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All 304 Posts in the Category: Computing

11
Oct 11
Tue

Enhance!

Now when they say “Enhance!” in movies to get a computer to clear up a blurred image, we can no longer snicker. This is amazing:

  10:31pm  •  Computing  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
21
Oct 10
Thu

Anonymizing data by removing enough personal information

Rapleaf has an informative blog post about how to more effectively anonymize personal data.

Notice the new interest categories. Specifically, take a look at that bottom record: a 56+ year-old man who enjoys Twilight, knitting, and Motocross. In the dataset, there aren’t any other records that look like him. Furthermore, if we were given just that set of attributes, we’d be able to tie them back to that specific record. Even though each individual attribute is non-identifying, the dataset is no longer anonymous.

The goal of Anonymouse is to selectively exclude data from the cookies we drop so that our users are sufficiently indistinguishable. We define “sufficiently indistinguishable” using the notion of k-anonymity. A dataset is k-anonymous as long as every record in the set is identical to no fewer than k-1 other records. We can therefore think of a k-anonymous dataset as consisting of clusters of records, or equivalence classes, of size k or greater.

Furthermore, we wouldn’t just like to k-anonymize the dataset; we’d also like to maintain as much valuable data as possible.

  10:35pm  •  Computing  •  Law  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
1
Aug 10
Sun

Starcraft 2 rant

I have purchased every one of Blizzard’s PC games, and this is the first one from Blizzard I’ve played where I feel they’ve made a major misstep. Actually, multiple missteps. Following hot on the heels of the Real ID debacle (from which they sheepishly backed down), the net is steadily filling with complaints about Starcraft 2. Coming a decade after SC1, SC2 has been many years in the making. The game is essentially SC1 with better graphics. The feel of gameplay, the hotkeys, the tactics, all of it were instantly familiar to me, and it’s been over 5 years since I last played SC1. If that was all it was, that would still be okay. It would be an outstanding game.

But SC2 has two very significant shortcomings – all of which imply that Blizzard is becoming increasingly focused on making money, rather than being nice to their up-to-now very loyal fanbase.

The first issue is the single player campaign. It’s 26 missions long (including 1 hidden bonus mission), and starts off with Raynor going after Mengsk while the Zerg invade again. The campaign is played almost entirely as Terran, with a few Protoss missions thrown in. Unfortunately, the plot is lack-lustre. It’s disjointed, lacks much emotional involvement, and is incomplete. It’s obviously setting up for expansion packs, but this storyline is so incomplete that it seems they’re not even trying to hide the fact that they’re trying to commercialize the shit out of the franchise. When you put it next to a game like Mass Effect, which has an epic storyline, the lack of quality is even more stark (not to mention the similarities between the Zerg/Rachni Xel’naga/Reaper storylines).

The second and biggest issue is battle.net. Truth be told, the single player side of SC2 is merely a sideshow. When the Koreans got a hold of SC1, they effectively turned it into a multiplayer game. However, Blizzard removed four things from multiplayer mode that used to be in SC1: LAN support, chatrooms, the ability to play without an internet connection, and worst of all, the ability to play with anyone around the world.

I can live without LAN support, although it baffles me why that was removed. I have no idea why they removed chatrooms – if you want to chat with people after a match, there’s no easy way to find them. If you’re going to run and control the online multiplayer community – then why are you taking the communal aspects out of it?!

The worst thing they did was to region-lock the game. WHY? Blizzard claims that it’s to ensure that people get the best multiplayer experience, and the only way to do that is to play people in the same region as you so as to minimize lag. This is ridiculously patriarchal. And to add insult to injury, their official line is: if you’re in America and want to play Asians, you need to buy a second copy of the game. What the hell. So now I have absolutely no way to play SC2 with my friends in Australia without forking over another $60.

  2:18pm  •  Computing  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
7
Jul 10
Wed

Blizzard’s Real ID system

So there’s a huge controversy going down in computer gaming community at the moment. Blizzard has decided to introduce Real ID into its web forums. This is basically a policy to force everyone to use their real names when posting. Blizzard’s main rationale is to prevent trolling.

For a company which has had an enviable track record with releasing blockbuster games, Blizzard appears to have misstepped and the PR backlash has been considerable. The original announcement made in Blizzard’s forums has spawned over 1500 pages of replies (and counting). The news has been reported by the gaming media, as well as mainstream media.

Gamers have used aliases since forever. It’s simply a part of the culture – no one ever really plays games online with their real names. Even when a bunch of friends sit in a room and play LAN games with each other, they still use aliases in game. Stripping this anonymity is something that goes against the grain of the culture.

Concerns have also been raised about online safety – some gamers are not the most balanced of individuals, and the emotions that can crop up in a game can spill over into the real world. There are periodic accounts of gamers who felt they were wronged in a game, take their grievances into the real world and end up finding and stabbing their opponent.

Women also have concerns for their safety, and a poster on 4chan unwittingly demonstrated the point.

I wonder if Blizzard will reconsider? I mean, all this just to prevent trolling?

  7:50pm  •  Computing  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (2)  • 
6
Jul 10
Tue

Korean APM rates in Starcraft

So in Korea, you probably know that they have professional Starcraft gaming leagues. It’s pretty much a national sport, and the best athletes there make a fairly lucrative living. Yes, after watching this video, you will see some justification behind calling them athletes. APM, or “Actions per Minute” is one metric of gaming skill and it indicates how quickly you can press buttons.

During the Starcraft 2 beta, after 30-40 games, I averaged about 30-35 APM, maxing out at 50-60 during bursts of activity. The best Korean professionals can sustain average rates in the low 300s. Watch the video, it’s insane.

  7:23pm  •  Computing  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (1)  • 
16
Jun 10
Wed

Real-life Portal Gun

Incidentally, Portal 2 was just showcased at E3. And the WCC appears to be back.

Here’s the gameplay video for Portal 2.

  10:05pm  •  Computing  •  Humour  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
24
Apr 10
Sat

Macbook Pro 15″ mini-review

I picked up a new 15″ Macbook Pro with the i7 chip a couple of days ago, upgrading from my current early-2008 model. The new model is a slick piece of machinery. The design hasn’t changed from the immediately preceding model, but the innards have been refreshed.

This thing is blazing fast, and I haven’t had any compatibility problems even though I run Windows 7 on it. There’s now even driver support for a right-mouse click, so the only-one-mouse-button problem is a thing of the past (the driver designates the lower right of the trackpad as a right mouse-button).

The only real gripe I have with this is the placement of the ports. All the ports are now crammed on to the left side of the chassis. The problem is that they’re too close together. If you stick a flash drive into a USB port, most of them will end up blocking the other port, and you lose it. Having the ports on the left is also problematic for connecting a corded USB laptop mouse – the cord has to stretch around the back of the machine for right-handers like me, and those cords aren’t long enough. My flatmate, who used to work in Sony’s laptop division, tells me that stacking the ports like that means that Apple only has to contend with putting one controller board in the chassis instead of splitting it up to the opposite sides, which saves on costs. But I wouldn’t have expected Apple to sacrifice cost for design.

Nonetheless, the unibody design is awesome. The thing feels pretty solid and reliable. My flatmate actually dropped his MBP on its rear left corner, near the power connected. The case dented pretty badly, but everything was still working, so it’s pretty durable.

The magsafe connector has been redesigned. The cord now emerges parallel to the chassis, instead of spouting straight out. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but now I think it actually makes sense.

The machine faintly vibrates when I rest my palms on the chassis, whereas my previous model didn’t. This is either because of the 7200rpm hard disk, or increased cooling – this model definitely runs cooler than my old one.

One last note – the hi-res screen is quite nice and sharp, but it also means that some stuff is starting to get a little too small to read comfortably.

Overall, an excellent product. If you use your computer a lot, paying the Apple tax for something like this is a good investment.

  1:40pm  •  Computing  •  Consumer Electronics  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
27
Feb 10
Sat

Jesse Schnell on gaming today

This is a fascinating, wonderful, entertaining presentation about the gaming industry: about the unexpected successes that have come out of it recently (such as Farmville, the Facebook app, which has more user accounts than Twitter, and the Wii Fit, a peripheral which generates a billion bucks for Nintendo), why they were successful, and where gaming will be headed. Well worth the 28 minutes.

So, back to these things. [Shows picture of a lot of different consumer electronic devices.] Now, well you might say that, “Well now wait a minute. Y’know, I’m not sure I’m buying all that authenticity stuff. It may very well be that technology is actually going to fix this through unification because we all know technologies converge.” There’s a bunch of crazy things going on here. But convergence is happening. Facebook is coming to the X-box … there’s gonna be one happy box, ahhh. Just like we used to have it in the old days. Remember when there was one happy box and we made games for it and that’s how it was? And because technological convergence will take us there and all this stuff is right now is just a temporary blip and we’re going to have technological convergence. And I am here to tell you that technological convergence is total bullshit. That is not how the world works. Technology is the opposite. Technologies diverge, they do not converge. They diverge like species in the Galapagos Islands. They branch out and branch out and branch out. Your VCR wasn’t able to record radio programs, and your Tivo can’t record stuff off the internet. I just got a Flip video thing and I’m like, “How do I take pictures?” and they’re like, “No, no, video only.” And I’m like, “Oh, okay.” Because that’s what technologies do – they diverge, they diverge, they diverge. So we’re going to have all this divergence …

And you might say, “Wait, wait, wait a minute. That’s not true: I have an iPhone. I have an iPhone and it’s convergence all over because it’s a phone, it’s a camera, it’s got a zillion little apps, it’s a game thing.” And I’ll say, “Okay you got me.” You got me but only because of the pocket exception. Pockets turn the law of divergence inside out… not the pocket, but the law. And this is not the first time, right? Remember the Swiss Army Knife, right? All the iPhone is is a modern digital Swiss Army Knife, right? And the Swiss Army Knife is really useful in the pocket – look at all that stuff converged in there. But if I got you one for your kitchen, you’s think that was the stupidest thing ever, because it doesn’t fit in your pocket. And this is why everyone hates the iPad. It’s a giant digital Swiss Army Knife, which is just stupid.

… and here’s the follow-up from Ctrl-Alt-Del.

  1:10am  •  Computing  •  Science & Technology  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (1)  • 
18
Jan 10
Mon

Liveblogs of Apple’s 27th media event

Here are some sites that will be running liveblogs of Apple’s media event on January 27 (10am EST, 1pm PST, 6pm London):

Keep an eye on Apple’s stock price.

The iSlate (or whatever it will be called) announcement will be an expectation. I’m hoping they also announce a Macbook Pro refresh. I need an upgrade right about now.

I’m not so sure about the success of a tablet computer that costs as much as its rumored to cost ($600 or $1,000, depending on who you ask). If it sells well it will be because (a) it has the Apple aura, and (b) Apple has worked out a way to give it a kickass UI. Personally speaking, I’m not sure that there’s any situation where I would find a tablet useful. Between my iPhone and my MBP, the only other device I would need in another context is a netbook – for when I go traveling and I need to travel light (and do some basic photo and word processing), or for somewhere I wouldn’t feel comfortable whipping out a MBP. If the tablet can do what a netbook does, but better, then they may be onto something. Otherwise, it’s kind of a luxury device.

  4:24pm  •  Computing  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
21
Dec 09
Mon

Photos of Blizzard’s HQ

Someone posted a photo gallery online if you’ve ever wondered what Blizzard’s HQ in Irvine, CA looks like. Very awesome. Here are a few of them:

Cool realtime WoW map

 

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9
Mar 06
Thu

Ultra-mobile PCs

Here’s a video sneak peak of the new “UMPC” class of computers. UMP stands for Ultra mobile PC, a device in between a PDA and a sub-notebook in size (7″ screen), with the characteristics of a tablet PC. There’s a good promo video showing its potential. Microsoft’s Origami Project is a software platform for UMPCs. If they make this thing widely interoperable with cars (through bluetooth or similar – like how you can currently wirelessly link up a mobile phone to certain vehicles), it might even be able to act as a portable, wireless media centre (imagine being able to seamlessly link up with any car’s hi-fi system, or anyone’s home theatre) with remote control functionality as well. Hmm, the possibilities. (They just need Apple’s design team to give it an aesthetic makeover, because it doesn’t look that flash.)

  8:21pm (GMT +11.00)  •  Computing  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (1)  • 
6
Aug 05
Sat

Apple’s Mighty Mouse

The biggest embarrasment about owning a Powerbook is that it only has one mouse button. I’ve never understood the proponents for a single mouse button. The traditional argument is about complexity, and that somehow, adding a second mouse button on the right will confuse users too much.

This reasoning, if it had any merit to begin with, is rapidly becoming an anachronism in an age where computer literacy has extended to grandparents in video chats with grandchildren. “Ryaaan! Where is your nose?!”* Just as a scroll wheel is intuitive, a second mouse button does not take an extensive amount of “training” to get used to… The keyboard and its 100+ keys is a far more imposing input device, with its illogical key positioning, mysteriously labelled keys (“Sys Rq”? “Enter”? “Ctrl”?). People seem to be doing just fine with that.

Anyway, I realise that Apple has come out with their Mighty Mouse, which I don’t find all that thrilling. It maintains Apple’s slick design, but it’s not even obvious that it’s a two button mouse. The little ball in the middle seems to be merely integrating a trackball into a mouse in order to (needlessly) differentiate it from Microsoft’s tilt/scroll wheel. I’d need to use it before I say anything more, but the Ars Technica review doesn’t make it sound all that interesting.

I wonder if Apple will manage to push this one out the door on brand power alone? Call me cynical, but I reckon Apple fanatics will buy this just to avoid “contaminating” their gear with Microsoft or Logitech branded products, and that will be enough to sustain the market.

* In Kuala Lumpur, after a late night out, we were jarringly awakened at 9am by Dave’s parents and aunt in the next room, virtually screaming this out to their toddler grandson in San Francisco via webcam.

24
Jun 05
Fri

I Bought a PowerBook

The verdict?

Borrowing record
Click to enlarge

Seriously, the 12″ PowerBook G4 is excellent. It’s quite dense and heavy for its size, but it packs so much functionality in there that I don’t mind. The only gripes I have with its UI is the lack of a maximise button, and I still think the Windows start bar is better then the Dock. Window management in Windows is much better than in MacOS. I think it’s stupid how they only have one button for the trackpad. Their lack of easily accessible Page Up/Page Down buttons is also annoying and I had to remap the totally useless “enter” key next to the space bar to something more useful. Apart from that, it took me about two days to get comfortable with the idiosyncracies of MacOS and now navigating around is a breeze. The battery life is about 4 hours if you don’t run anything involving video.

