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Monthly Archives: December 2007

Why Apple will never support ogg/flac

have been wondering for some time why Apple won’t just freaking add ogg,flac, or any other Xiph formates to iTunes and iPods. It just hit me, it really is quite obvious; they want people to use their own proprietary formats. They don’t want people to be able to control their music because that is bad for their profits.

I need a new mp3 player (I have a 4GB ipod mini now) so I looked around a little bit, and I couldn’t find anything that is as nice as an ipod but also supports Xiph formats. Some of the Archos stuff is really cool but they are expensive and I can’t find them in stores so I can try before I buy. If there is anyone out there with one of these or something better please let me know about it. The other route is to just get an ipod and deal with it or install linux or what ever that firm wear thing is. I have done both of these things with my current ipod, but I got ride of them to save space.

Anyway, I digress. Apple wants to force people into their hardware, software, and music store. I for one only buy music on cds because I am a simi-audiophile and only willing to pay for music if I can get it in a lossless form. Apple, according to Slashdot, is preparing to offer a lossless iTunes store. I, of course, will still not buy this because the music will be DRMed (DRM= Digital Restrictions Management) and only available in Apple’s format; I won’t buy music that I may not be able to use in the future.

Die for the metal not the format.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2007 in apple

 

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Concatenation: Encrypt /home, An Introduction to Wine, Some really cool bash tips

It’s time for yet another concatenation. I don’t feel like trying to get those title to actually look like links right now so just trust me if you put your mouse on them, not the first one though, it will turn blue.

Before I get into the concatenation I would like to inform all of you who read via rss that I set up a feedburner feed so while the wordpress feed will continue to work I would prefer it if everyone would switch over to the feedburner feed. Thanks.

CommandLine Warriors: Encrypt /home

I had planned to spend some time on figuring out how to encrypt partitions in linux and then write up a little how to but it seems that zeth beat me too it. I haven’t tried it yet but it looks like it is about what I was going to do.

I would like to stress the importance of encrypting your disk, specifically /home, but I’m lazy so I’ll let zeth do it for me.

You can’t always guarantee the physical security of mobile computers, indeed I myself had one stolen this year. However, on Linux, there is no need to leave yourself open to identity or data theft. Indeed if you are using Linux and you ended up at this blog post somehow, then you are highly likely to either work in IT or be otherwise highly technically competent. In other words, you have no excuse.

Encryption is easy to set-up, the approach I’ve outlined here does not require a reinstall, we are just going to swap out your home directory for an encrypted home partition. The simplest possible approach, but a big step forward in security for many of us.

I really doesn’t seem to be that hard. Do it or you may regret it later.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

wine-review:A quick introduction to Wine

wine-review:>wine-review:>Wine is a way to run windows programs on linux, for those you you who don’t know. Here is a quick explination of what Wine is that is a lot better than I could ever do.

Wine is a translation layer (a program loader) capable of running Windows applications on Linux and other POSIX compatible operating systems. Windows programs running in Wine act as native programs would, running without the performance or memory usage penalties of an emulator, with a similar look and feel to other applications on your desktop.

The Wine project started in 1993 as a way to support running Windows 3.1 programs on Linux. Bob Amstadt was the original coordinator, but turned it over fairly early on to Alexandre Julliard, who has run it ever since. Over the years, ports for other Unixes have been added, along with support for Win32 as Win32 applications became popular.

I for one have tried wine but never put much effort into it. I have a copy of KOTOR that I haven’t played in a while and I might see if I can get it to install.

This is just a quick introduction to Wine, the entire site is dedicated to wine, so it might be good to look at the rest of the site to really learn to use Wine.

Richards linux, web design and e-learning collection: Bash Tips and Tricks

This one blew me away. This is some really good stuff. Here was what he covers:

  1. Lost bash history. Which is losing history when you have multiple tabs open
  2. stupid spelling mistakes
  3. Duplicate entries in bash history
  4. Multi-line commands split up in history
  5. searching bash history
  6. moving to the previous directory

That last one may not seem all that amazing to you right now but it is actually really cool, unless you already know how to do it. Why mess with paths to get back where you were when you can do it with one character?

I really suggest you give this a read.

That’s all for now folks.

