A new server

There will be some disruptions to the site as I move it over to a new server, this should improve the load times and general reliability of the site. I am hoping to get all of this done this week in order to get some new projects rolling and to complete the content of this site.

UPDATE

The switch is done and to top matters off I have also found the time to upload a ton of stuff to the music section, expect more over the coming days…

XBMC and why I love it so (Part 1?)

Many moons ago I found myself wanting to build a pc that I could hook up to my TV and watch all of my digital media through, I figured that I didn’t need anything powerful and that it would be nice if I could incorporate a remote control.

I asked my friend who at he time was working for IBM if he had any suggestions and he informed me that I should buy an xbox. I pointed out that I wasn’t looking for a games console and suddenly a whole new world was opened up to me, the world of console hacking.

After some jiggery pokery with a soldering iron, a copy of James Bond Agent Under Fire and a memory card on loan from my friend I suddenly had the tools in front of me that I’d been wanting. Namely a Celeron 800mhz cpu, 64mb of RAM and a tiny hard drive that I could easily replace with one of pretty much any size. It booted seemingly instantly in comparison to any computer I’ve ever owned and it was to become my playground for many a year.

The first thing I found myself delving into was the then named ‘xbox media player’ (or xbmp for short), it seemed pretty good but not quite what I’d been hoping for but not to worry. By the time I’d gotten the funds together and learned enough about the system I read about an off-shoot (more of a total rebuild actually) called XBMC or Xbox Media Center.

This thing was great, I could play all of my media on it, the interface looked nicer than the old one and it ran pretty smoothly no matter what I threw at it (HDTV was some sort of Sci-Fi back then).

Fast Forward to 2012 and things have changed considerably. XBMC has outgrown it’s original hardware considerably (though builds still exist), it is now supported on just about any platform or OS, plays BluRay/mkv/h264/etc, and far more besides. You can use an Android device to operate it from anywhere in the world (for freaking house sitters out for example) or just from your living room so there’s no need to purchase a separate remote.

As an example I have 2 setups running in my house, one in my bedroom which is the main hub if you will, this contains all of my media (music, tv shows, films, pictures) and most importantly a 24/7 mysql database of all of the above. This means that the computer I have in my living room (which is hooked up to my HDTV) can read from the same database and play the same media. Furthermore, this allows me to begin watching a film on the settee in my living room and when I get a little tired I can hit stop, head to my bedroom where I can hit play on the same film and resume from where I left off.

My next venture will be to incorporate TV show torrent rss feeds into the mix so that any new shows of interest that have been aired are automatically download to my media library, scraped by xbmc and available when I decide to watch them. Kinda like a torrent based PVR.

I realise that none of this is really news in the grand scheme of things, I do like to keep people in the loop as to when software literally changes my life, XBMC has done this in a fair few ways. Thanks guys, you’re the tits.

Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal Released

Ubuntu 11.04 Natty NarwhalThe latest iteration of the Ubuntu desktop has been released, here at Golden Gecko we run nothing else.  Why? you may ask, well, here are just a few of the reasons that tipped us in the direction of the seemingly odd-titled OS.

It’s Free! Yes, free. With it being an open source operating system with a global community that is made up of thousands of people who want to help build the best open-source operating system in the world. They share their time and skills to make sure that Ubuntu keeps getting better and better. From IBM to Google, Firefox to Wikipedia – some of today’s best software is based on an open-source model. Shared efforts. Shared principles. No cost.

No Viruses. That is also correct, it doesn’t become infected with viruses and therefore doesn’t require an antivirus to keep it running in tip-top condition.  Because it has been built in a solid manner from the ground up you have no need to worry about the internet nasties breaking their way into your computer.

It looks stunning, in comparison to the contenders (OSX and Windows 7) this thing really shines, a full 3d animated desktop at your disposal.

It works on pretty much any old computer and you don’t even have to install it in order to give it a try. Get yourselves over to ubuntu.com today, download a copy and have a play, you might never look back. We certainly haven’t!

New Samaron website goes live!

Samaron site goes liveAnother day, another website. The old Samaron site was beginning to look dated and so it was decided to bring it up to scratch with a major overhaul, these guys can literally print anything on anything…

From bedroom mirrors in full colour to football pitch sized prints tiled on metal sheets to custom designed carpets, the only limit is your own imagination. Whether you are considering something a little different for your front room or redesigning the inside of a nightclub, Samaron should be your first port of call for all of your wild and wacky (but tasteful) ideas!

Firefox 4 Released!

Mozilla have today released version 4 of their browser which has gained some critical acclaim, click the image to be redirected to their site where you may download the software and enjoy the latest features that the web has to offer.

New Hallam and Sutherns site goes live…

Yesterday the Hallam and Sutherns website went live, from here you can view their current list of cars for sale, get directions via google maps alongside all of the information you could require prior to visiting their showroom.

Take a look around, you never know, you might just find your next vehicle.

Model Design Construction

“We have employed the services of Golden Gecko for quite a few years now, not only do we entrust them with our website work, they also produce our packaging labels, box fronts and printed catalogues alongside providing us with first class IT support whenever we need it.

We have no idea where we’d be without them, any ideas that we have are quite simply brought to life with the minimum of input from us which leaves us to get on with our jobs.

It’s a pleasure to work alongside them and we look forward to many more years of doing so”

Chris, Bob & Jan

Hallam & Sutherns

This was quite a fun job to do, the company deals primarily in SAAB cars and wanted an online showroom which would be easily updated by their staff of car salesmen.

I always find that this is a particular piece of the puzzle to pay attention to  when choosing the platform for a new website. The people who were to eventually be operating it weren’t IT people like myself, they were good at selling cars and therefore didn’t need anything complicated in the CMS.

The final design was a huge success with the staff and I am rather proud to have provided them with an easy solution to their needs at an affordable rate.

Samaron

“I have worked with Luke from Golden Gecko for a number of years, encompassing various projects, but mainly my website which he created and provides support and enhancements.

What sets Luke apart from the competition is his vast knowledge and his attention to detail in getting you exactly what you want from your project, and more…”

Paul @ Samaron