I’ve been putting this off for a while, but I’m finally biting the bullet and migrating to a new notebook computer. Aside from moving into the new system, this is also tangled up with assorted technology upgrades. My setup is a bit more complicated than the average user, so productivity is taking a hit this days.
I’m still running my nearly indestructable HP Omnibook 4150 on the network this evening, but I just moved my primary desktop to my new IBM Thinkpad T42P this afternoon. So far, so good. I haven’t had “that new computer smell” for a long time, and it I am already very happy with the reduced weight, faster performance, nearly silent operation, and really long battery life. The built-in wireless is also working well.
As a long-time former HPer, I started out looking for an HP product that would work for me, and almost purchased an NC6220. Unfortunately, I couldn’t convince the HP web site to sell a unit with a 7200RPM drive, on top of which all of the current HP notebooks have much shorter battery life (~3 hours). So far I’ve run the T42P for over 5 hours on a single charge, without using a second battery in the internal bay.
It’s going to take a while to learn the IBM-isms — this may be an activity to do on the plane later this week.
See also: Experience so far with the IBM T42P
…or at least it may prevent the Avian Flu.
In today’s Wall Street Journal (Wednesday May 11, 2005) there is an article by Hae Won Choi reporting on research at Seoul National University on using kimchi extract to cure avian flu. (Link – unfortunately it’s only available to WSJ online subscribers)
South Korean microbiologist Kang Sa Ouk thinks he’s come up with a new weapon in the battle against the bird flu virus: kimchi.
Last December, Dr. Kang used a bacteria extracted from kimchi, Korea’s fiery national dish of fermented vegetables, to treat 39 chickens with avian influenza. Over 10 days, 22 of 26 chickens given either a diluted or concentrated culture fluid of the bacteria as a substitute for water showed signs of recovery; all 13 chickens given just water died.
This following part sounds like familiar advice from Korean friends and relatives:
Kimchi is credited with helping digestion, fighting cancer and delaying aging. When severe acute respiratory syndrome hit Asia, many Koreans believed kimchi protected them. South Korea had no confirmed cases of the disease, unlike neighboring China and Japan.
Here’s an earlier article from the BBC back in March 2005, available without subscription:
Scientists at Seoul National University say they fed an extract of kimchi to 13 infected chickens – and a week later 11 of them had started recovering.
The researchers said the results were far from scientifically proven and if kimchi did have the effects they observed, it was unclear why.
Obviously, there are some differences between chickens and humans, but this is a great excuse to eat more kimchi at home and with your friends…
Update 02-16-2006 21:44 PST: LG Electronics is introducing an air conditioner with a kimchi-extract-coated filter, presumably to help protect from avian flu. Assorted links and comments at BoingBoing.
Update 05-21-2006 13:10. PDT: Too much kimchi might be bad for you. (LA Times, via Boing Boing).
Step-by-step article on using the Sipura SPA-3000 for Asterisk PSTN trunking at GeekGazette, via Sineapps:
For us serious Asterisk PBX geeks out there, the SPA-3000 provides a cost-effective means of bring a PSTN trunk into the PBX while still functioning as an ATA. Not only can you use the SPA-3000 as inbound and/or outbound trunk, you can also easily configure the SPA-3000 as a PSTN failover should the primary trunk into Asterisk fail. Considering what you can buy the SPA-3000 for right now, this is one of the best deals going.
I see from the GeekGazette site that Slashdot has been here as well.
This follows a recent firmware upgrade to the SPA-3000, as described at Voxilla a few days ago:
The enhancements to the SPA-3000, a very popular adaptor among “do-it-yourself” VoIP enthusiasts because of its built-in gateway functionality, includes an often-requested feature allowing PSTN calls to be routed directly to a VoIP destination without the SPA-3000 “answering” the PSTN line until the VoIP destination answers.
Light Reading notes that today’s Q3 report from Cisco had “disappointing” performance in the advanced technology group (VoIP, wireless, security, and other “new” stuff), but
Still, the IP telephony group “blew past” the $1 billion run rate, joining security in the billion-dollar club, Chambers said. Orders in storage networking cooled down, to “mid-single digits” sequentially, but that was after a 40 percent boom in the second quarter. Orders in wireless grew double digits sequentially and in the “high teens” compared with last year’s third quarter.
