Friday, December 19, 2008

angels and humanity, i mean humility


this wonderful documentary was on the history channel. (note: i'm the kind of person that would rather watch the movie than read the book.) they didn't just talked about how angels came to be and where and when they were conceived - but also how some angels were present across some of the most prevalent religions of the world and proceeded to explain how they all pretty much came from one; from Judaism to Christianity and Mohammedanism. it was the link with the heavenly and demonic angels that got me thinking.


first, just a few things from the show that i never knew before. eve (from adam and eve) was the second women created (after lilith/adamah) to be more submissive for man? the old testament was written in a period of over 800 years? angels were influenced from egyptian and greek mythology that made it's way over to scriptures found in the 3 religions above (with near identical sounding names as well). very interesting stuff.

then, the most amazing thing i got out of the show was where a lot of angels originated from. many were first written when the "old testament" was being put together, but were "cut" from the "final edit" of the hebrew bible. and then someone decided to put them together in a book called the Apocrypha - a.k.a. the "Secret Books". to which i LOL when i thought to myself about the age old question of "why do people still fight wars in the name of the LORD" - was it because "my stories are better than yours?"

w-w-wait, bear with me on this. let's take, for example, the mythos of star wars or the tolken universe and find people who want to believe in those so much that they want to eat, sleep and breath the life.
Force strong for new Jedi church
bbc.co.uk - 21 January 2008

Darkon - A LARP Documentary


"Star Trek" Fan Documentary "TREKKIES"
it is nothing short of amazing how far people will go defending their "way of life" loosing sight of the some of the basic principles of living harmoniously many of these "universes" are trying to teach.

i mean, let's take another example, this time from south park's episode: Christian Rock Hard


All right, guys, this is gonna be so easy. All we have to do to make Christian songs is take regular old songs and add Jesus stuff to them. See? All we have to do is cross out words like "baby" and "Darling" and replace them with Jesus.
spscriptorium.com
and now as an exercise, let's see how many parallelism can be drawn from the seven sins if you replaced LORD with a pronoun, a person's name or even a demon. let's use cartman now, shall we?
"For great is cartman and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods"
"Praise be to cartman."
hmm... not very friendly is he? is cartman's ego so fragile and in need of constant attention to boost his level of self awareness he requires daily offerings, daily prayers or else incur the wrath of cartman? i count at least 5 here. i guess he really doesn't want to be forgotten if anything. the LORD is nowhere and everywhere within the Matrix. oops, different article.

so, how about we bring this back to the nerds because you're still reading this.




happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

microsoft, the dying patient

a few months ago i wrote why Microsoft needed to kill OLPC and touched on how add-on perks gave the perception of what's a better value. it seems now, that they have succumbed to the near unlimited developer resources in the open source communities and have begun to accept them.

Microsoft: We're all 'mixed source' companies
cnet.com - October 17, 2008

Microsoft starts distributing open-source Drupal
cnet.com - October 16, 2008
i guess the nerds at redmond figured out how easy it is to become a package distributer, repository pointer or what ever you want to call it; even though there already was one for the windows platform. cygwin is one of the most important must haves on a windows box. it basically gives me all of the tools, utilities, apps -- everything including the kitchen sink that i have always had on my *nix box.

and really, providing any of the many wonderful projects out there is probably one of the most easiest thing they could have done to enhance their existing product line. the kids on the mac platform already does this too. fink seems to be the favor of choice. (dunno what happen to the whole open darwin project though.)

but it is interesting to see how long microsoft has come since their first tirade when the whole open source software movement became a huge thorn on their side. at first:
Microsoft denies Linux threat
original denial: 03.11.98
followed by a long line of dissemination of FUD statements and money funneling scheme to take ownership of the *nix kernel via patent suits through their SCO cronies.
Halloween_Documents - wiki
December 1998 - June 2004

but they will acknowledge linux during 1999 when the DOJ started looking into their monopoly in the software market and then go right back to attacking the viability of these alternative OS with the virtual limitless amount of add-on software packages.

Microsoft rooting for Linux?
12 Mar 1999
next, the interoperability initiative is launched to lure developers back to the windows platform. as well as deals made in lieu of disclosing what patents were supposedly violated.
Microsoft makes Linux pact with Novell
November 2, 2006
and now, it seems they went and skipped the depression stage and right into acceptance by freely distributing software that was once shunned
and called too complex not but a few months earlier:
Microsoft: Open source is too complex
August 07, 2006
anyways, these behaviors show nearly all five stages in the psychology of a dying patient to the tee:
  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance
does this mean they are dying? well, if another one of my past article, never gonna buy Microsoft hardware again, is any indication, far from it. they have a gazillion dollars to ride this out.
when i say i the command line interface, i really mean all of the tools, utilities, applications, scripts and executables that many, if not all, had their start from the important initiatives of the GNU project.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

game makers likes to nickel and dime you too

on one of my previous article, i was originally going to title it "pooping out games - now with ad supplements". but the topic warranted a whole separate article.

