2012 Jun 25, 12:59
But if Surface is aimed at the OEMs—telling them “we can do this just as well as you can, if we have to”—and setting them a challenge—”your tablets have to be at least this good”—then the
limited availability isn’t necessarily such a big deal. As long as the OEMs heed the warning and raise their game, so that Redmond can be assured that bad hardware won’t jeopardized Windows 8’s
success, Microsoft could safely keep Surface operating as a small-scale operation, playing the Nexus role without upsetting the PC market.
2010 Dec 8, 5:43
This that lets your PC read four digital encrypted cable signals at once with a cable card from you cable company. This is cool although expensive. What frustrates me is the lack of choices in this
2009 Oct 6, 3:24
The map/reduce tutorial for Hadoop the Apache open source project. "Hadoop Map/Reduce is a software framework for easily writing applications which process vast amounts of data (multi-terabyte
data-sets) in-parallel on large clusters (thousands of nodes) of commodity hardware in a reliable, fault-tolerant manner."
2009 Jul 31, 6:04
An electric unicycle controlled in a similar manner as the Segway.
2009 May 29, 8:49
Howto on goggles that block out everything but the small range of IR that's barely visible. "INFRARED GOGGLES FOR UNDER $10, A Human IR Vision Experiment, Sept. 14, 2002 Bill Beaty"
2009 May 28, 1:12
A homemade CPU and computer. I love the primary colors on the mess of wires. The close up shot is lovely.
2008 Dec 31, 12:27
30GB Zunes are all failing apparently. Its certainly the case with my Zune... sad. They're calling it Z2K9.
2008 Sep 29, 1:45
"So the manual is correct, and this truly is a mixed-format, mixed-architecture, mixed-sided diskette. This diskette has officially blown my mind."
2008 Sep 9, 8:29
Article on the data centers that backup the Internet Archive and handle CERN's LHC's data. "CERN embodies borderlessness. The Swiss-French border is a drainage ditch running to one side of the
cafeteria; it was shifted a few metres to allow that excellent establishment to trade the finicky French health codes for the more laissez-fair Swiss jurisdiction. And in the data sphere it is
2008 Aug 29, 8:37
"Two security researchers have demonstrated a new technique to stealthily intercept internet traffic on a scale previously presumed to be unavailable to anyone outside of intelligence agencies like
the National Security Agency." Described fixes all require significant changes to the software and probably hardware doing the routing. Ugh
2008 Jul 29, 2:40
"The Home of the Internet-enabled Home. We are an Open Community in the Home Automation and Domotics space. We believe an Open Source approach can revolutionize the way people create, install, and
maintain software in the industry."
2008 May 12, 5:05
"It uses moisture sensors to detect your plant's well-being, then connects to Twitter via Ethernet jack to send surprisingly human-like messages about the excruciating minutiae of your plant's
boring, sedentary life. Tweets about how much water it just ha
2008 Apr 7, 10:09
More of my thoughts have been stolen: In my
previous job the customer wanted a progress bar displayed while information was copied off of proprietary hardware, during which the software didn't get any indication of progress until the copy
was finished. I joked (mostly) that we could display a progress bar that continuously slows down and never quite reaches the end until we know we're done getting info from the hardware. The amount
of progress would be a function of time where as time approaches infinity, progress approaches a value of at most 100 percent.
This is similar to Zeno's Paradox which says you can't cross a room because to do so first you must cross half the room, then you must
cross half the remaining distance, then half the remaining again, and so on which means you must take an infinite number of steps. There's also an old joke inspired by Zeno's Paradox. The joke is the prototypical engineering vs sciences joke and is moderately humorous, but I think
the fact that Wolfram has an interactive applet demonstrating the joke is funnier than the joke itself.
I recently found Lou Franco's blog post "Using Zeno's Paradox For Progress Bars" which covers the same
concept as Zeno's Progress Bar but with real code. Apparently Lou wasn't making a joke and actually used this progress bar in an application. A progress bar that doesn't accurately represent
progress seems dishonest. In cases like the Vista Defrag
where the software can't make a reasonable guess about how long a process will take the software shouldn't display a progress bar.
