The Big Think

May 17, 2005

Tiger Up and Running

Filed under: Macintosh — jasony @ 8:54 pm

Got it working, and with the exception of a minor bump or two, Tiger seems to have installed smoothly. Love some of the new features, hate some of the new looks.

X-Ray Specs

Filed under: Macintosh — jasony @ 8:23 pm

Fantastic X-Ray image of a Titanium Powerbook.

No Allowance for You!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 8:19 pm

via Thomas Hawk

Mark Cuban is arguing over at Blog Maverick that with the introduction of Yahoo!’s new $5 per month music service that this needs to become the new de facto ‘damages’ that the RIAA ought to be able to claim when suing kids. After all, when the kids could have paid for the music via Yahoo! for $5 a month it makes it hard to say the music loss is worth more than that. ‘The RIAA can no longer claim that students who are downloading music are costing them thousands of dollars each. They cant claim much of anything actually. In essence, Yahoo just turned possession of a controlled music substance into a misdemeanor. Payable by a $5 per month fine.’

Tiger, Tiger

Filed under: Macintosh — jasony @ 3:58 pm

Doing a massive backup now in preparation to update my system to OS 10.4 (aka “Tiger“). See you (hopefully) on the other side…

I Heart You

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 3:04 pm

A Japanese research team has developed a fuel cell that runs on blood without using toxic substances, opening the way for use in artificial hearts and other organs.

read more.

Is Piracy Good?

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 3:02 pm

How Battlestar Galactica Killed Broadcast TV.

The 15 Pound Hamburger

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 2:58 pm

You have to see it to believe it.

(hmm… something’s up with the server again. It took me 5 tries to upload this. Sorry folks)

Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Revolution

Filed under: Games — jasony @ 2:42 pm

The gloves are off as the Big Three game console manufacturers (MS, Sony, Nintendo) go at it at E3.
First off, Microsoft announces their new Xbox 360.
Sony announces the new Playstation 3.
and Nintendo previews the new Revolution.

And here are some pics, specs, and game screenshots (it’s still early and I can’t find some info on all three systems).

Microsoft Xbox 360:
1. Support for DVD-video, DVD-Rom, DVD-R/RW, CD-DA, CD-Rom, CD-R, CD-RW, WMA CD, MP3 cd, JPEG photo CD
2. All games supported at 16:9, 720p and 1080i, anti-aliasing
3. Customizable face plates to change appearance
4. 3 USB 2.0 ports
5. Support for 4 wireless controllers
6. Detachable 20GB drive
7. Wi-Fi ready

Custom IBM PowerPC-based CPU
– 3 symmetrical cores at 3.2 GHz each
– 2 hardware threads per core
– 1 VMX-128 vector unit per core
– 1 MB L2 cache

CPU Game Math Performance
– 9 billion dots per second

Custom ATI Graphics Processor
– 500 MNz
– 10 MB embedded DRAM
– 48-way parallel floating-point shader pipelines
– unified shader architecture

– 700 MNz DDR

Memory Bandwidth
– 22.4 GB/s memory interface bus bandwidth
– 256 GB/s memory bandwidth to EDRAM
– 21.6 GB/s frontside bus

– Mulitchannel surround sond output
– Supports 48khz 16-bit audio
– 320 independent decompression channels
– 32 bit processing
– 256+ audio channels
Sony Plyastation 3:
It will support Blu-ray (obviously), DVD±R/W, CD-R/RW
Backwards compatible with the PlayStation 2 and original Playstation
One 3.2GHz Cell processor—total system performance rated at 2.18 teraflops (uh, that’s actually about twice what Microsoft is claiming the Xbox 360 will do); it will have 256MB system RAM 3.2GHz, and 256MB GDDR VRAM at 700MHz
The nVidia graphics will be called the RSX (”Reality Synthesizer”), and will trump the Xbox 360 with 1080p (yes, that’s a p) graphics support.
There will be a 2.5-inch hard drive (i.e. laptop hard drive) attachment—a first for a Sony launch (no, we don’t count the PSX and/or the FF add-on)
Memory Stick Duo slot, and very surprisingly, an SD and CF slots
Bluetooth support with up to seven wireless controllers
Six USB system ports
Screenshot (actual game shots):

Nintendo Revolution:
Couldn’t find shots of the console yet. It’s still early in the announce cycle
four 2.5Ghz IBM G5 Custom cores,
128KB of level 1 cache and a 512KB shared level 2 cache,
the graphics will be powered by a dual core ATI RN520 chipset, with 16MB of on-board eDRAM for the frame buffer.

No game screenshots available.

Looks like it’s going to be an interesting 2006 for game fans.

I followed my typical routine of buying the current, heavily discounted generation of game hardware just before the new stuff gets announced, thereby getting the current stuff cheap, but still getting some good playtime in before the new stuff starts to come out. Currently playing Xenosaga on the PS2. It’s an epic (80+ hours?) game with lots of cutscene stuff. The first volume of a six volume series.

May 16, 2005

Take a Right

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 5:38 pm

Several months ago I was involved in a low (read: no) budget film production in Austin called “Take a Right”. It was more for the director’s experience than anything else, but he got a crew of willing volunteers together to shoot this short 7 minute flick.
The cut is very rough. It still needs some post work, but it’s fun to see. It’s also fun to remember how much junk we kept moving around from shot to shot, and how the fantasy looks when it’s all put together.

