ad

Microsoft announce Surface

I'm no fan of Microsoft, but this techcrunch article has a very cool video from Popular Mechanics showing off their newly announced "Surface" platform. The interaction reminds me of the computer interface in the film Minority Report.

M81 galaxy

The sharpest ever image of the M81 galaxy has been taken by the Hubble space telescope.

The sharpest image ever taken of the large "grand design" spiral galaxy M81 is being released today at the American Astronomical Society Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. A spiral-shaped system of stars, dust, and gas clouds, the galaxy's arms wind all the way down into the nucleus. Though the galaxy is located 11.6 million light-years away, the Hubble Space Telescope's view is so sharp that it can resolve individual stars, along with open star clusters, globular star clusters, and even glowing regions of fluorescent gas. The Hubble data was taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys in 2004 through 2006. This color composite was assembled from images taken in blue, visible, and infrared light.

Link baiting update

My link baiting post from yesterday appears to have worked, in terms of increasing traffic to this blog. Yes, its a bit evil, but as the graphs and stats from Google Analytics show, sometimes a bit of link baiting can boost the traffic levels. Whether that turns into a boost in long term traffic is another matter.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Killing all zombie processes

its this one liner:
kill -HUP `ps -A -ostat,ppid,pid,cmd | grep -e '^[Zz]' | awk '{print $2}'`

list all processes, show me the good stuff, like stat[e] p[arent]pid, pid, and c[om]m[an]d
Then, send the output to grep, because I only want the lines that start with a Z or z . Now let's restart the parent processes and shake out the zombie generation.

Found here

Chymera - Umbrella

if you dont want to hear a riff that will stay in your head until you've extracted your brain, then dont click on this link.

Geany - a lightweight GTK IDE

Geany is a lightweight GTK based IDE, that has got the thumbs up from Og Machel and Tago Boldt.

It's features include:

* syntax highlighting
* code folding
* code completion
* auto completion of often used constructs like if, for and while
* auto completion of XML and HTML tags
* call tips
* many supported filetypes like C, Java, PHP, HTML, Python, Perl, Pascal
* symbol lists

That Allison Stokke photo

Yes, this is an experiment in evil link baiting. If you don't know who Allison Stokke is, then let me introduce you to the latest viral internet fad. Looks like this pole vaulter has become incredibly famous because of the picture above.

Google News
Washington Post
Allison Stokke hits the front page of the Washington Post

But then , this story is quite relevant to a tech blog - it shows the incredible power of the internet nowadays to make somebody famous practically overnight.

Quote from the Washington Post article above:

Early this month, 18-year-old Allison Stokke walked into her high school track coach's office and asked if he knew any reliable media consultants. Stokke had tired of constant phone calls, of relentless Internet attention, of interview requests from Boston to Brazil.

In her high school track and field career, Stokke had won a 2004 California state pole vaulting title, broken five national records and earned a scholarship to the University of California, yet only track devotees had noticed. Then, in early May, she received e-mails from friends who warned that a year-old picture of Stokke idly adjusting her hair at a track meet in New York had been plastered across the Internet. She had more than 1,000 new messages on her MySpace page. A three-minute video of Stokke standing against a wall and analyzing her performance at another meet had been posted on YouTube and viewed 150,000 times.

Update #1: Meet Alllison Stokke by Erik Gunther on Yahoo Buzz predicted this back on May 18th.

Update #2 : Google Trends graph shows queries for Allison Stoke today in the U.S. - the trend is like a rocket taking off.

Update #3: This google blogsearch gives a good indication of the viral spread of this story.

Depeche Mode - Never Let Me Down (video)

This song is 20 years old this year, but i still love it. Great video as well.
Nice to see that Warner Brothers are sponsoring this video on YouTube and allowing it to be embedded in blogs. Wow. Seems like somebody in the major media space is starting to get a clue.
Big kudos to Warner Brothers.

Heres the YouTube link

Dell and Ubuntu

The Dell/Ubuntu deal is mentioned in this weeks Ubuntu Weekly News digest (which you can subscribe to via here).

