Happy New Year

Happy 2009 everyone! I plan to keep this weblog updated more frequently this year, mentioning anything interesting I’m doing, especially with technology and photography.

I switched from using the Panosaurus panoramaic tripod head to a Nodal Ninja 3, and am having good results. I’m sure the Panosaurus is perfectly adequate, but I couldn’t for the life of me assemble it!

Some technologies that I have been experimenting with recently include Amazon Cloud Services, including the Cloudfront, S3 storage, and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. I have also made use of the Amazon Mechanical Turk, and have plenty of ideas for how it could be used. The Mechanical Turk allows you to request tasks to be done by a huge human workforce of around 100,000. As an example, you could ask for 1000 voicemails to be transcribed, the workforce would transcribe them, and the result could be returned. All these services that Amazon offer are opening up many horizons.

One such horizon that perhaps shouldn’t be opened, is the fact that with just a credit card, a nefarious programmer could spawn hundreds or thousands of high-powered virtual servers, and launch Internet attacks, break encryptions etc. I hope Amazon have a strategy in place for such events so they can be avoided. Such an attack could be on something like the weakness found in MD5 SSL certificates which may be exploited using a large amount of computing power.

Zend Framework

So far, so good with the Zend Framework. It is proving to be a great timesaver, and great at separating models, views, and controllers. I’m also looking forward to the Adobe Message Format extension, to make superfast links to Adobe Flash and Flex, without the lengthly PEAR-SOAP process I go through at the moment.

Opera Mini

Photograph of Nokia W810i mobile phone showing Opera Mini browserNearly everyone must have seen the iPhone and iPod Touch’s mobile web browser and found it a great idea to get what they call ‘the real Internet’ on a mobile device. If you have a cellphone that is Java-compatible (the majority are), try out Opera Mini. I’ve had it for a few weeks on an average Sony Ericsson and it works very well. Browsing is also increased by an encrypted socket connection to Opera’s servers.

Soundboards – A World of Soundbites

I’ve finished the first release of the new soundboards site! I made a similar project a few years ago, and thanks to various links around the Internet, I have been getting a steady 1000 unique visitors per day.

Some of the benefits of this new version include the auto-resizing of Adobe Flex (so much easier and reliable than using Stage handlers in Flash), and some AJAX enhancements. Enjoy!

Some of the features aren’t 100%… if you find any problems, please contact me.

Jonathan Hassall