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Posts Tagged ‘Computer’

Things I’ve Meant to Post About

September 12th, 2010 No comments

So there are a bunch of different things that I’ve intended to blog about for some time now, but never got around to them. As a result, most of it is either old news, or just not as important to me. Fortunately for me, but likely unfortunately for everyone else, is the fact that I sent each of these to myself so that I wouldn’t forget them (and then promptly forgot to post about them).

The first of importance is a guide that LifeHacker posted a while back about how to use GoogleCL (Google Command Line). Many of us use Google’s services these days. Google took that a step further and released their GoogleCL product for 2 reasons:

  1. To allow those computer nerds out there to geek out about being able to use Gmail and the like in their command line.
  2. To allow users to do some things with Google products that aren’t traditionally allowed through the front end like backing up your contacts from Gmail.

The second one is definitely the most important, because now you can use the command line to make it auto-backup your contacts! There are other handy things that you can do with GoogleCL, but allowing for auto-backups I think is the most important. You can already export your contacts as a CSV (they added this feature, I believe, around when they separated out the Mail and Contacts functionality in Gmail), but you can’t setup automatic backups because Google likes the idea that they don’t ever lose data. The part they are forgetting is that while they may not lose it, people have the potential of accidentally deleting it! Anyways, here is the article on LifeHacker about it: 5 Handy Google Command Line Tricks.

I have also been meaning to post about the Google set-top box. If I had to guess, when they announce it officially this fall, it will be running some form of ChromeOS. I am of course not 100% sure, but it is the only thing that makes sense. It also won’t have to deal with the “file system” issue that the computers running ChromeOS will have to handle for things like attachments to emails. Regardless, I just rewatched the video on google.com/tv and they have definitely updated it since I last saw the video! Anyway, it looks like it is going to be a serious contender to Apple TV, other standard DVR boxes, and pretty much everyone else in the field, simply because it is going to meld the web with DVR and satellite content.

That was it for things on other websites that I wanted to post about. I’ll focus on something much more theoretical next.

… looks like this ended up being my Google post …

[Image from techdigest.tv]

Linksys WMP54G 64-bit drivers

September 6th, 2010 No comments

Let me describe my apartment’s setup a little bit first. My desktop computer is in my bedroom, which will require about a 50+ foot ethernet cable to reach the router. My solution to this? Try out my room mates PCI Linksys wireless card (the WMP54G). Unfortunately, Linksys (technically Cisco) has not bothered to make 64-bit drivers for these wireless cards. This resulted in a HUGE headache for about 3 hours, till I finally found a solution. Here’s what I did from start to finish, but if you want the quick solution, skip to the end:

  1. Tried to install the 32-bit drivers from Linksys’ website, only to have them get stuck when you try to search for wireless networks with it.
  2. Started Googling for a better solution, and ended up on this page (I don’t know if that link will always work, so it’s just a forum post about how to get the wireless card working on a 64-bit machine).
  3. Found out through that tutorial that the chip set in the wireless card is made by Ralink Corp. So I ended up on their site here and downloaded the latest copy of the RT2500 chipset drivers.
  4. After trying to hacking these to work appropriately (according to the forum posts that I had found), I managed to get it to install the drivers appropriately (albeit hacked), but it the wireless utility didn’t work. In fact, I couldn’t get ANY wireless utility to work, and I tried quite a few!
  5. Finally, I did some more Googling for answers, and this is about 2.5 hours in, and found this forum post that had a link to justinho.com.
  6. Within Justin Ho’s blog, here is the appropriate post (as of now) to the article with the working drivers!!! To install them was quick and easy. I simply found the wireless card in the device manager, selected properties, selected upgrade drivers, found the .inf file from the download on Justin’s site, and it installed in one shot. Then just power-cycled my computer and was up and running!

Thank you so much Justin!!! You are the sole reason that I now have wireless in my desktop, granted it took 3 hours to find your blog… you would think that Justin’s site would pop up sooner on Google searches since he is an employee there.

Windows Shortcuts = Dangerous

July 20th, 2010 No comments

Well, I wanted to have my first blog post of the week be about a different topic, but since this is breaking news, I’m going to post about it.