Here's what they say about it:

The long awaited release of Dell computers preinstalled with Ubuntu was this week, with Dell announcing three different models, two desktops and one laptop. All three laptops contain mostly Intel parts, with the two desktops using Core 2 Duos. All models are priced about $50 USD cheaper than the equivalent Vista models. Currently they only available in the US, although Dell representatives in at least Canada and Australia have confirmed that they will be available in those countries. You can see more at and you can purchase the models at

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Lending Club - a new way to make money online

Now this is a fascinating development. Lending Club is a financial service for Facebook members - where Facebookers can borrow or lend money to each other, thus bypassing the traditional bank fee structure.

There are more details here


Lending Club is creating a direct person-to-person shortcut in borrowing and lending, bypassing the traditional role of the banks. Banks usually collect deposit on one side and extend loans on the other side; we provide a shortcut, a way to directly match lenders with borrowers. Starting today, we are offering a way for Facebook users to take personal loans of $1,000 to $25,000 funded by other Facebook users. Members who have the financial capacity are now able to extend loans to a pool of other members they choose from their network, neighborhood, and alumni. Loans carry a lower interest rate than bank loans but higher than a savings account, so both lenders and borrowers get a good deal.

An alternative to the torrents

Torrent badly seeded? Having problems getting an old episode of Heroes? Well, you could try B2U which collects links to where TV shows (and lots of other stuff) are in embedded format. Great stuff - now i can finish off watching the first series of Heroes.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bloc Party - The Prayer video

Although it was released a few months ago, I've only just noticed the video for Bloc Party's "The Prayer" on YouTube during the week. Intriguing, disturbing, and just brilliant - all at the same time. And the tune is rather good too. I have to admit that the video made me relisten to the tune , and i've had it playing on my car stereo non stop for the past few days. I'd keep an eye out for Bloc Party - they've got a powerful lead singer, and damn good music, and something about their music says to me that they'll be in it for the long term.

The song is taken from their second album A Weekend in the City

Redesigned my blog - what do you think?

You might have noticed that i've moved this blog to a three column format and redesigned the general look of the site. I've also started publishing adverts from Chitika,Auction Ads and ReviewMe. What do you think? I hope the ads are unobtrusive and not too much in your face, but let me know if they are. I'll be tweaking the layout over the weekend. I've not blogged about the new advertisers, or what they offer, so that'll definitely be coming up in the next few blogposts.

Moved to three columns

I've been busy this evening moving this blog to a three column format, which i found on Blogcrowds. So, there will be a lot of moving things around , as i tweak the layout. It's by no means final right now.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Link-love from John Chow

Yesterday, I bought the make money online prolific blogger John Chow a beer via his newly installed buy me a beer wordpress plugin.
A nice simple idea - one of those "why didnt i think of that before" moments.

Now in return I get a bit of link love from John in a thanks for the beer blogpost. It'll be very interesting to see what effect this has on my blog traffic. Google Analytics hasn't yet reported on the traffic for today, but when it does I'll do another blogpost about it.

Intel ultra thin laptop

Intel unveils the world's thinnest laptop, and it's as skinny as a Razr. Codenamed the Intel Mobile Metro Notebook, this prototype was designed by Intel along with Ziba Design, and it's a mere .7 inches thick and weighs just 2.25 pounds.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Buy Me A Beer!

After John Chow added the buy me a beer wordpress plugin to his blog, I was inspired to add a "buy me a beer" sidebar blob of my own. You can see it on the right hand side. You'll be making a payment to "Saffron Technology", which is actually just me. It's the name of the one man band company I owned for consultancy purposes a few years ago, thats now defunct. But my paypal account is still active - I use it for occasional eBay sales, for example.

So, buy me a beer! Blogging is thirsty work. Suggested amount - £2 (thats 2 pounds sterling) - so thats about $4 U.S. dollars. Of course any amount less or more than that gladly accepted.

