Wednesday, December 31, 2008

About time

Now I'm going to alienate the vast majority of my readers by highlighting a video game. but as the title suggested, its about time there was good sidescroll-platformer game.. http://www.shackvideo.com/?id=13387

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Some reminders for everybody

Points of interest:

  • Don’t use internet explorer
  • Back up your files
  • Get/update/change your anti-virus.

Microsoft has announced its own little holiday present to the world, (or at least the world of hackers and credit-card fraud). In security advisory 961051 (do they get a prize when they hit 1 million?), Microsoft stated: “Vulnerability in Internet Explorer Could Allow Remote Code Execution” This should be read as: third-parties can use internet explorer to get your login/credit card information from websites, even trusted websites. So use a different browser (Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari, etc…)

Back-up your files. Especially if you’re working on anything important, I would keep your most updated copy in at least two locations -- two physical locations, not “My Documents” and the Desktop. A good choice in addition to your hard drive would be a flash drive, or other removable storage, or your web-based email.

If you have an Apple computer and think you’re virus-proof, you might want to read bellow. I have things to say about Macs and viruses but it will have to wait until after finals. If you have a PC and Windows, you probably live in perpetual fear, running anti-virus nightly. If you don’t, you should. (This statement is only true if you believe me, in which case you are the kind of computer user who does actually need anti-virus.) There are a plethora of good, free anti-virus programs available online. There are also a host of viruses passing as anti-viruses because they appreciate irony. If you don’t know what you’re doing, stick to this list:

  • AVG-Free – this was, hands down, the best free anti-virus this time last year. Unfortunately while other programs moved forward towards faster less intrusive virus protection, AVG 8.0 went decidedly backwards. It still works however, for the most part. Download at http://www.filehippo.com/download_avg_antivirus/ on the right.
  • Avira, the company that makes the scanner software behind Lava-softs Ad-Aware makes an anti-virus called Free-AV found at http://www.free-av.com/
  • Avast makes an effective, if slightly bloated free anti-virus found at http://www.avast.com/eng/avast_4_home.html
  • Finally, if you used AVG free for a while and think that you have moved into the world of responsible computing -- that is, if you know what a high risk activity looks like and don’t need a program that runs automatically -- Clam-Win is the program for you. It doesn’t run in the background but provides a best-in-class on access scan under the GNU free license. http://www.clamwin.com/
  • If your looking for a paid solution, see my blog for a retraction of all the nasty things I have said about Norton. Norton 2009 is a viable anti-virus (but not any previous version).

Tis the season to be... virus-ed?

Ok, so its full on December. Your online for your holiday shopping, your online to spread Christmas cheer to friends, your online to look up recipes for drinks and dinner, maybe your even online to write blog-posts about viruses. One way or the other, your likely to use your computer, online, alot, and thats likely to be the same machine you keep your pre/per/post-holiday pictures, which you didnt back up yet, did you? So it would be a really bad time to experience the total data loss that a virus can bring, wouldn't it?

I've toted the same line for years. Viruses rarely result in data loss, especialy if you back up regularly (you do back up regularly, don't you?) *listens to the sounds of many feet scampering for external hard drives. Basically if you keep your files backed up virus's have three symptoms: performance hits, constant nagging, and a major inconvenience in the removal aspect. On these three principles I have always said, to many people's surprise, dont bother with anti-virus. The logic went like this: Viruses happen occasionally, and result in those three symptoms. Anti virus happens all the time, and it does the same three things, nags you, slows your computer down, and getting it on and off and updated to your system is a royal pain. So the smart choice was the virus, at least it takes a break.

I'm changing that line. The current generation of anti virus is smart, fast, easy to install, and once its there, you shouldn't notice it unless it really needs you, or you want too.

While im on that note, I feel I should retract statements i've made generaly about norton. Norton was the worst of the last generation of anti virus, but it might well be the best of this generation. http://www.geek.com/articles/chips/review-norton-antivirus-2009-20081215/
notably: "LiveUpdate is no longer a separate component" (see that Apple, you don't need an entirely seperate program for updates)
"The installation was absolutely painless and AV 2009 was running without so much as a reboot." (oh my goodness, its like linux from... forever ago, no reboot!)
"during general desktop operation the system consumed 10% of resources while Norton accounted for 1%. Overall its demands were quite limited, with the installation being about 47MB and under 8MB of memory used during normal activity" (I'm not going to mock that, I'm going to take my hat off and stand at salute, because that is the what it is to be of good software.)

SO, designate a driver for your parties, and get some anti-virus.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Data

It's more and more common to see computer applications asking you to allow them to send nonpersonalized data to their creators to "assist future improvement".
I would love to see in the comments who checks these boxes. Personally:

  • I send Valve data all the time because they send me interesting statistics back (thereby enlarging my ego)
  • I send Microsoft data in hopes that someday they will fix all these crash reports.
  • I send google data because I think they actually use it.
  • I hope dearly that the complete lack of software/hardware I have purchased from Adobe, Apple, and Symantec is telling them what I think of thier products.

Mac, meet virus.

Apple has enjoyed a pleasant lack of any real attention in the virus department for years, mostly due to their insignificant market share (historically less than 8% and thats in the united states where their sales are strongest.) Well, as market share rises, it turns out that the virus resistance Mac always bragged about was mostly accidental. Mac support has officialy changed their stance
"Apple encourages the widespread use of multiple antivirus utilities so that virus programmers have more than one application to circumvent, thus making the whole virus writing process more difficult. Here are some available antivirus utilities:
  • Intego VirusBarrier X5, available from the Apple Online Store
    License: commercial
  • Symantec Norton Anti-Virus 11 for Macintosh, available from the Apple Online Store
    License: commercial
  • McAfee VirusScan for Mac
    License: commercial
In addition, Mac ads claiming that mac didn't need anti-virus have quitly dissapeared from apple, and possibly at their request, youtube. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYPWFF9Sty4

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Poor rockstar

Rockstar games produces the well known grand theft auto series. They have a habit of releasing games for PC followed by disappointed press statements about how poorly they sold because everybody just downloaded them. This article describes the steps they are taking to punish their legitimate customers prevent this.
http://uk.pc.ign.com/articles/934/934268p1.html
The important point to note is this:
"GTA IV PC also requires a number of software installations, including Games For Windows, Adobe Flash, Internet Explorer, SecuROM and our Rockstar Games Social Club application."

