Sustainable Product Design Online:

I have been involved in the development of an exciting new tool that has will be officially launched this week at DesignEx in Sydney, Australia.  Greenfly is an online Product Design tool that helps designers determine the environmental impacts of their products.  It produces real-time assessments relating to Global Warming, Energy Use, Water Use and Waste in each of the product life-cycle stages.

From the website:

“Greenfly – The future of eco design. An easy to use, yet powerful online tool for designers to integrate environmental considerations into their products using eco design strategies and life cycle assessment data.

Produce environmentally preferable products. Make informed design decisions to integrate sustainability into your products.

Instantly compare environmental impacts. Communicate environmental and budget considerations to clients. Greenfly is designed for anyone involved in the development of products. From designers, engineers and manufactures to management and marketing.”

Technically, Greenfly relies heavily on AJAX and JSON to enable its very Web 2.0 web-interface.  The site has a video demonstrating the features of the system which you can check out at the Greenfly website:

Hosting Your SVN Repository:

As a developer, it is really important to have a reliable code repository. I use SVN (subversion) for all my projects and have been looking around for a decent way of outsourcing the repository – I want it accessible to all my staff all the time, it should also be secure and redundant.

We have now settled on, an Australian based company (with it’s servers in the US), which has a huge following in the developer community. We’ve been using them for over a year now and have found their service to be fantastic.

The web-front end administration isn’t awesome (it needs a bit of a UI overhaul), however its perfectly useable. You can create multiple repositories (based on the package you purchase), create multiple users and get lots of space. We have the 3GB Team Pack with costs only $15US a month.

Communication with the US based repositories is lightning fast, which is what really counts, as you don’t want to be waiting around for your code to check in, or while you are doing a large diff.

I can thoroughly recommend if you have any size team and need all the advantages of hosted SVN.

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How-To: Open .docx Files in Office 2003 and Older

I now use Microsoft Word 2008 (Microsoft Word 2007 if you are on windows) to edit my Word Documents. It has heaps of handy new features that I like and makes my documents look heaps better than the older versions of Microsoft Word.

However this can cause problems for people who don’t have Microsoft Office 2007/2008. For those people, send them to this link to download the compatibility pack for Office which allows them to open and print documents you send them.

How-To: htaccess – Require a password for some IPs, not others

The following is a really useful .htaccess configuration options to allow certain IP address to access a site without a password, while requiring everyone else to enter a password:

AuthName "My Secret Page Here"
AuthUserFile /sites/apache-passwords
AuthType Basic
Require valid-user
Order deny,allow
Deny from all
Allow from
Satisfy Any

Some really handy examples are available here too.

PC Authority Launch new site

PC Authority, a major Australian Technology magazine has launched a new website today.  It includes reviews, forums and sections from the magazine itself.  It looks quite impressive on first impression and their A-List is an excellent reference for finding quality tech gear.

Opera Mini 4.1 Beta Released

Opera released Opera Mini 4.1 yesterday, which is an update to their very handy free mobile phone browser service.  As previously noted, Opera Mini is much faster than regular browsers on your mobile, as it actually redirects your requests to Opera’s servers which then compress the pages so they display better on your phone.

This latest release adds the following:

  • URL Completion (this is really useful)
  • Faster rendering and page loading
  • Page saving
  • File uploads/downloads
  • Support for JSR-75 – a new Java specification supported by some new phones that allows the browser to access a portion of the phones internal storage.  This allows it to support file uploads and saving of pages.

You can download Opera Mini 4.1 here.

Firefox 3 Beta 5 Released

FirefoxThe team working on Firefox 3 have released Beta 5 today for download.  From their release, “This milestone is focused on testing the core functionality provided by many new features and changes to the platform scheduled for Firefox 3.”

I’ve been using Firefox 3 (Beta 4) for a few weeks now and have been very impressed, swapping from Safari 3.1.  I’m looking forward to the public launch of Firefox 3 which can’t be far away.