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My ratings (R) are from 1 to 9. My Dates are also permalinks. Click on the column headers to sort Jots. Feel free to use the address bar like a command line interface by setting the optional query string parameters: Dtm1 (10, 20, 30, YYYYMMDDhhmmss), Dtm2 (YYYYMMDDhhmmss), IsJot (Jot or Not), Tag (zero+ times), NotTag (zero+ times), OrderBy (PostForDate, PostTitle, PostLink, PostText, PostSource, PostRating, PostSize) & Desc(Desc), and Limit(integer).
|20080906 134859 Z||Update to Google Chrome's terms of service||googleblog.b … es-terms-of.html||Browser, Chrome, Cyber Tech, Google, Legal, TECH||Ha ha! Like I told my Sys Admin on the day that Chrome was released: The Chrome EULA was a non-issue. They updated it to a not evil version: "11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services."|
|20090220 172839 Z||The 32 Totally Essential (and Free) Apps for Every New PC||www.maximump … y_essential_apps||digg.com/sof … for_Every_New_PC||Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Free Gratis, Free Libre, Open Source, TECH||I have a good number of these, and some of them I've rejected, but I'll archive this here in case it has a few that I don't have but do want. See also opensourcewindows.org.|
|20090413 173537 Z||The Pursuit of Laziness||blag.xkcd.co … uit-of-laziness/||www.reddit.c … _to_read_in_bed/||Amazon, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Gadget, Hardware, Kindle, Reading, Text||I'm afraid that if I show this to my wife, then she'll want me to make it for her and her Kindle. If on the other hand I had my own Kindle, then I'd make it just for kicks.|
|20090420 162256 Z||Operating System Interface Design Between 1981-2009||www.webdesig … tween-1981-2009/||digg.com/des … etween_1981_2009||Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Images, Software, TECH||Oddly exciting to see the screen shots of old GUI operating systems. Looking at stuff that was new when you were younger makes you feel old and young at the same time.|
|20090505 144612 Z||Wolfram Alpha and Google Face Off||www.technolo … 22585/?nlid=2001||Computers, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Google, Science, TECH||I saw the various stuff on Wolfram Alpha yesterday, including the video Stephen Wolfram discusses Wolfram|Alpha: Computational Knowledge Engine [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TIOH80Qg7Q]. It looks cool, but there was a feeling of a stacked deck, i.e. the questions were coached so as to get good results. This Technology Review article asks other sorts of questions. Google of course has to deal with a broader user base that asks a broad range of questions.|
|20090521 145502 Z||55+ Extremely Useful Online Generators for Designers||www.balkhis. … s-for-designers/||Color, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Images, TECH||Some more useful than others.|
|20090611 123109 Z||The First Few Milliseconds of an HTTPS Connection||www.moserwar … ds-of-https.html||www.reddit.c … ttps_connection/||Browser, Cyber Tech, Programming, Security, Standards, TECH||File away.|
|20090625 014038 Z||Let's make the web faster||code.google. … /speed/articles/||www.reddit.c … _the_web_faster/||Cyber Tech, Google, TECH||Some of the tips are good, but from the reddit thread, you'd think the whole thing sucked.|
|20090707 165414 Z||Google Apps is out of beta (yes, really)||googleblog.b … -yes-really.html||Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Google, News||About time!|
|20090708 203726 Z||Firefox stability to get a boost with multiprocess browsing||arstechnica. … ess-browsing.ars||news.slashdo … owsing?art_pos=6||Browser, Cyber Tech, Firefox, Google||A nice benefit from competing with Google Chrome.|
|20090730 184222 Z||A few HTML 5 goodies||Cyber Tech, HTML, Programming, Standards||HTML 5: A vocabulary and associated APIs for HTML and XHTML [http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/]
HTML 5 Reference: A Web Developer’s Guide to HTML 5 [http://dev.w3.org/html5/html-author/]
HTML 5: The Markup Language [http://dev.w3.org/html5/markup/] HTML 5 [W]
HTML5 Quick Reference Guide [http://www.veign.com/reference/html5-guide.php]
Misunderstanding Markup: XHTML 2/HTML 5 Comic Strip [http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/07/29/misunderstanding-markup-xhtml-2-comic-strip/] When can I use... [http://a.deveria.com/caniuse/]
|20090731 190006 Z||A Better Way to Rank Expertise Online||www.technolo … 23100/?nlid=2235||Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Folksonomy, TECH||Identifying and weighting better content and users is key for quality purposes.|
|20090806 122838 Z||Google Chrome Theme Gallery||/tools.googl … hemes/index.html||Browser, Chill, Cool, Cyber Tech, Google||Fun stuff. I like to apply a theme or skin now and then for a change, but I usually revert to "standard" after a while.|
|20090806 181400 Z||E-Reader Growth Hinges on Women, $99 Price Tag, Says Forrester||www.eweek.co … orrester-320027/||Amazon, Books, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech||I've been watching the e-book thing very closely and this article has a more insightful analysis of the market. I was gunning for Amazon to retain its early dominance simply because I don't mind a one-stop-shop for books, music, vidoes, etc.. I hope Apple, Sony, Barnes & Noble, and the like keep pushing each other for the sake of the consumer. It's a new market with lots of potential. Who will do what it takes to win our cash?|
|20090807 170519 Z||Waterloo Labs: FPS with Real Guns - Episode 02||waterloolabs … -episode-02.html||games.slashd … l-Guns?art_pos=7||Chill, Cool, Crude, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Gadget, Hardware, Live Action, Software, TECH, Video Games, Videos||Slap some accelerometers on a wall, feed it to LabVIEW, project your game onto the wall, and bam! All hits on the wall are fed into the game. Up voted for dudes in lab coats.|
|20090807 171827 Z||Poll: E-readers Need to Reach 'iPod Moment' to Catch On||www.editoran … nt_id=1004001327||Amazon, Books, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Gadget, TECH, Text||Yes, critical mass or an iPod moment will happen with e-books. Finally someone acknowledging that Sony may have a reader but needs more content.|
|20090821 151022 Z||Windows 7: The OS that launches a thousand touch-screen PCs?||www.computer … ouch_screen_PCs_||hardware.sla … Market?art_pos=8||Books, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Gadget, Hardware, Reading, Software, TECH||Finally some real tech news. I'm past bored with all the rumors for the Apple tablet. "In the past three weeks, five leading PC makers have announced or been reported to confirm plans to release touch-screen PCs running Windows 7, which will provide built-in multitouch features, as well as enable touch applications written for it." These will be great as netbooks. If they want to be great as e-book readers, then they need long battery life, a good store, and some way to read in bright light conditions. Where are the multitouch tablets from Dell, IBM, etc.?|