Note: If you buy me a beer, also send me your website/blog url in either the comments below or via email (depechemode AT gmail DOT com) - and let me know what anchor text you'd like me to link on. I'll add you to a list of beer contributors on this blogpost and give you a bit of link-love in return. This applies to ALL beer donations from now on.

Note #2 The first 5 beers will have a digital photo taken after the beer is purchased in a genuine English pub in the south of England. The outside of the pub and a Google Maps link will also be posted. Photos will also be uploaded to flickr, 23hq, zooomr and elsewhere. These photos will be individually blogged about, so you will get an individual blogpost on this blog on a per beer basis about the beer that you helped me to buy. Birth of beer, drinking of beer and death of beer photos will be posted, and all stages of the beer's (brief) lifespan will be hyperlinked back to your site.

I will incorporate links back to your site using anchor text that you provide - and if you want some text as well, then i'll blog that as well. The usual caveats to what i link to - no pr0n, no gambling, no hate, no racism, no spam - apply.

Note #3 - Gotta give a bit of link love to Ankesh Kothari , who came up with the buy me a beer wordpress plugin. If you dont want to buy me a beer, buy a beer for him.

Review Me review - Mozomo dot mobi

Please note: This review was sponsored by Mozomo on ReviewMe for $5

I've just received my first ReviewMe review offer - from Designer Mobile Content who , according to their blurb are "the first Premium Designer Mobile content store which produces truly luxury and designer mobile content". It sounded interesting, and within the marketplace of my geeky/techie gadjet loving audience.

Hitting their website produces the first problem -theres hardly any content on there and an enormous amount of white space. The women in bikini wallpapers are located on the left. Although, to be fair there's also a Porsche wallpaper

The second problem is that in their blurb, they said:

"Following is what Mobile Monday Finland and Nokia have to say about us:"

Well, if you visit that url, you just end up on the Mobile Monday home page.

Mozomo have no information on their About Us page, which really isn't a good idea and doesn't build much trust with potential customers. To make matters worse their contact us page has no contact information - just an online contact form.

So, I have no idea who these people are or where they are located. In an era of 911 scams and internet fraud, not letting your customers know who you are is a bad idea. Mozomo should be more upfront with who they are and where they are , and thus generate a level of trust between them and potential customers.

Marks out of ten : 2. Must try harder.

Supplemental hell

After reading John Chow's post about getting out of the Google supplemental index, and then reading that Shoemoney has managed to increase his traffic by a staggering 1400%, again by getting out of Google Supplemental, I had a look at the supplemental index for the site I work on for my day job. It doesnt look nice, with around 265,000 pages in supplemental.

Why is this important?
In the words of one commenter on Shoemoney:
"Removing duplicate content and pages with little to no written content bring a lot of pages out of supplemental. The more pages your site has in supplemental the less ranking power your domain has. If you decrease your supplemental pages your domain’s pagerank and ranking power increase."

I'd better get working on this one so. Thankfully, Google has made it easier to tackle this, as Googlebot recognises wildcards in your robots.txt file


User-agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /*sort=

will stop Googlebot indexing ANY url with the string "sort=" in it.

Titan's coasts and drowned mountains

On May 12, 2007, Cassini completed its 31st flyby of Saturn's moon Titan, which the team calls T30. The radar instrument obtained this image showing the coastline and numerous island groups of a portion of a large sea, consistent with the larger sea seen by the Cassini imaging instrument
Read more here

Review of John Chow dot com

If you are curious about how to make money online then a visit to John Chow's blog wouldn't go amiss. It's currently ranked no.1 in Google for the search phrase "make money online". His blog is very easy to read, and a great place to read up on the various advertising and affiliate schemes on offer to bloggers. Also , if you review his blog, he'll create a link back to you in one of his "make money online" backlink batches.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


The Jodcast is a twice monthly podcast on astronomy from Jodrell Bank Observatory.Now I can set the phase variances in the deflector grid.

read more | digg story

Programming languages

Spotted this in the comments on Losing big is easy - a blogpost about badly named computer languages (and its quite funny too)

Christopher said...

