Son of Five Rivers Blog

For the advancement of Entrepreneurship, Sustainability & the Ecology of Everyday Life

iPhone App that Drivers your Car!

I remember seeing this in a James Bond Film years ago…  Where Pierce Brosnan was driving his BMW with his PDA.

This is probably is one of the coolest iPhone apps out there, the German-made ‘Spirit of Berlin’ driverless car app is well suited for secret agents.

Computer scientists recently developed the Spirit of Berlin smartphone app which gives user the ability to control a vehicle using an on-screen steering wheel, brake and accelerator. The projects director Professor Raúl Rojas envisions a future where taxis are piloted by unseen drivers.

References:, dailymail

Now have a look at the You Tube clip.


November 24, 2009 Posted by | Creativity, Information Technology (I.T.) | , | Leave a comment

RFID The Future of Technology

Looks amazing doesn’t it?  The problem is RFID may begin to take away whatever anonymity we have and is in complete violation of our privacy rights.

For business its great, you can track just about everything and its going to transform the supply chain of every multi-national corporation.  They will have an abundance of fantastic information to analyze.

My problem is what happens when we start tracking people. President Bush stated the use of  RFID would help in tracking people who enter America on temporary work visas and don’t leave.   Now image how this could be abused when this same technology will go into our new drivers licenses and passports.

Entrepreneurs may take this to the extreme and develop “radio-opaque” sleeves to protect whatever anonymity they think we should be entitled to have.   Even this won’t do much for us, because imagine if phones (iphone for example), our credit cards, debit cards, SIN Cards, Health Cards, Gift Cards and even our money was tagged!

Perhaps it could be great to help against the trafficking of drugs  if every single dollar note were traceable.  And perhaps if it is taken to a public referendum where the propaganda will be its a fight on terror and drugs.   Majority of the people will let this go because of the simple mentality “I don’t have anything to hide.”  Too bad the main lobbyist behind RFID technology are big corporations.  In 1999 Proctor and Gamble, Gillette & MIT partnered together with the objective to try to track every item ever produced and shipped in the world.  It will be interesting to see what happens in the next 10 years with this technology.  Imagine how much smaller these chips will get! I’ve read forums where they are discussing RFID is the size of a grain of sand.

Enjoy the videos below! You may have seen the IBM commercials a few years ago.  Also there is a good book called “Spy Chips” by Katherine Albercht, great read!

Son of Five Rivers

November 21, 2009 Posted by | Business, Information Technology (I.T.) | , , , , | Leave a comment

Get your Google Wave Invite

been testing Google Wave for a little while now, and thought I would give some invites to people who wanted them. (Just leave me your email).

If you don’t know about Google Wave, its amazing! Watch this video to get a quick 411.

November 19, 2009 Posted by | Email, Information Technology (I.T.) | | 1 Comment

Free Website Development

November 6, 2009 Posted by | Business, Website | | Leave a comment

Free Online Photo Editor

Okay Photoshop costs an arm and a leg and microsoft paint just sucks!

Here’s the that is fantastic.  Its free and its online.

aviary-tools.jpg (819×399)


November 5, 2009 Posted by | Art, Business, Creativity, Open Source, Photography | | Leave a comment

Problem: Excel & Word Open Slowly

I had the same problems with Excel either opening XLS and XLSX files
slowly or not at all. I just fixed the file associations for both of
them. Here is what I did.

1) Open an Explorer window and click Folder Option, then File Types.
Scoll down to either XLS or XLSX file type (you need to do the same
for both of them)

2) Once you has XLS (or XLSX) selected, then click Advanced.

3) Click on the OPEN action and then click Edit.

4) Under the Application to use box it probably says “….Microsoft
Office\Office12\EXCEL.EXE” /e” or something similar. Replace the /e
with “%1” (including the quotes). so it should now look like this:

“…Microsoft Office\Office12\EXCEL.EXE” “%1”

5) You can uncheck the “Use DDE” also.

Once that is done close out of all those screen and try to open the
XLS (or XLSX depending on what which one you changed) and it would
open right up in Excel. This fixed the problems I was having.

