nullstream weblog - April 2005

Funeral Fun


April 30, 2005 11:33 PM PST


What would you like your headstone to read? Here are some choices:

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Where Are You?


April 29, 2005 12:38 AM PST

I am here.

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Tiger Speculation


April 26, 2005 10:57 AM PST

Is a tiger release for PC on the way? At least one guy thinks so. This is not really a rumor, but more wishful speculation on his part.

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Trade-up to WinXp-64

Cool Tech

April 25, 2005 11:14 AM PST

You can trade-up your 32bit windows to 64bit XP from now until July 31, 2005. Before you take the plunge however, you need to make sure you can track down 64bit drivers for all the stuff you use. This is a clean install only, so migrating data is up to you.
Here is a nice quote from the Technology Advancement Program site: "Purchasing technology can be frustratingóthe minute you buy something, the new version becomes available. We understand this frustration..."

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Thread Abuse

April 25, 2005 01:55 AM PST


I do not understand why programs that are not massively IO or Disk bound require 44 freaking threads to run. Valve, I'm looking at you:


MSN Messenger weighs in at a svelt 12 threads, and I'm not even showing its window or in a conversation! Firefox and iPodService: what are you thread spankers doing? winlogon.exe, your engineers are shite.

Coming from GoAhead, I'm pretty used to multi-threaded coding. But the above examples are just ridiculous. There can be no explanation except programmer incompetence or laziness. I like threads, they're pretty useful for GUI based applications. But sometimes, threads are for people who can't program state machines.

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Fire from a can of coke and a chocolate bar

April 24, 2005 12:42 AM PST

Here is something they didn't teach me at scout camp.

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Who are you?

Kult of kewl

April 23, 2005 01:35 AM PST

If I had to choose 3 records that had a huge influence in my life, not necessarily what I'm currently listening to, they would have to be:

Continue reading "Who are you?"...

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Ultra Portable

April 20, 2005 10:32 AM PST

A few days ago George sent me a pointer to a new 'mini tablet' prototype device. Pocket PC thoughts picked up on this a bit later and it spawned a debate about mini-tables / ultra portables vs. PocketPCs.
I got caught up in this again and went back to take another look at some of the current generation of ultra-portables out there like the flybook, the OQO and the Sony Vaio U-50 / U-70 / U-71 / U-750. The Sony seems like a pretty good trade off between portability and power. I wish it had built in blue tooth, but that can be fixed with a CF adapter. They are very expensive but they turn up on ebay from time to time. Dave's did a nice review last friday. Many people have put the full Tablet OS on these. JK is one of these guys, he has a nice page of links for Sony U owners here.
So am I ready to give up my PPC and convert to an ultra portable? Not quite yet, but I'm keeping an open mind.

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Telesym, RIP


April 17, 2005 09:09 PM PST

George sent in a link to this on Telesym:

Software startup TeleSym calls it quits

I hate to see it. Telesym was one of the local mobile devices companies I have been following. I was really hoping they would pull through.

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OmniFi DMP1 Wireless Car Stereo


April 16, 2005 07:29 PM PST

DMP1I finally installed the OmniFi DMP1 MP3 car audio player I bought for $200 off Woot a couple of weeks ago. I currently also have an Aiwa CDC-MP3 player that plays MP3 CDs.

This player is similar to the Kenwood music Keg, but was much cheaper because it's been discontinued by the manufacturer, despite being a highlight of the 2003 CES show. It's a faceplace that can be mounted pretty much anywhere, an under-seat mountable drive dock, and a 20GB ejectable laptop drive. The laptop drive is formatted as FAT32 and can be connected to a PC via USB for normal data storage. The Woot package also included the home media player DMS1 and two USB Wi-Fi adapters.

That's right - the coolest thing about the player is that it supports synching with your PC based music repository via Wi-Fi.

Continue reading "OmniFi DMP1 Wireless Car Stereo"...

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Halo 2 Update


April 16, 2005 07:07 PM PST

A new update coming April 18 to rebalance weapons and such:

Read about it at Gamespot

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My Newest Borg Upgrade

Cool Tech

April 16, 2005 06:45 PM PST

Bluespoon AXMy latest entry in my quest to eliminate wires from my digital life is the Bluespoon AX from Nextlink.

Continue reading "My Newest Borg Upgrade"...

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More ways to get your geek fix

Cool Tech

April 16, 2005 01:12 AM PST

I thought I'd share a couple more ways to get your daily fill of geek news:
Digg is a tech 'news' site much like Slashdot but with a twist. Users submit stories like normal, but instead of an editor choosing what makes it to the front pages the users do. You can scan through the pile of recent submissions and click on "digg this story" to vote on what you like. The stories with the highest votes make it to the front page, or to the front page of a particular category. Pretty cool.

Daily Rotation
If you don't know about this one yet, you should check it out. It is basically a Ďone stop shopí web based RSS aggregator for about 300 of the top tech sites. As Iíve already mentioned before I prefer to use a web based RSS solution over an installed client package. This allows me to get the latest headlines at a glance from anywhere I can access the Web (PC or mobile). A few clicks later and Iíve got tabs opened for all the stories Iím interested in. For general RSS feeds Iíve just been using tuned to my favorite sites etc. Daily Rotation is much like that only dialed to 11 on the geek scale. You can configure your preferences like format, font, desired sites etc. and it will drop them in a cookie for you. Heck itís worth checking just to see the impressive list of tech sites you never new existed.

