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Category: 'Computer'

Screensharing Silliness

Friday, July 18th, 2008
Loopy Screensharing
Loopy Screensharing

So if you ever wondered what happens if you screenshare in a loop, here is a nice fun picture =)


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Aspect Ratios
Aspect Ratios

People will argue until the end of time whether or not widescreen is better than traditional 4:3 monitors. Personally, I believe most webpages and most documents are much taller vertically than they are wide. So you want the most vertical space possible. I’ve heard the argument that with widescreen you can have two vertical documents simultaneously. But, nothing prevents you from having to vertical documents with even more vertical space on non-widescreen monitor. 1600 wide is really no different than 1680 wide when viewing two documents at once.

So at the end of the day, what really matters is how many pixels get on screen and for any user who’s been around since the days of CRTs, for the most part widescreen has been a big downgrade not an upgrade. If you are buying a monitor for the first time in today’s market I can see how widescreen would not seem like a downgrade. But since most CRT users came from using either 1280×1024 or 1600×1200 the equivalent widescreen models have been downgrades.

Historical Upgrade path:
Resolution Pixels


640×480 307200
800×600 480000
1024×768 786432
1280×1024 1310720
1600×1200 1920000
Widescreen upgrade path:
Resolution Pixels


1280×800 1024000
1440×900 1296000
1400×1050 1470000
1680×1050 1764000

I would argue that most users who had CRTs at 1280×1024 looking to upgrade to a LCD would have preferred 1600×1200 rather than 1680×1050. Unfortunately, widescreen monitors were much cheaper in comparison. Only recently in the last couple years have 1980×1200 become available at consumer prices. So I would argue that for the most part widescreen monitors have been downgrades rather than upgrades for anyone who has had a high-resolution CRT.

More recently 1920×1200 models have come out and they are still pretty pricey, some examples of very high rez monitors…

Todays higher resolutions:
Resolution Pixels


1920×1200 2304000
2560×1600 4096000

For me, when it comes down to it, maximum pixels on the screen means more to me than anything else. So 1.92MP is better than 1.76MP any day of the week, so i’ll be sticking with 1600×1200 until I decide to upgrade to a 1920×1200 model.


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iPhone my 2 cents

Thursday, January 11th, 2007
Everyones new talking point
Everyones new talking point

So as a techie, my biggest complaints on the iPhone (besides the inevitable scratches that will drive everyone nuts to the point of class action lawsuits) are…

1. No 3G high speed network support. EDGE is 2.5G and barely acceptable for the type multimedia this phone is capable of.
2. No expansion. A simple SD card slot would make your 4G unlimited gig…
3. Battery not removable.

So I got to thinking about it and so far no one has said how long the ‘exclusive’ Cingular thing will be. It could be as short as 6 months maybe a year at the most.

The second thing I thought of was, hey this is standard apple operating procedure. Release a product that is amazing in every way but a few, then 6-12months later ‘blow everyone’s mind’ by adding all the missing features and forcing everyone to upgrade =)

So the lack of HSDPA/EVDO is because 6-12 months later they’ll announce ‘iPhone Pro’ with a removable battery and HDSPA and twice the memory or SD card slot or similar. It will also fix the crippling xyz bug that all the first gen owners are inevitably going to complain about (buzzing, hissing, or some other odd glitch that really drives 1% of the users mad).

Anyway, i’ll probably wait for the 2nd gen, cause my Treo700p on EVDO does 95% of the functionality with 1% of the stability and 5% of the fineness.

My 2 cents…


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Fry’s… A love hate relationship

Saturday, July 8th, 2006
$39.99 or $14.99
$39.99 or $14.99

So I was in Fry’s Electronics today and I wanted a 16foot USB Repeater cable. Its basically a 16 foot USB cable (the maximum the spec. allows) and a little bus powered hub on the end. Anyway, after searching the “USB Stuff” isle for about a minute I realized it was on another isle. No problem, ah…the “USB Cable” isle, hmm product 1. $39.99, ah another one, crap $39.99. I was also looking for a plain extension. 10Ft $12.99…ouch…

So after about 5 minutes of digging, I give up and start wondering again. Out of the corner of my eye on a random isle, ah, mixed in with the Firewire cables, a few lone USB cables. Found the SAME 16foot extender $14.99 and the same one bundled with a 10foot and a 6foot cable for $19.99!

Aye…I feel sorry for all the poor saps who just pay full price…

Check out the picture, yellow is HALF the price of blue!


