A couple of days ago I was away from home but I wanted to fetch a bunch of files from my server. I had ssh access so I quickly installed vsftp, a simple FTP server for Ubuntu Lucid. I would’ve used WinSCP and sftp but I wanted to try something new. What’s that, new?
I wasn’t expecting the Windows 7 FTP access manager to be down right ancient. It looks like it crawled out of Windows 2000. So what, ten years after the initial release of New Technology, we’re still using the same icons?
Look at those icons - Ancient
No, it’s not a big deal but I wanted to mention it because it’s out-of-place. And if something as subtle as the icons are out of date, what does that say about the code that powers these features? It could be just as old if not older. At least Windows realized it couldn’t log in with the first credentials I supplied.
Just a few minutes ago, I managed to get my TWiT Brick fixed. Earlier this week, it turned out that my verification letter had my inscribed name wrong. From a missing P to a now fulfilled Ryan Rampersad! Once again, Long Live, TWiT.
And a big thanks to Amanda for understanding the problem and providing a quick fix.
Two weeks ago, I attended the freshmen orientation at the University of Minnesota. It was a two-day event full of presentations, questions and answers. In effort to ease the transition from high school to college and university in general. I had a wonderful group leader with cat jokes and kidding, just kidding joy.
My fall schedule is a bit spaced out. For three days a week, I have a packed morning, a dismal afternoon and a short evening. I do get to leave early on Friday though. Thursday are packed throughout so it’ll be like working. This schedule actually has me doing more than when I was in high school. I always thought it would end up being less.
Blue is for English/Writing/Freshmen Composition. Green is for the introductory College of Science & Engineering class. Red is for Physics, some of those are problem sessions, lectures and labs – I’ll update accordingly. Yellow is for Math/Calculus 1, some are labs and some are lectures, I’ll update accordingly. Purple is for Computer Science classes, something about Data Structures and SOO.
As you can see, three days a week, I have a huge gulf in my schedule. I tried to minimize that as much as I possible could but I was unable due to CSCI 1901 only being offered at that time. At least I get an early Friday.
I’ll have to catch the bus around 7:15 to get down there by 7:55 for class to start, but I think I’ll manage. I am indeed looking forward to classes but a little so for Welcome Week.
As I get more details about what these classes really are about, I’ll share my stories here and of course, I’ll be updating my calendar to accurately reflect any changes that I may encounter.
If you haven’t read the Tau Manifesto, you really should. It may very well shatter your preconceived convictions about π and introduce you to a better, truer circle constant. It’s called tau.
Tau Angles - See the truth
There was a story once and it become the center point of tau: it makes sense. Instead of being silly and using incorrect fractions to denote parts of a circle, tau can be divided and when it is, it represents that fraction of a circle. In other words, 1/2 tau is half a circle in radians. How much is 1/2 pi? It’s a quarter of a circle. It’s ridiculous and it always has been.
So, I hope you explore the wonderful world of Tau and eat 2π! And now watch the video below, it’s fantastic!
I installed a little ftp-server on my ubuntu dev-server. After configuring some ports and other users, I needed to restart the service. Since most daemons run as services now, anything
/etc/init.d/name restart is now just
service name restart. But of course, nothing is that easy.
ryan@ryan-desktop:~$ service vsftpd restart
I ran this to restart the service for the ftp daemon but I was rejected.
Not that is anyone’s fault, but I received my brick inscription verification letter today only to find out that they misspelled my name! On the brick, it would have read:
And thus the P from my name would forever be erased! I quickly sent off an email stating the error and hopefully I’ll get this fixed sooner than later. I had ten days to do this, the letter was mailed on the 21st but I received it six days later, which leaves until July 1st.
Long live, TWiT.
I ran my Apple Keynote review two weeks ago but I still hadn’t gotten around to my first look at Windows 8 impressions from D9. There isn’t much to work on, but I’ll give it an honest shot. I’m going in order of the video that Microsoft shared.
To start, the new default UI is based on the current generation of Windows Phone 7 phones. The basic UI is built in blocks instead of Android and iOS’ icons. Unlike the original Metro-UI, the textual design has given way to discrete spaces. These tiles leverage two ideas that icons of old did not have: interaction and updating. Tiles can display information while not be used, but if they are tapped or clicked, they can do things in response to the user, not just opening the app itself. In addition, by using web technologies, these tiles can display more information than just is available locally. It’s more than just weather and twitter integration, it could be anything.
Conan O’Brien Delivers Dartmouth’s Commencement Address.
Conan is awesome in a commencement address for Dartmouth. There is nothing better than ripping on your own school when graduating, well, except having a professional comedian do it for you.
Oblong Has Built The Future Of Computing. I’ve Seen It. Used It. It’s Beautiful.
This is the next Macintosh-level of disruption.
The technologies that Oblong is working on are anything but derivative or boring — they are absolutely revolutionary. And they will shape the future of computing.
Let me ask this. Could Oblong have used this technology to make that technology. I’m going to guess, no.
I received this lovely email last night. There’s a lot of hackers targeting game companies. After years of customer abuse, it appears that the wave, I mean, tide is turning.
