Thursday, November 29, 2007

The 13 main problems with Vista

MediaVidea: The 13 main problems with Vista

In this age of mobile handsets, burgeoning online content, gaming consoles, iPods, it comes as no surprise that Microsoft will spend $ 500 million to market Vista.

It is currently running ads for Hotmail in India promising 1 Gb of space! Very much in the tradition of England on the eve of 19th Century and U.S. around 2000, an entity about to begin a painful and slow fall from the top, Microsoft can do as it pleases with its hoard of cash. You didn’t see Google doing that when it launched Gmail.

In words of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft will spend all money telling people that ‘buying Vista is a potentially life-changing event’.

Buying Vista is indeed life changing.
When you buy Vista, you are giving up your power over the software and hardware, you paid big bucks.


The problems with Vista will come out to the fore when it gets in hands of large number of buyers. The mainstream media has so far focused on the Bill gates personality cult rather than the negative things with Vista, other than Walter Mossberg’s ‘I am not impressed’ review.

The difference between Online and mainstream media is an old one: MSM often writes puff pieces around technology issues while there is a wealth of information online which needs to be read by actual users and the general populace.


The main problems with Vista so far:

Problems Part 1

1. Costlier than the $100 Laptop and Gaming consoles: Vista Home Premium is $239, $159 upgrade; Vista Ultimate costs $399, $259 upgrade.

2. No instant plug and play: upgrading and setting up Vista will take much of your time.

3. Expensive for normal use: Vista is probably not for you if you use the PC for normal jobs like surfing and typing. Use Mozillla Firefox for same and better functionalities than Explorer 7. Microsoft may however try to convince you otherwise showing how cool Vista looks. If you are into looks, get a skin for your desktop.

4. Too expensive for Gaming: If you are into Gaming, for the price of a Vista, get a Gaming Console.

5. No big Vista application announcements: IBM, Intuit, large software vendors and even Microsoft’s own Dynamics ERP division have so far been quiet about their software for Vista.

6. Online software providers such as Salesforce.com do not plan to modify their offerings to suit the new Explorer

Now, we come to the actual problem with Vista.
After the lukewarm response to DRM initiatives by big companies, I am positive users will not like Vista’s draconian features that threaten to take the power away from them. Vista is actually worse than DRM.

To users, Microsoft says that it wants to protect them from computer viruses. To content owners (especially big media corporations), Microsoft says it will protect copyright. Actually, Microsoft ends up on the Big Media’s side, virtually controlling how users use and control their machines.


Problems Part 2

Highlights from the Vista user agreement, which comes into force once you choose accept and install the software.

7. This agreement only gives users only a few rights to use the software. All other rights belong to Microsoft.

8. If you do not like Vista's limitations, Microsoft says in the agreement that "you may not work around any technical limitations in the software."

9. Microsoft has the right to regularly check the legitimacy of the software (which you paid for) and CAN DELETE certain programs without your knowledge.

10. Microsoft can revalidate the software anytime or it may require you to reactivate it if you make changes to ‘your’ computer components.

11. Microsoft has set significant limits on users’ ability to copy or transfer the software. It prohibits anything more than a single backup copy and has set strict limits on transferring the software to different devices or users.

12. Only Windows Defender, the much-hyped anti-virus program –will determine what constitutes unwanted software. That means Microsoft can install Spyware and Adware with impunity.

13. Vista Content protection only helps Big Media: A computer scientist in New Zealand found that Vista intentionally degrades the picture quality of premium content when played on most computer monitors. Microsoft wants you to see that content on TV or bigger, pricier displays.


Options for existing PC (not using MAC OS, Linux) users

- Continue using Win XP
- For gaming, you are better off with the consoles
- Use online office application from Google which are getting better by the day, including better integration with other online apps, in a seamless experience.
- OpenOffice is getting better by the day.
- Home Entertainment: Steve Ballmer says Vista as the center and the launching point for the next generation of connected entertainment in the home. Translation: Expensive Home Servers, premium content, all controlled by Vista’s draconian features.

The world’s needs an open source home entertainment server along the lines of Openoffice, if that is our entertainment future.


End notes
Despite having come up with a Big Brother type of software, Microsoft is sitting pretty. Microsoft knows that for Vista, it at least has the lucrative (&captive) OEM and Corporate market (which still has to show faith in online office applications).

Apple users may take heart with this article that extrapolates Apple’s current growth rate and finds that Apple may overtake Microsoft in the year 2011.