Here’s the rough-cut. Requires Quicktime.

Unapologetic Geekery

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 1:07 pm

Lileks gets it right again. (geek factor of 12)

What Does Zarqawi Want?

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:30 pm

Insightful and thought-provoking reading here. I’ve never thought about this point, but he’s right:

But insurgents have a political plan; no matter how brutal they may be, they see their violence as leading to a political change — the government will be cast out to be replaced by a new government, typically themselves. Thus, they tend to create shadow directorates that mimic the functions of a government

The writer then goes on to make the point that the current “insurgents” don’t have a plan other than to maximize casualties in an attempt to discredit or remove the U.S. presence. That’s it. No alternative government, no reasoned and publicized organizational plan. Just killing. This is what makes that segment of American culture that sides with them impossible for me to understand.

It’s a good article worth the read.


Maybe He Just Wanted an Audience

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:28 am

A smartly dressed man found wandering in a soaking wet suit near an English beach has baffled police and care workers after he refused to say a word and then gave a virtuoso piano performance.

read more.

May 15, 2005

Weird Science

Filed under: Science — jasony @ 11:23 am

Okay, I copied the whole thing. Lame, I know. But it was just too cool (literally).

“Physicists at Utrecht University in the Netherlands have come up with a way of observing a superstring by utilizing Bose-Einstein condensation (BEC). A one-dimensional BEC in an optical lattice is rapidly rotated, causing a quantized vortex to form. The bosonic part of the superstring consists of this vortex line. Inside the vortex, they would trap an ultracold cloud of fermionic atoms. Hopefully this will allow observation of the supersymmetry between bosons and fermions, thus providing the first experimental evidence to support superstring theory.”

The Other Side of the Argument

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 11:13 am

“I am against war of any kind,” Saleem said. “But we didn’t have the luxury to say, ‘For the time being, we will be exterminated’.

read more about a new film called Kilomètre Zéro by Hiner Saleem. It’s a pro-war film you probably won’t be hearing too much about in the national press.

May 14, 2005

Smart Fish

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 2:33 pm

I noticed a few weeks ago that my red-tailed barb fish (there’s only one “regular shaped” fish in my big 75 gallon aquarium… I also have a pleco) would, curiously, just happen to be at the side of the tank closest to the bottom of the stairs whenever I came downstairs during the day. In fact, it seemed that more often than not he (?) was there waiting for me whenever I turned the corner. Since there is no way the fish can see me descending the stairs until I turn the corner right by the tank, I knew it couldn’t be the movement that was attracting him. So I decided to do a little experiment with Erin’s help. Erin sat very still at the kitchen table where she could see the fishie, and I walked by the tank, turned the corner, and walked up the stairs. She told me the fish watched me go, paused for a few seconds, and then continued swimming around the tank. When he had made his way to the other side of the tank and was poking around under his rock, Erin yelled the all-clear. I then proceeded to clomp my way down the stairs like I normally do.

Amazingly, the fish immediately made a bee-line (fish-line?) for the near side of the tank. Sure enough, when I rounded the corner there he was, waiting to greet me just like normal. Amazingly, it now seems that he has come to associate the vibrations of me clomping down the stairs with my appearance a second or so later, and since this sometimes means “FOOD!”, he comes over and shakes his little fins to get my attention. The little guy has such a funny bug-eyed face when it’s pressed up against the glass that it always makes me laugh. It’s just so darn cute I can hardly stand it.

There’s not a 100% correlation between me clomping downstairs and him coming to greet me, but it happens more often than not. Maybe I’ll break my no-naming rule and call him Pavlov.

A Load of Junk…

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 11:03 am

On the inefficiency of the Empire’s Trash Compactors.

Why do both walls of the trash compactor move towards each other, rather than employing a one-movable-wall system that would thus rely on the anchored stability, to say nothing of the strength, of the other, non-moving wall, to crush trash more effectively?

The Wrong Trousers!

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 10:53 am

The new Wallace and Gromit full-length feature film, The Curse of the Were Rabbit, is due in theaters on October 14th. Watch the hilarious trailer here.

Firefox vs IE

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 9:52 am

via motley fool:

…it is worth noting that no less than IBM (NYSE: IBM – News) has chosen to make Firefox a browsing standard for its corporate PCs. reports that some 30,000 IBM employees, or roughly 10% of the staff, already use Firefox. Now the rest of the company can download the browser from internal servers and receive technical support from IBM’s in-house IT department. That’s a huge endorsement, but it’s also much more. IBM chief information officer Brian Truskowski told that he considers the move part of the company’s commitment to open-source products, such as the Linux operating system.

I’ve been in and around tech for near 15 years now, so I find IBM’s commitment staggering. That’s because IT managers, like mutual fund managers, tend to act as a group. This endorsement could very well start a chain reaction across corporate America.

May 13, 2005

Explorer Who?

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 8:14 pm

Microsoft’s Share of the U.S. Browser Market Has Slipped Below 90 Percent With Firefox’s Growth

read more


Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 4:15 pm

Benefits of the job: Today I received in the mail an 11×17 photo of one of the groups I work with, framed, signed by the 120 or so members, and accompanied by a very nice thank-you note. I love my job.

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