iamom: (carclub)
According to the Fox News report embedded below, this guy has recently patented a new method of electrolysis (or was it hydrolysis?) which converts H20 into HHO for cutting metals (as opposed to using acetylene) and for running a gas/water-powered hybrid car engine.

I believe that we're already facing some serious water shortages around the world, so I don't expect that this would be a panacea for global warming if it were actually viable. We still need quite desperately to reduce consumption, I think. But this is still a pretty interesting technology.

EDIT: The Wikipedia article on this invention mentions that his claims were found to be fradulent by an Ohio court in 1996. Perhaps I should have considered the source of this news piece -- Fox News -- before quoting here? :)
iamom: (Default)

This betavoltaic battery can apparently last for up to 30 years through its design, which features radioisotopes as its energy source. Apparently the power generation process does not involve nuclear processes, which means that it doesn't generate radioactive waste, nor does it generate any heat.

The article states that the batteries should be on the market in 2-3 years. The consequences for batteries for portable devices are clear, but I'm interested in knowing if the technology could be scaled up to power vehicles. Or used in other power generation, like for electrical appliances and such.
iamom: (riker and sage)
I have a PC running Windows XP with an AMD Athlon 2 GHz chip in it and 1 GB of RAM. Does anyone know if OS X (i.e. 10.4 Tiger, for Intel-chipped Macs) can be installed on that machine? Or does the fact that I have an AMD chip and not Intel preclude me from doing this?

Thanks in advance for your opinions.


(x-posted to [livejournal.com profile] applecomputer)
iamom: (horn)

Wow. So, MS will forward a small portion of the Zune's purchase price to Universal Music, in recognition of, what, exactly? I like the 3 conclusions the blogger above made:
  • Every single person who buys a portable media player is a thief and a pirate.
  • All music comes from Universal.
  • Therefore, you should pay extra for any device you use to store music, you fracking thief.
What a crock. I probably wasn't going to buy a Zune anyway, but I definitely won't, now. Show me a model that actually compensates the artists and I might go along, but more money to the record companies instead? Gimme a break.
iamom: (Default)
I've been following with some interest the recent progress of LJ founder [livejournal.com profile] brad in his quest to write a new POP mail server. I don't remember his original motivation for the project, but if it's like most of his work, he probably did this because the existing protocol sucks and he wanted to clean it up somehow. (His other motivation is sometimes just purely visionary: like hello, the LJ friends page? RSS feed reader, circa 1999. Brilliant.) At any rate, he appears to have recently wrapped up the bulk of his work on this, although I know from earlier entries that he doesn't really plan to roll out this POP mail server for general use. I think he's actually just planning to use it himself. And probably release the code for anyone else to use, unsupported.

The technospeak is practically unintelligible to me, but I still enjoy reading these posts from him. You can read the post in question here.
iamom: (Default)
What makes this so-called Web 2.0 (i.e. the widespread use of collaborative, web-based tools and applications (usually available cross-platform via any web browser) to organize the world's information and to perform the world's technical computing tasks) powerful, in my opinion, is tagging. When people using the internet (and conducting research and posting their thoughts, opinions, and analysis on the world around or within them) start to use a standardized content tagging system such that web searches 'by tag' (LiveJournal, Blogger, Technorati, Delicious, Magnolia, whatever) or using tag clouds (LOVE tag clouds, love 'em) renders the most valuable and most pertinent results. More valuable and more pertinent because the regular people using the services become the content indexers, as opposed to the old days, when only HTML developers would include really good metatags and content in the HTML page headers of a given article.

Builds a better keyword index, if nothing else. And I love the cross-platform nature of it, too. Here I am, on my beautiful Mac notebook, no worse off (indeed, much better off) than I was six months ago with my PC.

Okay, now I'm really rambling.
iamom: (Default)
What do you peeps use for managing your to-do list or for productivity or project tracking? I'm a recent PC switcher (happy 17" MBP owner) who doesn't want to use MS Outlook (or whatever the Mac equivalent is) but who needs a pretty good to-do list scheduler and tracker integrated into the calendar.

I've been experimenting with iCal, but don't find that the to-do list and scheduling functions are well enough integrated and the user interface is also inefficient and occasionally annoying. Google Calendar doesn't have nice to-do list integration, and I'd rather have one that resides locally on my hard drive rather than the web anyway (although I sure don't mind web-synching between two computers or just plain live web versions of my calendar and to-do list).