Similarly a paper by Chris Harrison "Rethinking the Progress Bar" suggests that if a progress bar speeds up towards the end
the user will perceive the operation as taking less time. The paper is interesting, but as in the previous case, I'd rather have progress accurately represented even if it means the user doesn't
perceive the operation as being as fast.
Update: I should be clearer about Lou's post. He was actually making a practical and implementable suggestion as to how to handle the case of displaying progress when you have some idea of how long
it will take but no indications of progress, whereas my suggestion is impractical and more of a joke concerning displaying progress with no indication of progress nor a general idea of how long it
2008 Apr 1, 1:16
Change HP printer status LED to read 'Insert Coin': "This little perl program allows you to set the "Ready Message" on HP printers to whatever you'd like."
2008 Jan 13, 11:07
Sarah and I got an exercise bike on sale and when attempting to put it together found that it was missing a bag of about ten different screws. The manufacturer website said we could order
a replacement bag for thirty dollars (!!) but since the instructions listed the various kinds of screws we needed I figured we could just go to a hardware store and buy them.
We started at Home Depot because I didn't know better. The screws are all listed in metric sizes which is apparently uncommon and a helpful senior worker forwarded us to McLendons whose stock was better but we were again redirected this time to Tacoma Screw Products.
Tacoma Screw Products is great! See them for your hardware needs first! The store has a back area with every kind of screw ever. I felt a little out of place as as all the customers looked like
contractors. The employee who helped me explained the various options I had in screws as the bike instructions weren't as explicit as they could have been. In the end I bought all my screws for
only one dollar (much better than $30!) and they all fit correctly.
2007 Dec 17, 9:25
Johnny Lee has a couple of projects involving the Wii remote. In the first he uses his fingers as his pointers Minority Report style and in the second he uses an LED pen and a projector to create a
2007 Nov 28, 1:23
One of the new Zune features that had me the most excited was the claimed improved Windows Media Center integration which unfortunately turned out to simply mean support for the Win MCE video format
(with an exception for HD
). I wanted to be able to pick shows recorded by my Win MCE and have the Zune automatically sync up the
latest episodes. However, with the improved podcast support in the Zune software one can easily create a ridiculous hack to accomplish this.
The new Zune software has podcast support which does everything I'd want to do with a
Win MCE recorded TV series so the goal is to shoehorn a TV series into a Zune podcast. An overview of the steps: Create an XSLT that converts Win MCE data to a podcast, run the XSLT as a scheduled
task every few hours per TV series, setup a Web server pointed at the resulting podcasts and the Win MCE Recorded TV directory, and subscribe to the resulting podcasts in the Zune software.
- Reading through the Win MCE data stored as an XML file in "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\Recording\Recordings.xml" and the spec for podcasts I created an XSLT to convert a series from Win MCE data to a podcast.
- I added a new task to the Scheduled Tasks to run my XSLT using my xsltproc.js script. The task runs a handful of commands that look something like the following:
For each TV series I run a command like the above and that outputs a podcast for that series into my "D:\Recorded TV\" directory.
C:\windows\system32\wscript.exe C:\users\dave\bin\xsltproc.js C:\Users\Dave\Documents\trunk\development\mce-zune\mce-to-podcast.xslt
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\Recording\Recordings.xml --param title "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" --param max 4 --param baseURI "http://groucho/" --param thisRelURI "tds.xml" -o
- Zune only allows http URIs for its podcasts so I installed a web server on my Win MCE server. I'm running Vista Ultimate so it was quick and easy for me to install IIS7 but any Web server will do. Then I pointed it at "D:\Recorded TV\".
- Once all the above was done I just subscribed to the resulting podcasts via my Web server and viola! Since I'm forced to use a Web server I can even run the Zune software on a machine other
than my Win MCE server. You can see a screen-shot above of my Zune software showing my Colbert Report podcast.
2007 Nov 15, 4:03
Colossus set to compete against modern PC in decrypting Nazi messages in promotion of museum.
2007 Oct 17, 10:49
Chumby is a hackable little wifi computer. Its like an expensive alarm clock that also shows you stuff off the Internet. I kind of want one.
2007 Oct 11, 7:49
A how-to on creating a bluetooth handset for your cell-phone. I want this but like a regular phone and without the DIY part.