It runs WoW pretty smoothly as well. There is nothing like hooking up to an online world from the comfort of a sofa without any wires in sight. When my exams finished, I went into my flatmate’s room where he was studying. I plonked myself on his bed and sat there playing WoW. He turned around.

“What are you doing lah??”
“Playing Warcraft.”
“What?! You bastard, lemme see?” He ran over. “That’s so cool man. Chee bai… now get the fuck out of my room.”

31
May 05
Tue

Computer Heresy

I’m about to commit heresy and order a 12″ Powerbook G4. Yes, that’s right, a beast with horns that runs MacOS.

I wanted a portable laptop that I could take travelling, so that means something smaller than a 14″ screen. Unfortunately, all the Windows laptops are so damn expensive at that size. For a little over $2000 (including a nice student education discount) the Powerbook comes with USB2, 802.11g, 5 hour battery life and a burner. In terms of software compatibility, MacOS is a Unix base. It has Apache and I can do all the web development I need. It runs Office, Photoshop and is compatible with Windows file formats. It runs WoW.

The only real downsides I can see with the Powerbook are that it only has one button on the trackpad (this is really annoying) and no PCMCIA slot (though this is only an issue if I need to subscribe to iBurst). The software compatibility issue isn’t so bad because I still have my desktop for when I need to do real work.

I think MacOS still has some crappy UI aspects, like a dodgy maximise button. I much prefer the Windows nested windows UI rather than the Mac’s floating palettes UI. Maybe it’s just a matter of adapting.

23
May 05
Mon

Sudoku Solver

The SMH has recently started printing Sudoku puzzles. Shish, the numerical mastermind that he is, whipped up a Sudoku solver in a few scant hours.

26
Apr 05
Tue

Wireless Portable Gaming

From this Wired article:

Hering’s colleagues then took the devices onto the road, where they played each other as they navigated the city’s notoriously crowded freeways. And except for when cars drove directly between them, they found they could maintain solid wireless connections between devices at distances of up to 350 feet.

To Hering, this was exciting.

“It brings up a cool theoretical,” he said. “A guy’s flying first-class to Hong Kong, and I’m flying coach. We have no idea who each other (is), but we fire up the devices, log into a multiplayer game and fire away. That was never possible before.”

It only took six years for this post I wrote a while ago to become close to being a reality. And the way technology is today, they won’t even be called yuppies.

5
Mar 05
Sat

Powerbook Accelerometre

The new Powerbooks have an accelerometre inside. It detects if a Powerbook is falling and parks the hard drive heads to lessen the chance of a hard drive crash. The accelerometre can be tapped into for other purposes and people have been throwing up ideas about making it into a user interface input. It’s a snazzy idea, but are you really going to want to pick up your 2kg, $3000+ laptop and give it a shake around just to do some “rapid e-mail filing” which could be accomplished by hitting keyboard buttons instead? I also read that it could have applications in other devices, such as mobiles: “nod” the phone and down for “OK”, shake from side to side for “cancel”. But same problem, moving the thumb to hit a button is a lot easier than moving your whole forearm. (Similar reason to why people use speed dial instead of voice dialing.)

Still, there is some novelty value to being able to use your laptop as an expensive spirit level.

25
Jan 05
Tue

The Mac Mini as a Media Centre Computer

There’s been a bit of buzz about the Mac mini and how its price and size make it a good unit for a media centre computer.

I think the size is unbeatable, but it’s not exactly cheap. The 1.42 GHz version with 512MB ram, Superdrive, wireless and bluetooth adapter, 80gb hard disk and an S-Video adapter will cost over $1200 after an educational discount. I’m also not sure of what the sound output capability of the mini is – it only has an audio line out.

For $1200 you can deck out a Shuttle case (or a similar sized case) with some pretty decent components. Sure, it’ll take up to 10 times the space of a mini, but it’s still reasonably portable (and has an internal power supply) and will be a heck of a lot more powerful – gigabit ethernet, 200gb hard drive, possibly better sound output, etc. A media centre PC doesn’t need to be all that powerful, so you’d be able to create a system with similar specs to the mini for far cheaper. I guess it comes down to whether you’re willing to fork out the cash for the size and looks of the mini. It’s cheap for a Mac, but it’s still not that cheap.

Update: An Engadget How-To details a box called EyeHome, which offers S/PDIF optical audio out and even component video outs for Macs. But this will add US$200 to the price.

17
Nov 04
Wed

New Video Card

I need a solid, but cheapish video card that can run Half-Life 2 at a decent resolution and at a decent framerate. I have a P4 2.4Ghz. Has anyone got any suggestions? I’m pretty out of touch with the video card market…

31
Aug 04
Tue

iMac G5 out

Apple keeps churning out stuff that makes it look likely that the next computer I get will be one of them. Case in point: the new iMac G5. At this moment, the only major negatives I can think about Apple hardware is that it doesn’t play anywhere near as many games as a PC does, and it’s not as heavily customisable as a PC is from a hardware point of view. Apart from that, they’re mightily attractive, not to mention sexy looking. (When you get chicks saying how nice a computer looks, you know you’re on to something good. Hell, even my mum who normally rolls her eyes at the mention of anything electronic was amazed by how good the Apple Cinema Displays looked.)

10
Jun 04
Thu

How I Use Gmail

I am a compulsive e-mail archiver. My Outlook Express mailbox, which is compressed, weighs in at more than a gigabyte. However, a gigabyte would be more than enough for me (and almost everyone else), if it weren’t for large attachments. If the average mail size is 5kb, and you get 100 emails that you keep per day, it would still take more than 5 years to fill up a Gmail mailbox. It’s the attachments that really eat up your Gmail quota. However, I like the ability to check Gmail on the run.

What I do is set up a forwarder email address which forwards mail to two addresses: Gmail, and a regular POP3 mailbox. Outlook checks the latter, and I use Gmail when I’m out and about. Generally, I delete unimportant emails with attachments from Gmail to keep space usage down, but this still allows me to check my entire mail archives using Gmail while on the run. If I really need to retrieve a large attachment, I use Outlook Express to do it. People email me on the forwarder address, and I set the “From” email address field in Outlook and the “Reply-to” email address field in Gmail (since you can’t change the From address there) to the forwarder address.

Another idea: Gmail recently put the number of unread emails into the title bar of the web browser window. Since Gmail will check your mailbox for you periodically and update the title bar, a third party should write an application that monitors the Gmail title bar and if the unread emails number ticks up, play a sound or some other notification that you’ve got new mail. Google could itself build this feature into Gmail, but I guess there are issues with playing sounds through different web browsers.

6
May 04
Thu

Unintentional call of the month

A few friends went to CeBIT yesterday. I wasn’t there, this is a second hand account. They came across the Samsung stand, where they were instantly attracted to the massive 80 inch plasma screen they had on display there. So after a few seconds of gawking at the screen, the Samsung sales girl/booth babe comes up to them to give a spiel.

Him: Wow! This thing is huge!
Her: Yes, you’re looking at the world’s only plasma screen that’s this size.
Him: Really? How big is it?
Her: 80 inches.
Him: Oh, that’s just a couple inches shorter than I am!

There is a brief silence, before he realises his misstep. This is immediately followed by the ruckus of the guys standing behind them absolutely pissing themselves with laughter. Sales girl not impressed.

  6:30pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Computing  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (1)  • 
17
Apr 04
Sat

Smoking pile of ash

It’s Sunday arvo and after only two days and handling a few thousand megabytes of data, our ADSL routing modem has gone bust. Like, seriously: claim the warranty, RMA, return to manufacturer, scream obscenities at Netgear, bust. I know what I said about frying the modem, but this is ridiculous.

I’m currently connected to the net on dialup again. Stop laughing.

16
Apr 04
Fri

Welcome to the Real World, Neo

You know what this means of course:

ADSL
I HAVE BROADBAND!!!

It’s been over ten years on dialup, but finally broadband is mine. This connection is so going to be raped. The ADSL modem is going to be a smoking pile of ash before the week is out.

  8:48pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Computing  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (4)  • 
7
Apr 04
Wed

Booya!

Yeah baby! It’s finally coming! Counting down the days…

Service Type Personal ADSL
Line Number 02——–
Initial Data Entry Date Mon Apr 5 2004
Overall Status Provisioning is in progress
Detailed Status: Confirmed: Carrier has confirmed service as deliverable, provisioning work is now being undertaken
Telstra Advice Current ETA: 14/04/2004
4
Apr 04
Sun

Broadband Saga Revisited

Ok, Telstra never called me about whether the transposition request was successful (surprise surprise). However, given the sudden dialup speed boost last week, I reckon that the only explanation is that the request actually went through! So I put through an ADSL order with Internode. They haven’t rejected the order yet, and the status currently says that provisioning is in progress. This is the closest I’ve been to getting broadband since Telstra cable came out last decade. My fingers are crossed…

19
Feb 04
Thu

Be careful when you Photoshop

Photoshop generates small preview images for the pics it produces and hides them in the original image. If you change the image drastically, the preview thumbnail is changed too. But if you don’t make a major change, and instead just crop the picture and resave it under the original file name, the preview thumbnail stays the same and reflects not what your image currently looks like but instead what the original looked like.

This link takes you to the results. NSFW.

10
Feb 04
Tue

MyDoom

I’m still receiving MyDoom e-mails by the boatload. It sometimes takes over half an hour each day to download them all on dialup. When will they ever stop?!

5
Dec 03
Fri

A Gigapixel Photo

Not a gigapixel camera. It’s “only” a gigapixel photo stitched together from a lot of individual photos shot with a camera with a big lens. Still, it’s definitely impressive. The only problem is that this technique can only capture still images. I can foresee someone mounting a grid of 16+ digicams in “parallel” and firing them off simultaneously to take high res images. Sort of like how they do the bullet time scenes in Matrix (where they spin the camera around Neo as he’s dodging the bullets), except the cameras are just arranged differently.

25
Oct 03
Sat

Yen Industries Advert Competition

There’s a stick of OCZ 512MB PC3500 High Performance Ram up for grabs if you design a good sub-200kB 468×60 ad banner for Yen Industries. See here for more details.

28
Sep 03
Sun

Office 2003

As expected, it’s no great improvement over Office XP. Even die-hard Microsoft critics will admit that the Office suite is pretty comprehensive, and its hard to make anything more than minor incremental additions to something like that. I am impressed with FrontPage 2003, however, which has received a fair few improvements that makes it worth the upgrade.

It’s curious that Microsoft didn’t label it Office 2004, because they normally date their software a year in advance so that it doesn’t seem to “date” as quickly. Hmmm, actually, I think I might just have answered my own question there.

29
Aug 03
Fri

Blaster Guy Caught

They got him. SoBig.F is much more annoying because it’s worse than spam, and spammers are already a good enough reason to reintroduce capital punishment :).

20
Aug 03
Wed

Dijkstra’s Codex

Salon called Dijkstra’s periodic writings a proto-blog. Apparently he used to keep a series of sequentially numbered letters which discussed a manner of issues, musings and notes to send to a few dozen of his colleagues:

Like most of us, Edsger always believed it a scientist’s duty to maintain a lively correspondence with his scientific colleagues. To a greater extent than most of us, he put that conviction into practice. For over four decades, he mailed copies of his consecutively numbered technical notes, trip reports, insightful observations, and pungent commentaries, known collectively as “EWDs”, to several dozen recipients in academia and industry. Thanks to the ubiquity of the photocopier and the wide interest in Edsger’s writings, the informal circulation of many of the EWDs eventually reached into the thousands.

Sort of like the Leicester Codex, except that Leonardo couldn’t really send his pages off to anyone else (not that he would have wanted to, given the code he wrote in). His archive of writings is available here: http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/. There are a few interesting notes amongst all the EWDs.

11
Aug 03
Mon

MSBlast Worm got you down?

Does your computer keep giving you impromptu 60 second restart countdowns? Cleanup instructions. Microsoft Patch for RPC vulnerability. If you’re having problems getting on to the net because the worm keeps restarting your computer, my solution is:

- Start menu, all programs, administrative tools, Services
- Look for RPC service (NOT RPC locator service). Double-click it.
- Recovery tab
- For First, second and subsequent failures, change drop-down boxes to “Restart the Service” instead of “Restart the Computer”
- Press OK.
- Also, it doesn’t hurt to end the “msblast.exe” process in the Task manager.

This should give you enough time to download Microsoft’s patch. (Of course, if you’re reading this, you’re already connected to the net…) Very reminiscent of the CodeRed/Nimda worm that went around a couple years ago. I can already hear the Linux people laughing it up again.

5
Aug 03
Tue

Flash Question

Asking on behalf of a friend: Anyone know Flash? Does anyone know how to stop a Flash file if it detects the computer it’s running on is a certain platform (like a Macintosh)? Basically if I have a Flash file that I run independently from a CD-ROM, I want it to check the platform it’s running on. If it’s a certain platform, I want the run to stop. Otherwise the flash file will play. Solutions would be very much appreciated.

29
Jul 03
Tue

Ghyslain Sues

Wired Article: “Quebec teenager Ghysl[ain] Raza was the target of worldwide mockery when a private video he made of himself practicing his lightsaber moves was uploaded to the Net by kids at his school. Now his parents are claiming damages of $160,000 from the families of the four classmates who digitized and published the video. Ghyslain’s parents claim their son was so humiliated, he is undergoing psychiatric care and may be marked for life by the experience.”

Also, a related article mentions the E/N genre.

8
Jul 03
Tue

Bullfighter

Bullfighter is a Word plug-in by Deloitte Consulting (Braxton) that picks out all the business jargon in documents, analyses sentence lengths and average syllables per word and assigns it a readability score. File this one under “novel diversion”.

27
May 03
Tue

Matrix-ify Your Desktop

Soon sent me a link to a Matrix screensaver/moving-wallpaper program. It rocks, looks pretty authentic, is customisable (you can use Japanese character sets just like the movies) and doesn’t use a large amount of system resources.

2
May 03
Fri

Shameless Plug: Yen Industries

Yen Industries has cheap hardware. Really cheap hardware. And I’m not saying that because I made the site and have a vested interest in the business :). (The site is new and probably still has bugs. A lot of the items are currently quite messily labelled, but that’s not my fault, I don’t provide the content. I’m sure it will improve in time though.) If you want to negotiate a better deal on something, just drop me an e-mail, tell me you came from this site, and I’ll see what I can do. If you need OCZ or Corsair RAM, you’ll honestly be hard pressed to find cheaper prices.

