December 23rd, 2007 by bigjim
Christmas is just around the corner. Those six words can evoke a lot of different feelings – joy, wonder, excitement…panic. That last one may apply if you are thinking about the shopping malls this time of year, the frantic clambering for the last toy, the compiling of lists and checking them twice…
Well, we’d like to try and help. You can ease some of the burden for present buying by taking a geeky approach to your shopping this year. For starters, many of the stores you’d be visiting in your local mall have websites where you can shop or get present ideas. There are also a number of websites in New Zealand that collate a number of sites and venues in one place – you’ve probably already seen the ads for sites like Ferrit, for example. You can always hunt for presents on TradeMe and other auction sites, but do be careful leaving things to the last minute in case there is a problem with what you buy.
We’d also suggest you look into the Gifts of Hope from World Vision. These are gifts like mosquito nets, chickens, blankets and water tanks that you pay for online and they are distributed to the communities World Vision works in. These gifts are ideal – they truly embody the spirit of giving, they’re simple to get, and you can do it all from your home PC without having to worry about things like parking!
One thing to keep in mind if you’re buying presents online, make sure you check that the site is taking your credit card details securely (i.e. with https:// in the header and a padlock appearing down in the bottom of your browser).
Whatever you end up doing for Christmas, we hope you have a happy, safe and holy holiday.
Posted in General musings | No Comments »
December 16th, 2007 by bigjim
We have previously used this column to try and encourage everyone reading it to be more active in using the Internet and new technologies to proclaim the Good News. And this column will be no different as we talk about blogs.
Web logs or “blogs” started to gain popularity in the late 1990′s and have become a major contributing factor to content on the Internet. The idea started with people wanting to publish their diaries and/or thoughts up on the Internet for their friends, families and complete strangers to read. From there, as the technology improved and became cheaper (i.e. free), blogs grew in number and popularity. Today, there are literally tens of millions of them, on all manner of topics – the most popular of which rank amongst the most visited websites on the Internet.
Why do we raise this in this column? Well, starting a blog has never been easier – you can start a free one at www.blogger.com or www.wordpress.com or www.livejournal.com). Once you have your blog set up, you can use the easy-to-use software to write you posts on whatever comes to mind and publish them to the world.
And why should you do that? Because this is an easy, cheap, quick way of spreading the message of Christ and His Church online. You don’t need to be a geek to do it. In fact, in late October, the vicar for the Diocese of Rome – Cardinal Camillo Ruini – spoke to the religious at the Pontifical Urbanian University and urged them to get blogging! If your local nun or priest can start a blog, surely you can too!
Once you’ve started your blog, go to www.catholic.geek.nz and drop us a line and let us know your blog address so we can check your site out!
Posted in Cool tools, General musings | No Comments »
December 2nd, 2007 by fastmikey
So, you just brought yourself a flash new computer, right? (Those with an old computer, do keep reading) What’s it used for? Email, word processing, a bit of web browsing, maybe the kids play a few games (maybe the kid inside you does!). The rest of the time, your PC sits in the corner, waiting patiently for you to come and make use of its potential, right? Why not give it something to get its teeth into while it’s waiting!
Distributed computing is the concept that if a difficult task is broken up into lots of little pieces, and those are worked on by a distributed network of computers, then the answer can be found a lot quicker. Distributed computing networks have been around for a surprisingly long time – dating back to 1988. However, early on it was difficult to get the work tasks out to the separate computers – so most examples involved small academic networks working together to solve problems. With the advent of the internet, however, it became possible to unleash the power of many more computers – including the one right beside you! This has released a flood of projects designed to help humanity in a variety of ways.
The most famous project to date is most probably SETI@Home – which is used to analyse radio data gathered from the skies above in the hope of finding something extraterrestrial. However, for something more altruistic and closer to home than space, Stanford University offers Folding@Home – a project that is helping scientists ‘understand protein folding, misfolding, and related diseases.’ There’s even a client for this one for your Playstation 3!
So, if you want to give your PC something to think about while it’s waiting for your attention, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_distributed_computing_projects and pick out a project you want to be a part of!
Posted in Cool tools, Technology overview | No Comments »