Against the Grain

Slightly more than just jibba jabba

Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Is Chrome THAT Bad-ass? Probably, and probably not

Posted by Patrick on 2 Sep 2008

Out on the wild, wild Interweb, there are people spouting praise upon praise upon praise for the promise of Google’s new web browser, Chrome, which made its debut today.

I must admit, I am a fan of it. I really do like it. But it’s not the second coming of a bread-slicer (at least, not in its beta form) but I’d say it does do a great number of things in new, ingenious ways. You can read all over the web about how well it breaks down browsing into separate processes, how it manages memory, how it holyshitifies the speed of javascript apps running browser-side.

But let’s be real. First impressions are a big deal in this Age. People are upset that Windoze is the only currently-supported OS. Whilst the majority want a Mac/Linux port, I personally want to see a mobile port to compare it to Opera Mini, which absolutely rocks except for how it manages cookies (maybe it’s only on my bberry – separate post). Sure it’ll be part of Android, but how about something for RIM or CE users to really grab hold of the mobile web market? Of course, I’m sure it’s planned.

Also, even on Windows, it has issues with how it handles some pages that were designed for either IE or Fox/Flock. Of note are pages I use at work which run frame-based UIs over Tomcat are rendered completely blank (cue the “Let’s Make a Deal” zonk music). Parts of my homepage are Flash-based and they don’t render properly. My personal email web-UI doesn’t render properly and runs in limited feature mode.

There is certainly work to be done – duh, that’s why it’s a beta. So, while Chrome may eventually turn out so badass that it was indeed the brains behind creating the Virgin Mary in all those inanimate objects like grilled cheese sammiches, right now it’s a somewhat sweet, slightly buggy, yet exhilirating, fresh take on web browsing. NOW GIVE ME SOME PLUGINS!

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Posted in educational, News Items, omfg, opinion, technology | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How Computer-Savvy is Your Mate

Posted by Patrick on 9 Dec 2007

If you’re reading this post, you can at least wield a mouse and keyboard enough to search for something on Google or your favorite search engine, or you can navigate wordpress fairly well.  How about your significant other?  I’ve devised a quick little quiz to bring out the true nature of your mate’s overall computer skills.  You may play along if you wish.

1. What is the commonly-used name for these compressed file types?
a.  .zip
b.  .rar
c.  .tar.gz

2.  Which one of these isn’t a popular GNU/Linux distribution?
a.  Fedora
b.  Slackware
c.  Xubuntu
d.  Leftish

3.  Which one of these is not a web browser?
a. Concerto
b. Flock
c. Opera
d. SeaMonkey

4.  Which one of these is not a common PC input type?
a.  RJ-45
b.  RG-11
c.  RCA
d.  SATA

5.  Which of these protocols operates at the fastest speed?
a.  USB 2.0
b.  DS-3
c.  Firewire
d.  ATA

 

How did you do?

Posted in educational, humor, men, random, technology, women | Leave a Comment »

Nintendo’s Wii Protective Covers Not too Shabby

Posted by Patrick on 30 Oct 2007

As a Wii owner I was privy to the offer of protective covers for my Wii remotes that Nintendo recently posted.  Under their agreement, they are including the covers in all new Wii console packaging and therefore those of us who already own a Wii are not being short-changed by the offer.  It’s a nice touch though it will cost them millions all in the realm of improving the safety for the user and providing some durability for the remote itself.

I got my covers yesterday; though I only own 2 Wii remotes I obviously got the max available during the offer, which was 4.  They’re pretty nice, actually; in fact, they are so nice that I consider them to be the second generation of protective covering for Wii remotes.  Initially we’ve been rimjobbed by glorified skins that do nothing more than keep the original remote clean and perhaps make a house full of kids’ remotes easier to identify.  This new, Nintendo-issued cover is much more than that.  It offers grip assistance, a protective “plug” for the nunchuk port, and it provides air-pocket cushioning on the front half of the remote where the delicate work is housed inside (and also to provide some protection from projectile remotes being launched at much costlier television screens).

