Saturday, May 24, 2008

Microsoft needed to kill OLPC

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

some good speculations:
Why is Microsoft underpowering One Laptop Per Child? 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 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.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

never gonna buy Microsoft hardware again

before you accuse me of jumping on the microsoft bashing bandwagon, the following are actually $#!t that's broken on microsoft released products.

first, there was the xbox power cord fire hazard: | Press: Microsoft Announces Power Cord Replacement for Xbox

next, xbox 360 Red Ring of Death:
Xbox 360: Three red lights flash on the Ring of Light

and my microsoft branded optical mouse died.

it wasn't until when the mouse died on me (a fricken optical mouse, mind you) that really made me question why did microsoft go into all of this hardware business, get kicked in the left nutt with major manufacturing defects, survived it, get kicked in the other nutt with another defect and is still able to go on. to which i guess, if you have more money than god, then you can pay off any debt you have with the devil.

fast foward to these recent weeks, and you'll see these headlines:
The reason for shutting down the DRM-licensing servers was "every time there is an OS upgrade, the DRM equation gets complex very quickly,"
ok, these are technically software and not hardware failures -- but if you follow the music content to your PC and then to your zune or any of your other PlayForSure device, garbage. who else even had a "playforsure" device for that matter... so what if you paid for all of that content. when you get a new computer you need to pay for it again?

the "DRM equation gets complex very quickly" ?!? what a total cop out admission.

which finally, brings us to the icing on the cake:
now, they will actually go out of their way to break your viewing experience. usually, you would want to cater to your audience. present your product that provides and delivers value and entertainment, not frustration and anger.

yes, this is another software "problem". but this isn't like a bug or a security hole. this is planned "let's ruin the viewer experience". and to tie this to the whole "i'm not gonna buy microsoft hardware ever again" mantra, if i have a remote control in my hand, and i press "record this show" - like how i can do this on my TiVO, cable DVR, VHS VCR, MythTV, etc. - i expect it to record it. now, i will never pick up (nor recommend to anybody) a media center PC. too bad for the PC manufacturers, who is not to be blamed, but who suckered into using the crippled OS.

to the fans of DRM, go ahead, lock your content out. you will loose your audience in droves when they basically "can't" watch your shows. people will find something else to watch. or on something else that will allow them to continue to watch their must see tv.

Monday, May 19, 2008

air force wants a botnet?

Preparing for cyber warfare: US Air Force floats botnet plan - may 12 2008

Air Force Colonel Wants to Build a Military Botnet - may 12 2008

in both of those articles, they kinda missed a very important point that piling a bunch of computers to run DDoS attacks isn't the most efficient way to do this. however, a pile of routers on the other hand...

first, let's say that the attacks are foreign -- the best course of action is to take control of the routers that are the gatekeepers for all communication lines to inside the states. this step is much easier to do if carnivore is already installed on the routers. if carnivore is not installed, commandeer them via a root kit. contact "ted" at NSA to enable the tube. if they ask if you are an AT&T customer, respond "yes".

Rootkits on routers threat to be demoed - may 15th 2008

reconfigure the routers for firewall duty and done, you are able to fend off any inbound attacks.

to initiate the attacks, reconfigure the routers to generate network traffic with your method of destruction. search for "DDoS types" in your favorite "the google" if you need examples. you don't need an army of computers. just one misbehaving router. preferably one that's closer to the source/target of the attack.

now, if the attacks originate stateside, the defensive option should only used. do not launch any DDoS offensive in this case. the president may be inadvertently knocked off the internet while reading those missing emails.

if hacking routers proves to be too difficult, look into placing your own pre-hacked routers the old fashion way:

FBI looks into fake Cisco kit - may 12 2008

i the armed forces.

a shout out to
dave, ryan and iggy
in the USAF.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

multi CPUs GPUs and Cells, Oh My!

a few weeks ago, i wrote the GPU is the new CPU and then ran into these little nuggets of goodness:

ASUS Creates Upgradeable Graphics Cards

Linux-friendly SBC hosts dual quad-core Xeons

a CPU-centric board and a GPU-centric board -- just the way i wanted! not quite what i had envisioned, but slap these on an industrial backplane like this one and there you have it:

will it work? i have no idea -- but i am willing to try if someone would send me these items... =)

ah, this brings back memories of carrier boards and those ginormous "compact" PCI mini-fridge size chassis back in the day. except this time, i can probably fit these boards inside a shoe box, i.e. shuttle-sized. although, i'll have to get a backplane that has all the slots on one side like the PBPE-06A364. but if there's a 1U backplane available, then i can fit it in a pizza box!

and finally, will the CELL processor become the third major player in the video graphics arena? forth, if you count intel... oh, snap!

Toshiba to ship laptops with Cell-based GPUs this year

i Art of Pizza

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Wii Sports? No, Vii Sports

i talked about the wii-remote-with-everything a few months ago. and now, there's this:

Another Wii knockoff arrives to give Vii some competition [ via engadget ]

HAHAHAHA, this is too rich.

Nick: Vii? Sounds German...
Katharina: I am German.
Nick: Your accent is adorable.
Katharina: Go aVay from Mii!

but, really, here's something that actually pretty useful:

Lightning Review: Nyko Kama Wireless Nunchuk [ via gizmodo ]

now, you can play nunchuk enabled games without restricting yourself with an arm span of a two year old.