Saturday, July 09, 2005

Site Relaunch

This site will relauch in a few days at I will transfer my hosting from blogger to Dreamhost. So check back in a few days.

Thanks to a comment on my "Web Host" post, I was reffered to an awesome deal on Web hosting by Dreamhost.

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Friday, July 08, 2005

What's the Deal With Family Guy?

First of all, let me say I'm a huge fan of Family Guy. The first three seasons were part of me. I was a living, breathing Family Guy encyclopedia. I would quote the wise Brian or do a pretty close impression of Chris but somewhere along the line it all stopped.

Well for one reason I graduated college so I can't have a serious conversation about FG anymore. But something else has changed. I just don't enjoy FG as much as I used to. Just a few weeks ago I was counted the days till Season 4. Now it's Just Another Show. My main criticism is that it's just plain not funny anymore. I'm averaging three chuckles per episode which is pretty pathetic. The dialogue from Seasons 1-3 was so sharp and crisp. Season 4's lines can't hold a candle to previous seasons.

I've watched every episode this season so you can't tell me I haven't been patient. I understand the challenges and demands of creating a weekly animated series. I've talked to people who love the new season. I've also met others who agree with me.

My post is more a cry of concern than one of dislike. I want to like the new episodes. I just hope they can fix any problems they might be having so we can again be a Big Happy Family (Guy).

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


If you're a Internet veteran, you'll recognize Project Gutenberg as one of the greatest resources online. The Gutenberg catalog contains thousands of public domain e-texts such as H.G Wells's The War of the Worlds. The only "problem" with the site is its lack of additional formats. All works on Gutenberg are available in plain text and HTML. This is fine for your computer, but for PDAs that's a different matter.

This is where Blackmask comes in. They have converted e-texts into popular formats such as PDF, Microsoft Reader, and iSilo. You pick the format on Blackmask. It's as simple as that.

Over the years Blackmask has been one of my "can't live without" sites. I have a PDA which I load up with books. It's extremely convinient when I'm on the go or waiting at the barber. Check it out.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Free Nero Replacement

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I bought a new DVD burner. The only bad part was that it was OEM and didn't come with any software.

At the time my DVD burner was installed I downloaded the Nero 6 demo and used it happily. That was until the demo expired and I needed a replacement. I came across CDBurnerXP Pro, which is a CD/DVD burning software. I was quite impressed as I looked through the features page. I told myself it was too good to be true. This had to be some bad spyware-ridden hack of a burning suite.

Boy was I wrong. After installing and using CD Burner XP Pro, all my fears vanished. It is stable and works very well. Sure the interface isn't quite as professional as Nero's but it still exceeded my expectations. With a little bit of work, I got CD Burner XP Pro can do everything I could do with Nero.

Main Data screen

The software is frequently updated and they have some nice forums for those having problems. CD Burner XP Pro is perfect for those of us who need a functional and stable Windows burning suite and are on a budget.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Pushing the Boundaries of Tech

A discussion over at This Week in Tech Episode 11 about Ultra Wide Band (UWB) got me thinking about how technologies evolve. We all know computers are built on standards. We have hardware standards such as PCI and IDE and software ones such as HTTP. How exactly did these standards evolve?

The trend I've seen is there are two or three possible standards for any emerging technology. The driving force behind these competing psuedo-standards are corporations such as Sony or Phillips. For example, a media standard will replace DVDs in a few years. But which one? We don't know yet. Blu-Ray and HD DVD are fighting it out to answer that very question.

The only certain thing is that the market makes the final decision. There is no guarantee the "best" technology is the one that wins. Betamax was a much better standard than VHS but it didn't win.

I'm interested in learning if there is a way we can predict which standards will emerge victorious. Is there a way to look at data from past standard wars and make a good guess for the future? If there are any trends, how can we use them to better technology for all of us? In a way it's like predicting the outcome of an election. Instead of the voting population we have the market. Emerging formats are the candidates.

I'm planning to do extensive research on this subject. I'm hoping to find something of value that can answer the questions above. I'll keep everyone updated on my progress.