For those of you who don't know how to interpret publisher jargon that should be read "GTA IV PC also requires you too introduce slow downs and insecurities to your computer"

Excuse the bad pun, but personally I don't think Rockstar has thought their game-plan through very well. They create a game themed towards GENERAL RULE BREAKING, SPECIFICALLY THEFT, and GETTTING AWAY WITH IT. Then they publish it at the largest and most resourcfull crowd of security breaking guru's around. They impliment security that this crowd will easily circumvent but which will annoy their legitimate users nearly too death. Then they idiotically show up on the news going "we just don't understand why people don't buy our games..."

Friday, November 14, 2008

This means war.

Rising prices is one thing. Car makers going out of business eh....

Thats it... the end is near.

Where will we get our funny circus animal shaped artery clogging palm kernal oil frosted cookies?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Windows Users Anonymous

"Hi, my name's Patrick and I've been microsoft-free for two weeks."

Two weeks ago today I installed Ubuntu 8.04 on my laptop (with vista still intact) thinking "Maybe I'll use it for fun." The irony. I haven't booted windows since that day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

GAH, JOURNALISM!

This article is WORTH READING. It is written by Orson Scott Card, author of Ender's game (which is on my top ten best books of all time list)

http://www.ldsmag.com/ideas/081017light.html

Isn't it refreshing when somebody that clear puts the honest truth into print?

ubuntu

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Microsoft did something cool!

I was browsing Microsoft knowledge base and I ran across this message. I want a T-shirt that says this.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Gahhh! Everything is Bloteware.

I went to update Shockwave player.... Downloaded the installer, looked at the check boxes for components.....
Unchecked the box to install Google toolbar.....
Unchecked the box to install Norton PC checkup.....
Wait....
What?
What do those two have to do with Shockwave? All three of them are from different companies. The only relation they have is THE INTERNET.

Nvidia's drivers come with portal download links.

Lenovo's desktops come preloaded with trails of Office that ACTUALY BREAK YOUR SYSTEM.

For once I would like to download a program and get only that program.

Would you like a free blender rental with your car purchase today?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gesture Controll


If that kind of thing interest you, check out uMouse by Larry. http://larryo.org/work/information/umouse/index.html
Very promising and free. Larry had a hard drive failure this week and could probably use a nice encouraging email if your interested in his software. i@larryo.org

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Piracy: Freemarket Evolved Part.II

I think others are starting to see the light.
http://www.joystiq.com/2008/08/22/peter-moore-doesnt-want-to-punish-pirates/

Thanks to nick for the link

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

CARMELL DANSEN!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Piracy

http://kotaku.com/5037902/indie-dev-asks-why-and-pirates-reply

I think that's a pretty novel approach. The game designer really hit the nail on the head. There are three companies who's games I've always actually bought (also, those three companies combined make up at least 85% of all the gaming i have ever done in my entire life.) those companies are squaresoft (sorry, havn't played any of their games since they merged with enix, just havn't had time) Blizzard (from whom i have purchased starcraft 3 times... because its worth the 10$ they want for it now just to replay it for a month and the CD's keep going missing.) and Valve.

These three completely support the points in the above article.

1.) They all make consistantly QUALITY games. I don't ever have that nervous feeling i have going to the movies that "i know this is not going to be that good, why am i wasting my time" feeling.
2.) The are reasonably priced. Sure, squaresoft used to charge 50$ for its games, and that made me buy alot less of them than i would have if they were cheaper, but they were worth it. in an age when most games where little indei productions square was making 4 disk long behemoths that lasted me a year; full of epic video footage and cutting edge new effects. they honestly outperformed everybody at their peak. As for blizzard, they CONSISTANTLY CUT THE PRICES OF THIER GAMES OVER TIME. Thats a strategy i can go for. sure, i dont buy their games when they are new, but when they drop down to 15$ i'm glad to pick them up. and that gives their games alot of longevity, that and the lasting quality of them all. then thier is valve... the half life games have the best value of any digital entertainment on the planet. for the price of any one source engine game you get access to a limitless online experience, free downloads of the games as often as you want (And this will be mentioned inthe DRM section) and literaly DOZENS of developer assisted free modifications that completely change the game. its like buying a car and getting free gas, a motercycle, a driving simulator, a jet pack and a thousand friends to go driving with for free.
3.) DRM (digital rights manangement, though nobody who doesnt know that has read this far.) is EVIL. I laugh my head off when developers use it. I'm sorry, but compared to the pirates, these guys are novices at security. So what ends up happening is EXACTLY what is said in the article. the legitimate users suffer from the DRM, and the pirates effortlessly sidestep it. So the people stealing the game, end up with a higher quality experience. very poor marketing choices.
blizzard has recently removed the CD check from their own games with a series of updates. i commend them.
Valve has by far the best aproach to this though. Yes, they are using a form of DRM. digital distribution. the results? epicly low piracy rates. one simple reason. they are the only company on the face of the earth that is actualy providing their product in a better package than the pirates are. thats right, it takes me 15 seconds of actualy work to pirate a game and i never have to leave my house. it takes 10 seconds to log into steam and download one. Their distribution method is the best anti piracy measure ever.

