Archive for August, 2009

Simple Drag and Drop from Adobe AIR

Posted on the August 21st, 2009 under Adobe AIR by

Quite a few articles and tutorials show you how to drag and drop a file onto an Adobe AIR application. This one will show you how to drag one FROM an Adobe AIR application TO YOUR DESKTOP (or any other location you provide. The code is really simple:




Drag Me to the Desktop

Download: Source Code

To run, extract files from archive, and then run: adl application.xml

Quick Guide to Ramadaan Do’s and Don’ts

Posted on the August 21st, 2009 under Islam and Muslims by

Got this in an email. Neat!

Ramadaan Highway Code

Dynamically generating a Sandbox in Adobe AIR

Posted on the August 19th, 2009 under Adobe AIR by

Something that seems to have worked


Thoughts?

Will Facebook exacerbate social issues in Mxit?

Posted on the August 6th, 2009 under Internet,Reflections/Thoughts by

Recently, I’ve noticed more and more young people talking about and joining Facebook. In one instance, I’ve come to learn that practically a large majority of learners in a secondary school (we talking about 12-16 year olds) have joined Facebook.

In light of a recent incident where a girl met someone on Mxit and ran away from home, it raises some questions:

  • Are such young people putting themselves at risk with personal info and details being shared on Facebook?
  • What steps/advice can be taken/rendered to assist and protect young people who are on Facebook?

Understanding Mxit vs Facebook

Mxit is a popular cellphone application in South Africa. In a region and continent with high and excessive telecommunication costs, Mxit is a cheap alternative to SMS (Short Message Service). Whereas users pay a premium rate to send SMS’es, Mxit uses a form of instant messaging, where users only pay for the data cost of sending a message.

Being a cellphone-based social instant-messaging application, the only information really being made available is the cell phone number of the user, and possibly the name of the user if they dont use a pseudo-name.

Mxit (like Facebook) operates on a friend request-and-accept approach, but also offers a chatroom service, and it is seemingly here that ‘relationships’ (for want of a better word) fosters.

Given the ability to generate online friendship, being known for having a lot of online friends, and thus possibly popular, may be one reason why people allow such friendships and relationships to happen.

Enter Facebook

These young people are entering Facebook at a time where it has already reached spectacular growth, and some are even forsaking it for alternatives like Twitter. I’m unable to account for why they are switching to Facebook. Is it perhaps the next step after Mxit? Is it because Facebook offers more features than Mxit? Is it because of the popularity of Facebook and that adults are using it?

Oddly, Internet access is not an issue since many of them are accessing Facebook via there cell phones. Perhaps the fact that Facebook has a mobile version helps.

Facebook Features which could be considered dangerous from a Mxit perspective

  • Facebook allows users to upload photos of themselves, providing a picture to the name
    • So unlike Mxit, there is a picture to the person you are corresponding with
  • Facebook allows users to be tagged in photographs
    • Even if the user does not provide a photo of him/herself, others could do it for them
  • Facebook allows users to enter a detailed profile, including contact details
    • Compared to Mxit, this is much more comprehensive
  • Facebook provides a history of past activity
    • Mxit doesnt.
  • Facebook’s add a Friend feature provides a risk where people blindly accept friendships.
    • The more friends you have, the better it supposedly seems, as it makes you appear more popular. Mxit doesnt have the search feature of Facebook where users can search for friends.

If parents become concerned and paranoid about Mxit, it’s not difficult to see why they could possibly be more apprehensive of the dangers Facebook potentially provides at a greater risk than Mxit.

Facebook’s negative could also be positive

I recall an incident a few months ago where an older sister stepped in when her younger sister started receiving inappropriate comments on some of her photos. This is an advantage of an open system, and makes it easier for an adult/guardian to supervise. Needless to say, the intervention was a rebuke to the offenders who desisted from their actions.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

 

SkypeIn now available in South Africa

Posted on the August 5th, 2009 under Internet,Software and Technology by

Good News for South Africans is that SkypeIn is now available in South Africa! SkypeIn allows users to have the own personal number. People call you from a phone or cell phone and you pick up the call with Skype.

