Thursday, December 29, 2005

Patent trolls

Ars Technica points out a patent troll who has set their eyes on Google. This is worst then the other company who tried to get Google to pay for the use of the gmail name in the UK since this company does nothing but to sue companies hoping that those companies would settle.

DVD burner

I went shopping for a DVD writer yesterday and came home with a Plextor drive for about $80 (with $20 rebate). It's amazing how cheap these drives have gotten in a couple of years. I remember them used to cost $400+ (discs themselves also costing a fortune), but now many notebooks have it as a standard option. With ever growing storage requirements, CDs are definitely getting feeling the space pinch. Even linux distributions are now coming on 3-4 CDs!

Installing the drive was straight forward. I changed the setting for the drive to be a slave on the secondary IDE since I already had a CDRW/DVD combo drive as the primary then slide the drive into the bay. This was the first time I've opened my desktop since I bought it, so I took some time to clean out the dust that has accumulated in there. Things has sure gotten easier. Just slide in the drive into the mounting bracket and turn it on. I remember in the past having to make sure the cables reached then making sure to download the correct drivers before the OS will recognize it.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Windows on USB

For linux (and windows too), there is Knoppix, but I ran across this article about getting Windows XP to boot off a USB flash drive. I haven't tested it yet, but might be worth having around.

SCRUM in Gaming

I didn't expect an article in Business Week to talk about programming methodologies, so I found this article to be interesting.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Yahoo...

I took a look at my blog and realized how many recent entries have been about some new Yahoo! annoucement that I found to be interesting. Urgh... I need to branch out more! What's Google up to lately? :-)

Wordpress on Yahoo!

Following the news that Moveable Type will available on Yahoo! Web Hosting, Wordpress will now also be offfered.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Moveable Type now on Yahoo

Came across this somewhere that Yahoo will now host Moveable Type blogs.

Yahoo! Widgets 3.0

Yahoo! released their Widgets Engine 3.0 (formerly Konfabulator) for Windows and Mac. There's been some changes and a bunch of new widgets so it might be worth checking out. The list of changes can be found in the version history file (which I wish was easier to find).

Sunday, December 11, 2005

King's Quest

One of the classic video game series was the old Sierra Online adventure game, King's Quests. I loved those old adventure games where you solved puzzles as part of the story. Apparently there are a lot of fans out there who don't want to see these types of game die out so they've taken it on themselves to keep the series going. However, the tricky thing is that these groups don't own the rights to the series or characters and that puts them in dangerous legal waters. For the team working to extend the King's Quest series, this annoucement is very good news.

Friday, December 9, 2005

del.icio.us @ Yahoo!

As announced by the Yahoo! search team, Yahoo! have purchased social bookarking site, del.icio.us. This follows a similiar purchase of Flickr, an community photos site that really brought the concept of "tagging" into widespread use.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Yahoo! Answers

Although it's been out for a few days, I finally checked out Yahoo! Answers. It goes a little against the current trend of more multi-purpose sites that can be used for many different purposes. Instead, it is very clear about what the site is meant for. Go there to post questions and get answers from the community. This seems to be a good idea for Yahoo to try and see how well the public might take this approach of offereing easy-to-use and specific purpose tools.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Matrox DualHead2Go



Matrox is coming out with a new device that is very interesting. It is an external device that you connect to your laptop's (or any video card) VGA port and turns it into a dual head connector. What this allows is for your laptop to use two desktops.

Update:

Ars Technica has a review.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Visual Studio Express

Microsoft announced that their Visual Studio 2005 Express editions will be free to download for 1 year. Based on their post, these are fully functional software (although less features such MFC) with no expiration date. During this promotional period, anyone can download it and use it for as long as they want. I haven't tried it, but am curious to see what it offers.

Postgres 8.1

There's some DB news lately. Oracle's purchase of the innodb technology that MySQL depends on stirred up some news and that was followed by Oracle's annoucement to release a free Oracle DB called Oracle Expresss. Now the Postgres team has release PostgreSQL 8.1. The open source DB marketing has really matured and Postgres is definitely worth a look.

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Yahoo Alpha Geek Statue

Surfing the web as I often do, I stumbled on this blog entry about a statue Yahoo put up to to recognize the Yahoo Alpha Mail Team. There were two points that I took from the entry. One, the "killer dog-eat-dog" mentality of corporate competition and how far of that mentality has Yahoo adopted. Two, how appropriate is the statue and the wording of the statue.

I'm not prepared to comment on the first point. It's a complex issue with different parties all having their own interpretations of what's right and wrong. I would like to clarify the second point.

To clarify some misconceptions, the statue isn't a public statue. It was an (as far as I know) internal award to recognize the work of the Yahoo Alpha Mail team. A lot of people seems to interpret it as some public PR annoucement by Yahoo when it was just an individual who posted a picture he took while walking through one of the buildings at Yahoo.

Secondly, the blog states that it compares Google to the Nazi, I do think that might be a stretch. I guess the analogy could've been better by whoever wrote it, but the main reason probably was less to say Google is evil as much as they tried to pick a respected group of engineers to compare the mail team to. I didn't find the language to be as harsh as the blog entry itself. The harshest language used was "kicking an enemy's ass", but when put in context everything is really meant to be tongue-in-cheek.
The Yahoo! Mail Team's bravery, courage, and cumulative intelligence will not soon be forgotten. (At least not until the next version of Yahoo! Mail is released.)

Obviously this statement isn't meant to be taken seriously. It's meant to sound a little melodramatic, "Your courage won't be forgotten!!! At least not until tomorrow's breakfast if they serve sausages..."

I found the language of the article and the comments to be harsher then what was written on the statue. The comments included words and phrases such as "desperately clawing", "sodomize", and "duning it out over the customers". The tone of these is exactly what the blogger didn't like about how he interpreted Yahoo's tone.