Cisco is in the process of buying Sipura, which should help grow that $1B run rate as VoIP interfaces sprout in everything on the network.
Update: 08-16-2005 20:46 – You can convert the SPA-3000 to a PhoneGnome, if you’re interested.
More cool stuff from Google — the Web Accelerator (beta) — article at Search Engine Watch
It appears to turn Google’s infrastructure into a big prefetching web cache, among other things, which should do good things for end user performance, but should also give Google an (even more) amazing view of a big piece of web traffic. The network engineer part of me really likes the idea, but it also makes the privacy advocate part of me really twitchy…
description from SEW:
+ Prefetching material
In part, determined by an algorithm developed at Google that looks at
mouse movements and aggregate traffic to sites to try to determine what to prefetch
+ Caching of pages on Google’s own servers
They will also try to determine how frequently material is updated and continuously have the latest copy available on their servers. Mayer said that GWA and Google’s new search history product are completely independent of one another.
+ Parallel downloading
Download multiple parts of the page (images for example) at the same
+ Differential fetching
Instead of downloading the entire page, GWA will try send only what
might have changed on the page
Comments from Batelle, Slashdot
A good roundup article on the use of blogs and personal video in response to the December 2004 tsunami in Indonesia
The tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004, has become another defining moment in the evolution and use of blogs. These distributed, interactive resources rallied around the disaster in ways that allowed readers to learn of the disaster, find ways to help through direct donations or volunteer opportunities, and cope with the grief that such an event inevitably brings.
Moving from personal, journal-style entries, blogs have addressed politics, war reportage, and, now, humanitarian aid efforts. Their power to reach vast numbers of people quickly with eye-witness reportage, graphics, opinion, and collections of news articles, and their ability to side-step government and corporate control have made blogs powerful forums for sharing information. The current manifestation of tsunami-related blogs are another step along a road that continually sees blogs creatively reacting to world events and gaining in popularity, respect, and impact.
During the hours immediately following the tsunami, like many others, I relied almost entirely on weblog postings and BitTorrent video for information rather than the US television and mainstream online news media. It’s interesting to look back, even though it’s been only a few months, and see how personal media took a big step towards becoming part of the mainstream.
Lots of action on the video search front lately. This post on the Yahoo Search Blog announces the official launch of Yahoo Video Search.
So what’s changed in 1.0? We’ve partnered up with some major content publishers to fortify our content offering, including MTV, Buena Vista (including the latest clips and trailers for The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy), CBS News, Bloomberg (check out the latest news on the Federal Reserve), Reuters, The Discovery Channel, Scripps Networks (the good people who produce Home & Garden TV and The Food Network), VH1, and more.
However, great video search isn’t just about content from large publishers, it’s also about the long tail content from smaller publishers and individuals as well. To that end, we’re indexing the Internet Archive’s Moving Image Archive. One of the great things about the Moving Image Archive is that it encompasses a wide range of content — everything from the Prelinger Archives (a collection of over 48,000 “ephemeral films” from 1927 through 1987), to user-created Open Source Movies hosted by the Internet Archive, and other collections of video. (One of my favorites is the animated legos from Brick Films. Don’t miss seeing their version of Grand Theft Auto done entirely in Lego).
Microsoft has started a new site, microsoftipventures.com, giving broader exposure to intellectual property (IP) they are willing to license for commercial development by others.
A quick look at their catalog shows entry dates starting around April 26th, although the actual items listed look like projects previously available elsewhere on Microsoft Research. It’s convenient to have everything in one place, however, and having a named MS activity with a stated interest in licensing these items might make it easier for a 3rd party to actually have a licensing discussion with MS.
Article at Infoworld:
Microsoft said the introduction of the IP Ventures program was a response to demand from venture capitalists for access to the company’s library of technologies.
