We work on the Internet and are constantly consuming information. There's a lot of it out there. We'd forget it if we didn't write it down someplace…

Visual Lizard's blog covers everything from web standards to the muppets, from php to comic books to music, just about anything we find interesting

Google Talk Update

Not too big a change, but nice none the less. Google Talk has been updated, and now has a couple new features. The biggest are the support for user images (avatars, as some in the know might call them), and themes. I haven’t got into it yet, but I’m interested in finding out if the themes are customizable beyond the set they give you... like simple CSS-ing? That would be neat!

Another addition is that you can now get Google Talk for your Blackberry... useful when your carrying your PDA/cellphone and you want to contact someone... wait a minute...

Google Search Operators

Google is a good search engine. Good search engines allow you to refine how you want to search for things. Here is a link directly to their Google Operators. Refine you search. Get better results. Use operators.

Apple Releases Boot Camp Beta

Apple has released a public beta of Boot Camp for OSX 10.4, with the full intention of including it with 10.5 Leopard by default. What does this mean? It means that your shiny new Intel chip Macs can boot into either OSX or Windows XP!

I always wanted a Mac laptop, but I held off because I heard the Intel chip versions were around the corner. Not really that big a deal, other than the expected jump in speed, but what really got my wheels turning was the possibility of having both OSX and Windows on a single laptop. I can have the sleek wonderfulness that is Apple’s operating system, and the workhorse and support of Microsoft’s operating system on the same machine. Joy!

I skipped the first Macbook releases. Hard core Mac-ers I know warned me to never get the first release of any new hardware, as Apple usually needs a couple months to work out some kinks. Since I was waiting anyway, I decided to hold out for OSX 10.5. Might as well get the latest version with the machine, save myself the $150 or whatever upgrade.

A neat little app for my Windows friends

Netjaxer is a neat little app that lets you load any web page and run it as a tray icon. Normally, this sounds like a bad idea, but for things like Gmail, Analytics, Mint, Backpack, Campfire and other applications you reference multiple times in a day, this could be a really nice time saver for you.

New Planner Section Launches

We are proud to announce the launch of the new Meeting & Convention and Sports & Special Event Planners section for Destination Winnipeg. The Planner system was built with Meeting and Event Planners in mind. These rebuilt sections of the site will give Planners more information on what they need in order to plan a Meeting, Convention or Event in our fair city.

We have been working with Lori and the crew over at Destination Winnpeg for the last five months in order to build a system that allows DW to show their well rounded information base to potential Event Planners. A system that showcases Winnipeg as the place for Conventions and Events.

This web application system is now working efficiently as per the requested specification. However we are always looking to improve our web apps, so please feel free to comment here on what you have seen. Also if you like what how the system functions, please send us a note. We hope you like it.

King Kong on DVD

After the success of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, director Peter Jackson could pretty much write his own ticket. Any movie studio in Hollywood would let him make any movie he wanted. They were willing to throw money at him. So what did he want to do?

He wanted to remake King Kong!

I can almost imagine the conversation...

Movie Bigwig: So, Petey baby! That fantasy flick did good. Did really good. You did real good.
Jackson: Thanks.
Movie Bigwig: But that’s the past. We need to think of the future. That’s where money is, Petey baby, the future!
Jackson: Of course, sir.
Movie Bigwig: So, what’s next? What do you want to do next? Anything you want, Petey-baby, anything you want! You did good!
Jackson: Well, I want to remake...
Movie Bigwig: Remake? Good thinking, Petey baby! Remakes make money. The suckers are eating up this nostaglic fad. Good thinking!
Jackson: ...remake King Kong.
Movie Bigwig: ...
Jackson: See, it’s a classic story, full of adventure, romance...
Movie Bigwig: Uh, Petey baby, are you sure? I mean, King Kong?
Jackson: Yeah! I’ll get Weta working on it again, it’ll look fantastic. We’ll have a sweeping story, great views of 1933 New York...
Movie Bigwig: Maybe you want to do a sequel instead? A Lord Of The Rings 4 - The Return Of Sauron? Or that Habit...
Jackson: Hobbit, sir
Movie Bigwig: Yeah, that Hobbit story.
Jackson: No, I’d like to do King Kong.
Movie Bigwig: ...errm...hruph...well... okay, but only cause you did good. You best know what you’re doing, Jackson!

So, about the DVD: one thing people should be aware of is that the film is over three hours long. Three hours, which is about one hour longer than your pals are willing to stick around watching a movie at your place, cause they have to work the next day. I’ve seen the first two-thirds of this movie more often than the rest of the DVD. Also, there’s a big buildup, setting the time period and locale, setting up New York, taking time to introduce characters and love interests... for those of us who want to see giant monkeys fight T-Rexs, we have to wait over an hour before Kong is revealed.

