Windows 7

I’m currently testing out the (free) Release Candidate (a kind of late Beta) for Windows 7. Long story short, Windows 7 is awesome and I’ll definitely be picking up a copy when the full version is released. Anyone who installs the Windows 7 RC has until March of 2010 before they even have to think about spending a dime. The new taskbar, improved memory management, Libraries, Themes, HomeGroups, Device Stage, chilled UAC, and increased zippyness make this a solid (though not essential) upgrade for Vista users. This is Microsoft’s best shot at getting entrenched XP users into the 21st century.

Even the boot screen is more awesome!
Even the boot screen is more awesome!

Student Finds Stolen Xbox 360 with His Wireless Controller

Article: 
Short of it? University student falls asleep without locking the door, some dude takes his 360. The kid wakes up, files a police report for the theft, and notices his controller still connects to the XBOX. So, he sweeps around the floors of his dorm, finds the room, perp gets caught. 

Best line ever: “Ketsenburg [360 owner] says that he is prosecuting the thief to the fullest extent of the law.”

This is why we need capital punishment, the thief needs his hard drive erased.

Back from the Dead! (Part 2)

Another long hiatus, another long post depression. It looks like the World Economies got wind of my decrease in posting and suddenly we are spiraling toward a worldwide depression! 
Meanwhile, one of my favorite processor companies gets into hot water and splits into two

And now I learn that even my laptop will inevitably fall victim to a faulty GPU, exploding into flames and taking out my desk along with it! Oh how will I play Crysis Warhead now!?! Good thing the repair should be free.

Now guess what, due to a recently discovered vulernability in adobe flash, all browsers are capable of being “clickjacked” by nefarious persons. What does this mean? Click on the wrong link, and your microphone and webcam were just secretly activated by some creepy dudes in Eastern Europe. A fix is in the works, but until then, get used to the idea of being watched. 

All those pictures!

Anyone ever wonder where I get all the awesome pictures for this blog? Sure you do! 
Formerly known as PicLens, Cooliris is the system responsible. Using the plugin (in FireFox 3.0, in my case) I can search image sites like Google or Flickr using an endless 3D wall. You can zoom in or out and fly at high speeds along the length of the wall allowing you to view an enormous amount of content very quickly. Compared to the built-in image search features on most websites, such as Google’s simple page-by-page layout, Cooliris not only increases my productivity many times over, it also looks really cool.

If you haven’t switched over to Google Chrome like I have, and you are still using FireFox 3.0, Internet Explorer 7, or Safari 3.1, I recommend downloading it and trying it out. Visit the site link above and watch the guided tour for more information. 

Hopefully Cooliris will release a Chrome version. Chrome is built upon code borrowed from Safari and FireFox, so I don’t think the conversion should be too much work. 

Hope everyone had a great previous couple of weeks, I sure did!

Google Chrome

Oh yes, I am writing this post. In fact, I’m writing it within the subject of the article!
Google recently released Chrome, its own, open-source internet browser. In a market dominated by Internet Explorer 7 (although IE8 is already available in beta 2 form) and FireFox 3, of course Google had to come up with it’s own solution. The real confusion is what open-source solution open-source advocates will rally behind. FireFox has been the primary open-source internet solution for a few years now, with “everyone else” using Internet Explorer (and a subset using Opera or Safari). Adding more confusion, Google has a working contract with Mozilla (they make FireFox) that extends all the way through 2011.Google Chrome

Either way, I’m happy that Google threw their hand into play. This shows that even open-source solutions can benefit from competition. And because everyone has access to the code, the winning modules or solutions can be augmented into the “losing team” anyway. From my understanding, Chrome uses the open-source page renderer webkit (created by Apple) and source code from FireFox itself!

So how is Chrome different than the other guys? For one, they’ve revamped the “home page”. Now, your home page consists of a 3×3 snapshot grid of your most visted websites along with recent favorites and a search bar. The tab system has been massively overhauled, spawning a new “Chrome” process on your computer for each tab. This kind of programming modularity gives Chrome extremely effective memory management and crash resistance. For a more thorough run-down of (fairly technical), I’d recommend reading the Google Chrome Comic, I’ve posted the first page above.

Try it out and tell me what you think!

Cuil

Google killer! Google killer! Not?
A few ex-Google employees have set up their own search engine named “Cuil” (pronounced, “Cool”). They claim, as of this posting, to have indexed 121 billion web pages. About 3 years ago, Google had claimed only 8 billion.

cuil Google’s own indexing algorithm has been very popular with the masses over the last several years, it ranks pages based on their interconnectedness and adjacency, or at least that is what I’ve come to believe. Cuil apparently uses a method that delves more deeply into the actual content of the page. In other words, nobody really knows the inner workings of the search algorithms, besides the creators themselves.

Cuil is also one of the first search services I have used that spices up the results page. Instead of a vertical link stack, it makes use of horizontal space and relevant images. This makes sense, as monitors become more and more widescreen. It also looks pretty slick.

Also, unlike Google and most of the other search engines (besides maybe Ask.com), Cuil states they will not ever record user searches. For those people very serious about privacy, this could give Cuil an edge. Honestly, I could care less, I don’t mind that Google gives me a few ads targeted at my interests. I’d much rather see good deals on computer processors than hear about a Victoria Secret blowout sale. Or would I?

Go ahead and try it out at www.cuil.com. Come back and tell me what you think.

Old Nwes

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

badly written sign

Don’t Worry, Be Happy (Everyone else is doing it)

According to an article posted on LiveScience, the world’s overall happiness quotient has risen significantly over the past few years.
“The upbeat outlook is attributed to economic growth in previously poor countries, democratization of others, and rising social tolerance for women and minority groups.”

Most anthropologists and sociologists have long believed that the world’s general level of happiness stays constant over time. This recent study is both surprising and comforting. It looks like we really can look forward to a brighter future.

Life Instructions

“It requires some effort to achieve a happy outlook on life, and most people don’t make it.”
Author and researcher Gregg Easterbrook

Basic advice proven to work (by scientists and religion alike, no less) include: “Make lists of things for which you’re grateful in your life, practice random acts of kindness, forgive your enemies, notice life’s small pleasures, take care of your health, practice positive thinking, and invest time and energy into friendships and family.” (source)