Microsoft Internet Explorer Seems More Broken than Ever

IE LogoI know that I rant about the uselessness of Internet Explorer and the virtues of Firefox. That has not changed but it would seem that Internet Explorer is more broken now than it ever has been.

You might be wondering why I have said that. Since my discovery of Firefox I have not used Internet Explorer, for anything. I mean nothing, if a site does not let me view their content in Firefox; I don't bother. Or if I really have to I use the IETab extension for Firefox. So lately I have had cause to test a webpage using Internet Explorer and a few other things, much to my disgust. What I have noticed is that there are so many images, icons, logos, pictures and other elements that just will not load in Internet explorer, they display the box with the red X in the top. The big one being the cool new player we have on the podcast homepage fails to load! When the majority of people surfing the web are doing it in IE that's a big deal!

Is this because the Microsoft boys are concentrating on the up and coming release of Internet Explorer 7 and neglecting this version. Or perhaps it is the fact that the sites that I frequent are sites that "geeks" use and therefore the sites are optimised for Firefox. I just have no clue really. I will say that when I was writing the Global Geek Podcast Homepage, it was much easier to code it for Firefox than Internet Explorer, by a long shot. We are currently doing a rebuild of the site and that continues to be the case. Suffice to say that the site will be optimised for Firefox, yes you will be able to load it in IE but it will not be as pretty.
Having said all that the things that refuse to load in IE are not critical to the site but eh, it is a browser; it is supposed to do it! This is however what we have com to expect from this browser.

So to this just adds to reasons not to use IE, along with the fact that Firefox is a superior browser, both for functionality and form. In addition to the fact that it is highly customisable and is more secure.

Be smart, make the switch.

Firefox Bar

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LibSyn Player Removed!

Well the Global Geek Podcast has been going very well. The website is working great, accept for the LibSyn Player; which has been broken for nearly two weeks.

LibSyn PlayerThe player is just a web page application that allows people to "stream" the audio directly from the web page. It is also detachable so you can surf the net and listen to the show. About twelve days ago, after the upload of show number 004 (I think) it broke. It failed to update with the new show and the situation stayed that way. For me the player does not work at all. For others it might play any show that we have published, at random! Not good.

You might think that this is a minor thing, but you would be surprised to learn that this is the way that most people listen to the show. The majority of people appear to not know about aggregators or "podcatchers". So the fact that it is broken is really affecting our statistics, we have seen jumps in other episodes that should not have occurred and a downturn in the numbers for the most recent show. We are fairly sure that it is related to the player not working. Part of trying to combat this was to put the WordPress Podcast Widget on this blog, you can go to the streaming page and listen to the podcast from this and download the podcast with the right click "save as" command. But it was not a total solution. We have also tried to search for a decent player from somewhere else but we are having trouble finding one that us gumby people can put on the page and looks good.

So after all this and three emails to Liberated Syndication I have removed the player from the site, I just hope that people click the "POD" button to listen to the show or download it manually or preferably subscribe to the show using a podcatcher of some description. I recommend Juice as a free option, open source and it works. For a payed version of an integrated podcatcher and RSS reader I recommend FeedDemon.

Still hoping to get the player fixed and reinstated on the website but until LibSyn get back to me my hands are tied. Normally they are good with support but on this they have sucked.

Global Geek Podcast 004 is Out Now: Go Get Some Geek

Well I am very happy with the end result of the published podcast. If you have not listened to it before now then please give it a go.

I was very, very peeved that I initially lost two and a half hours worth of editing work. I am not sure what I did in Audacity but I think in blaming myself I am blaming the right person and "thing". So tonight I sat down and started again, from the beginning. Now I am very pleased to be finished. I had a lot of editing and splicing of tracks to do in this one, which was a challenge but well rewarded in the end product. I am leaning heaps as I go.

The one thing that I was absolutely stoked about was the fact that the audio levels were spot on, I had to do very little stuffing around using the compressor. I did normalize the final edit and amplify it and that's it. Setting our levels is always tricky with the methods that we are employing to record as I might have said before. But the attention to detail has been worth it.

One thing that has irritated me is the fact that when I uploaded the podcast tonight the LibSyn player in the top right of the page did not update! So please if you listen to it using this method please either download it, or click the symbol next to the post with "POD" on it. Alternatively the widget here has been updated so that you can listen to it from here! I have shot off an email to LibSyn and await a response from them. I do know though that over the last couple of days they have been working on their servers so this might be the reason. Also because of this, if you can not connect to the website please try in an hour, as LibSyn believe that this is the only length of down-time to expect.

Other than that, enjoy the show! 