Your faves and recommendations are much appreciated. Along with a quick poll on what peoples' fave LJ client is for the Mac. I've been using XJournal and liking it a fair bit, although there are a few small bugs that could use some attention. Does anyone know of a Mac client that's as good as Semagic is for Windows?

(x-posted to [livejournal.com profile] applecomputer)
iamom: (looking out)
I've been researching content management platforms for powering ulisten.net, and after selecting the blogging engine WordPress, I discovered that they feature a number of web hosts that are streamlined to deal with their platform and also not very expensive. It also struck me that these hosts are advertising good deliverables for a reasonable price.

Here is the list of WordPress-friendly webhosts, along with the WordPress installation instructions for any web server . My synopsis of the best-looking hosts is below. I ended up choosing AN Hosting out of Chicago, and so far everything has been running smoothly. I'm just about to transfer three other domains to this new host though, so it remains to be seen how smoothly the final move will go.

NOTE: These plans have to be pre-paid for at least 1 year.

AN Hosting (Chicago, IL)
free domain name for life (up to 20 domains can be hosted on each account)
15 GB storage + 250 GB monthly transfer
PHP, Perl and MySQL
unlimited e-mail accounts

DreamHost (Brea, CA)
free domain name (unlimited domains can be hosted)
20 GB storage + 1 TB monthly transfer
3,000 e-mail accounts
$9.95/month ($7.95 if prepaid for 2 years)

BlueHost (Orem, UT)
free domain name (up to 6 domains and 20 subdomains can be hosted)
15 GB storage / 400 GB monthly transfer
2,500 e-mail accounts (web/pop/imap)
iamom: (Default)
This term Web 2.0 (Google | Wikipedia | Technorati) gets bandied about a lot these days, and even though I've been using several Web 2.0 services for awhile (LJ, Wikipedia, Gmail et al, del.icio.us, digg, etc.), I didn't really know what the heck they were talking about until recently.

Mark Glaser, of PBS.org's excellent MediaShift blog, just posted an entry about Defining Web 2.0.  It goes a fair way to clear things up, plus links to some other good articles on the topic. From his entry:

1. Generally refers to a second generation of services available on the World Wide Web that let people collaborate, and share information online (Source: Wikipedia ).
2. Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices (Source: Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Publishing, who runs the Web 2.0 conference ).
3. With its allusion to the version numbers that commonly designate software upgrades, Web 2.0 was a trendy way to indicate an improved form of the World Wide Web (also from Wikipedia).
4. Web 2.0 is the latest moniker in an endless effort to reignite the dot-com mania of the late 1990s (Source: John Dvorak of PC Magazine).
5. It’s a technology upgrade, one that finally does what they’d said version 1.0 would do (Source: Paul Boutin of Slate).

For the long-form definition, check out O’Reilly’s essay, What is Web 2.0.

iamom: (sage muzzle)
I've been waiting for this...

Click the image for a full-size screenshot or
go to the Google Calendar Start Page

On [livejournal.com profile] wickenden's reco, I started using Upcoming.org's online calendar service, but although I really dug the RSS feed of my schedule (which I could slip oh-so-easily onto my NetVibes start page (NetVibes was also a great tip from [livejournal.com profile] wickenden, and it's a service which I love more than words can say -- especially since they added tabbed pages this week)), I found Upcoming.org's usability to be poor. Takes too long to create appointment entries and there's no feature to schedule recurring tasks at all.

Google Calendar solves all that with a super intuitive "Quick Add" entry field that parses a simple sentence into an event. Type "Lunch meeting with Don on Apr 30 from 12:00-14:00 at Salvatore's" and it creates an appointment for exactly that date and time and puts "Salvatore's" into the location field. Reminders can be sent by e-mail, SMS or phone, and the nifty "Agenda" view displays all of your upcoming appointments (the Agenda can also be mailed to you each morning at 5 AM if you like). It's beautiful! The GUI is also à la Gmail and integrates nicely into the whole deal.

