I’m getting old

Trying to do market research on the “best” video card on the market today is nearly impossible. Aside from the idiotic product line naming conventions from nVidia and AMD (7850 v 7970 v 670 v 680 v 560 Ti versus fuuuuuu), there is no possible way to do an apples:apples performance comparison, particularly when you throw in multiple cards v. single cards or multiple one-generation old card v single current gen card. Power consumption. Heat. Noise. Overclocking. Internet fanbois cluttering the signal. Yarg.

I can’t believe I used to know all of this stuff intimately… today, it’s more like a root canal/studying for another bar.

What I’m saying is… my desire to play games is at war with my complete lack of interest in the current state of the industry. … but I’ve just *got* to have the new 28nm chip!!!! (I think)

And, yes, I have a Mac (or two). They are very nicely built machines, pleasant to work on, and I can do everything on them, including power user stuff, that I do on a win box. But you know what Macs suck at? Playing games. Which is really what all of this is about (well, that and a 3yo PC which, while formerly solid, is clearly heading for the scrapheap of glory in the near term). I want my Battlefield3 in ultra now!

Does that come in Maxi?

Apple announces iPad

Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, finally unveiled the Apple iPad during an event today. The name of the new tablet was revealed only a few days ago, and aims to separate itself from tablet computers such as Microsoft’s new Slate PC category. Leaks have prepared us all for an “iPhone on steroids” and we recently estimated the release date to be April 2010. The “iPhone on steroids” has turned out to be a good description of the new Apple iPad, and the release date will indeed be April 2010.

Presumably with the different versions, there will be a mini and a maxi iPad. With any luck, the product will have … wait for it … wings.

bada boom!

Stupid name for a tweener product (doesn’t do what your laptop does, barely does more than the iPhone and still can’t make calls, too expensive, and yet another gadget to carry … yeah, not seeing the utility of this one).

A Word of Caution

If, say, you get a new iPhone and, say, have a 5+ year old gmail account… it is not a good idea to sync your contacts with said gmail account. Unless you like spending 20 hours cleaning that shit out.

Just sayin.

How To Hide Your Porn… on a Mac

What with the appletistas taking over and all, I thought some of them might like to learn how to hide their files from casual snooping. Obfuscation isn’t security, but it might, say, keep your friend who is borrowing your laptop to check their webmail from opening your private full-frontal photoshoots featuring yourself, three goats, and a couple jars of peanut butter.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Drat

My multimillion dollar patent idea… has already been worked out.

US researchers have outlined a relatively simple system that could deliver power to devices such as laptop computers or MP3 players without wires.

The concept exploits century-old physics and could work over distances of many metres, the researchers said.

Figures that would happen 2 weeks after I think of it. Boo.

Amazing fact! Music available on the interweb thing

No, really. And there’s this place that is the leading music shop on the whole of the truck-filled tubular net doohickey, called eye-music. Now, I don’t know why they call it that, since you listen with your ears, but that’s what they call it so that’s what I’m calling it.

Sure, Mondegreen is available for free download … but it’s also on the eye-music even without any videos! Isn’t that cool?

I gave it a look and it’s $1/song and $10/album (roughly). The best part is – you won’t get sued by the RIAA! Sweet!

iTunes_RGB_9mm

Leeches

I’ve turned on bandwidth leech protection here at the new server. Now that I have to pay for bandwidth over X amount, and from current run rates it looks like X amount is within reach, I figured it was the prudent move.

Being the communitarian that I am, this decision leaves me a little torn. Then again, all those teenagers on myspace hoovering my bandwidth for the FU baby can suck it.

Don't steal bandwidth

BH’s implementation isn’t the greatest (you have to refer to the server it’s hosted on rather than your own domain name, and the redirect link does not appear to work and the blocking seems intermittent, though it could be a cache issue on my side)… but it seems good enough in general. The BH implementation also overwrites my WordPress .htaccess file, so I have to rebuild the .htaccess file every time I add a new domain.

