SLAX

Everyday it seems I am learning something new at work. For me this is fun since I get to work with computers all and I enjoy it. So anything new I learn about computers and software, and how they work is a bonus .

Recently I learned about a Linux Live CD called SLAX. A Live CD, as I understand it is any computer operating system that can be run from a CD-ROM. This can be very helpful if you find your self with a computer that has a bad hard drive. You can still use the computer from the CD-ROM. Just put in the Live CD and tell the computer to boot off the CD-ROM from the Bios.

The resin I’m sitting here tell you about SLAX over other Live CDs I have found is because SLAX is very fast. It’s actually useable. When your running an operating system from the CD-ROM you want all the speed you can get. Other live CDs I have used have been very slow and laggy. That has not been the case for me with SLAX.

You can download a copy of SLAX from http://slax.linux-live.org/.

You can customize your copy of SLAX with a tool called “Myslax” that is located at http://myslax.bonsonno.org/

You can visit a great fan site on Slax here http://www.geocities.com/slaxfansite/

Setup Your Own Photo Gallery Online

I was recently asked by a friend how they could setup an online photo gallery. So i thought i would give some information on the easiest way I know how to do this.

Lot of people out their want to know of a good and free way they can share their photos on the internet so that friends and family can see them. We live in a day and age where so many people own digital cameras and take tons of photos. The hard part can be getting these images on the internet so other people can view them.

The first step is to download a program that will help you save the pictures off your camera and keep them organized. The best program I know for that in Windows would be called “Picasa” and iPhoto on the Macintosh.

Picasa is a photo album program built by Google. It’s free and it’s good. You can download it from here. iPhoto is made by Apple and comes with the iLife suite of programs. Most new Apple computers already come with iPhoto installed.

Once you have loaded Picasa or iPhoto and put your first images from your camera in the program you want to follow this next link. It will walk you through setting up the Google online photo gallery part, so you can share pictures with people. The link walks you through setting up Picasa to upload your photos to the gallery but their is a plug-in for iPhoto you can download that will let you do the same thing.

Also, (and this is important) please make a backup of all your photos if your not doing so now. I learned the hard way. Not having a good backup system in place caused me to loose a lot of photos a few years ago. Make sure you backup everything to CD-rom/DVD-rom or another hard drive.

Portable Apps

In my line of work I more often then not find myself bouncing from computer to computer. Some days I can end up work from more then 15 different computers. While other days I may only work from 3 different computers. Needless to say, coming up with a way to organize my data in a safe and secure, easy to access way is very important to me.

The way I have gotten around this is with a 1 Gig Thumb Drive and some applications that have been designed, or re-tooled, to be portable. I pretty much keep a hand full of programs I use everyday on my Thumb Drive along with whatever files I may need.

One key application I use is Firefox along with a Google Sync plug-in. Having my own copy of a web browser like Firefox on my thumb drive insures that no cookies or passwords are being saved on whatever computer I am using at the time. It’s all being saved on my little thumb drive. The Google Sync plug-in for Firefox means that any computer that i have Firefox on with the Google plug-in will all have the same bookmarks and settings. It’s been very useful for me.

The best place I have found for a full list of portable applications (both Macintosh and Windows based) has been Wikipedia. I personal keep both a Macintosh and windows version of Firefox with me because I am always on so many different computers through out the day.

Another great site is called PortableApps.com. Their you can find cut and dry installs of many portable windows applications or install a whole suite of them  on your thumb drive with their Portable Apps Suit.

Lastly I use a Wiki. TiddlyWiki to be exact and it’s great. This wiki is a completely self contained wiki. It’s just one solid HTML file that saves all updates and changes to it’s self. I think a wiki is the best way to store information that you need to be able to get at easily and quickly. I keep all kinds of work and personal related data on my wiki. Everything from recipes, quotes, jokes, to  work related data like Windows or Macintosh tips or application specific trouble shooting techniques.

The end result is that because at my job i am always switching to work on different computers. Having a thumb drive to be able to run applications from and store data to has made me much more efficient in my tasks.

iWoz

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iWoz is a 288 page book that I just finished. The book by Steve Wozniak, talks about how he invented the personal computer and co-founded Apple among other things.
It talks about the history behind Apple computers and the personal computer. I love history and enjoy computers. Two things i am very interested in like that made putting this book down very difficult at times.

To read this book is almost like hearing Steve Wozniak talk. The book just comes off like he is talking to you which made for an easy read. It was very interesting how Steve’s mind works and how he came up with the personal computer. It’s really a rare look inside Apple computer, the Apple I and the Apple II from one of the key people in the company.

The book goes along nicely with the book “Second Coming of Steve Jobs” and the movie “Pirates of the Silicon Valley“.

I can’t recommend this book enough to anyone who wants to know how computers work, or to history buffs or computer enthusiasts.

Multi-Touch Sensing

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“My God Jim… They are light-years ahead of us!!”

This is the coolest thing in computer interfaces that I have seen in a long time. Good bye Keyboard and Mouse. We have needed a better way to interact with our computers for a long time now. I have been saying it for years. We as computer uses are limited in what we can do and how fast we can do it because of the keyboard and mouse. Well this new “Interface Free” Interface.

“Jeff Han is a research scientist for New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. Here, he demonstrates-for the first time publicly-his intuitive, “interface-free,” touch-driven computer screen, which can be manipulated intuitively with the fingertips, and responds to varying levels of pressure.”

Links
Video 1
Video 2

Redmond, We Have A Problem

Microsoft employee Rory Blyth:

I think IE is horribly behind the times. When every other browser on the planet that’s worth a damn supports tabbed browsing, it’s just crappy that I still have to have different copies of IE open to have multiple sites open at once.

As of right now, my favorite browser on the planet is Apple’s Safari.

A bewildered ex-Mac IE developer Jorg Brown recalls a conversation with a Microsoft superior:

Over the whole sad journey, the single most surprising thing I ever discovered was from a small conversation that went:

Me: “Look, if it makes sense to devote dozens of people to WinIE, then surely it makes sense to devote half a dozen to MacIE!”

Higher-up: (confused look) “There aren’t dozens of people on WinIE. WinIE had some great people on it! We need those great people on products that make money!”

Me: “Then why on earth did we pursue IE in the first place? Just so that the DOJ would sue us?”

Higher-up: (confused look)

Some day I hope to get a proper answer on our motivation to do WinIE and MacIE in the first place. It seems to be that we were scared of not having control of the HTML standard. And indeed, now that Firefox is gaining traction, Microsoft has added more people to WinIE again.

Epilogue: All of this made it a lot more easy for me to quit and go work at Google.

Related Link

Quake Theme Music by Nine Inch Nails

I think my all time favorite computer video game is the original Quake. Quake is a game that was developed by ID software back in the 1996. I originally played the game on a Packard Bell computer running at 133MHZ on a dial up connection and I was damn good if I do say so myself.

My friends and myself started a Quake Clan back in the day to take on other Quake Clans. We called our selves E.O.D (Elements of Destruction) and even made a website.

So I have had the Quake game for a while but have not been able to play it since I installed Apple’s Macintosh OS X on my computer. In the last day or so I have come across two websites that have been very helpful in getting Quake to run on OS X.

fruitz-of-dojo, which has an app that works to run the normal version of quake.

Chaoticbox which has an app that will run the GL version of Quake. Which is what I have been playing the most and looks and runs great!

Mood: Im currently Sick, Maybe due to the dog bite