Monthly Archives: September 2013

Flotilla to the Goat Islands

AtHP: Multiple Installments

Here is another installment to the Around the House Project. Images were taken in side as well as outside applying some rules of thirds and depth of field. Feel free to give feedback.

BBM for Android now WORKS!

Techies all around like myself have been waiting for the release of the Android and iOS versions of the “popular” BBM app. There have been many rumored release dates over the past couple of months but it was officially stated that the official release will be this weekend. Leaked versions of the app showed up online this week but for me the only thing I could do was create my BBM account. I assume the servers were not yet placed online for full functionality.

As of yesterday, friends reported that they were able to log in and use the BBM app. Those making reports were on Samsung SIII devices. I decided to try again this morning to see if I would get on using my Samsung Captivate running SlimBean 4.3, which it now is.

I have added a couple contacts and now testing.

The BMM app isn’t official available in the Google Play Store as yet, and that maybe due to the large number of fake BBM apps that have popped up. I would expect Google to remove those first before the official one is made available to protect its users.

I’ll continue to test and see if it will hold up to the high level of confidence that BlackBerry has in it to make it freely available to other platforms.

For those who want it before its available in the Play Store download here: BBM for Android

UPDATE: BBM for android has been disabled as of the 22/09/13. Obviously they did not plan the roll out properly and encountered problems when the over 1.1 million android users of leaked version jumped on the servers. #MegaFail

AtHP: Candy Bowl

Candy Bowl

Candy Bowl

Candy bowl on the center table. Liked how the colours of the doily and the sunlight was picked up by the glass.

An Unexpected Kindness

I witnessed an unexpected act of kindness and compassion which in its simplicity, brought on a smile not only facially but in the heart.

On my commute from work to school, there I stood, as the bus travelled along picking up passengers. On came a gentleman with his child in hand sleeping on his shoulders, holding a bag in the other hand. He fought valiantly as he tried to maintain balance in the moving vehicle.

Immediately a fairly young rastafarian man beckoned to the father, offering up his seat.

Now you see why I said unexpected.

Chivalry is an almost extinct trait among the younger generation, compounded with a society that is extremely homophobic. To see a man giving up his seat to another man under any circumstance is rather surprising. This however highlighted the fact that all is not lost for the males of Jamaica.

Opening My Inner Eye

Peppers and Pak Choy

Peppers and Pak Choy

I have recently started reading the book Extraordinary Everyday Photography by Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring. The aim of the book is to dismiss the perception of new photographers that you need to travel to exotic places to capture beautiful and interesting photos.

The authors encourage you to take regular “boring” objects in and around your house or neighbourhood and try to make them more interesting when you shoot. They also encourage you to take multiple shots of the same objects, applying the rules of composition, exploring different angles and perspectives as well as different times of the day exploring lighting scenarios.

This image is my first installment in the “Around the House Project” or “AtHP”, that I’ll be embarking on in an effort to develop my photographic eye.

Walked into the kitchen one evening after coming home from work and the colours of the peppers and pak choy instantly grabbed my eyes.

Data backup, availability and collaboration

Yullii Blue of Caught Between a Cream and Curl asked me to create a post to complement her blog post here, where she seeks to provide tips to new college and university entrants.

The information in this post will not only apply to students but to anyone who uses a computer.

Lets give some simple definitions:

  1. Data Backup – having at least one additional copy of your files in the event the original files are lost or corrupted. Backing up can be as simple as storing a copy files a secondary drive in your computer, on media such as CDs, DVDs etc preferably stored in a location away from you source files, or soft copies on the internet.
  2. Data Availability – refers to how quickly and easily data on external storage media can be accessed whether for regular use or in the case of disaster.
  3. Collaboration – the process whereby individuals work together to achieve a common goal.

No matter how careful you think you are when using your PC, laptop, tablet or devices storing the files you have worked on, it should be a regular practice to always make a back up of your work. Disasters can strike at any time, causing you much pain and heartache when critical files are lost.

In this technological age no lecturer is going to take “my dog ate my coursework” as an excuse. With that said you need to utilize the tools available to ensure you always have the work available and ready to be presented to your lecturer to haul in those A’s. The tools discussed here will be outside the norm of storing files on a USB flash drive.

Email Yourself

The simplest form of backup you can utilize is to just email your work to yourself. Yes, you can send an email to yourself! Most email providers offer sufficient total storage space to its users with a maximum file attachment size of 25mb per email.

Compose an email with your own email address in the ‘To:’ field and then attach your files. You have 2 options when attaching files:

  1. Attach individual filesCompress
  2. Create a folder on you computer, place the related files in the folder. Right-click the folder, go to Send To and select Compressed (zipped) folder. A file with an icon of a folder with a zip will now appear. Attach that file to the email.

This method accomplishes backing up your data and making it available anywhere you go providing you have internet access.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is simply an online allocation of space on servers located on the internet where you can perform remote backup of files. Cloud storage is offered by data storage providers who store the data on distributed servers. The service offers the user the ability to automatically backup your files to these internet servers once they are created or edited. Additionally it offers data synchronization between multiple computer or internet capable devices. What this means is when a file is created on one computer it automatically uploads to the internet store and then copies the file to any other computer you have configured to use the service with.

For a personal account of how vital a tool cloud storage is read my post: How Cloud Storage Saved My Life.

There are many cloud storage services available. The one I have been using for sometime now is Dropbox. You can visit the site and create your account here.

Once you’re done creating your account you will be guided to install the Dropbox application on your computer which will make backing up of files to Dropbox automatic. Just follow the installation instructions.

Once installed you will notice two things:

1. The Dropbox Tray Icon in the task bar which gives you quick means of accessing the Dropbox folder on your computer as well as reaching the Dropbox website.

2. The Dropbox Folder now present when you open Windows Explorer.

Dropbox Tray Icon

Dropbox Tray Icon

Dropbox Folder

Dropbox Folder

Collaboration

Working in groups or in team is compulsory when in college, university or the actual working world.  There are tasks that due to either the magnitude of work or the time restraint, will require you to work with others to accomplish the goals.

Working in groups can be very hard due to members not living in the same geographical area or the leisure time of the member not being aligned. These make physical meetings to discuss or work on projects difficult.

If you already have a Gmail account then you are on your way to remedying the problems stated above. If you don’t have an account then create one here.

Google offers Google Drive as an additional service to its Gmail users. Drive allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations etc, similar to Microsoft Office. To access Drive simply click on Drive in the Gmail header menu as highlighted below.

Gmail Header Menu

Gmail Header Menu

Once opened you can click on the create button and choose the type of file you want. Give the file a name, then click on the share button to the top-right corner, enter the email addresses of the persons who you will be working with.

When each person has accepted the invitation all persons can type in the same document at the same time. Each person working on the document will be given a different colour cursor. While each person types, their name will follow their cursor as seen in the screenshot below. You will also notice, while working on the document you can also chat with the other members.

Collaborating on a Document

Collaborating on a Document – (Click to Enlarge)

Where groups are up to 3 members you can all join in on a Skype conference call or just put those idle free nights to good use and make a conference call while working.

I hope this has been very helpful to you and will allow you to be more productive. If you found it helpful, please feel free to share. Peace Out!