Twitter’s down yet again: Twitter is over capacity.

For all of you Twitter fans out there, I’m sad yet not surprised, to tell you that Twitter is down yet again.

As if it isn’t bad enough that Twitter has been the target of much critism lately due to their poor site stability, they are down again!
twitter-down-again-2008-05-25

Twitter went down tonight at approximately 1:00 AM EST without warning. I personally am not a major fan of Twitter, mainly due to the fact that it is down a large percentage of the time when I would use it lately.

Thanks to Digsby, I was able to see exactly when my Twitter connection was lost and am able to tell you about the poor uptime that Twitter offered us tonight.

twitter-down-again-2-2008-05-25

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to find an alternative!

UPDATE: Twitter is now back online. My last check was at 1:40 AM EST.

Zenbe: Everything you need in your email!

ZenbeZenbe is an exciting new e-mail service! Zenbe makes an effort to push the limits of email as we know it today.

Zenbe’s goal is to pull web services that we use everyday into one easily accessible window. If you’ve every used Digsby (an instant messaging client that I blogged about earlier) then you’ll love using Zenbe.

Zenbe can pull all of your other email accounts into one, allowing you to check them all from Zenbe instead of logging into each email service individually.

Zenbe sports a side panel that you can show or hide any time you want, which features an Agenda or Calendar tab, Address book tab, To-do list tab and a Facebook tab! The Facebook tab gives you a quick overview of what’s happening with all of your friends!

ZenPages allow you to easily share calendars, task lists, files, even email, with whomever you like…whether they use Zenbe or not. They’re also customizable, allowing you to add a map, a slideshow, a video, an RSS feed, nearly any kind of embeddable widget.

Zenbe also includes a tab at the top of the page that contains all of the files that have been emailed to you for a quick overview and makes searching for attachments a piece of cake! You can also upload files to this section to email to others or just save for later use!

Zenbe is current in the popular web 2.0 private beta stage, but you can request an invitation from the homepage! If you jumped on the Gmail bandwagon when Gmail was new then you’ll enjoy testing Zenbe and seeing the cool new features that Zenbe has to offer! Take the tour and see what you think!

Gmail 2.0

Google recently announced they want to release an updated version of Gmail that’s supposed to be even faster than the current one. Speed increases are due mainly to a complete rewrite of the JavaScript back-end. The main goal of the new version is to improve contacts management. “Gmail 2.0” is apparently available already and slowly migrating for users who choose to go ahead and update before it is officially released. If you would like to do the same then you can do so by following the link below:

https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=2

Until Gmail 2.0 is completely stable, you will have the option of switching between classic Gmail and Gmail 2.0 interfaces on the fly. I have attempted to update my Gmail account using the above link, however, I’ve read that they have began to slow down and the migration is not immediate any longer. So there is no telling how long you will have to wait, but rest assured it will eventually migrate to the new interface. Now for some previews:

gmail

New Contacts Manager
gmail

New Contacts Manager with lots of information options
gmail

Nice new avatar selection dialog (excellent example of the power of Web 2.0 design!)
gmail
The select box (drop down box) has been replaced by a more
dynamic approach to the select box (using divs that are updated)!
gmail

All in all the updates do appear to be small, however, word on the virtual street is that the overall speed of Gmail has been improved on tremendously! I’ve heard of small complaints about slow initial load times, but that it is very snappy and fast after initially loading. I’ve also heard reports that the chat window is no longer hide-able, however, this may be temporary as it has not been publicly released yet and is not a final product.

Google, or more specifically Gmail, is one of the best examples on the world wide web of just how awesome Web 2.0 is! Let’s define “Web 2.0” right quick:

Web 2.0 according to Wikipedia.org:
Web 2.0 refers to a perceived second generation of web-based communities and hosted services — such as social-networking sites, wikis and folksonomies — which aim to facilitate collaboration and sharing between users. The term became popular following the first O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004. Although the term suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, it does not refer to an update to any technical specifications, but to changes in the ways software developers and end-users use the internet. According to Tim O’Reilly, “Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform.”

Web 2.0 is bringing the internet to a more personalized level. Web sites are beginning to ride the fence between being an application and being just a web site. The look and feel of web pages are starting to become oddly similar to many desktop applications that we use daily.

Just think about it. What are some applications that you use on your computer on a daily basis (or atleast once a week)? I’ll make a small list:

Ubuntu: Feisty Fawn vs. Gutsy Gibbons

Ubuntu has recently become my favorite Linux distro among competitors such as Redhat, Fedora, Mandrake, SUSE and DSL. I’ve found that Ubuntu offers more support from the community than any of the other distros that I mentioned and also have great support for a wide variety of hardware vendors. For example, I found myself frustrated with Fedora Core 6 (Zod) when I installed it on my HP Pavilion dv4000 laptop. The main problem was getting my wireless card working..or should I say finding drivers to install to get it working. With Ubuntu I noticed right away that my wireless card was working from the live disk alone! I hadn’t even installed Ubuntu yet, just put in the install disk and booted up to it and my wireless card was working and as it should have with Fedora after installing.

