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2008/12/29

Mac vs. PC (In The Style of TRANSFORMERS)

The marketing team at both companies need to sit up and watch this one.

2008/12/13

NEVER SLEEP AGAIN!

Thanks to LucasArts and Bioware, I will likely never sleep again.

Thanks to Tim Absath of Ctrl+Alt+Del for posting this one.

2008/12/05

Why is My Flickr Pro Account Expiring?!!

First the whole digital television thing and now this. My Flickr Pro account is going away. Yahoo! owns Flickr. Since we've been using Yahoo! DSL for the longest time, I've had a Flickr Pro account available to me that I've abused thoroughly put to good use. It would seem by the yellow alert box that I saw in my account today that this will be downgraded to a standard account soon.

AT&T and Verizon Internet Services have reworked their broadband packages and will no longer be offering Flickr pro to subscribers after January 31, 2009.

You can read more about this in the Flickr FAQs.

Update (2009/03/05): I'm not sure what changed, but it looks like my account is now a Pro account again and it says that it will be free as long as I maintain my Yahoo! service. So, this must have changed. *smile*

2008/11/26

Did You Know?

This video is enlightening and disturbing at the same time, which is an interesting mix. However, the presentation of some of the data seemed disjointed and unrelated. Like at the end? The bit about the illegal songs downloaded? What does that have to do with population expansion? Found via Shashi.name.

2008/11/17

Say Goodbye to BlackBerry? If Obama Has to, Yes He Can - NYTimes.com

As hard as it might be to believe, the President of the United States of America is not really allowed to simply email people from his Blackberry. Because of really high security protocols and the need for all presidential communication to be retrievable via subpoena, email in this regard becomes difficult.

For all the perquisites and power afforded the president, the chief executive of the United States is essentially deprived by law and by culture of some of the very tools that other chief executives depend on to survive and to thrive.

With today's ultra-wired world, do you find this one difficult to believe? Check out the full story in the New York Times.

2008/09/29

RAVE: Dell Technical Support

[ Dell.com ]

I had a power supply go out in my home computer that I got last Christmas and through some general troubleshooting steps with Dell Technical Support over their chat option, we were able to determine the problem and they are sending me a new power supply. All I needed to do was to enter the Service Tag number from the side of my case and they were able to determine the length of my warranty and help me from there. It took a few emails back and forth to confirm some tests and my new parts were already shipped.

Actually, there's a funny little story about the length of my warranty. At first one of the tech reps emailed me back and typed something to the effect of...

Your warranty has already expired as of December 18th, 2008.

Considering that this date is still 3 ½ months away, I wrote back politely that of course the problem would be covered. The tech promptly and humbly apologized for the confusion. I really think that he meant to type "will expire" as opposed to "already". Simple mistake.

2008/09/04

2008/09/02

Google Chrome

This is big news. Google has released a much anticipated new browser to rival Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox.

Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.

I'm itching to download this right now and give it a whirl. Download Google Chrome.

DivX DVD Players

I'm likely dumping my satellite service soon and going to rely on more movies and recorded stuff for our family entertainment. In talking with some coworkers about this, an interesting idea came up to use a DivX DVD Player. This device would allow multiple movies on one blank DVD-R that we could set up with menus and so forth. It can hold a lot more video than a standard format and could be more easily stored both physically and technically.

Amazon.com

Standard DVD players like the one I already own have come down in price quite a bit from my perspective. I saw one advertised at the local grocery store for $24.99! I was even more surprised to DivX devices for between $50 and $100 at the link above. At the same time I'm looking at DivX features, I may also be looking to add DVR capabiliites. But this appears to add up quickly and bring it closer to $200, which I'm not quite willing to pay any time soon.

Learn more about DivX: Download DivX

2008/08/05

R.I.P Usenet: 1980-2008 - Columns by PC Magazine

There are not many ways to say this or words that are fitting.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Cæsar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones.

R.I.P Usenet: 1980-2008.

2008/07/02

Firefox Updated

Mozilla - footer-logo.png (PNG Image, 47x36 pixels)I have not yet downloaded and installed version 3 of my favorite browser. This is despite what I'm currently looking at right after I let the automatic update for 2.0.0.15 install.

You've Been Updated to the Latest Version of Firefox

A worldwide community of thousands of experts is working every day to help us identify and defeat the latest threats to your online security. This open process ensures that Firefox is updated with security fixes faster than any other web browser. Keeping you safe is our top priority.

