Archive for February, 2009

A week in the life of a …

Feb 27 2009 Published by under Life

Today, I’m blogging using Microsoft’s Windows Live Writer. Like every other Windows Live product (although it’s totally free), it integrates with the web. Messenger, Mail, Outlook, IE Toolbar, just to name a few. Others, like Photo and Movie Maker obviously obviously can have a web component, I just haven’t tried them yet. In fact, I don’t plan on trying them. Trying out new software is one of the biggest time wasters for me (especially little things, like widgets and add-ons, and at times they seem to be big, like installing an OS, but it’s the little tweaks that waste time). Actually, software is also the biggest time saver in my life (software that’s tuned to my needs). Take for example this OS (perfect) and Writer that’s got everything I need.


Posting blogs and doing work is painless. It’s the only OS I have installed that hibernates without a glitch. By that I mean Linux doesn’t reload drivers properly after suspend. I wouldn’t even bother with hibernate. There’s a faulty Dell BIOS that doesn’t save the states of both cores of the CPU. But Vista gets around by saving it to a buffer and the frequency on both cores scale correctly when I resume.

Now onto the topic of this post. This week has been real busy. It seems as if this week has twice as many assignments due, due to the reading week the week before. Déjà Vu. I just repeated a few words. This must be a sign to get out of here and start working. Maybe all technology does is make people focus on the less important things of life. To end this blog: a picture of my desktop a few months ago:


That’s Déjà Vu for the fifth time if you’ve been keeping track.

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What makes Apple products sell

Feb 22 2009 Published by under Singularitarian

As far as anything Apple goes, they are rotten to the core. (Pun intended) By the core I mean the kernel. New Macs come with 64bit Intel chips, but the kernel and drivers are all still 32bit. So why do the bad apples still sell?

For one thing, the apple company puts plenty of pesticides on its apples to make them look good. Take the case where one customer asked if his apple was prone to virus attacks. His post got deleted. I personally know 2 people who have viruses on their apple machines. One of them, my roommate got his apple blocked from the residence network due to a common virus being detected, but he won’t admit to it. (Yeah, apple users tend to have BIG egos)
More about that ego topic. First of all, apple puts an i in front of all their products. That, by itself is a subliminal message to influence consumers below the level of thought. An i turns everything that comes after it into a verb. Try this exercise for a minute: add an i to every one syllable noun you can think of. You will soon be dizzy. It’s a world of i ! and the worst thing is that you are trapped in it. That’s the explanation for mac users hating windows. The world of windows is about being practical, meeting real needs, and competing in a real market, so there is no i.
This leads to the second point. The world of the mac is conceptual, near perfect. (At least windows doesn’t pretend to be perfect, so users have more freedom) The desktop computer is made to look like an icon of a computer screen (no buttons to adjust brightness, color, contrast). The mouse is made to look like … well, a mouse? so users end up squeezing and dragging a toy to interact with their computer (yes, squeeze! because it only has one button and weighs as much as a mouse). But just look at the design: transparent plastic with a layer of glossy white plastic under it.
So what about the people who buy into it and why? People want to live simpler lives? On the contrary, I’ve observed that mac users make a mess of their rooms with the exception of those who dual boot windows xp. They want a leaner OS? one guy said Vista takes forever to boot. Actually, it doesn’t take longer to boot than the other OS’s, but it just loads files and programs after it’s done booting (called Prefetch and Superfetch). Besides, even when I do sit and wait for it to boot, I got something else to do. But the real performance issue surfaces when I do use my computer. In Linux, I often have to wait for programs to launch and files to load. In Vista, I don’t wait for anything, except newly installed programs that I havn’t used much. With Vista being as stable as it is, I have used hibernate everyday for weeks until I decided to install upgrades. Hibernate does make it boot faster.
So here I give the final attempt at explaining why some people I know like macs. Macs and iPods are often a christmas present. They look good at first glance, they meet the conceptual image that we only see in our dreams. An iPod has such a simple interface that it’s hypnotic (The music is hypnotic enough). That’s why the sellers of rotten apples first came up with the idea. An iPod? what’s thaaat? it’s too crazy a name. You can’t sell anything that’s got an i and Pod stuck together. The Pod’s gotta have something to do with portable music, but I can’t figure it out. That was my first reaction. So, with simple names, icons like the a compass for safari, it it’s the i that’s become a religion for i users. Why the compass for safari? It can’t be a reference to the Netscape Navigator (Internet Explorer, KDE Konqueror) because it’s named safari. It just doesn’t make sense. Just like how much those bad apples cost. They put you into a small little world.