Finally, just to be clear, the reward is an internal award toward the next version of Y!Mail and not what users are currently using so a lot of commentors are talking about how they don't see anything good but they're not even looking at the right thing.

I can understand where the writer is coming from, though, and I'm writing mainly to clarify the misconceptions. Competition is healthy and it is important. I believe that both Google and Yahoo strive to be good corporate citizens and without one pushing the other, we wouldn't be advancing nearly as fast.

Friday, November 4, 2005

Yahoo Maps

Yahoo released the beta of their next generation maps and it's pretty slick. The maps are cleaner and it sports a lot of nice modern features, but I'm mixed about the use of Flash to build it. However, at the same time, Yahoo also release their maps API and it supports both Flash and AJAX and I've seen some of the AJAX stuff which is very nice.

For some more details, the Y! Search team's blog also talks about the release of the new maps and APIs.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Dvorak on Google

John Dvorak of PC Magazine, apparently out of topics to discuss, writes about how Google is not really original. What defines "original"? Are only completely new ideas original or does coming up with a new-and-better way for an old problem original? The irony is that while Dvorak is talking about Google not being original, everything he says in his article is not original either. Plenty of other columnists and publications have already talked about the things he wrote. If he puts an new spin on an already existing topic, does he consider it to be original?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Oracle 10 ex

Apparently Oracle has decided to release a version of their database for free to go against the growing competition from free and open-source databases such as Postgres and MySQL. It's too bad they made such a decision so late. I remember when open-source databases weren't too mature and was not quite suited for large enterprise application and Oracle was the DB to get. That would've been the best time for them to have made this decision since everyone wanted to try the database despite its complexity. Now, however, the complexity of running an Oracle system outweighs the advantages of using it especially when compared to using other databases that can offer the same features and performance without the difficulties of maintaining the database system.

Still, it's better late then never.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Ultimate Street Fighter video

Here's a classic video of a Street Fighter fight where Ken is one hit from defeat but pulls out a victory from the jaws of defeat by blocking 15 consecutive attacks by Chung Li and wins. Or maybe it's Chung Li pulling defeat from the jaws of victory?

Classic SF video

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

VMWare Player

Vmware released a free player for their VM. Just found out today and I'll need to take a closer look.

Cybersquatters are silly

I'm reading the latest tech news and I see a CNet article talking about how Google is giving up the gmail name in the UK. According to the article there is a company called IIIRP in the UK that wanted Google to pay them $40-$60 million for the rights to use the gmail name. I went to see the company's site and saw no mention of gmail as a product other then in a press release talking about them suing Google for trademark violation.

Demanding that much money seems to just be greed as this company is cybersquatting the name, and Google had the right answer which was "Oh, well. We'll just use another name." The CEO of that other company must be shooting himself right now that he just blew a major chance to get some value for something that might not be worth anything (which is probably what the name is worth now). As if this wasn't funny enough, I noticed in their latest press release this comment:

Though uncertain, [IIIRP] is now hopeful that Google will resume the settlement discussion which Google unilaterrallly ended in Augst this year.


What are they smoking there?!?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

In bed with the devil?

The title is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. ^^;

Came to work this morning and the first headline that caught my attention was that Microsoft and Yahoo are teaming up. What is this?!? Turns out that MS and Yahoo has agreed to let their two IM clients communicate directly with each other. Even though it's MS that is first to partnered with Yahoo, this might be a good step in the right direction.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Preparing your laptop battery.

Thanks goes to Mac for reminding me about prepping a laptop battery before first use.

When the new notebook arrives, fight the urge to use it immediately.

(1) Plug it in and let it fully charge and don't turn it on or use it.
(2) After it fully charges, let it drain completely.
(3) Then fully charge it back up to full before finally starting to use it.

Apple has some more details for the Macbook and Macbook Pros on how to calibrate.

Some other info on Apple's site on taking care of your battery.

Web 2.0

Tim O'Reilly (of the publishing fame) has written an interesting essay about the current state of the web which he termed Web 2.0. Essentially, he argues that the web is in its second generation and he does some compare-and-contrast between the first generation and the second generation.

upcoming.org

Yahoo bought Upcoming.org and to be honest I've never heard of them until I saw the announcement. Upcoming is another company whose idea is in the social networking space which is an area that I seems to be one step behind when finding out about the latest-and-greatest. ^^;

The whole social networking idea isn't new but lately it's been given a new twist and is better integrated with the Internet. This is a positive development, I think, but very much aimed at the 20-25 crowd Good thing I'm only 19 and so I'll hit it next year (just kidding).

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Sony decides that Sony DRM is bad?

An interesting story on CNN about Sony directing complaints they're getting to a site that tells them how to work around the DRM protection scheme that is on Sony disks.

Y! Messenger Trick

I just learned this today about Yahoo Messenger. Not sure when it was integrated, but in your conversation window, type:

s: san francisco weather

or

s: weblogs

and messenger will return the search results from yahoo. "s:" seems to indicate search and it follows yahoo search shortcuts.

Saturday, October 1, 2005

XP SP3?

According to this CNet article, there will be another service pack for XP once the next MS Windows comes out. If the SP will extend the life of XP, I'm happy because I really don't want to shell out more money for an operating system. I'm perfectly happy to purchase useful application but upgrading and buying new operating system just makes less-and-less sense.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

New Yahoo! Mail

Yahoo has started limited beta testing of their new web-based email application and it is a definite "wow". It feel very slick and behaves likes a desktop application. It has all the nice things like drag-and-drop, key-bindings, indexed searches as well as the features of the old interface such as filtering, spam blocking, etc. My opinion might be biased, but in all honesty I was impressed when I first saw what the mail team was working.