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Canon Pixma IP8500 and the Epson R800
Canon Pixma IP8500 and the Epson R800

This article is a tad old, but its still very relevant. I recently decided that my cheap ass Canon S520 (paid $50 refurb at Frys) is lacking compared to modern printers. I also recently started doing more photography and decided it might be nice to have a nice printer. Tom’s Hardware did a nice review of the 3 current $300-400 range printers from Canon, Epson and HP. Anyway, so sum up…

The Canon and the Epson were very close and better overall than the HP. The Canon IP8500 had the edge in Speed. The Epson R800 has its edge in better Quality and print Longevity (uses pigment based inks instead of dye based). The Epson also had a couple little features I think might be nice the canon doesn’t, roll paper, firewire, and better fine art paper selection. The Canon on the other hand has pictbridge (lets you print from memory cards), duplex printing (double sided) and a user replaceable printhead. The Epson print head is not user replaceable, so if its damaged or clogged and can’t be cleared using self-cleaning it needs to be sent in for repair. Although, I hear in the latest models this is less of a concern, I would use your printer occasionally to keep the heads clean and follow the directions when replacing ink. I’ve also heard one of the caveats of any of Epsons printers is that if you switch print qualities they tend to go crazy about head cleaning and in general they tend to be fussy if you don’t use them often.

I hear the Canon prints can have some color variation compared to the Epson’s when viewed in different lighting conditions, as well as they tend to be a bit exaggerated which can make printing portraits (which have subtle skin tones) a little challenging. On the other hand your average pictures will look brighter and more vibriant.

From pcworld’s review, they both seem to have almost identical photo print costs.

A. So if you need the extra speed and want to sacrifice a very small touch of quality for a nice boost in speed, the Canon is your man.

B. If you demand the highest quality and want fade free water resistant archival quality prints on a variety of papers and follow the directions to keep your heads unclogged the Epson is a winner.

After taking a look at some print samples from both printers, its very very close. I would need to have identical prints to really tell you which one is better, but it does look like the Epson has the edge. Its detail from its 1.5picoliter drop size just seems to edge out the 2picoliter drops on the Canon.

I think for most users the feature list will be the deciding factor since they are so close to each other in quality.

P.S. Ok, I take it back, after reading tons of additional reviews I think the less hassle of the Canon is winning over the archival inks of the Epson. They simply clog too often from user reports than I think is worth it to me. I don’t print every day and I don’t want to waste $10 in ink warming my printer up every couple of weeks.


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Apple and Intel hook up.

Tuesday, June 7th, 2005
Intel Inside
Intel Inside

So if you haven’t heard, yesterday 6/6/05 Apple announced they are moving from the PowerPC CPU to Intel based processors. If I hadn’t heard it from the horses mouth (Steve Jobs) and if he didn’t do it at WWDC (their annual World Wide Developers Conference) I wouldn’t have believed it. Its been rumored for more than 10 years, but this time its real.

My good friend Damien wrote an interesting piece you can read here…
Live from WWDC: Apple switches to Intel. What does it all mean? (By Damien Stolarz)

My understanding is that in the short term, nothing is really changing. In the long term there are many industry ramifications, but to the consumer, it really doesn’t matter. It means some faster Mac laptops and a different logo on your CPU.

For the consumer:
1. You will still need to own a Mac to run OS X (according to Damien Stolarz quoting Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller) . Yes, I’m sure there will be interesting hacks to make them work on non-apple machines, but that won’t be supported.
2. Initial non-fat(compiled for both CPU’s) binaries (applications) will run slowly on Intel based macs using “Rosetta” apple’s emulation layer.
3. Interestingly, also according to Damien Stolarz “Schiller said Apple wouldn’t do anything to preclude people running Windows on Intel-based Macs.” Meaning windows fans of the Apple laptops/desktops can run windows.
4. Apple will ship Intel based macs Jun 2006.
5. They will continue to update and create better/faster PPC based machines until at least 2007.

Long run questions:
1. Will it mean cheaper Macs? Unclear, but it will at least allow it to happen if Apple chooses to.
2. Will it mean lower quality support from apple? Unclear, but bigger markets are harder and more expensive to support.
3. Will they still innovate? Absolutely, in fact partnering with Intel is probably the best way Apple can drive the industry to support new technologies. Bluetooth, 802.11, 1394 Firewire, USB…apple didn’t invent all of them, but they certainly drove the industry to use them.
4. Will it mean worse Stability? Probably not, they’ve been compiling OS X (every version) and all of the Apple Apps (iTunes/iPhoto/iMovie/etc…) for both Intel and PPC for the past 5 years secretly.
5. Will it mean worse Security? Unknown, A Windows virus might run fine inside an emulated environment. Could it get out?
6. What will it mean for 64-bit computing? Good question, since they are going to keep making PPC’s until at least the end of 2007, Intel could easily come out with a 64-bit chip by then, and really we don’t know what the first chip will be. The development box is a 3.6Ghz P4 for what its worth…

Stay tuned…


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Erie shot from Netercomm's site
Erie shot from Netercomm’s site

I’m not the only one hoping you can’t blow up the world via the Internet right?

Broadband over Gas lines?
So the other day I ran in to this press release from Nethercomm. At first I thought to myself, “this can never work”. But I sat down and really thought it through and I’ve decided its brilliant. Although I’m missing the required electrical engineering knowledge to truly say its going to work, on the limited knowledge I do have, I would say its has a much better chance than broadband over Powerlines which has been all the rage and flop for quite some time now.