|20090923 191345 Z||Courier: First Details of Microsoft's Secret Tablet||gizmodo.com/ … ts-secret-tablet||www.reddit.c … s_secret_tablet/||Amazon, Books, Computers, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Gadget, Hardware, Images, Microsoft, Reading, TECH, Text, Videos||Some details about the tablet by Microsoft called "Courier". More details than we've ever gotten from Apple about their potential tablet. While I'm biting my nails over the potential choices, my wife is simply enjoying her Kindle. She's so smart.|
|20091013 190437 Z||10/GUI: The Video||http://10gui.com/video/||www.reddit.c … _reimaginations/||Animation, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Hardware, Operating System, Software, TECH, Videos||Not just a multi-touch tablet, but ideas on the interface. Interesting but the whole thing needs trials. The Reddit thread has some ideas too.|
|20100104 192618 Z||Apple, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Google, Hardware, Reading, Software, TECH||We need more tablets! Apple, Google, Freescale, etc. Not just eBook readers, but cheap expandable touchable Internet tablets.|
|20100225 035022 Z||Exclusive: How Google's Algorithm Rules the Web||www.wired.co … +Stories+2%29%29||Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Google||I thought they didn't let anybody look behind the curtains.|
|20100309 202316 Z||Web Standards for E-books||www.alistapa … /ebookstandards/||Books, CSS, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, HTML, Standards, Text||epub is XHTML and is read on every e-book reader except for the Amazon Kindle.|
|20100308 193545 Z||The Problem with Passwords||www.alistapa … -with-passwords/||CSS, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Programming||This article by Lyle Mullican deals with one particular problem: People commonly want to reset passwords reset because they think they've forgotten it. Presented are two options of showing the user their password, without losing the familiar masked password text field.|
|20100426 171356 Z||New Software Processor Can Transcribe Music From Any Performance||www.popsci.c … unds-sheet-music||Audio, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Music||Turn music into sheet music? How convenient!|
|20100502 153258 Z||Top 10 Things You Didn't Know Google Maps Could Do||lifehacker.c … nt=Google+Reader||Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Geography, Google||Making an convenient tool even more so.|
|20100621 210313 Z||Toshiba Libretto W100||laptops.tosh … ps/libretto/W100||www.informat … RSSfeed_IWK_News||Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Gadget, Hardware, TECH||This is 25th anniversary Toshiba is getting closer to what I want! "Hybrid mini-notebook / e-reader has dual touchscreens, runs on Windows 7, and has built-in Bluetooth 5 and 802.11n wireless networking." 1.5 lb (0.68 Kg) clamshell design with built in web cam that works in portrait or landscape. USB port and card reader.|
|20100625 161154 Z||SVG Flowchart Shapes via Google Docs||Chart, Cyber Tech, Free Gratis, Free Libre, Google, Images, TECH||I've been playing with Google Drawings (in Google Docs). You can save a Google Drawing as .svg. This also means that you can use save their shapes (especially flowchart shapes) and use them in stuff like Inkscape. You can also go to openclipart.org to get other shapes. I'm trying to avoid stuff Microsoft Visio and OpenOffice Draw.|
|20100724 132257 Z||India's $35 PC is the Future of Computing||www.pcworld. … g.html?tk=hp_pop||Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Gadget, Hardware, Inspiring, News, TECH||A $10-35 Internet capable tablet for the masses of India! Intense, a game changer.|
|20101002 130412 Z||Tribute to Escher||www.360citie … 50.54,81.25,90.0||Oscar||Activity, Art, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech||Well done. 3D Escher.|
|20101008 210743 Z||The OS Doesnâ€™t Matterâ€¦||www.mondayno … nt=Google+Reader||Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, TECH||The PCs and smart devices are Unix/Linux except for Windows.|
|20101014 202019 Z||Netflix on PS3: Disc-free Next Week||blog.us.play … 0/14/netflixps3/||Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Movies, Sony, TECH, TV, Video Games||Sweet. I love the Netflix and Sony PS3/Blue Ray/TV integration thingy so far and I'm looking forward to Google getting in the mix.|
|20101206 184946 Z||Discover more than 3 million Google eBooks from your choice of booksellers and devices||googleblog.b … lion-google.html||Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Google, Reading, TECH||No rumors, no maybes, no fanfare. Instead Google eBooks [http://books.google.com/ebooks] is announced and is here. An eBook store where the stuff is readable on lots of devices.|
|20101207 171047 Z||Google Maps for Android Now Faster, Smoother, in 3D and Works Offline||gizmodo.com/ … with-the-compass||Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Google, Mobile, TECH||Bionic maps!|
|20110106 161216 Z||JWT: 100 Things to Watch in 2011||www.slidesha … -in-2011-6306251||www.crossfit … ive2/007361.html||Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, TECH||Me? I'll be watching my kids.|
|20110111 191505 Z||A Simpler Page||www.alistapa … /a-simpler-page/||Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Design, Gadget, Hardware, TECH||A tablet in bed, on your knee, and at breakfast. Yes, this stuff should be explored.|
|20110120 163803 Z||Skynet meets the Swarm: how the Berkeley Overmind won the 2010 StarCraft AI competition||arstechnica. … competition.ars/||Oscar||Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, TECH, Video Games||They're sharpening AI using StarCraft (not SC2). Finally people are putting their hundreds of hours of game time to good use. Macro, micro, and even new strategies.|
|20110713 162038 Z||html href tel||Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Google, HTML, Standards, TECH||I've noticed that more places are making links like this:
|20110916 172441 Z||Textbooks of tomorrow [infographic]||holykaw.allt … rrow-infographic||Books, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Education, Gadget, Hardware, Kids, Text||Yes to digital textbooks! 53% cheaper, saves trees, easier to transport, etc., etc.|
Wikipedia is one of the top 10 busiest sites on the planet. Caching seems to be the big trick.