If Google adds a decent project/task management/scheduling component to this and then rolls out a full release of Writely (the free, web-based document editing tool which Google recently bought) and then adds a simple spreadsheet app that covers the most common functions used by most folks, then we'll finally have a possible choice to migrate from MS Office for a fully-integrated productivity app. I'm very impressed, and very happy.

After using Google Calendar for a half-hour, I already have a hit list of usability improvements they could make, but knowing from my experience with Gmail how long it takes those suggestions to get implemented, I won't waste much time on that for now. I sure wish I could work on a usability team for Google Labs, though. I know I could help improve their interfaces and features really quickly.
iamom: (portrait)
What an interesting walk down memory lane some of these links hold. I had some friends with that huge white brick-like Motorola cell phone. I'm also quite familiar with the Commodore 64, the Atari 2600, and the TRS-80 portable computer.
  1. Sony Walkman TPS-L2 (1979)
  2. Apple iPod (2001)
  3. (Tie) ReplayTV RTV2001 and TiVo HDR110 (1999)
  4. PalmPilot 1000 (1996)
  5. Sony CDP-101 (1982)
  6. Motorola StarTAC (1996)
  7. Atari Video Computer System (1977)
  8. Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera (1972)
  9. M-Systems DiskOnKey (2000)
  10. Regency TR-1 (1954)
  11. Sony PlayStation 2 (2000)
  12. Motorola Razr V3 (2004)
  13. Motorola PageWriter (1996)
  14. BlackBerry 850 Wireless Handheld (1998)
  15. Phonemate Model 400 (1971)
  16. Texas Instruments Speak & Spell (1978)
  17. Texas Instruments SR-10 (1973)
  18. Diamond Multimedia Rio PMP300 (1998)
  19. Sony Handycam DCR-VX1000 (1995)
  20. Handspring Treo 600 (2003)
  21. Zenith Space Command (1956)
  22. Hamilton Pulsar (1972)
  23. Kodak Instamatic 100 (1963)
  24. MITS Altair 8800 (1975)
  25. Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 (1983)
  26. Nintendo Game Boy (1989)
  27. Commodore 64 (1982)
  28. Apple Newton MessagePad (1994)
  29. Sony Betamax (1975)
  30. Sanyo SCP-5300 (2002)
  31. iRobot Roomba Intelligent Floorvac (2002)
  32. Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer (1999)
  33. Franklin Rolodex Electronics REX PC Companion (1997)
  34. Lego Mindstorms Robotics Invention System 1.0 (1998)
  35. Motorola DynaTAC 8000X (1983)
  36. Iomega Zip Drive (1995)
  37. Magnavox Magnavision Model 8000 DiscoVision Videodisc Player (1978)
  38. Milton Bradley Simon (1978)
  39. Play, Inc. Snappy Video Snapshot (1996)
  40. Connectix QuickCam (1994)
  41. BellSouth/IBM Simon Personal Communicator (1993)
  42. Motorola Handie Talkie HT-220 Slimline (1969)
  43. Polaroid Swinger (1965)
  44. Sony Aibo ERS-110 (1999)
  45. Sony Mavica MVC-FD5 (1997)
  46. Learjet Stereo-8 (1965)
  47. Timex/Sinclair 1000 (1982)
  48. Sharp Wizard OZ-7000 (1989)
  49. Jakks Pacific TV Games (2002)
  50. Poqet PC Model PQ-0164 (1990)
iamom: (patriotism)
I just read about this in a blog entry on PC World's Techlog, which is maintained by a technology journalist named Harry McCracken (originally I wondered if that was a pseudonym -- it sounds like a joke, like Phil McCracken). This Google News search shows articles pertaining to a request by the US Dept of Justice for aggregated search data (specifically, search terms requested and resultant URLs) from the major search engines. Google has denied their request, which I think in general is a good thing.

In his blog entry, McCracken raises a few questions about this DoJ request, most notably for me being whether or not this puts the government on a slippery slope whereby eventually they'll ask for identifiable data to link up certain of these search terms to private citizens. I think it's a valid question, particularly since the Executive Branch has been so awfully untrustworthy when it comes to the regular privacy of ordinary, unsuspecting (and unsuspected) citizens (read Bush eavesdropping).