(Probably not of much interest to non-Aussies.)

  9:40pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Computing  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (1)  • 
3
Apr 03
Thu

Raided Floppies

Vic digs up another intellectual curiousity. Some guy has managed to run 5 USB Floppy Drives in RAID. Feel the speed. He also runs a stack of Sony memory stick readers in RAID.

29
Mar 03
Sat

Built in Cup Holder

Free cup holder for the computer. Whenever you hear “cup holder” and “computer” in the same sentence, something’s afoot. Beware of rewired Mime types :) {src: LJ}

Family Helpdesking

The pitfalls of doing tech support for your family. So true, but I think about 5 years ago I managed to get dad to understand that something can’t be my fault if I wasn’t within 50 km of the computer when it decided to fall over. I don’t mind helping people with computer issues at all, except for the cases when I get chastised for something that isn’t my fault. That’s no fun. {src: got this link from a blog, but can’t remember where}

18
Mar 03
Tue

Cheap Corsair Ram

Plug: There’s some very cheap Corsair RAM selling here (probably of interest to Aussies only). Darn, cheaper than the price I bought at. Tell Chris I sent you and you might even get a meagre discount off the already low prices.

16
Mar 03
Sun

Bluetooth Mobile Phone Remote

A friend was showing me at uni today how he got some software that allowed his T68i to control iTunes on his Powerbook via Bluetooth. Does anyone know of a similar program for Windows that’ll allow that? I did find this, but there’s got to be something a little more developed than that around.

16
Feb 03
Sun

New Computer

Finished buying components for a new computer. Specs: P4 2.4GHz, Asus P4PE (Firewire/Gigabit LAN), 512MB Corsair XMS3200 (2-2-2-6 latency), 120GB Seagate Barracuda V HDD (S-ATA), 120GB Western Digital (8MB cache, P-ATA) HDD, 40GB Seagate HDD(transferred from older computer), Lian Li PC-71 case, Antec 480W TruPower PSU, Leadtek Winfast 2000 XP TV/FM tuner card, SB Audigy Ex, LiteOn 52/52/24 CD-RW, LiteOn 16x DVD, GeForce 2 GTS.

I am waiting until the GeForce FX comes out, and will snap up a GeForce 4 when the subsequent price drop eventuates. Should easily last me through the rest of uni. I’m refusing to pump this system full of fans like my old one, no more overclocking for me. Serial HDDs are a pleasure to connect. All in all, it cost me in the mid $2000s, not a huge amount, and a miracle compared to the $5000 486-33DX system (4MB EDO RAM, 100MB HDD, SoundBlaster Pro, no CD-ROM) dad bought in 1991.

12
Feb 03
Wed

IP Atlas

IP-Atlas takes an IP, refers to NetGeo and then plots the location on a map of the world. With a few mods, you could give it a list of last 10 visitors’ IPs to see where people are coming from. Better yet, snap a picture of visits every 10 minutes (where each snapshot encompasses a sliding window of visits over the last 30 minutes if your site is low traffic) and stick them together in an animation. Then you could see if the visits are geographically random and time independent, or if you can see a higher frequency of visits visible in a band that sweeps westward over the globe as people sleep/wake.

12
Jan 03
Sun

Samurize

It’s a desktop customisation program that lets you display real-time info about most things. Write SOAP-enabled plug-ins and you’ll be able to pull down any info you want from the web, just about. Now, if there was just a way to hyperlink stuff that Samurize displayed… {src: Fuzzy}

In other news, my second IBM hard drive crashed again, placing my main computer once again offline. The crash is similar to the one that happened over a year ago, with the same hard disk model. I will never buy an IBM hard disk again. It’s just as well that IBM has sold their hard disk division off to Hitachi. So with due consideration, I think it’s time to get myself a whole new computer and put that new Lian Li PC-71 case I got in Singapore to good use… time to start shopping! :) Can anyone recommend a good cpu/mobo combo? Preferably with serial ATA, (gigabit?) onboard LAN and perhaps firewire.

1
Dec 02
Sun
30
Oct 02
Wed
8
Oct 02
Tue

New HP Printers, crazy CD Burner Speeds

HP is going to release soon a colour laser printer for under US$1000 (A$1900), the Color LaserJet 2500. LiteOn is releasing a ridiculous 52/24/52 speed cd burner.

26
Sep 02
Thu

HDD Auction

Hmm no one’s bid for my hard drive on eBay… $155 for a new 60GB hard drive is cheap isn’t it? Buy my drive.

5
Sep 02
Thu

Peripherals

MS releases a large line of new keyboards and mice. They look funky, except for the updated keyboard layouts. I mean, what they’ve done with the Insert/Delete cluster of keys is really rooted. It’s reminiscent of the MS Natural Elite keyboard which flopped pretty badly (it had a vertically orientated Insert/Delete cluster, and the cursor keys were arranged in a diamond which is not very ergonomic).

27
Aug 02
Tue

Asus Mobo

Oh I like this new motherboard, the Asus A7V8X. Socket A, KT400, gigabit lan, serial ata, bluetooth/802.11b, usb 2, firewire. The damn thing even speaks…

2
Apr 02
Tue

Hard Drives

IBM’s new 120GXP line of hard drives come with a daily power-on rating. This has caused some confusion about drives that everyone assumed could be used 24/7 but are actually rated for about 11 hours of usage a day. Which is downright poor. IBM then pulled this rating off their datasheet after people pestered them about it. Read more. IBM is not impressing me with their screwing around. Especially since the hard drive is the one component in your computer you don’t want to see break down.

5
Mar 02
Tue

As seen on /.

A transparent hard drive to go with that transparent cube case please. Funky. A case with a window is still fairly boring – nothing moves – but, I really dig the idea of seeing those hard drive heads skitter around over the platter.

27
Feb 02
Wed

Hot CPUs

“My AMD is running so hot you could fry an egg on it.” Erm… someone did.

5
Feb 02
Tue

Megaworks 510D

Review for the Cambridge Soundwords 510D 5.1 multimedia speaker set. Time for me to start saving for this one, I think. It sounds like it sounds really good :)

4
Feb 02
Mon

Sydney WLANs

Sydney finally gets a couple wireless groups: Sydney Wireless and SWAG. These WLANs are still in development, but if they do get off the ground, I would go out right away and buy a wireless NIC to join in – assuming I can get a signal.

30
Jan 02
Wed

Serial ATA

Read about Serial ATA. I wonder when we’ll start to see Serial ATA hardware in the marketplace?

27
Jan 02
Sun

Hard Drive

This does not fill me with confidence, but we will see how my Seagate fares…

I just bought one of those 80 GB Seagate drives myself. However, I’ve been having problems
with it not wanting to run 100% of the time. I leave my computer on always, and every few
days or so, I’ll wake it up from sleep and the system will hang. Reboot, and the 80 gigger
is gone. Leave the machine offf for fifteen minutes or so, reboot, and they come back.

Needless to say, it made me very nervous the first time it happened. Of course, my
situation could be different because:

a) it could be just a bug with my drive (doubtful)
b) i’m running an ATA100 card to which is connected, which could have a bug with drives
that size (doubtful)
c) i’m running Mac OS X (doubtful)
d) i’ve got bad ventilation to the drive, so it may be overheating at regular intervals
(best guess)

Advice? Make sure it gets good ventilation. Or turn off your machine every few days and
let it sit overnite.
-wrongforum

Thanks Jeff!

15
Jan 02
Tue

Computer & Phone

I bought an 80 GB Seagate Barracuda 4 hard drive. Of course, my computer is still down, so I have nothing to install it into, and I don’t want to open up my server in case something decides to bite the dust with that machine. I’m thinking of upgrading some time this year. I only need a few components:

- Case: Perhaps a Lian Li PC-70 (I like full towers)
- PSU: One of those high-wattage Enermax units
- CPU: Something Intel
- Mobo: Something with DDR Ram support
- RAM: 512MB DDR

Finding the right price point and time to buy a CPU/Mobo combo will be tricky. Northwood cored P4s are due out this year with higher 400 and 533MHz FSBs. Athlons are also a possibility, but I’ve always been an Intel person myself. I keep hearing stories about Athlons and compatibility issues.

In other news, I lodged the insurance claim to Vodafone for my 6210 (claim reason: “Phone irreparably damaged due to owner being thrown into swimming pool at party”). They said they’ll send me out a new phone, should be here in 5-10 working days. The excess is $125 unfortunately. My contract expires in about 5 months, maybe look at getting something with Bluetooth then. Doesn’t look like the 6310 will be out for a while here. I haven’t even seen anyone holding an 8310 in Sydney yet, but I do know they’re available in Singapore.

14
Jan 02
Mon

Geez RAM prices have catapulted again. There’s been more than a doubling of price over the last half year. Crazy.

18
Dec 01
Tue

Hard Drives

After the catastrophe I posted about yesterday, here’s a couple links on how hard drives work: this one has good close-up shots & the how stuff works page on hard drive internals. It’s amazing that they work at all… but it doesn’t excuse hard drive manufacturers from whacking an MTBF rating on drives of about 150,000 hours and having one fail after a year and a bit. I’d open up my drive to figure out what went wrong, but that would void my warranty. Need to send it in for replacement when I get the time (but can I trust the replacement drive? Especially when the warranty states that replacement drives are not guaranteed to be brand new?)

13
Dec 01
Thu

Hahaha

Now this is funny. Thank you Vic!

11
Dec 01
Tue

Backup Alternative

Turn your DV video camera into a tape backup unit with dvbackup.

12
Nov 01
Mon

Removing ICQ 2001 Ads

I got this link for the manual procedure to remove ads from ICQ 2001 from Sylence. She (he?) also requests if anyone knows where to find an auto-autho patch for 2001b. I’d like to know too. Thanks!

Real-time Counter

PHP + Flash to give a real-time visit counter.

6
Nov 01
Tue

Erased Drives

Horror stories of Mac users having their hard drive partitions erased by iTunes2. This is even worse than a bug that came out with Myth II a few years ago – if you installed in into a non-default directory, when you uninstalled it, it would uninstall your operating system and files along with it.

5
Nov 01
Mon

Brookdale Chipset

The Register reports that Brookdale, Intel’s DDR mobo chipset for the P4 is being released earlier due to increased competition from other chipset makers. Consequently, Brookdale G is being released earlier and may mean that the new P4 with 533MHz FSB may arrive sooner as well. Competition is good.

Crucial Ram

Hmm, looks like EYO is selling Crucial DDR Ram in Sydney.

3
Nov 01
Sat

Western Digital HDD

Western Digital released a 120GB 7200rpm hard drive onto the market. A couple of those would be nice.

2
Nov 01
Fri

Gateway Auction

The now non-existent Gateway Australia is auctioning off $5 million worth of equipment right now. I told a friend attending it that if they sell off a 15″ lcd for under $500, to bid for me. I’d imagine that they would go for more than that, though.

1
Nov 01
Thu

ICQ 2001b

Much better than 2k (I never upgraded from 99 because 2k, the “kitchen sink version”, is really clunkified.) The filesize is reduced from 2k, which is always a good sign. Download here.

30
Oct 01
Tue

32x CD-R

Sanyo releases a 32x Write CD-R. They just keep getting faster. Despite this, media accurately rated for writing at over 16x speeds is rare.

23
Oct 01
Tue

Public Announcement

I just have to say that the Remote Desktop feature of XP rocks. Sound, printer, clipboard and video redirection. Automatic sharing of client drives. Means I don’t have to get off my butt to do any stuff on the server. Much more responsive than VNC, too.

22
Aug 01
Wed

HumanML

As it says, Human Markup Language is being explored:

Hoping to eliminate human misunderstanding in communication, OASIS, the XML interoperability consortium, Tuesday announced it has formed a committee to promote a specification for conveying human characteristics through XML.

15
Aug 01
Wed

RAID

And while we’re on the topic of hard drives, here’s a large guide to RAID.

100 GB HDD

Western Digital has released a 100GB IDE hard disk (ATA-100, 7200rpm, 8.9ms seek).

13
Aug 01
Mon

Trusting Trust

Here’s an interesting read on programming and self-replicating/self-referential code.

C#

The C# Language Specification specifies a language that looks remarkably similar in syntax to Java. No coincidence, I guess. I’ve always wanted to learn C++ but I guess with my Java experience, C# will be easier to pick up when it eventually is released.

SB Audigy

Creative’s new line of SoundBlaster cards, the Audigy, ships next month.

2
Jul 01
Mon

Try2Hack

Vic sent me this link, was interesting and educational. It’s a series of “hacking” challenges (there are 8 levels to progress through) that require a fairly general, but not necessarily extensive, knowledge of computers. Give it a go. Just finished it all… it gave my brain a good workout. Thanks Vic!

14
May 01
Mon

The XPs

Windows XP (Home and Pro editions) is scheduled for release on the 25th October. Let’s see if they make that date. Furthermore, Win2K’s SP2, not yet officially released, is available for download here (SP2 FAQ). (Links off Dark Magnet!)

I got my hands on a final copy of Office XP Pro, which also comes with FrontPage 2002. The step from 2000 to XP isn’t gigantic (not as much as Windows Me is to XP) but it’s a nice upgrade nonetheless. The interface design has changed a little, and there are a bundle of small sometimes useful features that’ve been added. These include smart tags (little buttons that appear when you perform certain actions such as pasting), language tranlsation dictionaries, handwriting recognition and very dodgy voice recognition. It’s not an essential upgrade by any means, but it’s nice.

Gadget Review

Envy News reviews tech gadgets and other expensive nice-to-haves. My kind of site.

SoundBlaster Audigy

A little (old) news about Creative’s Audigy line of cards that will replace the Live! series. Damn, looks good (should sound good too).

Cordless Optical Mice

I didn’t know these existed until recently, always thought they would consume too much battery power… but Logitech has one. Nice. I could do with one for the TV box… then I wouldn’t have to find a flat surface roll the mouse on. Review 2. Another item for the wishlist.

DVD Rewriteable Drive

The Pioneer DVR-A03 DVD-RW drive will be released at under US$1000. Good news. Prices have hit 3-digits (even if it is in US$) and may be affordable in a couple years.

Video Format Conversion

Video format conversion utilities (and other info).

2
May 01
Wed

Read!