There has been a new vulnerability discovered, and reported by Microsoft as of July 16th with security advisory number 2286198. It affects all Windows operating systems (XP, Vista, 7, and correlating service packs), and the source code is already publicly available. The worry is that this will start to experience wide-spread usage within the next few weeks by malware writers.

What It Does

When we browse the file system in Windows, it shows icons for each file/shortcut/directory, and these can be customized. This malicious code is hiding in the simple viewing (not even running the shortcut) of the shortcut’s icon containing the malicious code. The malware utilizing this exploit can spread via infected USB thumb drives and the usual unintentional downloading of trojan horses and the like.

How to Protect Against It

Follow Microsoft’s instructions for not displaying shortcut icons. Microsoft’s temporary fix can be found with their security advisory number 2286198 (see the Workarounds and Mitigating Factors sections).

My Original Source

I found out about this issue through Trend Micro’s CounterMeasures blog post about the situation.

Parting Advice

Follow the workarounds described by Microsoft in their security advisory and hope that they can push out their fix by Patch Tuesday in August (closest planned patch date).

A Late Monday Update

February 23rd, 2010 2 comments

For all 3 dedicated readers of my blog, sorry that this post is a day late. Last night was a long one that didn’t include time to take care of updating my blog. Secondly, I also noticed that I was actually, shockingly, getting some legit comments on my blog since I opened that section up and they were just going to the Spam folder for whatever reason. I will try to moderate the spam folder more to take care of these. To those 2 comments that I found to be legit, thanks for actually being legit… there’s a reason I don’t typically check spam folders anymore.

Actually covering what I wanted to discuss in this post:

You remember the movie Minority Report? You remember how cool the computer interface was in that movie and how FUTURISTIC it was? Well the guys who designed that same futuristic computer interface for the movie took the project to the next level, production. I had seen snippets and pieces of this project over the last 2 years and only just realized how far it has come in making this computer system closer to a reality. It isn’t 100% there in my opinion, but it definitely encompassed at least the video interaction and the “natural” body interaction with the computer. Yes, interacting with a computer based upon something other than a mouse, keyboard, and/or a stylus.

Of course, this article was predictably inspired by the iPad changing how we interact with computers by switching ENTIRELY to a multi-touch system. But it is of course worthy to note that this multi-touch technology is in use in other Apple products and has been incorporated into other company’s offerings as well. The interface in the Minority Report movie, and in the demo video that you can see on the article I have linked below, is something far beyond simple multi-touch tech. It is the ability to interact with a system the way you would expect to interact with the items on your physical desktop (papers, pens and the like) with the addition of a “heads up display”. There is something very different and intriguing about this, except for one aspect that is of course being ignored. What does the student, traveling business person, or entrepreneur do with this when they are not able to tie themselves to a single location? How can you incorporate this concept beyond an entire room’s dedication to this system? Once they answer that question, you can count me in the “enthusiasts” camp who wants to not only play with it, but own it ASAP.

The article of inspiration is on TechCrunch.