Sending SMS in Skype 2.5 Beta

Skype SMS IconFor those of you running the new Skype 2.5 Beta have you been having trouble sending SMS? I have found some problems that may be the source of the issues you have been having.

I have been having fun with the SMS ability of the new Skype 2.5 Beta. But I have had some issues like SMS send failures when I know the number is right and the network should accept SMS from Skype. I had some mobile phone numbers already listed in my Skype contacts. I upgraded to Skype 2.5 in the usual fashion. I found that some numbers worked with SMS and some did not. New numbers that I put into Skype worked, that got me thinking as to why that was.

A typical number here in Australia might be "0449557250". I discovered that the "0" prefix should be omitted when using Skype, as it works with international dialing codes and these are usually not required and indeed cause problems when they are used. I found that the numbers that I had already stored in my contacts retained this "0" in front of the number and some did not. The ones that did not have the "0" worked with the SMS. So what I did in my wisdom is input-ed all my mobile numbers omitting the "0". Wrong move! They still did not work. Seems that I was too smart for the new Skype dialing wizard!

The correct thing to do is to select "Add a Contact" then select "Add new SkypeOut Contact" then select the country that the number originates from and enter the number in full (yes including the zero!). Skype will "strip" the zero out in the final number that you will see listed in your contact list. This may or may not be a bug in upgrading from 2.0 to 2.5 Beta and might be fixed in the final version.

As far as the existing numbers are concerned. It seems that Skype had failed to "strip" out the zero and that was causing the SMS failure. This was not an issue in Skype 2.0 as we were not able to send SMS and as far as SkypeOut to mobiles it did not seem to matter. What I have done is to delete these contacts and add them again in the above method and all seems to be working fine now. So try that before you throw your arms in the air screaming shite!

One other thing that I have noticed is that I am getting SMS failures from SMS messages that I know have gone through. I am not sure why that is but I know that the SMS sending feature is in early development and all the bugs have not be ironed out yet. In addition this is all part of the plan to enable Skype users to receive SMS in Skype. Now that would be cool!

Just remember that if you are using the 2.5 beta and you are having some issue that seems to be a bug, log a problem with the Skype team and let them know what it is, that way we all get a better final version!

Happy SMS'ing!

Also check out this article as it has a lot more on SMS and what can go wrong and why and how to fix it and where this is all headed. 

Skype SMS… what's up with the beta?

FeedDemon 2.0.0.22 Beta Tested: Positive Results

Tonight FeedDemon was tested with an unable to connect to server error. I was impressed with the performance, there were a few bugs but nothing major. This may or may not have been a NewsGator Server problem.

I fired up FeedDemon and got the "cannot connect to server message". I got the option to un-synchronize the feeds and to manually page each feed for updates. I selected that and I was presented with a message that informed me that the feeds would be updated directly from the feed URL's and that it would be slower. So I selected OK.

To say that the feeds would update slower is an understatement, it is really slow and I have a 1500/256 connection (that is pretty quick here in Australia), so bear in mind that with functionality comes a slowdown. That said it was not something that bothered me too much. One error that occurred was that when the feeds updated it imported "old" updates. I got posts from January 2006 and they were out or order by date and some were marked read and others not read even though I knew I had marked them as read previously. I did however get the new feeds at the top, which is what you want.

While this was going on Sebastian had asked me to listen to a podcast he had done the day before, so I went to the folder, I did have to manually update the folder with the "update feed" command; but when I did I got the new podcast listed. I clicked the "paper-clip" and FeedStation opened and started to download. It noted that it could not connect to "my podcasts" but it did not seem to bother the download. The podcast downloaded and synchronised to my sync folder on my local machine with no problems.

One thing that is not made as clear as it could be is how to re-synchronise your folders. Basically; you get an icon in the bottom left corner of FeedDemon that has a disconnected symbol on it – or something like that. You can click this icon and get options, one is to test the connection and another one to say you are not synchronised with a tick – selected next to it. I just presumed that to resynchronise you "deselect the box". I was right, but it is not indicated that you have; or are trying to synchronise again. The indication that you are trying to connect and have been successful is the fact that the synchronising with NewsGator splash comes up. I think this needs to be improved.

A new feature is the "test" connection option, again an option within the click icon at the bottom left. So every once and a while I tested the connection and I eventually got a "good" result back and I went through the resynchronise process described above. No problems. FeedDemon synchronised and updated the feeds and did not have a problem with the fact that I had read some new posts and download an enclosure. FeedDemon even marked those as read – so it performed better then expected there.

As far as the reason for the outage, I am not sure if the NewsGator server was down or that I could not connect to it because of the connection between my machine and the server. If it was the server, it was not down for long, which makes me think it was a connection problem. Well done Nick, this is what I expect from you guys, thanks.