Sony, Double Fusion sign in-game ad deal
joystiq.com - July 10 2008

EA, Massive extend in-game ad deal through next two years

joystiq.com - Mar 18th 2008

Study: in-game advertiser says 82% of you don't mind in-game ads

joystiq.com - Jun 18th 2008
now, i'm not saying that the concept is bad. but if the game is going to be designed with ad's first, games second... (and i'm talking about the console market) then you shouldn't be in the video game business. in fact, i hope you go out of business. and i'm calling out the 82% acceptance study bull-$#!t - or they are not telling the whole story.

anyways, let's start with why advertising in video games is something we even need to think about.
Devs Need To Watch Advergaming, Corporate Training
gamasutra.com - October 29, 2008
"the games industry is worth over $40 billion worldwide"... "advertising is a $270 billion industry in the US"...
those are indeed impressive numbers. but i'm sure you've seen the myriad of negative posts, comments and replies about ads in games that all boils down to - if there are ads in the game, the game better be for free or waaaay less than the full sticker price. the fact that many consumers will not see a price break while the publishers will reap on both ends is causing a rift with gamers. the developers (not to be confused with the executive douche bags who happends to work at a video game company) also sees this and feels for the gamers.
Don't like in-game ads? Mercenaries 2 lets you blow that sh*t up
destructoid.com - July 21 2008
now, going back to the billions of dollars Gamasutra article, the speaker went on to say: "Get Involved -- Before Proctor And Gamble Forces You To" -- that has got to be one of the dumbest FUD scare tactic line i have ever heard. i say, go ahead, let P&G do it. it is going to be no different than what burger king has done back in 2006. it was beneficial for BK and i bet the parents loved it when the games were sold for less than the price of a whopper combo.
Eat Like a King. Play Like a King
xbox.com

Over 2 million BK games served
gamespot.com - Dec 20, 2006

Burger King profits up 40% thanks to video games
videogamer.com - Jan 31, 2007
so why does everyone (who isn't a gamer) want to shove ads down your gaming thumbs? i mean, i understand that product placement is a tried and true method of advertising. but do it for the right reasons - or else, the gamer will be thinking they just shelled out $60 bucks for a game that came with nag-ware; ad-ware; ad-banner; ad-supported; fill-in-the-blank-with-more-ads-shoved-down-my-throat-and-ruin-my-escape-from-reality-when-all-i-wanted-to-do-was-frag-my-friends-and-chain-saw-grubs-in-half-and-call-in-air-strikes all day.

was that last line annoying to read? good, because that's what your damn ads would feel like if i played your games. now, back to the douche bag execs who wants to nickel and dime you:
Microsoft contemplating for-pay Avatar accessories
joystiq.com - Aug 1 2008

Free-to-play Battlefield Heroes delayed

arstechnica.com - July 30 2008

EA's future plans for Spore: hope you like expansions

arstechnica.com - July 30 2008

EA would 'love' to charge for Spore parts ... I bet they bloody would

destructoid.com - July 29 2008
now, as for spore's expansion, i don't mind as long as the price is right for the new features. but if it's only for incremental features (such as madden football year after year) - then it better be for $20 or less. better yet - free or less than $10 DLC.
Activision: if we can't run a game into the ground, we don't want it
arstechnica.com - November 06, 2008

Kotick: Vivendi Titles Dropped Due To Lack Of Sequel Potential
gamasutra.com - November 6, 2008

Blizzard: We're Not "Milking" StarCraft
edge-online.com - October 13, 2008
yeah, that last one (starcraft) came at a time when everyone was wearing their sequels haters-pants on. but, and i am such a blizzard fan-boy, hope that all races will have some sort of playable campaign mode so you are not stuck with just one side of the story. it would make the game... well... sort of boring if you, say, only had to play the marine campaign mode to begin with. anyways, back to the player-haters:
Activision no longer cares about games it can't milk to death
destructoid.com - November 06, 2008
"Something tells me that if the videogames market has another crash like the famous one of 1983, Activision will have a big hand in its arrival. "
ok, now that was just uncalled for. the gaming crash of '83 was because of too many games in the market. and i mean, crap games. if you're saying diablo, starcraft and warcraft are going to cause a gaming crashing -- you're on crack. oh, wait -- those are blizzard's games. um... call of duty 6, uh... i guess, um... oh! there's guitar hero... on crack.

huh..., there aren't that many if you ask me. it seems you would have the power to pick and choose which games to buy and which to ignore. a far cry from flooding the market with a whole heap of random and $#!t games. and now, with download-able games -- there will never be another game glut crash when stores will refuse to stock games because of the limited shelf space. if anything, this will help propel games that are worthy of your precious gaming time to receive your attention instead of the shovel-ware garbage.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

iPodTouch + QuickPWN = Me Happy

well, it all started when my brother, mikey, got me an iPodTouch for christmas '07. the first thing i did was jailbreak it. no music, no videos, no pictures (even to this day). i just wanted the small form factor with wireless capabilities and touch screen ability.

it's the greatest toy i have ever had the pleasure to poke around in. so why did i want to jailbreak it in the first place? it was like: "damn, why did the iphone get the maps proggy and the iPodTouch didn't?" this was my single most wanted feature. i mean, take a look and compare what came on these two devices when they were first released.
i can understand that the iphone would have extra buttons for the phone, sms and (i guess) the camera. but what really miffed me was, "what? you get the stock thingie, weather and note pad too?" and when i had learned how to add them on (and this was way before the 2.0 firmware was out) i figured, this is how they should have released the iPod Touch.

now, i never had the need to upgrade the firmware on my toy for the longest time. but when i accidentally deleted an iTunes folder from my root (user) directory - i got my iPodTouch stuck in a restart loop. oops. lesson learned. but i still have an itchy trigger "rm -r" finger...

anyways, i have a whole heap of stuff backed up except for the iTunes folder for my root user, obviously, and instructions on how to restore and jailbreak my toy. so on to the internet i go. long story short, i ran into this utility called QuickPWN and wow. it was the easiest thing i have ever used.

first, let's make some fun of these guys.

on sept 12 (maybe around 8am according to the comment section) QuickPWN releases a post with instructions on how to use their utility that's kinda long winded. but what really baked my noodle were these 2 sentences at the very top of the article:

View this guide to learn how to jailbreak your iPod Touch 2.1.

