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Showing posts from September, 2006

OLPC

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The One Laptop Per Child project has been going ahead steadily. There are sample boards and people are working on getting all the applications to behave properly so that it can go to sleep when idle. Lots of programs, including Python+GLib, wake up every 100 milliseconds making it difficult for the laptop to go to sleep and thus use less power. Fixes are in so that the programs that are installed on the laptop behave properly. The project is also creating it's own BIOS which doesn't use ACPI to suspend/resume, they want something even faster. There a tickless patch to the kernel by RedHat which should bring the laptop to less than 3 watts of power when idle.
In other news, India says they are going to make a $10.00 laptop, in three years! Yeah, right. By that time the OLPC laptop should cost around $50.00 anyway. My take is that India is still sore about their flopped attempt of a cheap laptop - the simputer, and their previous experience with the MIT media lab. They have…

New PostgreSQL Version

Version 8.2 of PostgreSQL is in beta now and is said to be 20% faster overall. It has a new Generalized Inverted Index which works well for text searches terabytes in size, and is the only open source database of it's kind which has this feature.

Shangri-La Update

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It's been a while since I posted about my diet progress, probably because I haven't been doing as well. I had two colds in a row and I found that I ate a little more during this period. I also missed a few days here and there because of weekends or other activities. Now working at Google I need to find a new routine. The least-squares fit line show's that I'm loosing about 1 pound a week which is pretty slow. I've started weight training twice a week so this might increase my weight a little bit (since muscle is heavier than fat). I'm still quite happy with the quality of the food I'm eating (although it's easy here in Brazil). Once I'm over this cold and into my new routine I hope to be back on track with this diet.

New Blogger Beta and New Layout

Since I'm working at Google, I need to eat my own dogfood - and I've moved over to the beta version of blogger.com. I've also changed the style which becomes wider if your browser window is wider, which I much prefer. The new version of blogger appears to be faster and nicer to use. I especially like the ability to add labels to each post - very nice.

Critiquing Nintendo's Wii Launch Details

This post has some problems with the Wii launch information. Scanning the comments below it shows that a lot of other people have issues with Nintendo as well. Here's my take on the whole issue:
$250.00 should include two remotes with nunchucks partly because the Wii is supposed to be a family console and a family has more than one person!
The remotes are probably very expensive: Bluetooth wireless, 3D motion detection, 3D spacial coordinates, speaker, and memory. Yet $60.00 for the pair is expensive. They should sell these things at a loss if it comes to it.November 19th launch. It's very odd that they are launching after the Sony PS3 (although only by a few days). It may be a brilliant move since Sony will spend tons of money for advertising and perhaps all the parents remember is that there's a new gaming console coming out. Also as it they both come out the press will be all over it comparing and contrasting the two (more free advertising).The article complains tha…

Real Media (rm) Download

I just listened to Winning the Oil Endgame given by Amory Lovins. You may also want to download the PDF which goes into much more detail and was written in 2005. Here's two snippets from the executive summary:
...The cornerstone of the next industrial revolution is therefore winning the Oil Endgame. And surprisingly, it will cost less to displace all of the oil that the United States now uses than it will cost to buy that oil....
...Investing $180 billion over the next decade to eliminate oil dependence and revitalize strategic industries can save $130 billion gross, or $70 billion net, every year by 2025....
In his talk he shows how nearly all oil dependance can be removed and no draconian policies or taxes need to be implemented. In addition saving oil by being more efficient makes you more profitable, we just need to make companies see the light.
His talk, amazingly, doesn't even cover wind-farms, nuclear energy or anything really exotic. The only 'cutting edge' tec…

Added AdSense

Since I'm going to be working for Google I though I would help their (our) bottom line by adding AdSense to my blog. I'm not sure if it's working or not, there's a blank space at the top my blog and sometimes there appears an ad (and sometimes not). Could be that the firefox addblock extension is blocking it sometimes, or that adsense hasn't decided what to put on my blog yet.

Wishful Nintendo Wii Speculation

The latest news is that the Wii will come out November 17th 19th and cost USD$250.00. This is a little different from my predictions which was late October and $200.00. I realized after the fact that I based my prediction on wishful thinking. I'm going to be in the US in October, so naturally I wanted it released in October. I thought they would offer a more expensive version with two Wiimotes, despite all the ads I saw on the internet with only one wiimote. It's obvious now that I just wanted to play together with my son, more wishful thinking.

What I'll probably buy right off the bat:
Nintendo Wii ($250.00)Extra remote ($35.00)Classic Controller ($15.00)Extra nunchuck ($15.00)Wii Sports (included)
The Legend of Zelda ($60.00)Red Steel ($50.00?)Total $465.00 so more than $500.00 with shipping tax etc.
Possibles
Metal Slug Anthology ($50.00?)Rayman Raving rabbits ($50.00?)The Wii will also include some interesting internet applications. A news and weather channel, and a ph…

Reverse Grafitti

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Grafitti by cleaning a dirty surface with a brush, soap and water:

Interesting in legal terms.
via boingboing.