Microsoft IP Ventures:
Our goal is to license these technologies on either an exclusive or non-exclusive basis via a combination of equity, upfront cash, or royalties. Contact IP Ventures to learn more about a particular technology, or browse the catalog.
via Joi Ito’s Web:
David Beckemeyer writes about an R&D activity at Earthlink which has implemented dual IPv4 / IPv6 access on modified firmware for a Linksys WRT54G wireless home gateway router.
The Linksys WRT54G is inexpensive, widely used, and is similar to many other home gateways providing NAT routing and wireless access. (It’s also popular as a platform hacking wireless router code, as it runs Linux internally). After loading the modified firmware, the router still provides IPv4 NAT functionality, but in addition provides a publicly routable /64 IPv6 network, and can directly route to other public IPv6 networks via the experimental Earthlink IPv6 routing service. You do not need to be an Earthlink customer to use the free service.
In general, IPv6 hasn’t been compelling to home users since it’s been obscure, expensive, and didn’t do anything useful for them. Even if one had a computer running IPv6 software, most home users are behind a NAT router. So providing a migration path via the low cost home routers could be a great enabler for actually starting to use IPv6 end-to-end network applications, and could help solve many of the NAT- and QoS-related problems observed in VoIP and video applications.
Here’s how it works: Simply get an account at http://www.research.earthlink.net/ipv6/accounts.html to get your own personal block of 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 IPv6 addresses; install the firmware onto your standard Linksys WRT54G router, and blamo, you have IPv6. With this special code installed on your Linksys router, your IPv4 works as normal; you’ll still have your NAT IPv4 LAN. But in addition to that, any IPv6 capable machine on the LAN will get a real, honest to goodness, routable IPv6 address too. It couldn’t be easier. This works for Mac OS X, Linux/UNIX, as well as Windows XP. You don’t have to do anything special on the machines on the LAN. They just work, as they say.
David adds in a comment on Joi Ito’s post:
We’re not really promising anything with this sandbox (see disclaimers). That said, we don’t expect to have to take these addresses back any time soon. If anything, the main factor that could cause us to have to shut down the testbed would be if the network load or other real costs assocuted with the IPv6 testbed hits the radar of the bean counters.
I’ll have to dig up a WRT54G and give it a try.
Google Video has added indexes today for keyword searches on a number of commercial sources, mostly news. (via Battelle, SearchEngineWatch)
The search results page returns thumbnails and sometimes transcripts of the content, probably from the closed captioning. Sources so far include CNN, Fox, C-Span, NBC, ABC, PBS, Discovery Channel, Learning Channel, and a few others. The video returned in the search results isn’t actually available for viewing or downloading.
SearchEngineWatch also notes:
It’s worth mentioning that Blinkx.TV provides searchable access to content from some of the same sources including the Discovery Channel, Fox News, and CNN. Blinkx.TV also provides the option to limit by source and VIEW the full motion video on your computer.
Can’t tell whether the user uploaded video is indexed at all yet. Only got commercial content in a few quick queries, no video blogs (like Rocketboom) or video content that’s already out there via BitTorrent trackers.
Here’s something you don’t see every day in Harvard Square. From Dowbrigade via Scripting News, also see more here and here.
By the time we got there police and fire had arrived. Traffic was shut down through the square. The fire was not a building – it was a white limousine, which had apparently exploded just as it was entering Johnson Gate, the main entrance to Harvard Yard off of Massachusetts Avenue, a mere 50 feet from the office of Harvard President Lawrence Summers.
One comment suggests this explanation:
Word on the street. Mobile crystal meth lab goes boom. Plausible given the totally “pimped out” ride (as the young people say). I wouldn’t think there would be much of a market for Crystal Meth in Harvard Yard. Maybe the dudes were just passing thru.
Whatever the reason, or lack of one, this seems like a great hook for everyone from conspiracy theorists to social commentators to fiction writers to hang a story line on. Doesn’t apparently make the grade for news reporting, though, nothing’s turning up yet a day later, but there are many blog posts with first hand photos and short notes. Apparently the official story isn’t nearly as interesting as the hypothetical ones.
Update 2005-05-01 16:30
Randy.f points out that there is no “official story” from an authoritative source yet. The photo up top is from his blog, sounds like he may follow up when there’s more info.