[step] 1. Before you do anything, make sure you have a jailbroken iPod Touch.
O.K. wait... what?

my brain just went on a restart loop. good thing they plastered "DO NOT USE THIS" all over the page... so i chuckled. but then i was wondering where do i go to find this "OTHER POST"...

looking around, i see a list of labels on the side of the page. following the cookie trail, i find the second post. this was posted also on sept 12 (and seems like 11:30am this time) and basically the instructions was this:
run QuickPWN.exe ... and follow the on-screen instructions.
heh. O.K. let's see where this goes. after i had grabbed all kinds of firmware files and restoring my iPodTouch to one of them, i download the QuickPWN utility and run it. wow. yeah, i know i said that before. but this was so quick and painless, that it deserved a second wow.

i am so liking this this stuff! proceeding to install the bare minimum must have packages:
  • bsd system
  • openssh
  • sshd
all in all, there seems to be a few things replaced (since i last jailbroke): Cydia is the new Installer. and Boss* has everything else. BossTool, only used once, and BossPrefs, a nice one stop shop to turn things on and off. but i'd like to still keep SysInfo - it's still the best process viewer and killer.

finally, some updated instructions on stuff i can't live with out:
How to Block Ads on Your (Jailbroken) iPhone
Oct 8 2008

Setting up lighttpd web server on 2.0
Aug 7 2008
after installing the lighttpd web server, make a folder:
/private/var/mobile/Site
your lighttpd "home" folder
and think of this as your "everything" folder. i upload all of my media, docs and whatever into the "Site" folder. and i will also make it my download dumping ground. here's why this is my up/down folder.

if you installed MPlayer:
point /private/var/media
to /private/var/mobile/Site/media
if you installed dTunes (DO NOT [ chmod 777 Downloads ] like dTunes will say - this will be fixed with chown below):
point /private/var/mobile/Library/Downloads
to /private/var/mobile/Site/Downloads
or point to /private/var/mobile/Site/media as well to make things simpler
make sure to [ chown -R mobile.mobile Site ] to keep things kosher.

everything is neatly stored in my "Site" folder and this is what i use for quick backup and (r)syncing scripts.

love it!

now, for your mac owners who don't need all of this brain busting instructions and only need to have the freedom of moving your music from one computer to another, mikey has recommended using Senuti.
senuti (which, cleverly, is Itunes backwards), is
freeware. works like a charm.
-- mikey
i

Friday, October 31, 2008

pooping out games

Wonderman looks like she's trying to drop a mean duce. but it's not as bad as how EA pretty much decided to destroy a fairly popular title by announcing this:

DICE currently working on 5 Battlefield games
June 24 2008

EA Has Five Battlefields In the Oven
June 24 2008
no matter what kind of resources you have to pull this off, the thought of -- "omg, there's going to be 5 games of this?" just makes me want to say: f#ck it. i only want one good game. not 5 mediocre ones.

and if you're gonna $#!t out games year after year - don't be surprised when the public respond with - "didn't that come out last year?"

a title needs to have time between sequels. a lot of gamers are getting to know what studios are producing the fun time-suck games versus the"alternate year" studios. which in my opinion tarnishes the "franchise". [ infinity ward vs. treyarch ]

now, i can't tell you a single person i know who bought consecutive years of the madden games. and if there's someone out there who did, you're a tool. so what about these announcements:
EA craves sequels for Dead Space, Army of Two, and Battlefield: Bad Company
EA: Dead Space, Army of Two, Bad Company sequels in the works
EA Considering Sequels to Dead Space, Army of Two

oct 23 2008 - three games - three links
as long as it's every other year - then i don't mind. but if you're going to shovel it down our face every year - people are gonna start ignoring the marketing blitz. while paying more attention to these kinds of headlines:
EA Laying Off 600 As Revenue, Losses Rise, Citing Weakening Retail
Oct 31 2008

EA promises its games won't be 'crappy' anymore
Aug 5 2008

EA: Investors don't give a sh*t about quality

July 22 2008

Lawsuit flags EA for illegal procedure on football monopoly

June 12 2008
so you poop out "crappy" games because you are only interested in increasing shareholder value? not caring about the ramifications for the long term? (and it really isn't that long: only 18-24 months cycles - for a title.) and trying to squeeze something out in every 12 month (again, of the same project) -- just to see customer loyalty destroyed at the end of the fiscal year? good going f#ck bags.

oh, you want new buyers? thanks for caring. we're the ones who recommends games to your new potential buyers.

if you have nothing new, nothing exciting and not worth paying full price for -- then why do you wonder people are not buying your games. you'd be lucky if someone waits until it hits the bargain bin.

stick to new/multiple titles. don't grind on the same title until it literally turns in to dust. over exposure is a sure way to turn people off. sequels aren't a bad thing (can't wait for diablo3 & starcraft2). but i guess that's not stopping articles (like this one) from flying off the shelf (even though we are all pretty much talking about the same thing):
Insomniac loves sequels, so it should MARRY them
oct 23 2008

