The Geil iBall

I recently bought the 512MB iBall from Geil, a company perhaps better known for their high-performance computer memory. Labelled as a “GMV Player” (or “MPV Player” on some versions), it can play video files on its tiny OLED screen as well as acting as a simple MP3 player. I haven’t experimented with the video feature beyond watching the included sample clips, and I have to say that I wasn’t impressed with the quality.

Geil iBall

It looks fairly stylish and works perfectly as a standard MP3 player bar one somewhat major flaw – it won’t resume from where you left off if you switch the unit off and on again, so you end up having to skip the tracks you’ve already heard. This would probably have caused me to return the player if it wasn’t so cheap (£2.99 from the Overclockers B-Grade section, no more left unfortunately!).

The player also packs an FM radio no better nor worse than those I’ve seen bundled into other MP3 players and mobile phones, an e-book/text file viewer which allows you to view an impractical 24 characters at a time, a voice recorder which  haven’t experimented with, and a picture viewer which I imagine is of similar quality to the video player.

All in all, it’s a fun little toy but not what I’d consider a serious digital audio player. Much more details over at Dan’s Data, an independent PC hardware and gadgets blog which I recommend highly, by the way.

How to remove Vista OEM branding

If you don’t feel the need to be reminded of your computer manufacturer every time you use the System or Performance Information & Tools applets, copy the following (italicised) lines into a blank Notepad document and save to your desktop as RemoveBranding.reg. Then double-click the file and accept the prompts to permanently* remove your manufacturer’s name and logo.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\OEMInformation]
“HelpCustomized”=dword:00000000
“Logo”=”"
“SupportHours”=”"
“Manufacturer”=”"
“SupportPhone”=”"
“SupportURL”=”"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winsat\WindowsExperienceIndexOemInfo]
“Logo”=”"

If you’d also like to hide the logo from the Welcome Center, rename the oobe.xml file (which you will find in C:\Windows\System32\OOBE\Info) to something else, e.g. oldoobe.xml.

* In case you ever want to restore the System/Performance Info branding, you should first back up the relevant registry keys. To reinstate the Welcome Center branding, simply rename oldoobe.xml back to oobe.xml.

An unexpected WHAT?

I’ve just been doing some PHP programming and the following error came up:

Parse error: parse error, unexpected ‘)’, expecting T_PAAMAYIM_NEKUDOTAYIM in /home/foo/bar/baz.php on line 81

Turns out that Paamayim Nekudotayim means ‘double colon’ in Hebrew and is the official name of the scope resolution operator. I guess it’s the PHP developers’ idea of a joke…

Anyway, the cause of the error in my case was a dollar sign missing from the front of a variable.