Monthly Archive for September, 2006

So I bought a MacBook…

Yeah, I know they’ll probably be updated very soon, but I really need one now – before I go back to uni. I’m resigned to the fact that Merom-powered updates will be out sooner or later – probably sooner – but so long as not too many of the features are upgraded (better graphics would make me mad) I’ll be content. I don’t see this as a long-term machine; I desperately need more power in my mobile computing, but I forsee my main Mac in the future being a desktop. So much more bang for your buck.

I feel very extravagant right now, but I should point out that I’m going for the low-end machine; also, hello educational discount! Besides, my current Mac is a PB 12″ 867, with a paltry 256MB RAM. Hardly a stellar machine for development work. Here’s to a larger screen and enough memory and processor power to ensure I won’t spend half my time waiting for that damn Beachball of Doom to go away! (Seriously, half my time. I’m actually not exaggerating.)

So, how am I affording this? Waving goodbye to childhood savings, and a loan from my Dad. I’m not worried; I know this money is well spent.

Rant Time

Woo! Rant Time!

Un lapin heureux.

Un lapin heureux

You may have noticed that there aren’t any adverts on That’s because I’m not too keen on them. People don’t come to this site looking for adverts, they come looking for content. My bandwidth bills, while non-trivial, aren’t that big; I can pay them myself. I’m not a site like Engadget, which must pay an absolute fortune… I can understand why they have so many adverts (even though I still loathe them with a passion). So, no ads – just content. I have a donation option – but that’s voluntary. I’m not profiting unfairly from my readers.

Lately I’ve had several emails from software update websites, telling me that BBC Radio Widget is listed on them. This annoys me. Why? Well, visit one of their pages, and what do you see? ADVERTS. Everywhere. They’re listing my software, without permission, and putting adverts on the page – profiting from work I offer for free. That’s low.

Now, I’m not totally against sites like this – I voluntarily list on Versiontracker and MacUpdate. But there’s a difference here: I choose to. I submitted the information. I can opt out if I want to, and not have my products displayed. That’s fine with me, and, frankly, the only honest way to run a business like that.

Most of these places, however, have no obvious way to get my listing removed. No button saying, “Actually, I’d rather you scumbags don’t profit from my hard work, thanks very much.” I think that’s disgusting, and I’m rather peeved right now.

Now, I realise that some sites accept submissions from users, as well as developers. Now that’s fine, and I appreciate the fact that a user has taken the time to do it – but that doesn’t change things: the site should still ask the developer’s permission before listing on any page which contains adverts.

Chances are, I’d probably allow the listing, if I were asked. I’m generally a fairly agreeable guy, when people are polite and honest with me. I don’t tolerate sneaky, underhand tactics though. I’m strongly considering blocking referrals from for-profit sites which have not asked my permission.

Je ne suis pas un lapin heureux.

New Music!

Five O'Clock Heroes - Bend to the BreaksIt’s been a week of new things – new site, new widget, new message style… So it only seems right that I should blog about my new music.

I was wandering through town the other day with my mother – I forget why exactly, I’d not slept and it seemed like a good idea (you know, being sociable and all) till I nearly fell asleep as I was walking along – but to cut a long story short, I walked by Reveal Records, our local indie-type store, and couldn’t resist going in. After browsing for ten minutes or so, I was on my way out when I spotted the long-awaited album from the Five O’clock Heroes » on the shelf. Huzzah! I have no idea when it came out – they’re not a big band (yet), so there wouldn’t have been a huge fuss; I’m still surprised I missed it. But anyway.

I first blogged about these guys almost a year ago having seen them play a gig in York. I was totally obsessed with them for some time, and, truth be told, I’m still a pretty big fan. Their guitar playing is upbeat, infectious, and damn difficult to get out of your head. Their videos are pretty cool, too. I particularly recommend Run to Her, Head Games and Time On My Hands… All available in the newly-rechristened iTunes Store ». And no, that’s not a paid affiliate link, because them’s be dirty tactics. Get your ass over there to check them out!

New Stuff!

'Cinematic' screenshotSo, I’m making a new Adium message style (see right). It’s called Cinematic, because it’s a Front Row knock-off! If anyone’s interested in being a beta tester (I say beta, it’s actually in pretty good shape I think) and giving me some feedback, drop me a line using one of the links in the sidebar. I’ve still not decided whether to release this generally or not – I kinda like the fact that I’ve got an ‘exclusive’ style – so this may be your only chance 😉

Let me know what y’all think.

Site Redesign

So, it’s been an eventful week here at Phantom Gorilla. Not only do we have a new version of BBC Radio Widget out, but the whole site has had a makeover.

Go on, have a look around. The site’s a semi-fluid design – but I’ve bounded the pages to ensure the lines don’t get unreadably long. If you get a chance, see what happens when you change the font size… The whole site is measured in ems, which means every element dynamically resizes with the text. The next stage is implementing something as cool as this dude

As ever, your comments are most welcome.

BBC Radio Widget v2.2

BBC Radio 2.2 is here!Well, it’s finally here! BBC Radio Widget 2.2 hits the internet with the full force of… well, with full force, anyway.

I know I’ve been promising this for nearly a fortnight now but – what can I say – I’ve been busy! Speaking of which, you may have noticed a few changes around here

This version includes a final fix for that irritating freezing problem many people were experiencing, along with speed improvements, and other fixes. Get yours while it’s hot at the all-new widgets page.

New logo?

Well, I found the most fun page ever… The Web2.0v2Logo Creatr! What do you think? 😉

Freezing problem update

It’s fixed! Apparently some Macs are fussier than others about Javascript errors… v2.2 – which will contain a few other fixes and enhancements – will be released soon. Sorry it’s so soon after the last update!

In other news, thanks to all those who have donated their hard-earned cash to Andy’s Beverage-Based Entertainment Fund. I’m still trying to get used to the idea of receiving money for this, but rest assured I really appreciate your donations. It certainly encourages further work! :)