Microsoft Loses Anti-Trust Case.

September 17, 2007 at 9:57 pm (Uncategorized)

A drop in the bucket.

That’s how I would describe the final verdict against Microsoft in the European Union appeal court’s battle against the software giant. They upheld the record 497 million euro ($689.9 million) fine. Big deal. This is small change to Microsoft. EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes was qouted in Rueters as saying that “this ruling should lead to a ‘significant drop’ in Microsoft’s 95 percent market share.” Why, I ask? $700 million is NOTHING. Their lawyer says that it will change how Microsoft market their product. I don’t believe this for a second. Microsoft has been doing everything they can to slowly strangle the open source movement, through Novell. They have said open source violates their patents (Microsoft complaining about piracy? Did Bill forget how he built his business?), and attempting to sully the name of the “Open Source Initiative”. They intend to stay the dominate OS, and this little setback won’t stop them.

The Alternative

Ubuntu linux is a great operating system, that in my experience works better than windows. To learn more about Ubuntu, click here. I installed Ubuntu on my desktop, plugged in a printer and it WORKED. No disk, no hassle, it just worked. In fact, everything worked. Every single piece of hardware, including a USB wireless-g WiFi adapter (linksys). No installing drivers, no problems. No, I don’t work at Ubuntu, I just really like it. If Microsoft’s operating system monopoly is to be broken, it will be by educating people about linux, not through fines.

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Croc’s attack children with help from escalators.

September 17, 2007 at 9:19 pm (entertainment, News, Opinion)

WTF?!?

That’s what I said. Actually I’m talking about “Crocs” footwear, those ugly monstrosities that some people, for whatever reason, chose to wear. Turns out that the material that Crocs are made from sinks into the cracks of the escalators, trapping your foot. This can injure you, should you fail to remove said feet before you reach the end of the escalator. Serves you right for wearing Crocs. You’re an adult, and should know better. Unfortunately, in what I can only describe as mild child abuse, most Croc related injuries are to children, whose cruel parents made them wear these horrible things.

“If I had better fashion sense” is what she should have said.

An example of Croc related injuries can be found at The Associated Press:

Four-year-old Rory McDermott got a Croc-clad foot caught in an escalator last month at a mall in northern Virginia. His mother managed to yank him free, but the nail on his big toe was almost completely ripped off, causing heavy bleeding.

At first, Rory’s mother had no idea what caused the boy’s foot to get caught. It was only later, when someone at the hospital remarked on Rory’s shoes, that she began to suspect the Crocs and did an Internet search.

“I came home and typed in ‘Croc’ and ‘escalator,’ and all these stories came up,” said Jodi McDermott, of Vienna, Va. “If I had known, those would never have been worn.”

They should have never been worn in the first place, lady. Did you look at what you were putting on your child’s feet? Here’s a picture for those of you who have not seen them:

I feel sorry for the kid. Who knows what else she is dressing him in. A sailor suit, perhaps? School will be so much fun for this little guy.

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A New Way To Grow Ethanol.

September 17, 2007 at 8:37 pm (Knowledge, Tech)

Ah, ethanol, the politicians new darling.

While this fuel holds many promises, it also has its pitfalls. Namely that ethanol is made from corn, which we eat (and drink) in everything. I do mean everything. It’s in our food, in our sodas, our furnishings, batteries, beer, paper, pharmaceuticals, the list goes on. The problem with using ethanol for fuel is that there is just not enough corn to go around. But what if there was another way to grow it? Professor Pengchen (Patrick) Fu (whom I believe works at “the Department of Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His laboratory focuses on metabolic engineering, bioprocess control, metabolomics, Systems and synthetic biology,” according to a Google search.) has dreamed up a novel way to “grow” ethanol. From Refactor Reality:

Professor Pengchen (Patrick) Fu is using cyanobacteria to produce ethanol from sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water. I got to see this first-hand at Wired NextFest. This is exceedingly cool since ethanol, a useful fuel, burns cleanly to produce energy, carbon dioxide, and water. See the pattern? It’s a sustainable cycle, essentially storing solar energy in a fuel that we already know and love. There is very little waste in this process, and it’s quite harmless, in the form of oxygen and some dead bacteria at the end of their natural life cycles. This is already cool enough that I think I need to sit down for a while and take it all in, but there is more! In case the photo didn’t make things amply evident, let me state clearly: Pengchen (Patrick) Fu has come up with a possible solution for renewable energy using large, glowing cylinders full of bubbling green liquid. These things look like they came straight off the set of a science fiction movie. You know, the good kind, with lots of explosions.

“A series of tubes.”

Hey explosions are cool, right? But I do have a few issues with this idea.

  • Ethanol does NOT burn cleanly. It’s thought to be cleaner burning. However, it is far from perfectly clean. When things burn, they produce wastes, sorry folks, that’s just the way it is. Here’s a great pdf research paper outlining some of the possible effects of ethanol burning. Let it be noted that ethanol does burn cleaner than gasoline. To bad you have to burn more of it to get the same amount of power as from a comparable amount of gas.
  • Just because a movie has explosions, does not make it good. “Battlefield Earth” comes to mind.
  • The “large, glowing cylinders full of bubbling green liquid” making fuel is pretty awesome. Much more awesome than watching corn grow, let me tell you. I should know, living in Nebraska, I’m freaking surrounded by it

This could be wonderful, for Americas energy problems, should the technology pan out (and if oil companies don’t buy it up, then sit on it). I know I would much rather drive and eat than drive or eat, and taking corn out of the ethanol equation would help.

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What the Heck Was On My Pizza?

September 17, 2007 at 7:55 am (entertainment, music)

Funny Mushrooms

From Wikipedia:

Serendipity is the effect by which one accidentally discovers something fortunate, especially while looking for something else entirely.

While stumbling some videos, The soundtrack to one stood out, gripping me. It was different. It was bizarre. It was the beginning of an hour long quest to find me some mp3’s. The band was “Infected Mushroom,” and I think I caught the infection. You can check out their website here. I highly recommend them. Imagine taking a typical DJ, feeding him MASSIVE doses of psychedelics, making him spin trance, hip-hop, and opera rock albums, after punching him in the face. Yeah, they’re that good.

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The Matrix, anyone?

September 13, 2007 at 8:09 pm (News, Tech)

Second life to become Online AI incubator.

Found this over at The BBC:

Researchers at US firm Novamente have created software that learns by controlling avatars in virtual worlds.

Initially the AIs will be embodied in pets that will get smarter by interacting with the avatars controlled by their human owners.

Novamente said it eventually aimed to create more sophisticated avatars such as talking parrots and even babies.

The part that really got me was:

“I’d really like to do virtual talking parrots,” he said, “and then virtual babies. You would get one and it would be yours for the next 18 years.”

Online virtual children, just what we need. I guess it might be good for those that can’t, won’t, or don’t have kids. Rest of the article can be found here. Any thoughts?

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