As I see it, in such context Wikipedia is more interesting as a case of operations underdog - non-profit lean budgets, brave approaches in infrastructure, conservative feature development, and lots of cheating and cheap tricks (caching! caching! caching!).
Some quick stats:
I liked this insightful tidbit from the slashdot thread:
Most of Wikipedia is a collection of static pages. Most users of Wikipedia are just reading the latest version of an article, to which they were taken by a non-Wikipedia search engine. So all Wikipedia has to do for them is serve a static page. No database work or page generation is required.
Older revisions of pages come from the database, as do the versions one sees during editing and previewing, the history information, and such. Those operations involve the MySQL databases. There are only about 10-20 updates per second taking place in the editing end of the system. When a page is updated, static copies are propagated out to the static page servers after a few tens of seconds.
Article editing is a check-out/check in system. When you start editing a page, you get a version token, and when you update the page, the token has to match the latest revision or you get an edit conflict. It's all standard form requests; there's no need for frantic XMLHttpRequest processing while you're working on a page.
Because there are no ads, there's no overhead associated with inserting variable ad info into the pages. No need for ad rotators, ad trackers, "beacons" or similar overhead.
I like the principal of minimal database calls, but it's so funny given how popular Web 2.0 and AJAX are.
It is fairly well known that you can easily turn simple HTML tables into Excel files by giving it a different MIME with code like the following:
Response.ContentType = "application/vnd.ms-excel";. Greg Griffiths writes about it in "MS Excel", which also include other methods of getting Excel files to a user via browser. There are other cheesy methods such as generating a CSV and so on.
However, I recently ran into the issue where the MIME-change version was working for all browsers except for Internet Explorer. Furthermore, it worked on IE7 for the LAN but not the Web. I did the usual scouring the Web via Google and MSDN, but was unsuccessful. What finally led me to the solution was the little nugget about how Response.AddHeader() had to be used before any other output. That's when I dug through the various includes on the pages and noticed that way up on top there was some cache code. I just elimated that and BAM! All is well! Another case of needing to minimize settings in includes.
A fairly big change.
At its meeting in Paris, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a not-for-profit organization that oversees the naming scheme for web sites, voted to accept a proposal that will allow companies to purchase new top-level domain names ending in almost whatever suffix they choose. So, for example, instead of being restricted to sites ending in .com or .org., eBay could have a site that ends in .ebay, or New York City could end its website address with .nyc.
To deter name cybersquatters, the new TLDs will be more expensive, possibly 50-100+ KUSD. It also explains why .xxx wasn't approved earlier.
A brand new browser by Google called Chrome [google.com/chrome] came out yesterday. I've tried it out at work on Windows XP and at home on Windows Vista Ultimate.
On the front end, the best thing about it is that it's fast. Not just a bit faster but 2 to 20 times faster. The interface is very clean and minimalist. There are a lot of little front end niceties like all textarea controls on forms are now resizable. The "Omnibox" combines the URL address bar (ALT+D) and search bar (CTRL+E) into one as is done Opera. The root of each URL is highlighted in the Omnibox (IE8 does this too). The Omnibox provides unobtrusive suggestions (for stuff you've visited, likely searches, popular sites, etc.) as you type instead of nasty auto-completing. Chrome also gives the user more real estate by hiding the status bar (which shows as you type) or hiding the bookmarks bar (CTRL+B).
Chrome is missing add ons or extensions, which users of Firefox become dependent upon. Chrome will almost certainly have add ons as time goes on. This is a good time to review the Firefox extensions I use.
The things I don't like about Chrome:
<h2>test</h3>will be automatically corrected by most other browsers, but not in Chrome. Many sites will have to adjust. EG: A few hours ago the home page for Google Docs was fine on the free version but broken for the paid version. I checked just now and they've fixed it.
Here are some of the better links to Chrom right now:
BOTTOM LINE: I love it! I want a few things that only Firefox has right now, but I think they're coming to Chrome.
Sweet! I think this version of electronic books will burst the dam, and we will finally see a shift away from paper books. This is different from the fading of paper newspapers because that was due to the Web. The Kindle 2.0 will succeed because of the confluence of wireless 3G technology, cloud data technology, Web integration in a light and natural way, paper-like rendition, the right physical size and weight, longer battery life (4 days to 2 weeks), Apple-like design, and, most importantly, commitment by a big player with big bucks, and a core strong interest in seeing this thing through.