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Reading Week

Feb 20 2009 Published by under Life,Linux

I’ve just spent the last few days at home on reading week (It’s called that because that’s the last thing you want to do yet the first thing that you should do on spring break.) It hasn’t been a much of a week as far as getting thing done. I’ve spent the first few days chasing the karmic tail. First, I decided not to bring home my ReadyBoost USB for Vista as I anticipated using XP or Linux. I was mostly exited about my Fedora 10 installation because I haven’t used it much. 5 days max. And I wanted to use a 64 bit OS. By the time I think about it now, I can’t tell if Fedora was faster than XP or Vista, but I do remember it crashing in Gnome with Compiz and KDE4 with its effects. It’s official. Anything on Google’s official (at least as soon as you find out). Everything else don’t make a difference. (Actually, everything else worked fine in Fedora except…) I’ve been an old Sabayon user (more on that later), and I trust it a lot more than some pet project of Red Hat that charges money for the better bug fixed Red Hat Enterprise and sabotages the most innovative Linux projects to crush competition (more on that again, but here’s a hint just to remind myself). Yeah, so I have been chasing the garbage tail (er… a tail of garbage?) since I got opinionated about the OS I use. There’s even a great divide between XP users and Vista lovers (not to say anything about my dad’s preference to keep 2000 on an old machine). It’s all garbage. I mean the garbage code in PLT Scheme! If it wasn’t for that and a slight problem with suspend that I’ve just figured out from Google, I’d still be using Sabayon. But as the story goes, it started this way:
XP -> Sabayon -> Dark XP -> ____ -> Sabayon -> XP -> Sabayon -> Vista -> Sabayon -> Kubuntu -> Vista -> Sabayon -> Kubuntu (next time)
Ah, good thing I kept an album of my old desktops on facebook.

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Linux vs Windows

Feb 19 2009 Published by under Linux,Windows

In the beginning was the command line. Now days, the windows command line has become more advanced as the power shell and the Linux command line ix just more versatile. As far as Linux being GNU and free goes, GNU doesn’t stand for great software and free doesn’t mean freedom. Who would want to spend their time looking around on the Internet to get suspend or hibernate working when it already works? Who would want to invest time and effort into a system that is not guaranteed to satisfy all your needs?

From a moral point of view, Linux makes logical sense, it appeals to reason. Whatever marketing Windows does, it cannot beat the simple message Linux delivers, that it is free and by osmosis, the user is free, too. That is obviously a false assumption. Yes, Linux offers the chance, given the choice, to modify source code. But the choice is not there in the first place. I’ve actually never modified source code yet, and as for compiling, I end up wasting more time on it than I can save. For example, Dr Scheme compiled in Gentoo simply hangs where it doesn’t. As for great software, I think Enterprise Linux might be better than Windows due to the bug fixes and support. I’d rather be free as in having free time, free in my non-obligation to the community, and free as in not having a bag of thoughts surrounding how I should use my computer. These days, I have too much clutter in my head.
Here’s a quote that I think is an appropriate description of a proper relationship to the computer: “Few things about your PC are as boring as things that just work, invisible in the background. ” To a large extent, Linux fits the boring category because it just works. When it doesn’t a few minutes on Google will solve it. On the other hand, Microsoft takes the other end. It gives gamers the best graphics, the desktop never crashes, and there’s a GUI to control everything. It doesn’t makes the PC anymore fun (to a large extent, trying to have fun on Windows often meant wasting time), but it won’t crash the OS. Compared to Linux, my fun using it comes largely from experimentation and getting hardware to work. The first part often crashes the desktop and the latter often takes hours to get done what only takes 5 minutes with the limited options in Windows. Having limited options in the OS does save me time making decisions and trying this or that as in Linux.

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