"It's yet another in a long series of diversions in an attempt to avoid responsibility." - Chris Knight

Archive for the ‘Geekery’ Category

I Give You the Planet Vulcan

January 2nd, 2008 by iDunzo

January 2, 1860: French mathematician Urbain Le Verrier announces the discovery of Vulcan, a planet orbiting between Mercury and the sun, to members of the Académie des Sciences in Paris.

Le Verrier, who used Vulcan to explain an anomaly in Mercury’s orbit, already enjoyed a stellar reputation among astronomers, having discovered Neptune in 1846 using only mathematic principles to detect its presence.

Turns out Le Verrier was a bit hasty this time, not to mention gullible, basing his claim on some pretty dubious observations by one Edmond Modeste Lescarbault, a provincial physician and amateur astronomer working from a homemade observatory.

Le Verrier interviewed Lescarbault at length, though, and was convinced that the good doctor knew what he was talking about.

Doubts about this “new” planet surfaced immediately and the professionals set to work attempting to either confirm or debunk Vulcan’s existence.

Although numerous reports of “transits” by heavenly bodies passing in front of the sun were received, no reliable observation of Vulcan was ever made.

Le Verrier also theorized the existence of a second asteroid belt in the solar system. He got that one wrong, too. Le Verrier steadfastly maintained Vulcan’s existence to his dying day in 1877.

The hubbub pretty much died with him and the idea was put to rest for good with the publication of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity in 1915, which explained Mercury’s eccentric orbit as a byproduct of the sun’s gravitational pull rather than the presence of a nearby planet.

tag Posted in Geekery + Technology + Trivia | comment Comments Off on I Give You the Planet Vulcan

Will Web 2.0 Survive the New Year?

January 1st, 2008 by iDunzo

Are you just about sick to death of the so-called magic phrase “Web 2.0?”

If so, you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s doomed to crash and burn faster than Britney’s, Lindsey’s (or insert scandal-ridden starlet’s name here) career.

At least, that’s what one UK-based research firm claims. The folks at Scivisum predict that 2008 will see the end of Web 2.0.

Their logic: worried about the effect that questionable content might have on their products’ good names and reputations, companies will begin pulling advertising from the open pastures of social networks, wikis, Second Life and so forth.

In other words, Disney might think twice about advertising family vacation getaways on a Myspace or Facebook-esque site where half-naked, drunken co-eds proudly post their Spring Break pictorials.

Or will they?

Duncan Riley over at TechCrunch thinks the odds of this happening are slim at best, and I’m inclined to agree.

Sure, there might be some flight risks among a few advertisers who hold their corporate images and name brands in high esteem, but ultimately, what company is going to let their principles outweigh the prospect of serious revenue?

So what if your billboard overlooks a Red Light District in Second Life? Who cares about a couple of off-color comments in a LiveJournal blog post?

High-traffic sites mean more eyes on the ads, and more cash in pocket.

So while you won’t see ads for the Alvin and the Chipmunks sequel on some Triple X site, you can be sure the marketing folks will continue to plaster MySpace and similar sites with them.

What do you think? Will 2008 ring in as the year that Web 2.0 soars or strikes out?

tag Posted in Geekery + Technology + Web | comment Comments Off on Will Web 2.0 Survive the New Year?

What song is this? First Backwards. Then Forward. Crazy.

December 29th, 2007 by iDunzo

Ok. This is really cool. The guy over at OneManSho can sing backwards.

Watch this video. Seriously. It’s truly amazing.

First he sings backwards while the video is playing forward in real time, then about 1:19 into the video, it reverses speed to reveal the song:

Taken from the YouTube video page:

This took a heck of a lot of work, and is dedicated to those who told me I have too much time on my hands in my 200 impressions video – this goes to prove you right! Wait… oh well.

I would have to agree, this guy has a lot of time on his hands but I really enjoyed this little diddy. Thanks OneManSho!

tag Posted in Geekery + Music + Videos | comment Comments Off on What song is this? First Backwards. Then Forward. Crazy.

VectorLinux: Save An Old Computer From The Dumpster

December 27th, 2007 by iDunzo

From time to time I’ve mentioned Linux distributions specifically designed for low-end systems — some of which I’ve used to save machines from the dumpster.