At Amazon, we've always been obsessed with having every book ever printed, and we know that even the best reading device would be useless without a massive selection of books. Today, the Kindle Store has more than 230,000 books available, plus top newspapers, magazines, and blogs. This is just the beginning. Our vision is to have every book ever printed, in any language, all available in under 60 seconds on Kindle. We won't stop until we get there.
Google has been working on scanning in millions of public domain books, and they are working on getting those and other books available for mobile devices ("How Google Is Making Books Mobile" [http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/22665/?a=f]), but the cell phone form factor is too small.
Amazon is the right company for e-books. Kindle accounts for 10% of what Amazon sells --I had no idea that Kindle was that big! I also like how they understand the reading experience of the "disappearing book":
The most elegant feature of a physical book is that it disappears while you're reading. Immersed in the author's world and ideas, you don't notice a book's glue, the stitching, or ink. Our top design objective was to make Kindle disappear--just like a physical book--so you can get lost in your reading, not the technology.
People speak and listen, read and write, interact with the world both natural and constructed. We've been doing this for thousands of years. A few hundred years ago there was a boom in communications with the development of printing. Within the past century there have been several booms with radio, telephones, TV, mobile phones, and the Internet. At our fingertips we have the ability to tap into large masses of people and large bodies information. The current generation will grow up with that as the default.
Since the technology, services, and usage evolves, I want to take a little snapshot of how cyber communications are today.
Previous cyber communications was email/chat (mostly one-to-one or one-to-few), brochure-like Web sites (mostly few-to-many), and message boards (mostly few-to-many). Then blogs became popular (mainly one-to-many). Lately the trend has been social sites (mostly few-to-few. EGs: Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Yahoo Groups, dodgeball) and collaborative sites (mostly many-to-many. EG: Wikipedia, Google Docs). The key to the later stuff was fostering democracy (as in everyone can get a voice), minimizing noise while maximizing music (votes on posts and comments like in Digg and Reddit; selecting the few like in Facebook), and ease of use (searchable, restrict by time/tag/few). Message boards and RSS readers are nice and searchable, but they don't do enough noise/music work.
A certain amount of system intelligence is appreciated (EGs: Amazon recommnedations. Google AdSense, Google Search, Google Maps). Long Tail sources (EGs: Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, eBay, Craig's List) are appreciated but there will all ways be stuff in the Long Tail that isn't covered by a Long Tail sources and thus specialized sources won't go away. Twitter is one-to-many or many-to-one: It has the very latest stuff but you need to follow good sources or search. Most things should be free/gratis but people are willing to pay for tangibles (EGs: Kindle, music). Systems that allow self-organization are more successful (EGs: Wikipedia, Facebook). Tags/labels have their uses and are often an improvement over folder but can be more annoying than productive.
This is a new link to include in HTML headers for the purpose of URL normalization [W]. It's supported by big players such as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft.
Here are a few other related links:
It's so easy to implement, that I just tweaked my site to have it on almost all pages in just a few minutes.
I love leaps in performance!
[fast array of wimpy nodes] FAWN, which is described in an as-yet-unpublished paper by David Andersen and his team at Carnegie Mellon University, tackles this problem with a combination of relatively slow processors (the kind used in netbooks and other mobile devices) and flash memory (the kind that stores data in digital cameras and USB drives). The somewhat counterintuitive result is an architecture whose performance per watt of energy is a hundred times better than that of traditional servers, which use faster (but much more energy-hungry) processors and disk-based storage. There are two ways to get around the memory wall: the first is to increase the performance of a system's memory, and the second is simply to slow down its CPU. FAWN does both: flash memory has much faster random access than disk-based storage, and FAWN's slower processors require less power and waste fewer transistors trying to guess what's coming next.
A key to to performance gains is finding the bottle necks.
One way that FAWN replaces software like memcached and Dynamo is by conquering what computer scientists call the memory wall, which is the huge disparity between the rate at which disk-based storage can feed data to a CPU and the rate at which a CPU, which is much faster, can chew through that data. (Andersen points out that modern CPUs use an enormous number of transistors trying to guess what data to expect, fetching data in advance or caching it in memory to make sure that the chip always has a steady supply of bits to process.)
I also love creative counter-intuitive or non-obvious solutions. A slower CPU sounds wrong but it's cheaper, greener, and in this case more powerful (more work in less time).
There are two ways to get around the memory wall: the first is to increase the performance of a system's memory, and the second is simply to slow down its CPU. FAWN does both: flash memory has much faster random access than disk-based storage, and FAWN's slower processors require less power and waste fewer transistors trying to guess what's coming next. FAWN is composed of many individual nodes, each with a single 500-megahertz AMD Geode processor (the same chip used in the first One Laptop Per Child $100 laptop) with 256 megabytes of RAM and a single four-gigabyte compact flash card. The largest FAWN cluster built to date, consisting of 21 nodes, draws a maximum of 85 watts under real-world conditions.
Nice. I was recently mentioning to some folks that we can't really take advantage of hi-core, hi-memory, hi-processing, hi-width, hi-parallel, etc. because the ease of use isn't there yet.
When it comes to writing computer software, there is a huge difference between "multi" and "many." Mere humans can write good software for the current breed of multicore processors that have two to four processing units inside a single chip, although this still requires extra skill and patience. The next step is many-core processors with sixteen to hundreds of cores--too many for any programmer to efficiently command. That's why later this year, Intel will release from its lab a research project called Ct ("C for Throughput") that will automatically make standard C and C++ compilers work with many-core processors, starting with Intel's first new graphics processor in many years, code-named Larrabee, which is scheduled to ship in early 2010.
It'll be like automatic garbage clean up.
Larrabee will not be a separate graphics chip in the same sense that an nVidia or ATI GPU is. Yet if Larrabee and Ct work as predicted, the days of discrete graphics processors may soon be over.
