Tag Archives: technology

Link Roundup

I don’t generally do link roundups, but in this case, there are a handful of notables, and I don’t really have the time or energy to write about each one individually.

  • “Antibiotics for Sinusitis”:http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=12 – This article from _Science-Based Medicine_ sums up exactly my thinking about the germs floating around out there right now. I’ve been sick twice this winter, and in both cases, I needed high-powered antibiotics to muck everything out, and even then it took two or three weeks to shake it off. From what I’m hearing from folks all over the country, this isn’t exactly unique – the bugs are bigger, stronger, and longer-lasting. It’s likely that over-prescribing antibiotics is one of the prime factors for this.
  • “SpySat stuff”:http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2008/02/21/spysat-stuff/ – Is it bad that I ignored all news about the US government shooting a missile at the spy satellite until Phil posted about it (as I knew he would)? Sorry, I just don’t trust the information given back on this sort of thing until I see it on the Bad Astronomy blog, and I have even less use for most of the unnecessary drama that surrounded this particular event. Why must the media blow stuff like this out of proportion? I appreciate Phil’s level-headed presentation of the facts.
  • “Wireless Digital Display Tattoos”:http://gizmodo.com/359018/cellphone-display-concept-designed-by-dracula-is-bloody-ridiculous – Call me strange, but I think this idea is really neat. Of course, I’m the guy who’d love to have a neurological uplink to a computer, too, so embedding a subcutaneous, wireless tattoo interface in my skin isn’t a huge leap from there.
  • “Um, Yeah – Grapefruit”:http://xkcd.com/388/ – xkcd apparently unleashed a monster with today’s comic about fruit. Bear in mind, it’s highly subjective, so his mapping may match yours. (In fact, it’s safe to say that it probably won’t.) Go easy on the guy. Just because he’s wrong doesn’t mean you need to beat up on him.

Wubi – Ubuntu Installer

WubiI’ve wanted to run an installation of Ubuntu on my computer for some time now, but I haven’t wanted to fuss around with reformatting my HDD, setting up partitions, and the running the installs for both Windows and Ubuntu again. So I haven’t done it – until now. “Boing Boing had a story on Monday”:http://www.boingboing.net/2008/01/21/wubi-install-ubuntu.html about an Ubuntu installer called “Wubi”:http://wubi-installer.org that allows you install Ubuntu straight from your Windows interface without having to worry about setting up a partition.

I started the process last night, leaving it to work while I went to bed. Unfortunately, I woke up this morning to find that the installer had, in fact, stalled on the download. It wasn’t a problem, though, since I just canceled the process and started up the Wubi installer again, allowing it to pick up where it left off. Then there was the reboot and the selection of Ubuntu from the boot-up cycle and the completion of the Ubuntu install from there. Of course, I ran out of time this morning and had to leave for work before the install, setup, and configuration could complete, so I’ll mess with it some more tonight when I get home.

I’m pretty excited about this, though, because I’ve heard good things about Linux in general and about Ubuntu in particular. It’s supposed to be both faster and more stable than Windows ((In my opinion, it doesn’t take much to accomplish this feat.)) and just plain better all around. I’ve friends who use Ubuntu who swear by it, so it’ll be nice to give it a whirl and see what I think. If I find a way to do all the things in Ubuntu that I do in Windows, it may even replace Windows as my primary operating system.

Wubi is still in beta, though, so I’m not necessarily expecting everything to run perfectly smoothly, and the developers warn on the website that Wubi Ubuntu may run a little slow depending on how fragmented your hard drive is. ((They do provide a means, though, of configuring a partition for Wubi Ubuntu without, I’m guessing, having to reformat the entire drive so that it doesn’t have to run for the from virtual disk file.)) It should be a nice little experiment.

Any Ubuntu users out there who have some favorite applications they’d like to tell me about? I’m rather hoping that Firefox is the default browser that’s installed with Ubuntu. From there, I’m going to have to go on a hunt for useful applications.

This Post Was Made Using Dvorak

I “just discovered”:http://dvzine.org/ a “new” keyboard layout that’s actually been around for several decades called Dvorak. I feel like I’m learning how to type all over again, which I kind of am – but the layout _is_ more logical. It’s just a matter of retraining my muscle memory to a new system after all these years of using the Qwerty system (the standard one that everyone is used to). Go check out the link and see what you think. I’m still a brand new convert, but already I love it, even if it is a bit maddening to have one’s typing speed drop to a snail’s pace in the meanwhile.


I’ve been using Twitter for a couple of months now, but I admit that I hadn’t really gotten into much until a friend of mine (thanks, Dweezle) pointed me at a nice little Firefox addon called TwitterFox. It basically lets you read and write twitters right from your Firefox statusbar. It makes it extremely convenient and fun to use. I still don’t use it as aggressively as some of the folks I’m subscribed to but I definitely use it a lot more now.

I’m curious – does anyone else use Twitter? If so, what are your usernames? Feel free to add me to your own list; my username is stitzelj.

WP-Stats Problems

I don’t track my blog stats quite as religiously as I did a year ago, so it was a couple of days after I upgraded to WordPress 2.3 before I realized that something very strange was happening with my stats. I switched to “WP-Stats”:http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/stats/ awhile back because it’s lightweight and takes some of the load off my own hosted account. The plugin worked very well there for awhile, but with the upgrade to WP2.3, a handful of plugins have exhibited some new behaviors, WP-Stats being one of them.