This blog entry gives some ideas with screenshots of what's in the new Yahoo! Mail.

Google targeting colleges

I always thought that targeting colleges students with new technologies is a good idea and it looks like Google feels the same way:

http://services.google.com/university/

Google searches blogs

Google released their new search site specifically targeted at searching blogs: http://blogsearch.google.com/

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Google Talk

As expected, Google released a IM client today (IM servers came out yesterday) called Google Talk. Following the Google way, the client has a clean non-cluttered interface and built on top of the open source protocol, Jabber.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Yahoo Messenger

Looks like Yahoo! released the latest version of Messenger. I've been using the beta version for awhile and found it to be pretty reliable. The biggest feature of this new release is what they call PC-to-PC calling. Essentially, this is like a voice chat but if the person on the other end is not around, you can leave a voicemail. While this feature itself doesn't really seem all that revolutionary, the voice quality in the beta version was excellent.

Some other nice features is the file sharing where it now supports drag-and-drop. Of course, there is the many integration to Yahoo itself and existing features like photo-sharing, etc.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Monday, July 25, 2005

regex filename renaming

Marc found a script that rename file names based on a regular expression.

Yahoo Widgets and Konfabulator

Yahoo purchased the Desktop widget utility Konfabulator which is a javascript runtime engine that allows small programs written in Javascript to be run as independent applications. Not being a Mac user, I'm not as familair with the history of Konfabulator and whatever dispute there seem to be with Apple who also has something similiar. Originally, only for Mac platforms, there is also a windows version available that competes with a similiar product from Stardock. Instead of charging $19.99, Yahoo will now release the product for FREE.

The new download location for Konfabulator (now called Yahoo! Widgets?) is at: http://widgets.yahoo.com/

I tried out Konfabulator and some of the widgets do look nice. Their level of usefulness is still questionable at this point (a lot of simple clocks, etc) but I can see some interesting things that can be done when integrated with the Yahoo APIs. This does move away from dependency on the browser which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The one thing I don't like as much about these type of things is the memory usage. Each widget seems to take up as much as the next and as much as the main Konfabulator process.

Random catchup

It's been pretty busy lately so I have not had much time to update the blog. Frankly, I haven't encounter many interesting articles recently to really blog about. There was the contraversay with the "secret sex code" in the latest GTA game. If a game that lets players recharge their "health" through a visit to the corner prostitute didn't already have an "adult" rating, what's the big deal that there was a secret code to unlock pixelated acts of sex? The public reaction to this is probably overblown, but I do wonder what the programmers were thinking? Don't bite the hand that feed you, people. At least just make your own private version to show off to your peers if that's what it was about.

In related gaming news, the son of a Microsoft manager got his hands on his dad's Xbox360 and proceeded to take pictures of him with it and posting them on a public forum thereby completely breaking the NDA his father signed. It's safe to say that the father is no longer employed. What were both father and son thinking?!?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Seeing two images on one screen.

This is pretty cool!

Goodbye, OS/2

I remember when OS/2 Warp first came out and the excitement about it. I don't really know why, but the initial excitement didn't translate into sales or adoption. Despite it never living up to its potential, OS/2 still managed to hang around for over 10 years (nearly 20 since OS/2 1.0?). Sadly, the end is near as IBM has officially announced the last day of this OS.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Yahoo SMS, Slash what?

Yahoo released their own SMS search service for mobile devices. For those who are using Google's SMS service, this will be very familiar.

On a slightly different note, the further decline of Slashdot is evident in the growing frequency of uninformed comments by its readers. One example is when Yahoo launched its Mindset Search Beta and one reader quickly posted about how he did not like how he would have to download it and install software on his computer. The irony is that Mindeset is web application and doesn't have any software download unless the reader is refering to having to install a web browser so he can surf the web? Often there are comments about Goggle Search vs Yahoo Search and it is clear that many readers of Slashdot are not very well informed or up-to-date about current technologies. There are comments about how Yahoo uses Google's search engine (these people are a years behind the times) and comments about how Yahoo's search result are not as good as Google's (these people are many years behind the times). The truth is that the two search sites will not return the exact same results, but when people actually takes the time to do a comparison of the results they will find out how close the gap really is between the two. However, this isn't about G vs Y, my comments is actually about Slashdot.

While the "Slashdot" effect is still in play, it's questionable whether sites who gets this effect are now getting the type of traffic they desire. Technology sites all want greater traffic and have buzz spread about them, but as is often said, "quantity isn't necessarily better then quality."

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Initial D Movie

The live action movie based on the popular anime/manga Initial D was the number 1 movie in Hong Kong beating out the likes of Star Wars and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Now if they only had Angelina Jolie in that movie, it'd be unstoppable!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Yahoo! My Web 2.0

On Yahoo! Next, users can try out My Web 2.0 which is something like social bookmarking and search. More details can be found from the search team's blog, and people can also visit here for a comparision of it to del.icio.us.

Google Earth

Google released a beta their new desktop application for navigating geographical information in 3D. The clients can be downloaded from earth.google.com.

In addition to it being a desktop application as opposed to a web application, what is interesting is that even though it is in beta Google has a subscription pricing scheme already defined.

Monday, June 27, 2005

MGM vs Grokster

Someone has to explain to me the recent decisions by the Supreme Court. The highest court in the land is where we turn to for clarification when there is ambiguity in the law but instead the court has recently issued decisions that does exactly the opposite. The court's recent decision on MGM vs. Grokster not only seems to confuse the issue but also puts a legal warning against innovation. Anyone is welcomed to innovate but they won't know whether they have actually broken the law until someone sues them and the law pretty much says that anyone can and should sue. How can the justices claim their ruling was meant to protect innovations through a test that doesn't even clearly define what passes and what doesn't other then to go through a trial?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Playboy Lama

The BBC had this article about the 6th Dalai Lama who happened to enjoyed getting drunk and visiting brothel. Obviously, it didn't please the order to see their spiritual leader out womanizing and indulging in earthly pleasures and the dalai lama died under mysterious circumstances.

