Ramblings Of a Madman

Yeah, like i would know a good description…

Posts for Tag: technology

The iPad2 - or rethinking my android tablet purchase

So here's the deal: I had planned to purchase a honeycomb-based tablet as my sabbatical leave of absence going away present to myself. I was carefully considering all the pros and cons of both the Motorola Xoom and the new 10" Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Between the two of them discovered the latter has a better general body finish, as well as slightly better front camera. Besides, Samsung has had the first tab out there for some time now, which means they have some more experience in regards to what works and what doesn't, as building tablets goes.

The problem is that I just tried an ipad2 for the first time. And, besides feeling super snappy and slick, it's so shinny :). I might have fallen for this thing already.

The price is more appealing as well: 549 euro for the 32GB wifi version. I can't imagine either the galaxy or the xoom matching this anytime soon. Not before the ipad3 comes out anyway ;)

UPDATE: Alright, i sold my soul to the devil: Ordered an iPad2, arriving at the end of the month :)

Using Dropbox to automatically download torrents

Need to be able to remotely add torrents to your secure machine at home? Don't want to expose any ports to the world in order to accomplish that?

Solution: Use Dropbox and uTorrent.

How? Setup uTorrent to automatically download any torrent files found in your Dropbox folder (like the picture says). After that, any torrent files that you put in Dropbox - from any computer where you set it up - will begin to be downloaded. Oh, the joy :)

Google Circles... Lycos tried that in 2004.

There's a lot of hype around the potentially upcoming Google Circles, the fancy new social networking website by the search giant. But - as it turns out - Lycos tried exactly the same back in 2004. Judging by the number of people who know this, they failed.

From their press release at the time: "Lycos Circles gives users a one-stop shop for sharing things, discussing and staying in touch with their favorite circles of people," said David Kim, CEO of Lycos. "Lycos Circles helps you be more efficient at socializing and staying connected with family, friends and the groups you care about most." So i started thinking about how exactly does an idea become successful. It's not enough for a product to be useful because, if no one knows about it, it will never take off. It's also not enough to have hype around it, when it does nothing of what people need it to do. And - of course - timing is very important; we have to keep in mind that when Lycos tried this - in the end of 2004 - was the time when Facebook was starting to ramp up. And no one was worried about privacy issues back then, Facebook was God.

So i guess - in the end - success is a combination of timing, hype/connections, usefulness, and luck :)

OSX video streaming the easy way

The problem For a while now, i have been searching for a way to stream videos from my living room's Mac Mini to my other Macs across the house. Especially to my laptop (or in the future to my tablet) when i'm laying in bed. Yes, i know i'm lazy, but one has to take advantage of technology, right? :)

The problem is that i never found a nice enough way to do it. I tried streaming through VLC, but unfortunately the wireless network seems not to be enough to cope with the amount of data. Also, it's a bit cumbersome to have to setup the stream every time i want to watch a movie in bed. I looked into whether XBMC or Plex would do the trick and, although there are some built in server capabilities, i was never able to make it work for my needs. The solution Enter StreamToMe and ServeToMe. Both applications are available in the Mac Appstore (they also have iPhone, iPod, and iPad apps) and allow seamless video streaming across Macs. Painless. You define the folders you want to share in the server and the client gets to browse them, complete with video thumbnails. Extremely cool and practical, especially because they convert the videos on the fly so it plays smoothly even across 3G networks :D

From their website: "Files are live-transcoded into the native format for your device so you don't need to pre-convert your media. Adaptive bitrates mean that you can stream over WiFi or 3G." Now if i could just get an android version :)

OSX Lion headphones sound bug

If you're trying the new developer preview version of OSX (10.7 - Lion) and find that the default sound output (headphones) is misbehaving, there is a quick fix for it.

According to OSX developers, if you go into the Audio MIDI Setup (under /Applications/Utilities) and change the output format from 2ch-16bit to 2ch-32bit (like in the image), that should take care of the problem.


Eclipse IDE introduces ... wait for it ... a market place!

Application markets and stores are all the rage these days. Let's see, there's the apple store, the android market, Microsoft's app store, Nokia's OVI store, and probably a gazillion more. It's like if you don't have one, you don't really exist.

Well, now the eclipse IDE has got one as well. You can get plugins and the likes there, in which seems to be an easier way to find components to install. Gone are the times when you had to copy and paste endless amounts of update sites to install your favorite plugins. Or so i hope :)

Will operating systems become user interface agnostic?

After reading a post in PCPro.co.uk, about the dual core ARM phone that can run both Android and Ubuntu at the same time, i can't help being excited about the possibilities that the near future holds for us, mobile-wise.

I'm pretty sure that - at some point in time - we will not need laptops or desktop computers anymore; we can just go around with our tablets and/or phones and - when we need more screen space to work - just plug it into an external setup (screen, mouse, keyboard) and hack away.

Which brings me to think that the next versions of mobile operating systems will become more and more full fledged operating systems as we traditionally think of them on the desktop. Sure, right now they are being tailored to suit touch screen interfaces (tablets, phones), but i think we might get to a point where they will have to become user interface agnostic, to allow this type of hybrid behavior.

Will there ever be a segway device that looks cool?

There's a new segway-like vehicle: It's called SoloWheel and it's basically a simpler version of the former. It does look like much harder to "drive" than the segway, though, so i seriously doubt this will pick up any momentum, if you catch my drift :)

Here's the link to the engadget article and the essential videos. The first is basically an ad, and the second is an interaction of a normal person with the device for the first time:

Lighter naval ships made of aluminum foam

I can't believe this is so hard to find on Google. Someone sent me a documentary video (in Portuguese - unfortunately - but, if you understand German, the creators of this idea speak in their native language) and i can find hardly any references to this online.

It's basically about using a special aluminum powder that, when heated, transforms into a foam that is - check it out - lighter than water. Yes, imagine ships 30% lighter, that can carry many many more tons of materials. Less trips = less pollution = win/win ;)

Here's a link to a 1998 paper about this.

I wonder if this technology is already in use in today's ships and, if not, why?