Cool, great names for future programming languages:

- Rockefeller
- Capone
- Patton
- Shark
- Fire
- Arrow
- Ring
- Eagle


Woah, my boss asked me is I could take over the project from Mike, and I said"sure", because Mike used Rockefeller extensively, along with the Capone toolkit (the one where all the class names start with GUN), and I could just bring in my Patton web services, link it with routines written in Shark by Ellie in Financial Services.

Of course, the web server is written in Fire 2.2, with Arrow modules, and uses Ring for dynamic configuration. (Ring of Fire) All this will be hosted on Linux with the Eagle virtual environment manager.

Panoramic drive through Berlin

Map Movin 360 is an astonishing map hack. Fabian Zastrow and Christian Müllenhagen (who are both post-graduate students from the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin) used a videocamera, combined with a single-shot panoramic camera system to film a route in Berlin which is totally panoramic. During the video, you can move the camera around to see what's on your left, your right, your back or front.

Hat Tip: Google Maps Mania

Bizarre aerial drone photographed in California?

This week I was visting my fiance's parents in Capitola. We were eating dinner on the back porch when we noticed this "object" sort of hovering in the sky.
At one point a car stopped to look as well. No one had any idea what this thing was but everyone in the car was visibly freaked out by it.

There's also some writing on this thing, which I didn't recognize (and I read both English and Hindi). You can see it in a few of the pictures.

Anyway, I created this Flickr account for the best of these pictures. I have no clue what this thing is so I'm putting it out there to see if anyone else saw it.

Full flickr photoset here

Microsoft oPhone

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Review Me

I've signed up this blog to ReviewMe, which is an interesting concept - you, the blogger, gets paid for reviewing other websites, and thus those websites will gain some extra traffic. I'll only review sites that would be of interest to readers of this blog, and of course, I will be entirely transparent in my reviews - I will state that any review is a "review me" review.

Interview with Dr Michio Kaku

Fascinating interview with Dr Michio Kaku on parallel universes, the matrix and superintelligence. I particularly liked his explanation of the multiverse idea:

Now, this can be compared to sitting in a room, listening to radio. When you listen to radio, you hear many frequencies. They exist simultaneously all around you in the room. However, your radio is only tuned to one frequency. In the same way, in your living room, there is the wave function of dinosaurs. There is the wave function of aliens from outer space. There is the wave function of the Roman Empire, because it never fell, 1500 years ago.

All of this coexists inside your living room. However, just like you can only tune into one radio channel, you can only tune into one reality channel, and that is the channel that you exist in.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Dell announces models for Ubuntu

Over at Jeremy's blog is a blogpost about a Dell email, in which they announce the models on which Ubuntu will be offered:

We will be launching a Linux based OS (Ubuntu) on the E520, 1505 and XPS 410 starting next Thursday, 5/24. We expect these systems to be less than 1% of our OS mix for the entire year which is ~20,000 systems annually. Please cover the huddle deck below with your team by EOB Sunday. If any questions come up, please let me know so I can address them before launch.

The goal of launching Linux is to continue to give our customers more choices to customize their new Dell. Providing more options to our Linux Enthusiast customer group will hopefully create even more Raving Fans!!

Here are the links to the Dell models mentioned above:
Dell Dimension E520 desktop
Dell Inspiron 1505 laptop
XPS 410 desktop


Undiscovered bedrooms of Manhattan
Projected climate map of Europe circa 2071
The last ten seconds of every episode of season one of Star Trek:The Next Generation
Episode 47 of the Linux Action Show is out
U.S. slow broadband speeds
The Motorola Razr 2 runs Linux
Death by Lawyer - 10 cool sites that we miss

Friday, May 18, 2007

Amsterdam in 3D

3D buildings for Amsterdam have been rolled out to Google Earth.