Real ink and paper has a reflection rate of 85%, but it can't be changed electronically or do video.
The E Ink technology, used by devices like Amazon's Kindle, moves black and white microcapsules in a liquid medium. Resulting in reflection rates of 40% and a refresh rate of tens to hundreds of milliseconds. See How It Works by E Ink.
CRT, LCD, plasma, etc. technology emits light but are not as portable and are not as good in settings with lots of background light. LCDs have a refresh rate of a few milliseconds.
This new technology draws out actual ink from ink wells resulting in reflection rates of 55% and a refresh rate of less than a millisecond. Faster than LCD! Furthermore, the resolution is 300 dpi, and it should be able to do color which E Ink can't.
This electronic inkwell technology, led by Jason Heikenfeld [http://www.ece.uc.edu/devices/] seems very promising. I look forward to the technological and economic feasibility testing.
In their pixels, the researchers use aluminum layers that reflect light and carbon black ink for a deep black color. First, a polymer layer is patterned with wells that contain the black ink. An aluminum film is deposited on the polymer and topped with an indium tin oxide (ITO) transparent electrode layer. A voltage applied across the aluminum and the ITO electrode pulls the ink out of the well and spreads it over the entire pixel area.
My phone contract is up for renewal this May. I'm either going with a minimal phone that can phone, text, and takes pictures, or I'll go with a full smart phone.Here's the most in-depth look at the T-Mobile G1 phone: THE DEFINITIVE IN-DEPTH REVIEW: Optus HTC Dream with Google Android [http://apcmag.com/australian-review-htc-dream-optus.htm].
I've also gathered basic stats to compare the G1 against the Apple iPhone:
|Weight||133 g||158 g|
|Display||3.5" 480x320||3.2" 480x320|
|Camera||2 Mpix||3.2 Mpix|
|CPU||620 MHz ARM 1176||528 MHz ARM 11|
|RAM||128 DRAM||192 DDR SDRAM + 256 MB Flash|
|Storage||8 or 16 GB built in||1-8 GB microSD|
|Data Port||30 pin dock connector||USB|
|Audio Port||3.5 mm||USB or USB with 3.5 mm dongle|
|Recharge||Dock to USB||USB|
|Battery Talk||5 h||5 h|
|Battery Standby||300 h||130 h|
|Battery Replacement||dealer only||you or dealer|
The G1 is appealing because I make heavy use of Google for email and calendar. Since my name is George, having a phone called "G1" has some ego appeal. It is also a pleasing coincidence that the G1 was released on my birthday in 2008.
It's a netbook running on a cell phone chip thus it's cheap, energy efficient, and it runs on Google's free (libre and gratis) Android operating system.
Currently, many netbooks use Intel's Atom processor, which is built using the x86 architecture found in most of the company's desktop, laptop, and server chips. Most netbooks get about an hour of power per battery cell. On an ARM-based notebook, Solis says, it could be possible to get eight hours from a three-cell battery. Of course, while long battery life is appealing, there is a definite trade-off. "If you're looking for a powerful speedy laptop, then these netbooks aren't for you," Solis says. "But if you're looking for something that can last you all day without recharging, and that's at an even lower cost than most netbooks, then these might work."
After days of teasing us, the Kindle DX is finally here! My wife loves her Kindle 2, so now if I get the Kindle DX, it will be which is whose.
Here are basic stats to compare the Kindle 2.0 against the Kindle DX:
|Weight||10.2 oz||18.9 oz|
|Display||6" 800x600 167 ppi||9.7" 1200x824 150 ppi|
|Storage||1.4/2.0 GB ~ 1500 Books||3.3/4.0 GB ~ 3500 Books|
|Content Formats||Kindle (AZW), TXT, Audible (formats 4, Audible Enhanced (AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; PDF, HTML, DOC, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion.||Kindle (AZW), PDF, TXT, Audible (formats 4, Audible Enhanced (AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion.||Auto-Rotating Screen||No||Yes|
|Battery||4 days reading. 2 wks standby.|
|Ports||USB for Data and Recharge. 3.5 mm for Audio.|
|Connectivity||EVDO modem with fallback to 1xRTT. Amazon Whispernet for 3G high-speed data with no monthly charge.|
|References||The New Oxford American Dictionary with over 250,000 entries built in. Wikipedia over the wireless.|
It would have been sweet to go through high school and college without lugging all those heavy books around. The smaller screen is good for reading straight text, but anything with pictures, even Wikipedia, needs a larger screen and this one is 2.5x larger. As far as whether Kindle DX can help the ailing newspaper and magazine industry, maybe. The real thing issue is if they can produce high quality content with such consistency that people would want to pay for it.
Google doesn't like versions (Gmail is still beta) so they're not making a big deal of upgrading the browser from Chrome 1 to Chrome 2. The upgrades seem trivial: Improved Tab Page? Please, I hardly use that. Full Screen Mode and Form Autofill? Umm, features that most browsers already have? The upgrades in speed and stability are less sexy but more important. I noticed right away that Chrome can finally play Youtube.
However Chrome still needs just three things:
People like me are eager to switch because as much as we love Firefox, it's still a memory hog.
PS: Google: The keyboard shortcuts to enter date (CTRL+;) and time (CTRL+:) in Google Spreadsheets are still broken for Chrome.
Apparently you can play with extensions for the Google Chrome browser. The only extension I really wanted for Chrome is access to Google Bookmarks. So here's what I did:
It puts your Google Bookmarks in Chrome's "Other bookmarks". Chrome updates syncs its bookmarks with Google Bookmarks every time open up Chrome. It's not perfect: Changes to your Chrome bookmarks do not sync your Google bookmarks, and are forgotten each time you open Chrome because it resyncs with Google Bookmarks. Instead use the star for Google Bookmarks on the bottom left.
