Frustrated with Variable Input

I’ve spent the last week developing a new interface for our Web site at work to allow us to insert, modify and remove various course descriptions. The bulk of the time has been spent simply inserting over 500 different course descriptions to get the database populated initially.

However, along the way, I kept running into different items that threw me for a loop, causing me to have to go back and rethink the way I had written the script.

Is the whole world moving to Gmail?

I’m noticing more and more that everyone seems to be abandoning the traditional e-mail server in favor of Google’s Gmail. My Internet Service Provider switched over a while ago. Recently, I also joined a consulting group, working on managing and maintaining their Web site (and doing side Web work for them), and found that their e-mail is completely managed through Gmail. That Web site is hosted by GoDaddy. After a bit of research, it seems that Google and GoDaddy have (and have had for a few years) some sort of agreement that allows users to sign up for Google Apps and GoDaddy hosting all rolled into one.

In addition, I have heard that many colleges are now switching their student e-mail servers over to use Gmail rather than the services they have used in the past. In fact, the entire state system under which I work has moved over to Gmail for the student e-mail system. While our support staff e-mail is still hosted locally on an Exchange server, all student e-mail now runs through Gmail.

Is the whole world switching over to Gmail? Is anyone still using their own mail servers to handle sending and receiving correspondence? Does it even make sense to use your own server anymore? Will the world come to a grinding halt if Google’s e-mail servers ever shut down for any reason?

Six Degrees of Separation – CenterNetworks Featured on Yahoo! (sort of)

This evening, while visiting My Yahoo!, I came across a Yahoo! news article discussing the upcoming voter registration deadlines. I clicked on the article to read it and found a link inside leading to a VentureBeat article about the voter registration application being offered on Facebook.

When I finished reading that article, I noticed an interesting item at the bottom: a link to CenterNetworks. While CN was not really featured on Yahoo!, they are only three clicks away. :)

I’ve posted some screen shots of my progression after the jump.

Sega Rumors Fly

Some very big rumors about Sega have been circulating on the Internet over the past few days. Most of those rumors have centered around the idea that Sega will be developing and releasing a handheld gaming device next year, attempting to rival the Sony PSP. Gizmodo even took the bait and ran with it. There was, apparently, even a shoddily produced video supposedly showing the new “Vision” in action. The video has since been removed from YouTube.

However, from what I’ve been able to ascertain, most of those rumors are false and have been blown way out of proportion. CrunchGear ran a couple of articles trying to get to the bottom of the situation. In the end, Unofficial RPG posted seemingly official quotes from Sega officials confirming the existence of the Vision handheld, but stating that it was simply going to be a portable media player rather than a new handheld game console.

As of yet, there is still no official word on Sega’s Web site, so it is very difficult to ascertain how much fact and how much fiction are involved in this story. I, for one, will be one waiting with baited breath to see if Sega really does dip its toes back into the hardware game.

An Idea for Media Players

I was thinking the other day about a really cool feature I would like to see in media player software. It’s possible that the feature already exists in some media player software, and I’m just not aware.

I think it would be very neat to have the ability to play something on my computer while I’m plugged in; then continue playing the same thing on my digital media player when I unplug it from my computer.

Wal-Mart Dropping Support for its DRM Music

I have no idea how many people use the Wal-Mart music download service, or, for that matter, how many used it when Wal-Mart was still selling DRM-protected WMA files.

However, if you are one of those people, you are in for some bad news. Those files will do nothing but take up space on your hard drive this time next week.

That’s right; Wal-Mart has finally decided to shut down its DRM server, which is where those files acquire their licenses. If a license cannot be located for those files, they won’t play. Further, if you have them on your digital media player (iPod, Zune, etc.), they’ll most likely be automatically removed next time you sync.

What can you do to save these files? About the only thing you can do is to burn those files to a CD, then rip them back off of that disc in mp3 format. Be careful; if you rip those files back off of the disc into WMA format, chances are that the files will still have the DRM protection.

There are probably various semi-legal applications out there that allow you to digitally convert the files without the need for blank CDs, but those apps are usually only semi-reliable and often difficult to configure and use properly.

Good luck with it.