To sum up, Quality is the issue. I'm not going to get into a debate about the morality of piracy. I'm just going to say that the only legitimate view for a product designer to take is that its thier job to make a game thats worth buying, and sell it in a package thats easy to buy. its the same struggle that marketings always had. and its the same solution that the united states stands for in the world. i think we need a new slogan.

PIRACY, Freemarket Evolved.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

TV free week.

I'm sure people get tired of hearing me say I don't want to have a TV. After all, I was raised that way. But this guy ( http://www.marcandangel.com/2008/07/28/40-positive-effects-of-a-tv-free-week/ ) wasn't, and here's his list of 40 great things that came about from turning the TV off for a week.

“What could you accomplish if you stopped watching TV? What would you do with all the extra time?” My wife asked me these questions two weeks ago. After a short discussion, we decided to find out for ourselves. We completely eliminated television from our lives last week. It turned out to be an incredibly rewarding experience. We now have a plan to drastically reduce our future viewing habits.

Here are 40 positive effects from our week without television.

  1. Wrote 4 blog posts. – I usually only have time to write 2 articles a week.
  2. Made it to the gym 5 times. – I went Monday through Friday for about 45 minutes, hitting every major muscle group.
  3. Increased household communication. – TV kills the flow of household communication. We both noticed that we had a lot more time to talk.
  4. Read a novel cover to cover. – I read the short novel “Siddhartha” by Herman Hesse. It’s a powerful story about the importance of life experiences as they relate to approaching an understanding of reality and attaining enlightenment. I highly recommend it.
  5. Caught up on current events twice as fast. – I typically waste a good hour everyday watching CNN. This week I grabbed my news off the web. It took me significantly less time to scan CNN.com.
  6. Enhanced focus on everything. – TV is a huge distraction, even when you hear it from the other room. It’s so much easier to concentrate when you don’t have a TV yapping at you. I had no idea how much if affected my ability to concentrate until it was gone.
  7. Learned a few new skills. – I took my own advice and learned how to change the oil in my truck… pretty darn easy.
  8. Spent more time with friends and family. – We invited Angel’s sister and some friends over for a mid-week dinner party.
  9. Cleaned the house. – Something Angel and I habitually evade by watching TV instead.
  10. Learned new recipes and prepared 5 home cooked meals. – We cooked large portions so we could have leftovers for lunch every day.
  11. Spent more time enjoying simple pleasures. – Deep conversations, long walks, telling jokes, etc.
  12. Finally trimmed the hedges in our front yard. – I always put this off because I am tired after mowing the lawn. This time, however, I did it on a totally separate evening. It only took me 30 minutes.
  13. Cleaned out the garage and sold 2 old dehumidifiers on eBay. – We setup a 5-day eBay auction and got $65 for each one of them!
  14. Took 2 evening strolls around a local park. – We hadn’t been to this park in years… there’s only 1 reason why.
  15. Saved money on our electric bill. – Our power company’s website allows you to check your daily usage. Sure enough, less TV equals less electricity usage.
  16. Burned more calories. – We were off the couch moving around.
  17. Backed-up critical files on both of our laptops. – Transferred them all over to our Iomega 500 GB external drive.
  18. I played my guitar. – …for the first time in a year. I’m hooked again!
  19. Found 2 news bands I like. – I used online music comparison services to find 2 awesome bands with similar music styles to my favorite band, Counting Crows.
  20. Listened to more music. – In addition to finding new bands, I had more time to listen to my favorite music.
  21. We stargazed in our backyard. – …for the first time since Angel and I first started dating. It was blissful.
  22. Caught up on times with an old friend. – I hadn’t spoken to my buddy Jon since my wedding a year and a half ago. We had a pleasant 30 minute conversation on the phone.
  23. Handled basic household maintenance. – Replaced the AC filter, applied pest control spay, replaced fire alarm batteries, etc.
  24. Took Angel out on a romantic date. – I took her to one of our favorite Italian restaurants and then out to a local pub where we slow danced to a live music.
  25. Finished up a little DIY project. – I’ve been stalling on staining, sanding and hanging a certain wooden shelf for nearly 6 months.
  26. Updated the photo frames throughout the house. – Sometimes it’s nice to mix things up. We spent some time sorting through our digital photos and replaced a few photos in various photo frames throughout the house.
  27. Played racquetball. – Great 2-person sport!
  28. Organized my monthly planner. – Entered all my known commitments into my planner and did a little time planning each night.
  29. Reviewed our long-term goals. – Angel and I had an open discussion last Tuesday night about our goals for the next 3 – 5 years.
  30. Setup recurring automatic payments for most of our bills. – Now our electricity, phone, insurance and cable bills are automatically withdrawn from our account each month. This basically buys me 30 additional minutes of free time every month.
  31. Updated my resume. – It only took me 45 minutes.
  32. Quiet relaxation. – Instead of clicking on the TV, I spent some quiet time gathering my thoughts each day when I returned home from work.
  33. Intelligent conversations at suppertime. – Quite frequently we eat supper in front of the TV. Since there was no TV watching this week, Angel and I had some really interesting conversations instead.
  34. Hit it off with our new neighbors. – We spent more time outside and ended up running into our new neighbors. They seem like pretty cool people. There’s certainly the potential for friendship here.
  35. Exchanged back massages. – It sure beats canned laughter.
  36. There was more time for “quality time”. – You know… just me and her and some classical music in the background.
  37. More real life experiences. – Because we were off of the couch, actually doing something.
  38. Watched 1 quality movie. – Instead of watching whatever was on, we went to Blockbuster and selected 1 quality movie to rent.
  39. Ironed my clothes each weeknight before bedtime. – …since I had more free time in the evenings. It made my mornings less stressful.
  40. We got more done. – Because we had so much more time to do it all.

I strongly recommend a week without television to everyone. You’ll be amazed…

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A hint from the firefox Agent training manual.