A renewal of the old saw: "There's no such thing as a free lunch". The article lists three ways that seemingly free things make money.
Advertising. As we've seen from Google Apps, non-intrusive advertising does seem to be accepted even for business use when it's perceived as funding free use of the application. SaaS vendors should be cautious, however, as we have no confirmed evidence even that Google (let alone anyone else offering ad-funded apps) makes enough from advertising to cover its costs.
Freemium. Distributing a free version in order to reach a wider market, among which some customers will decide to pay for premium services, is well established. It's worked for some open source vendors and for SaaS vendors with mass-market appeal as 37signals and Box.net. As I've discussed previously, the trick is to target the right free users to yield a sufficiently lucrative conversion rate.
Syndication. I’m not sure about the name — it may end up being called something else — it’s the least developed of the three, but I think it holds the greatest potential. What I mean by syndication is delivering third-party services within an application and taking a commission on the sale.
The article doesn't cover other sites that are free because they are running on other people's money. For example: Twitter has no ads, freemium, or syndication, because right now they're living off of venture capitalist money. Also there's gold in the data they collect. The same applies to Quicken which provides free online personal finance software. The same would apply to whoever comes out with a popular Web-based personal health record [W].
Other organizations that provide free stuff via other people's money include not-for-profit organizations (like Wikipedia) that run on donations and public works (think roads, police, NASA, school lunches, etc.) that run on tax dollars or are subsidized.
Just a quickie tech review:
In my post Head in the clouds, I stated the following:
I'd like to Amazon (or Barnes and Noble) to sell and store digital media like ebooks, videos, and music. There are some books that are so beautiful or big or both that I'd prefer a print copy, but for most books, an ebook would do. I don't want physical media disks at my house getting scratched and broken. I don't mind them using some consumer-mindful form of Digital Rights Management (DRM) to ensure that I'm not stealing. I'd like to supplement the DRM digital media with DRM-free media from other sources like Google Books and the Gutenberg Project, PDFs, MP3s, etc. Perhaps I'd store it at GDrive. In any case, I should be able to stream digital media (if I'm online) or download them (at least temporarily) for access either on or offline.
The whole topic of digital media is a big topic. These days I'm focused on digital books but they're all related.
Before I continue, let me just quickly jot down the sub-topics:
- Media types.
- Physical size.
- Device features.
- Content and Money: Creator, seller, and buyer.
- Social media.
Media types is a seemingly easy sub-topic. The media types are essentially text, pictures, audio, video, and apps. Simple enough. That's the media that the user receives (and the device outputs). The user however also sends "media" (and the device inputs). This includes text, voice, movements, and selections. There are other nuances such as the streaming aspect (EG: radio), the asynchronous aspect (EG: email), and combinations (EG: comics). A lot of sight, sound, motion, and time sensing, but not much in the way taste, touch, or smell. Things like the Wii do some motion and momentum input/output too.
This is actually seemingly simple too.
Device features will vary greatly between makers and models initially, but as the technology matures, the differences between makers and models of the same class will become more subtle.
This is the real heart of the issue. The users/buyers are most concerned about the content, but these days the content is tied to the money.
Users have three kinds of content:
There have been three stages of content:
How do the creators and sellers control the copying of the media? And how can they ensure that they get their fair share of the buyer's money? In the digital media industry, the first medium to face this problem head on has been the music industry. Pirating (or illegal copying) of music still occurs. For a while it seemed that the answer was digital rights managment (DRM), but this seemed to hamper on the buyers right to legally copy media for which they had paid for. So far it seems that the answer is not DRM, but to trust that people will honor copyright laws and pay the seller (and hence the creator) their money. A comparison of online music stores [W] shows that the most successful don't use DRM. The available formats (such as mp3, aac, m4a, aiff, wav, ogg) are trivial given all the available converters.
Copyrighted digital text is in the news lately because e-book readers started becoming good enough and popular enough that major books are being sold in digital format. The different e-book readers are using DRM and different files.
Here's a quick review of different e-book formats. See also Comparison of e-book formats [W]. Some of them can implement DRM.
- .txt. Simple text. Preferably UTF-8, but Unicode, windows-1252, iso-latin-1, or even ASCII will do.
- .htm. Simple HTML. Variants include .chm, .lit, and plucker.
- .pdf. Portable Document Format. Practically universal. Many things can be exported or printed to PDF.
- .rtf. Rich Text Format.
- XML based:
- .opf. Open eBook
- .epub. Supercedes .opf
- .mobi, .prc. Mobipocket. Based on .opf. Available to the iRex/Philips iLiad e-book reader.
- .azw. Amazon Kindle e-book. Based on .mobi.
- .arg. Arghos Diffusion.
- Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY)
- .fb2. FictionBook.
- Text Encoding Initiative.
- .tr2, .tr3. TomeRaider.
- .ps. PostScript.
- .djvu. DjVu. Especially for images.
- .pdb. eReader (formerly Palm Digital Media/Peanut Press). For ereader.com. Also used by the Barnes & Noble Plastic Logic e-reader.
- .lrf, .lrx. Broadband eBooks. For the Sony Reader.
Here are the major e-book readers (see more at List of e-book readers [W] and their primary formats:
Just to make it explicit, one of the issues is that with DRM and no standard format, if you buy stuff from one store, then you have to use their reader. If you want to buy stuff from two stores, then you need two readers, and so on. In contrast, you can buy a CD from any store and play it on any CD player.