Today I’ve got a new release of one such Linux distro: VectorLinux version 5.9.

VectorLinux, built using the ever-popular Slackware distribution and now using the / kernel (depending on which edition you’re using), has been designed to work as well as possible on an older system, although it comes in a couple of different editions to take advantage of newer hardware whenever possible.

Because of the fact that VectorLinux been written to run on older hardware, a lot of legacy device drivers have been kept on board — for instance, by using the older IDE drivers rather than the cutting-edge libata kernel driver set.

If your system is old enough that it doesn’t even boot from CD, there are instructions for creating a bootable floppy and using that to bootstrap the CD.

The Standard edition uses the Xfce desktop environment, and can also run FluxBox or JWM if you’d rather use those. I prefer JWM — not too bloated, not too minimal.

The whole thing’s been configured to run in as little 96 MB of RAM and 2GB of hard disk space. I love their statement about processor requirements: “a Pentium w/200 Mhz or better.”

The SOHO edition uses KDE and likewise requires a slightly better machine: a Pentium running at 750 Mhz or better, 256 MB RAM, 3GB hard disk space, and a 1024x768x24-bit color depth display.

Bootable live CD versions of both Standard and SOHO are also available, and for those with the video hardware to run it, there’s the Beryl / Compiz Fusion desktop available as an option.

5.9 has been built from Slackware version 12 and includes pretty up-to-the-minute versions of everything you need — for Internet browsing, for instance, there’s Firefox, Opera 9.5.0 beta 1, and the SeaMonkey suite (1.1.7) , all available from the CD or from the repositories.

The package-management system is slapt-get, Slackware’s package system, so if by some chance you have come from the Slackware side of things you ought to find this pretty familiar and you can even point VectorLinux at the Slackware repository if you want to get packages from there instead.

One really intriguing feature, new to 5.9, is “Vlpackager”, a way to package source code to be built on demand, although this is the kind of feature that only the more really adventurous users will want to mess with.

Like Puppy Linux (my other current favorite “small is beautiful” distribution), Vector is designed to be tiny, swift, and to get the job done, and it seems to succeed nicely on all three counts.

tag Posted in Geekery + Software + Technology | comment Comments Off on VectorLinux: Save An Old Computer From The Dumpster

Disappearing Car Door

December 14th, 2007 by iDunzo

I’m still trying to figure out if this is real or a fake but either way it’s a really cool concept.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Disappearing Car Door:

Taken from the official Disappearing Car Door website:

The original inventors and designers of the exciting Disappearing Car Door technology are now in a position to equip your favorite automobile with our cool, sexy, safe and convenient automatic door or design an original vehicle body incorporating this unique technology.

Our vehicle architecture offers an attractive rethink for car design and adds greatly to overall vehicle safety including our structural integration of the door with the unibody and our cruciform door frame technology.

What do you think? Is this car door technology real or fake?

After looking over the video and checking out the website, I’m still on the fence. If it’s not real, someone really needs to create it as I believe it would be well received.

tag Posted in Geekery + Technology + Toys & Gadgets + Videos | comment 3 Comments »

JetBlue, Yahoo and RIM Plan FREE In-Flight WiFi

December 7th, 2007 by iDunzo

It seems that JetBlue, Yahoo and Research in Motion plan to offer free, in-flight, WiFi web connections for laptop computers and advanced cell phones. RIM made the announcement yesterday.

JetBlue, Yahoo and RIM

The service will apparently allow passengers to access customized Yahoo mail and Yahoo instant messenger services on their laptops or to access corporate e-mails on WiFi enabled BlackBerrys.

According to a spokesperson for RIM the first JetBlue flight offering the service will be on December 11, on Flight 641 from New York to San Francisco.

I hope this proves to be an indicator that RIM is going to start putting WiFi in more and more BlackBerrys – right now the only modern generation Berrys to have it are the BlackBerry 8820, 8320 and 8120.

I think WiFi has now become a smartphone must-have… it should be included on every BlackBerry released from now on.

Too bad I never fly JetBlue. Airlines….are you reading this?

Source: Yahoo News

tag Posted in Geekery + Technology + Toys & Gadgets + Wireless | comment Comments Off on JetBlue, Yahoo and RIM Plan FREE In-Flight WiFi