Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Green McCain?

I just saw John McCain on Letterman, he used it as a soapbox, but hey he is politician. He spent the first part preaching about how global warming is real (a stark contrast to most of what his party has said) and how we need to do something about it by increasing the use of hydrogen, fuel cells, wind, etc. It is down right odd hearing this from a republican, but McCain is pretty much a centrist so I guess it makes sense. I will admit that I trust McCain more than *anyone* in the Bush administration; with all the public appearances he has made I think it’s pretty obvious he will run for president. Depending on who is running on the democratic ticket I would consider voting for McCain, mainly for his fiscal responsibility and Green views.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


So, Sony has irresponsibly installed software that is potentially more intrusive than many malwares but the DOJ has said nothing... about this, they have repeatedly given opinions about filesharers but big business media? Nada as of yet. Is it just me or does that seem a "wee bit" hypocritical?

Yeah! Post button *finally* works correctly with Opera

I had been using another bookmarklet/javascript that required me to login every time I wanted to post a bookmark to, it was a total PITA and I am surprised I stuck with del, but I did and patience paid off! Their new button/bookmarklet make it about as simple as it could possibly be!

Art mimicking life?

Here is an interesting bit about video game violence. It makes a point i hadn't really thought about, games are getting more violent (duh) but many of the figures are police/government/military and they carry out all sorts of carnage the likes of which would never be legal in the real world... yet. Looking at our government now, and all the lobbying they are doing for increased governmental powers, extension (or making permanent) wartime provisions (patriot act), etc, one has to wonder if life isn't getting to be too much like art.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

WiMAX for the developing world?

Yeah yeah, "they don't need computers they need food!" in a perfect world development would take place in logical steps at the same time complementing other development efforts... but thats not the real world. In the real world you have things like (something I learned about that continually miffs me) Oxfam Australia, Great Britain, US, and a few others I think all in Phnom Penh; all doing different projects, vying for money with serious overlap in spending (Com'on guys you could at least share something like administrative costs) and you also (more to the point) have development taking place at different stages in the same area. Computers are a case in point. When I was working with a Dairy Coop in Eastern Europe I initially thought that "bringing computers etc to these areas is not what these people need", I stand by what I said even now but that’s not the whole story. You can't force something on people, and many times they are going to want what is new and cool (to varying degrees), I didn't think my village needed computers when I got there but after a year I tried setting up a project using old computers (cheap), Linux (yeah you can get pirated windows easily but it was the principle of the matter, an NES emulator, and some game pads and start a gamming cafe. Why?! Well I noticed in many developing countries these computer cafes are not really used for the internet much at all, maybe IM and a bit of email but that’s it, the main cash cow is games. In the rural areas kids would love to play even simple NES games and pay a few cents an hour to do so; I can already hear the "gasp, you are going to get them hooked on games?!" but consider the alternative, smoking, drinking, or just being bored (I saw all of the above, yeah even some under 12 year olds) playing games would not only generate income for someone, it would give the kids something to do, and also get them familiar with using computers (even if it is only for games, my brother almost refused to learn about computers until he got into gaming, now he can build his own computer from just parts).

Enter WiMAX (bet you thought this was going nowhere eh?). This has more importance in say some of the pacific islands that are mentioned in the article but still. Wireless internet access! I remember (another small story) hearing about the explosive growth of cell phones in Africa (considering the poverty) and was disgusted but then a friend who had been pointed out that the infrastructure was often so bad that regular land lines could not be reliable maintained, also some people had made a living in some villages of having a cell phone like a phone booth and charging people for use who would otherwise have to travel to the nearest town, nice!

Still, many people, especially in developing countries, don't understand the internet and teaching things like email would be lost, on the older generations in particular but one "killer app" I have seen for the internet in developing countries is VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). This is just a fancy way of making phone calls over the internet on the cheap and I have seen many many times even in Europe (though usually the people using the services are working there calling home) people making cheap long distance calls to call home. So. You are in a place like Moldova, in a village a few miles away from the nearest town, which only has one internet cafe, if you get something like WiMAX one savvy individual in each village (within range) could setup a VoIP connection. Something like this could be built upon giving kids lessons on how to use computers and Email/IM etc (essentially getting them hooked but I can think of worse addictions) then charging for use; even setting up simple gamming during non-peek calling times.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The moral Right?

I am constantly frustrated by all the righteousness I hear coming from the right. My frustrations tend to be more with the religious conservatives but many times they are one in the same. I see things like John Stewart vs Bill O'Reilly (who i know says he is not a "conservative" [but he walks the walk and talks the talk as far as i am concerned) and get really annoyed with this righteous "rightness" (though at times I think they spout this stuff just to get a rise out of people, unfortunately it works) but then I see headlines (and there have been a bunch of them lately) like Tom DeLay, Robert Ney, Kenneth Tomlinson and Bill Frist. These are not "small potatoes" or fringe parts of the party... Sigh.

Oh by the way, when O'Reilly called the Daily Show audience something like "uneducated stoners" they actually took offence and did some research, apparently its the other way around, Billy's audience tends to be more the slack-jawed trogladite variety (that is, DS viewers were more likely to be able to answer current political issues)... Surprise.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

What will the Ubergeeks do?

I was just watching a TWIT episode and re-noticed (I also noticed at this at DEFCON [no I wasn’t there, on video]) that most of those geeks have ThinkPads.  Among the tech elite IBM’s ThinkPads are pretty much renowned as the super notebooks.  I had an old thinkpad, a tiny one (Can’t remember the model, but one of the ultraportables) that took all sorts of beatings and was at least 4 years old by the time I hocked it and I can attest that it was nice.  But now, ThinkPads are not IBM products, that division was sold to the Chinese manufacturer Lenovo.  So, what is the super tech savvy geeks notebook of choice now? I use a Dell now, not because I love them, or even because I think they have great hardware (its ok) but they have unbeatable warranties/support.  I managed to get a 5 year warranty (stringing together student discounts, special offers, etc) for my Dell and have had to deal with customer service twice, and they did a pretty good job (or a great job if you compare it to average company’s customer support). I would rule out Sony because they have so many proprietary hardware issues (that’s not to say they don’t have some sweet offerings out there), and rule out AlienWare just because their systems are some of the few that *don’t* make the thinkpad prices look outrageous (i.e. very expensive), narrowing it down to… not sure.  Chances are I would go with a Dell again, for the warranty.  I am not the biggest fan of notebooks because if something in them breaks I can’t just replace it like I can in a desktop, so I am extra dependant on the manufacturer; plus, most people carry their notebooks around thus increasing the chances they break. One possibility would be a Mac, not so much for the hardware (and for the record I doubt I would bother with getting one at this point until they switch over to Intel) but for the OS. I notice lots of techies (the ubertechies [yes, I love the word "Uber", thank you Germany!]) use powerbooks now. I doubt it is because of the hardware, yes, the powerbooks shame most intel notebooks in terms of slick looking design but battery, speed, etc are lacking but the OS thats a different story. OSX is essentially a new UN*X flavor and has the power of UN*X, with more mature applications than say Linux (and of course that is debatable, but since many Mac apps are paid they seem to be more polished).

Anywho, I was just curious.