The digital music industry went through this DRM issue, i.e. it was a real world experiment done with real creators, sellers, and buyers. The result is that overwhelming majority of buyers are honest folk who will respect copyright laws and will pay the sellers and the creators their money. DRM tried to control illegal copying, but actually it was a stumbling block for buying and fair buyer use of media that they legally paid for. I guess that the print media has a years of physical media experience that it has to over come in this digital media world. Copyright laws still apply. Just because it is easier to copy, doesn't make it legal, and the numbers show that the greater sales without DRM are worth the losses due to piracy. The print media probably also has a psychological issue of going without DRM because digital songs are $0.99 while digital books are $9.99. In any case, print media will experiment with using digital print, and, like digital music, may drop DRM after they run through the same experiment but with text instead of audio, and with different prices and different uses.
Let me gripe a bit about some of the hoops I, as a buyer, have to go through:
My wife bought a Kindle 2 and then the price dropped. Learning from her experience, I want to get a Kindle DX --as soon as the price drops. We each have our own accounts at Amazon. A DRM protected Kindle book must be associated with an Amazon account and can be accessed on up to 6 Kindle-compatible devices, where each device is registered to the same Amazon account. A Kindle-compatible account can only be registered with one Amazon account at a time. This gives us several options:
- Buy Kindle books via both of our separate Amazon accounts. If I wanted to share a Kindle book with her (or any one else), then I'd have to lend someone my Kindle DX, or have an extra Kindle registered to my account that I could lend. Neither option sounds very good. She could also just buy the same book on her own account but that's not sharing something I own --it's buying it again. Separate accounts does have the advantage of privacy in that we could each purchase Kindle books that we don't want the other to know about.
- Buy Kindle books via just her Amazon account. My Kindle DX would be registered to her account. We would be able to share books, but we would have the same Kindle book list, plus I would also be able to see her non-Kindle book purchases and info at Amazon.If we got a 3rd Kindle for the family in general, then we could put particular books on that Kindle, but they could also connect to Amazon with the Kindle and see all our other books.
- Create a new family Amazon account and use that for buying Kindle books. Our Kindles would then be registered to the family Amazon account. This scenario is exactly the same as the previous scenario except that we could continue to use our separate Amazon accounts for non-Kindle purchases and thus have privacy for that stuff from each other.
FYI: The scenario is roughly the same for Barnes & Noble, where the e-books are tied to an account. There is the added difference that Barnes & Noble uses .pdb, whose DRM scheme is also tied to a credit card.
In actuality, my wife, my kids, and I are pretty open and we don't care who sees whose books or Amazon purchases so we're going with option #2. With non-DRM e-books the scenario becomes much easier. We can share copies of e-books that we bought within our family. We know that it would be illegal to copy it and give it to others. Perhaps we should be allowed to lend copies to friends that expire in a week. That should whet their appetites so they might buy the book for themselves. On the other hand wouldn't all those broke college students find some way to get free copies of the books they need? People have to realize that if the sellers and creators don't make money, then how can they continue to give us good content?
In one sense digital print has been around for a while: The Web has lots of text! Social digital print has also been around for a while: Email! Blogs! Groups! Facebook! The "social" aspect of digital media as in songs and books however, is only just starting. It's not just a matter of finding out what's hot as in Pandora, Spotify, etc., but of discussing, note taking, excerpting. Of the e-book readers, only the iRex/Philips iLiad has serious note taking features. Each e-book should have at least one site that's a jumping point for discussions centered around the book.
Anyhow this post is getting a little long. What I do with books is find them, buy them, read them, bookmark my place, take notes, look things up, share them with folks, and reference the books. I'd like to be able to do the same thing with e-books, but with the advantage of portability, some connectivity, and digital notes. I'm tempted by the Apple tablet because it has color, video, and can take notes, but it would also need a big book store, free connectivity, and better battery life. Amazon and Barnes & Noble should continue to compete against each other for a cheaper e-book reader that can take better notes and can read e-books from more sources. The big thing is that more and more books should be digitized. The World Wide Web is amazing, Google is amazing, Wikipedia is amazing. The ability to access all the books, old or new, from anywhere would be amazing too!
Sony is releasing two new Readers today. Their old models were the PRS-500, PRS-505, and the PRS-700. The new models are the PRS 300 ($199 "Pocket" with 5" screen) and the PRS 600 ($299 "Touch" with 5" touch screen), both can access Google Books but don't have free Internet. In contrast the Amazon Kindle 2 ($299, 6" screen) and Kindle DX ($489, 9.7" screen) have free wireless but no touch screen. Another big contrast is that the Sony will be sold just about everywhere (Target, Borders, Wal-Mart, etc.), while the Kindle will only be sold at Amazon.
The upmanship in features and price is to be expected. The "standard" price for e-books is now $9.99 at Sony, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. For me the real battle is in the books: Do they sell the ones I want at a decent price? Can they read books from different sources?
Sort of funny to see Amazon trying to grip the e-book market tightly just to have the market slip between its fingers. Sony may have a reader but their book selection is limited --readers want to buy from an Amazon or a Barnes & Noble. Why set up barriers to people buying e-books? Why make us hesitate? Sell the readers everywhere. Let the readers read just about everything. Get rid of DRM.
The rest of the video looks at 5 aspects of HTML 5 and shows simple example code implementing those aspects. The 5 aspects he covers are:
Not surprising that the Kindle isn't interactive enough. Here's Aaron Horvath, a student in the study:
'Much of my learning comes from a physical interaction with the text: bookmarks, highlights, page-tearing, sticky notes and other marks representing the importance of certain passages — not to mention margin notes, where most of my paper ideas come from and interaction with the material occurs,' he explained. 'All these things have been lost, and if not lost they're too slow to keep up with my thinking, and the "features" have been rendered useless.'
The students also had difficulty citing the work without page numbers.