Probably due to my being in the Atlantic Time Zone (i.e. 1 hour earlier than Eastern), I happened to sneak into the very first comment position on the blog entry. Once again, the link to the McCracken entry is here, and my comment is below:
Posted by Dustin on Friday, January 20, 2006, 04:48 AM (PST)

Re: "...the U.S. is a country where it's not a given that the government gets access to any information it wants, no questions asked."

You MUST be joking. If Bush already feels that he has the right to eavesdrop with impunity on private citizens who are not under any suspicion of terrorist activity, why on Earth wouldn't he feel entitled to gain access to whatever information he wants, no questions asked?
iamom: (steady)
It's called the MacBook Pro, and it has a 1.67 or 1.83 GHz dual-proc Intel chipset, which, by Apple's measurements, will make it 4 or 5 times faster than the PowerPC-chipped PowerBooks from last week.

Does anyone reading this have an opinion on this yet? I want to buy a new Mac notebook but I'm not sure if I should stay away from a first-generation release of a brand-new technology like this...

Engadget's early post on it is here, along with several comments.
iamom: (mos def)
When our compact and durable little Sandisk 1 GB MP3 player died Sunday, I made it a priority to replace it with a 2 GB iPod nano as soon as possible. (It only cost $40 more than the refund amount from our old player, and the nano has twice the memory. I also feel utterly incapable of running without listening to music right now. Extremely cool packaging for this thing too, by the way. Size of a double-CD case.)

Anyway, since getting an iPod means being forced to migrate to iTunes (usability crime #1: force users to install unneeded additional software), I installed iTunes 6.0 onto my PC and pointed it to my audio files to populate its library. (Since I have always organized my MP3s into directories by genre, then artist and album with Windows Explorer, I chose not to have iTunes consolidate my library into whatever directory structure it saw fit.)

In very short order (like, less than a minute), I was impressed to see that iTunes had generated a complete catalog of my 13 GB of 2,000-odd audio files. Proof positive that iTunes can work seamlessly with your music collection no matter where the files are stored. (It appears to do this with an SQL-driven database of your music library which links to the actual location of each MP3 on your hard drive when it's time to play a given song. This library can also be exported to an XML or TXT file.)

cut for those who don't care... )
iamom: (suntrees)
[livejournal.com profile] jjjiii just hipped me to Boston-based Greg Raiz (bio | blog) who has a hell of a lot to say about software usability, especially from a development standpoint. Since I'm on the lookout for new feeds to test the Google RSS Reader I've been playing with recently, I added this guy's blog to my syndicated feeds to keep up with what he's saying.

He just posted what I thought was a mind-blowing (or at least, VERY clear) entry about what Linux needs to do to kill Microsoft in the usability department and, basically, take over the world in the operating system sphere. Now, I'm a total Linux-phobe myself, although I've always been interested in trying it out because I know that it's an inherently more stable OS (or kernel, or whatever) and I dig supporting open source in principle and practice whenever possible (the LJ platform is open-source too, for those who didn't know -- the code is here). The reason I'm scared to try Linux is because I've heard it's not user-friendly and very command-line-oriented, which I don't have time (although I do have the inclination) to learn right now.

Anyway, he basically threw down what I thought was a very well thought-out manifesto on OS usability in this blog entry, and he had me clapping with joy at his insights, until I read some of the 139 comments on the entry (bear in mind it was just posted TODAY!) that went fairly far to cut down his logic, in my opinion. Now I don't know what to think, but boy, did the guy ever inspire a good discussion.

And I still don't know if I have the guts to try a Linux install. Maybe I'll partition off a piece of my second (older) hard drive and try it out sometime. If a majority of those comments are to be believed though, it sounds like I could derive similar technical benefits with increased usability by getting a Macintosh with OSX on it instead. (As a side note, I know that LJ founder [livejournal.com profile] brad uses the Debian distribution of Linux on all of his desktop machines, so if I try anything, it'll probably be that one.)

Incidentally, while reading the comments on that entry, I came across this supposed blog from a Microsoft developer, which appears to be a sham but was funny to read anyway (though tough for me to understand as a non-developer).
iamom: (zoe light)
I found this on Digg, which is a sort of tech news/blog/RSS/etc. aggregator that [livejournal.com profile] twid just referred to recently.

The pictures are here, and a full story about it here. Forget about kids in developing countries, though: I just want to buy one of these things!!!


iamom: (Default)
Dustin LindenSmith

January 2013

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