Is this bad? No, the movie is beautifully shot. The casting is great. I even like Jack Black in this flick, and I’ve always detested Jack Black’s low brow comedy movies. All I’m saying is that you need to schedule a significant portion of your free time to watch this flick in one sitting.

If, like myself, you got the two disc DVD set, you’ve probably gone through the special features, and don’t need me to go over them. :) But for those of you who haven’t, the second disc has three bits. One is a long series of production documentary sorts, many of which appeared on the promo website. These things are great, as you get the behind the scenes look and see how much work goes into these films.

The other two are so-so at best. A bit on New York in the early 1930s is educational, but short, and is only about the history and research. The bit on Skull island is better, but again, rather short. It’s set up as a history film reel, the kind you see in elementary school. It talks about some of the thinking and back history in setting up Skull island, stuff that justifies dinosaurs and savages and crumbling ruins. All cool stuff. Unfortunately, it ends way too early, and, annoyingly enough, plugs an art book at the end.

If I had to choose again, I wouldn’t have bothered with the two disc version, I’d have gotten the cheaper, one disc, widescreen version (does anyone still buy fullscreen?).

Album cover artwork is still cool

Speaking as a kid who has always bought his music with the album cover art playing at least a 25% role in the decision making process, the new iPod ad blew me away.

Tell me I am not the only one that downloaded the clip so I could play it frame by frame and look at the all the album art?

May the Force be With your ... Wiki?

Ever since I was 5 years old, the first time I saw Darth Vader come through the smoke on the Rebel cruiser after boarding it, I've been a Star Wars fan. Not a dress up like Boba Fett / C3P0 / Darth Vader and hang out at conventions / movie premiers / around Skywalker Ranch kind of fan. But a fan of the story. A fan in the small under funded, under resourced group in the fight against the unlimited resource, unlimited reach, ultimate rule empire. A fan of the thought that somewhere else, things are just as bad as here. But maybe, just maybe, with a little dedication, sacrifice and effort, things can change.

Well if you have been around the Internet for any length of time, you are aware of Wiki's. The most famous wiki is wikipedia which is a massive online encyclopedia, updated and corrected by users and available to anyone with internet access in almost a every language on the globe now.

Of course, if you search Wikipedia for Star Wars, you get a great page of information. It covers everything from George Lucas all the way down to TV episodes that I have never heard of. As you scroll through screens of Star Wars information, you begin to realize that there is a ton of stuff to know. On Wikipedia's entry however, the real gem is at the very bottom. Way, way down there. There is actually a Star Wars wiki that contains 28,000+ articles on the Star Wars universe. So for all you Star Wars fans, enjoy Wookieepedia.

And for my wife, "Honey, see. I'm relatively normal!

Texas does everything better ... Even Traffic Accidents.

If you are having one of those days, or you just need a laugh, this is well worth checking out. It is a phone message from a witness of a traffic accident involving a man and 4 old ladies. The recipient of the phone message forwarded it on to the local radio station and due to the popularity of it, they have placed it on their web site. Have a listen.

Hybrid Vehicles Becoming More Diverse

It started with the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight. Though these are still the most prevelant hybrid vehicles on the market today, the more progressive car companies are starting to get rolling with their hybrid lines. Canadian Driver Magazine is conducting a long term test on the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Toyota Prius Hybrid looking at how hybrid vehicles perform in the Canadian driving environment.

Hybrid Long-term Test: 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid and 2006 Toyota Prius, runs down the differences and similarities of the two cars paying attention to the price as well as general explanations of how the two hybrid engines function to make these vehicles fuel efficient. Honda it seems has taken a hint from Toyota over the last year or two and changing the hybrid engine in its new Civic so that it can run on battery alone. Honda’s previous incarnation of the engine only had the electic engine running as added power to the fuel efficient gasoline engine which did nothing for fuel efficiency at lower city speeds.

It won’t be long now until we see a more diverse hybrid market which will start to push pricing down. The more people who can afford this technology, the better it will be for our environment. An oil dependent society like ours needs to find a way to thrust aside that petroleum crutch, and do that fast. Hybrid technology is only the start though. Once we have that sorted out, we are going to have to keep making those forward steps and hopefully see the day when the only oil we see is cooking oil.

Google ... not just for searches anymore

Google keeps churning out neat little tools, areas, stats and applications ... oh ... and their search engine is nothing to sneeze at either. If you are a code jockey, like yours truely, or just interested in the state of web code (not sure who you might be if you are not a programmer...), then you may find this area at Google worth the read. It has all sorts of nice details about how the code that powers the web is going.