Top Posts

Everything with WP-Stats works as it should except for the traffic tracked to individual entries. As you can see from the screencapture, the traffic is no longer being logged correctly. Instead of seeing the title of the post in question, what generally shows up is the post ID, though I usually have one entry that shows the title for some reason. This wouldn’t even be so bad, since ordinarily you’d at least be able to click through to the post and check the title that way. Tedious, I know, but at least it’d be something. Instead when I mouse-over the link, here’s what I see:

Useless Link

A useless link that doesn’t actually take me where I want to go. Now, obviously something doesn’t work right, and I haven’t had a chance to jump into the code to see what’s happening. The WordPress support forums have seen a fair bit of traffic about the WP-Stats plugin being broken, though I don’t think I’ve seen my own specific problem appear yet (something which I’m about to remedy). Hopefully a new version will be released soon with a patch to address the various problems users have been reporting.

Favorite Future Technology

Here’s a poll for your Thursday:

If you could pick any technology of the future to adopt right now (assuming, of course, such a thing was possible), what would you choose?

For me, I’ve always loved the notion of neural implants, particularly the neural nanonics in Peter F. Hamilton’s _Emberverse_ series. The idea of having a computer embedded right into my brain so that I could do everything I love to do so much more quickly and easily just makes me giddy with delight.

What would _you_ choose?

Tumble Shamus

My “tumblelog”:http://tumble.shamuswrites.com is officially up and in working condition. I’m using the “T1”:http://www.livetardy.com/t1/ theme, which is built on the wonderful “Sandbox”:http://plaintxt.org/themes/sandbox/, much to my great joy. I did modify the theme somewhat, though, removing the default T1 image in the header and restoring the bloginfo(‘name’) and bloginfo(‘description’) fields to their proper places. I also brought the theme up to 2.3 compatibility with tags and added my webring navigation links to the navbar.

What I like about T1 is the custom styling for each category, giving each type of entry its own special look. I intend to take full advantage of this as this tumblelog will give me a good place to share any all neat videos, photos, links, etc. that I run across in the course of the typical day. Comments are open and welcome – just mouseover any entry for the comment link to appear on the right-hand side. Also feel free to subscribe to my feed, particularly if randomness is your cuppajoe.

Xbox 360 Elite

Xbox 360 EliteWell, my 360 died this past Sunday. No red ring, just a disc drive that stopped working. Basically, it would play a video or game for about 15-20 minutes, then the whole console would reboot, and the disc drive would no longer open or read discs, unless you turned it off for a couple of hours and then fired it back up. At least then, you could retrieve the disc trapped inside before the drive decided to die again.

This is a story of how much I love shopping with Best Buy. Rather than wait to have a box shipped to me from Microsoft, just so I could then wait another handful of weeks for them to ship me a repaired or new one back, I just took out my 2-year service warranty and took my console back to Best Buy. After chatting with a member of their Geek Squad for a moment and verifying that, yes, I could upgrade from a 360 to an Elite, I walked back and grabbed myself one of the black boxes. And then, after paying the difference between the 360 and the Elite, I walked out of the store the proud owner of a brand spanking new Xbox 360 Elite!

My wife even liked the color. Me, I’m just thrilled to have the 120GB HDD.

Next Generation of iPod

The fellas over at “Gizmodo”:http://www.gizmodo.com posted up some news about some changes in Apple’s iPod lineup that, quite frankly, had me a little nervous. You see, I’ve had my eye on one of the black, 80GB iPod Videos for awhile now, and I’ve always really liked the way they look. I currently have a first-generation iPod Nano, courtesy of “Jean”:http:/mercuryranch.org/blog, and I much prefer the ‘square’ design of the first-gens to the rounded design of the current models. So when Gizmodo shared the news and a screenshot of the new iPod Classic, I was nervous. I saw a sleeker, more rounded iPod instead of the sharp-edged look I’ve grown attached to. I expect to be getting my new iPod sometime in the next couple of months, but I was somewhat afraid that the new iPod Classic would completely replace out its predecessor before I could acquire one.

I took a look at the Apple Store, though, since none of the stores around here seem to have the new iPods in stock yet, in order to get a better look at the new models. From the front, it almost looks like the iPod Classic is just a larger version of the 3rd-generation iPod Nano – rounded sides, just with a larger hard drive. But the profile view revealed that it was still pretty boxy looking and just the face had slightly rounded edges, which made me much happier.

It was then that I noticed something very exciting, at least for a geek like myself. All of Apple’s iPods now have double the space for the same price as the previous generation. So now, instead of getting an 80GB iPod Video for $350, I can get a 160GB iPod Classic for the same price! Very exciting stuff.

I’m also very pleased with Apple’s new iPod Nano with its video capability. I’ve always thought the Nano would benefit from being able to play video, so it was very cool to see them chop the legs of the iPod and call it the next generation Nano.

I was fairly intrigued by the iPod Touch, with its WiFi ability and widescreen video, but the storage space isn’t quite right for me yet. If you can’t tell, I’m all about the big hard drive, and 16GB just isn’t enough space for what I want. Given time, though, I’m sure the size will grow as the price comes down.

I should probably stop drooling now. My keyboard’s liable to short out any minute.