I came across Pageflakes by accident, while browsing around the Shoemoney site. Pageflakes reminds me of the old Web 1.0 "portal" idea, but done in a revamped (and rather nicer looking) Web 2.0 way.

Do check it out , i think you'll like it:


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Windows Vista review

When you peel away the fancy graphical interface enhancements, you're left with an operating environment that performs poorly, is difficult to use, has inadequate desktop hardware and software support, and annoys its users with unending security messages.

More here

Monday, May 14, 2007

New Madeleine poster

Via Sky News

Madeleine McCann's family believe a new picture of the missing four-year-old could play a vital role in the search for her.

The photo clearly shows her distinctive right eye, where the pupil runs into the blue-green iris.

It is this distinguishing mark that will identify Madeleine to those on the lookout for her, according to aunt and uncle John and Diane McCann.

If you know or think you know anything at all that might help,
call Crimestoppers in the UK on 0800 555 111
(+44 1883 731 336 from abroad)
or the Portuguese Judicial Police on +351 282 405 400

New Madeleine poster (PDF)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Friday linkdump

JahShaka - open source video editing
Photoshopping a big girl into a model
Dumbest creationist quote ever
Time lapse "gravity wave" video taken in Iowa
10 smart lifehacks for Google Reader
Ubuntu Studio released

FL Studio running on XP in VMWare on Ubuntu

Greensburg tornado chase

Diary entry and photos of the massive F5 tornado that hit Greensburg, Kansas over at StormHighway

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Breaking: Madeleine search - "Things are happening"

Via Sky News

There appears to have been a significant development in the hunt for missing Madeleine McCann, according to Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt.

He reports that Portuguese police are said to be focusing on two men and a woman seen with a girl matching her description.

Officers have called a news conference for later today and Madeleine's parents were driven away at speed from their apartment.

sky news goes on to report that a town or village near Seville in southern Spain has been sealed off:
"I'm also being told that a town or village has been sealed off near Seville in southern Spain. It is not a long journey to get from the Algarve across the border.""

photo of the abducted three year old, Madeleine McCann
If you know or think you know anything at all that might help, call Crimestoppers in the UK on 0800 555 111 (+44 1883 731 336 from abroad) or the Portuguese Judicial Police on +351 282 405 400

Tony Blair Quits

I don't normally blog about politics on this blog, but when Tony Blair quits after 10 years in power, then that's pretty big news and worthy of a mention. More info here and links on the Politicos blog.

TV audiences decline? Not really...

Where have all the viewers gone? - CNN reports that 2.5 million fewer Americans were watching the main TV channels across the pond. However, it turns out that the way ratings are collected is at fault - Nielsen ratings dont measure watching a TV show on your video iPod , for example.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Open Source Quadro Copter

OpenSourceQuadroCopter is a ".tri-national project of participiants from germany, austria and switzerland". Its a four-rotor remote controlled video and aerial photography drone.

Make has a great photo of it.

Hat tip: OgleEarth

More pictures and videos are here

Oh Nine, Eff Nine

A song about the Hexcode processing key we all know and love

MacRaw MacChicken

Chicken sushi served up at McDonalds, with photos. Errrrgh....

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Making Ubuntu usable

In this chapter from the ExtremeTech book Hacking Ubuntu: Serious Hacks Mods and Customizations you'll learn how to set up the operating system to your taste with things like changing the startup music, the background, fonts, icons, and colors, and navigating the Nautilus file manager—on both PCs and Macs.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A Legal Primer on AACS keys

The EFF explains the law on AACS keys. Depressing reading. The DMCA needs to die.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The HD-DVD hexcode revolt

Digg removes third most popular story of all time and bans the submitter.
Digg founders took HD DVD sponsorship
The Day Digg Went Crazy
Digg this
Kevin Rose gives in.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

This image is illegal

Via here
More info over at freedom to tinker

Here's another t-shirt design with the key.
Torrentfreak t-shirt design contest

Biggest Digg Ever?

Spread this number again
At the time of writing, 11,789 diggs and rising..

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0