Sony’s 84” 4K behemoth TV

, posted: 14-Oct-2012 01:17

On Thursday, Geekzone moderator Stu (BighammerNZ) and I were invited to Sony's headquarters in Ponsonby, Auckland as part of their "Sony Open House" promotion.  It was a launch to show off the new stuff in Sony's technology line-up.

In brief we saw:

  • VAIO Duo 11 - Sony's tablet offering, it slides up to show a full QWERTY keyboard under it's 11.6" screen.  Wasn't too impressed with it as it felt too heavy and clunky when compared to the much nicer Apple iPad/Samsung Galaxy Note/Microsoft Surface.
  • Walkman F800 - slim, phone like device running Android.  Much smaller form factor, and far more power than the old tape playing Walkman I used to own.
  • SANS410/SANS510 - new compact speakers offering 360 degree coverage, all controlled through an app through your home WiFi. Sounds great, packs a lot of punch, definitely see myself buying one for home.
  • MDR-1 headphones - with a wireless bluetooth version and a noise-cancelling option, very comfortable, over-the-head style headphones.  My only concern was they are very pricey ($400-500 range)
  • Personal 3D viewer - these are a head-mounted display that when you put it on, it gives the impression of watching a 20m wide screen, 20m away.  It's a surreal experience wearing them (this model doesn't have the integrated earphones as the previous one did) and with a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, it's very easy to forget about the world around you.  You can focus each eye individually, and the headbands easily adjust to fit any size head.  At around $1,100, they are expensive for something that can only be used by one person at a time.  Very cool tech none-the-less.

The real star of the evening was their 84" 4K TV, which I can only describe as:

Wow.

510523-sony-bravia-4k-tv

(sorry I have no decent photos from the event)

Pictures and video really can't do justice to how amazing this TV is.  At 84" it really makes a statement.  The 60" TV Sony had setup next to it was dwarfed in comparison.  I kept reminding myself that it was just about twice the size of my tiny 46" screen at home.

4K is a stunning picture, 4x better than current HD.  The big issue at the moment is there is little content (other than up-scaling existing HD which looks pants) available.  The demo content we did watch was amazing - think of the first time you saw HD content when compared with standard definition.

If you get a chance to see this in person, I highly recommend.  You'll be blown away with how truly amazing the picture is.

How much to get one of these bad boys in your living room? $35k.

I'll happily take any donations to my "buy Nate a new TV fund".



Extending Xero through their API

, posted: 2-Oct-2012 17:44

Xero is fantastic accounting software.  Through their API (Application Programming Interface) they allow third parties to integrate into their main accounting engine.  This allows developers to create more specific add-ons suited to their specific niches - there is already an extensive list of existing add-ons on the Xero site..

This post serves as an example of what can be achieved.  Please note this is not a product we are selling, it's purely something we've created for our own internal use.

A small part of our business is the web-hosting of our development clients.  With a few hundred clients, we were original using the re-occurring invoice function in Xero.  As this client base has grown, it's become harder and harder to administrate these clients, and make sure that everyone is billed correctly.

Using data pulled live from our servers, we match a client with a billing plan, and send out an invoice on the first day of every month.  An example of the email that's sent out is shown below (click to enlarge):

invoice_screenshot

We've extended this over the default email out capabilities of Xero in the following way:

  • As this is a custom template, we have a lot more flexibility with formatting.
  • The invoice is always sent from our main accounts email (if one of our staff edited a reoccurring invoice in Xero, they would be set as the new sender next time the invoice was sent out, a very annoying quirk of Xero)
  • The subject line contains the invoice number and invoice reference
  • The body of the invoice contains the invoice number, the amount that is due, plus when the invoice is due.
  • We link directly to our payment gateway (powered by BNZ) which prepopulates all the values, and if a successful payment is made, creates a payment against this invoice in Xero, making bank reconciliation quick and painless.
  • If the client has overdue invoices, these are listed in a summary table, with a total shown at the top.
  • Each overdue invoice has a link which the client can click on to view the invoice as a PDF online
  • We stream down the original invoice from Xero and attach it to the email as a PDF

Hopefully this gives you some ideas of what the Xero API will allow you to do.  As always, (blatant plug), if you're after any custom Xero integration, contact us.



Own thy domain

, posted: 31-Jul-2012 16:08

Domain names are the street addresses of the internet.  From google.com, to nzherald.co.nz to geekzone.co.nz, most of us will easily identify our favourite sites by the address we type in the bar at the top of our browsers.