Product Activation & Windows XP. Interesting bits, “Customer has a product key, he can go through a FEW COMPLETE computer overhauls, use the same product key, and be just fine”, “Changes in hardware are expected, and allowed. It is only when a PID is trying to be cleared on several hundred/thousand configurations that Microsoft would even care. Microsoft isn’t in the business of screwing customers, but they would definitely like to give the shaft to thieves.” and “We’ve determined that a crack will be out for this method of activation within one week after RTM, but this is not to stop those guys. This is to stop the casual piracy of Windows, and I think it will be a viable solution. Bottom line is you should pay for the software you use.”

9
Apr 01
Mon

(Slightly Old) News

WinXP beta testers still in open revolt over product activation. XP may have a product activation key (as did Australian versions of Office 2000), but there will be versions of it (especially Server flavours) floating about without this feature. Why? Larger companies purchase unlimited licenses for Windows – and with these licenses, an activation scheme would simply not be practical. Also, I suppose there is an algorithm somewhere that translates the generated product ID to the activation key…

6
Apr 01
Fri

Distributed Processing Program

The latest usage of distributed computing is for cancer research. I downloaded it and I have no idea what it’s doing, but it looks cool and would be a display taken straight from a Hollywood movie (remember Userfriendly’s MovieOS?). Above all, as they say, it’s for a very good cause. Thanks to Silverweed for the alert!

1
Apr 01
Sun

Windows XP Beta 2 Review

Apparently it’s due to be released around the last quarter of this year. Looking good. Unfortunately, news has also broken that Microsoft will not be adding in-built support for Bluetooth into XP.

The Silicon Graphics Fridge Project

Converting expensive machines into household appliances. Thanks Vic.

1
Dec 00
Fri

Hardware Tweak

How-to guide on turning your Promise ATA66 controller into a RAID controller.

Explanation of DDR Ram

Technical explanation of where DDR SDRAM fits into the whole scheme of memory architecture. An interesting read, also explains the speed & latency differences between RDRAM and SDRAM.

21
Nov 00
Tue

Quick Question

Quick question for you PHP gurus – how do I do the equivalent of an SSI exec command in PHP (ie: run a perl script and include the output in the page). Mail me. Update: sonic let me know of these 2 API functions:

system() and virtual()

20
Nov 00
Mon

Pentium IV

NDAs on the P4 chip expired a night or two ago and reviews have sprung up all over. Ars links to several sites with the scoop. Seems like the P4 is nothing to write home about (at this point in time), even though most benchmarking methods have not been optimised for the P4′s instruction sets yet. Dan has a good writeup about it. Of course the fact that they are DRDRAM only (unless Intel licenses out rights to Via for SDRAM mobos), means that P4s + RAM = shit expensive.

14
Nov 00
Tue

CD-R Media

Dan’s Data had a good article on CD-Rs about a month ago. I reckon buying a platter of those multi-coloured CD-Rs would be a nice change from the regular Kodaks… and the black PSX-look-a-like ones look pretty slick.

SMP System

Can anyone tell me what is the cheapest way to build a dual CPU system? (Cheapest mobo/cpu combo, speed of cpus not important, but they should be available on the market today)

13
Nov 00
Mon

Cheap PCs

Yep, $300 for a basic Celeron 500 computer with all the necessary peripherals. You also have to fill out monthly surveys for the next 2 years (a minor hassle, I suppose). If you could do with an extra computer, find out more information here. The offer seems to be internationall available for several countries (US, UK, Aus, Canada etc.). As always, caveat emptor:

i heard of a scam similar to this… apparently there are only a few computers (e.g. <2), but what happens, >50 or more ppl send in $500, which is >$25 000, they bank in for a Short Term interest e.g. 3% for 2months [8-9 weeks the processing time]. They get $750 for nothing, and then at the end mail back to the ppl that all the comps have been sold out. They distribute the 10comps and everything is legal. But u never know, could be perfectly fine…. there’s a lot of money in marketing…
-RedRuskie

2
Nov 00
Thu
1
Nov 00
Wed

Mousemat for the Yuppies

US$25 for a mousemat (only about AU$1000 these days)? Yeah, it’s gotta be fancy… it comes in a metal tin, fer goodness sake…

30
Oct 00
Mon

Home Networks and Internet Connection Sharing

A bit of a techie post this one. Ok, there are two main ways to share a dialup/isdn/cable/adsl connection: via hardware, and via software.

Software is relatively easy to configure and has the bonus of not really mattering what connection type you have (dialup/cable etc.) as this is handled by the O/S. There are various options:

  • Win 98/ME and Win 2000 all come with ICS which is easy to set up but pretty crap for configuring. If you have Win2k with DNS/DHCP and other services all nicely set up, ICS will stuff around with those settings. ICS is also hard to diagnose because in an attempt to be “user-friendly”, it hides what it does so it’s a bugger to tweak stuff.
  • Win 2000 also comes with NAT routing – preferable to using ICS, IMO.
  • You can use a proxy server to share net connections (eg: MS Proxy Server 2) but these don’t truly allow unfettered net access.
  • You can use a NAT server, such as SyGate or WinProxy. These are highly flexible in that they allow port range mapping and trigger maps so you can customise what packets go where.
  • If you use Linux, that comes with IP masquerading capabilities native.
  • For Macs… well, who cares about Macs :)

Using an old Pentium or 486 machine as a dedicated software-based router is a good way of implementing this.

A hardware solution in the form of a router costs more money, has to fit the connection type (dialup/cable etc.) but will work regardless of the systems you have on your LAN (Win/Mac/*nix etc.). Most home routers use NAT technology and perform routing faster than software solutions (theoretically giving better throughputs). For the more geeky among us, you may be able to telnet into or use a serial cable to access your router and appear really techy :) Not quite IOS, but hey :) However, compared to Sygate, useless you fork out a few grand for a “proper” Cisco router, the el cheapo variety tend to be less flexible in terms of configuration – port forwarding for example, is normally limited to a set number of ports, and range mapping may be unavailable.

Both software and hardware routers also act as primitive firewalls with packet filtering capabilities.

You’ve also got wireless routers like Apple’s Airport, Cisco’s Aeronet and Lucent’s Orinoco. Those are damn expensive though.

From the emails I’ve got (below), it seems that most people are using the Linksys SR41 router. I’ve been poking around and the Netgear RT311 Router and RT314 Router+4-Port Switch look the goods in both features and pricing. What I want to know is – how good are these routers at handling games? Do some games (playing and serving them) refuse to work over a router, or are they all able to work with some tweaking (without having to place your gaming computer onto a DMZ)?

Fuzzy’s mail below is quite informative… interesting things he says about Telstra’s traffic monitoring.

I currently use a Linksys router, and for the most part it works fine. Im usin cable. The one I got included a 4 port switch built in but can be expanded on, theres also cheaper ones that you haveto hook your own hub into. Theres a bunch of different brands…I saw a site that had reviews of like 6 different makes and models…but forget it…
-Stuart

I use the linksys etherfast router with 4 ports.  It cost me like $150 dollars.  It works great, it took like maybe 5 minutes to setup.
-Stephen

Hey.. Check out this piece of hardware.. http://www.cable-modems.org/articles/linksys_review/. It’s a cable modem (or DSL) router… I use it at home. It’s about $150 US, I think, but it’s *really* worth it. I had a proxy machine set up before, but I would have to mess with proxy settings in all my software, and some software didn’t even natively support proxies.. but just put the network through this router, and you don’t have to worry about a thing… everything works with it.. It even acts as a mediocre firewall. Just check that review in the link above… you’ll see.
-G

I have internet on cable. every1 seems to have problems with their Rogers@HOME or Shaw@HOME service, i however do not. you’re supposed to pay for the sharing of the internet (not fuckin’ likely that u will though) but if you want to do it for cheaper you hook the modem up to a computer and then network the computers on a network faster than that of the modem (otherwise its pretty pointless) then u run windows 98 SE and ICS. it all works out pretty simple, whether u want IPX/SPX or TCP/IP protocol… (note: i know windows is shit, but linux-windows sharing doesn’t work easily, and too many ppl on my network have windows98) hope i can help.
-Kevin

Ever since I moved into a share house I’ve been tinkering with connection sharing. To start off with we just used Microsoft’s Internet Connection Sharing which comes with Win98SE to share a 56k dailup connection. The modem plugged into my PC and left on most of the time, nice and easy.

However, if your PC is noisy (thus making sleeping while room mates are on the net difficult) this might not be the best way.

We changed from this setup when we went to optus cable. I setup a little P133 with NT4, installed two network cards, PC Anywhere and Winroute Pro, and taa daa instant gateway-proxy-firewall connection sharing that sits under our house. Best of all doing it this way makes it impossible for someone at Optus to know that it’s being shared. It’s always on, and we can use it to queue up d/l’s over night, host our mp3 share, run roger wilco and anything else we want.

If you plug the cable modem straight into a hub and share it this way the ISP can see the packets being sent between PCs (as they all travel up to the ISP gateway’s then back to the hub). As an aside, I’ve heard Telstra count all internal data in your throughput if you do it that way.

I am looking at making a few changes to our network though. While PC Anywhere allows me to work on the machine from anywhere (and means I don’t have to have a monitor on the PC) it’s not great. I’m thinking of rebuilding the machine and installing windows 2000 server with terminal server componants installed. But that will require better hardware than a P133…. I’ve got a dual celeron mobo, all I need is a matching celeron 466 for the one I’ve got.

Anyway, email me back if you need any other info. I find myself needing excuses to ramble since I closed my page :)
-Fuzzy

Heya, I just use an old Pentium running NT4… it shares my modem connection, and runs DNS/mail/web/etc…

works fine, but of course you need an old machine for it…
-Shaun

I took a trip to my friend’s and they had a pretty interesting setup to share the net connection.  They have an old P2 400 with Red Hat 7.0 and some pmfirewall software on it.  It has 2 NICs, one to take incoming traffic from the DSL modem and the other to send it to a hub that distributes to the rest of the network. 

The cool part is the firewall software.  My friend wrote part of it, and it uses dynamic port opening and closing.  They went to that Shield’s Up! site and it couldn’t detect any ports or IPs of the computers (other than the dynamic IP the phone company gives them).  They also get insane download speeds, but that’s because they’re really close to the phone switch.  Those bandwidth testers claim they peak at over T1 speeds…
-Sonic

29
Oct 00
Sun

Home Routers

Just out of curiousity, anyone had experience with any that can be used to share a cable or ADSL modem on a network? And also, how does it compare to a software solution like Sygate? (Not that I have cable or ADSL *grumble*)

14
Oct 00
Sat

Cracked!

I linked to this non-fictional story-in-progress a few months ago. It has concluded in the meantime with Part 7.

Glossary

A terse glossary of computer graphics terminology.

10
Oct 00
Tue

Bios Mod 2

If you have a newer Award v6 Bios, you can have a full screen splash picture on bootup.

Well… I found out there’s a new Bios version for my mobo, so I decided to do the modded logo thing on it. The boot disk is ready… The next time I need to reboot I’ll give it a flash and hope Energy Australia doesn’t have a blackout while I’m doing it. I’ll grab a photo of it if it’s successful.

7
Oct 00
Sat

Logo Mod

You know the Energy Star energy saver graphic that comes up on bootup? Change it. It requires changing the BIOS (tools for Award Bios modification are supplied, mobos with AMI BIOSes are out of luck as far as software goes, I think), and like all BIOS operations, make sure you know what you’re doing or you’re going to fry something you didn’t want to fry. I think I’m going to give it a try when I get the time.

4
Oct 00
Wed

DVD Ripping

Everything you need to have, to know, and to do to rip a DVD to an AVI file. A 2 hour movie took about 8 hours on my PC to convert to a 650mb avi using the DivX codex, and the video quality is still surprisingly good. It loses the AC3 encoding, too, since the sound is re-encoded to mp3.

1
Oct 00
Sun

MSN Messenger

I only recently found this out, because I use ICQ, but MSN Messenger allows you to make free phone calls to any US or Canadian phone. Great for international calls to North America. I’ve tried it out, and the phone quality over a 28.8k connection is surprisingly decent – there’s just a touch of lag between replies.

26
Aug 00
Sat

New Computer

It’s been over a week since last post, but I’ve finally got the new puter in order (mostly). There was this anomaly during a file copy… Yes I had a fair bit of data copying, but not that much! Updates will return to being made with some sort of regularity soon. And yes, I will be posting up the specs of this machine :).

16
Aug 00
Wed

Component #18 & New Computer

Picked up a 64M Leadtek GeForce 2 GTS (yeah, overpriced, but since I’m not upgrading for a long, long while I reckon the extra $100 for 32M more ddr ram wasn’t too bad). And right after I got it I read the GeForce 2 Ultra was announced offa Techno Weenie. On further reading I was glad to hear it won’t be released for a while yet :). Anyhow, the previous day I’ve been busy building the new PC. I’ve got the hardware side of it just about complete – next thing is to install all software and transfer all the data on this computer over. Gonna be busy for the next few days…

And just to let you know I haven’t forgotten, James, I owe you a game of TFC.

14
Aug 00
Mon

Components #16, 17

After a few months of sourcing different components I’m just about ready to start building the computer. The region-free DVD-ROM came in, as did the P3-750E CPU. Should be able to push the speed of it to somewhere above 900MHz. I’m missing my GeForce 2, but I can use the Voodoo while I’m waiting for that. Today I also did a small case mod. Drilled a few holes and replaced the front 8cm intake fan with a large 12cm one.

10
Aug 00
Thu

Component #15

The centrepiece of the system arrived a couple days ago – one big 21″ Sony G500 Monitor. I am happy :)

26
Jul 00
Wed

File Rogue

One of those file sharing programs à la Napster (but for any type of file) is File Rogue is opening for public beta on August 1. Might be worth checking up on: “We currently have over 15 full time catalogs online (about 30GB of files), which means that File Rogue will not be a Ghost Town when you first log on.”

That Was Quick

I saw a GeForce 2 MX card on sale today. In Narellan. I can’t believe it… an MX card all the way out in whoop whoop… and the US release date isn’t till the 28th of this month. That same shop is also out of stock of the 64MB GeForce 2 I want :/

Palm “Must-downloads”

Good and comprehensive list of downloads for Palms (also included is how to use a Palm like a floppy disk, and how to get the Palm to use your computer’s modem).

22
Jul 00
Sat

Components #13, 14

Two 45 GB IBM Hard Drives.

Macromedia Dreamweaver Ultradev

Although I’m a Frontpage as opposed to Dreamweaver user myself, this new web development program from Macromedia has support for ASP, JSP and CFML coding among its rich feature set. Might take a gander at the trial version.

Uh

Another one of these sites?