Why Are Gamers Cynical Of Sequels?
oct 24 2008

ps. yes, i know the DC characters here have nothing to do with this article, but they were too easy to pass up to make d!ck and f@rt jokes with...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

evil telcos - double charge

this post is a side bar to the main P2P article.

network caps. please note that there is a difference between bandwidth size limits and bandwidth rate limits. how are these different? i watch A LOT of internet videos (video length contributes to the file size downloaded) and i don't like waiting through the "buffering..." messages (how fast can the video stream be downloaded).

the speed at which the file can be downloaded is dependent on how fast your ISP will plow the files to your home. in fact, when looking into or recommending an ISP to others - i look for the fewest "buffering" message moments. some ISPs do not seem to get this. (yes, speed is also dependent on how fast the source server is - but we are talking about the ISP services to your home. major internet video broadcast networks makes use of CDNs - content distributed networks. and some even distribute their shows on torrent networks. but it all comes down to how tight the pipes gets closed when the ISP's rips you off.)

now i understand that they should be charging more for people with a faster network pipe (which they already do). they have T-1, T-3, OC-3, OC-12, OC-48 and OC-192 dedicated lines. and they come with (most of the time) unlimited transfer sizes. remember, it's a dedicated line. (and i say most of the time because, for example, it seems to be regional for academic institutions. who knows why - maybe some crazy legislation is why. see my previous article.)

in a nuttshell, the evil-telcos want to double charge you for the same product and services. here's what i mean. a T-1, for example, is a 1.544 megabits per second pipe. a T-3 is 43.232 Mbps, which has 28 times the capacity of the T-1. or in other words, it would take 28 times longer to push the same amount of data on a T-1 than on the T-3. (by the way, a T-3 is just 28 T-1's bundled together. and yeah yeah yeah, packet data [payload] versus packet header [overhead] bliz blaz.) but, keep this simple math in mind as we continue.


we see they no longer wish to honor the services they said they will provide when they have no problem charging you money every month for it. here's where the double charges come in:

"there was also buzz that Comcast might try to charge customers $15 for every 10GB they went over the limit."

HA! nickle and dime, i tells ya! although this is just a rumor, i'll bet the air you're breathing that this will happen.

ok, back to the double charge and the basic math i mentioned earlier. most DSL and cable modem provider charge you a certain amount of dollars for a certain bandwidth rate.
AT&T DSL price quote as of Oct 19 2008
priceup streamdown stream
$14.99384 Kbps768 Kbps
$25.00384 Kbps1.5 Mbps
$30.00512 Kbps3.0 Mbps
$35.00768 Kbps6.0 Mbps
note: i could have posted some cable modem, fiber and DSL prices here from the P2P unfriendly bastards that are all over the newsfeeds. but, this is just an example of the price scam i want to bring up. and you can do your own math with the ISP you're using to see for yourself. oh wait, where's the $10 package AT&T said they are offering? i would put the link here but it doesn't seem to be up anymore. evil and greedy f#ck bags. note: AT&T was required by the FCC to offer the low cost service as an agreement for the bellsouth merger. and what do you know, "at" bellsouth, you can find the information on how to get the cheap offereing.

let's say that you want to download a few files that totals to 250 GB - maybe it's every Linux Distro ISO and all of the source codes that were used to make it. let's see how long it would take to download it.
time to download 250GB
ratedayshoursminssecs
768 Kbps3284322.67
1.5 Mbps16134055.77
3.0 Mbps865027.88
6.0 Mbps442513.94
note: 1GB = 2^30 bytes which is then multiplied by 250 and again by 8 to get the number of bits we are looking to download. yeah yeah yeah packet headers, retransmission & delay windows. just consider them all part of the total 250 GB downloaded.

so, on the slowest tier, it would take the whole month for you to download all of that. good for you! you physically can't download it fast enough to even hit the limit. but if you went and upgraded to the faster rate, not only will pay more for it, but will download it faster and faster and hit the "limit" quicker than the month would end. so you would be charged extra in order to keep using the internet feed you already paid for - or spend the rest of the month unable to access the internet. told you the telco's want to DP you in the @$$.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

p2p - 2slow4u - up&down

last time, i wrote about the evil telcos and want to wrap this up here.

but this time, it's not about the money. i mean, i understand that a company needs to find ways to keep their business up and running. and if they can milk all the dollars they can from their customers, then good for them. however, their tactics that could lead to the demise of the innovative transport medium technology and products as well as the collateral damage of new and interesting media providers and broadcasters.

these new media may be snuff out by the evil telcos, and this is what i fear the most.

first, it's P2P traffic. and even though, technically, one computer linked to just one other is a P2P network, let's assume for this section it's one computer linked to many others (just like what the carriers are all complaining about).



it seems that some companies haven't figured this one out yet. the P2P control freaks are completely out of line here -- and need to know that they MUST NOT F@#K with the P2P traffic. these ISPs doesn't seem to not know about the people who: chat (voice or typing) and play games.

these kind of network traffic are your most common and basic multi-point/distributed P2P network. and if the network provider is the cause of that laggy connection (or worse a dropped connection) - YOU WILL LOSE THAT CUSTOMER. yes, most chats goes to a central server, but it is possible to join a pile of IRC channels from a pile of servers with [insert your favorite multi-protocol social chat client]. yes, while it's most likely that you are not joining 100's of endpoints, it is possible to join at least "a" 100 from one user. and if you have more than one users (i.e. roommates) then it is possible to see 100's of connections coming from one IP address. but if your network caused me to drop my game, you're F@#King with my QoS. don't expect me to keep you as my provider.