I took this from another blog (link found above). I think this stuff is almost scary. Especially the part in the Terms of Use where it says "Microsoft has the right to regularly check the legitimacy of the software (which you paid for) and CAN DELETE certain programs without your knowledge." That makes me seethe. This entire software copyright deal makes me so mad. They waste so much money trying to prevent copying (which happens anyway; if there is a way to crack it, someone will find it, and there's always a way) that that ends up being all the software is; just a chunk of $300 code that enhances nothing. What does the consumer get out of it? Distrust, privacy invasion, and endless frustration. Why can't they all just go the open source route? As anyone whose read this blog knows, I've switched one of my computers over to Linux (Xubuntu to be more specific). I think it's wonderful. It will take me a while to get used to, but the array of completely free software available won me over completely. But, to answer my own question, I know exactly why Microshaft and other such companies won't go open source. They need money. Silly me for asking such a silly question.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

YouTube

Find me on Youtube at the following link:

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=xxxViiKatexxx

I just might get nabbed for copyright infringement on those biology videos. But come on, if they help even one person learn, they're worth it. If someone tries to take them down, that would be just plain dumb, considering they supplement the textbook, but don't make up the textbook. So, no one is really losing money. So leave me alone, stupid money hungry textbook companies.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Menstrual blood yields stem cells

Health & Medical News - Menstrual blood yields stem cells - ...

Reuters

Tuesday, 14 March 2006

Young woman

Stem cells harvested from young women's menstrual blood have a longer lifespan than those from older women (Image: iStockphoto)

Japanese researchers have harvested stem cells from human menstrual blood, a medical conference has heard.

The researchers say these stem cells could be coaxed into forming specialised heart cells, which might one-day be used to treat failing or damaged hearts.

At the meeting of the American College of Cardiology, Dr Shunichiro Miyoshi reported that he and his colleagues at Keio University in Tokyo collected menstrual blood from six women and harvested stem cells that originated in the lining of the uterus.

They were able to obtain about 30 times more stem cells from menstrual blood than from bone marrow, Miyoshi says.

The stem cells were then cultured in a way to induce them to become heart cells.

After five days about half of the cells contracted "spontaneously, rhythmical and synchronously, suggesting the presence of electrical communication" between the cells, Miyoshi says.

That is to say, they behaved like heart cells.

The researcher explains that already stem cells derived from bone marrow have improved heart function, mainly by producing new blood vessels rather than new heart-muscle tissue.

He emphasises that it is important that these cells be obtained from younger patients, because they would have a longer lifespan than cells harvested from older donors.


Hahaha for some reason I find that truly awesome. I think it has something to do with the fact that they've finally come up with some use for menstrual blood.
I also love the random stock photo of some random girl. She looks like someone I know.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The new “Google operating system”

The new “Google operating system”

As most of you know, the Windows operating system is the most popular and the most utilized personal computer operating platform in use today, and has been for many years. Windows has made Microsoft the powerhouse it is today, thanks to its user-friendly interface and a number of other features that greatly simplify your daily life.

However, there is now a new computer operating system that is taking over, and it’s not coming from inside your personal computer, and it’s not from your company’s LAN (Local Area Network) or intranet network either. What I’m referring to here is the “G” operating system, better known as the Google operating platform.

If you feel that for the past couple of years Google has managed to transform many people’s lives, you are not alone. We are witnessing a trend that will probably increase and will become even more widespread in the coming months and years. Thanks to many of its PHD’s and engineers, and using its vast research labs in Mountain View California, Google is building a gigantic information system, complete with its own computer operating system that anybody can use, 24 hours a day.

How it all began Almost without warning, engineers at the Googleplex have designed and built an extremely sophisticated computer network. What really boggles your mind is that this whole project originally took place as a simple idea, just a research initiative at Stanford University in the late 1990’s. Google’s original founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page came up in 1998 with an experimental search engine they had developed.

Please click here to read the whole article.

Article written by Serge Thibodeau of Rank for $ales.


This kind of goes along with my Microshaft rant below. I think Google should make an operating system. Windoze (hehe) just completely sucks, and Linux might be too hard for the layperson to use (it's challenging for me sometimes). I'm a fan of Google's projects thus far; why not make it more widescale?