Have questions, leave a comment:

October 30, 2009 Posted by | Information Technology (I.T.) | | Leave a comment

Excellent Open Source Telephony Application

From the AsteriskNOW Web site:

Asterisk is the world’s leading open source telephony engine and tool kit. Offering flexibility unheard of in the world of proprietary communications, Asterisk empowers developers and integrators to create advanced communication solutions…for free.

What this means is that small (and large) businesses can reduce their telephone PBX (Private Branch eXchange) costs significantly by implementing the AsteriskNOW software appliance instead of investing in a proprietary PBX. In practical terms, a small business can set up a software PBX using an old PC as the server and by making use of IP telephone handsets (i.e. the handsets connect to your data network), can have a working telephone system for a small investment.

The PBX can be connected to the regular telephone network (often referred to as “POTS”, for Plain Old Telephone System) by the installation of a card in one of the PC’s expansion slots. These cards support multiple phone lines, so that, if you have a large amount of telephone traffic, it can be managed smoothly. Another option is to use your existing Internet connection and contract with a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service provider, thus bypassing the telephone company entirely.

All this is well and good – but what about managing people and extensions, external phone lines and voicemail (yes, it comes with voicemail, too)? I have been running an Asterisk server for a couple of years now – in fact, my office number is a VoIP line (or “trunk” in telephony jargon) that connects to the Asterisk box and then over my office network to my telephone handset. To be blunt, the original set up process was quite a challenge – it is a complex and very flexible environment, so can be difficult to configure. Enter AsteriskNOW – this is known as a software appliance, a specialized configuration that is burned to CD and then loaded on to the PC or server that will host the appliance. AsteriskNOW has a Web-based configuration interface:

FreePBX screenshot
Screenshot of the AsteriskNOW graphical interface, FreePBX.

In this partial screen image, you can see on the left side the various menu options that are configured to the requirements of your office – Extensions, Trunks and Outbound Routes, IVR, Voicemail (part of the Extensions configuration) and so on. IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is the feature which allows an Automated Attendant to be set up (as in “Press 1 for Sales, Press 2 for Support”). Other features of note include the ability to have an interactive voicemail message – if someone needs to get hold of you urgently, you can set up the voicemail so that when your “Away from my desk” message is played, pressing “1” can forward the call to your cell phone (or home office, or wherever you might be). This feature can be set up, too, in such a way that it’s hidden from general callers and only those you inform can use it.

AsteriskNOW also supports Queues (e.g. to a support line), Ring Groups (sometimes called hunt groups), the recording of Announcements and the ability to handle out-of-hours calls differently than calls received during business hours.

In other words, AsteriskNOW does pretty much everything a costly proprietary phone system will do – at a fraction of the cost


October 30, 2009 Posted by | Business Development, Information Technology (I.T.), Open Source | , , | Leave a comment

Free Alternative to Microsoft Office

called Open Office, it works great.  The only problem is it doesn’t have the Outlook feature everyone is used too.  You’ll have to use something like Thunderbird.  That’s where it loses the main stream users.

On the technical side of things, the file format used by OpenOffice is called ODF – Open Document Format. This format is an international standard (ISO 26300) for document interoperability, which means that documents stored in this format wil be accessible in the future as the file format will not change from version to version as has happened with proprietary file formats in the past, thus making them challenging to read if the format is no longer supported by a more recent version of the software used to create the file.

Bottom line – if you’re tired of paying hundreds of dollars for your office productivity software, give a try.


October 30, 2009 Posted by | Business, Open Source | Leave a comment

How to Get your site picked up by Search Engines

You finally have a domain now, and your site is up and running… follow this links to directly submit your URL to the top search engines.

October 30, 2009 Posted by | Business, Information Technology (I.T.), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Website | , , | Leave a comment


HTTP, or hypertext transfer protocol, is the way a Web server communicates with browsers like Internet Explorer ® and Mozilla Firefox®. HTTP lets visitors view a site and send information back to the Web server.

HTTPS, hypertext transfer protocol secure, is HTTP through a secured connection. Communications through an HTTPS server are encrypted by a secure certificate known as an SSL. The encryption prevents third-parties from eavesdropping on communications to and from the server.

October 27, 2009 Posted by | Information Technology (I.T.) | | Leave a comment