What I'm wondering is that wouldn't something like this just make people question their religion?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Kancho!!!

Dang, this guy cracks me up!

http://www.outpostnine.com/editorials/teacher.html

The lighter side of Japanese culture.

Fair skin vs pale skin

My old college buddy (who always kicked my butt in Magic) pointed out this post about how many asian women in CA wear some soft of mask to block the sun. I personally haven't seen anybody wearing anything that is being described (then again I don't get out much -.- ).

One distinction I want to point out is that that the Asian community does consider light or fair skin to be attractive but this is different then pale skin which looks sickly. I repeat: fair skin good, zombie skin bad! It all boils down to health. In western culture, a tanned skin gives off a sense of good health. It is the same in eastern culture where light fair skin gives off the same feeling. In both cases when it goes beyond healthy looking, it becomes unattractive.

Woz says Apple and Microsoft don't care about quality.

Steve Wozniak, one of the founders of Apple, makes a comment about modern software quality and says that companies like Apple and Microsoft are no longer as concerned about quality as much as quantity.

Yahoo vs Google

Given my situation, one might think that I would have more insight into the culture of Google vs the culture of Yahoo, but truth be told I really don't. Instead, here is an article from CNnet that talks about the differences between the two companies from a corporate culture point-of-view: Google vs. Yahoo: Clash of Cultures.

I can't comment on the Google side of things, but I don't think that the portrayal of the the Yahoo side is completely accurate. The technical and intellectual culture inside Yahoo is actually very vibrant although maybe not as much in the academic research form of way (although Yahoo! Research Labs might be different) .

The culture of Google and Yahoo IS different and the type of people each company attracts are different. The focus of the two company is also different but both companies are built on technology and it is the technology that keeps both company fresh and relevant.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Y! Subscription Search

This isn't too interesting from a technical standpoint. It is more a step forward on the business front for searching that Yahoo released a beta of its subscription search service. The idea is that if a user have subscriptions to different websites, they can perform a single search for information. The example they use is like the library where there might be hundred of sources but you don't need to repeat your search a hundred times against each source.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

JSUIX

This is pretty amazing even if one only considers it as a prove-of-concept. These guys implemented an UNIX shell in javascript that runs inside the web browser. While it doesn't seem like it has any persistence, it is still pretty cool and even has VI.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Fedora Core 4?

So this morning I see that Fedora Core 4 has been released. I have been running FC3 for a couple of months now and it seems to be working pretty well and I've not completely gotten away from the early adopter mode so i thought I'd to check out what's new. Not having been following FC4's development, I wasn't sure what is new about it and lo-and-behold... the web site doesn't tell me either! I do hope that the new Fedora Foundation will make a better effort to promote the distribution.

Update: Here are the release notes

Thursday, June 9, 2005

When nerds rules the world...

NY Daily News has an article about the growing popularity of "nerds" among women. I'm not sure I'd consider some of the people they listed as being really nerds or geeks, but still gives us hope I guess.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

(Rumor) iTunes Japan

This article seems to say that iTunes is going to be launched in Japan but there is no official confirmation from any parties and I don't read Japanese...

IBM Keyboard Lover

I love the clicky model-m keyboards from IBM, but this guy is a true fan.

Calculaters can do math?!?

Why is this even news?

Boy Genius Discover Calculators Can Do Math

Binding your own books

I found this picture journal on how to bind your own books to be interesting.

Microsoft Shell

Officially, it is called Monad Shell (MSH) but I first thought it meant Microsoft Shell. Tomshardware has an article about how Microsoft will overhaul the Windows command shell and go with MSH. Isn't it facinating how after all these years that we're moving back towards the old UNIX way of things?

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

perl -pi -e 's/\r//g'

Converting DOS/MAC text files to UNIX format:

perl -pi -e 's/\r//g' [filename]

Microsoft Anti-spyware

I thought I wrote about this before, but I cant find it it anymore. I've been trying out Microsoft Antispyware Beta and it looks like a pretty decent product.

Monday, June 6, 2005

Apple switching to x86

After 10 years (wow, has it been that long?), Apple confirmed the rumor mills and annouced that they have decided to switch over to Intel's x86 processors from IBM's PowerPC for its future computers. The first machines to use the Intel processors will be available in 2006.

After all these years, it feels kinda strange to think that Macs will be using an Intel processor. The move doesn't seem like it will affect IBM as much given the market size of Macs vs IBM's marketshare in video game consoles (all three next gen consoles uses some form of IBM PowerPC processors) and other embedded devices. What would be interesting is the effect it will have on Microsoft since OSX has really been winning the hearts of many computer geeks and developers with it's UNIX core and at the same time offering the Apple GUI.

It seems like the line between so many traditional competitors are disappearing these days. When will we be seeing VIEMACS?

Update: Well, Apple says they will not let OSX run on anything other then an Apple/Intel box so they pretty much shot themselves in the foot again.

AOL email

AOL released their web-based email system today. I think they'll have a tough fight ahead of them to break into the market place dominated by Yahoo!, Google and Hotmail.

Friday, June 3, 2005

EMACS, VI, Slickedit

It is always nice to work in an UNIX environment. The variety of tools and utilities is incredible and many have been refined over decades to be fast and efficient. I'm a big fan of the Slickedit editor (as evident by the fact that I have a forum for it on my site), but alas Slickedit discontinued the version that runs on the platform I use at work so it is no longer an option. The two heavy weights of editors are EMACS and VI, but I'm not going to go in to a holy war about which one is better. I've always been more of an EMACS guy, so I picked it up again and started to get my proficiency back (not that I was very proficient to start with). I think it's good to also know more VI so I'll probably try to spend some time with it also, but for now I'm using EMACS. As powerful as EMACS is, I sometimes miss the ease of Slickedit.