19
Jul 00
Wed

CDR-Soft

For all your CD burning needs.

ICQ

ICQ is working for me again, with no changes on my end. Must’ve been a server side problem.

18
Jul 00
Tue

General Note

Does anyone know what is going on? My copy of ICQ has shat itself. Everything works fine except for the fact that no one registers as online. Only when I receive a message from someone do they appear as online. Bizarre… it seems to be a corruption in the database files but an upgrade to 2000 still didn’t fix the problems. It could be the 350 users or 150,000 events in the database that are causing the problem, but that’s unlikely… Ideas anyone?

16
Jul 00
Sun

Windows Millennium

Installed that yesterday. You’ve read all about the new features (if not, click here), so I won’t cover them here. It’s a nice upgrade to Win98 SE – tightens things up. Unfortunately the kernel doesn’t support shadowed mouse cursors or fading menus like 2000 does :).

12
Jul 00
Wed

Components #10, 11

One Netgear 8 port switch, and a Voodoo 3 2000 PCI which I’m going to use as a secondary graphics card. What’s left? CPU, Monitor, hard drives (which are on order) and primary graphics card.

6
Jul 00
Thu

Component #9

An ABit Slotket!!! (yes, the three exclamation marks are part of the product title. Crazy Taiwanese.)

5
Jul 00
Wed

Components #6-8

Picked up a Macase Full Tower with 400W PSU, a floppy drive, and an MSI BX Master Mobo.

1
Jul 00
Sat

Component #4, #5

Picked up the Intel 10/100 network card for the computer I’m going to build these hols. Also picked up a Logitech cordless keyboard/mouse combo. I am going to be stone broke by the end of these holidays :( But I will have an awesome computer :). Will be driving around in the city on Monday to pick up a few more components.

27
Jun 00
Tue

Another Use for Macs

Thanks to Tyson for showing another great use for Macintoshes.

RFCs

Spot the anomalous entry in RFC1208. Hint: it’s under ‘B’ :) 1991… that’s going back a while. The future of IP number URLs is here. And of course, geeks make good poets (or not). There’s a missing RFC. Finally, there’s the infamous RFC1925 (The 12 Networking Truths). Here are the other 2685 RFCs (just in case you get bored).

18
Jun 00
Sun

Component #3

Picked up a Soundblaster Live! Platinum w/Live Drive 2. I swear, nothing beats a uni computer fair. Everything there is… “duty free” :).

12
Jun 00
Mon

Remote Disconnection Utility

This is such a useful utility! If you have a home network, and have a few computers hooked up to the net via a proxy/NAT server running on one computer, this utility is great. Although there’s always been on-demand dialing, I haven’t seen a way to remotely disconnect the modem on the server. Well, with RDU, no longer do you have to walk over to the server to disconnect the modem connection. It’s got various functions so that when a disconnection is requested, all client computers connected have to confirm whether to drop the connection. There’s also the ability to notify clients when a connection comes online.

Cracked!

Part 5 of the story is out (see entry dated 1/6/00)

1
Jun 00
Thu
31
May 00
Wed

COM

So, this is what COM is! Finally found a decent explanation of it…

Cracked!

Being hacked makes for a great story.

30
May 00
Tue

Various

You’ll still be able to spam me on my phone. It just means it will start costing me (and everyone else using Optus) money to send SMSes (receiving them is free, as always). So stop sending those “last day SMS!” smses :)

Display system uptime on your desktop with Uptime 2000. It just looks neat to have flashing and blinking things on the screen :)

29
May 00
Mon

Very Nice

As seen on Fuzzy’s: Unimobile. So people know where you are all the time :).

DIY Napster

Explore the Napster Protocol.

26
May 00
Fri

WTF is this?

Speaking of classics, I have this almost 2 decade old computer sitting in the study (which is used as a storeroom), and I can’t work out what it is. It’s got a 300bps modem in it and I recall, back when dad used to use it, that it had a colour display. It’s manufactured by Acorn and was produced (?) by the British Broadcasting Corp. I’m clueless. It actually still powers up, but it needs a cable to connect the monitor to the computer (which has since gone missing). A weird cable too – what looks like a SCART connector on one end, and the other I can’t work out. Here’s a pic of the back of it – if you can identify any of the connectors, let me know please. Sorry, it’s really blurred. The RGB port is circular and has 6 holes. Video Out is a hollow protrusion with a pin in the middle of it. I’m not sure which connects up to the monitor.

25
May 00
Thu

Bandwidth

Ever wondered about the speed of net connections such as T3, E3 and OC-3? Does T1 exist in Australia? Cos I’ve heard they use the European E1 standard… And I still don’t get what frame relay is…

23
May 00
Tue

Hardware Key Logging

This is truly insidious. I wouldn’t mind a few of them :)

22
May 00
Mon

Winzip 8

Is out. Not sure how long ago it was, but it’s out of beta now.

21
May 00
Sun

Components

I have an el cheapo i740 graphics card in my other computer. I opened the case up tonight to stick in another 128 meg of RAM and I found that the heatsink had fallen off the damn video card. I saw today the Leadtek GeForce 2. It has a frigging big heatsink… if in the extremely unlikely event that that thing ever fell off, it’d damage whatever components were under it :) I got a few minor components for the new system today. An ABit Slotket, a card cooler with dual 6cm fans and two 8cm cooling fans.

On the topic of computer speakers, I’m looking at the idea of not buying computer designed speakers at all. Buying a 4.1 or 5.1 speaker Midi hifi system would give much better sound than any comp speakers (the THX certified designed-for-computers Klipsch Promedia with 400W of power looks good, but aren’t available in Oz unfortunately). Just gotta make sure the speakers are magnetically shielded.

19
May 00
Fri

Notes

Lotus Notes/Domino is an interesting way to serve a web site… but I prefer Cold Fusion and a conventional DB backend.

18
May 00
Thu

Computing Audio Site

Awesome. My cuz found a site that focuses on computer audio (tons of speaker and soundcard reviews): 3D Sound Surge.

17
May 00
Wed

Oracle Sucks

Oracle Form Builder is the WORST development program I have ever used.

16
May 00
Tue

Boot Sequence

A technical explanation of a computer’s Boot Sequence. Includes info on BIOS and Hard Drive Boot records, and exactly what happens after you power on your computer etc.

14
May 00
Sun

GeForce 2 GTS In Australia!

10 cards made it into Aus. I’ve found two places that are flogging it for about $670 – Computer Market Online and EYO. It’s a 32MB Leadtek model.

11
May 00
Thu

Component #2?

Last month I posted about getting 512MB RAM. The chips haven’t been touched. In fact, they’re still sitting in a box with the other 768MB of RAM my cousin ordered. Why? Cos I’ve got no mobo to put them in (actually my current system could do with more ram, but I’ve been too damn lazy to grab a screwdriver and open up the case). I’m also waiting for my bank account to recover. One of these new 16x Pioneer DVD drives would be nice. Still shopping around for the best price for a SBLive! Plat w/ LiveDrive 2. Lowest I’ve found so far is at Pioneer computers for ~$420. Might be buying a case with a 400W power supply next week (only $20 more than a 300W, so why not? :) I won’t have anything to put into it, but that won’t stop me from adding fans and all that cooling shiznitz to it. And a GeForce 2 GTS would be nice… albeit fricking expensive.

9
May 00
Tue

An AirPort for the PC

You know how iBooks have the AirPort for wireless net connectivity? Now PCs can have it too (wireless net connectivity, not the AirPort). It’s more practical than pretty (compared to the Mac’s AirPort).

7
May 00
Sun

PalmDope

Couldn’t resist and finally stuck Dopewars on my Palm today.

4
May 00
Thu

Network Diagrams

Fluke Network Inspector + Visio = Pretty network diagrams. Interesting that Visio is now owned by MS too.

Another Virus Scare

The LoveLetter Worm (more frequently referred to as the “I Love You” virus) has been causing a bit of a fuss today. It’s basically a VB Script file, so you can view it and be safe, as long as you don’t run it (viewable in ASCII text here, via Camworld), and also here’s a full description of it.

2
May 00
Tue

Mmm Uptime

You don’t get 29 days of uptime with Win98, nosiree.

1
May 00
Mon

Win ME Beta 3

The “Windows SuperSite” has a review of WinME Beta 3. Looks to be coming along quite nicely. Given how I’ve gotten used to the stability of Windows 2000 (it just feels stable), I wonder if the updated interface of WinME would make it seem deceptively stable, when in fact it will crash about as often as Win98?

27
Apr 00
Thu
23
Apr 00
Sun

Component #1

I’ve decided to start slowly start building a new computer system. The first component came in yesterday with my relos flying in from the US. A half gig of PC133 CAS2 RAM. Now once my bank account recovers, I need a CPU, Mobo, Video card, cooling equipment and a case before I can do anything. I plan to buy a P3 100MHz FSB chip so I can overclock it by raising the FSB to 133MHz.

18
Apr 00
Tue

Seti Stuff

Get more details and stats with SetiSpy. Retrieve several work units in advance with SetiCache so you don’t have to reconnect to the net in order to start processing another work unit. As well, there’s SetiWatch (which allows you to view the status of SAH on other computers on the network) and SetiLog, which logs past work units. And trayer is also a really nice program which allows you to move programs from the task bar into the system tray (or hide them completely if you so desire!). And here’s a plug.

MBR

The scenario I posed about an overwritten MBR was hypothetical. What I basically wanted to find out was, how to restore the Win 2000 boot loaded (O/S chooser) in the event it is overwritten. The answer appears to be (apart from using a third party bootloader like Powerquest’s BootMagic or even Lilo) using the Win 2000 emergency disk (or maybe the FIXMBR command Dennis wrote about). Thanks for everyone’s input. This is just useful stuff to know about in advance of it actually happening (as may happen when WinME comes out and everyone dual booting decides to upgrade from Win98).

17
Apr 00
Mon

MBRs

Whoo… logged on to a Win 2000 server with terminal server. It’s a nice dual CPU box with 1.2 gig of ram :) Anyhow. Would anyone know the answer to the following. If you created a dual boot machine loading Win98 first then Win2000 after (since Win98 has a nasty habit of overwriting the MBR), and then you were later to upgrade to WinME from Win98, would WinME setup screw around with the MBR, thereby causing the Win2000 O/S chooser to become inoperable (can’t select Win2000 on bootup)? Better still, if you install Win98 after Win2000, how would you restore the O/S boot menu for Win2000? Anyone?

13
Apr 00
Thu
7
Apr 00
Fri
2
Apr 00
Sun

Freaky

Want to see something bizarre? It seems that the good old BX motherboards (with FSB overclocked to 133MHz and PC133 ram) run faster than the new i840 mobos with RDRAM (PC800 spec). See for yourself these stats. Full article here.

28
Mar 00
Tue

While I Was Sleeping…

BeOS R5 is out and the servers are absolutely flooded.

IR Printing with the Palm

With PalmPrint you can use the IR port to print to an IR enabled printer. Pretty neat.

20
Mar 00
Mon

Dammit

All Symantec software is cursed I tell ya! Latest run in I have had is with Norton Ghost (at work). It hangs just as it is about to ghost an image and I have NFI why.

18
Mar 00
Sat

Some Windows FAQs

Interesting FAQs covering 2000, ME, and Whistler.

16
Mar 00
Thu

(Free) BeOS R5 Release Date

BeOS 5 gets released for free download on March 28, 2000 here. Thanks to Renai for the heads up on that one!

15
Mar 00
Wed

New IBM Deskstar Released

In light of sonic’s post about Maxtor’s new HDD, IBM has released a desktop-level hard drive sporting a whopping 75 GB of data, running at 7200rpm. It utilises glass platters instead of aluminium ones. Here’s its product page. My hard disk of choice for my next computer :) If only I had the money…

8
Mar 00
Wed

Musicmatch Jukebox 5

New version released, and it’s gone freeware. You no longer need a crack to encode at 320kbps :). It also supports burning to CD.

23
Feb 00
Wed

Jabber

Jabber is an open-source IM program, claiming to (in future) be able to access the ICQ, AIM, and other instant messenging services around. That’d be good actually – no need to have something like four IM programs open simultaneously.

21
Feb 00
Mon

ICQ Statistics

My message database file for ICQ is 60 megs. I got curious. I wanted to know just how much I used ICQ in the last 18 months. How the hell did the message history grow to 60 megs? So, I saved the entire message dialog archive to text file (which took a good 15 minutes in itself), and opened it up in Word. As a result of the 120,000 icq messages exchanged over the last year and a half:

Yikes.
Almost 2 million words?!

That’s an average of 15 words a message and over 200 messages a day (assuming I get on ICQ every day, which I don’t, so the message/day count is likely to be higher). That’s very scary. I’d expect that ICQ forms a greater part of our daily communications than one may think. Now, multiply this by the number of people using ICQ in a day, and I wonder how many messages fly around the world? Add e-mail, other IM programs, newsgroups and real-time chats to this and … yikes. Incidentally, I think there was an estimate, that if every word man had spoken since we could speak was shoved into a text file, it would be 5 to 6 exabytes (EB) big. An exabyte is a billion gigabytes.

Resolution to Bypassing Socks Proxy

Ok no one helped out with this one (it was a pretty obscure problem, after all), so it was down to some good ol’ Holmesian deduction and detective work on the web :). Google is a brilliant search engine for things like this. Web Forum posts always disappear, but Google caches them all even after they have been deleted from the server (how big is their cache?!!!) and I found some old posts that helped me solve the problem. I had to add a socks.cnf file to the C:WINNT directory, containing the IP and subnets which should not use the socks server. Secondly, I had to mod the Netscape prefs.js file to tell it where to find socks.cnf. Works well now. 

Patch for Win 2000 Out

The first in a long line of patches is out. It actually is a fix for games compatibility (all oldish games, unfortunately).

19
Feb 00
Sat

Powerquest Lost & Found

as long as your disk is still spinning, Lost & Found can locate and recover almost any file, anywhere on your disk” My cousin repartitioned his hard drive the other day. During the process, Partition Magic hung. 11 Gigs of data disappeared. Of course, this data wasn’t actually gone – the master boot record simply didn’t acknowledge the partition the data was stored in. Then he loaded in PQ Lost and Found. Tada… the data reappeared. So, if you need a program to recover data from a hard drive crash, this is it. Finally, isn’t it interesting that the company that sold the software which screwed up the hard drive in the first place, has software – for sale – to fix it up? Ooh… conspiracy theory…

18
Feb 00
Fri

Help!