Think about it, if you can use all the spectrum you want and all the power you want there would certainly be PLENTY of bandwidth. Now there are limits, such as wavelengths that won’t go around corners nicely. Power may be limited by how much leaks out places like your pilot light as well as how much is practical for the home side to transmit (you might think twice about that $30/month service if you also spent $15 in power to transmit a few hundred watt signal 24/7).

But even more likely, this might just work. You have system that is inherently sealed (save pilot lights and gas appliances in use), a medium that is totally homogenous (low pressure natural gas) and nothing else between you and the customer. Unlike power lines, no messy transformers and other such obstacles to a clear signal, no worries about unshielded lines, etc. The only problem I can think of, is areas where plastic lines are in use, and really its only an issue when they aren’t buried below a few feet of dirt and concrete (which they are most of the time).

I will enjoy seeing how Nethercomm (a local Los Angeles, CA company) works out all the kinks.


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FIOS Installation Success!

Friday, April 29th, 2005
Fiber Connector
Fiber Connector

Fios Success
Wow, it has been over a month since i’ve posted. The fiber installation went totally smooth. The bandwidth rocks! With my 15000/2000 connection I’m getting 1800Kbytes/sec downloads and 230Kbytes uploads (6-10x faster down and up than the typical 1.5/256k cable). The standard DNS servers they set you up with seem to be a tad overloaded (causing initial page lookups to be slow), but I quickly fixed that using a very fast one that pings about 4ms to me and using riskinit.org as a backup DNS (typically pings less than 30ms). Here is a small gallery of the hookup. The provided D-Link 604 (DL-604) is totally adequate for most setups. I setup some port forwarding for the different computers in the house and everything is running smoothly.

Overall I would say I’m very satisfied. FIOS is only $50/month for a great service. I’ve only experienced very short transient outages of maybe 10-15 seconds once or twice in the last month. The average user wouldn’t ever notice this (it’s only because I use my connection 24/7 that I notice even the smallest glitch).

P.S. Limit, drop me an email!


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FIOS Progress!

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005
FIOS Update!
FIOS Update!

I think I may have finally broke through the bureaucracy! I made yet another (I can’t accurately say but I would guess like my 10th call) to Verizon today and actually got someone who had a clue! After about 10 minutes of playing with addresses in the computer we came up with the fact that 21870 Nutrir Way was listed as QUALIFIED… For anyone who hasn’t clicked on the image yet…Nutrir way is a small driveway that dead-ends and doesn’t really exist (except on maps). Our property fills in the gap between Corvo/Nutrir and Canon.

So anyway in the Verizon computer we changed our ‘service address’ to 21870 Nutrir and now we can order FIOS. I’m supposed to get a call back tomorrow with the install date! FINALLY!

Crap, now you all know where I live…all I can say is BEWARE OF FIBER DOGS!

UPDATE 3/24/05: Installers will be here April 1st (ok maybe they are kidding me, but I got a confirmation#)!

UPDATE #2 3/27/05: While house sitting for my parents the FIOS installers came HERE to check some stuff out for their installation and noticed the same name, talked to him and helped him with the exact location of our house. He confirmed that now that he knows exactly where it is he would survey it on the way out [of the canyon] and will be there on the 1st!!!

UPDATE #3 3/30/05: The linemen came out today and ran the actual fiber, I took a couple shots of it. Overhead wire connection, extra corning cable and the connector (even bigger version).

UPDATE #4 4/1/05: So Verizon flaked…funny joke…haha I’m really laughing. Damn bastards…rescheduled for Monday. I wish they just would follow their own schedule.


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G-tech Pro Road Race

Monday, March 14th, 2005
G-Tech Pro Competition Road Race Screen
G-Tech Pro Competition Road Race Screen

I love cars, computers, and photography. So anytime I can mix all 3, its a good excuse for a post. Although this news is easily 6 months old, (its practically sacrilegious to post something this old on the net) I only look for this sort of firmware upgrade anually. So it would seem that Tesla Electronics has finally has posted their long promised road-race upgrade to the popular G-Tech Pro Competition performance meter. I haven’t had a chance to review it in action, but the feature list seems decent. It boasts 90mins of data logging at 20 samples/sec and 180mins at 10/sec. This is in contrast to the much higher resolution drag mode where it only stores 300 seconds of runs. Since you can always upload the data later to your PC, this is plenty of storage. They also added other misc. features such as the ability to store setups for up to 4 vehicles and improved documentation.

I love mine, my only major complaint is the display is totally un-viewable at night. The backlight was never very good to begin with and has deteriorated to absolute crap over the years. Mine is an older ‘blue’ backlit model, maybe the newer ‘orange’ models are better.

Anyway, it was another good excuse to take a shot with my macro lens.

[WARNING REALLY BIG IMAGE]


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