Saturday, May 28, 2005

Something bad about the iMac for once

Ok, so it's at least the second time. Last time I warned against buying the Mac mini without Tiger, but those guys at Apple have eluded me by not including Tiger on current Mac minis. Instead, they offer to give you Tiger for 10 extra dollars under their Up-to-date program.

Anyhow, it seems that the first generation iMac G5s have been having problems (mostly with the fan/heat related) and even breaking down. That'd explain why there are so many refurbs on the market. The second generation looks much better (such that I don't really consider the refurbs) with twice the base-ram, what seems to be a better graphics card, and other improvements, which hopefully include fixing whatever issues were in the old ones.

So that pretty much was just to show that I'm not above posting some bad things about Macs. Or that I don't only post the good news.


Friday, May 27, 2005

New wifi card for my Pocket PC

SanDisk Connect Plus Low Power Wi-Fi Card with 128 MB

This post is for those with a spare CF slot or looking to replace a dead-beat compact flash wifi card. The first thing I can say with confidence about this card is that the reception is better than that of my old Belkin Wifi card AND it's not so wide that it impedes the audio jack on my iPAQ h2210. My only fear is that this is not so low-power, fairing a bit over 2 hours in my estimates using a 900mah battery.

There are a couple of key features that make this a good card:
  • supported by MiniStumbler for wardriving
  • seems to have great reception (at a cost?)

  • For 29.99 (coupon code: Techbargains) at Surplus Computer with free shipping, it's a decent deal for casual use. The included PC Card adapter and 128 MB of flash memory are bonuses. Comes with a 90-day warranty.

    Note: There's no WPA support, so if you're concerned with privacy, you'll have to be extra careful. There also doesn't seem to be a 'Flight Mode' to turn off the radio without unplugging the card (or using PocketWarrior). Drivers for PPC 2002/2003 available here.

    Thursday, May 26, 2005

    Missing pictures in Picasa

    If you've noticed that small pictures are being grabbed and indexed by Picasa 2 but aren't appearing in the gallery, it's not a bug or anomaly. Just be sure to select View->Small Pictures.

    Otherwise, they're hidden (too low-quality I presume) along with well, hidden pictures.

    SOURCE: Frustration

    Another R.R.

    From George R.R. Martin, who happens to be the screenwriter of the Beauty and the Beast TV Series (making him the Hans Christian Anderson of the 21st century), comescame A Game of Thrones. It is heart-rending but undeniably absorbing and involving. It is involving because you get to know the characters really well; heart-reading because they hurt so much as they play their parts in Martin's cruel game.

    The book is set in a world about 15just 10 years after a war that ended the reign of the Dragon-riding Targaryen family where the younger generation is young enough to look forward to the next, but the older are still suffering from the wounds the previous war, some plotting and others mourning. It is summer, but winter is coming and with it the unnatural forces of the land that had been only the stuff of old wives tales are gaining strength. Those plotting are themselves pawns in a strange and sinister conflict.

    Each chapter is named after its protagonist and after each, I was tempted to jump the next one similarly named. Here's a hint: don't get too attached to the characters. Eddard Stark is the Lord of the North, who fought with King Robert to avenge the murders of their loved ones by the then reigning king. His honor is both his greatest strength and greatest weakness. His wife Catelyn of House Tully is a proud, but a loyal wife and loving mother to all her children, but not of Eddard's bastard son. Ned's kids find a litter of wolves left by a direwolf who choked to death on a broken antler, which is astonishing because they haven't been sighted in generations. Events draw the Starks from their northern stronghold beginning with the sudden death of the King's Hand, followed by a visit from the King himself. While Ned is honorable and strong, can he and his family survive the Game of Thrones, especially after the last round cost him almost all of his kin?

    Fantasy elements in Martin's 700 page prologue are forebodingly played down by the characters who supposedly know better with the dragons extinct and spells and magic the stuff of old wives tales. By the end of A Game of Thrones, however, it's clear that it was all part of the plot. Of course, it's just the first book that I've gotten through and I've read 10 of Jordan's. This is on par with Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time in terms of the seriousness, but I still think Robert Jordan's work is more sophisticated and in some scenes less for the eyes of children. However, most of the principle characters are fairly young lordlings who are forced to grow up quickly as they inherit the burdens and intrigues of their houses. I heartily recommend the book. less


    SOURCE: Christmas present from cousin, thanks Kathae for [the] R.R. observation.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2005

    Tablet Mac rumors mature

    Categorized under yeah you've heard about it, but it's my blog

    So, not only was Apple granted a patent for a Tablet-style Mac, and met with Intel about potentially using their chips, a prototype has been sighted and the concept has been corroborated by multiple 'sources'. (emphasis added)
    ...And it exists, honest, seen a prototype. Instant On, ASUS-Tatung whiteish looking, running a reduced version of OSX, with some funky start-up PDA like Apple icon menu. Touch only (white touch pen), least the version I saw.
    The interesting thing that makes the Intel rumor more credible is that the talks were supposedly focused on low-power chipsets like the Centrino for the PowerBook (I think it's unlikely) or a tablet-style mac. Apple has denying rumors that it is ditching IBM's PowerPC chips in favor of Intel's and that makes sense. It wouldn't even be a PowerBook anymore.

    Well, despite my longtime love of the Pocket PC, this is something I could use.

    SOURCE: Engadget

    Wednesday, May 18, 2005

    iMac G3 upgrading

    I bought tiger for the iMac G3 that Will found for me. It already had OS X on it so I figure it will run even better with Tiger.

