archive for November, 2005

Link Roundup: Nov. 2, 2005

I won’t be able to post for the next few days, so be sure to check these links out.

End of Aging?
Yet another Aubrey de Grey article. I really don’t know if he knows what he is talking about, but he can’t be too far off. Even if he doesn’t get it quite right, I’m sure other scientists will be able to solve many of these same problems. Don’t be surprised if the life expectancy gets pushed back 10 years at a time, and in those 10 years they’re able to push it back another 10. Plan your retirement accordingly.

Share the Bandwidth
Fon is setting up a system for accessing and sharing wireless network connections. If you want to provide network access, you can either charge for it, or share it freely. If you share it freely, then you’ll be able to freely access other people’s network too. After my bad experience with wireless I look forward to these types of systems.

Indigo Prophecy
I read a review of Indigo last week that sounded very interesting. I decided to try out the demo for myself. The game has a great concept. Your character is forced to murder someone, and now you’re on the run. From what I can tell, it’s a non-linear adventure game. The graphics are decent (comparable to Max Payne 2), and the sound is very nice. The show stopper for me was the control system. To manipulate objects in the game, you have to use mouse gestures. I just couldn’t get the hang of it. I’m sure it would play much better on a console using an analog stick. Along the same vane, a friend suggested Eternal Darkness.

Pygame
“Pygame is a set of Python modules designed for writing games.” One of these days, I’m going to build something in Python. When I do, it might as well be a game.

Flickr Printing
I haven’t tried it myself, but Flickr now allows you to print your pictures. I’ve set up my account so that anyone can print my pictures. They’re giving users 10 free 4×6″ prints, so I’ll have to try it out soon.

Eye:hand Photos
Speaking of Flickr… Here’s a set of pictures and corresponding drawings. It’s a really cool idea and seems like a great way to practice drawing, even if you aren’t going to post the results.

Darwinia Update
It looks like there is a new Darwinia demo available. If you haven’t played the game before (or even if you have), be sure to download it and try it out. I need to download the latest patches and replay the game itself. It’s very cool and I love supporting indie game developers like Introversion. While I’m looking at it, I see that they’re hard at work on a couple more games. I can’t wait to check them out.

Firefox 1.5 RC1
The first release candidate for Firefox 1.5 is available. Technically, this still isn’t the final version, but it will be unless they find any major bugs. If you want a faster, better, and safer browsing experience, I suggest you download this version. It will automatically notify you and upgrade when any updates are available.

Microsoft Live
It’s all over the news, Microsoft has announced a new set of web applications/services that it’s calling “Windows Live” (dumb name). For some reason, visiting the site in Firefox seems to reveal more than in IE. With IE, all I see is a search box, but in Firefox I see what looks like a bit like the personalized Google site. They also indicate that they’ll be supporting Firefox (on Windows only?). With all of the standards compliance talk on IEBlog (the blog for IE 7), maybe Microsoft is finally going to stop abusing its monopoly. Okay, I’m not holding my breath either, but one can hope.

Computer Woes

This is really a continuation of the Radeon x850 + ABIT AV8 + RAID problem. My computer still starts up, and I can still play games — just not all of the games that I’d like to play. I recently installed and tried playing Half Life 2: Lost Coast, but it keeps crashing about five minutes in. I’d really like to have this resolved before Oblivion is released, so I did some more searching.

I was able to find one interesting post regarding a possible solution. It requires some manipulation of the BIOS software that makes me very nervous.

See… the BIOS software is really two pieces of software packaged together — the main BIOS that starts the computer and lets the OS talk to the hardware, and special software that runs in another chip for dealing with the RAID stuff. The RAID part of the BIOS is supplied by a company called VIA, and the rest of the stuff is supplied by ABIT. Unfortunately, ABIT hasn’t released a BIOS package that includes the latest VIA software.

Well, this guy on the forums claims that he found a way to extract the latest VIA software from some other manufacturer’s BIOS software, and insert it into the BIOS software for our computers. He said that if you do that, you can use the latest of everything and it all works.

As it is, I don’t like touching the BIOS because if you do something wrong, you pretty much kill the motherboard. Building your own BIOS package seems downright insane. On the other hand, the only alternative I can think of that will make my computer a viable gaming machine is to replace the motherboard or video card (the motherboard being cheaper). I’m going to hold off for a while to see if something else turns up, but at this point I figure the hack might as well be worth a shot. If I do end up breaking the motherboard, I’ll just replace it, which I’d have to do anyway.

Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

I found this great recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup a few days ago and made a batch that turned out great. Here are the ingredients in case the page goes away:

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup whole corn kernels, cooked
1 cup white hominy
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
crushed tortilla chips
sliced avocado
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
chopped green onions

Of course, I tweaked the recipe a bit to suit my needs (as I suggest you do). Instead of chicken breasts, I used thighs to save money and add flavor. They were skinned, browned, and then cooked in the broth, then the meat was shredded and removed the bones before finishing the soup. I added a chopped habanero for heat.

I skipped the tortilla chips and cheese to lower the calories. I know, I know… this sort of kills the tortilla part of tortilla soup, but oh well. If you want tortillas, I suggest using corn tortillas sliced into 1/4 inch slices instead of the chips.

Groklaw and SCO Update

First up, Groklaw has a new address: http://www.groklaw.net/. Update your bookmarks if you have ’em. Groklaw is run by Pamela Jones a “journalist with a paralegal background.” The site has been following the SCO vs. IBM case, but also covers other legal issues surrounding open source software.

SCO has accused IBM of copying code from Unix into Linux, but for years they wouldn’t openly disclose what code has been copied. They claim it’s some sort of trail secret, but that does make any sense because all of the code for Linux is already publicly available. Well, last Friday they finally had to tell the court exactly what did wrong.

Of course, they only told the court and are having it kept secret. It’s really quite ridiculous. The people running SCO have made tones of money by making extreme accusations and have caused a lot of damage to the Linux community in the process. It’ll be very interesting to see how this all turns out. Hopefully it won’t take too many more years.

Outfoxed, the Firefox Extension

Last week I checked out Outfoxed, a Firefox extension that lets you rate pages and your friends (and friends of friends) see those ratings. Sadly, the extension doesn’t seem to work with the beta version of Firefox 1.5 that I’m using. Their servers didn’t seem to be able to handle the load of everyone signing up either. I think I’ll try again next week after 1.5 is finalized.

Hopefully they’ll have worked out most of the bugs by then — at least most of the big ones. It’s really a great idea with a terrible name (see the other Outfoxed). If this technology can be proved, it would make a great addition to existing services like AOL, MSN, Google, and Yahoo.

National Novel Writing Month

Today starts National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to wright 50,000 words (the equivalent of a novel) in the month of November. This works out to about 1,667 words per day. It doesn’t have to be high quality, it’s just an exercise in making yourself write.

I’m taking this as inspiration, and not as my personal goal. Instead, the challenge that I’m giving myself is three fold. First, I want to bring my word count on my blog up to 100,000 words. I currently have 70,774 words, so that means I need 29,226 more or nearly 1,000 more per day. I’m going to be out of town several days this month, so I really need try for more.

My second goal to to post more frequently. I’d like at least one post per day. At least days that I’m home. I really can’t post if I don’t have access to a computer.

And lastly, I want to post at least one article to each of my categories. Aviation will be easy, but fiction wont. Hopefully this will add a little variety and make for better reading.

My goals are independent, but complimentary. Hopefully the exercise will improve my writing and my blog in the long run.

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