Ok I have a problem I have to fix up at work. It regards bypassing proxy servers for intranet addresses. We’re using a SOCKS Proxy to access the Internet. However, you can’t use a proxy to access sites on the intranet because of the firewall, so you have to bypass the proxy to get access to them. In Internet Explorer it works fine, just stick the internal addresses in the “exceptions” box and it doesn’t try to go through the socks proxy. In Netscape the feature seems to be broken. A bug? Nah… can’t be… not for Communicator 4.7. So after puzzling over the problem for a couple hours I have come to the conclusion that the “bypass proxy for these addresses” only works if you have set a HTTP proxy server – it doesn’t work for socks servers (in Nutscrape, anyhow). Can anyone confirm or deny this for me?

Windows 2000 Released

I’ve been running Win 2000 Advanced Server for a few weeks and the o/s still hasn’t crashed on me. I like. This sucks, however.

About Bloody Time

Aureal finally released drivers which support EAX for the Vortex 2 chipset. Time to get some EAX on my MX300 :). Grab them here.

7
Feb 00
Mon

VMWare Emulator

VMWare, the O/S emulator has released Betas of version 2 (for NT and Linux).

5
Feb 00
Sat

What’s With All These Versions of Windows Anyway?

I installed Beta 2 of Millennium. It’s sucky, even for a beta. All the changes are under the hood. Even the GUI hasn’t been updated to match Win 2000′s niceties. In fact, it looks exactly like 98. The new features it has are inoperable. Hibernation dumps ram to hard disk on shutdown, and when you start up the computer, it reloads the ram back in and your computer reverts to exactly how it was before you left it (a very quick boot up time). It works like a charm on Win2000. For Millennium, It doesn’t. I’ve read everywhere that “rollback recovery” doesn’t work either (where you can reset your drivers and configs to a past setting in case something screws up). I got rid of millennium and put back 98. It’s stabler.

Windows Millennium Setup. Looks familiar huh?

Anyway, the deal is Millennium is the consumer windows. It’s userfriendly, widely hardware and software compatible, and as unstable as the win98 we all know and “love”. Win2000 is a great system, it’s only bad point is that it is incompatible with some devices, and more importantly, fails to run games. Battlezone 2 and Swat 3 refused to start. Other than that, Win2000 feels rock solid, is very polished and looks nice.

The next version of Windows is code named Whistler (2002), merging the two MS o/s strands and dumping the rickety DOS code base. They are changing the desktop, turning it into something akin to today’s web portal, and rumour has it they are going to make the entire thing customisable (skinnable, basically). It looks awesome, frankly. I’ve seen faded shots of it in the newspaper, might hunt around the net for more.

Here’s a ZDNet article comparing the five major operating systems (no BeOS mentioned though).

1
Feb 00
Tue

XHTML 1.0 Standard Established

HTML 4 melded with XML Standards gives this.

Cold Fusion

Installed Win2000 Final on the other PC (while the physical CDs haven’t been released, Microsoft has made Win2K available for download to MSDN members, so the “final release version” actually does exist). Win2000 is pretty solid. It hasn’t crashed on me yet, and it’s quite pretty :). I stuck a copy of Cold Fusion on it. CFML is like cheating… it’s something that’s pretty easy to pick up, and it’s really powerful. Of course, you need a host that has CF on it to use it and there don’t seem to be a great number of them around.

30
Jan 00
Sun

ASIO Permitted to Hack

ASIO seems to have been given a carte blanche to hack into whatever computer system they want to. Does anyone else find this troubling?

ASIO Given Power to Hack
Source: APC Mag

29
Jan 00
Sat

Desktop

Glad I gave everyone who saw it an apoplexy :). Yes, it is usable, but only to me. It’s like an untidy bedroom – only the owner of it knows where everything is (well, everything except overdue library books). The start bar up top is on autohide, btw, so I can see the tops of icons on the first row. I’m a lazy person. Anything that saves me a few mouse clicks is welcome. My physical desktop is actually somewhat orderly.

Hard Drive

It’s in but the system is still relatively bare. The IDE config on the other computer ended up as, which seems to work fine:
Primary Master: 14 GB
Primary Slave: 6 GB
Secondary Master: Orb Drive
Secondary Slave: CD-ROM

Confuse People

Don’t have two computers hooked up to the net? You can still make mischief and confuse people by running multiple instances of ICQ on one computer.

25
Jan 00
Tue

Installing Hard Drive

I have to transfer about 14GB of data to the new HD and install everything back. Good chance to clean everything up though. I don’t think I’ll be able to make a post for a couple days.

Here’s what my very unique desktop [450kB] currently looks like. Obviously emphasising practicality over aesthetics :).

A very big thank you to |<ayama who dregged up this site for me, and for Justin who “lent” me his bandwidth (long story)!

LaunchKaos

Looks like a pretty neat launching shortcut program (and skinnable, as the trend is these days…)

24
Jan 00
Mon

Got New Hard Drive

However, I need a copy of Partition Magic 5 before I start moving all my data over. It’s got the ability to convert primary partitions into extended logical ones (so the old hard drive doesn’t grab the drive D label). Anyone know where I can obtain it?

Seti@Home Client Version 2

Downloadable here. Doesn’t seem to be listed on the Seti at Home site, though (and they have a new logo up).

Question on Hardware Config

The store rang and said the hard drive has been ordered in. I’ll have to pick it up sometime this week. Anyway, I’m going to have to do a bit of hard drive reshuffling as a result and I’ve got a question about it. I’m shifting this box’s hard drive to my other computer. This means the other box will have 2 hard drives, one 14G and one 6G, a CD-ROM drive, an Orb drive (removable media, slightly slower than a hard drive) and a SCSI CD-RW. My problem is – how am I going to configure the IDE setup for this? All components but the CD-RW are IDE. I would like the 14G to be the primary hard drive, to have IDE performance maximised, and have the chance of a buffer underrun when burning from CD-ROM to CD-RW on-the-fly minimised. What do I stick in as primary master/slave and secondary master/slave? Suggestions here. Thanks!

22
Jan 00
Sat

Crusoe Processor

As I said, it’s a significant development, but it’s not revolutionary as the rumoured “CPU that could emulate Intel chips faster than Intel’s own chips.” Crusoe sports a longer battery life thus making it more portable as Transmeta is so fond of pointing out. Note that their 700MHz chip is only as fast as a 500MHz Intel P3. However, mobility isn’t so much the issue – there’s the issue of being connected and able to do things while mobile. Every business these days is connected to the Net, and a great deal is done over it. A laptop that has a convenient, reliable and cheap wireless connection to the net would of be of more impact than a laptop that has batteries which last twice as long, IMHO.

20
Jan 00
Thu

BeOS

This news was grabbed from Techno Weenie. BeOS looks very nice. And now they’re going to be giving it away for free (within a few months). Address is http://free.be.com (heh I like that… freebie). Sounds easy to install alongside Windows, which makes it all the more appealing to experiment with. No fiddling around with partitioning software.

19
Jan 00
Wed

Transmeta

Aren’t you damn curious too? It better be worth it :). Action starts happening 7am tomorrow, Sydney time. Noon today for you yanks living on the Pacific coast. I really hope the site is Lynx friendly.

Windows Millennium

Beta 2 of the next (and last?) consumer version of Windows arrived in the mailbox today. Will try it out when I get the new hard drive. I have no idea what’s different about it.

15
Jan 00
Sat

Reminder

The new Crusoe processor is expected to be revealed on the 19th.

Finally… More Space

It’s been ordered – a new IBM 34 gigger, that is.

10
Jan 00
Mon

D’Oh

The Intellimouse Explorer just isn’t quick enough for Quake. It can’t hack it when you whip the mouse to do a 180 turn, and you end up looking at the ceiling. So now I have two mice connected to this computer. :P

16
Dec 99
Thu

Fineprint

Save paper, save time. Fineprint is an “add-on” print driver that will put multiple pages onto one page (you can fit 2, 4 or 8 pages onto one piece of paper). It shrinks each page and tiles them onto a single page.

Windows 2000 Goes Gold

But will come out next year mid-February. In this month’s shipment of MS CDs, I got the Beta 1 version of Windows Millennium (basically, the consumer version of Win2k). I don’t know anything about it. Wonder if it’s worth a test run? Can anyone tell me anything about Win Millennium?

28
Nov 99
Sun

Sygate

For everyone using Sygate, the 3.0 serials work fine (just enter them in manually at the register box). And don’t ask people for cracks/serials unless you can’t find them through here.

20
Nov 99
Sat

Proxy Software

Sygate 3.1 is the best (and easiest to set up) proxy for hooking a network of computers through a single modem connection. Even better than Wingate.

18
Nov 99
Thu

Thinner Wallet

Went off to the c’town Gameswizards gold card sale yesterday. Picked up a copy of Klingon Honour Guard for $15 and on impulse, an MS Natural Keyboard Pro. They sold out of the Intellimouse Explorer though, which I was going to go buy :(. My cuz picked up a webcam and we went back to his place and spent about two hours playing around with it :). I want one now hehe. This new keyboard is alright, but I keep capitalising the first two letters of words at the start of a sentence. I’m going to have to get used to this split keyboard layout. The volume control on the keyboard doesn’t seem to work either, but the media controls are a convienient way to control Winamp.

Want One O’ These

8 Port 10/100 switch (not hub!) for only a measly $240. Almost a third of the price of an Intel switch. Of course it’s a Taiwanese no name brand, but heck – it’s cheaper than a normal 8-port autosensing hub.

Expediting FTP Uploads

For all you people who manually update and upload your sites like me, (as opposed to using a news script), here’s a way to automate your FTPs a little. It involves creating a batch file and using the scripting option of the dos ftp program (ftp <options> -s:<scriptingfilename> <hostname>). So make a batch file (and place a shortcut to it on your desktop for one-click uploading) called something like upload.bat and write something like this:

d:
cd \mysite\
echo Start of download log > transfer.log
ftp -s:ulscript.txt ftp.yourhost.com >> transfer.log
echo End log >> transfer.log

Then, in d:\mysite\, you’d have the ulscript.txt that provides the commands simulating what you’d type in an FTP session.

username
password
cd public_html
lcd d:/mysite/
(note: use forward slashes for directory) (note: use forward slashes for directory)
ascii
hash
put news.html
close
bye

Of course, you have to mod the files to your liking, but all you’ll have to do now is double click your desktop shortcut to upload files.

Memturbo

Memturbo is a shareware memory manager. Instead of having to reboot periodically due to memory leaks, memturbo will do some garbage collection, free up physical ram and manage the pagefile. Seems to work.

12
Nov 99
Fri

Learning HTML

No not aimed at you, but I’m sure somewhere along the line someone has asked you to teach them HTML/how to make a web site. Here’s a pretty good guide from Webmonkey (once you get past the “for kids” label) you can point them to – just to save yourself the trouble of explaining it personally :).

8
Nov 99
Mon

Misc Stuff

Miscellaneous techie info here (has good articles on firewalls and the various ways to write/obscure URLs).

Autoplaying

We all are aware of CD-ROM drives autoplaying CDs when they are inserted, but with a registry hack, you can autoplay other things including removable drives, floppies, shared network drives and ramdisks. It’s good if you want to test out your autoplay.inf file that you’re going to stick on a CD (without first burning to a CD).

28
Oct 99
Thu

Win 2000

Just got RC2… apparently it has SB Live and Monster Sound MX300 support, so I just might reinstall it and keep it installed… [More drivers]

18
Oct 99
Mon

Familiar?

Foxtrot Comic (hehe keeping in mind the current hub-bub about macs).

14
Oct 99
Thu

Linux According to Microsoft

Microsoft is on the war path with Linux, and here’s some article attempting to trash Linux: Linux Myths. Some truths, some inaccuracies, as always. Which is which is pretty much up to personal opinion in many cases, though.

APC Pocketbooks

Legendary stuff… APC Mag have a series of “pocketbooks” on different topics. They have a kickass one on Linux which is a fairly comprehensive newbie guide and they just released a revised edition with RH6 on it (even though 6.1 is out). They’ve also got one on networking which is surprisingly informative and caters for all common platforms (PC, Mac, Linux). Link.

2
Oct 99
Sat

PC Week hack

So the Linux box was hacked first in PC Week’s Hacking test (HAH!) Here’s how it was done. If you know a bit of Linux and have a reasonable understanding of perl, you’ll be able to understand this. I learnt a bit of stuff – first truly understandable technical account of of hacking I’ve read.

Quote

This from Bump. A damn mac user. Hah!

My iBook arrived yesterday, but the video fizzled out after about an hour. Apple is shipping me a new one.

I do conceed, as I previously said though, that the AirPort is a really schmick idea, and a PC designed by Apple would be nice (albeit sounding decidedly heretical).

29
Sep 99
Wed

ICQ Surf

ICQ Surf (Alpha vers) sounds very much like Odigo. You’ll need ICQ99b to run it. Try it out… it’d be interesting to see what other e/nners get up to. I’d imagine it’d be quite similar.

25
Sep 99
Sat

Star Office 5.1

The application package Sun recently acquired is available for free download here. If you’ve got Linux, you’ll want this. There’s a Win98/NT version available too, but I still reckon MS Office is better.

Multia

Well I just got my DEC Multia box today. Still missing the parity RAM, which hasn’t arrived yet. I also need a laptop to 3.5″ IDE cable adapter. The box has no floppy drive (it doesn’t take a regular drive) or CD-ROM, either. However, it has a network card with BNC, RJ-45 and AIX connector ports (go figure…), so I’m going to have to figure out how to perform an over-the-network installation of Linux (and I gotta get an Alpha version of it too). Gonna be long and painful, but it’ll be a learning experience. Nice lookin box though. Think I’ll set it up in my room and stick it up on the network so I can listen to MP3s in my room heh.

23
Sep 99
Thu

WinLinux

Yeah you heard right, Linux running under Windows. Beta version software.

15
Sep 99
Wed

Coloriser

Easily create colour gradient text like this with Theremon’s Colorizer. Now you can be hÅxØrïsh and 1337 too :)! Bloats the HTML heaps, though.

11
Sep 99
Sat

GetRight 4.0

Just realised that GetRight 4 came out of Beta. Go get it.

Something different about DreamCast

No not announcing it’s been released… While on Slashdot, found an interesting article on how someone ran a portscan (using this) on the DreamCast. It was strangely “telnetable” except that the guy couldn’t get past the login prompt. Which raises the question. DreamCast hackable?