So your reading an article and you have no idea what the word antimacassar means.... your first reaction is to google it. Good reaction. But then everything goes horribly wrong. You reach for your keyboard. With the gas prices as high as they are you dont have money for mountain dew to burn on useless movements for your keyboard. Stick to your mouse.

FIREFOX 3 Quick Search procedure:
1.) highlight the word.
2.) click and drag it up to the search box at the top right.
3.) read
4.) use the back button built into your mouse (WHAT? you don't have a web ready mouse!)

go ahead. try it out: antimacassar

Thats efficiancy. you can use all those extra movements you just didnt do to utilize a setup like this:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Yay, more Apple hate.

I'll admit that I don't always have concrete reasons for my tech choices. I'll stick with AMD to the end, even if their CPUs under -perform Intel simply because I like their company.
Similarly, I don't care how great ipods are, or how cool the new iphone 3g is. I think that apple is a company of glam craving, secret-society-wanna-be like numskulls and I've simply never liked their products. They are a sterile company, removing the need for a community by simply making idiot proof, overpriced, fashion-centric products, they make up for the fact that none of their features are actually new by having a stupid consumer base* and advertising like they are the first to do things when they never are.

So I'm always glad to see the worlds most consistently respected source of tech news (wired digital is a conglomeration of ars technica, wired magazine and reddit) point out that apples losing their clean cut image and their "it just works" theme and publicly becoming the money grubbing-Microsoft-like-entity that i always thought it was on the inside.
http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/07/has-apple-bitte.html

* I know plenty of smart people that own a mac, but im sorry, the majority of thier sales are made on the fact that most people care more about how shiny and white something is than its price point or its featureset.

Monday, July 21, 2008

ebooks and video game

Two arguments Ive had with a selection of my friends over and over again concern wether or not ebooks will replace books as the norm within our youthful lifespan (I'm argueing within the next ten years... though i started this the year i read 100 books on my palm pilot so that was already over 5 years ago.) and that, in fact, girls do play video games.

Well the mighty digg.com community saw fit to put two articles back to back today. The first, anouncing that thanks to their kindle device (which is selling so fast they cant keep it in stock) amazon (aka, the worlds largest online retailer) is making 12% of books sales directly to the kindle (that means not just ebooks, but ebooks on a single device.)
the other article you can read for yourself. or just read the headline ESU study: 40% of US gamers are women

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Why was this not on the news?

I honestly cannot fathom why this got zero news coverage... Here is a partial Quotation of Judge William Young's ruling on the terrorist Richard Reid.

(full transcript found on CNN http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/01/31/reid.transcript/ )

"You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier gives you far too much stature. Whether it is the officers of government who do it or your attorney who does it, or that happens to be your view, you are a terrorist.

And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not treat with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists.

We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

So war talk is way out of line in this court. You're a big fellow. But you're not that big. You're no warrior. I know warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal guilty of multiple attempted murders.

In a very real sense Trooper Santiago had it right when first you were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and where the TV crews were and you said you're no big deal. You're no big deal.

What your counsel, what your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today? I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing.

And I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you. But as I search this entire record it comes as close to understanding as I know.

It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose.

Here, in this society, the very winds carry freedom. They carry it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom. So that everyone can see, truly see that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely.

It is for freedom's seek that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf and have filed appeals, will go on in their, their representation of you before other judges. We care about it. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties.

Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms.

Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. Day after tomorrow it will be forgotten. But this, however, will long endure. Here, in this courtroom, and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done.

The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged, and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.

See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag still stands for freedom. You know it always will. Custody, Mr. Officer. Stand him down."

Sunday, July 13, 2008

You can be in the best shape of your life!

I've seen lots of diet and fitness programs advertisements. I can't help but feel that they're missing the most obvious thing in the world.

I know what it is. I can tell you how to make weight management easy. You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Fitness? You'll grow muscle over night without even trying. and the best part is, its free, you don't have to sign up for anything.

Want to know the answer too all of this?

BE 18 YEARS OLD.

Friday, July 11, 2008

video games make people deranged?

Jack thomson, probably the most well known anti video game advocate of all time, has been bared from practicing law for 10 years and is charged with 25 charges of misconduct. He probably doesn't feel that bad though because he knows we all care, look at the truck load of flowers we (being the internet, yes I did donate, it was too funny of an idea to resist.) sent him two years ago.

I just want to highlight one of this "great" mans endevors. Jack Thomson pledged that he would donate $10,000 to a childrens charity if video game makers would make a game based on a scenario he proposed. The game was made and jack coped out of making the donation. When our beloved penny arcade stepped forward and made the donation in his stead Jack Thomson did not even wait a day to attempt suite (and yes, arrest) against its members. (full story available, of course, at wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Thompson_(attorney) )
Guess the last bit doesn't apply anymore O_o

I'll leave you all with a few words from the man himself.
"The moral midgets like the computer geeks at Penny Arcade think that I am some sort of pixelated piƱata in a game. I'm not. Gabe [the in-comic alter ego of Penny Arcade artist Krahulik] decided to go after me, and he chose the wrong target. I've been at this longer than he has." yah jack, penny arcade is out to get you. If you think web comics are real i can see where you would worry about video games.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I will be a cyborg yet!



I deeply wish i had sufficient funds to acquire the absurd array of near-cyborg-making electronics and software (list will be updated, check back too see more.)

Hardware: The top of the list is inovative and awesome, the bottom is necessary for real portable computing
*(for facial recognition, im never going to forget another name once I get this set up.)[oh yah, and seing backwards... always wanted to do that. or with extensible base, over crowds.]
** rather than a laptop because the screen would be a waste of space and the nano-itx build would be much more easily augmentable.

Software:
  • Dragon Naturally speaking voice recognition software.
  • facial recognition software

Just a little hint.

Need more hard drive space? I doubt you can find a better performance/price ration than this drive. LINK (at least for the next week. but thats how computers go.)