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2007 in concatenation

 

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Windows 7 Sounds like it is going to Suck Hard

Update: Dec 23, 2008 Most of my prodictions in this post have proven to be wrong. I have used a beta (or was it alpha?) of windows 7 (don’t ask me for a copy) and I can say it is a lot like vista, but with many improvements. I haven’t used vista much (for personal use anyway) since the beta so I’m probably not the best person to ask regarding the improvements windows 7 has made, but I have told by windows fanboys that they are rather significant. Needless to say windows 7 is not a thin client like I predicted in this post (thankfuly), however they are going to be doing something with cloud networking but I no idea what it is (I don’t know if it is really known/understood what they are doing). If you have any information or input about the reality of windows 7 please leave a comment.

Bill gates on windows 7 ” That means that right now when you move from one PC to another, you’ve got to install apps on each one, do upgrades on each one. Moving information between them is very painful. We can use Live Services to know what you’re interested in. So even if you drop by a [public] kiosk or somebody else’s PC, we can bring down your home page, your files, your fonts, your favourites and those things. So that’s kind of the user-centric thing that Live Services can enable. [Also,] in Vista, things got a lot better with [digital] ink and speech, but by the next release there will be a much bigger bet. Students won’t need textbooks; they can just use these tablet devices. Parallel computing is pretty important for the next release. We’ll make it so that a lot of the high-level graphics will be just built into the operating system. So we’ve got a pretty good outline.” (from Wikipedia)

What that means is that windows 7 is going to be a thin client which is just used to connect to a copy of windows server over prised edition that isn’t any better than the previous edition but cost a lot more because we like to rip you off edition (or what ever the version is when windows 7 comes out). You will have to pay a monthly fee to access this server, which is the entire reason they are doing it like that in the first place, and it will be very sloooooow and unreliable. Oh and lets not forget that they will have complete access to your unencrypted files, because they would never offer to encrypt them for you, but don’t worry they won’t look at them.

ReactOS is starting to smell really good right about now… Though their homepage doesn’t reflect it if you look over at SourceForge you will see that they have just pushed out Build Environment 1.0!

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2007 in Microsoft, opinion

 

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Site of the Week: GNU Emacs Manual With a Hint of Death Metal

I can’t say that I’m a member of the church of emacs, but when I’m forced to use vim I can’t help but to hate it. Vim has two modes do nothing and beep at you. I can’t figure out how to get into the edit mode (I’ve read that you have to hit esc but it never works for me) so I just smash the keyboard until it starts typing, of course something it then goes back to doing nothing or beeping before I can get anything typed. I have had more success with quiting vim than anything else, but I digress. I’m sure every body here has heard of emacs before but you may not have used it. Emacs has a pretty steep learning curve (I don’t know it that well) so I went looking for a good tutorial. I found the gnu projects manual for Gnu Emacs. It isn’t the most interesting read but you will be surprised with the things that you will learn. so take a look if you want.

Also here is a very interesting music video.

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

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No Apology for a Generation that Pushed, and Exceeded, the Boundaries of the World around Them

I just finished up a final copy of one of the papers that I talked about in my last post, so I thought I would share it with you now even though I said I wouldn’t be posting until next week. This paper needs some context for it to make sense. We were assigned a paper to read called “An Apology to Future Generations” by Simon Benlow and then write a response either about what we wanted to apologize for or why we disagreed with the paper. I tried to find this paper on google and had no luck so sorry; I’ll just have to tell you about it (I did find the text book it came from The Composition of Everyday life: A guide to writing chap 12 if your interested). This article basically said we are screwing everything up (environment, society, and stuff like that) with no regard for future generations. The response I wrote is called “No Apology for a Generation that Pushed and Exceeded, the Boundaries of the World around Them.” Here is a pdf if you want it (the pdf is a much better read). The html version follows.

No Apology for a Generation that Pushed, and Exceeded, the Boundaries of the World around Them

I can not apologize for what my generation has done. Yes, we made mistakes, but we also made great advances. Our mistakes will no doubt negatively affect future generations in some way, but I believe that the benefits of our advancements in medicine and science will far outweigh all of our mistakes. There is no reason to assume that our mistakes can’t be fixed with new break throughs in science. Our generations have done terrible things, but we have also made advances in science that may allow us to make up for those things; we can change the way we get resources and possible fix the damage that we have caused.