I got "Learning GNU Emacs 3rd Edition" and "Learning the vi Editor 6th Edition" (both published by O'Reilley) and I would recommend the EMACS book if you're just starting out. It is clearly written, very practical and has good real-life examples. The VI book is only so-so. I got the basics of VI from it but really didn't feel I learned any new "tricks".

Fedora Foundation

Found this on InformationWeek talking about how Red Hat is creating the Fedora Foundation and transfering the IP over to the new organization to handle the future development of Fedora.

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

DSL for $15

SBC announced a new $15 price for their lower speed DSL package (dynamic IP, 386Kbps-1.5Mbps download, 128-384Kbps upload). This puts the cost of DSL at the same price as a dial-up connection and considering SBC comes with dial-up as part of the DSL package it looks a great deal for those who wants a taste of broadband.

It's also good to see how broadband has matured as can be seen by how companies are simplifying the types of packages they offer. Instead of the 1001 different packages that usually happens when businesses play with different pricing and services most offer just a couple and for lower price then in the past. SBC itself now has only two packages: express vs pro.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Turn off unnecessary services

This isn't for Windows, but for Fedora instead:

Optimizing Desktop Performance, Part III

Normally, we see these types of articles for windows, but now we see Linux desktop distribution start to get more bloated.

Friday, May 27, 2005

RSS Feed of Microsft Knowledge Base

I stumbed on this today and it seems pretty interesting. This page has the links for people to subscribe to RSS feeds of the latest Microsoft Knowledge Base articles

New search from Y!

There's been a new search feature that Yahoo has been working on which I've been very excited about, but that I couldn't talk about until now.

Y! Research Lab has just announced that a test version of Mindset is available on Yahoo! Next. What Mindset allows you to do is to decide whether you're searching for research or more for shopping using a slider to give weight towards one or another.

From http://www.ysearchblog.com/archives/000114.html
What is Mindset? A new twist on search that uses machine learning technology to give you a choice: View Yahoo! Search results sorted according to whether they are more commercial or more informational (i.e., from academic, non-commercial, or research-oriented sources).

Sometimes you want to buy stuff and sometimes you just want to do research. In a typical search page, results point to commercial pages that are mixed together with non-commercial pages, so it's harder to find the type of information you're looking for. Mindset is our attempt to help solve that problem.

This is a very cool tool that really puts choice back into user's hands when it comes to search results.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A New Hope

I saw the "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith" today and it is definitely the best of the three prequels. Yes, there were some corny dialog, some stiff acting and some of the characters still seemed misplaced, but finally it feels like George Lucas returned to his element and provided the viewer with a epic, sci-fi action flick where the story element is general/simplistic but the world and environment is full so viewers have enough to be able to fill their imagination.

I really like how he links the designs of the vehicles to the original trilogy. One can easily see how they would have evolved from Revenge to Hope.

Y!IM Beta with free calling

Yahoo! Messenger latest beta can now be downloaded at http://beta.messenger.yahoo.com. The big thing about this beta is its voice calling capabilty that lets you have voice IM with other users anywhere around the world for free and
drag-and-drop photo and file sharing

Yahoo have been doing a lot with its IM client and it has a lot more feature then I was aware off. It has definitely moved beyond being just for instant messages which is both good and bad (I like small and focus apps^^), but definitely worth a look and to play around with.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Star Wars

Ok, the day is here and this is my obligatory entry on it...

Blah, blah... Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Blah, blah... Yes, I'm going to see it. Blah, blah, that guy who play Anakin is a wuss (doesn't matter which of the movie you pick). Blah, blah... Natalie Portman is kinda cute.

Now I got that out of the way, I'll actually go see it today and then back to my regular life. ^^b

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Bloggers are not journalist

I've been reading about how blogging is taking over journalism or that some people view individual blogs as equivalent to news. Blogs are not news articles and bloggers are not journalist. It would be like taking someone's diary entry and calling a news article. I'm sure many bloggers can be journalist, but until blog entries are held to the same ethinical standards and verification they are just people's subjective opinions.

That said, I do want to point out that since I occasionally post technology stories that I come across and find interesting including those related to Yahoo that I should disclose that I work for Yahoo. ^^

Round 2: FIGHT!

Now that the details are out on the next generation consoles from the top three players let the fight begin! ^^

It looks like modern and slick design is in for the new consoles.

Nintendo's Revolution:
Nintendo Revolution

Sony's Playstation 3:
Playstation 3

Microsoft's Xbox 360:
XBox 360

Sega's Dreamcast Xtreme
XXX

Gameboy Micro:

Gameboy Micro

Dvorak is still around?

John Dvorak, of PC Magazine fame, has been writing for a long time as a technology industry "insider" and I'm somewhat surprised that he's still around given how off-the-wall some of his writings are. He recently posted an article where he makes the following statement:

as the Linux community is slowly evolving into a state of mob rule, with the cheerleaders being paranoid crackpot leftovers from the waning days of Amiga


I'm not saying that he's wrong, but that he's about 10 years too late in making this observation (actually I think he's been saying this for 10 years and is just repeating himself). With each OS, editor, whatever, there's always fanatic advocates so what's really new?

Another example of how Dvorak tries to keep his relevency is to talk about areas where he obviously have no knowledge of such as video gaming: How the gaming Industry is Killing Itself. I highly doubt that Dvorak plays video games or spends much time in the industry to really know what's going on.

Freedom!?!

