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

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.


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:


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 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


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:


or directly at:


Wednesday, May 4, 2005


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:


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.