An hour long speech by Douglas Crockford of Yahoo, but you can also just read the transcript too. Some very nice stuff in there:
I periodically compare Firefox (FF) and Chrome (C). Here's how I compare them now:
The improved Google bookmarks extension was probably the single most important difference for me. But since that's fixed, this may be the month that I switch to Chrome. May the browser wars continue!
When I learned Ext JS, there were no books. I had to learn by playing with the product and by using resources on the Ext JS [extjs.com] website. The examples on site are almost pure code and no explanation (the code is self explanatory!). The API documentation is good but terse and dry with few examples. The forum is excellent and is probably the greatest Ext JS resource --it's like talking to Ext JS experts about your specific problems. As on of the few books on Ext JS, the Ext JS 3.0 Cookbook is a welcome resource. It has examples and explanations!
Overall, if you need to get a good foothold on Ext JS, then I recommend Ext JS 3.0 Cookbook (2009) by Jorge Ramon and Packt Publishing. If you're using Ext JS and it can help you get over that one little point that you've been stuck on for a few hours, then it's worth it.
One of the first things I needed to do with ASP.NET was output a non-HTML page, i.e. change the HTTP output. An ASP.NET generic handler file (*.ashx) does just that. You can output text (*.txt, *.json, *.xml, *.html, etc.) or binary (*.jpg, , *.mp4, *.swf, etc.) or just about any electronic file you want to. BTW, it is trivial to do this in Classic ASP, but .NET allows some fancier stuff too.
Well yes. The article states some stuff that's obvious to some of us, but I support erring on the side of stating the obvious. There are many times where I assumed certain things were obvious and then later I end up wishing that I had said something sooner.
Obvious #1. Yes Mac has always been about a captive audience. They have always wanted to control the hardware, the operating system, the apps, the design, the look-and-feel. Apple equals proprietary. I personally prefer open.
Obvious #2. Hardware, software, and Internet connectivity is getting cheaper, faster, and cooler. Monetizing and staying on the curve is business. Ubiquitous HW with 4G+ and cloud storage and apps is the way to go. Beautiful, powerful, intuitive interfacing is the way to go. Ubiquitous media capture (txt, pic, aud, vid) and geolocation is the way to go.
Obvious #3. For most users the following apps will suffice on an iPad: Media Players (pics, audio, video, books), Browser, Office-like suite. There will of course be hundreds of apps that users want, but the emphasis should be on what users need. What should come soon: Skype/phone-like communications, FTP. Specialized tools that may never come but should: Power editors (text, pics, video, etc.), Remote Desktop access, Development IDEs, Database and Sys Admin tools.
Personally I'm itching to buy a tablet but the iPad is too weak to replace a smart phone and my laptop.
You can add vertical tabs to the Chrome browser in Windows with these steps:
--enable-vertical-tabsto the end of the "Target" field.
It's not quite as good as the TreeStyle tabs Add-on in Firefox but it's getting there.
Chrome is so close to matching Firefox. I have a list of feature differences between the various browsers but between Chrome and Firefox, here are my top differences:
Here are a few things that I used to have an issue between the browsers:
I just solved a thorny little problem at work so I'm going to reward myself with a quick little post. I haven't had much of a cyber life lately because my laptop at home broke. (It's part of a class action lawsuit against Dell/NVIDIA because of a bad GPU.) The system I want is game ready (StarCraft II!). So I'm looking at a desktop plus a multi-touch monitor. Too bad the All-In-Ones have lame GPUs.
For mobility, I want to get another machine ca. 2011-05 when my Verizon contract comes up for renewal. I don't want to game when I'm out, but I'd like a real keyboard, a paper-sized screen (Most PDFs were meant to be read at that size), and I want it to be low in mass. The iPad, Galaxy, and other tablets so far are too small and too trivial. I'd like something like the upcoming Dell Inspiron Duo but with a larger screen and lower mass. It needs a SSD, not a regular HD! And why isn't USB 3 on all the new stuff yet?
To replace my semi-smart phone, I'd like a smarter phone that's also a WiFi hot spot so I can use it for my "tablet" too. Why would I want to pay for 3G/4G that's just for my tablet when I can share it?
My laptop is almost a month old now. I got a new one because the graphics card on my old laptop died trying to play StarCraft II. I'm going to document the various installs and stuff I've done so that I look at the entry years from now and laugh.
I received my brand new Alienware M15X laptop from Dell. Beautifully packaged. It felt like an event. It even came with a hat! The basic specs:
I only have two complaints about the hardware:
Next I did some mandatory stuff:
Through out all this I gradually did a bunch of Windows tweaks. Here's some of what I did.
Besides Windows 7, I was pleasantly surprised that there was very little extra pre-installed software:
Web browser stuff. Chrome is my main browser these days. FYI: At work I work with Chrome 8, and test with FF 3.6, IE 8, Safari, and Opera.
Installed StarCraft II. Oh yes! Many more frames per second!
Here's some work stuff:
Here's some random stuff:
My new computer is awesome! After all this, I still have more than half of my hard drive free. I have to do stuff like Inkscape and GIMP though. I'll probably get a multi-touch screen monitor, a keyboard, and a USB hub. My laptop is a mobile workstation, but for more mobility I intend to get a tablet later.
I put my family health data in spreadsheets: Without clear success stories in Personal Health Records (PHRs), I couldn't justify doing data entry in a particular PHR, especially since we don't know which, if any, are here to stay.
In contrast I know that I use Google Contacts on the Web and on my phone, so I know that it is beneficial to enter contacts in Google --but those entries are less frequent and less laborious than health records.
On the other hand if I knew my doctor was actually going to look at health info I entered, then I might have some incentive to enter it in their system.
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