My old sempai from college finds himself alone since his wife is visiting Taiwan. He makes a good observation that it simply means he's "alone" and not "single" which is precisely the same situation I'm in this week as Tu is away on a business trip.

FFXI on Xbox360

2 images from E3 where Square-Enix announced that they are teaming up with Microsoft to develop an Xbox 360 version of FFXI integrated with XBox Live. Details of the deal or whether it is just a port hasn't been released yet, but in some ways this is good news as it opens up the game to a potential new group of players (although many xbox players might already have it for the PC) and shows that SE is still planning to keep the game around a little longer.



Sunday, May 15, 2005

Bash Presentation

Here' is a pretty good presentation on making more effective use of bash:

http://www.ukuug.org/events/linux2003/papers/bash_tips/index.html

determine top 10 disk usage

This command will display, in a sorted order, the top 10 disk usage from the current directory.

du -cks * | sort -rn | head -11

chkconfig

chkconfig is a text-based utility on Fedora to configure system services on Fedora.

Update: command line (curses-based) utility for configuring what to run at startup is ntsysv.

The GUI version of the tool is system-config-services.

Sudo Tutorial

I like O'Reilley books even if some of recent ones have been more commercial and their website has some pretty good articles aimed at both beginners and more advance users.

Here is a simple tutorial on using "sudo".

Eliminating Root with Sudo

Thursday, May 12, 2005

JPop

I think Y! Music Engine can be really good, but I wish these services expand beyond the US market and include Jpop too.

A few bands have caught my ear lately:

Orange Range
Soul'd Out

It's pretty rare for me to be interested in these since both of these are male bands.

I've wrote this down in a note to myself and forgot why...

T.M. Revolution: Invoke (Phase Shif) Gundam Seed Complete Best.

Eye Candy

Screenshots of Dead or Alive 4 leaked out and they look NICE! (Yes, I'm a sucker for the eye candy the DOA girls provide).

Check them out here



Development Environment

What would be the perfect programming environment?

I started thinking about this recently while doing some work and when I was setting up my linux box and windows notebook. The answer is obviously very subjective, and I'm sure there are many different ideas, techniques, tools, etc. that can be shared, so I figure I'd write down my thoughts about what I would like and what I use.

The first step is the hardware and having a computer is obviously a must (unless you happen to be Kintaro Oe). It is not enough anymore to work with just one platform and most of us find ourselves working with at least two if not more and usually on multiple OSs. I find it the most convienient to have two PCs running Windows and Linux individually even though dual booting is very easy easy to setup. It is just nice to be able to access both at the same time. For those with access to only one computer and still want simultaneous access to both OSs, an alternative is to use something like VMware and run virtual machines inside the primary OS, but this is more oriented towards x86 architecture. If you want to work with Mac hardware which is developing a growing programming community with OSX and its adoption of Darwin (a BSD derivative) has really made Apple an alternative then you'll either need to buy a Mac or try an hardware emulator like PearPC. Unless you plan to focuse primarily on working on a Mac, you might just want to try the small form factor Mac Mini which at $500 without a display is fairly reasonable (not quite enough for me to get one yet). I saw a few and I have to admit it is pretty darn quiet and small enough to have on your desk without it feeling it's crowding you.

I used to be a fan of large monitors (21"+), but I find my preference going towards having two smaller monitors. At work, I traded in my 20" LCD for dual 17" screens and it's great. At home, I've had two LCD monitors for a long time and it just feels better for me and it's hard for me to go back to a single monitor no matter how big. It's great to be be able to have an editor opened all the way on one screen, but still see the browser, email that's on the other screen. Use a KVM switch like the Belkin to share the display with multiple computers to save deskspace.

Firefox 1.0.4

Firefox 1.0.4 was released today to address some security bug that surfaced earlier this week.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Newest game

Ok, the game itself is not new, but I finally got myself this:

taiko drum kit

Yep, it's the Taiko Drum Master game and controller! It's a really fun game although I do wish they had a better selection of initial songs. I played through a lot of the songs until I noticed that I had a blister and thought maybe I should stop (but I play two more songs anyway).

Installing WinXP

After my recent exercise in installing Linux, I decided to reinstall Windows on a older notebook to use at work so I can bring it to meetings, etc. The notebook is a pretty old Sony Vaio R505 with WinME that I want to upgrade to WinXP. Sony computers can be annoying because they are often so proprietary even though the machine often comes with many features. Comparing the experience of installing two new OSs on two old machine turned to be pretty much the same. Each had different types of problems but an equal amount of time was spent on each.

Y! Music Engine

Yahoo! official launched their online music subscription service today. Y! Music Engine is a competitor to iTunes and Napster. It has some nifty features such as the ability for others to write plugins to enhance it and the price is lower then the other competitors.

One distinction with Yahoo's service is that it is a subscription-based and rental-based. Users pay a monthly fee and have the ability to "rent" songs to listen or can choose to buy the songs for a price. Renting a song basically allows a user to have unlimited access to the songs and even share it with others through Y! Messenger, but he can't burn it to a CD or transfer it to whatever device he wants until he purchases the song for $.79 a song.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

iTunes 4.8

I'm not really a big follower of iTunes since I haven't really used it other then to transfer music to my shuffle, so I'm not sure if the release of iTunes 4.8 is something new. The new feature that has been added is the ability to play quicktime video files which is interesting if it avoids that annoying "upgrade to Pro" message when using the normal quicktime player. On the other hand, isn't iTunes kinda bloated if it's only being used as a media player?