Friday, July 04, 2008

Yawn

Because there were comments about no pictures of us. (on a post where I'm in the third picture).
here is evan and I, tired, becuase we just spent 3 hours walking through artists alley where evan bought a print.

anime expo Day 2

So we're back for more. The convention center is even more crowded today. I don't know how many people come to this but I'm guessing its in the tens of thousands over the 4 days.

Even more cosplay. Including me with my friend matt and his brother mike.

wow..

This is disturbing to read... Think your sunscreen is protecting you?

http://www.newsweek.com/id/33384

Thursday, July 03, 2008

It's not just the otaku.

That are genderally confused that is...

Anime expo day 1

so we went to a ton of booths and got enough free posters to cover every room in my house. Now were watching an anime in a theatre that's running them 22 hours a day through sunday.

more cosplay atached

This years anime expo theme is "can you guess that gender?"

EDIT: if you are confused as too what the above are dressing up as... see some of these videos click here

So were at the expo. The cosplay abounds. More later.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

new speeds



Just because i can....

Now i understand my coworkers

http://www.theonion.com/content/video/today_now_how_to_pretend_you_give

Monday, June 30, 2008

Long live PC games!

It seems that the attraction to a special breed of casual gamers* that consoles have has made them look like the future savior of gaming. In comes Gabe Newell to defend the future of PC gaming.
http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=160866&page=1


*That is... 5-12 year olds who don't have the practice to keep their computer running properly and older games who want an out of the box solution

Thursday, June 26, 2008

eat scathing hate Mac OS.

ok, the title might be a little over the top. Personally the only thing i have against macs are their price tags, difficulty in user upgrades, major lack of games and the failure to support 80% of the hardware and software on the market. Ok, that was not a list that should be prefixed with only, basically they meet almost none of my needs. I guess over the years I've been pretty mean to Mac users.

So as an apology, and to prove that I'm completely open to other peoples way of thinking. That you are all perfectly free to chose what OS you like. Here is another persons completly different reasons for hating Mac OS. :P and you thought i was gonna give the mac people a break.

http://gizmodo.com/5018985/why-i-still-use-windows-despite-the-peer-pressure

wow, i love these people.

http://torrentfreak.com/joss-stone-piracy-is-brilliant-080625/

and of course Orson Scott Card. Who originally released Ender's game for free online (till his publishers hassled him out of it, but i appreciate the thought.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I love XkcD, sometimes it scares me though.




and now all you people know why i randomly jump out windows. O_o

Saturday, June 21, 2008

wow

This is beautiful... Not only is it the most clever WOW thing ive seen... note the "vegito.... ITS OVER 9000!" dragon ball Z qoute worked in and the Counterstrike Source Office level use....

astonishing, all that stuff we invented actualy works.

Don't take this article the wrong way. As always I'm really glad to see technology advancing, especially when its advancing in the areas that happen to overlap high high end gaming with life saving medical modeling abilities, and the (sometimes life saving) most accurate weather reports to date. so my point isn't that any of this is any less great. I'm just a little confused. at this point, probably so are my readers. (except nick, he's already figured it out and is cross referencing with the nvidia press release)

The recent bit first. Technology news the past week has been flooded with stories (which im too lazy to reference, take my word for it, or look it up, or dont.) about new "single machine" super computers. they explain that protein-folding-scientists/financial-analysts/supercomputer-labs/video-game-designers have made amazing 100X improvements overnight in computer technology simply by utilizing the core processor design built into modern graphics cards.

This is all true, its the overnight part that loses me.

what actually happened is this. about 10 years ago a couple of big computer companies (namely AMD, IBM, Toshiba, and Sony) realized that the smaller faster processor architecture had logical limits too it. So they figured they had better find a different branch for computers to improve by. Years later, about the same time Intel was catching up with the realization (which is amazing since they brought the most competitive product to the marked, admitadly 2 years after the viable cell processor.... and at least a decade after the first ARM processors.... but thats not really relevent.) anyways, what intel and these other companies came up with was the idea of multi core processors. not the dual processor or quad processors of the late 90's. They had thought of putting hundreds, maybe even thousands individual logical units on a chip. (and in computer history, saying numbers this early in the game is always a bad idea, so ill say it now, yes, someday a processor may have a million cores on a single waffer.)

So thats the history lesson, and anybody who owns a modern console, or a core2 or X2 or cell processors, is using the results. so why didn't every dual core processor have these results? Well, simplifying a lot, nobody was really ready for their programs to work with multiple processors, in most cases this meant that buying a dual core processor (assuming that it runs at a slightly slower speed than a single core of the same cost would and has less cache per core) would actualy run... almost everything slower.

All these breakthrough technologies have accomplished is speaking to the new processors in a way they understand and can excel at.

Yes, its great that were finally seeing the results we expected... but didn't i already pay for that?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Further proof that half life 2 is awesome

Bellow is a rube golberg device designed completely within the half life 2 game engine.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Credits to XKCD.


and just to make myself the king of piracy, here, i steal their Legal Disclaimer.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.
This means you're free to copy and share these comics (but not to sell them). More details.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Voice chat destroyed my inner child.

So Many of you will know I've been an avid fan of the half life games for about 9 years. The strong point for these games is that they let users change the universe almost however they want and release the new game online for free (to anybody who alreayd owns the origonal).

One of my current favorites of these is called "Eternal Silence". In it you play a marine on a large ship in the middle of a feild of astroiods. Each team has its own capitol ship, 3 support ships and an unlimited number of smaller fighters, bombers, and interceptors (the last three being controlled by other players). The result is an epic space battle in which you launch wave after wave of fighters (one of which is controlled by yourself) at the enemy ship, weakening its defences untill you can land a carrier inside loaded with marines and tear apart the internal systems.



So what does this have to do with voice chat and my inner child? The latter half first. Ever since seing starwars there has always been a romantic notion of the grandure of fighting in a large space battle. ES does a good job of fulfilling this desire. Then the voice chat comes in...