next, network caps.
please note that there is a difference between bandwidth rate limits and bandwidth size limits. [ i when off tangent here - it went back to being about money (those greedy bastards) and said that this article wouldn't be about it. so i decided to put it in to a separate side bar article. ]

bandwidth rate limits are more in tune with what i wrote above about laggy connections (especially sensitive to quick-action games) - but, what the providers are really asking for is bandwidth size limits. and this is HUGE problem for other reasons.


upload and download limits. as HD videos become more and more prevalent in the video podcast world, these transmission sizes may easily reach the 250GB limit. so, can i see myself hitting that cap? well, let's do some quick paper napkin calculations.

if each HD video podcast is 1GB (which the totally rad show @1280x720 ~1hr @24fps - has sometimes hit), then that means i can watch 250 shows a month. which is about 8 one hour shows per day. that's a lot of video watching. i think most people only watch 2-3 hours of TV. a couch potato may watch up to 4-5 hours. and the video gamer may play games with the video podcast running in the background 4-8 hours. yes, there are days where i would play for 4 hours and other where i would play for up to 12 or even 16 hours. but on average, i have hit a stride of 4 to 6 hours. i also download a lot of financial stock data and listen to a lot of internet radio.

what's my current usage? a little less than 100GB/month according to ifconfig. HA! you say? now re-run the calculations when shows become 1920x1080. the data size for a single 1080 frame would be more than twice that of a 720 frame. now how about at 30fps or 60fps. of course, compression technology will try to keep the file sizes small. however, the best way to keep file sizes small is lower resolution running at lower frame rates. but we are looking into the future.

so why all of the sudden the reason to enforce the P2P restrictions?
  • have the carriers met the usage saturation point (i don't think so)
  • is this a pre-emptive move to contain users from high network usage (on a system that's pretty much a shared network) (maybe, but really, i don't think so)
  • do they want to start charging subscribers more money and this is one way to ease it in (plausable)
  • do they want to help the RIAA or MPAA stop piracy (i don't think so)
  • do they want to help the major broadcast networks stop loosing viewership to the new media networks (i would say more so than stopping piracy but way less than wanting to charge more $$)
if you ask me, i think it's some RIAA or MPAA douche bag that has somehow convinced the carriers to fight the P2P wars on their dime. or else they would face lawsuits for allowing P2P traffic on their networks. the anti-P2P systems started to roll out, but the carrier's ultimate reason for doing so is that they can upsell additional services that comes with the higher network speed package (do you really need the triple package now a days?) or charge you extra for a service you already are paying for (remember net neutrality?). there really is no reason to throttle P2P traffic when there are many good uses for it. and many good reasons to show your network is multi-user friendly that will shine well with people who wants to have a fat and fast pipe while not feeling like they are being ripped off.
couldn't resist

Saturday, September 20, 2008

free wifi, eh? evil telcos to the rescue!

about a month ago i wrote how telcos want to nickel and dime (and by nickel and dime, i mean $5 and $15) their subscribers for every little feature. i want to expand on that with how they also want to/will kill anything that would threaten their stranglehold on your wireless communication needs their cash cow.

a long time ago, a city wanted to roll out a free or subsidized low-cost wireless network:


and in three months, some evil telco convinced the governor to make it illegal for a city to provide such services. how is it possible to make this "illegal" is beyond me.


image courtesy of: prickwear.com

here's a nice article that wraps all of this up from an interesting source. how and why does the UK have any interest in this is amazing.


fast forward a few years:


and now, free wifi is under attack as a health scare?


although there's no wireless provider officially involved with that uprising, i bet dollars to donuts one of them are. anyways, let's not forget the land based telcos.

the attempted assassination of the internet by twisting the net neutrality principle would have been a major coup for the few ginormous ISPs. the FCC are trying their best to keep the network free and open - but that's not stopping the telcos from going in to their bag of dirty tricks to choke out your options.

image courtesy of: njvadala.blogspot.com

hell, they'll even resort to bribing, kickback, payout or what ever you want to call it:


ha! lying - now i see how they get these lawsuits, legislation and health scare "facts" through the system. how naive of me.

or is it because they do not want any competition by making up excuses lobbying for laws that is in the telcos best interest. smash your options if it's going to save you money. and if they can take your money by force law, they will.

image courtesy of: freemagenta.nl

this rant will be concluded on my next P2P article.

Friday, August 22, 2008

OLPC - a lesson in product development

a couple of months ago i wrote why microsoft needed to kill the OLPC. this time, i felt like writing why the OLPC project nearly failed from a product development view point.

they had a near feature-complete product that was ready to be manufactured and then shipped. the product should have been in design lock down after the first prototype was spec'd out. the sales agreements should have been put down in writing. and then followed through (i.e. make, boxed and then shipped).

so what happened. a big pile of $$ was dangled in front of their noses - allowed intel to smeared Negroponte with the "you can't sell the classmate" PR disaster. and then they let microsoft in to the party. again, loosing sight of the road map. this should have been version 2.0 for a brand spankin new OS implementation, feature locked and signed off on the hardware platform.