The new look of Windows products

So, I honestly have no idea what the hell they're smoking over there at Microsoft. But I think the new layout they're pressing is absolutely horrible. It's ridiculously glossy, and they've hidden all of the menus. Especially in Office, where now I can't seem to find any of the features I am looking for. Typing up an essay or some form of document takes on whole new realms of challenging, even though such a task should be simple and as quick as possible. I wonder how Vista works out. I've seen it, and it didn't look too bad, but using it is a whole different story. Judging by the horror stories I've heard about it, though, I'm not upgrading until I absolutely have to.

One thing I credit Microshaft for is the cosmetic upgrade of MSN Messenger (or Windows Live Messenger as they like to call it). I'm not sure what else they've upgraded on it, but I like how it looks. The only problem is my version of StuffPlug doesn't work yet. But MSN Plus works just fine. Of course without StuffPlug, I have to deal with my habit of pressing the email link in MSN and this time having Internet Exploder pop up, much to my annoyance. One of the main reasons I have StuffPlug is so that I can click on email links and the poor excuse for a browser won't come up, and Firefox will. I just know it's going to infuriate me to no end by the end of the night...

Windoze XP

Windoze XP
Frequent Crashes Edition

The Frequent Crashes Edition of Windoze XP is for power users who want an operating system that quits when they need it the most. Each user can access his or her files anywhere on your Windoze XP network with a username and password, and any 13 year old with any hacking knowledge whatsoever can access your Quicken files without a password. Since privacy is a word we are somewhat familiar with, this edition of Windoze features file encryption. For added security, no file decryption is included.

Another thing I noticed with the installation of the new version of MSN Messsenger (which is considered Windows Live Messenger 8.5.1302.1018 Beta) is the new installation program. I hate it. I liked the old click-and-it's-done method, and not this method which asks me to download a bunch of other crap as well. I installed the Mail application and the Writer application (I'm using the Writer app to write this...we'll see how that goes). The Mail application is horrendous. It's pretty much a glossified (yes, glossified) version of Outlook, minus the useful features. I guess it's more like a dumbed down version of non-web based Hotmail (which is called Windows Live Mail now). I absolutely do not like the idea of something that can't make up it's mind if it's web based or POP3/STMP based. Especially when I was looking at the interface. It hurt my head. This writer thing is okay, though, although all I'm doing is typing, really. But it's nice that it let me connect to my Google-based blog.

Aside from this Writer program thing (is it considered a program?) and MSN Messenger (I will call it that until the day I die), I think the route Microshaft is taking with the appearence of their products kind of resembles something a brain damaged ape would cough up if it was choking on a piece of hard candy. Not to mention the simple fact that I cannot find what I am looking for in these programs! I don't know for sure, but I'm going to continue thinking that might be counterproductive.

winblows

A major cosmetic change within the new Microshaft products, that I actually do enjoy, is the fact that they've added some new fonts. I don't know about anyone else, but I was kind of getting sick of seeing MS Sans Serif everywhere. Although it is throwing me off a little bit to not see it. So, a small bravo to whoever thought of that part. I'm just wondering what will happen with compatibility with people who don't have these new fonts? Maybe Microshaft should do something smart and provide a font update for those of us fortunate enough not to have Vista yet.

Oh, one more thing about Office, more specifically Word, as well as this Writer program... what the fuck is this hard return/soft return crap? If I hit enter I want the cursor to go down ONE line! If I want two lines, I'll hit the goddamn enter button twice! Even though Bill Gates owns half the world, he does not own Apple...yet!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Quest for Ubuntu Continues (part 5: success)

I have finally succeeded in my mission! I now have Xubuntu completely installed on my old Presario. It turns out it was because my hard drive was attached to the wrong jumper; it was attached to 1 when it should have been attached to 0. I also created only two partitions, a ext3 and a swap. It's working awesome!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Quest for Ubuntu Continues (part 4)

After talking to various people on forums, etc., I was alerted to the fact that my hard drive appeared to be on a secondary mounting section. At first I wasn't sure what this meant, and I resumed my natural course of things (eg. getting more and more confused as people kept trying to explain things). That is until I noticed something. The computer I am trying to install Xubuntu on doesn't have the cover on the tower (I was too lazy to put it back on), and the hard drive was disconnected before I started this whole charade. I looked closer, and noticed that the hard drive was not plugged into position 0, but was plugged into position 1. I quickly fixed this, and the problem I was having (at the time) went away. I am currently in the process of reinstalling for the last time (last as in either it will work, or I will give up), and I finally got a clear answer on what I should be doing with the partitioning. So, when this is finished, we will see...