My Nintendo Wii Speculation

This Thursday and Friday (Sept 14th and 15th) should be the days they announce the pricing and release schedule for the new game console Nintendo Wii. It's always fun speculating, so here goes my guesses:
The Nintendo Wii will sell for $200.00 USD with one Wii controller and one game (Nintendo Sports). I reason that Nintendo has sold their all their other consoles at $200 and they don't want to jinx it. Some have said it'll be $150.00 but I find that too close to their Nintendo DS price.For $250.00 you'll get two controllers and one more Nintendo game of your choosing.
The Wii will go one sale in North America at the end of October (around the 27th). I reason that they are worried about shortages and need the time to ramp up production. There will be shortages no matter what they do but if they stock up a bit before release it won't be as bad. For this reason they may even delay until early November.They won't have a worldwide launch. They may do the US an…

I got this googly feeling in the pit of my stomach

The cat is out of the bag, I'm leaving Sysmap to go work for Google. I'm happy are leaving on amicable terms, although it's a little like leaving your wife for a super model rather than, say, her sister. I had fun working here and in the cell phone industry (Telemig, Vivo, and Tim), but it's time to move on and do something exiting. Google is coming out with new and interesting programs every day and works in ways that I like:
hires smart people vs. people who match the job specification keywords,work hard to weed out bad hires early,give great machines to the developers (two 21" LCDs per workstation)etc.
Google Brasil is moving offices and I'll be starting work in their new digs. It's close to where I'm working now and I can even take the same bus to get to work - sweet.

Disney Fruit not as Stupid as It First Appears

Here's a CNN article mentioning that Disney will begin selling fruits and vegetables with Disney branding on it (i.e. Mickey, Goofy, Sponge Bob, etc.). It seems like a stupid idea but if you watched the NBC dateline segment called Food Fight you would have learned that kids overwhelmingly pick items branded with the characters they love.
First they offered the children cupcakes with either the American Flag or a picture of Spiderman or SpongeBob. The children always picked the SpiderMan or SpongeBob cupcake. Then they offered the children a plain cupcake or a banana covered with "spokes-character" stickers. Every single kid picked the banana[...] link

Three programs

DeVeDe is a nicely implemented Python program to create a DVD from video file on your computer. In a few clicks I had the first two episodes of the Sopranos burnt on a DVD with no problems. It takes a long time to build the ISO file and then you have to find it and burn it do disk, but it was otherwise painless.Peppy is designed to be an emacs clone built with wxPython. It's still early days yet, and is pretty ambitious, but the excellent Scintilla component does most of the heavy lifting.XML Copy Editor is a full featured validating XML editor with spell checker.

Unbutu, Linux - Act Different

Mark Shuttleworth's response to a little snafu last week is very laudable. I don't get this kind of public apology for larger mistakes made by other, larger, operating system companies.

Yay, OLPC 2B1 has no Caps Lock key

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I've cropped and rotated this image to get a good look at the 2B1 ($100 laptop) keyboard. You'll notice that the Ctrl key is in place of the Caps Lock key, some people will be happy! I'm happy to see the inverted 'T' for the cursor keys snuggled in close to the shift key, very nice. The backslash (\) key has moved next to the enter key. The enter key is a little farther away because of this but it's a nice big target. Dedicated help and Undo keys is very interesting, every program has that and it makes sense to have it on the keyboard. There are only 6 function keys which is quite a change from the standard 101 keyboard.
One thing I'm not too fond of is the Home/End/Insert/Delete keys on the cursor keys which you get to via the Fn key on the left. I would have used Home/End/PgUp/PgDown instead. And use the X a little to the left as a delete key, but that's just me. Overall I think it's a well thought out keyboard design that dares to deviate …

Blu-Ray and HD-DVD not doing so well...

It's with a great deal of schadenfreude that I announce that early sales of Blu-Ray (and HD-DVD) is dissapointing. Part of the reason is that these devices are very expensive, and a great deal of that expense is DRM. Another good reason is that people are loathe to buy more movies in yet another format. I still have VHS tapes that I would love if they were DVD, but it's too expensive for me to convert them and buying them yet again seems like a painful proposition.
Part of my schadenfreude is that IpredictedthatSony's upcoming PS3 will flop and I like to be proven right. Also, I've decided to buy a Nintendo Wii when it comes out and any competing consoles takes resources (i.e. game developers) away from my console. This wired article (Can the PS3 save Sony) also paints a bleak picture for Sony. The article goes on to say that they are banking a lot on the PS3 which they probably will be selling at a loss for quite a while. There are some rumours that the Nintendo Wi…