Archive for September, 2007

Friday Night Party Line Episode 17

September 29, 2007

We are definitely back into regular production on this show.  This is the third show since we’ve been back and it marks the return of Ray from the original show.  We also have newcomer Kyle who made an excellent first show impression.  David joined us mid-show.

Here are the topics:

–After Alan Greenspan’s interview aired on 60 Minutes, the price of gold has gone up.  He predicts future double digit inflation.  If hyperinflation happens in this country, does it make sense to to keep $5k in gold coins just to buy bread?  Silver is another option, but it’s more volatile.  What do you think a person should do by way of currency in the face of world wide economic chaos?

–Does your source of news color your world-view?  Geeks generally get news from a variety of sources, but what if your only source was CNN, Fox News or your local newspaper.  Would the particular agency viewpoint make you see things only in that light?  (11:15)

–Do Not Want.  You’ve seen the meme, but what things in life do you actively avoid?  (25:07)

–There was an article on Digg about a guy who was active on the Something Awful forums who killed a couple of people.  Is it strange that they bothered to link a killer to a forum?  Are forums new ways to associate people?  Are forums the new Masons?  Or is it more like the Sharks and the Jets?  (36:16)

–Teh social networks.  Do you use any of them?  I had someone find me from High School yesterday on Facebook.  I’ve had some good discussions on Linkedin.  But is there any real point to it and can you explain how Facebook could really be worth more than $1.95 instead of $10 billion or half what General Motors is worth?  (46:41)

–If you could own and operate a manufacturing plant, what would you make?  (51:58)

The PSP 2000 (aka Slim): a review.

September 23, 2007

PSP 2000 Console - Piano Black
I’ve spent some time with this now and it’s time to put thoughts to bits. When the Slim came out with the Daxter bundle, I snapped it up. I cannot help but feel that this device is a small version of the PS3 in many ways in terms of it’s strengths and weaknesses. This is my first experience with the PSP, I didn’t own a fat one.

The Daxter game held my attention for a few hours. I’m not so much into run and jump games. It did surprise me because the graphics are good and the sound is terrific. From a graphics and sound perspective, the PSP is very powerful. It is far superior to the DS in this regard. Strangely enough, this does not make the PSP a superior gaming machine. It does make it a superior media machine. Just like the PS3, if you want to watch movies, the Slim is the way to go.

There are more games available for the PSP than there are for the PS3. I picked up The Warriors for $20.00, mostly for nostalgia. Buying a movie game is never a good idea. I succumbed to the nostalgia feeling and for the most part I wasn’t disappointed. It does illustrate the gaming differences the platform exhibits versus the DS. The DS is a quick platform you can grab and play games on for a few minutes and put down. You need more time for the PSP. The UMD system offers benefits in that you can fit lots of sound and video on a disk, but it’s just not as fast as a flash memory based system.

Like the PS3, I’m looking for that killer game. I’m just at the beginning of my hunt. The next games on my list are: D&D Tactics and Dungeon Maker Hunting Ground. I think a good RPG would shine on this system.

The PSP has a lot of hidden power. The built-in browser has some value and you can use the PSP as a wireless podcatcher. If you have a TiVo, you can download shows to the PSP. I will probably buy an 8Gig memory stick and put a lot of movies on it. Although this weekend, I had lots of time but I didn’t make any effort to put video on my system. I had DVDs and two laptops. Of course I didn’t play them either. This is relevant because if you carry a lot of gear: ipod, DS, laptops, Blackberry, the PSP might not get as much use as it would for the person for whom it’s his or her only device. Right now, I have used it as a diversion for my kids by putting “Good Night Moon” on it. You could use the PSP to play music instead of an iPod. You could use it for wireless web browsing instead of a laptop. However, it is probably not the best device for these activities.

In short, I’m very glad I bought a PSP but I feel like there’s more things to explore with it. Like the PS3, I feel like it has a tremendous amount of unused potential. I feel like I still need to spend more time on learning how to unlock this potential.

Plug for Rangerider’s Blog.

September 21, 2007

You’ve heard his sage, conservative voice on FNPL.  Now you can read the words that come from his mind.  Check out Rangerider’s Weblog for discussion on economics, gardening and Ubuntu.  I suspect that topics will eventually move into other areas as all blogs do.  Heck, I’ve taken pictures of steak dinners more than once and blogged about that.  In any event, if you like smart content, you’ll want to add this blog to your RSS feed.

Thursday is my Friday (tonight anyway).

September 20, 2007

I’m not working tomorrow.  It’s quite nice, really.  I’m off to visit friends in West Virginia.  Now I’m taking work with me because I have a huge project due on Tuesday.  It will take some doing, but it will be finished.

With my weekend travel and the 3200 miles I covered earlier this week by air, I won’t be doing much podcasting this weekend.  There won’t be any FNPL or OFG.  Sorry.  I’m hoping to bring both shows back next week.  Podcast feed or famine.

October is travel craziness. This probably means not much by way of blogging.  But then again lately I’ve only been blogging on weekends anyway.  But hey, for me, the weekend has already started.

Zeno the Robot Boy

September 14, 2007

Zeno got lots of press today.  I saw articles on both Fark and Yahoo.  Even a casual reader of this blog knows about my penchant for robots.  Companion robots are very appealing to me, but I’m not sure that I want them looking like Astroboy.  Nonetheless, this robot is very exciting.  I applaud the use of external brains.  This robot is really a drone that’s wirelessly connected to it’s computer for the heavy brain processing.

