Saturday, November 24, 2007

Links from the Gregg Zone

1) For the first couple of items this week I thought I would take up a general view of Thanksgiving, meaning a year round giving thanks for the use of the planet by supporting green technologies. If you have not been keeping up with the advancements in the field of solar energy, you are in for some real surprises. There is a company called Nanosolar that is doing some very big things, and not in the future I mean now. They have been quietly working away building a plant in San Jose California (140,000 sq. ft.), and another near Berlin, Germany (507,000 sq. ft.). They expect to be in production early next year; they have made some very large advances in the technology. The solar cells they produce are printed like newspaper, and about the same thickness, with a cost around a tenth of current conventional solar panels. Due to the fact these do not use any silicon, which is in short supply these days, they can keep the cost low. The link I have put up is the main site for the company, however I suggest you link to the “news + awards” link page, because this is the best place to research what is going on, very interesting, check it out.
2) My second item is something I just think is one of the best ideas I have seen come along in a long time. It is a device called the Sawfish, what it does is to harvest the forests that have been flooded by the creation of dams, reservoirs, and man made lakes. It seems even after fifty years in the cold water areas these trees have been perfectly preserved. The Sawfish is a remote controlled device, using cameras to maneuver into position it grabs on to the tree with two large pinchers, attaches an air bag, and then saws the tree above the lake bed without disturbing the eco-system in any way. It has proved itself already, late last year in British Columbia by harvesting six thousand trees in six months. It is estimated the value of submerged lumber is over fifty billion dollars. The today video on the main page is worth checking out, this is the type of progress we need more of finding wasted resources, and using them to slow our global problems.
3) The third and final link for the week goes deep into the Gregg Zone, that area of questioning the origin of our reality. This is one of my favorite areas of introspection, asking the tough questions. Who am I? Where does my conscious perception of self originate from? What is reality? What is illusion? Where is the border between perception, and reality? This segment is dealing with something I ran across recently, an article by Nick Bostrom Department of Philosophy, Oxford University. The paper is titled “Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?” The simulation argument. This site, and subject are intense, approach with an open mind and I can guarantee it will be expanded. Mr. Bostroms original paper has a link on the left side of the front page; there is also an extensive list of links for further reading, and reactions to the paper.

Friday, November 23, 2007

ASUS eeePC: First impressions and GPL violations

Now this is disappointing. Very disappointing. Asus is apparently not playing by the rules. And who was the bright light that came up with the idea that opening the DIMM compartment to add memory voided the warranty?

I am a LOT less enthusiastic about the EeePC than I was and unless a bunch of this stuff gets fixed really quickly, I won't be buying one next week, as planned.


Windows XP SP3 Yields Performance Gains

Now here is some very welcome news. Especially after the disappointment of no gains in performance with Vista SP1. In some areas gains are in the neighborhood of 10%, which is stunning, in my opinion.

You'll enjoy reading this one.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

For your enjoyment...

In honor of the long weekend in America, I thought I'd post my google reader shared items.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, and we'll see you on Sunday, for another content filled show.

and apologies in advance to you rss readers, I know that the shared links don't show up.

And a LOL video:

[h/t Dvorak's blog for the video]

BD+ crack released

Slysoft has released a HUGE functionality update to AnyDVD which allows reproduction of disks protected by BD+. This is the last link in the Blu-Ray chain to be broken and, as usual, Slysoft does it in a user-friendly way.

Read on;


Monday, November 19, 2007

Steganos Offers Free Version of Safe One

Steganos is a German company specializing in serious encryption and data protection for industries like banking. They are highly thought of.

Now, they are offering a version of one of their products for free to Windows users. Check this one out. Really. It's a good product and encrypting a volume of super-private stuff you carry with you might be just the ticket to set your mind at ease. There is a password generator and everything.


Vista Requires More Hardware Resources than Microsoft's Windows for Supercomputers

Softpedia takes Microsoft's Vista to task for it's profligate consumption of computer resources. This one is worth a read, if only for the irony inherent in it.

At the same time, exo-blog takes apart the beta for Vista Service Pack 1 and notes there is no performance improvement available from installing it. I'm not sure how to take this as it is in direct conflict with reports from testers whom I know and respect.

See for yourself.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 11-18-07

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 11-18-07. You can listen live every Sunday from 10AM to 1PM Pacific thats 1PM to 4PM Eastern. Join us for the live show and chat. If you prefer, you can download the same MP3 file here via ftp.

Links from the Gregg Zone!

1) This has to be the best site I have found in a long time. I really like documentary films this site has 589 of them free online, and will most likely be adding more. In the technology section, select computers there are about twenty full-length movies on computer related subjects. Also in the technology section I was very impressed with the listing “What We Still Don’t Know” Especially with part, three of that series, deals with how science first decided against intelligent design, then embraced the idea, then threw it out again only to come back to it in the end. I especially liked the concept that we are actually living in a computer program simulation, not like in the Matrix, but as in our reality is programmed. I have seen a couple of other references to this concept elsewhere. Another one I especially liked was under anthropology titled Guns, Germs, and Steel this was a “National Geographics Special” about the way civilizations developed around the world, and why some advanced more that others mostly by luck of the draw. Anyway, this site promises to take up way to much of my time.

2) One of my recurrent themes since I started doing this has been the concept that the internet with its free exchange of information has the potential to change the direction of world development especially in the political realm. The last link I offered started me on a quest of sorts to find other links related to free online documentaries, there are a lot of them out there, from serious treatments of how we did not go to the moon, faked it all, to quack medical cures for everything. However, there are always diamonds in the ruff. I was surfing various sites looking for something interesting when I saw a title about Fox News, I remembered seeing a story about one of the current presidential candidates, and there connections to that organization. I am not going to get into that aspect of the subject; I will leave that part of the equation up to you. The link I am posting is about the manipulation of the news, a single person pushing his political views and agenda with an audience of 3/4 of the world population that to me is very scary. Without the internet, curiosity, and concern for what is really going on behind the propaganda fed to us daily I would never have known how staggering the numbers are. The video I am referring to is the seventh one on the list "Out Foxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism", I will be watching some of the others soon.

3) Could Leonardo Da Vinci have left us the first Easter egg? An interesting article in the BBC linked here, might offer that possibility. Someone has postulated there is a 40-second musical score hidden in the painting “The Last Supper”. I am afraid I have no expertise in this area at all, so I will leave it up to you, and the experts.

4) There might be some strange time loop angel to this article in the English version of “The Local” a Swedish newspaper about an iron age Mickey Mouse, found during an excavation in southern Sweden. I have to admit it sure looks like Mickey, wonder if Walt was Swedish. Bet it would do well on Ebay for sure. Worth a look for any Disney fans out there.