Must Have Apps for Mac OS X

July 8th, 2009 3 comments
Quicksilver: This product is starting to finally age, but at the same time, it is one of the greatest productivity apps I have found. I know that you love using the keyboard as your main input device and only go to the mouse as a secondary option. Well when you use Quicksilver, the first thing that you will notice is that it is not only faster, but better than regular Spotlight usage. The guy who made it now works at Google and has been focusing on the Google Desktop (but it isn’t nearly as good sadly :/). Check out all the guys stuff at (I also like Visor but wouldn’t list it as an essential :P): http://www.blacktree.com/
Growl: It’s a wonderful notification tool. It synchronizes with MANY apps on the Mac OS and continues to expand (or so it would seem). It has ALMOST seemed to become a bit of a standard when it comes to internal notifications (but that is just my own opinion on the matter). Either way, it is extremely useful and is synchronized with the majority of my apps that run in the background, including a Gmail app and an RSS feed app that both get updates (hence the need for notifications :P). The app can be found here: http://growl.info/
iStat Menus and Dashboard Widget: When it comes to keeping tabs on a Mac’s internals and checking in on the status of the hardware, I have not found a better set of tools than the iSlayer apps. iStat Menus will give you customized menus in the top menu bar and the dashboard widget (I use iStat Pro) will let you know EVERYTHING that is going on with your computer including fan speed and temperature and battery health. I also was just glancing at their website and noticed a new widget they have made called Organized which I will be checking out. Looks pretty good and very useful. The apps can be found here: http://www.islayer.com/apps/
Postbox: In my very brief usage of it, Postbox seems to have all the things I want and use from Gmail. I still use an app called Mailplane which I got back when it was in beta (and now it is a pay app so I got a serious discount on it), so I would suggest Mailplane normally for Gmail usage, but am really impressed, once again my usage of it has been very limited so far, with Postbox and would suggest at least trying it. The number one thing it has is a conversation view which is by far my favorite thing about Gmail! Can be found here: http://postbox-inc.com/
Flip4Mac: A necessity for being able to run wmvs on the Mac. It is essentially a plugin for Quicktime to be able to run .wmv video files. Basically a must have in the still dominating Windows environment of today. Site is here (get the free version, it is all I have): http://www.telestream.net/flip4mac-wmv/overview.htm
Handbrake: This is THE necessity for anyone that is going to EVER rip a DVD. Get it, I am not kidding. This + VLC == greatest video duo ever created (need VLC for the video codecs)! Can be found here: http://handbrake.fr/
VLC: Get it for running any and all multimedia (iTunes is still best for your music though): http://www.videolan.org/vlc/
RSS reader: I am yet to find an RSS feed reader that I REALLY like at this point. The one I am using right now is called Eventbox which I got a free version off of a Mac package that I purchased not so long ago which I could send your way if you would like to give it a shot. It won’t ever get updated though, so I have started considering a new option. My pull towards it at the time was that it was both an RSS feed reader AND it got the news feeds from Twitter and Facebook for me (not that I care about Facebook anymore). There are actually a bunch of RSS feed readers already out there, and I really can’t knock Google Reader, but the latest that I have seen which looks good is NetNewsWire which can be found here: http://www.newsgator.com/INDIVIDUALS/NETNEWSWIRE/
FTP client: For simple, easy FTP usage, I would go with OneButton FTP (http://onebutton.org/). For more complex FTP setups, I would use Fugu (http://rsug.itd.umich.edu/software/fugu/). For just connecting to a regular server, you can use the command+k shortcut to open up a connect to window where you can type in the server information, etc. Very, very useful for most server connections.
Adium: iChat is pretty good, but it doesn’t provide EXACTLY what I want when it comes to tabbed browsing. For that, I use Adium. Adium allows a keyboard shortcut to bring it to the front, keyboard shortcuts for switching between tabs, and some very slick theming of the buddy list and the chat window. It is basically Pidgin for the Mac (runs on the same libraries so it also has the same downfalls of poor file transfer and the like). Can be found here: http://adium.im/
Espresso vs jEdit: I got lucky enough to snag a free copy of a program called Espresso. It is a very clean and good editor for project based coding. Overall, I really like it, but it is hard to beat a freebie like jEdit. I will leave this one completely up to you :P
Disk Inventory X: Very good for visually seeing what is taking up large chunks of your hard drive should you ever need to make some room on it. Wonderful app! http://www.derlien.com/
Firefox vs. Safari vs. other: So there are naturally a bunch of options for web browsers when it comes to the Mac OS X. There is Opera, Firefox, Safari, Camino (a Mozilla project also), and a bunch of others that I have seen or played with but they stuck out so well from the rest that I don’t remember their names. Well, for me, the real debate is between using Firefox or Safari as your main browser. I personally am presently with Safari and have been so since they released Safari 4, but at the same time I have been using Firefox 3.5 at work and have been just as happy with that as ever. There are a few things that make one stand out from the other (i.e. features the other hasn’t implemented yet). Safari 4 has a wonderful top sites, is very slick, is speedy, and the tabs are separate threads (I believe). Firefox 3.5 is slick (with the add-ons, can’t really beat them for development), since their update it has gotten back on par with Safari’s Java engine, and there are a large number of keyboard shortcuts for switching between tabs and the like. As I said, Safari is my present choice but Firefox 3.5 is still more than just used sometimes on my computer. This one I TOTALLY leave up to you. Opera is still a pretty good browser, but even though I used it as my main browser in my Freshman year (almost 3 years ago now), it really didn’t compare when it comes to compatibility… though it had some wonderful features of its own like custom searches including me figuring out at one point how to get it to automatically fill in all the LAWN auth information minus a single character. To each their own here, you know?
As for virtualization of multiple OS’s, I haven’t made a decision between VMware and Parallels yet. We can get our hands on a legit copy of VMware as “staff” of GT through the OIT software site (would just need to snag a sticker number from the Multimedia Studio to get the proper license info for it), but we would have to purchase Parallels on our own. Boot Camp is a wonderful alternative, but at the same time, it doesn’t support 64-bit XP, only 64-bit Vista (32-bit XP is supported though). So that is the story there as far as I can tell so far. I will let you know when/if I test one of them.
Other than that, here is a LifeHacker article that I stumbled across which covers the items I have little to no experience with: http://lifehacker.com/5291841/lifehacker-pack-2009-our-list-of-essential-free-mac-downloads
Lastly, a tidbit that I found somewhere else and haven’t thoroughly tested out myself quite yet (comes with living with Rachel, hence I haven’t spent a lot of time just playing around on my laptop) —
MainMenu (donationware)
Various scripts and tools for keeping your Mac running smoothly are sprinkled around the system. MainMenu enables you to access them from a convenient centralised location. The app also provides ‘hidden’ Finder options (force-empty Trash, toggle invisibles, relaunch) and a handy ‘batch’ tool for quickfire activation of multiple scripts.
Butler (donationware)
The extremely configurable Butler enables you to populate your menu bar with all manner of items, including running apps, menus for accessing addresses, bookmarks and volumes, recent pasteboards and more. Items can have triggers (hot-keys/hot corners/abbreviations) and alternate icons applied, and Butler also includes a Quicksilver-like ‘intelligent’ abbreviations-based launcher window