there is something to be said about being ahead of your time.
OLPC Founder Negroponte Wanted to Make Multitouch XO-2 Laptop 20 Years Ago [Olpc]
june 2 2008

but you should not compromise your release cycle by being distracted with the bells and whistles of what could be. i mean, there was all of these dual touchscreen articles popping up all over the place like this one:
V12 Design Delivering Dual Touchscreen Laptop Within Two Years [Laptops]
july 9 2008

again, they lost focus on releasing their first product out the door. with all of these add ons, did they honestly thought they were going to keep the costs down by adding two full touch screens?


when all of this was happening, a whole heap of cheap "netbooks" started to pop up from all kinds of manufacturers. the ASUS eeePC is an excellent example of them. they've manage to release different versions upon different versions all aiming at the same market the OLPC was in. the eeePC 700 was the linux book, 701 had XP, 900A a faster processor, 1000 a larger screen. there is a giant table of all the different models they did that it's mind boggling trying to keep track of it. and since there are so many of these eeePC out there, people have started to mod them with things like touchscreen capabilities.



finally, an interesting read on how the OLPC journey was taken:

How the OLPC Changed Laptops Forever: The Untold Story [Origins]
aug 14, 2008
and what's also curious is that this article link used to be found through gizmodo's pages:
even their twitter feed has it:
don't they normally mark the article as inaccurate or strike the lines in the article to "update" their findings? i have never seen them pull down a post like this. and now it's:
maybe it wasn't popular enough for people to take interest in this, it seems to only have 18 diggs so -- no one will miss it...

update: it seems that a new article has been posted on gizmodo:
Secret Origin of the OLPC: Genius, Hubris and the Birth of the Netbook
aug 26, 2008

update: here's another fancy article that bears a similar headline to my original article:
Why Microsoft and Intel tried to kill the XO $100 laptop
aug 10, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

real time ray tracing, huh...

there's been a lot of graphics technology goodies piling up. too good for me to pass up on some more of my thoughts.

Intel takes another jab at Nvidia during its research day
june 12, 2008

"[ray tracing] doesn't waste time drawing things that are hidden and, according to Intel, it is best done on the CPU."
i think the ├╝ber managers doesn't realize the complexity of raytracing. there is no such thing as "things that are hidden" object in ray tracing. in fact, it's quite the opposite. you need all of the objects in the scene to calculate for reflection and refraction, scattering, and chromatic aberration (wiki). to make a high quality rendered scene depends on the number of times the ray is bounced (reflection) or passed through (refraction) an object. hidden (off screen) or not, the object needs to be in the scene no matter what.
16-core, four-chip monster CPU, running last fall’s game, “Quake Wars: Enemy Territory.” It ran at 16 frames per second, not the usual 60 frames per second that is possible on a good graphics chip.
wow, that's a lot of hardware for 16 frames. granted this is ray tracing but still. i would throw my computer out the window if i can't get my frag on smooth silky frame rates.
Nvidia video: No quad-core chip needed for extreme PC
june 20, 2008

from intel, again:
"...programmers will like ray tracing better because they can do many complex tasks with simple one-line programs."
huh? did i just read that right? what hell are function and macros again?

this guy has a much better thought on these issues.
Ray tracing for PCs-- a bad idea whose time has come
june 12, 2008
and now, back to more graphic goodies. to achieve some pretty good results, there's been a lot of work going into the multi-core chip solutions.
AMD, Nvidia graphics chip designs diverge
june 16, 2008

Intel aims x86 at GPU market
aug 04, 2008
and, it seems to be kicking ass so far:
AMD ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 Preview
july 14, 2008


finally, john dvorak said this on his podcast:
Save Your Phone Books
06/18/2008 06:35 PM @3:55 mins:secs
"... it would be difficult for a CPU company to make a GPU as it is for a GPU company to make a CPU... mindset and marketing style are different..."
i think that's only true for CPU to GPU. going the other way should be much easier for the GPU maker. a CPU works much more simplier in a linear fashion with a lot of instruction sets that are more in tuned with logic processing. the GPU on the other hand has a lot of pipelining effiency designs that needs to be taken into consideration with data that are normally processed/passed over multiple times.

plus, it's funny how all the major CPU makers are into the low power processor:
AMD may be planning its own CPU to compete with [VIA] Nano [and Intel] Atom
june 19, 2008

and the lone GPU maker:
NVIDIA pays Transmeta $25 million for LongRun technology
aug 8 2008


but i hope there's more work like this being done from all graphics makers:
AMD Cinema 2.0 tech demo: real-time photo-realistic human models
aug 12 2008

there's nothing more outstanding than showing what you are working on and what your graphics chip can do. nvidia used to always showcase their cards by constantly displaying all of these cool demos, samples and apps. it seems that they are kind of slipping as of late.

iphone vs gphone

so a buddy if mine forwards me this artcle and proceeds to mention that he "had hopes for Android but [is reading] many disappointing things about it so far":


and i reply with this:

this "flaw" is just a publicity slam (scam) to keep the market's perception of iphone is better than google android -- just like how apple did the whole mac vs. vista ad/smear campaign.

the article is total BS.