However, I have used it. Firstly, I'm very fond of one specific feature involving the login confirmation alert that pops up when you have entered a username and password. In Firefox 2.x, this comes up in a centered alert and you must attend to it before the new page fully loads. In Firefox 3.0, this comes up as a drop down set of tabs at the top that you can use OR completely ignore. This alone is worth the upgrade.

Why don't you update Firefox today?

2008/06/17

The Future of the Internet -- And How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain

Tonight I saw an interview on the Stephen Colbert show with Jonathan Zittrain, author of The Future of the Internet--And How to Stop It. It was a pretty interesting interview, although I've not heard of him or his book before. He was basically plugging his book, but he discussed Firefox 3 (just released today!), file sharing, zombie networks, and the Internet at large. It was quite interesting and I'll link to the interview if I can find it.

Download Day - English

2008/06/10

Robots With a Mind of Their Own

Subtitle: Uh-oh! Listen for the weak assurances at about 1:20. "No, I don't think there's any risk of that!" --Famous last words.

2008/06/02

Google Updates It's Icon

I noticed it recently and have seen a link to in a few places, but apparently Google has updated their favicon.

favicon.ico (ICON Image, 16x16 pixels)

Read more about Google's New Favicon.

2008/05/28

Why We Know Less Than Ever About the World (Video)

I've become semi-obsessed with the TED conference videos lately, and I just have to share them when I see them.

Alisa Miller, head of Public Radio International, talks about why -- though we want to know more about the world than ever -- the US media is actually showing less. Eye-opening stats and graphs.

View the video at TED | Talks | Alisa Miller. The first one of these that I saw on their site was Jeff Han's multi-touch interface. I want one. You will too.

2008/05/21

What You Need to Know About the Switch to DTV

I've started seeing ads everywhere about the fast-approaching switchover from standard television to digital television. I decided to answer the question for myself as to whether or not I'd need to upgrade my T.V. or get an adapter or something. The site I see mentioned the most in regards to this change is quoted below.

By law, full-power television stations nationwide must stop using the old method of transmitting TV signals known as analog and begin broadcasting exclusively in a digital format on February 17, 2009. Digital television (DTV) is an innovative type of broadcasting technology that will give you crystal-clear pictures and sound, and more programming choices than ever before.

While the benefits of DTV are remarkable, millions of households risk losing television reception unless they take the easy steps to receive a digital signal. We're here to help you make a smooth transition.

The annoying part about this site is that it really gives quite a bit of friendly and fluffy information about the transition and explains the world wide benefits. You'd think that the new television will usher in world peace, universal health care, taxi drivers that speak English and will likely delay the heat death of the universe by another 256 trillion years.* However, it gives no useful or practical information that is immediately helpful to me.

Here's Where They Went Wrong

What I want to know is Will my T.V. still work after that day? I don't need to know "What DTV is?", "Why the switch?", "How do I switch?" nor any of the other more mundane facts or details that jump out at me. What I'd like is a site that simply tells me either...

  • "You have to do something..." (or)
  • "You don't have to do something..."

All that other stuff I really don't care about. But I guess it would have to be able to 'look' at my TV to know this, or otherwise get information I gave it. However, from my perusal there is no box that asks for the make and model number of your TV to give you an answer. I have to actually get educated about something that I'm not that excited about.

...Well, as it turns out, I'm not going to have to do much. I have satellite TV and assuming that my service is on-the-ball (which they @%@$^-well better be), then I'm in good shape. My mother, who still uses the old rabbit ears, is going to have to get either a new set or an antenna converter. Oh well.

Find out more at DTV Answers.com.


Warning

Any use of this post that you read, glance over or associate with, in any manner whatsoever, may increase the amount of disorder in our universe. Although no liability is implied herein, the consumer is warned that this process may ultimately help lead to the heat death of the universe. You've been warned!

2008/05/16

Introduction to the Semantic Web (For Noobs)

This got posted internally at work, and I found it important enough to cross-post where applicable.

2008/04/23

Optimus Maximus Keyboard

Optimus Maximus KeyboardAdd this one to your wish list. How about a PC keyboard that costs almost $1600? This is the luxury model of keyboards. This is really extreme. Check out the Optimus Maximus Keyboard.

Update: You can get this thing from Amazon.com as well: Optimus Maximus Keyboard.