Be aware that I wrote this list for a friend and figured it would be a good thing to put out on my blog also, so below is simply my own opinions/experiences and should be taken with a grain of salt. Also, grammatically speaking, I geared the entirety of the text towards my friend, so consider the “you”s as universal “you”s.

Quicksilver: This product is starting to finally age, but at the same time, it is one of the greatest productivity apps I have found. I know that you love using the keyboard as your main input device and only go to the mouse as a secondary option. Well when you use Quicksilver, the first thing that you will notice is that it is not only faster, but better than regular Spotlight usage. The guy who made it now works at Google and has been focusing on the Google Desktop (but it isn’t nearly as good sadly :/). Check out all the guys stuff at (I also like Visor but wouldn’t list it as an essential :P): http://www.blacktree.com/

Growl: It’s a wonderful notification tool. It synchronizes with MANY apps on the Mac OS and continues to expand (or so it would seem). It has ALMOST seemed to become a bit of a standard when it comes to internal notifications (but that is just my own opinion on the matter). Either way, it is extremely useful and is synchronized with the majority of my apps that run in the background, including a Gmail app and an RSS feed app that both get updates (hence the need for notifications :P). The app can be found here: http://growl.info/

iStat Menus and Dashboard Widget: When it comes to keeping tabs on a Mac’s internals and checking in on the status of the hardware, I have not found a better set of tools than the iSlayer apps. iStat Menus will give you customized menus in the top menu bar and the dashboard widget (I use iStat Pro) will let you know EVERYTHING that is going on with your computer including fan speed and temperature and battery health. I also was just glancing at their website and noticed a new widget they have made called Organized which I will be checking out. Looks pretty good and very useful. The apps can be found here: http://www.islayer.com/apps/