We have cut down forests, pillaged the oceans, and spewed green house gasses into the atmosphere. In hindsight these are terrible things, but when we started doing them we couldn’t imagine the effects they would have. The problems of our lifestyle has only just started to show their ugly faces, and my generation is poised to find a solution. I don’t think a solution means that we have to change our lifestyle; We need a cleaner, safer way to do things. Just because riding a bike can kill you doesn’t mean you should stop riding; it means you should buy a helmet and be cautious.

By not changing our life styles I don’t mean that we should keep cutting down forests, over fishing the oceans, and spewing out CO2. I mean we should find a way to have the luxuries of a scientific society without doing those things. We can plant fast growing trees, possible genetically engineered to grow much faster, in tree farms for making paper and other things that don’t require hardwoods. We can make fisheries on dry land so that we never have to fish from the oceans again, so that the fish are much closer to our homes, and so they will have lower mercury levels. We can make electricity, and other forms of power, in ways that don’t require us to burn fossil fuels. We can figure out how to remove the green house gasses that we have already put in the air. We can recycle.

It is obvious that cutting down the rain forests is something that just shouldn’t be done, but living without wood is almost impossible. That is where tree farm come in. Tree farms have been around for a while, but not in very large scale. There are problems to tree farms though; It takes a long time to grow trees, so it isn’t an overnight fix, and hardwood tree farms would be almost impossible. Most wood that is used goes into making paper and food products. All of the would that is used for those applications are softwoods, like pine, which can be fairly easily farmed. Combined with recycling the paper that we have already made and using less paper humans could almost get ride of the need to harvest natural forests entirely.

There have been universities and other organizations that been trying to make fish farms in the oceans work for a few years now. These farms consist of a big net full of fish and some computers that feed them whenever they need it. I don’t think that is the best way to do it, but it certainly could work. To cut down on pollution from transporting the fish from the ocean to plates, the fish farms should be on dry land. A large building with a big tank of water, like a giant fish tank, would be all one needs. Not only would this make it cleaner, it would make it cheaper in the long run. because if the fisheries are in the ocean one would have to travel to get to them and back. If the fish farms are in our backyards we can keep a watchful eye on them without motor-boating a few miles into the ocean.

On top of changing where we get natural resources we must change where we get non-natural resources. I have recently heard of self contained fission reactors the size of hot tubs that can power thousands of homes for upwards of a decade. These reactors are designed in such a way that they have no moving parts and thus do not require any human interaction to work properly and safely; they would be just like any battery that one might buy at any local store except much bigger. A town could buy one of these and power the entire town for years with no greenhouse gasses emissions at all. Of course, nuclear fission has it downsides, radioactive waste. Radioactive waste can be reburied in the ground, but it still remains dangerous. It could be thrown into the sun, but currently there is no safe way to get it into space. The ultimate solution to our energy needs seems to be nuclear fusion. Energy producing fusion is still years away but we have made great strides in the area.

Assuming that this generation, or the next, can reduce CO2 emissions to an acceptable level there will still be a lot of CO2 in the atmosphere that shouldn’t be there. The CO2 and methane that cause global warming must be removed from the atmosphere if the situation is really going to improve; I think that this could be done. I read once of a type of concrete developed that could absorb CO2; buildings made of CO2 absorbing concrete could greatly reduce the amount of CO2 in the air, but more is likely needed. If my generation can find a way to take huge amounts of both greenhouse gasses out of the air, there would be much more time to figure out how to stop polluting.

Not every country in the world could do all of these things, but the countries that can’t are most likely not the ones that are causing the problems. My generation has made mistakes, the fact that there are still poverty stricken countries that are being taken advantage of by “the developed world” is evidence of our mistakes, but we can fix them. I have always said that it is okay to break something as long as you can fix it; breaking things is just a learning experience.

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2007 in opinion, writing

 

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I’ve been busy

I’ve been really busy lately so I haven’t posted anything for a while, as you may have noticed. I’ve had a lot of school stuff to do (to prove it I think I might post some of the papers that I have been writing) and I’ll probably stay busy until the 10th or 14th. You can expect regular post after one of those dates (I hope).

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2007 in blog

 

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