Showing posts with label aol. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aol. Show all posts

Tuesday, 27 June 2006

Ministry Of Sound

AOL Radio has been updated and can now be used with free AIM accounts.

Listen to AOL Radio featuring XM's 200+ streaming radio stations on broadband or dial-up. Integrates with iChat and provides a desktop overlay for song changes.

This application is a great compliment to iTunes, which, lets face it, is somewhat lacking in terms of radio support!

Whilst listening to AOL Radio, Jessica Simpson's new single, A Public Affair, debuted! This dance anthem evokes early era Madonna (Angel is a prime example)! Very catchy.

Can't wait to hear Jessica's new album (Epic records). This will be followed by Beyoncé's B-Day, the follow-up to Beyoncé's 7.6 million selling 2003 solo debut Dangerously In Love. A line-up of top producers including The Neptunes, Rodney Jerkins and Swizz Beatz have contributed to the set, which will be released on September 4, Beyoncé's 25th birthday. B-Day is sure to be ushered-in with the pomp and circumstance once reserved for Michael Jackson!

Thursday, 9 February 2006

Left To My Own Devices

The following chronicles my web exploration and site building exploits. The original article appears here.

Before Google
For anyone who maybe remotely interested. My online adventures began in the summer of 1995. A friend and I spent a leisurely Sunday afternoon in Bournemouth University's main library surfing the net using Netscape 3 Gold (back in the days before the advent of 'free' browsers and IE domination).

The first site I ever visited was Sony USA. And the first search (using Yahoo!) was for actress Winona Ryder. Does anyone remember this site from Eric Harshbarger?

After graduation, and now in gainful employment at Reuters Business Information (RBI), I signed-up with AOL UK (1997).

Google Earth
In the spring of 1998 Macworld UK magazine carried a free copy of Claris Homepage on a cover CD.

Claris Homepage may have lacked the 'killer' features of GoLive and sexier Dreamweaver (the de facto WYSIWYG), but it was simplicity itself, and, above all, no hefty price tag if the medium left me cold. So, whilst off work and suffering from flu, I started to put together an inaugural web site: an eclectic mix of original work and pop culture commentary (Buffy, Party of Five and Dawson's Creek had captured the zeitgeist of the day). This went live on AOL within a week. The first 50 hits came soon after!

By 1999 AOL UK had all but alienated its Mac customers due to tardy application updates and lacklustre support, and I searched for an alternative ISP and web host.

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm
Regrettably this was a time prior to the wonder known as the SuperDrive (CD/DVD burner). Despite owning an Iomega Zip 100 Drive the notion of regularly backing up critical data (on my trusty Performa 5200) had yet to enter my design DNA. In a move that would cost me two-years of web development (including graphics, text et al), I accidentally deleted my offline site. For the record let it be noted that Microsoft's Outlook Express 4.x (for Classic OS) should take some of the responsibility too!

The next two years went by and I couldn't muster any enthusiasm to rebuild the site from scratch - work and the transition from Classic OS to OS X took their toll. Then a friend asked me why I hadn't setup a new site? The honest answer was creative apathy. Apologetically I loaded Adobe PageMill 3 (included with my iMac DV SE) and...

Step By Step
Adobe offered registered PageMill 3 users a free upgrade to GoLive 5! In the space of a weekend (burning the midnight oil as-it-were) I'd assembled a basic site and uploaded this to my iTools (.mac) iDisk after some trial and error (mostly the latter) - there were no tutorials explaining how to use original templates and requests (to other iTools webmasters) for help went unanswered. Where had the sense of community gone?

Once I rolled out the site (2.x) the next phase was to promote reciprocal links, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and consider affiliate marketing (pays the hosting bills and adds a high degree of editorial responsibility on my part).

American Idol
A cute recollection. I'd applied to join The Iconfactory's deskbase in 2003. That same afternoon I received a confirmation, from Mindy Weaver, warmly welcoming me to their extended family. At the time Kelly Clarkson's 'Moment Like This' was playing on the radio.

Express Yourself
By 2004 this site had come of age and I could no longer ignore the allure of the brave new frontier: blogging + RSS (Really Simple Syndication).

Although blog templates are often criticised for their homogeneity, ease of use and extendibility far out way any negatives. Critical code updates can be applied to an entire site sans the time-consuming tedium of modifying each page individually. This leaves authors to focus on 'content'.

Think About The Future
2006 and, now that the blog is well established (Buffy and Dawson have graduated out of our lives), it's time to revisit this site again replete with a new 'bag of tricks'! The incumbent GoLive has made way for the sassy Macromedia Studio 8 triple threat (Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Flash).

What "dreams" may come?

Tuesday, 24 May 2005

AIM & Objective

Since taming the Tiger, I've been beta testing AIM® Mail and AOL® Journals. First a history lesson.

It's summer 1997 and an @AOL address was considered a premium. I leapt onto the brand wagon with (apologies to anyone who may have inherited this). Switching gears from a 14.4 bps to an asphalt melting 28.8 bps, I thrived on accessing all the US Channel content and making new buddies along the way.