Postbox: In my very brief usage of it, Postbox seems to have all the things I want and use from Gmail. I still use an app called Mailplane which I got back when it was in beta (and now it is a pay app so I got a serious discount on it), so I would suggest Mailplane normally for Gmail usage, but am really impressed, once again my usage of it has been very limited so far, with Postbox and would suggest at least trying it. The number one thing it has is a conversation view which is by far my favorite thing about Gmail! Can be found here: http://postbox-inc.com/

Flip4Mac: A necessity for being able to run wmvs on the Mac. It is essentially a plugin for Quicktime to be able to run .wmv video files. Basically a must have in the still dominating Windows environment of today. Site is here (get the free version, it is all I have): http://www.telestream.net/flip4mac-wmv/overview.htm

Handbrake: This is THE necessity for anyone that is going to EVER rip a DVD. Get it, I am not kidding. This + VLC == greatest video duo ever created (need VLC for the video codecs)! Can be found here: http://handbrake.fr/

VLC: Get it for running any and all multimedia (iTunes is still best for your music though): http://www.videolan.org/vlc/

RSS reader: I am yet to find an RSS feed reader that I REALLY like at this point. The one I am using right now is called Eventbox which I got a free version off of a Mac package that I purchased not so long ago which I could send your way if you would like to give it a shot. It won’t ever get updated though, so I have started considering a new option. My pull towards it at the time was that it was both an RSS feed reader AND it got the news feeds from Twitter and Facebook for me (not that I care about Facebook anymore). There are actually a bunch of RSS feed readers already out there, and I really can’t knock Google Reader, but the latest that I have seen which looks good is NetNewsWire which can be found here: http://www.newsgator.com/INDIVIDUALS/NETNEWSWIRE/

FTP client: For simple, easy FTP usage, I would go with OneButton FTP (http://onebutton.org/). For more complex FTP setups, I would use Fugu (http://rsug.itd.umich.edu/software/fugu/). For just connecting to a regular server, you can use the command+k shortcut to open up a connect to window where you can type in the server information, etc. Very, very useful for most server connections.

Adium: iChat is pretty good, but it doesn’t provide EXACTLY what I want when it comes to tabbed browsing. For that, I use Adium. Adium allows a keyboard shortcut to bring it to the front, keyboard shortcuts for switching between tabs, and some very slick theming of the buddy list and the chat window. It is basically Pidgin for the Mac (runs on the same libraries so it also has the same downfalls of poor file transfer and the like). Can be found here: http://adium.im/

Espresso vs jEdit: I got lucky enough to snag a free copy of a program called Espresso. It is a very clean and good editor for project based coding. Overall, I really like it, but it is hard to beat a freebie like jEdit. I will leave this one completely up to you :P

Disk Inventory X: Very good for visually seeing what is taking up large chunks of your hard drive should you ever need to make some room on it. Wonderful app! http://www.derlien.com/

Firefox vs. Safari vs. other: So there are naturally a bunch of options for web browsers when it comes to the Mac OS X. There is Opera, Firefox, Safari, Camino (a Mozilla project also), and a bunch of others that I have seen or played with but they stuck out so well from the rest that I don’t remember their names. Well, for me, the real debate is between using Firefox or Safari as your main browser. I personally am presently with Safari and have been so since they released Safari 4, but at the same time I have been using Firefox 3.5 at work and have been just as happy with that as ever. There are a few things that make one stand out from the other (i.e. features the other hasn’t implemented yet). Safari 4 has a wonderful top sites, is very slick, is speedy, and the tabs are separate threads (I believe). Firefox 3.5 is slick (with the add-ons, can’t really beat them for development), since their update it has gotten back on par with Safari’s Java engine, and there are a large number of keyboard shortcuts for switching between tabs and the like. As I said, Safari is my present choice but Firefox 3.5 is still more than just used sometimes on my computer. This one I TOTALLY leave up to you. Opera is still a pretty good browser, but even though I used it as my main browser in my Freshman year (almost 3 years ago now), it really didn’t compare when it comes to compatibility… though it had some wonderful features of its own like custom searches including me figuring out at one point how to get it to automatically fill in all the LAWN auth information minus a single character. To each their own here, you know?

