Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Everyone should drive a Ford Escort.

The world would be a better place if everyone drove one kind of car. Mechanics would not have to stock parts for multiple cars, which would save a lot of money. Safety would be improved by reducing the distraction of figuring out the controls while driving. Hiring mechanics would be easy because every mechanic would be certified on the Ford Escort. Quality would improve because everyone would be putting their effort to improving the same car model. Companies that manufacture add-on parts would only need to make them work on one type of car. This monopoly would help everyone.

If this seems crazy to you, think about the current state of computers. Why do most people like the uniformity of computers, but hate the idea of the same for cars?

Perhaps we need to restore some competition to the world of computers. I think so.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Google has started to support other operating systems on their video site by going with Macromedia Flash. This is perhaps a pragmatic way to solve the problem, but I would have preferred it if they had continued with the open source VLC player that they had originally used. Flash is multi-platform, but only to the platforms that Macromedia chooses to support. Linux on the PowerPC chip is not supported. I wonder if they tried to work with the open source community before switching to flash?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Voice over IP is really generating a lot of buzz right now. Unfortunately, the only common link between all the VOIP providers is the Plain Old Telephone Service lines. The only way to get Skype to talk to Vonage is to use the old phone network, which costs money. SIP seems to have a good shot at being the bridge, but not everyone is supporting it, and name space and directory services is still an issue. I hope this gets sorted out soon. I'd love it if my Cell phone became nothing more that a small Internet Protocol device. It could carry any data I wanted, including Voice.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I don't want my free and open source operating system to replace Microsoft Windows. I just want it to be an option. I want to be able to choose my operating system and hardware. This requires open standards and protocols.

Options drive competition, which drives innovation.

Monday, September 19, 2005

I picked up an iRiver IFP-790 (256MB) for $50 at staples. This is a great MP3 player for podcasting for the price. The voice recording options are great. It has a good built-in microphone, and the line-in supports both line level and mic level input. I plugged my very cheap PC headset with microphone and got very decent quality. I think I'll look for a small stereo microphone. I guess the Samsung is going back for a refund.

I upgraded the firmware to the USB Mass Storage version so it acts just like a regular drive. Now I don't need to use the Windows-only file management utility that comes with it. The UMS firmware does limit your encoding quality, but it is enough for voice. I have noticed a faint, repeating chirping sound when recording through the built-in mic, but Audacity is able to clean it up.

I bought a replacement for my much loved Creative MuVo TX-FM. The MiVo was perfect for the features that it offers, but it lacked some features that I wanted, so I picked up a Samsung YP-MT6. I wanted to give my money to a company that supports Ogg Vorbis, and I also wanted a device that would do mp3 encoding. The Samsung is nice, but the built-in microphone is just as crappy as the MuVo, and the line in uses the 3/32 jack instead of the 1/8. Maybe this is to prevent you from plugging your headphones into it. I bought it at Sears, so I have 30 days to decide if I want to keep it or bring it back.
Now I need to find a small, portable device to convert a microphone signal to a line level signal. I could then do voice recording with an external microphone.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Sent feedback to google about their lack of support for other operating systems in their video service. At least I got a repsonse, even if it was a generic one:

Subject: Re: [#33636093] Please support other operating systems

Thank you for sharing your feedback about the Google Video Viewer.
Currently, your system must meet the following system requirements in
order for the Google Video Viewer to work properly:

- Windows 2000 or later; independent of browser
- DirectX 9.0c run time

We hope to expand our platform options in the near future. Please visit
Google Video beta in the coming months to see our latest additions and


The Google Video Team

Thursday, September 15, 2005

AJAX kicks butt. Microsoft feared the combination of Netscape and Java, which would put the applications on the network instead of the operating system. I'm sure Microsoft will find a way to kill AJAX, most likely with a competing technology that is not cross platform.

I'm looking forward to the day when my browser is my window to my applications. I'm already fairly web-enabled, but the experience is not as nice as a desktop application. AJAX should change that.

Monday, September 12, 2005

It is time for google to start supporting other operating systems. They derive a lot of benefit from the open source world, but their special services seem to only support Microsoft Windows.
For a long time, google video has only supported Microsoft Windows. It is based on the open source Video Lan Client.
Now, google talk is available, and only support Windows. Oh, and it is based on the open source jabber system.
I don't want to give google too much grief, as they do support open source projects through the summer of code program.

It is amazing how a recent version of a Linux desktop uses so little memory. I have an old 233mhz laptop with 128MB RAM. Ubuntu 5.04 will boot to the gnome desktop without touching swap space. The system is still slow due to the slow CPU and hard drive, but it works. I'm downloading the preview release of Ubuntu 5.10 to see if things get better or worse with a very new release. A lot of the credit for the reasonable memory footprint has to go the Gnome desktop, not the kernel. I know I could get better numbers with a different desktop, such as fluxbox, but I wanted to test a default install for a popular distribution.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I heard an interesting way to raise money in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina: Work from home for a day.

A business can allow certain employees to work at home for a day, and the employee agrees to donate the gas savings to an organization such as the Red Cross. This makes funds available, and reduces that demand for fuel.


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