2008/04/20

How to make a Sawed-off USB Key

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories has a fun project where you can turn a USB cable into a USB thumb drive. This one is funny but useless, which is my kind of project.

Found via iGoogle.

2008/04/07

10 Ways the Internet (As We Know It) Will Die - GigaOM

That's right, the Internet will someday die. All it's going to take are one of 10 or more variably possible catastrophes.

We often think of the Internet as a platform for unfettered global communication, where information flows freely, innovators can launch new applications at will, and everyone can have a voice. But it's unlikely that our children's Internet will look anything like what we have now.

My favorite involves zombies (zombie networks). Check out the full list at GigaOM.com.

2008/03/30

The Best Online Tools To Help You Know Everything About Web Sites

A large part of web development is research. Learning how one website works or how it was developed can help lead the direction of another project. Also, while curiousity is bad for kittens, it's fun for the average web worker. Here is a nice article with a few more links for your bag-of-tricks.

How do I contact the owner of a website? How popular is my site on Digg or Delicious? What other websites are hosted on my web server? Is my competitor using WordPress or Drupal? Example.com is loading fast, what is the name of their web hosting company? Is my blog accessible from China or Japan?

If you got questions like these in your mind, here are some of the most useful online tools to help you know each and every detail of any website on the planet.

Here are the list of these tools.

I haven't heard of any of these, but I'm certainly going to check them out immediately. There is a much more detailed description of each one at the linked article. Of course, it is not always possible to find out everything you might like to know about how your favorite website works. Inevitably, if this information is freely available, it can leave certain high-profile sites vulnerable to zero day security issues. Most web masters with any sense will take measures to hide or otherwise obfuscate this information. And this is another reason to keep these tools handy so that you know what other people can learn about your site. To find out more read the full article at labnol.org > internet > tools.

Found via del.icio.us {tags: }.

2008/02/28

CompUSA is Going Away

Apparently, CompUSA is going out of business forever. This seems weird to me as I thought they'd always be around. I can't say I was the biggest fan of theirs and I shopped at Best Buy more. Check this out.

It's always sad when a store you used to frequent goes out of business, but how about when that store used to mark up its prices like mad? Things become slightly less sad. Nevertheless, this desolate scene at a Portland CompUSA definitely brings a slight tear to our eye.

I almost got a job at the local CompUSA in the distant past. Check out some last pictures of a store closing at gizmodo.com - CompUSA.

2008/02/04

Phishing Attempt - TechLifeBlogged

The concept of phishing is hard to explain to those that haven't experienced it or seen it up close. It's a very quick innocuous crime with the speed and dexterity of the pick-pocket, but the victim doesn't even know for weeks or months, if they ever realize it at all. Education is the only preventative. Scott does a good job here-

These kinds of email are a dime a dozen but I thought it might be good to have an example I can point to when trying to educate others.

Read the full post about Phishing at TechLifeBlogged.

My Take on the Failure of Open Source

For Christmas this year, we got a new computer which I've been meaning to post about for awhile. I've used several good references for the software it needed to start being usable, including but not limited to the following:

At one point, my wife asked if "Office" was installed on the computer. Being an anti-Microsoft pinko communist leftist revolutionary nutjob frugal like I am, I was leaning towards having almost nothing but open source software on my new computer. Though I could have semi-easily obtained a decently priced copy of Microsoft OfficeAmazon.com - Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, I elected to use OpenOffice.org for the office productivity route. I've got a copy of Microsoft Outlook that I'll use with my Dell AximAmazon.com - Dell Axim. I'll probably use Thunderbird for all other email.

I installed the software without testing it and probably would never have noticed anything lacking that would have been a problem. I showed it to my wife and let her use it with the point that she would let me know if anything was out of place. Everything worked fine for over a month.

Then today the hammer fell. Where's the clipart? she asked. Will all of the clipart available from Microsoft's Office Update site be compatible with StarOffice Writer? Of course, the answer to this is no. For those who've never used it, MS has a decently integrated web site where you can quickly browse for clipart and use it in any office product. It's slick and simple and has thousands upon thousands of images.

And for this reason alone, Open Source Failed -- at least for today. Sure, I could search for and find a similar site or project of open source clipart and media. Or I could just point my wife at Creative Commons and the initiatives like it, along with search engines that can find images marked for it. But nothing will match the immediate familiarity of the Microsoft source. Until that day comes...

Anyhow, that's my take on it.