As for virtualization of multiple OS’s, I haven’t made a decision between VMware and Parallels yet. ?Boot Camp is a wonderful alternative, but at the same time, it doesn’t support 64-bit XP, only 64-bit Vista (32-bit XP is supported though) and requires a reboot to switch between OSes. Unfortunately I haven’t had ample opportunity yet to really test any one of these but plan to start delving into this in the near future.

Other than that, here is a LifeHacker article that I stumbled across which covers the items I have little to no experience with: http://lifehacker.com/5291841/lifehacker-pack-2009-our-list-of-essential-free-mac-downloads

Lastly, a tidbit that I found somewhere else and haven’t thoroughly tested out myself quite yet:

MainMenu (donationware)
Various scripts and tools for keeping your Mac running smoothly are sprinkled around the system. MainMenu enables you to access them from a convenient centralised location. The app also provides ‘hidden’ Finder options (force-empty Trash, toggle invisibles, relaunch) and a handy ‘batch’ tool for quickfire activation of multiple scripts.

Butler (donationware)
The extremely configurable Butler enables you to populate your menu bar with all manner of items, including running apps, menus for accessing addresses, bookmarks and volumes, recent pasteboards and more. Items can have triggers (hot-keys/hot corners/abbreviations) and alternate icons applied, and Butler also includes a Quicksilver-like ‘intelligent’ abbreviations-based launcher window

The New Space Race and Cyberspies

April 16th, 2009 No comments

So I have come across a few rather interesting articles over the last few days. One is regarding the newest space race, which is coincidentally between Google and Microsoft. The rest have been regarding computer security in some fashion ranging from the threat of what the article calls cyberspies, which is basically just a term that they are using to include script kiddies to black hat hackers, to a simply ridiculous story from Boston College.

The space race article was really interesting. I cannot wait to see the fruition of the competition between Google and Microsoft. Apparently, Google is working on a program/application to go along with Google Earth called Google Sky which will allow the observation of the sky through the use of the large number of telescopes in orbit around Earth. On the other side is Microsoft announcing that it is going to be broadcasting out to the web the telescope that Bill Gates has funded in South America (in “the world’s Southern Hemisphere space-observatory mecca” according to the article). I cannot wait to get my hands on some of the resulting images!!! Should be awesome!
Source: dailygalaxy.com

The issue with cyberspies is as follows: “Cyberspies have penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.”
To me it sounds a little bit like attempt to rouse the public’s interest than anything else, though there is probably some truth to it. The part that is trying to simply rouse the public, from what I can tell, is the part that “the spies came from China, Russia and other countries.” The proof that the newspaper would actually have of both the whereabouts of the supposed threat along with the capabilities of the threat itself does not seem to exist. The one scrap of truth is “the newspaper said, citing current and former U.S. national security officials,” which could just mean more propaganda. Of course, the caveat of the whole thing is that GT predicted this some time ago… well at least the part that hackers would have the potential ability to access the electric power grid. [See the pdf supplied here]
I actually got all of this from gtcomputing on Twitter. Good stuff. Here is the article that is sourced.

For this last little tidbit for this blog post, at least regarding the outside world, I will simply start with a quote from the beginning of the article:
“On Friday, EFF and the law firm of Fish and Richardson filed an emergency motion to quash [pdf] and for the return of seized property on behalf of a Boston College computer science student whose computers, cell phone, and other property were seized as part of an investigation into who sent an e-mail to a school mailing list identifying another student as gay. The problem? Not only is there no indication that any crime was committed, the investigating officer argued that the computer expertise of the student itself supported a finding of probable cause to seize the student’s property.”
The article goes on to even outline parts of the warrant itself and shows how the warrant claims that the student’s computer abilities are what brought him into question. Apparently, he “uses two different operating systems to hide his illegal activities” according to the warrant, going further by stating that “One is the regular B.C. operating system [there is a standard operating system? I will assume they mean windows…] and the other is a black screen with white font which he uses prompt commands on.” From what I can tell, and from what the author of this article can tell, the student was implicated on the simple fact that he could get around a computer. And what precisely was the crime? Besides, a mailing list will typically keep track of the sender of an email. Why not just search that? Seems preposterous to me. I think that this might be a result of our wonderful media making anyone with computer skills look like someone that is a public threat… but it isn’t truly my place to decide if such is the case. I just hope that EFF and Fish and Richardson will get this injustice fixed.
Source: eff.org

On a final note, I actually got ahead with my projects. I am not talking getting it done on time (I always do that), I actually got it done multiple days early, hooray!