I installed Ubuntu on my desktop with slight difficulty. Mainly, it would install fine, but Grub would not work properly. I have two hard drives in my desktop, both Sata drives. One is a 300GB drive that I use to install Windows Vista Ultimate x64 and Ubuntu x64 on with ~290GB and ~10GB respectively. The second hard drive is a 750GB drive that I use for storage. I found that Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) and maybe earlier versions do not install Grub well to dual boot on the same hard drive with another drive connected. For some reason it just won’t find the partitions to boot. A simple fix for this was to open the tower and simply unplug the 750GB drive from power and the board (while the power was off of course 😉 ). After eliminating this drive, Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) installed just fine! Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbons) seems to install with no problems from the 750GB drive so you most likely will not need to disconnect your extra hard drive to install this one. Now let me get into the comparisons..

Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn)
Feisty Fawn is the code name for this specific release of Ubuntu which was released in April 2007 or 2007 April..7.04. Feisty Fawn is currently a very stable release. It has had plenty of time to receive deep testing from Alpha testers, Beta tester and to the general public and most all of the haunting bugs have been patched and repaired so it is a release that you can count on. Performance is great. It’s a snappy release that is highly customizable and easy to get used to after switching from Windows (like I did). Granted, this transition may be more difficult for others, however, once you find the applications that you need you’ll quickly learn that it can perform any task that you needed in Windows and possibly in a more efficient and easy way.

All hardware was detected properly and worked from installation. The only tweak that I had to make to my machine was enabling restricted drivers (nVidia graphics drivers) so that I could take full advantage of my dual screen display. After that it was just add/remove programs from a huge list of available packages. Anything from games to text editors to media players and tools to Beryl, etc.

Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbons)
Just like Ubuntu 7.04, Ubuntu 7.10 has a code name..in this case Gutsy Gibbons. It was first released in August 2007 and has just recently been publicized as a “Stable” release. When I first saw that Gutsy Gibbons had become stable, I received a notification from my update manager in Feisty Fawn and decided to just upgrade from the manager. I would now recommend that if you want to upgrade from Feisty Fawn to Gutsy Gibbons..just do a clean install. My upgrade encountered numerous errors and was forced to quit only after half-way upgrading my system. This left my Ubuntu os unusable and forced me to manually reinstall. I would suggest backing up your documents and any other saved material that you will want later to a disk or jump drive, then do a fresh install over your Ubuntu partition and move your data back. That being said, I would also suggest waiting to let Gutsy Gibbons receive more testing from the general public if you plan on using it as your main desktop. I quickly ran into a problem with video drivers not working properly for nVidia and also read many forums talking about ATI video cards have similar problems. I was encountering random freezes that would sometimes return to normal, but most of the time just lock up the entire computer. Apparently the drivers are not yet stable. I’ll keep you updated when they have become stable enough to use, however, for now I have reinstalled Feisty Fawn so I can use my pc. There are several people complaining about these problems, but who knows..you might not ever encounter them.

With the update, I did notice that the layout had changed a little and several personal folders had been added such as Pictures, Documents, Music, etc. The icons got a small update as well as the mouse cursors. NTFS-3G had been installed and enabled by default to allow reading and writing to NTFS drives with ease. This means you can access your Windows partitions and save files to those drives by default now! If you liked using Beryl in Feisty Fawn to get cool desktop effects such as a rotating cube to switch between work spaces and wobbly windows then you’ll be happy to know that Gutsy Gibbons has all of these features installed by default. There is no longer a need to manually install Beryl, just drop down your System->Preferences menu and click on appearance!

Finally
Gutsy Gibbons definitely takes first place over Feisty Fawn, however, I’ve decided that until Gutsy Gibbons is cleaned up and patched up a little more, I’ll just have to stick with a release that has been through all of the stages already and I can count on.

If you are interested in downloading Ubuntu to give it a try, just go to Ubuntu.com. It is completely free and easy to use!

Hauppauge WinTV PVR USB2

When I upgraded my pc from Windows XP Pro 32-bit to Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit..I found some compatibility issues with my WinTV unit. However, I made some connections and quickly got my unit swapped out for free with another unit that was compatible with 64-bit windows. I actually got the same unit style of unit back, it’s just that the hardware inside had been upgraded.

wintv pvr usb2

Before I upgraded to Vista I was using BeyondTV which is very good, but lately I’ve been using Windows Media Center that comes installed in Vista by default. WMC can record shows for me just liek BeyondTV! So if any of you guys need help getting your WinTV unit to work with your Windows system just hollar at me and I’ll see if I can help out at all!

Dual display preview..

Hey everyone,

I got my second monitor in Friday and hooked it up last night. Thought you all might want a glimpse!

dual display

(in case you are wondering, the video is “The Running Man”..an older Stephen King film. It’s pretty good.)

So this is what my new setup looks like. It’s my main work station.
Specs:

  • Windows Vista(tm) Ultimate
  • AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 6000+ 3.02 GHz
  • 2046 MB
  • 64-bit Operating System
  • 300 GB Maxtor Hard Drive
  • 500 GB Maxtor Hard Drive
  • 2x Samsung SyncMaster 914v monitors
  • Dell/Logitech Space Saver Keyboard
  • Logitech Optical Mouse
  • Hauppauge! WinTV PVR USB2