In 2000 after leaving Dow Jones Reuters (downsizing and outsourcing), I abandoned AOL UK due (in part) to tenuous Mac OS 9.x software support and a prohibitively expensive subscription (no discount for Mac Users). However, the impetus (shove) to leave was during an interview with an AOL Channel Director. In the wake of the AOL Time Warner merger, a HR zombie decided to forward my application from Entertainment to Financial. D'oh! And during a stilted dialogue, with the Director, I learnt of their ambition to usurp Microsoft and that Apple Computer should roll over and die! I suggested that AOL would be wise to form a strategic alliance with Apple. 5 years on and look who's laughing now? Not AOL Time Warner shareholders. BTW I never signed an NDA and am at liberty to disclose this.

On Monday night, and in Tom Hanks mode, I savored my first You've Got Mail moment for five years! If I were to rate AIM Mail and Gmail on GUI splendor alone, then AIM gets my vote! The forum moderator is actively soliciting Mac User feedback. My Dashboard Widget suggestion was described as excellent and forwarded to the developers for immediate consideration. Widgets are de rigeur.

Blogcritics is a thriving community and I've been known to drop in the occasional post now and again.

Here's my second ever iMix!

Tuesday, 1 March 2005

Mad as a March Hare

Another month and another Mac-compatible product from those Google geniuses. Gmail appears to be on the verge of going mainstream! My invite allocation has jumped to 50.

With the news that Apple is preparing Mac OS X 10.3.9, there's little chance that Mac OS X 10.4 will be released this month.

After initial testing you can now download my MacMAME Xcode build here (Xcode project provided by Alex Eddy). Requires all folders from the official release to work. Strictly speaking this is an unofficial and unsupported product. However, so long as Brad Oliver, the author, doesn't object too vehemently, it's always preferable to be on the cutting edge of Mac gaming emulation. Enjoy.

Lucas Online has officially announced that the full Revenge of the Sith trailer will premiere during The OC, online (in partnership with AOL) and in theatres on March 10th. Those of us living in Europe should expect to see the trailer on sky news (ultimately owned by News International) alongside reenactment of Michael Jackson's Child Molestation Case.

Since registering with Blogger last year, it's interesting to note how many web site managers have now switched to the likes of Movable Type (a subscription service). The format is extensible and relatively straightforward to manage. A recent switcher is Bombia Design.

Friday, 5 November 2004

The Bonfire of the Vanities

It's Bonfire Night in the UK. A celebration of Guy Fawkes' abortive Gunpowder Plot, which would have culminated in the destruction of the Houses of Parliament. This morning, somewhat aptly, I've had the opportunity to view THAT teaser trailer...

Last evening’s online debut of the Episode III teaser teaser lead to Lucasfilm’s servers overloading and their licensing division issuing cease and desist orders left, right and centre to sites posting images and links to the trailer (only available to paying Hyperspace and AOL members at time of writing).

Clearly a work in progress, as evinced by incomplete CGI shots, the trailer inspires obvious elemental comparison with The Return of the King (yet fails to evoke the same sense of scope). Much has now been made of the ANH/TPM/AOTC montage at the start (32 seconds) and Obi Wan’s voice over. From a subjective standpoint it reinforces the patchiness of the Star Wars saga since the prequels were unleashed from the hallowed halls of Skywalker Ranch (the current DVD release typifies this and lacks the cohesiveness of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings).

Highlights include Darth Vader’s awakening a la Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a screaming Darth Sidious (genuinely unnerving) and an enraged Anakin Skywalker. The attendant space battles are incumbered by too many elements on screen at once - ROTJ Death Star battle magnified to the extreme.

Overall the teaser affords insight into the dark core of the story and coupled with John Williams’ score, so long as Lucas’ incessant tinkering is minimised, Revenge may yet stand alongside Empire as a darling of both critics and fans.

As a footnote. The Episode III banner was composited in Photoshop Elements 3.0 and the screen grabs were captured in QuickTime 6.x Pro (with a light dusting of Photoshop magic).

Tuesday, 15 June 2004

Let’s Get It Started

As predicted Apple Computer has unleashed the iTunes Music Store phenomenon into selected European territories – UK, Germany and France - and announced an alliance with AOL Europe. Account activation is seamless and in seconds I was making purchases for future download. Individual songs start at 79 pence a pop, which is a compelling price point. Although there are competing download music propositions already established in Europe. None has the brand value of Apple. Is Apple the future of music? Discuss, but I know what my answer is!

My friends at the iconfactory unveil their 200th icon set today! Be sure to drop by their site.

With the above events you’d think that I’d be exhausted from all the celebrations! However, today marks 3 years since I returned to web design thanks to my friend Tom Kelly. The site has developed in ways that I never originally envisaged – an online gallery designed to raise visibility and secure job interviews - and has garnered affiliation with Apple Computer, Sony Style and, most recently, Google. Thanks to everyone for your support. Here’s to many more years.