I Seem to be Slacking

April 13th, 2009 No comments

I seem to be slacking with these blog posts. I will go days without a post, but usually that is a result of not having time or anything interesting to blog. My last blog was a week ago today… interesting how there were some things that happened last week worth noting in this blog. One of them was confirmation that I have definitely switched my Computer Science focus. Another was finding out that my Econ class that I am taking this semester doesn’t count towards my major. A third is that I am starting to plan potentially going to China in the Spring of 2010. I have also begun to seriously use a program I got in the latest MacHeist called The Hit List which so far has been everything I have REALLY needed from a todo program, and especially that iCal didn’t provide. So, first things first:

GT’s Computer Science program is very unique in that it allows us to greatly diversify our major so that no 2 CS majors will be exactly the same. I have known for quite some time that I wanted to learn about information security, and the thread that correlated best with that was Information Internetworks. My other thread choice (since we must pick at least 2) was Media with the thought that I could then work on the graphical side of video games. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that I do not have much in the way of artistic talent which would mean I would probably not enjoy studying the topic of computer graphics. Instead, I have decided to switch to the Platforms thread. Platforms is substantially more down my alley because it will allow me to learn more about the server side of things. So I will start taking Platforms specific courses in the Fall and am looking forward to it!

Unfortunately, when I went in to make the above changes to my Computer Science threads, I found out that the Econ class I have been taking this semester doesn’t count towards my major because it has too much overlap with a previous Econ class I took. Apparently I just misread the Registrar’s website when I was signing up for classes. During my Freshman year I took Econ 2101 and am now taking Econ 2106. According to the registrar, one cannot get credit for Econ 2100 AND Econ 2101, or Econ 2100 AND Econ 2105/2106, or Econ 2101 AND Econ 2105/2106. What is not outright said though is that one CAN get credit for taking Econ 2105 AND Econ 2106. So, I am going to be taking Econ 2105 in the Fall and will finish my Social Science credits accordingly. Unfortunately, it results in me having taken a course this semester that won’t directly affect my major right now, but once I finish 2105 I will be just fine and Econ 2101 will fall under the “wasted time” column.

A little while back I started to entertain the idea of taking a semester abroad in Beijing. Granted this decision was initially solely fueled by my girlfriend’s plans to study in Beijing during that same semester, I am now very interested in it. I am going to have to meet with an advisor in the Office of International Education to discuss the matter at some point VERY soon, but the potential gains from this opportunity are pretty nice. I know that it is not easy to see this at first glance, but I can’t just hole myself up to ONLY being able to service US employers. Being able to interface with employers from another country would be truly invaluable in today’s market. Consider the way the US’s market is going right now, employment here is not guaranteed, even with my plans to create my own Web Security firm.

As for the todo list program that I have started using, I absolutely love The Hit List. It has a lot of versatility which iCal definitely does not have. In iCal, I was only able to set a todo with a due date, some notes, assign it to a calendar, and that was pretty much it. There was no ability to make a recurring todo, there was no way to make it show up only when I wanted to show it instead of just a single long list. The Hit List supplies me with the versatility that I believe I have been lacking and also has provided some features that I didn’t think that I really needed/was lacking. All around, I am so far impressed and it ALONE was worth the cost of the MacHeist 3 bundle that I purchased.

The rest of the week last week was comprised of class, homework, and going home over the weekend for Passover services and my father’s birthday. The only other thing that has been on my mind has been potential business opportunities that I will enumerate once the project is underway. Until then, it shall be a mystery.