Update 2005-05-02 21:12
Article today in the Harvard Crimson:
FIRE IN THE YARD A limousine en route to a wedding burst into flames on Saturday afternoon in front of Johnston Gate, emitting smoke throughout Harvard Yard.
Update 2005-05-03 22:05: More from someone whose cousin was at the wedding…
Sorry, guys, it was just a car fire. The limo in question was carrying a belated bride to her wedding at the Memorial Church in Harvard. It arrived about 30 minutes late, and the passengers exited in a hurry, accelerated by the fire they saw coming from the engine as they got out. The car exploded after everyone got out and safely away from it. It did, however, make for a lively beginning to the wedding. My cousin, a friend of the bride, was sitting in the church when it exploded.
Lately I’ve been looking forward to watching the daily Rocketboom video blog, and have struggled to explain both Rocketboom and video blogging in general to non-blog-reading, TV-watching folks, i.e. most normal people. So until I get around to writing a longer introduction to video (and regular) blogging for my non-blogging / non-blog-reading friends, just go check it out .
Rocketboom features Amanda Congdon reading headlines and incorporating other video blog postings on the internet in a news-style format. It’s a little like Jon Stewart’s Daily Show with a bit of Jane Curtin’s old SNL Weekend Update thrown in, mixing up random video clips.
I enjoyed this clip posted earlier this week, which features David Letterman-style page tossing at the end of each article, David Lynch’s (of Eraserhead, Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet etc) daily weather report from L.A., and a vintage black-and-white television ad for Wham-O frisbees.
Rocketboom looks like it’s sort of a group project at Parsons School of Design in New York, produced by Andrew Baron, who teaches there, so it’s not exactly one person, a camcorder, and a home computer on the internet. But it has relatively good production value and is quite entertaining, for very little investment on their part.
Here’s another project, Ndiyo, working on reducing the cost of IT for rural and developing markets. Their system is called Nivo, and uses a thin client approach to reduce the number of separate systems that need to be operated and maintained, vs the HP 4-4-1 which adds display, keyboards, and mice to a single Linux system. Some benefits of consolidating more users onto shared hardware include the centralized administration, lower power consumption, and lower cost per seat. Similar approaches can be implemented for Microsoft Windows, but unrestricted / free licensing is particularly attractive in the rural markets.
Pictures and story at BBC, Engadget, comments (some even on topic) at Slashdot
not-for-profit UK developers Ndiyo are looking at using them to bring more affordable computing to the developing world. They’ve designed a small (12 x 8 x 2cm), sub-$200 thin client box called Nivo that runs on open source software and has ports for ethernet, keyboard, mouse, monitor and power.
Some of the open source software used in their demo includes:
- Ubuntu – Linux operating system
- Gnome/KDE desktop
- Open Office
- Firefox browser
- Gaim – instant messenger client
- Thunderbird – cross-platform e-mail and Usenet client
More fun with Google Maps, Google RideFinder displays the location of GPS-enabled taxis for a few locations in the US. This is just a concept demo, since there aren’t a lot of GPS-enabled taxi services at the moment, but interesting to play with.
After reading this, I see an opportunity for a business management book, something like “29 Leadership Secrets From Darth Vader“…
Darth Vader’s weblog, via MetaFilter. For the full effect, start at the first post.
Have I mentioned before that I am surrounded by idiots? Let me cut to chase and just tell you up front: the rebels got away. All of them. General Veers, bless his heart, must have destroyed two dozen armed speeders and and an entire line of infantry — but those were just ants. We failed to take Mothma, Organa, Rieekan, Skywalker or even the traiterous fish Ackbar.
See also: Things Not To Say to Darth Vader at the Water Cooler
I see that the Yahoo MyWeb service has launched.
- Move beyond bookmarks – create your own personal, searchable web
Save all the pages you like (exact copies, not just links!)
Search My Web to instantly “re-find” your saved pages
Share only the pages you want – you’re in control
Turn on My Search History to quickly access past searches and visited results
On the one hand, both this and the Google Search History seem potentially useful