What is my rating for the new protective covers?  On a 1-10 scale they are an 8.8.  I wish you didn’t have to remove nearly the whole thing to change batteries, and I wish there was a grip assisting cover for the nunchuk, which there is not.

Who has these that cares to comment?

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Posted in gaming, opinion, technology, Wii | 2 Comments »

HP:DH Audiobook for your iPod

Posted by Patrick on 31 Jul 2007

Let’s face it, sooner or later the gestapo of Apple will be offering Jim Dale’s recorded version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for purchase and download via iTunes (an anagram of nutsie, btw).  But, even if that’s all well and good for convenience sake, why would you buy it from them?  Why would I download a set of DRM-encrusted m4b iPod-specific files when I can get the actual discs from any major retailer either online or in-store for 1)cheaper, probably and 2)more flexible? 

It’s certainly not rocket science to take the MP3 or AAC discs and convert them to nutsie’s format, thanks to freeware and shareware programs out there on web sites like freeipodsoftware.  I personally use the MP3 to iPod Audiobook Converter, and haven’t had any problems with the newest iTunes and current iPod firmware.  The only note worth mention is that the files need to be kept under about 4-5 hours runtime each, or you may have trouble getting your iPod into sleep mode.

Technical capability aside, nutsie doesn’t offer US customers the option to purchase the Stephen Fry reading of the UK book editions.  Jim Dale does a good job, but the UK readings are actually my preference, and they’re widely available – if you can’t find it at Target or a retailer, Britain’s Amazon has it.  I doubt nutsie, who thrives so heavily on targeted marketing, will ever come to grips with that.  Hell, I can’t even buy Japanese music from Japan via nutsie, but I can certainly get it from other outlets.  I went as far as to set up a proxy in Tokyo to get to the actual Japanese nutsie store online and just check it out. off topic, sorry.

So, who out there is planning to or has already dumped HP:DH audiobooks onto their iPod, even before the nutsie store has it for sale?

Posted in apple, harry potter, international, Japan, music, random, reading, technology | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Is Windows Live Writer what YOU blog in?

Posted by Patrick on 14 Jul 2007

I guess I’m a little behind the technology curve when it comes to blogging utilities ~ I don’t really have a problem with Firefox and the stock WordPress editor, but evidently the people who do that are now in the minority and a plurality of folks are using WLW for their blog posts.  So, I decided to give it a go; and this post is being drafted in WLW.

I guess the download and setup is simple enough, and it seems to integrate with WordPress well enough, so the fact that I travel a good bit might make it easier to blog on the go.

If you’re experienced with WLW, or you refuse to use it for some reason, please leave a comment or so and mention your thoughts and/or experiences.

Posted in opinion, technology, wordpress | 2 Comments »

I’m in the Comcast SDV trial! Woot?

Posted by Patrick on 1 May 2007

As an employee I’ve been asked to participate in the field trials for switched digital video; I got my official notification in the mail today. Those who know me know very well that I’m a test engineer by profession, so I’m actually excited about being part of the beta, but at the same time, I do want to be able to watch TV at certain times of the day, and if I don’t have a signal because of a provisioning problem, me and big brother are going to have to tangle.

So, the obvious question: wtf is and what is the importance of switched digital video? I’ll try to keep my answer simple. Switched Digital Video, or SDV, is an evolution in how cable television operators provide a tv signal from a headend to a customer. It dedicates an amount of bandwidth to the household rather than doing bandwidth-sharing which is a common source of issues like interference in hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) architectures. What it boils down to is that the customer only takes the bandwidth that their tuned channels need, and that savings in bandwidth allows the cable provider to route additional services in the line — like high-speed internet or other data applications — as well and provide a virtually unlimited number of channels to the customer.

I know that Time Warner cable was pretty aggressive out of the box with implementing SDV. Comcast is starting field trials here in Denver in May and I don’t know when a public release/rollout would take place after that, but I’m excited to see it happening.

Posted in technology, TV | 2 Comments »