Leaked Release Dates: Lion on July 14th, iPhone 5 & iOS 5 September 7th.
iOS 5 and OS X Lion are not supported at this time. Support for OS X Lion, will be available on release date, July 14th. iOS 5 Support, will be available on release date, September 7th, in accordance with the iPhone 5 Keynote.
The funny thing there. I told someone on Tuesday that Lion would probably launch on July 14th. Imagine that? Last year, the September keynote was a week early, the week of the August-September transition. I suggest two dates: August 31st or September 7th and the physical launches a week later.
Apple Ramping Up New MacBook Air Production in July [Update].
The old new MacBook Air was announced at the end of the Lion unveiling as one more thing. It has always seemed fitting to me that the first new device with Lion shipping would be that device: the MacBook Air. One day, Lion is available and the new MacBook Air magically appears on the Apple website.
We’re on target.
Since I was the tech guy at my high school a few of my friends decided to ask me for advice on buying a laptop for college. I don’t mind helping out but answering the same way for each person drove me to write these considerations. I like to think of these considerations the baseline for a great laptop.
- Processors – Look for at least a dual core Intel processor. There are laptops with AMD processors but at the same speed, an Intel processor will seem much faster. Additionally, make sure the Intel processor is a Sandy Bridge processor and either an i3, i5 or on the high-end, an i7. These Sandy Bridge processors are the second-generation builds of Intel-i-line processors and go faster and consume less power at the same speed than the previous generation.
- Battery Life – Look for battery life ratings of at least 6 hours. Whatever the rating is, it’s probably overrated so subtract about 1.5 hours from the rating to get a more realistic battery life for real world usage. Smaller laptops have smaller batteries, but then they have smaller screens and often weaker, slower and less power-hungry processors.
- Screen – There are two types of screens. Matte and glossy. Matte screens do not reflect as much light from the background, so it’s easier to see even if there’s a chance for glare. On the other hand, glossy screens reflect a lot of light, so glare is often a concern, but these types of screens usually offer truer color and higher perceptive-resolution.
- Screen – Screens again. Basically, the screen resolution refers to the size of the space there is on the screen. Many screens offer 16:9 ratios and these can safely play high-definition video. Pretty much any screen that is 16:9 will be great.
- Graphics – Newer laptops have a discrete GPU. These are separate processors for videos, games and such. Laptops with discrete graphics are great, but if the GPU additionally offers switching, that’s even better. Some GPUs can turn on and off depending if they are needed, and this can greatly save power.
- Size – There are generally four sizes of laptops. There is sub-13-inches, which is generally a Netbook. Then there are 14-, 15.5- and 17-inch sizes. These each get progressively larger, heavier and more expensive. These machines all have their advantages. The smaller size is lighter while the larger size has a larger screen for movies. The larger size has a bigger battery, but then it also has a huge screen which will take more power. The smaller size has a smaller battery, but it also has a smaller screen. Then there are weight considerations.
- Weight – Weight is a big one. Smaller laptops are usually lighter. If this laptop is going to be taken places often, it should be as light as possible. Anything around 5-pounds is really the comfort limit, and any heavier, it would quickly become daunting to carry. Obviously, lighter is better but there really isn’t a laptop worth it’s weight if it’s less than 2-pounds.
- Familiarity – Many of my friends insist on being in a camp: PC or Macs. I don’t really care, I use all operating systems equally. I tell people to get the kind of computer they are more familiar with. Familiarity will save time and hassle. You can basically do everything with either kind of computer and there is honestly no difference for normal people.
These considerations are what I even kept in mind when I was shopping. In addition to these considerations, I like to tell people this: don’t just get a laptop! Get both a laptop that’s light, easy to use on the go, and fast. Then, for your dorm room, get a desktop that’s powerful enough for games and to do a lot work on. You’ll like having a light laptop, and you’ll like having a powerful work station. Honestly, it will be more expensive in the short run but in the long run, you will be much happier.
Finally, I’ve thought for many years now that laptops last for two years in peak performance. Any Windows computer will degrade over the course of two years, especially when kids use it. My systems last a while longer, but I re-install frequently and I am incredibly diligent. But it’s not only the software that will get old – the hardware does too. Two years in the tech-industry is more like five and thus the technology powering the laptop will be rather dated. That said, buying a better laptop now means that later, the laptop will still be better. Cheap laptops are a joke and they will suck now and suck more later. In two years, you should expect to start looking again for a new laptop. It’s a known cost and you should just plan for it now.
Good luck college shopping!
Hanvon Color E-Ink e-reader.
When it’s color, people will expect iPad quality: capacitive screens, quick refresh rates and a few million colors, not 4096 colors. Try again.
Update: I only bring this up because my friend on Facebook is wondering what e-reader to buy. Obviously, I wouldn’t suggest a product that is on the update-precipice. I don’t think the world is ready for a Color Kindle right now.
Just a week ago, I wrote about my problem with Kindle books – the lack of the redistributable property. Essentially, books were often priced too high by publishers to make buying digital Kindle copies a worthwhile practice. My example was $9.99 for a Kindle copy you cannot give away or $13.99 paperback copy you can give to your friend for free.
I’m not giving up on Amazon or Kindle books yet. I was browsing through my favorite, the fiction section. I found two books. One was published by Random House and the other has no denotation and it makes me assume it was published on Kindle and via some form of physical Amazon self-publishing.