Via MyBroadBand website:

Local Skype users can now get their own SkypeIn number and can make unlimited international calls for R 102 per month

Voice over IP (VoIP) provider Skype recently announced that it has extended its SkypeIn service to South Africa.  SkypeIn provides Skype users with their own unique number on which they can receive calls on their computer from regular landline and mobile phone users.

“An online number (SkypeIn) is perfect if you have friends, family or business colleagues who don’t use Skype. Anyone can dial your online number from any phone or mobile and hey presto, your Skype rings and you pick up the call – wherever you are in the world,” the Skype website explains.

“You buy an online number and your friends, family or business contacts can call that number and only pay for a standard rate call (if they are in the same country as your online number) – the online number uses the internet to route the call and so saves them money. It makes absolutely no difference wherever you are, you can pick up the call at no cost to you wherever in the world you are logged into Skype.”

SkypeIn numbers cost US $18 for 3 months or US $60 for a full year.  This translates into R 141 for a SkypeIn number for three months and R 471 per number for a 12 month period.

Unlimited International calls for R 102 per month

SkypeIn complements the company’s existing products like SkypeOut and Unlimited flat rated calling.  Apart from standard SkypeOut credits, South Africans can purchase South Africa 400, World 400 and Unlimited World packages providing discounted call rates to fixed lines.

South Africa 400, priced at $ 14.95 (R 117), gives subscribers 400 minutes of calls to landlines in South Africa per month.  World 400, which costs $ 17.95 (R 141) per month, offers 400 minutes of calls to landlines in South Africa and over 40 countries per month.

The most attractive deal is however the company’s Unlimited World service which at $ 12.95 (R 102) per month allows for unlimited calls to landlines in over 40 countries worldwide.  These countries include Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the UK and the United States.  Calls to South African landlines are however excluded.

Focus Booster App

Posted on the August 4th, 2009 under Adobe AIR,Reflections/Thoughts,Software and Technology by

For the past couple of days, I’ve been experimenting with a tool called Focus Booster. It’s a simple app with an easy method to help you measure and increase your focus and concentration:

 

  1. Firstly, choose the amount of time you would like to complete a particular task. By default it is set to 25 minutes.
  2. Prepare to do the task, clear your PC desktop of any distractions, and start the timer.
  3. Continue working until you’ve completed the task or the timer runs out.
  4. Take a break
  5. Restart the process with your next task

Tiny app, simple process, but it works for me, and these are the benefits I believe are derived:

  • Forces you to plan and think about a single task you would like to perform
  • A quick glance at the timer helps you focus, there is something watching you!
  • Helps you to persevere, (just another 8 more minutes to go, etc.)
  • Provides some type of measurement of how long you can focus, and challenges you to better it. The next version will allow you to record your focus sessions.

Focus Booster is a free application and requires Adobe AIR to run. Download it at: http://www.focusboosterapp.com/ . Follow updates on twitter @focusboosterapp
 

How to: Uninstall Adobe AIR Apps on Ubuntu (via Synaptic)

Posted on the August 3rd, 2009 under Adobe AIR,Linux by

There are two ways to uninstall Adobe AIR apps on Ubuntu.

1) Access to original .air file

If you have access to the original .air file, run it and it will give you a screen with options to either Uninstall, Run Now or Cancel. Simply click on Uninstall.

Screenshot-Application Install

 

2) Use Synaptic Package Manager

A second more easier approach (particularly if you lost the .air package) is to use Synaptic. From the sidebar, simply choose: Status > Installed (local or obsolete)

Adobe AIR apps list in Synaptic

 

Discovering this makes me less hesitant to try our different AIR apps, trying to find out which one works best.

Cant find/see unread email in Thunderbird

Posted on the August 3rd, 2009 under Software and Technology by

For days now, Thunderbird has been showing one unread email, though I couldn’t find it using all the sort techniques I’ve had. Googling shows it’s not an uncommon occurrence. The solution is also quite easy.

Right click on the folder and choose ‘Compact‘.

Takes a minute, but it will reveal the ‘hidden’ email(s).

Source: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/thunderbird/+bug/116642

Weekend Hiking Pics

Posted on the August 3rd, 2009 under South Africa by

Starting from Constantia Nek, we went up to Devillier’s Dam and past Camel Rock

Devillier's Dam on top of Table Mountain

De Villier’s Dam