Thursday, May 5, 2005

Yahoo! Video Search

Yahoo! moved it's video search out of beta today. It can be access from the main search page:

http://search.yahoo.com

or directly at:

http://video.search.yahoo.com

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Moleskine

A few years ago, I bought a little pocket notebook (of the paper type, not the electronic type) that turned out to be a moleskine notebook which apparently has a long literary history and a very loyal fan base. Recently, I actually got around to actually using it after trying different ways to try to keep organized and sometimes the simple things work the best. PDAs and other stuff are always cool and fun to play with, but I'm having the most success simply using pen and paper to jot down notes and ideas.

I don't think you necessary need a "moleskine" notebook, although I guess the appeal is the practicality and well constructed bindings that my version has.

Doing a quick look online, I found the following pace to sell moleskine notebooks:

http://www.moleskineus.com/

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

NVidia and Linux

I was able to get the nvidia drivers installed for Linux so X-windows now looks nice and the screen is at the right resolution and position. If Linux is working to capture the desktop market then I'm not sure whether it is a good or bad thing to require users to manually edit the xorg.conf file by hand in order to have have the drivers recognized . Most people will compare their experience to what they are used to in Windows and that is they run a setup program and everything is installed and configured. With the nvidia drivers for linux, you have to run the setup then edit the xorg.conf (or XF86Config) yourself before X will load the proper drivers. Basically, there is one too many steps to installing video drivers and it is also more error proned.

VMWare Workstation 5.0

Version 5 of VMWare's x86 emulator has been released. I had recently bought version 4.5 so I was entited to a free upgrade that can be downloaded from their store. This program has come a long way since the 1.0 days and I've found it extremely useful and very easy to configure. What this program allows you to have is a "virtual" machine running within your native operating system. I can run another instance of Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, etc. inside Windows and experiment to my heart's content. If I screw up I simply delete the virtual machine file, copy over my backup (or use a feature in VMWare called snapshot) and the virtual machine is back up without me having to go through a complete reinstall of the OS and apps. A specific use I have for VMWare is to setup a work environment that if I wanted to can be shared with another simply by giving them the vmware data file. I can experient with unknown shareware in a completely isolated environment and all that other great stuff.

This all sounds great in theory but if one can't even get the VM up then it's all kinda pointless. Fortunately, this hasn't been a problem with VMWare. I was able to immediately put it to use which wasn't the case when I tried the 1.0 version. When I tried to try the 4.5 version (it's been years since I last looked at VMWare), I wondered whether it would still be the same, but it was just "worked" and I got the OS installed and went to work.

Now, performance is always a question with these type of software. The VM does run slower compared to the native OS, but it isn't that noticable (although maybe it's because I use it mainly as a development tool and don't run performance intensive apps). It probably can't run the latest video games at top speed, but for what I want to do it is excellent.

There is also a Power PC virtual machine call Pear PC which I have not tried and probably wouldn't make much sense for me to try since I don't have OS X.

Configurating Fedora

I've been taking my time with configuring the linux box mainly 'cause I'm lazy and partly because the only monitor it's connected to is Tu's monitor so I have to wait when she's not using it. Once everything is configured, I can just remotely do things but for now I have to use the monitor to configure the GUI so Tu can also use the machine to browse.

After getting yum to pull the latest updates and turning off unwanted services, I thought I was ready. I booted it up and it automatically goes into the X (which I do not like) and frankly it looks pretty crappy. Although it identified the LCD monitor and that the video card is a NVidia card, what was booted up was a fuzzy, shaky screen. The resolution that the install chose was not the native resolution of the LCD monitor and the positioning was off. I had to look around to find out how to change the resolution (again there were no documentation of any value that I could find) and a couple of times it didn't seem like it registered my changes. Trying to figure out how to change the refresh rate was also annoying since it was a different app in another group. Organization and documentation is definitely a problem with Fedora Core.

Don't get me wrong, I love Linux, but the distribution needs some work. It tries to be too much like windows instead of being better then windows. I tend to use Linux in text mode more then GUI mode. Text mode can be more powerful and everything can be done without the overhead of running a GUI. However, with little documentation, sometimes going to the GUI tool is a better (only?) choice until one has a lot more time to research the web and read other people's notes. Another advantage of text mode is performance and I can't help but feel that the system is sluggish.

I turned off most of the services (i believe I did since I used fedora's services tool to disable), but even though I thought I said don't use the redhat update agent, I still get the annoying blinking red bubble. Clicking on the tool to set the monitor resolution was also a pain. I'd run it and then.... nothing. Did it die? No, after awhile, 3-4 windows would pop up since thinking that it died, I chose the same tool again and a few minutes later they all popped up. Again, annoying. Maybe the Gnome desktop is just slow?

Tonight I'll take a look at some of the error messages I noticed about the system having no dma or something like that and hopefully configure X correctly.

Monday, May 2, 2005

Popularity of Mangas

Instead of working on the linux box, I spent an afternoon at Borders. It's been kind of disappointing since it used to be that these "mega" bookstores would carry books that smaller bookstores wouldn't normally carry since they don't sell fast. Now it seems like Borders and B&N are the norm and don't put much emphasis on these books.

One area that is growing huge is mangas and each Borders I've visited have whole section dedicated to it. My only question is why did it take so long for the US to recognize the potential for these. My next question is why are they printing them as trade paperbacks and charging so much? (The answer is probably higher profit margin.)

I also saw Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and it was ok. They probably packed too much into one movie, but then again that might be better then the trend of making trilogy movies that makes you wait 6 years to finish a story.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Feeling Stressed

I've been feeling stressed lately and I realized that I haven't really taken a vacation for a couple of years. ^^;

Before that though, I think it's better to start getting a little more organized and finish some stuff around the house. Since I work on the computer so much, I've started to look for stuff that will help organize my daily tasks and thoughts. The hardest thing about getting organized is staying organized, but lately I've started using KJots to take notes while I work. Such a simple little utility but works pretty well as long as I keep writing in it.