*** The clak, clak, clak of military boots sounded rhythmically as the five marines ran from there deep sleep chambers to the hanger.
"If we make a good first run we can take out there corvetes while our shields are up." the leader yells.
The first two two to reach the hanger jumped into the sleek looking bomber, one in the center of the ship, focusing on the main thrusters and the large payload bombs, the other in the crane like turret has the job of shooting enemy fighters and missiles out of the air with the twin vulcan cannons. Two more jump into boxy looking fighters loaded down with cluster missiles till they look like some sort of bizar antenna array. The last marine swung himself into the cockpit of an interceptor, low on fire power and looking a remarkably lot like a stainless steel gillet razor if not for the 6 foot arc of plasma out the back. The interceptor is so fast that fighting it is alot like trying to kill a fly with a 22. rifle. For most pilots of the interceptor, lacking force powers, flying it is just as challenging. We would shortly find out that this pilot didn't just the have reflexes of a 14 year old (without all that uncourdinated walking into walls business that comes with the rapid growth of that time.) but also the bedtime of one. For the time being however, he may have been the only one in a parsec that could handle the ship.

As one, all four fighters thrust out of the ship, twirling hullwards as the artificail gravity gave one last tug on there aft sections. They began to accelerate, space appeared tranquil, they were on the wrong side of the mothership. The behemoth mass rolled past them and beams of searing heat appeared in a cone pattern from an area miles away. The cannons on their own ship glowed in anticipation of their own next volley.

"lets sneak in on the glow from the cannons" the leader shouted over the voicecom. the exuberant pilot of the interceptor was already shooting ahead in a blur of blue when the first lance of light shot outwards. Their own ships cannons were powerful but this early on in the battle the enemies shields were still holding. The rays of orange light faded and then abruptly disappeared in the distance as they intersected blue ion shells. Still, the light show was sufficiently bright to hide the incoming ships and with nothing else to worry about the pilots had an easy time bobbing away from the beams as they arced across the sky.

Suddenly a voice squeaks "Incoming!!" over the radio. The interceptor had spotted three enemy fighters trying to hide in the same firelines.

The two missile fighters which had been hugging the bomber peeled off, lurching at incredibly speeds behind a cloud of asteroids that felt almost as if it were there just for this purpose.
seeing an unprotected bomber, the enemy fighters thoughtlessly unloaded all of their own missles. a round dozen set of particle propelled explosives zipped towards the bomber, who's own gunner immediately began picking the projectiles out of the air with a nearly solid stream of magnetically accelerated metallic flechette.

before the bays on the fighters could be loaded with another volley of missles the two friendlys from the astriods swept out of their cover and peeled in besides them. at nearly point blank range the enemy fighters had no chance to destroy the oncoming projectiles or even dodge. they disappeared in a series of short flashes.

Unfortunatly for the bomber ship these fighters demise did not mean the end of there missile atack. The pilot had rolled out left and shot past the missles, burners at high, a single missile exploding off the left side of the ship leaving a black scar accross it. but the missles were manueverable and flipped almost instantly to follow it, the gunner picked off one, then two more but it was obvious that at least some of the remaining missiles would impact, probably with deadly results.
Just when it looked like the groups bombing run would be left hopelessly bombless the interceptor zipped in. green lasers, generally too weak to take out a ship, flashed out, superheating the shells and vaporizing them in an instant.

This was starfighting at its best. coordination, deadly speed, combined with the beauty of billions of killowats of firepower unloading accross thousands of miles of space. Then the unbearable happened.

"hey guys," the interceptors pilot squawked, "my mom says i have to go to bed, c'yall".

Suddenly without any physical harm the interceptor vanished from the world.

"oh man, is it that time" the bombers pilot intoned in a decidedly more marine like voice. "i better get my kids off to bed too." suddenly the bomber dissapeared also, accompanied by the shrieks of his copilot who had been sent back to await respawn when his ship had dissapeared from around him.

The two fighters drifted on forward, but the charge was lost. I was consumed by one thought as a second wave of enemy fighters, enabled by the intelligence of the first group and now outnumbering us left my digital vehicle a pile of high speed scrap in out space. Irony, we were killed by real life.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Spacer

This is just to make the flashing picture move down the page so it wont bother Jeremy anymore.











.




.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Shameless nespotism


I thought I would put a plug in for my brother's new album. He plays with the band Romak and the space pirates. http://www.myspace.com/romakandthespacepirates

There are playable versions of their songs there as well as a link to buy there album. It's a bargain at 12$ and it comes in an awesome format. Namely, it comes as a USB armband with the album title printed on it. the armband snaps open to allow you to plug it in, as any USB flash drive and it has over 400MB free space for you to used for whatever you see fit over and above the songs, album art, movies, and lyrics that comes preloaded on it.

(Profanity warning)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Why I'm holding out on replacing my phone.

Sophomore year of high school, my friends Lucas, Jeremy, and I were talking about palm pilots. We all agreed that the whole market was moving to smart phones (to my own dismay, dedicated palm pilots would still have application if they were being produced) and further that apple would inevitably get in on this market (The iphone was of course announced 3 years later).
About a year later, rumors were flying that google was making its own operating system. Lucas and I discussed how cool it would be if it was a mobile operating system based on the same slimmed down functional design that made googles home page dominate search engines everywhere.
For those of you who haven't been following this ... ANDROID.
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/08/05/31/googles_android_demo_shows_app_store_tweaks_iphone_formulas.html

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

100 Posts!

Actually, this will be the 103rd post on my blog. In the traditional internet spirit, here is a relevant picture of a little kitten. here's to 100 posts!
Image is credit of whoever owns it. I have no idea who this is.... if its yours (and the chances of the owner stumbling upon my blog are in the billions to one range.) please let me know.