If you want a website, whether it's for personal reasons or for your business, having a domain name is a must.  They are also very popular - Verisign counts 233 million domain names globally, a growth of 23 million since Q1 2011.  New Zealand's .nz namespace is popular as well, with nearly 490,000 domains at the end of June this year.

One technicality that most newcomers don't understand is who owns their domain name. In their minds, they paid a hosting company/web designer for it, so they must own it right? Maybe not.

A recent thread from Geekzone user networkn reminded me of this issue - to summarise, a client paid a developer for their website, however instead of registering the domain in the client's name, the developer registered it in their own name.  It may seem like a subtle difference, but it is a big problem.  Legally, the domain belongs to the developer.  If the client ever wants to move away from that developer, they won't be able to, as they don't technically own their domain name.

We see this issue that networkn describes often, as new clients have no idea who owns their existing domain name.

How can I be sure who owns my domain?

Check with whoever registered your domain name that you are the legal owner, or if you can, register the domain yourself.  With every domain you can check the ownership and other technical details by doing a WHOIS - I tend to use Godaddy for .com's and the Domain Name Commission for .co.nz's.  A sample whois record, from our main domain name 3bit.com, is below:

Registrant:
3Bit Solutions Ltd
Level 1, 6 Railway St
Newmarket
Auckland, Auckland 1023
New Zealand

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, LLC (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: 3BIT.COM
Created on: 14-Aug-08
Expires on: 14-Aug-13
Last Updated on: 30-Jun-12

Administrative Contact:
Dunn, Nathan hostmaster@3bit.com
3Bit Solutions Ltd
Level 1, 6 Railway St
Newmarket
Auckland, Auckland 1023
New Zealand
+95.233248

Technical Contact:
Dunn, Nathan hostmaster@3bit.com
3Bit Solutions Ltd
Level 1, 6 Railway St
Newmarket
Auckland, Auckland 1023
New Zealand
+95.233248

Domain servers in listed order:
NS1.NAMESERVER.NET.NZ
NS2.NAMESERVER.NET.NZ

Registry Status: clientDeleteProhibited
Registry Status: clientRenewProhibited
Registry Status: clientTransferProhibited
Registry Status: clientUpdateProhibited

The registrant is who owns the domain.  The registered through is the registrar, or who you used to acquire the domain.  The administrative and technical contact are self explanatory.

Hopefully this helps keep you from being unnecessarily held to ransom by your web designer or hoster.



Clever tech and social media

, posted: 23-Jul-2012 12:14

I spoke at Gather earlier this month about some of the technology and social media we run at Tuihana Cafe. I've since had a few requests for copies of the slides which I've uploaded to Slideshare.

The cafe blog has a full run-down about my presentation.

screenshot

(hat-tip to @DaveBremer for the heads up about Slideshare)



Game Masters Exhibition

, posted: 19-Jul-2012 22:59

Three weeks ago I said I would blog about this the next day (epic nate fail).  I've been away on holiday so apologies for my tardiness.

I was flown over to Melbourne courtesy of Alienware, for their FIFA Euro 2012 publisher Game Off and to see the opening of the GameMasters exhibition in Federation Square - joining me was Geekzoner Stuart (stuartgr) who won the competition thread.


We turned up around lunch-time to an array of Alienware machines (which were very, very nice), and told we were team Italy.  I'm not a big gamer, and Stuart hadn't played FIFA before, so it's not too hard to guess how well we didn't do - the winners taking  home two brand new Alienware M14x laptops.

The most exciting part of the day for me was going through Game Masters - it's a massive exhibition filled with all the different gaming platforms and consoles from over the years.  It starts off with arcade gems Pacman and Space Invaders, and finishes off with more recent offerings, such as Dance Central Kinect for Xbox 360.  The most amazing thing is you can play each of the games, they aren't just locked away in glass displays.  The wall display near the entrance sums up the sheer awesomeness of it all:

(it was not long after I took this photo that I was told we weren't allowed to take photos, and I had security following me from then on in)

If you are in Melbourne or have plans to get to Melbourne soon, I really couldn't recommend Game Masters more - it's a fascinating walk through game designers, platforms and games, and it is very worth while.  I would allow a full afternoon so you can get to play all your old favourites. It closes end of October so there's plenty of time.



nate's profile

 


I'm Nate Dunn, and I work for 3Bit, own Tuihana Cafe, and am a moderator here at Geekzone.

Use Autotask and Xero? Sync data between them with My Accounting Toolbox.

Use Xero and SagePay? Get your invoices paid faster using HostedPay.

 

Disclaimer
The views and opinions represented on this blog are personal and belong solely to the blogger and do not represent in anyway those of 3Bit Solutions Limited or any other company.


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