Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Web browsers explained

June 6, 2010 1 comment


From here.

For what it’s worth, 47% of readers of this blog use Firefox, 21% use Chrome, 18% use IE, 12% use Safari, and less than 1% use Opera (n=86,995).

> sudo rm microsoft … please?

November 11, 2009 3 comments


Seen over at Slashdot – Microsoft is attempting to copyright has patented SUDO. Seriously. More at Groklaw.

My Third Computer

October 25, 2009 1 comment


Details here.

After that (in 1989) I bought a series of Windows laptops and desktops manufactured by Dell, Gateway and Toshiba. Twenty years later, I moved to my current system.

My Second Computer

October 24, 2009 5 comments


Details here.

My First Computer

October 23, 2009 9 comments


Cutting edge of home computing in 1982. More information here.

RFC 1149 for the win

September 11, 2009 5 comments

Seen over at Slashdot:

“The results are in: it’s faster to send your data via an airborne carrier than it is through the pipes. As discussed Tuesday, a company in South Africa called Unlimited IT, frustrated by terribly slow Internet speeds, decided to prove their point by sending an actual homing pigeon with a “data card” strapped to its leg from one of their offices to another while at the same time uploading the same amount of data to the same destination via their ISPs data lines. The media outlet reporting this triumph said that it took the pigeon just over 1 hour to make the 80km/50mile flight, whereas it took over 2 hours to transfer just 4% of that data.”

Details on RFC 1149, for those who are not in the know.

On why you should always have a Linux live cd handy

August 9, 2009 2 comments

Early last week I managed to make my WAMP server unusable. Well, I didn’t – a Windows “update” did by somehow toasting something leading to an inability to boot. The immediate problem wasn’t so much that the server was dead to the world, but that I couldn’t access a directory of teaching materials (scanned texts) that I need for the coming semester and would be hard-pressed to get re-scanned on time.

After getting no help from our IT person (no surprises there), I tried to find the original installation CDs but to no avail (moving office tends to lead to loss of stuff, I find). Realizing that I would have to eventually install another OS, I first tried to access the directory and thus save the data with some management software. Problem was, I could see the files but not transfer them over to a USB drive (the software refused to recognize the external drive).

To the rescue came PuppyLinux. Downloaded and burned an 60 meg ISO using my Macbook. Booted the dead box from the CD. Mounted the Windows partition and the USB drive. Copied the files. Done. All in less than 35 minutes.

Now just need to install that other OS as the machine is returning to being a desktop. ASU offers faculty a 30G LAMP solution with redundancy and backup so that’s where I’m heading.

Taking over Torpig

May 4, 2009 2 comments

In early 2009, a bunch of folks at UCSB took over the Torpig botnet for ten days. In that time, they observed more that 180,000 infections and recorded over 70G of data that the botnet captured. During that time, over 8,000 accounts at financial institutions were “acquired”.

The report is available online [pdf]

Keynote v Powerpoint

April 23, 2009 13 comments

OK, quick question! As regular reader will know, I have migrated to a Mac. I have tons of presentations in Powerpoint which, while written on a PC, open seamlessly on the new machine. However, when I open them in Keynote, some stuff (often charts) get screwed up and I have to regenerate the slide. Question is this: why should I use Keynote over Powerpoint? What do I get in the former that don’t get in the latter? Why should I spend my summer converting the presentations? Thanks.

On #amazonfail

April 13, 2009 3 comments

Janet has some extensive thoughts about the shenanigans over at Do wander over and have a read. Suffice it to say, I agree with her and will be withholding any business until all of this has been cleared up to my satisfaction.

Two weeks on …

March 21, 2009 9 comments

I’ve been using my Macbook for two week now and am very comfortable with it. While I’d never become a rabid Apple fanboi, this comment by Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer strikes me a simply assinine:

“Apple gained about one point, but now I think the tide has really turned back the other direction. The economy is helpful. Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment — same piece of hardware — paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that’s a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be.”

Um. No. Sure the logo is nice, but I’m willing to pay the $500 (an overestimate, by the way) for an OS that works seamlessly with the hardware and with the way I want to do things. In two weeks, I’ve had only one system crash and that was when I was running the Mac version of Powerpoint. Go figure.

Day 5

March 11, 2009 12 comments

It’s Day 5 of my transition to using OS X and all is well. Once I got used to the different ways of doing things, things have been running remarkably smoothly. The trackpad on the Macbook has taken a bit of getting used to, but I now find myself pawing impotently at the pad on my Dell when I need to use it. Go figure. I don’t think I’ll be going back to a non-Apple product.

Some things I like:

  • Software installation & deletion is a breeze.
  • Sleep mode – being able to put the machine in a sleeve for a few hours, carry it around, and reawaken it in a flash without it overheating is a dream.
  • Speed- starting programs seems a hell of a lot faster than in Windows.
  • Spotlight.
  • Networking – linking to my Windows boxen was a snap.
  • Bookpedia – seriously … scanning barcodes using the iSight is amazing.

Some things I’m still getting used to:

  • The trackpad
  • Keyboard shortcuts being different
  • Converting file formats

The file format thing is a little annoying. While Keynote will import my Powerpoint files, it screws up some of the charts and it takes time to fix things … more time than I have in a semester. I’m thinking it will be next semester before I will be totally independent of Windows. (Yeah, I do realize I can get Powerpoint for the Mac … it’s just going to take awhile before the seriously discounted version ships to me from Microsoft via ASU).

I’ve managed to find software that does most of the things I need to do. The only thing I don’t have is an HTML editor like Adobe Contribute (which I use for my classes). Any suggestions so that I can avoid hand-coding with BBedit or such?


March 7, 2009 13 comments

A few days back I asked my loyal readers for their opinions on the Macbook Pro (thanks to all who commented). In the end, I went with the Macbook and have been spending the afternoon adjusting to things. Everything is going well so far.

The purchase at the local Apple Store went without a hitch (and thankfully without someone selling me stuff I didn’t need). However when I got home the machine wouldn’t boot. I guessed that it was because of bad RAM (I upgraded) and a trip back to the store proved that to be the case.

Weirdly, the staff at the store kept asking me whether this was my first Mac. Is there some sort of pheromone that migrating Windows users give off?

My sole question at the moment is a recommendation for freeware (preferable open source) blogging client software. Thoughts?

Twittering? Tweeting?

March 3, 2009 5 comments

So I set up a Twitter account but don’t really know what it is useful for (if anything). Feel free to follow if you want. More importantly, comment here and let me know what Twitter is useful for.

Requesting thoughts on the Macbook Pro

February 19, 2009 31 comments

So I’m contemplating getting a Macbook Pro and thus leaving my current main machine (an XP laptop … which I have been very happy with, by the way). I’m specifically looking at the 17 inch model, particularly because of the eight hour battery life. Any readers out there have any experience with the new Macbooks? Pros? Cons?  Do you really get 8 hrs with WiFi enabled?

I’m assuming I’m going to have to buy iWork, but is there any other software (for pay or free) that you would recommend?

Any comments will be gratefully received!


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