Homeschoolers need not apply.

This is greatly annoying. Subway is holding a contest for students grades k-6 to write a short story. They specifically exclude home schoolers. (See the bottom of the page. http://www.subwayfreshbuzz.com/kids/contest.aspx )

Everything from college admissions, test scores, average income, polls of lasting relationship with parents, and mine and many of my trusted friends life experience shows that home school's ultimate one on one classroom experience is EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE for many children. Further, people with strong religious or political convictions have almost no choice in some situations but to home school. This comes up over and over again. For example, by law schools must teach concepts about abortion and Sexual relationships (including views on gay marriage) that are incompatible with the respect necessary for a teacher or establishment. That is, even if parents provide a counter example, your still putting your child in a bad situation because even if they believe you over their teachers (which sadly is not always the case.) They now have authority figures that they have a legitimate reason to not trust or respect.

So I feel strongly that homeschooling is not only a good idea in many cases, but a necessity. Why should these kids be excluded from a great creative writing contest subway?

From the email I received:

"NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Contest is open only to legal residents of the Untied (sic) States who are currently over the age of 18 and have children who attend elementary, private or parochial schools that serve grades PreK-6. No home schools will be accepted.

Subway's Web site promotion not only misspells "Untied (sic) States," but offers the grand prize winner a "Scholastic Gift Bastket (sic) for your home."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Great answer to common car question.

What is the least expensive way to speed up my (Insert car make and model here)?

"The easiest way to speed up your (care) is to choose music that fits the RX­7 experience. There are a number of excellent suppliers for driving music. ZZ Top has been providing excellent driving music for over twenty years. Start with their now­classic Eliminator and ZZ Top's Greatest Hits. For more fun, check out their latest album: Antenna. If you are more of a classical listener, try Wagner's "Walkurenritt (Die Walkure)". In fact, many parts of Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen" is appropriate for high speed driving. For the MetalHead, Megadeth's Rust in Peace works very well. If you are a member of club Xanadu, try Robert Palmer's Addictions Vol. 1. The all time best song to drive to has been scientifically proven to be I Fought the Law (And the Law Won) by the Bobby Fuller Four."


-Taken from Team3's Rx-7 FAQ (http://www.teamfc3s.org/faq/)

Can you guess which video game character this is?

I want a pet robot.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

liquid death anybody?

Some people who read my notes about corn syrup last month were confused as to how its worse than cane sugar.

From this article:

"Research is beginning to suggest that this liquid sweetener may upset the human metabolism, raising the risk for heart disease and diabetes. Researchers say that high-fructose corn syrup's chemical structure encourages overeating. It also seems to force the liver to pump more heart-threatening triglycerides into the bloodstream. In addition, fructose may zap your body's reserves of chromium, a mineral important for healthy levels of cholesterol, insulin, and blood sugar."

Ah, Hyperbole, the great bane of modern existance ;)

The title has absolutely nothing to do with what I wanted to post about.

I was just posting to say how happy I am that Fine Cooking is making the (new) "Cooking without recipes" section a regular. I'm not a big fan of recipes (outside of cooking classes I have used maybe 5 despite the fact that I cook all the time.) I don't like them because they make people think theres some sort of magic necessary for cooking. There isn't. Experimentation and simple flexible rules are what I think people should use.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It's all geek to me.

First off, I apologize for that pun. I realize it is truly awful. Probably you shall all need therapy.

Now, to be a little anal retentive.

It's Geek... Nerd is a pretty mean thing to call somebody.
I appeal to Merriam-Webster:

nerd
1 : an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially : one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits.
VS
geek
3 : an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity

Wrist computer

decided it has been far too long since somebody tried to make a wrist mounted computer. towards that end i present to you:


I












yes, that is a sock. obviously it needs more work... its currently about 1.2 CM thick and weighs way way too much with the battery hooked up. also i need longer cords because currently everything has to be right next to it.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Prince Caspian

For now, I'm just going to say that I was REALLY disappointed. The first one gave me a fair amount of faith in these movies but this one was dismal. Poor scripting, painful overuse of nauseatingly bad slow motion scenes, ABSOLUTE deviation from the book's plot, weird (and annoying) camera angles, no discernible moral message (and complete destruction of the beautiful symbolism in the book). Pretty much it was everything I had feared the first one would be and worse. Don't waste your money. I'll edit this with particular complaints later maybe.

Edit: ok, I just had to give you this quote from the New York Post's review. "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian doesn't quite equal the first film, but some may find this one a less-insistent piece of pure entertainment because it isn't so overtly Christian"
So its not as good, but thats ok, because they got rid of all that nasty christen stuff.

Edit2: Just so you know some particulars of what I'm talking about in case I haven't persuaded you not to waste your time and money.

  • Prince Caspian has an under developed character. For some reason somebody thought it would be a good idea for him to have a heavy spanish accent and long hair. for that matter... harry potter has more acting skill than this movie.
  • There is a dramatic falling scene during the last battle but the character is only falling about 3 feet. why is this dramatic? because of the next point.
  • major overuse and misuse of slow motion. especially right at the beginning of Peter's duel. What the heck, that looks like stop motion animation.
  • Why do the narnains have rapid fire everything? rapid fire (gas powered?) crossbows. Rapid Fire spiny trebuche, rapid fire 5 high ballistas? this might be cool in another movie, here its just distracting and gimicky.
  • What was wrong with the storyline from the book? I thought it was pretty good. they could have included some of it...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Esperanto

Go learn Esperanto!

What is Esperanto you ask? obviously you have not spent enough time around me. From Wikipedia:

Esperanto is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language.[2] The name derives from Doktoro Esperanto, the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof published the first book of Esperanto, the Unua Libro, in 1887. The word esperanto means 'one who hopes'. Zamenhof's goal was to create an easy and flexible language that would serve as a universal second language to foster peace and international understanding.