the article jumps directly into the open source "problem".
[cherry-picking the teams ] with "advanced releases of Android's Software Developer Kit"
almost every mega-software house on the planet does this. external developers who shows skills ahead of the curve will almost always be tapped as "guinea pigs" for testing prototype code and asking for their remarks before releasing the features out into the wild.
"open source software ... allow early adopters access ... buggier pieces of code... can help fix them or let people ... wait for a solid release ..."
again, i'm sure that there are piles of "test" code within the OSS community that will never see the light of the day when ideas are getting bounced around between the project leaders -- just as well as coders external to the project who tries submitting patches that also never become part of the official tree. every one has a process. non-disclosure agreements may not be one of them, but when it comes to dealing with evil telco's... more about on that later.
"carriers and hardware manufacturers are believed to be encountering technical problems regardless of their access to code."
this isn't a google flaw. this is an evil telco problem...

the poorly supported article continues with a link to a "language translation problems" -- a stupid remark about a mobile phone company having problems to re-write the code base into another language. if you don't know how to convert (written/read) text from one language to another, you should be out of business. localization is one of the most basic programming task a junor coder should be able to do in his/her spare time.


if google android is to fail - it's because of the evil telcos.

google has a bigger problem. most of the major cellular proviers will not want to sell (or allow on their networks) android phones because subscribers will be able to put their own applications and files on their own phones. they can't charge you $ if you can put stuff on the phone for free. they want to nickel and dime (and by nickel and dime, i mean $5 and $15) for every little feature they want to up-sell you (every month). not to mention "time-limited" ring tones, games, apps, or what-ever.

the telcos (wireless, land and even internet providers) are a bunch of greedy bastards. i am actually very surprised that android phones will make it out into the market by the end of this year. with such open access to the device - i thought it would have taken at least 4 or 5 years to make it a reality. but, i wouldn't be surprised if either of the following are/will be happening:
  • the telcos will sabotage android phones ability to work on their networks
  • the telcos are kicking begging and screaming to "lock down" the phones so apps/files/add-ons can only be installed via the provider's "store"
i can go on and on about this -- but i think i'll save that for another post.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

dear buffy fans, i'm sorry for making fun of you

ok, there was only really one person i actually did that to. and that was in 1998 - way back when i was working at motorola. we will just call him thomas - he was in his late-40's watching the buffy vampire slayer series with his wifey. and he was my senior engineer so it was a playful "making fun of". he went on saying that the series was whitty, clever, yes - tongue in cheek about the whole vampire things, but "quite good". but i just never got in to it. every time i must have popped on the teli when buffy was on- it must have been during those cheeks stuffed with cheese moments.


anyways, fast forward all the way to 2005 or 6, there's a guy i work with at midway games who always made it a point to watch buffy when ever it was on - we will just call him brian. it was also when i noticed he started having bleached blonde hair. but this was not unusual - he would every once in a while have a mohawk ever since i started working on the mortal kombat projects. i never knew about the whole spike thingie. and finally figured out why he always dated really thin drusilla-look-a-likes.

so, a good buddy of mine was dating a girl, amanda, who was all about buffy. since then, the box set for buffy was out, she got it as a gift from demon snowman (and he got a xbox360). they are now married. you can't just make that up. it's poetic.


anyways, i have since borrowed her box set - and finally plowed through to season 5. to sum it up to now in one word - awesome! the only thing i didn't like -- it was the extras that was slipped into season 5 disk 3 (of 6) that basically has some major spoilers for the rest of the season.

now, the question is, season 5 left off on a high note. i mean, the story and plot development culminated in the end on top. it had everything, main character against a much more powerful opponent. every protagonist was struggling in their most darkest hour. a whole heap of emotions running wild - from the usual fear, sad and happy to the pain, confusion and love (of a different kind). and good ol fashion um... s5d3extras...

so should i continue on with season 6 + 7? the series has reached a point that is of shakespearean epic proportion. do i ride out the rest of the story and see what lies ahead? risk some cheesy plots and come back stories that has been done over and over before in the many comic books and video game story lines i have seen. (i don't read "books" unless it has purr-ty pictures in them - or it's full of lines of code.)

eh, who am i kidding. i'm gonna watch it.

=)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

oh no, x-play - not you too

here are but a few emails snippets i have written in the past:

2004-06-02:
techTV, used to be my favorite channel. until G4 bought them out -- it has now become one of the worst cable channels on the planet.

they have so many shows that does the same d@m# thing: 4 video game review shows, 3 retro vidoe game shows, 2 "behind the video game" report shows, etc. no wonder they got their @$$ kicked by just one video game review show from techTV.

so far, judgement day and g4tv are the dumbest shows i've ever seen. and electric playground is no x-play.

i hope gamer.tv and pulse will be better. cinematech looks to be interesting. but i dunno -- we shall see...


fast forward to 2004-07-28:
icons on G4TechTV is a pretty cool show. it's like "the history of" the topic they cover...


fast forward to 2006-10-12:
hahahahaha, G4 is dead, finally...


or so i thought. but these remarks are pretty much on par with nearly everyone on the planet who felt like they got their sack kicked when cun#cast basically neutered techTV. dumbing it down to level of spikeTV. (although, to spikeTV's credit, i'll have to hand it to them for bringing XMC over here. their one saving grace for launching what i like to call "ninjaTV" viewing on both of these channels.)


but, back to the original reason for posting this entry:

Top 5 Games For Real Men [ G4 - 20080604 ]


WTF! this was basically a commercial for all of EA's games. oh, adam sessler, one of the biggest reason i watch your show (besides morgan webb) was your unwavering and candid reviews while not selling out. most of the time it's obvious when you're placating, but this was pretty much... um... in bad taste.

FU, for allowing this $#!t out.