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Dashboard vs. Konfabulator

Cool Tech

April 13, 2005 10:40 PM PST

Original Dashboard???
I read an interesting (but long) post on Daring Fireball comparing Apples's new Dashboard to Konfabulator. I say interesting because he first defends the dashboard as a logical extension of the original desktop accessories in the 81' Mac,

Continue reading "Dashboard vs. Konfabulator"...

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WinXP Updates BSOD


April 13, 2005 09:53 PM PST

BSODI applied today's updates to my Shuttle MiniPC running XP SP 2 and after the requisite reboot - it displays the low res XP loading screen then does a BSOD for not long enough to read, and the system reboots. I've tried all the modes - safe, last known good, etc. Nothing works.

I did empty the trash can while it was downloading the updates (but not while the updates were installing). I normally wouldn't do anything while downloading updates "cause I'm paranoid", but I didn't realize it had started the download. I noticed that the can was still "full" after I emptied it, so I tried again and it asked if I wanted to delete "SYSTEM". Uh oh. I opened the trash and it showed no files in the files list. I figured it would work itself out after the updates installed, and it was something the updater was doing with temp files.

I would recommend holding off on installing these updates for a few days to see if this is a reported problem out there. Oh, and blame google for the inset image - it was on the first page of the image search results - not my fault!

Update April 20, 2005:
I've been able to recover the disk enough to back up the data. The lesson is:

Do not automatically install windows updates. Once they are downloaded (if there are multiple), select each one individually, shut down your running applications and install each update one at a time. Before you install any of them - write down the issue hotfix numbers (KB*) so you can look it them up later should any hose your system on reboot.

Most of the Windows support sites I looked at recommended that you should not do anything else on your machine while updates are installing. I agree this sounds superstitious, but after nearly losing my data - I will follow this method. This didn't happen on any of my other machines, so I can only conclude that it was an interaction with something I was doing while the updates were happening. Read on for the gory details, and how this same hotfix hosed me on a second machine!

Continue reading "WinXP Updates BSOD"...

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Surprises in Google Maps

Cool Tech

April 13, 2005 10:37 AM PST

Wired has an article on some of the surprises that turn up when browsing satellite images.

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Internet 1.0


April 11, 2005 12:30 AM PST

Here is the network diagram for the first version of the internet:

Continue reading "Internet 1.0"...

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Wind River's Move to Linux

Mobile Tech

April 6, 2005 10:27 PM PST has an article on Wind River's moves to adopt Linux. We have been watching Linux's effects on the embedded OS makers for years now. It seems like VxWorks is coming to this game a bit late, but actually having the #1 embedded OS vendor (er I mean Device Software Vendor) start thowing it's weight behind it really makes a statement. I guess they have to do something after AE.

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Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex


April 6, 2005 12:01 AM PST

sacv4box.jpgAfter a long email discussion GPL ASP loophole, sparked by a silly article about Sun Microsystems knocking the GPL, I wanted to get into something a little lighter.

I've watched the first two DVDs of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex recently and really like the series. The original movie is a must-see, but I didn't like the second movie (Innocence) as much. Stand Alone Complex is a TV series that tackles the same issues of consciousnes with an overarching plot that is tied together by each individual episode. The virtual cinematography is incredible and the vision of the future is so ingrained in the story, they don't even bother to explain it. Here's a well written review of the first DVD.

While various networks have become deeply rooted,
and thoughts have been sent out as light
and electrons in a singular direction,
this era has yet to digitize/computerize to the degree necessary
for individuals to become a single complex entity.

What they're saying (and the wikipedia link explains this more) is that not only are artificial intelligences forming (as we saw in Ghost in the Shell), but the next evolution is for complex intelligence formed from multiple individuals. I've only seen the first 8 episodes, but I can totally see the story arc going this way.

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Google: A behind the scenes look

Cool Tech

April 4, 2005 11:49 PM PST

The UW has a video presentation on Google by Jeff Dean. It is about an hour long, but is a pretty interesting view of how their stuff works.

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Random Linux Article

April 4, 2005 09:36 PM PST

I realized it has been almost a year since stopped actively reading about, blogging about, programming on and playing with Linux. I have booted up Linux a couple of times in the last year, but I have not downloaded any new distros since my Linux Ďflavorí of the week frenzy in early 2004. So just because Iím feeling nostalgic, Iíll post a link to a random Linux article here. Admittedly this one has a negative slant, but maybe that will stir up some conversation. Iím interested in feeling out the current Ďmoodí regarding Linux. Any thoughts?

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Freeway Photos


April 3, 2005 03:44 PM PST

I happened to have a camera in the car the other day, and came across some interesting sights. To keep eyes on the road, I didn't frame the images at all, but they came out allright.
Freeway notification sign on I-90. Also displays incidents if there are any. I'd love to see more of these around the area.

Continue reading "Freeway Photos"...

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