8
Sep 99
Wed

9.9.99

*Crash*. Not. Let the news reports come in. My guess is… nothing really bad will happen. Just wrote that date on an assignment cover sheet… felt weird :)

Timberfish 9/8/99 11:39 PM:
hey stu sorry for disturbing u but have u heard about Y2k going off tomorrow?
Inferno 9/8/99 11:43 PM:
not Y2K but 9.9.99 yes
Timberfish 9/8/99 11:43 PM:
what will happen?
Inferno 9/8/99 11:45 PM:
well apparently 9999 is used to mark the end of a file (and the systems could confuse this and crash and do other bad stuff). it’s a pretty obscure thing… i doubt anything big will happen.
Timberfish 9/8/99 11:45 PM
so all we have to do is switch the date on the computer?
Inferno 9/8/99 11:50 PM
we don’t need to worry

Yep… computer’s still workin.

4
Sep 99
Sat

Drool Here >>> O

No doubt about it. This thing has kickass specs. The only problem is that it’s a Mac (the new G4). So that’s not much good is it? But a 22″ LCD Monitor? Ooohh…

Multias

From one of the guys selling those Multias I was talking about a few weeks back (it seems he’s an Old Boy of Trinity too… coincidences abound) :

Previously you put a link up on your site to our CSE student Multia drive….
Just thought I’d let you know that there are some left overs available at:
http://www.sold.com.au/au/item.asp?itm=26852
Or the original (http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~michaeld/multia) for more info.
Either will give you what info you need, and send to the other.

Mike

Additionally, the Multias arrived in from America last Friday

This morning we recieved 6 pallettes of Multias (250 in total), and I must say, it looked AWESOME!
Believe it or not (We couldn’t for a while), we did manage to sucessfully transfer 2 TONNES (We have an invoice saying how much they weighed).

::Sigh::

I’m not rewriting what I’ve already written about three times already… you know my stance on this:

::shrug:: you asked for it.

ok, you campared using a WYSIWYG editor to using a calculator, it’s like a short cut, right? ok. follow me here… i bet you know how to do math without a calculator, hence, a calculator is just a shortcut. But if you DONT know HTML, a WYSIWYG is NOT a shortcut, its an uneducated persons why to write webpages.

did you use a calculator BEFORE you learned 2 + 2? NO. so why use a WYSIWYG editor before you learn HTML? If you learn HTML, you find that a WYSIWYG editor sucks in comparison to writing your own code.

maybe i am just too old school. i have been coding webpages from TXT documents for a long time, there was no such thing as an editor. MS DOS’s EDIT was a powerful fucking editor :) when i was your age, i had to upload with a 14.4 modem, it’s like walking three miles in the snow :)
[from Solosier]

All I’ll say is I defy anyone who says I can’t handcode HTML. I don’t think there was any other way to do it in the days of Mosaic. MS DOS edit a powerful editor? Don’t say that… you’ll make those Linux users laugh at you.

25
Aug 99
Wed

Typing

I never used a typing tutor program since last year, in the school computer labs. A friend sent me one over ICQ the other day and I managed to clock this raw typing rate up. The accuracy is probably 10% too high, because this program allows you to backspace over mistakes, and fix them up. Incidentally, the Soapbox made a post about an online typing tutor thing..

Tippity tappity... doesn't that just remind you of Userfriendly?

18
Aug 99
Wed

WatzNew

A nifty program that pulls down updates (like geeknews, but better) from website and displays headlines for you, checks multiple POP boxes, and can even run perl scripts on your computer – all schedulable.

14
Aug 99
Sat
11
Aug 99
Wed

Win 2000 RC1

The montly mailout of MS TechNet cds came. 23 CDs. Win 2000 Release Candidate 1 was included, which means the beta phase is basically over.

Multias

Looks like someone from Uni is ordering in a load of Multias. They’re DEC Alpha 166Mhz computers for $60… no hard drive or ram but pretty damn good for that price (built in ethernet, sound and graphics card). 64-bit RISC architecture too. It’d be a nice toy to play around with. I’m getting one. Hell, they’re cheaper than a computer game (an unburnt one ;)!

8
Aug 99
Sun

Win 2000 Screenshots

When I attained MCSE status back in April, I got an automatic subscription to TechNet. Basically supporting the techies, they send monthly mailouts of CDs containing the latest service packs, knowledge bases, betas and so on. So many frigging CDs. I think I have over 200 TechNet CDs sitting in several boxes.

Anyway, in last month’s box arrived copies of Windows 2000 Beta 3 (professional, server and advanced server). In Intel and Alpha flavours. Installing a beta Win 2000 possibly could screw up my computer (heh you don’t even need a beta version to do that :), but curiousity got the better of me. So, in a compromise I decided I would install on my “secondary computer” on the orb drive. I thought it’d be a good way to test out the orb drive’s speed.

Installation, although it took a really, really long time, went without a hitch. Beta 3 didn’t support my SB Live! (yet) but other than that everything seemed to work fine. On the surface, Win 2000 is a very polished Win 98 running on NT architecture. Explorer crashed on me twice (hah!), but not badly enough to make me reboot. I got two screenshots of it (that Precision Pro USB joystick is probably the only true plug and pray device that’s ever worked… no driver disks… just plugged it in and it was working).

1
Aug 99
Sun

Intel 600 MHz CPUs

Don’tcha just love it? Every day you see your computer getting more and more obsolete.

31
Jul 99
Sat

ICQ 99b

Remember I made that posting about the new version of ICQ and it’s limited Alpha test? It’s genuine, but looks like ICQ has a database of “authorised users” so even if you sent in that mail to that address, you wouldn’t get a reply. But my cousin, who sent me the mail in the first place got a reply. However, you can’t log on to the network unless your UIN is on their alpha test list (I wonder if you’re allowed to set up a new account?). Anyways if you want to try it out, the address is www.icq.com/alpha, mail me if you want the username/password. It won’t help you much, though (when you download it, the install will update your database files, effectively corrupting them from the icq 99a standpoint, so if you want to try it, backup your db folder). I’ll try and get screenshots of it and post em up later.

29
Jul 99
Thu

Freedom

I came across this program developed by Zero Knowledge Systems. Freedom can anonymise your net presence somewhat. You can even create multiple “virutal personas” of yourself – it will even store cookies into separate “cookie jars” depending on which persona you feel like being on the day. It will anonymise your web browsing. Useful for the paranoid amongst us. Beta signup occurring now.

26
Jul 99
Mon

Frontpage 2000

Even better than FP 97. I’m impressed. No more “logical” <em> and <strong> tags anymore. The html it produces is still a little bloated, but at least they converted to the “physical” <i> and <b> tags. Oh, and source preservation is a welcome addition. One gripe is, though, the took out that quick script editing thing and replaced it with this clunky, overcomplicated, slow to load and unnecessary developing environment. CSS support and a little more Netscape compatibility helps a lot. The interface is clean, and they dumped the stupid “Frontpage Explorer” component, and integrated it into the editor. Except that they no longer force you to use their “webs” and other fronpage proprietary stuff. I’m “trying” out the “45-day trial” version, but I think I, uh, broke the 45-day limit thing ;)

20
Jul 99
Tue

Palm Pilot Emulator

I’m not sure if you’d want to emulate a Palm on your PC if you weren’t developing apps for it, but it’s interesting nonetheless. I want a Palm VII. But there’s no wireless network in Australia. And they are so friggin’ expensive here. <Grumble>

Genuine?

I received a forward of this via e-mail. Seems genuine, but still… The due date is the 20th (today in the US?), but if the last alpha they ran was any indication, someone’ll distribute a copy of it far and wide.

Greetings,

You have been selected as a candidate to receive the opportunity to take a preview peek and comment about the new (not yet released) exciting ICQ 99B Alpha version with all its new features, including the ICQ ActiveList, E-ICQ and Enhanced E-mail Check.

If you wish to make use of this opportunity, and if you are over eighteen make sure to reply to: alpha99bresp@icq.com, and include the following in the Subject Header : “My ICQ no. is ________ , grant me access” ( and please fill in your ICQ No.). Please reply before July 20th, 1999.
This is very important in order to speed the processing of your response.

Read about new features:
* ICQ ActiveList- will enable you to participate in, and create your own interest communities. The ICQ ActiveList you create is built around a chat server that runs on your computer so you will be able to control which users connect to the ICQ ActiveList. Users who join your ICQ ActiveList will be able to chat, send messages to other ICQ ActiveList users and post messages on the ICQ ActiveLists’ message board.
* E-ICQ – will enable you to join interest groups in order to receive information via ICQ about issues related to these groups. Search the E-ICQ directory and find an E-ICQ group of your interest from the wide variety of groups available.
* Enhanced E-mail Check – The new and improved e-mail checking feature, which offers greater power and flexibility for handling incoming e-mail. Enhanced E-mail Check will notify you on incoming emails and will allow convenient one click access to your email. In addition, some new features include: the ability to check more than a single e-mail account and to view and delete incoming e-mail messages without having to download them; the ability to view up to 99 lines in the e-mail header message; a special notification (e-mail icon) for emails received from a user in your Contact List beside the user name; a new VIP status which allows to check e-mail for a specific user from a number of email accounts at the same time.

We would welcome your feedback including report of bugs, errors, etc. Please note that ICQ reserves the right to limit, at its own discretion, for any reason or no reason, the number of users to receive this opportunity and will not be obligated to send the password to you or any other user. Don’t miss this time-limited opportunity.

THE ICQ TEAM

18
Jul 99
Sun

Odigo

In the pre-beta stage, but looks pretty cool nonetheless. It’s sort of like ICQ. However, it tracks what web site you are on, and while connected to the Odigo server, notifies you of other surfers who happen to be on the same page at that time. The intention is that if someone else is visiting that same site, they might have similar interests to you, and may know of other sites that you might not. Etcetera. It’s recommended you turn the program off when you decide to go porno hunting. Unless you’re into cyber-orgies and other unmentionables. Sorry, just had to throw that in. It’s just a little suspicious that the Odigo server has the potential to track your browsing habits.

Multicoloured Screen of Death

I think it was userfriendly.org that I read this on. It was a spoof on Microsoft, who would “commercialise” the Blue Screen of Death. At least, it was a spoof until I found this program from this website.

BSOD actually changes the colour of your Blue Screen to some other colour (through the system.ini file). Bizarre stuff. I can imagine some people showing it off to geek friends: “Hey… how’d you get your blue screen to a pink screen?”

29
Jun 99
Tue

Orb Drive

Should have one (of these) by the end of today if lucky.

13
Jun 99
Sun

LinuxCE

Looks like a rather interesting project to keep track of. Linux for handheld PCs and PDAs. Link here.

18
May 99
Tue

UserFriendly Perl Script

Use this perl script I generated to embed the current day’s userfriendly into your web page (via an SSI). I dunno if it violates any copyright or whatever (I’ll check) but it should be ok if you credit it. Mail me if there are probs, I haven’t tested it out much – quick 5 minute job.
• Grab Script | View Readme •

Desktops

Why is everyone posting a pic of their desktop now? Actually they are quite interesting for some weird reason… in a voyeuristic type of way. I was actually thinking of creating a gallery of people’s desktops from around the world at one point. Hmm… shouldn’t have used “voyeuristic” and “gallery” in the same paragraph. Now it sounds seedy.

Some time ago I managed to get a screenshot of a Russian Win95 desktop (don’t ask how) – very interesting.

30
Apr 99
Fri

Hmm

Netscape crashed under Linux today. Twice. That’s rare.

28
Apr 99
Wed

Build Your Own OS

Scary. Very scary. Who wants to be the next Torvalds?

6
Apr 99
Tue

The Melissa Virus

What is the big deal???? It’s a Word macro virus. It uses the local phonebook to send mail with an infected file to 50 other people. What’s so new that it deserves such widespread and exhaustive media coverage? In the long and illustrious history of virii, why has the damn media all of a sudden decided to pick up on this one virus? Even in the Kosovo news – where they noted that the NATO web site was being harassed and how NATO was being flooded with e-mails with attached macro virii – they had to throw in the line which read something like, “It is not known whether these macro virii are the ‘Melissa Virus’ that recently caused widespread problems in computer systems globally.” Sheesh. Get over it. I tell you, the media makes people paranoid when they should only be cautious.

27
Mar 99
Sat

Memory Leaks?

Nah…

Time to reboot.

Programming

We’re programming in a language called Haskell (no, not Pascal) for Uni. It’s a 4th gen functional declarative language that no one’s heard of. I began coding the assignment at 1am, which in hindsight was a very bad time to start a programming assignment.

1.2GHz CPU Chip

A Russian computer company claims to have designed a microchip that runs faster and better than Intel IA-64 (64 Bit) Merced chips which are due out next year. The company is called Elbrus and its E2K chip can take any operating system (for 64 Bit, Windows or otherwise). It uses something called binary compilation so it can run Windows stuff without infringing on Intel patents. It also uses littler power than Intel chips, meaning better battery life for notebooks. Sound too good to be true? Sorta, I guess. The chip has allegedly been in development for 30 years and its design has only just been finalised. “A lot of great technology is now coming out of Russia – they have some incredibly clever people.” Elbrus has 70 patents pending for the design, but, of course, Russia is too broke for the chip to undergo physical development. And there are no factories in Russia that can produce the components necessary for a prototype of the chip. Maybe Intel will step in and buy Elbrus out? [Source: The Australian - No link]

25
Mar 99
Thu

CD ReWriter

When you install a new piece of PnP (Plug ‘n’ Pray) hardware, the chance of it not working on first go is as likely as you rocking up to the urinals and finding pubic hair on them. I got a Yamaha CD-RW yesterday when my grandparents came over from Singapore. The trouble is, it came along with some cheap $90 PnP SCSI card. When something without a brand name comes in a box shouting the phrases “EASY INSTALL”, “HIGH PERFORMANCE” and “HIGH QUALITY” all over the front of the box, you can be guaranteed that your computer will immediately bluescreen upon bootup. And that it did, and that it kept doing. So now I just need a new, working SCSI card before I can start burning mounds of MP3 CDs. Grrrr.

23
Mar 99
Tue

IE5

Microshit hasn’t bothered to fix up the refresh problem. You can sit there hitting refresh again and again, and the page *still* loads from cache. That pisses me off. Another thing is that if you click on a link that’s stored within a folder on the bookmark/linkbar (under the navigation bar), it will open a *new* window, or use an existing window. Why doesn’t it just use the window you selected the bookmark in??