The Quest for Ubuntu Continues (part 3)

No progress has been made on this front. I have tried many things, all of them failing. I have even tried Fedora, Kubuntu, and others, and now I am trying Xubuntu. I tried downloading the disk image on the computer in question, but it kept giving me errors about not having enough space. I must have seriously fucked up the partitioning for that to happen. I still haven't gotten a clear answer from anyone about what exactly I should be doing with the partitioning (on IRC, forums, etc.). So, if Xubuntu fails again, I will give up. Unless I can somehow find someone who will install it for me. Which is unlikely.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Quest For Ubuntu Continues (part 1)

Compaq Presario 5000 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

5000Z-5UVME2 (Internet PC)
    • 700-1200MHz AMD Duron/Athlon Processor
    • 20-60GB Seagate IDE Hard Disk Drive
    • 63-384MB PC133 SDRAM
    • 8-64MB S3 or nVidia Graphics Controller
    • 4 x USB 1.1 Ports (2 Front, 2 Rear)
    • 15-17" Compaq CV Series CRT Monitor
    • 56K Dial-Up Modem
    • JBL Platinum Series, Monsoon MH-500 or Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Speaker System
    • Compaq USB Internet Keyboard/Mouse or Smart Credit Card Keyboard/Mouse
    • CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, and/or CD-RW


I assume that since my computer is a plain 5000 Presario, and the processors match, that this is the correct computer. Except the hard drive doesn't match. I also don't have the said speaker system, and I most certainly do not have a dial up modem.

All of this will become relevant in the next post, as well as the knowledge in previous entries (that I am struggling to get Ubuntu on my old computer, and it's taking a lot of fucking effort).

The Quest For Ubuntu Continues (part 2)

  • 700-1200MHz AMD Duron/Athlon Processor
  • 63-384MB PC133 SDRAM
  • 8-64MB S3 or nVidia Graphics Controller
Before I installed Ubuntu, I decided it would be a good idea to write down my specs, just in case I needed to reinstall drivers (which surprisingly I didn't). But I am unsmart and decided not to write down the graphics card and the memory. The above is what I pulled off Wikipedia. This information is important because, in light of the GRUB errors I keep receiving, I decided to post on the Ubuntu forum. One of the first things I was asked was the stats of my computer. Unfortunately, I could not provide the above information, well, except for the processor. *pets Dell computer lovingly* By the way, I am procrastinating....I should be studying math....

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Chemistry

I have concluded that my brain is not atrophying, as I thought it was, because I can still figure things out! As a result of certain circumstances, this week I was not able to obtain the desired amount of sleep, and therefore, after all was said and done, missed part of chemistry class. This is not good, as I am not a strong chemist. So, sitting down to do my assignment tonite, I was a tad worried. It took me a while, but I managed to teach myself the basics of what I missed. I balanced an equation which stumped me for a while. I had one of those moments where something in your brain just pops into place. It's a very satisfying feeling.

Na + H2O ---> NaOH + H2

becomes:

6Na + 6H2O ---> 6NaOH + 3H2O

That is the equation I had problems with. I doubt I'd be able to do it again. Hopefully that won't come back to bite me in the ass on the test.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

GRUB Error Messages

GRUB Error Messages

17 : "Invalid device requested"

This error is returned if a device string is recognizable but does not fall under the other device errors.


18 : "Invalid or unsupported executable format"

This error is returned if the kernel image boing loaded is not recognized as Multiboot or one of the supported native formats (Linux zImage or bzImage, FreeBSD, or NetBSD).


21
: "Unknown boot failure"

This error is returned if the boot attempt did not succeed for reasons which are unknown.



I have been dicking around with Linux lately, and I cannot seem to get it installed without requiring the boot disc to load it. I got it in my old computer and got it running off the boot disc, ran the installer, thought everything was okay, so then I got some packages, set some prefs, restarted after a package, and got Error 18 first. I went in, jostled with the partitioning a little bit, and got Error 17 after that. I went in and tried:

sudo apt-get remove --purge grub

sudo apt-get install grub

sudo grub

grub > root (hdx,y)

grub >setup (hd0)

grub > quit

But that proved completely fruitless. That's when I ended up with Error 21. So, now, I am in the process of doing a complete reinstall (which isn't bad considering what stage I'm at), and completely repartitioning (which is taking way too fucking long). I really hope it works, or else I will be severely annoyed.