What’s sad is that this thing is 3-5 years a way from commercial production.  You’ll never get to the singularity at that rate.  At least the Pleo is supposed to be out this Christmas.  That’s a companion robot too, albeit a little less ambitous.  It’s still far ahead of the Robosapien droids.

I, for one, welcome our companion robot overlords.

Podcast Frenzy.

September 8, 2007

Being home and sick with a laptop let me catch up on podcast editing.  I posted new episodes of both FNPL and OFG.

 Friday Night Party Line:

Tonight’s hosts:  Dave, Nathan, Scott & Thaed.  Here are the topics:

–Is it possible to get paid for just being you?  Does a job exist where you do whatever you want to do and getting paid for it?  (2:13)

–Is Steampunk bunk?  Is there any point to it?   http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/08/26/the_age_of_steampunk/?page=3      (8:42)

–David’s topic:  Did you see that the kid who hacked the iPod got a Z Car?  http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/ptech/08/28/iphone.unlocked.ap/index.html
Plus, what do you think of the iTouch?    (15:17)

–Have you guys seen the Pleo?  Is this going to be a hit?  Will it be better
than the Aibo?  Worse?  (25:37)

–What things do you do on the weekend to make your week go more smoothly?   (29:14)

–What are your thoughts on skyscrapers?  Should they still be built?  Are they a good use of space?  Will they continue to be built?
http://washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070902/SPECIAL/109020044
/1001    (38:49)

–Female traveling willberries:  Who would you pick to be an all female rock band from mature female singers? (41:14)

–Oobuntoo?  (45:59)

Sites where you can find more information about Nathan, Scott and Thaed:

http://saturn49.blogspot.com/
http://www.frontrowcrew.com
http://www.mentalinterface.net

Subscribe via iTunes.

Email Thaed at thaed@cox.net
Direct download: Friday_Night_Party_Line_Episode_16.mp3

Over 40 Gamer

Special guests:  Dave, Nathan & Scott.  We discuss Zelda speed runs, emulators for console games (NES, Super NES, Genesis, Playstation, etc) and getting your games back if your console dies.  This might be the best discussion about emulators ever had on a podcast (or not).

Email me at over40gamer@gmail.com.

Subscribe through iTunes.
Direct download: Over_40_Gamer_Episode_7.mp3

Sick.

September 8, 2007

I think I started getting ill about 3 days ago.  Today it’s totally kicking my butt.  I’m flat on my back on the couch.  This is bad because I need to edit FNPL and I have some work for work to do tomorrow.  But I guess it doesn’t matter when you’re ill.  I was astonished by the sheer volume of stuff that came out of my nose in the shower.  If I had to guess, I would say it was in excess of 6 ounces and of a dark yellow hue.

Ok so that’s gross.  Sorry.  I’m hoping that I turn the corner on this tonight.  I can’t tell you how much it sucks to be sick.

Computer daydreaming.

September 5, 2007

I’ve been thinking about getting involved in some overclocking forums.  The thing about it is that while I think it’s a lot of fun, I really only do it when I get new computer equipment.  While this happens ten times more frequently for me than for normal people, it’s still not that frequent.  I mean as a hobby goes, the desire doesn’t get sated that often.  In fact, I would build computers every weekend if I could.  Some guys like to work on cars, I like to work on computers.

I still am thinking about building a new flagship computer.  This would be a family computer to replace the atrocious iMac.  I’m thinking overclocked quadcore.  I’m thinking surround sound.  I’m thinking Dell 30” monitor.  Flagship machines should be ridiculously powerful.

It’s going to be a while before this happens though.  Flagship machines require cash.

Minibench

September 3, 2007

I’ve been playing with a program called Minibench all evening.  It’s a series of tests for your computer that runs in a DOS prompt.  The values give you insight as to what you’re computer is good at.  The number of seconds that it takes to finish the test seems to be the final benchmark.

As I’ve said, I built a new AMD machine the other night and I was astonished tonight that it damn near beat my flagship machine, finishing the test in 621.13 second versus 592.89 seconds.  It shouldn’t be close at all.  The flagship machine is a water-cooled dual-core Intel (admittedly an early one) overclocked to 3.4 GHz.  Just for kicks, I overclocked the AMD machine, stabilizing it at a 220 CPU modifier.  It started out with scores 8% better, but the box shut off shortly after the test started.  I had the box temperature shut off set to 60 degrees C because I don’t really have a cooling unit rated for overclocking on the machine.  This is a lot of fun, but I’d rather not have a fire

Win2k FTW.

September 2, 2007

I decided I would try to make Win2k work.  I installed it and, as I suspected, it didn’t recognize the full size of the 200 GB disks, even after I installed Service Pack 4.  However, I was able to remove the disks, put them in a hard drive enclosure and reformat them externally on an XP computer.  The cool thing is that on the disk where I had installed Win2k, I was able to partition the part that wasn’t recognized.  This saved the OS build so I didn’t have to start over.  That was a relief.

My initial impression is that the AMD is fairly quick.  I’m going to try to do some benchmarking and then later, some overclocking.