17
Mar 99
Wed

CD in a Microwave (also, a viable use for “Join AOL” CDs)

Have you tried it? Looks like a fireworks display, with all these sparks arcing in a circular pattern around the disc. I don’t suggest frying the disk for more than 2-3 seconds after it starts sparking, though. :) In fact, I don’t suggest it at all, so don’t blame me if your microwave explodes, causing its door to blow off its hinges and decapitate you.

I saw this when I was doing work experience at a local ISP. The boss, running the ISP from his house, all of sudden turned to me during the day and said, “Hey, have you seen a CD in a microwave?”
“Huh?”
“Come around, I’ll show you.” And indeed he did. I just stood there shaking my head as he shut off the microwave, fanning the fumes from it, “gotta get rid of the smell… my wife’d kill me if she found out.”

28
Feb 99
Sun

Pentium III Available

See Intel.

Voice Recognition

I got my hands on some voice recognition software the other day. It’s about 75-85% accurate, which just doesn’t make it practical. Still it’s quite a neat gimmick to have :). Here’s this paragraph repeated using the software:

I got my hands on some voice recognition software the other day. It’s about 75 to 85 percent accurate, which just doesn’t make it practical. Steel, it’s quite a meet gimmick to have. He isn’t the subparagraph repeated using the software:

23
Feb 99
Tue

ICQ Beta Out

The ICQ Beta (ICQ 99a v2.13 Build 1700) is out for all you people paranoid about the Alpha. Is it stabler? I don’t know yet… have to wait and see.

14
Feb 99
Sun

This Way In – Pentium III Release Date

Intel set a release date for the Pentium III at 28th February. They’ve released an ad campaign (in Australia, not sure if it’s different elsewhere in the world) that depicts people (I’ve seen a karate guy, and a bunch of people with a battering ram) trying to break down a door labelled “This Way In.” Quite an amusing slogan, given the furore over how the serial number coded on the chip gives outside parties “a way in” to violating your privacy.

Or is that a Mongol?
Now what would a viking want with a CPU?

4
Feb 99
Thu

You can’t tell me this is normal.

Three Years to Download.

Thanks from Shish, who won’t be waiting the 3 years (19500 hours).

3
Feb 99
Wed

Virus??

It came to my attention from some AOLer that small.exe (the penis program) on my humour page may have been infected with a virus/trojan horse. I’ve scanned the file about ten times over, and nothing seems to be wrong with it. I’ve even loaded up wintop (process viewer – you can even see trojans like Netbus and BO on it) and there aren’t any suspicious programs running in the background. So let me know if you’ve downloaded it and found it to be dodgy. I reckon it’s safe. After all, I should be infected if it’s infected…

[Update] Got a friend to scan it with another scanner. It is “infected” with Joke.Win.Stupid. Which is NOT a virus. See here for a description of why scanners pick it up as a “virus” when it isn’t. Move along folks, nothing more to see here.

This program is a widely spread dumb joke. Three working and one damaged variants are known. There are also several versions with modified text. The program doesn’t contain a virus. There’s also no destructive code inside. People often got worried about wether it was damaging or not and asking us why it is not detected. So now it is.

2
Feb 99
Tue

Linux

Ha ha! I managed to get X-Windows running under my Banshee card using a pre-release SVGA server with Banshee support I found here. Gotta compile the new kernel now. Linux is tough, but I will learn :). Apparently, the new Civilisation is to be ported to Linux.

Big Brother Inside

This is one of the rare occasions that the corporate giants have reacted noticeably to consumer protest. It’ll be interesting to see if they back down any further. I bring this up because I keep seeing these petitions  online – especially to gaming companies, and they never seem to do anything. Will Blizzard be the first to respond to one (the new Warcraft 3 petition)? Origin ignored a 10,000 strong petition for an Aussie UO server.

28
Jan 99
Thu

Tech Headlines

You’ve heard them all around the net, but here they are summarised. GeoShitties sold to Yahoo for over $4 billion. Intel backs down on “Big Brother” CPUID plans. Linux 2.2.0 Kernel released. Furbies banned from the NSA. In other news, “Exotic Snake Dancer” changes name to Bill Gates. Man changes name to “Sony Playstation” (it was peer pressure apparently). His girlfriend isn’t so enthusiastic, as is understandable. Who’d want to be known as Mrs Playstation?

5
Jan 99
Tue

SHOUTcast

Shoutcast is a program released for Winamp, and by the creators of Winamp. Basically it allows anyone to connect to your ip and listen to whatever you’re playing on Winamp. Sort of a net broadcaster. Anyway I found it a good way to use up the upload portion of my bandwidth (see above post). If you catch me online, and want to partake in my (awful? weird? bizarree? interesting?) taste in music, open up winamp, hit control-L and enter http://my.ip.here:8000 where my.ip.here is my ip as found in my ICQ info box. You might need me to start the server if it isn’t already going :). Sticking to my self-proclaimed net motto, Gotta use up that spare bandwidth!™

11
Dec 98
Fri

ICQ Note

If ICQ won’t let you accept file transfers from some people, this is probably the reason. ICQ creates a directory which matches the person’s nick and stores all incoming files from that person in there. If that person has weird crap in their name – * / \ ? ” < > : | – then ICQ won’t accept the transfer, because it can’t create a directory with those illegal characters in it.

10
Dec 98
Thu

Check this out

I’ve actually being wanting a PDA or HPC for quite some time. And now it appears that the PalmPilot can do more than it appears. Link to New Scientist. This is incredible :).

4
Sep 98
Fri

ORB

Check this out. It’s the home site of ORB – a low-cost high-storage removable media device… 2.16Gb storage per disk, 12Mb/sec transfer rate etc… the main difference between this and Iomega’s Jaz drive, or Syquest’s drives, is the cost… it’s unbelievably low. Go visit the site to see what I mean… looks 100 times better than the next-to-useless Zip Drive I’ve got.

1
Sep 98
Tue

That’s Customer Support

I got an e-mail from the guys who make Battlefield Communicator. It basically said “we noticed you were having problems with our software, so give us an e-mail and we’ll help you figure it out.” Proactive customer support. Actually looking for people in trouble and going to them and offering help. Very, very impressive.

25
Aug 98
Tue

Remote-remote telnetting?

Hahaha just had a “telnet session”… I was trying to straighten out this stubborn as hell cgi script with sonic junkie… we found the problem was an incorrect file path, so sonic fires up good ol Windows telnet and then here we are… I’m sending him telnet commands over ICQ and he’s sending me the replies from his server. Remote debugging of a CGI script isn’t too pleasant either. Anyway its working now – it’s the Warp Drive over at sonic’s Cranial Disorder (link on the side bar on this page). What an adventure hahaha…

450MHz CPUs arrive

They’re here. With any luck, that’ll be the chip in the computer I want at the end of the year :). Link. Yeah a new Celeron is also coming out but who cares about that? :) j/k [Link to CNN page]

20
Aug 98
Thu

Battlefield Communicator (again)

It works and it rocks! Got it working with Requiem just then…

19
Aug 98
Wed

Battlefield Communicator

Download the beta at http://www.shadowfactor.com – it’s a program that allows voice communications over the net while playing a net game (eg: talk with a team mate over a game of TA or Starcraft). The problem is, I’ve just spent an hour with a friend trying to get the damn thing to work, and it doesn’t want to. We gave up because of the time (note time of this journal entry), and we’ll try again tomorrow (or today, actually)… Looks like a very promising piece of software, though.

Well this wraps up my 15 hour 10 minute marathon on the net since I got back after lunch… :) Shit I’m tired…

14
Jul 98
Tue

Obsidian 2 3D Accelerator Card

obsidian2.gif (17024 bytes)I gotta get myself one of these. Not likely… it’s one grand.

  • Single-slot SLI (Dual Voodoo2 Card using only 1 PCI slot)
  • 24 Megs of memory + TV Out
  • Link here www.quantum3d.com
1
Jul 98
Wed

From a would-be “hacker” friend over ICQ

do i need a soundcard to talk to ppl through netmeeting?
I’d say he’s got a while to go before he achieves what he wants…

16
Jun 98
Tue

Adam’s Platform

An Aussie called Adam Clark (spelling?), 22 years old, has designed a system that can deliver full screen, high-quality video, along with FM quality sound, along a normal, copper phone wire. In other words, a compression ratio of 1000:1. Extremely unbelievable – a 22 year old designing something HUGE corporations have poured millions into. I await the outcome. They’re currently “straightening out legal stuff”, like copyright etc. But if it is true, it is one of the greatest technological breakthroughs this decade, if not this century…

13
Jun 98
Sat

Perl Scripts

He wrote a program that automates the updating of the news page. Hmm… I could do with a script like that. Now I wonder if he could lend one to me. Also, there’s this linkcount.pl script I want to get hold of, and this uploader script I want to try out.

Win 98

Release Date is June 25. Nothing spectacular, but it’ll be better than buying a new computer and having to load in patches, new drivers, more drivers, and IE4 etc. Neat, clean upgrade. Way too expensive, though – the upgrade is $200 I think. I won’t get it for this computer, I suppose I’ll wait until the new one.

7
Jun 98
Sun

3DFX Voodoo 1 Card

Wow I’m lucky. My cousin just happened to have a “spare” Voodoo accelerator lying around, and today he let me borrow it until he finds a buyer for it. I’ve never possessed a 3D accelerator before, and I’m enjoying it heaps. ADF, Battlezone, Quake/Quake2 are all running like a dream. Geeze I’m missing out on stuff because of this damn HSC.

I’ve got an obsolete P-133 sporting 64 Megs RAM and a 17″ monitor :). I think the monitor’s the only thing not obsolete on the computer (that and the 8 gigs of hard disk I’ve got). Problem is Dad won’t let me upgrade until the end of this year, so once I finish the HSC (November), I’m off to buy myself a bloody beefy ‘puta. About time too… the titles that are coming out later this year will leave this puta out of its depth – even with a Voodoo card. Ascension especially will need a bigger computer

Only 5 months… Mmmmm… Voodoo2… dual Voodoo2 (I wish…). 500Mhz… 128 Megs SDRAM… (etc.)

23
May 98
Sat

ICQ Server List

Visit here if you use ICQ – a must – http://www.torget.se/users/r/REXE/servers.html. In other news, Mirabilis sold ICQ to AOL (WTF???) for $300 million. Let’s hope the service doesn’t go kaput when AOL takes over… how shitty is that? Well at least we know how Mirabilis is making their money.

Winamp 1.91

Out now including multiple file format support. Click here: http://www.winamp.com/.

21
Apr 98
Tue

CPU Rollout

So the 400Mhz chip was released… What’s next for Intel? Here’s a summary of what’s in the works. A 1Ghz chip… mmmm… All names are codenames.

ABC – The next round of Pentium IIs. However they will run on Slot 2 montherboards which have Level 2 caches that run at the 100Mhz Bus speed. They should debut at 400 and 450Mhz speeds. They can hold up to 2 Megs of L2 Cache. Should shipi n 3 months.

Mendocino - This is a Celeron-class chip which has an L2 cache on the actual silicon. The present Celeron model has no L2 cache. It should ship in the third quarter, 1998.

Katmai - It should debut in early-1999 at the 500Mhz mark. It’ll support MMX2, version 2 of the original MMX series. It may also come later on with a 200Mhz data bus (which’ll need new RDRAM – Rambus Dynamic RAM).

GeyservilleDue to be introduced in the 2nd quarter of next year, it’s a mobile version of the Katmai which will feature power saving in the form of variable speed settings (350Mhz on battery power, 450Mhz on AC power).

ColfaxMotherboard design incorporating a Pentium II processor and 2X AGP, support for RDRAM, have a 100Mhz bus, and the 440BX chipset.

MercedExpected to start at speeds of 600Mhz, potentially reaching 1000Mhz, due late 1999. It’s a 64-bit chip, and also is based on a totally new design (that is, not based on x86 CPU architecture). Because of this, current OSes will not support Merced – you probably won’t be able to run Win NT 5 with it.

McKinley - Fast. The second-generation Merced should debut at 1 Gigahertz. Whoa. And it’s only around 3 years away. That’s a clock speed 30 times faster (in reality, even more than that) than my old 486-33DX, well within the space of a decade.

There ya go. Now I’m off to watch Trek. Tonight’s episode is “Accession”.

17
Apr 98
Fri

Intel CPUs

Yesterday CPU prices across the board plummeted as the new 350 and 400Mhz P2 chips running on 100Mhz buses were released (Cache not up to 100Mhz, though… have to wait for Slot 2 motherboards to accommodate that). The 450Mhz one is due July.

12
Apr 98
Sun

Hard Disk

Two days ago, my cousin lost the equivalent of 10 times the amount of data that could be used to restart an entire civilisation. How much is that? 6.4 Gigabytes (the comparison is based on the conjecture that the Encyclopedia Britannica, which is 600+ megs on a CD, could be used to restart a civilisation… although in CD form it wouldn’t be helpful :). Yep, an entire 6.4Gb hard disk, gone without warning. It’s a Quantum Fireball ST 6.4 Ultra-ATA, and it had been making weird noises and creating bad sectors… not a good sign. Then, when he ran a Norton Speeddisk on it, the computer crashed, and when he rebooted, it dumped him to DOS. A few hours later he was up and running on his secondary 3 Gb hard disk, looking through the 6.4 one – the directory strucutre was for the most intact, but the files were gone. Incidentally, I have the same hard disk model, and it’s been making weird noises too… And I’ve heard problems with others who have Fireball STs… Not good.

29
Mar 98
Sun

Getright

Checked the Getright about dialog box today. Didn’t realise I downloaded so much with it! I guess I should register it now :)

gright.gif (2059 bytes)

Eight gigs :). I think that if you do the maths and assume a 3kb/sec download (yeah right…), if you were to download 8Gb in one shot, it would take one month (31 days), 24 hours a day non-stop.

30
Jan 98
Fri

The Intel Deschute

I was looking for what processor speeds there will be by the year’s end. Just read from Tom’s Hardware Page, Intel plans the release of 450MHz chips in the 2nd half of this year. These chips are code named Deshute, and they’re just faster Pentium II chips. In addition, these chips will run off 100Mhz buses, and will take either Slot 1 or Slot 2 slots in the motherboard (440BX and 440NX motherboards respectively). Slot 2 chips are meant to be better cos they break the half a gig of ram barrier or something, but how many home owners use that much ram? They will be running off a different type of Level 2 cache too, which gives a 10% speed advantage over the Slot 1s of the same clock speed (I think). I’m not sure about anything> I just said (I probably mixed the figures up), but I definitely know is that 450Mhz is fast. Mmm speeeed.



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