October 2001

September 2001 -- 2001 -- November 2001

October 8, 2001

No, despite the rumors I am not dead.

Anyways, my spare mouse has now crapped out so I got to spend $20 on a crappy mouse today. It does have two buttons and a wheel, but it just feels really cheap. Not to mention the wheel button is really hard to push down.

I've also put back up all those files that were mysteriously deleted a while back. I'm not sure what the heck happened, but it should be all good now. If you get any 404 errors, tell me and I'll work on fixing them.

Seti@Home is now crunching even more space now. Apparently they are running out of data for users to crunch, so they can afford to look at more of the sky now in the search for intelligent life.

October 10, 2001

Gotta love ASCII art. I got a link to this page full of University of Florida ASCII art. It also has ASCII art for a ton of other ASCII art pages.

The AOL Protocol has finally been cracked. Now programmers have figured out exactly how the client software interacts with the AOL server software, so this should let developers create 3rd party AOL login programs. Now Linux and other non-supported OS users can use AOL, and the user is no longer tied to AOL's proprietary software in Windows. This is reverse engineering at its finest.

AMD's lastest processor, the Athlon XP (no relation to Windows XP) has just been released. According to Tom at least, the 1800+ model outpreforms the 2 GHz Pentium 4 in most of the benchmarks. Also when talking about this, it's worth noting the naming scheme that AMD has chosen. The 1800+ model actually runs at 1533 MHz, not the 1800 MHz someone might expect. This is AMD's response to the general public's mindset that whatever chip has the higher clock speed is the faster computer. This is definitly not the case, as AMD's 1533 MHz chip can compete quite well with Intel's 2000 MHz chip. But the public doesn't know this, hence AMD's naming scheme. Marketing is a interesting thing isn't it?

Speaking of Intel, I had the oppurtunity to see the president and CEO of Intel, Graig Barrett, yesterday at a talk he gave here at UF. It has about an hour long and touched on how computers and communication were combining. Most of the stuff was generic corporate talk about how great the internet was and how cell phones are being revolutionized by making them digital and connecting them to the web. One thing that struck me was his firm belief that personal computers are here to stay, as well as not having much interest in the next generation of computing with quantum computers and the like. It was still an interesting talk, and it's one of the nice things about going to a huge university like this.

October 12, 2001

The House and Senate have both passed an anti-terrorism bill that effectively curtails liberties in the name of fighting terrorism. Only in the state of war can such crap get passed by normally semi-sane congressmen. Someday we'll look back on this and wonder how the heck stuff like this could have ever gotten past, similiar to the way we look at the McCarthy era of the 1950's now.

And speaking of how history will look back on all of this, book publishers have an interesting problem of how to discuss these events before their publishing date is due. Obviously not all the facts are in, nor how all of this will factor in with future wars or events, so it's hard to talk about it in history books. It is sorta weird to think that this stuff will be forever written and remembered by generations after us.

The ACLU has compiled a nice chart outlining all the different anti-terrorism/anti-freedom bills that are being considered in Congress. It's a great read and some of the stuff that is proposed in these bills is truly frightening. Unfortunatly it's a little outdated now since one of the bills has already been passed, but it's still worth taking a look at.

And finally, in great Onion fashion, they've written an article entitled Freedoms Curtailed in Defense of Liberty. It basically sounds a whole lot like I had written on here, where people were being denied freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism.

October 13, 2001

Mozilla .95 was released yesterday. It's major new feature is that you can now edit and save the source code of a page when you view it, instead of just viewing it like it used to be. And if you do decide to download it, also check out Optimoz which adds mouse gesture support to Mozilla. That lets you go back a page by just dragging the mouse backwards, or reload a page by dragging the mouse up and then down. It's pretty cool.

Here's an insightful article about how American media is dictating how we view the rest of world's reaction to our bombings in Afganastain, as well as how it is directing American policy. It has several extremelly good examples of stuff that the average public doesn't hear from the mass media. It's definitely worth a read to get a sense of the whole story of this "America on the Attack".

MSNBC has a story on how these Anthrax scares will kill snail mail. People won't trust it anymore, and instead will get just about everything through email. Of course packages will still have to be sent for the stuff that has to be phyical, but advanced notice and other various new features will help make those more secure. Makes you wonder how much longer the USPS can survive.

October 23, 2001

10 days this time. Man.

Two major tests today in chem and calc. Fun fun fun! Notice that is why I'm updating today, I dont' want to study :)

Looks like Microsoft's XBox might be having some quality control problems. Leave it to Microsoft to make you have to worry about your console crashing and putting tech support numbers in the console. All well, at least something better is being released about that time too.

October 25, 2001

I had sushi for the first time ever last night. It was ok, but I ordered too much and I can only eat so much raw fish before it gets old. I'll probably get it again though if I ever go back to a Japanese restaurant.

Microsoft is back to it's old tricks again, making it so that you have to use Internet Explorer to view MSN.com. MS says they only do it to make sure W3C compliant browsers are the only one's who see it, so that it displays properly, but I find it interesting that MS thinks it's the only one who fully complies, and that they believe even IE fully complies. It's just one more tactic to extend their monopoly. And speaking of MS, Windows XP was released today.

I like food.

October 28, 2001

One of the more interesting jobs I've ever heard of, IBM pays one of it's employees to sneak into companies to physically break into their computers. It's sorta like in the movie Sneakers. Apparently it's pretty easy to do and out of 40 tries the guy has only failed once to get in.

Well the USA PATRIOT act was put into law on Friday. The lone dissenting opinion in the Senate was Senator Russ Feingold who wrote a good speech on why he voted against it. It brings up a lot of good points about the civil liberties violations this law brings. If you subscribe to Salon Premium, they also have a good article< /A> about the vote. And speaking of how easily basic rights can be violated, a free lance journalist doing a story on the increased airport security measures was detained for 3 hours and kicked off his flight for taking some pictures and writing some notes down. The world really has changed since September 11th, and I'm not liking where it's going.

October 30, 2001

American Scientist has a facinating article on the ternary number system. It discusses how the base-3 system could be used to make computers or other systems faster, and some of neat little tidbits about the number system. Some really interesting mathematics in there, and well worth a read if you like math.

Australia has (hopefully) successfully flew its first scramjet. A scramjet is a revolutionary new engine that can fly over 7 times the speed of sound, but requires it to get up to Mach 5 to do that. It just uses the oxygen in the air to get its fuel. And so technology just keeps moving forward.

Byte has a MS-DOS Eulogy now that Windows XP is out. The old OS that many people never had the chance to use because they came into the computer era too late is now gone. Let it rest in peace.

September 2001 -- 2001 -- November 2001