Esperanto has had continuous usage by a community estimated at between 100,000 and 2 million speakers for over a century. By most estimates, there are approximately a thousand native speakers.[3] No country has adopted the language officially.

Today, Esperanto is employed in world travel, correspondence, cultural exchange, conventions, literature, language instruction, television,[4] and radio broadcasting.[5]

Some state education systems offer elective courses in Esperanto, and in one university, the Akademio Internacia de la Sciencoj in San Marino, Esperanto is the language of instruction.

There is evidence that learning Esperanto may provide a good foundation for learning languages in general. (See Propaedeutic value of Esperanto.)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Mother

Well, I was driving and packing earlier or this would have been up this morning. I wanted to post a thank you to my Mother.

My Mom is, of course the best Mom ever. Thanks Mom. Happy Mothers Day.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Days 5 and 6

I'm DONE!!!!! The philosopher final took a little over an hour. It was a good final, very strait forward (but not to the point of boredom, which plagued my lab final, because it essential just asked us to repeat what the text said.)

During my philosophy final somebody mentioned something about how many philosophers it takes to screw in a light-bulb. This clearly needed to be contemplated so:

How many philosophers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A light bulb requires either 0, or as many as there are in existence, or an infinite number of philosophers to be screwed in. For:

  • The philosopher will realize that the end of every worthwhile activity is truth. In the case of light bulbs the illumination of proper objects of truth is the only real end without which the screwing in of light bulbs is more properly left in potential. Sometimes truth is best contemplated in the dark, as when there is modern art in the room. So in this case it would take no philosophers to properly screw in the light bulb.
  • Additionally, philosophers will realize that there is some good in screwing in a light bulb this good is found in as much as it is more being in the activity (sometimes called, having a life, or actually doing something) than simple existence. In this case, as many philosophers as have no better thing to do would be required to fill as perfectly as possible the end, or goodness, of screwing in the light bulb. It is well known that philosophers have no life, and having no life is a lack of being which is improved by any being, so screwing the light bulb would further actualize all philosophers in existence. Thus screwing in a light bulb would require all philosophers
  • The philosopher will realize that the light bulb’s screwing partakes in the circle, the most perfect shape. The circle is most perfect because it has no beginning and no end. Thus the philosopher will realize that in order to be most perfect the light bulb should be screwed in continuously. No single man can screw in a light bulb continuously. To do anything that cannot be done by one being indefinitely, indefinitely, required an indefinite number of beings, therefore there must be an infinite number of philosophers to screw in the light bulb.
Thus, screwing in a light bulb requires either 0, all in existence, or an infinite number of philosophers.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Finals Day 4

Math is done! Woot! I stayed up till 4:00 AM but I had all 8 props down. The final was not at all what I expected. It wasn’t that hard, but it was not on the questions I thought it would be on. I think it went well though. I left my teacher a note on the front (Apollonius begins his second book of conics with “if you are well, well and good, and I too am well. We have send you our son Apollonius bearing our second book in conics.”) my note read “Mr. Bear, if you are well, well and good, and I too am well, we send you our little blue book bearing our second final in sophomore mathematics.” I hope he remembers the introduction so that it makes sense. Lol. Otherwise it would be very odd.

So now I have Seminar tomorrow, lab the next day, and philosophy the day after.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The best t-shirts ever

http://store.xkcd.com/
(warning, geekhood is assumed)

OCR (Optical character recognition)

This is one of the many times when I think it would be nice to have a tablet pc (yes, I know most of you are thinking “how many devices can one person use?” my answer..... many).

I guess I should explain. Object character recognition is when a computer analyses a picture and tries to make words out of it. This comes in two forms, handwriting recognition as is used on most palm pilots, and scanned document recognition. It comes up because one of the oldest and best math study guides on campus is slowly diminishing to a couple of copies of copies floating around. To prevent the eventuality of this piece of wisdom becoming extinct our dear friend Ian Larson scanned it into a series of jpeg files. Unfortunately these are unwieldy large (20 MB) , contain all sorts of artifacts and in general are cumbersome to read and print. So I decided to step in and convert them to digital text. My tool of choice is simple OCR which is free to non commercial use ($1250.00 for commercial licenses, ouch). So then comes the tablet pc. A computer can do a decent job of recognizing a character if its really a character, unfortunately it freaks out and tries to recognize eraser marks and underlines as character too, this is gotten around by highlighting areas that you want the computer to ignore, unfortunately this is hard to do with a mouse, with a tablet (if anybody doesn’t know, this is like a laptop where the screen can go completely flat against he top and drawn on with a stylus) this would be vastly easier to highlight ignored areas and clean blemish’s from the scans. In any case, the end result of this was that I “entered” 15 pages of text in 2 minutes. that’s 3500 words per minute J

Finals Day Three

Theology was delicious. I had such a blast writing the essays.

The final consisted of three questions:

1.) According to St. Augustine what is the relationship between the city of God and the City of the earth? According to this how should a Christian live?

2.) Anselm says “you must first believe so that you may understand, for if you do not first believe, you will not understand” How does this statement reflect the argument in the Proslogion?

3.) (this is a quote from one of the more modern encyclicals but I can’t remember which) (well, not really a quote because it’s off the top of my head and thus not exact) “Christ in his perfection showed man mans own nature and its ultimate end” in what way do St. Augustine and St. Thomas show this in their writings?

I would try and recreate my answers but it would just take too long. Cool questions though. Only took 2 hours too so that’s good (we had 3 if we needed it.)

Now to study for math like crazy till tomorrow, after that I can relax a little bit. Seminar is always fun and there really isn’t much in the way of studying one could do for it. Lab shouldn’t be too much of a problem for me since its one of my better subjects. So that leaves philosophy but three days should be more than enough time to study for it. If I survive learning 8 props that is.

Thank you to Lucas and Nicole for the good luck wishes.