Webmasters with special needs can contact me if they want some hot lovin’ linkin’ action

Did I mention you should be using encryption?

Because the whole internet is being tapped.

In 2003 AT&T built “secret rooms” hidden deep in the bowels of its central offices in various cities, housing computer gear for a government spy operation which taps into the company’s popular WorldNet service and the entire internet. These installations enable the government to look at every individual message on the internet and analyze exactly what people are doing. Documents showing the hardwire installation in San Francisco suggest that there are similar locations being installed in numerous other cities.

Seriously, people. Encryption + obfuscation == you maintain your privacy

Encrypted VOIP

Zimmerman brings Zfone. Zimmerman was behind PGP, and for which he was also investigated and sued. This must feel like groundhog’s day to him.

Philip R. Zimmermann created a program to encrypt e-mail. His Zfone will do the same for Internet calls.

He has found out once already. Trained as a computer scientist, he developed a program in 1991 called Pretty Good Privacy, or PGP, for scrambling and unscrambling e-mail messages. It won a following among privacy rights advocates and human rights groups working overseas — and a three-year federal criminal investigation into whether he had violated export restrictions on cryptographic software. The case was dropped in 1996, and Mr. Zimmermann, who lives in Menlo Park, Calif., started PGP Inc. to sell his software commercially.

Now he is again inviting government scrutiny. On Sunday, he released a free Windows software program, Zfone, that encrypts a computer-to-computer voice conversation so both parties can be confident that no one is listening in. It became available earlier this year to Macintosh and Linux users of the system known as voice-over-Internet protocol, or VoIP.

Want in on the shy business?

Shy as in Shylock, that is.

I’m not sure what I think of Prosper.com.

On the one hand, I would love to send those execrable payday loans out of business and make the personal lending and credit rating markets transparent. I also like that it leverages group and personal identity power, a la eBay, for trustworthiness. It takes a village, and on the internet your village reputation can go a long way.

On the other hand, this is about as risky of an investment vehicle as I can imagine, with the added benefit of religious prohibition (for the orthodox) and an extra feeling of sleeze.

From a lender perspective, these are unsecured loans to people you don’t know (but are at least somewhat vetted by Prosper), many with a history of bad judgements. You do have a 3-year contract, but enforcing judgements for delinquent payees is going to spawn a whole ‘nother industry (or reinforce the existing ones. See sleeze, above). Actually, after reading the FAQ, if you don’t get paid, you’re SOL as you don’t know who the lendee is personally. My guess is that Prosper has an enforcement arm where they’re getting more income (other than the .5% loan interest they take off the top. Damn, I need to think of these online database-charge-me-to-use-them things. Best business model ever, outside of religion.). Actually, on further review, it looks like you get to choose from among a few different collection agencies. In any event, Prosper’s still taking a cut from the referral.

So I’m torn. On the one hand, it could be a great way to help people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get help. On the other, it looks like an ideal fraud and criminal (organized or not) environment. I debate linking to things that I’m unsure of, such as this, on the grounds that though I treasure information and sharing, I’d like to avoid advocating for shady or false things as much as possible.

Anyway, I thought I’d throw it out there. I think their FAQ page may have a little matharoni problem, though, but let’s talk about that below the fold. Continue reading

Third world infrastructure

Apparently, the signal strength to my home is abysmal (read: much noise, packet loss on the line). This is the reason for the slowdowns and absence of the server. Probably also the voice quality for those of you complaining about my phone quality. Maybe there’s something that can be done, maybe not. We’ll find out more tonight after some tests.

Sounds like some sort of medical procedure, no?

In any event, as soon as my contract is up, I’ll be moving this site to a dedicated hoster and switching ISPs. I may even go for cable + broadband, since that will get me the fast download speeds that I want and I won’t have to worry about running a server. Then again, fuck the cable companies. I’ll see what kind of deal I can get on a Working Assets land line + DSL package from a local ISP v. the cost of monopoly cable + broadband. It’s got to be cheaper than the $150/mo I’m paying now for this crapfest.