    SOURCE: Craziness

    UPDATE (2:54 AM EST 5/26/05): I used Tiger for 5 days straight. Some cool stuff I was able to do: I used Skype on something other than my pocket pc (thank you built-in mic), used Eclipse for C, installed Firefox (although I mostly used Safari), RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, Xvid and DivX codecs (I didn't even do this on Windows but, alas, it was too slow), tried KeyNote and Pages, accessed files on my brothers Windows box. I learned how to change icon images (copy the image you want from Get Info dialog and paste it into the Get Info image of the target icon), how to turn off the constant hard drive spin downs via energy saver, enable full tab-key accessing (+8), use expose (Fs 9-12), learned how to keep dashboard widgets on the desktop (go to terminal and run the following command: defaults write devmode YES, then run this: killall dock, then bring up dashboard [F12], drag your favorite widget and release it after pressing F12 again), and more. It was pure joy. Well, most of it.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2005

    Losing the iPod

    categorized under more-of-the-same

    I was on the bus [yester]today and saw someone listening to music on an old CD player. First thought in my mind was, "This guy likes listening to music. He might be want to get an iPod." As the bus hopped along, the I heard the inevitable skip because his huge headphones that had been blasting fairly loudly literally skipped, despite the ESP logo on the player. I took the opportunity to get a confirmation from him that his player had indeed skipped. After he took off the the headphones, he admitted to having the player for way too long. I suggested that he buy one capable of playing MP3s referring to the truly affordable CD players that could play CD-Rs burned with 700MB of music.

    Since he thought I meant a strict MP3 player and not a discman that could decode mp3s, he responded by saying that it was too expensive. I clarified to say that he could spend around $40 for a decent replacement that would play his existing CD collection. Surprised, he said he was actually looking into buying an iPod. I was right.

    WOW. Here was someone who didn't seem to act or dress trendily (this is not a criticism) and not too familiar with new consumer technology who referred to a whole class of electronics by the one name that had first and most successfully penetrated the mainstream as a household name. "iPod" in his mind was probably for MP3 players what "palm pilot" is to PDAs. Today, someone who borrowed my iPAQ Pocket PC left a message on my door saying that he wanted to return my "palm pilot". Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

    Here I'll quickly say that Palm Pilot is no longer a name being used by Palm, Inc. (or is it Palm One?) and was stricken from geek vocabulary as being a violation of Pilot pen company's trademark. Palm then went after Microsoft, which had been trying to sell it's haldheld form-factor devices as PalmPCs making them adopt the name Pocket PC. Anyhow, this is all old news, but people still call the darned things palm pilots and the darn copy machines Xeroxs. Some people do at least. Now, it is my understanding (from some conversations with someone who attended business school) that this is bad for a brand. It means you can't control what people thing about your brand name because it's associated with the whole darn industry.

    Before we go on, I'll try to characterize as best as possible this person on the bus. He didn't know that the iPod has a rechargeable battery, which means he's never really researched the iPod as if he was going to get one, much less look at competing products. The fact that he didn't know of CD players that could play MP3s means he probably doesn't much about the iPod at all except that many people use it. He is also a commuter that presumably works and lives at home. He only listens to music on his portable player during the school year (he said he would put off upgrading because school was almost over).

    But what I care about is whether it's a good thing that 1) the concept of an MP3 player still hasn't penetrated everyone and 2) the name people associate with modern MP3 players is the iPod. For both questions to be salient, my sample population has to be pretty darn representative. Let's assume it is. Before we can seriously consider the second question, we have to decide whether Apple's product is adequately unique for this not to happen. Remember to regular folks, a PDA (not public display of affection, but Personal Digital Assistant) is a PDA is a PDA and some people honestly cannot tell one from another. Or is the phenomenon I witnessed on the bus just a combination of iPod proliferation and insufficient marketing on the parts of Apple's competitors.

    I have a feeling it was more of the latter, which means the iPod has a long way to go. Even in the first case, the iPod is sufficiently distinct and simply beautiful that it'd be hard for Apple to accidentally (vs. deliberately) allow the iPod brand to be diluted. But given this and that the previous assumptions are true, the iPod hasn't gotten to everyone. On the other hand, some say that the popularity of the iPod turns people away. I'd have to disagree. Sorry I'm falling asleep. Maybe I'll update this sometime tomorrow.

    Show/hide rest

    SOURCE: Ride on the A bus -> Exam

    Sunday, May 08, 2005

    Housing found for the summer

    I've decided to settle for an un-airconditioned dorm to live for my summer job at a nice company. I'm kinda scared, but I will have time to brush up (Mike knows how understated this is) before I move in around the 29th of May. They are a good place, relatively close (try extremely) to the site and extremely cheap.

    I didn't really consider anything too expensive but got Wifi, and an airconditioned lounge area : )

    Hope I get along with my roommate.

    SOURCE: More procrastination :/

    I can make short posts too

    Trying to study... Bluetooth for linux doesn't work for me because my hardware isn't being properly recognized. I'm still only an extreme newbie to linux :/ Even after that Linux OS project (spoiled by Mike's shell scripts), if it doesn't work automagically, I'm in trouble.

    SOURCE: Exams week -> Finish

    Saturday, May 07, 2005

    So,how appropriate that my last

    So,how appropriate that my last post in a long while was ushering the new age of anarchy online in my life. Now that it's final