Working with Others

March 27th, 2009 No comments

I am sure that everyone, at some point in their life, has worked in a group to meet a certain end, goal, or something else of the like. Well I presently have a CS class that is geared entirely to group projects. Unfortunately, The very people that I originally thought were going to be the strongest members of the group have turned out to be the biggest annoyances in my life. Well that is over dramatic quite honestly, but this specific someone is definitely getting on my nerves at this point. To properly relate the entire story though, I think that it is necessary to start with a quick retelling of a little bit of last semester than my present issues.

When I was selecting classes for this Spring semester, I decided that it would be great to have as many classes as possible with my friends. As it turned out, I determined that I would try to take all my classes with a single friend (ended up being 3 of my 4 classes) and managed to have a friend in all my other classes. Well, I ended up registering for 2 CS classes and an lab science with this certain person (sorry, don’t like calling people out on ranting blogs because I know this is googleable). I thought that it would be great to take classes with this person because we have known each other since Freshman year and can typically cater our work habits to fit each other’s needs pretty easily.

The very ability for us to be able to cater our actions to fit the other’s needs is what seems to have been the downfall of things. The project that we are doing requires us to work together to make a Supply Chain model with seperate pieces that work together. When we have had group meetings, we have done our best to cater them to everyone’s free times, as one would expect. When trying to get things done for a deadline, we have attempted, for the most part, to do the same thing. Unfortunately, it would seem that such is not quite good enough for this person who has become, seemingly, increasingly pushy with making things fit their own schedule instead of the group’s schedule. It has just gotten under my skin during the course of this semester how hard it is to relate information to this person regarding class work and how things should be done when they are NEED them accomplished on their schedule.

</rant>

As for the actual issue that I have run into with my piece of the project, we have a class in the Supply Chain that handles orders from stores to suppliers. Unfortunately, when I was trying to code the UI for this screen, it won’t work the way I would expect. The Order class is set up to contain an Item (what is going to be ordered or what is delivered), a status, the store, the supplier that will receive the order, and that is it. Seems simple right? Well, when coding the UI, and I am trying to dig down to the Item variables, it won’t let me get to it’s instance variables and instead tells me that it doesn’t know anything about that class. This naturally is driving me a little bit NUTS, and this certain someone has just been adding to my general frustrations by sending me repeated messages/texts trying to find out when I am done so that they can go back and tackle their own part again for it is apparently not possible to code their parts without mine… that’s rich. </rant again>

New MBP

December 27th, 2008 No comments

So, my impressions of the new Macbook Pro. The noticeable differences include extended battery life, increased processing power, the trackpad’s multi-touch functionality, and the anti-skipping/scratching of the hard drive. Of these changes, the most impressive change is the anti-skipping/scratching of the hard drive in my opinion. Whenever the computer is moved or jolted you can hear the hard drive skip a little bit. It is by far one of the most impressive hard ware changes that I have seen in a laptop.

Other than the hard drive’s ability to keep itself whole and scratch free, the extended battery life is obviously WONDERFUL! There is a down side to the extended battery life which is that it takes extra long to recharge the battery. It can sit in my room unplugged, asleep, gradually losing a little bit of power, but it might take a good 45 minutes to an hour for it to recharge that seemingly 15-30 minutes of battery life. Seems kind of bizarre that it would take so long to recharge such a small amount of battery life, but that might just be a result of the different type of battery. It is nice to have a 3-4.5 hour battery life, I’m definitely not complaining!

The processing power of the new computer is really nice. It may only be .4 GHz faster with the same CPU, but the graphics and 4 GB of RAM make a HUGE difference. I have also noticed a greater amount of hardware optimization with the multiple CPUs and the 2 graphics processors. When you do something that is very CPU process intensive I have watched my CPU monitor and it doesn’t always try to balance the load over all the CPUs and will instead use just one of the CPUs. Pretty nice CPU usage.

The trackpad’s multi-touch functionality is very very nice. Being able to easily access Expos? is very nice. Simple 4 finger flick on the trackpad will show all the open windows and again will take me to the desktop. Pretty much, I really like it!

Basically, I really like the laptop. It is nice to be able to run multiple applications VERY smoothly.

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