Anyone know a windows equivalent?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Installing Fedora Core 3

Ok, finally got through the installation of Fedora Core 3. Now it's time to configure the system. By default, Fedora starts in graphics mode which I don't like since the default graphics drivers for my Nvidia card isn't all that great and the Nvidia drivers requires you to install it in text mode.

Even then, the display didn't look that good on the LCD monitor and I'm not sure why. I also noticed a lot of things were running at start up that I wouldn't want to run. Here is where I ran into my biggest complaint so far. There isn't much documentation... Can't figure out how to configure this system yet. So, in the end, I powered off the system and will have to do some more research.

Fedora Core 3

Been trying to install Fedora Core 3 this weekend and haven't had any success. First was the kernel panic error which was solved by turning off the CDROM's dma. Then I got the install going and it aborted due to lack of diskspace, so I reduced the number of packages to install. Next, it aborted when it said it had a problem with one of the files and said it cannot continue and to reboot. Starting over, I got it to start installing but then it stopped at one point for 30minutes and gave no indication of whether it can't continue or what.

Surprising thing is that I had an older version of Red Hat on this machine at one point and it didn't have any of these issues.

To disable DMA, when the server asks for any kernel parameters, type "ide=nodma" (without the quotes).

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Google Search History

Google released a beta of their "My Search History" feature. Is this a good or bad thing?

My Search History

Don't steal that computer!

This is pretty hilarious (except maybe for the thief in question), but here is a transcript of a Berkeley professor's lecture to his class regarding his stolen notebook:

http://blastradius.blogspot.com/2005/04/world-of-pain.html

Kernel Panic

I tried to install Fedora Core 3 and ran into a kernel panic error that crashed the installer. After digging around a little, I found there was a bug report going as far back as Fedora Core 2 related to CDROMs and the error. The temporary solution was in the bug report to use linux ide=nodma:

linux mediacheck ide=nodma

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Update Day

I've been playing FFXI for what seems like forever. There is a lot of fun to be had in the game, but at times it also felt like a chore because there are real people on the other end who is waiting to play with you. It can get tiring having to play at times when you don't really want to play. Lately, I'm closing in on finishing a second job in FFXI and I'm eager to get the job done and take some time off. Today is update day and normally there is a eagerness to log in and see the changes, but I actually look at it as a day where I don't feel bad about playing!

Maybe I'll try Jade Empire tonight. ^^

Imma boring guy...

Hmm, my grand experiment of keeping a blog seem to be fizzling. i guess I just can't find much meaningful things to write about (i.e. this entry). Maybe I'm just a boring guy. Mix boring and lazy and one can see why there's not many interesting posts by me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

What we all want!

Even though I don't really drink and I'm not a bachelor anymore, I still want one of these:

http://www.gizmodo.com/gadgets/images/dvd-beer.jpg

Monday, April 11, 2005

Breast Implants

The FDA opened their hearing on silicone breast implants and whether the ban on them should continue. There seems to be three parties involved in this debate. The makers who claim such implants are safer, the users who feel that it should be their choice, and those who have had complications from such implants and wants to protect others from suffering the same fate.

The fight seems to be displaced to me. Shouldn't people demand that implant makers make new and better products rather then asking the government to lift a ban on a product that although might look and feel the most natural has had a history of breaking? Obviously, the current choice is inferior and the older product have unknown dangers, so shouldn't the pressure be on makers to come up with another better alternative?

Taxes

I put off doing taxes later then usual this year which isn't a bad thing considering that I might need to pay Uncle Sam. However, I keep thinking, "Why can't they just figure out what I owe from the start since they're already deducting from my paycheck?"

Monday, April 4, 2005

Jade Empire

Jade Empire, a RPG for the XBox, will be released soon. I'm tempted to get it for a couple of reasons. One, there aren't that many games that uses a chinese setting, so I'm interested in seeing how it is portrayed. If you noticed, game makers tend to use Japan for far-east settings with its Samurais, Ninjas, etc. Granted that many game makers are Japanese, I am still curious why so few games uses Ancient China as a setting.

Just having a game with a particular locale as background is hardly reason to buy it(most likely it'll be $50-$60), but the makers of Jade Empire, Bioware, have a very good track record of making solid RPGs. Anyway, gonna wait for it to come out and see if there are any sales.

Cheap Sony

Awhile back I was in the market for a ultra-light notebok and I decided on the Sony TR3A notebook. This is a nice little notebook that is great to take on the road. It is feature-rich, very light and has a nice looking screen. Since I wasn't planning on using this for my primary work-horse computer, it really fulfilled the purpose I wanted it to.

Recently, there's been a lot of news reports about Sony losing their edge and falling behind their competitors such as Samsung and Apple. I'll add that in addition to losing the technology edge, Sony is also falling behind in some other aspects of their products. I remember when I first got my Sony notebook and realizing that it had no CDs. Instead, I had to provide my own CDs to burn recovery disks. Does it really cost that much to provide 6 CDs after spending nearly $2000 on the notebook? It's these little things that often makes a person appreciate the extra price you pay for a good product and without them it feels like the product is cheap and/or the company is just trying to squeeze the extra cash from the consumer.

I thought about this again this weekend when I went to burn some software to a CD as backup. The notebook comes with a CD-RW, but no CD-burning software?!? Maybe it's just me, but it sure feels like Sony is cutting corners.

Saturday, April 2, 2005

Gmail Anniversary

Yesterday, Google celebrated the 1 year anniversay of its gmail service by increasing the storage capacity for users to 2 gigbabytes. The irony is that it's the 1 year annivesary of the software going to "beta"!

Friday, April 1, 2005

First entry

Finally decided to try a blogging tool instead of just using the simple one I wrote up while learning PHP. I'm still playing around with this and see if it'll actually get me to write more.