Black? Army of Two?
im glad you have GoW on there, but where's CoD4 and Halo in this mix? how the HELL are those better than these. "pressure cooking can crushing granado your barrels will unleash" IS CoD4 (and swarm on legendary is...). and how "...on a collision course with death" isn't either of these makes me wanna remove this show from all of my DVR's and podcatchers.

Fight Night?
are you outta your f'n mind? sure, the game "looks good" -- but the (blending) animations are one of the most piss poor results i have ever seen on a AAA title. which leads to not-so-fun game play. the game feels sluggish - and not in the boxing sort of way. hopefully, they'll fix these issues in round 4. but, if you needed to pick a fighter for dudes, how did DoA4 miss the list. i mean, what man doesn't like bouncy boobs. and if he needs to pick a guy... then he should be playing wresting games no matter how bad it is.

Madden?
christ, i cannot believe this is #1 on the list. you might as well put tiger woods pga tour instead of GoW to complete the "men who has no eyes when playing video games with broken fingers" list. madden is no "series". everyone i know, who even owns one, just has that -- one of it. some back to the the gamecube days. that includes the ncaa football "series". "nothing alienates men and women more..." wait... there might be some truth to that for this... damn, caught in my own logical vortex. oh wait! got it, "nothing alienates men who think they're real men and everyone else more than..." eh, what ever, this post is stupid.

please don't do this again, or else leave G4 and go somewhere else (like to revision3) and make the show good again (don't leave webb behind either).

i

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

mmmmmm, BBQ, aaarrrggguuuhhh

so, i happen to see a cooking video on youtube via one of my RSS feeds. one thing lead to another and all of the sudden, i was watching "how to cook this and that" for hours. and since BBQ is the quintessential combination of all things awesomeness - food, fire, friends and family (just be sure to know which recipe goes where) - i thought i share some of my favorite yums.

it all started with [ Maangchi ] - in korean it means [ hammer ] - making one of my favorite eats [ Job Chae ] (Korean stir fried noodles and vegetables).

oh, but what's this? how to make: Sweet and crispy chicken wings ("dak kang jung")


OMG! it's almost like my most favorite dish in the world ("Hot & Saucy Chicken Wings) from the [ Great Sea Chinese Restaurant ] here in Chicago... i can just taste it and smell it while writing this... DAMN IT!!! it's sooo good... if you happen to go there, i would also recommend:
  • "Three Sea Spicy Noodle Soup" (a.k.a Jampong)
  • "MaPo Tofu" (Hot & Spicy Tofu)
  • "Seven Seas Jja Jang Myun" (noodles with blackbean sauce) and make sure it's "seven seas" -- 'cause they have a smaller regular "Jja Jang Myun"

anyways, back to BBQ's. so then i run into this guy's youtube channel: the [ BBQ Pit Boys Show ]. a few of his early vids just does "fill in your favorite bbq sauce here". but it does get better with actual recipes, times and step by step info. here's a fun one: BBQ Chicken Recipe Beer Can Barbecue

some of my other favs are:
indirect grilling:
smoking:
something a little random:

i FOOD!
i mean, really, who doesn't?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Microsoft needed to kill OLPC

the story that made everyone scratch their head:
Microsoft to Limit Capabilities of Cheap Laptops
pcworld.com May 9 2008

some good speculations:
Why is Microsoft underpowering One Laptop Per Child?
cnet.com May 13 2008

and then the final solution - use the sledge hammer to stamp out the competition:
Windows XP on the XO Laptop - Microsoft Buys Out OLPC
olpcnews.com May 15 2008
so i thought to myself and wondered about the whole low-end requirements. you should already know about where i stand in microsoft dictating the direction of any hardware design -- and they need to stay out of the way from what the PC manufacturers want to do.

at first, i thought the low-end PC requirements was to create such an unwanted experience that it would kill itself. but linux can run on very slim resources. i still run two ancient 300MHz sony vaio laptops who are notorious for not following using alternative port values on some common IO devices.

but i really think, IMHO, it's basically down to these two points:

1) when the ASUS eeepc (3E PC) laptops were coming out with larger hard drives on linux (20GB) versus the window (12GB) version (eee 900 series), the add-on perks gave the perception of what's a better value with a hard tangible product on a system that provided basically the same functionalities. this made the choice of what OS running on it a secondary thought.

2) and i believe this is ultimately the main reason why microsoft want XP or what ever else they can put on a computer, on any computer; to get a person familiar with an OS where they will learn usability habits. this is one major sticking point i run into all the time when trying to teach/help people on how to use/fix computers. after someone learns a pretty complex behavior, they tend to stick to it and refuse to change in fear of learning more complex routines. that is, until they find something else that's easier to use.

i can't tell you how many people i know who switched to MACs and completely forget how to use a windows box in less than 4 months (shortcut, hot keys, where things are located, etc. -- usability).

but if you ask me, microsoft has also done a fine job doing this themselves by moving all of the configuration panels to who-knows-where-it-didn't-make-sense on their latest vista product. this basically required any one who knew anything from NT up to XP in a production house to re-learn all the little nuance again. not to mention the fact that it was also a huge problem integrating shared networks with vista and XP without upgrading all kinds of servers to make it vista aware.

you might as well get a MAC if you're going to re-learn some new system. that platform is by far the most user friendly, graphical eye pleasing and the most intuitive computer to use. i've been recommending that to everyone i know. disclaimer: i don't own any MACs, i've just used a lot of them. and i only build linux and bsd boxes.

i command line tools.