Martin @ Blog

software development and life.


Archive for May, 2006

Home automation

Some students at MIT have created an automated room. Very nice, especially the party mode is cool. When reading about it, you almost feel like to turn your own room into a fully automated environment.


Afgelopen donderdag kwam ik op weg naar huis langs een ongeluk wat op een kruispunt op de ring had plaatsgevonden… dat er een auto achterop een ander rijdt, kan ik me voorstellen. Dat er daarna nog een tegen aan rijdt omdat ie het te laat ziet, ook nog wel… maar vijf stuks vind ik toch wel erg veel 😀

Zie m’n fotoboek voor nog wat foto’s. Ze zijn van matige kwaliteit omdat ik ze met m’n gsm heb genomen 🙂

The egg came first

CNN reports that the ‘chicken and egg’ problem is solved: The egg came first, before the chicken. The reason is that the genetic material of an animal does not change during its life, so the chicken should first exists as an embryo. It is not possible that the chicken exists first before the first egg containing a chicken existed, according to scientist. I’m happy we can stop looking for a solution to this problem 🙂 .

PowerMac replaced by Mac Pro

According to AppleInsider Apple has registered the trademark ‘Mac Pro’ in the US. This seems to confirm the rumours that Apple wants to get rid of the word ‘Power’ in its productnames, because it is very probable that Mac Pro will be the new name for the current PowerMac productline. Earlier, the name of the PowerBooks was already changed by ‘MacBook Pro’. The next major update in the PowerMac productline is expected in about a half year. The expectations are that the current PowerPC cpu will be replaced by an Intel processor, probably the Conroe, which is set for introduction this summer. I think Apple do not want to confuse customers by using the word ‘power’, because it may be considered as a pointer to the PowerPC cpu.
I am curious if Apple is also going to change the design of the Mac Pro or that the company stays with the current design, as they did with the MacBook Pro and the iMac. I also think we can expect some updates to the Cinema dislay’s when the new Mac Pro is introduced. While the 30″ and 24″ Cinema Displays are unmatched in their design, the price is relatively high compared to the Dell widescreen displays in 24″ and 30″ format, while these display use the same panel. Only the backlight and the design of the screens is different, but I do not think it justifies a prices difference of several hundred euro’s. The current Cinema Displays are quite a while unchanged, so that gives even more arguments for an possible update.

Three OS’es on MacBook

The Dutch site has a videon online which shows a MacBook (the black edition, so it is a 2,0GHz version) which is running both Mac OS X, Windows (Vista?) and Ubuntu Dapper Drake (beta) on the same time. In order to achieve this, the virtualisation software from Parallels is used. In the video also a virtual desktop application is used, in this case Virtue, so it is possible to run every os full screen on its own desktop. It looks pretty fast on the video and certainly faster than using VMware or something on a Pentium M (which I have in my laptop). Probably this is caused by the Virtualisation Technology from Intel which is build into the Core Duo processor in the MacBook. I think it would be very nice to run Mac OS X and Linux at the same time at almost native speed… The Gimp for example is on Linux a lot faster than on Mac OS X, in my experience.

Helping people is a crime?

Today I read about this article on Slashdot. It is written by a teacher who helped a student reporting a vulnerability on a public (commercial?) website. Because shortly after their report the website was hacked and the police investigated the case, they were almost treated like criminals. I think this is ridiculous. It is almost the same that you will get arrested when you report a suspicious bag on a railway station or warn a house owner when you see that he left his front door open. Fortunately, here in the Netherlands there is no law which enables the police to arrest people for reporting a vulnerability as far as I know (and according to a teacher at our university). Hopefully the EU will not take the US law as an example for this kind of stuff, because the people over there who created this law are obviously not aware of the daily practice regarding the discovery of flaws in software. A typical example of the ignorance of some politician.
The teacher in the article concludes that you should destroy all the evidence that you are aware of an existing vulnerability and certainly not tell the developer/site owner about the bug. While it may be the best thing to do, it is really crazy that you should do this. How the hell do politician want the get a ‘safer and better world’ when it is not allowed to report defects? On the other side, it explains the growing number of spam, the increase in identity theft, the new problems with phising and so on… if they are not going to change this laws and rules, I think we are only seeing the beginning of these things.

Funny stuff

  • People who still are not convinced to use Firefox, this page gives some good reasons.
  • Microsoft introduces a Pay-as-you-go computer, which means that you can only use your (own?) computer when you have bought enough credits in advance…
  • According to a US Attorney, it is not allowed for journalist to publish about leaks.
  • The US State Department is affraid that Lenovo uses their computers to spy the US governement. Since Lenovo bought the computer department of IBM, there is a discussion in the US about this fear. They think that Lenovo, because it is partly owned by a deparment of the Chines government, will install espionage devices in their computers. Ironically, the Lenovo systems which are sold to the US government are manufactured in the VS, while most other US computer manufacturers such as Apple, Dell and HP manufacture their systems in Taiwan or China…

Apple introduces MacBook

Apple today finally introduced the successor to the iBook G4: The MacBook. Not very surprising, because there were rumours about this system for weeks, and the new MacBook is exactly as it was announced by the various Apple rumour sites: a 13″ widescreen display, build-in iSight camera, Intel Core Duo processor, MagSafe powerconnector and the unit is available in both black and white – which is new, because the iBook was only available in white. The cheapest MacBook costs 1099 euro (1099 dollar also) and ships with a 60GB harddisk, 1,83GHz Core Duo processor, build in wireless network and 512MB memory. The display resolution is 1280×800 pixels and has a glossy coating which makes pictures and movies clearer according to Apple, but makes the screen also more sensitive to reflections I suppose. The most expensive MacBook contains a 80GB harddisk and a 2,0GHz Core Duo processor. This system also contains a superdrive and build-in Bluetooth, things which are missing from the cheaper models. I think it is a very nice system for its price – nice design, exelent operation system (Mac OS X) and it is even thinner than the iBook (only 1,08″). The addition of a black version makes it also intersting for people who do not like the white systems, but I think the white version is nicer than the black one. When I had to buy a new laptop now, I would take this system seriously into consideration. However, I think I would wait a few months, because then Intel will introduce the successor to the current Core Duo, the Core 2 Duo. This new processor adds 64-bit support and will probably be faster while the energy consumption will be reduced. The Core 2 Duo is based on the ‘Merom’ core for the laptop version and the ‘Conroe’ core for the desktop variant – yes, Core 2 Duo is both a laptop as a desktop processor.

New MacBook (black)

First Lego League

Last weekend there was the FIRST LEGO League Open European Championship at the university in Eindhoven. I visited it both Saturday and Sunday where I took some pictures with my new Sigma 70-300 APO lens. I didn’t have the time yet to filter the pictures and put them on the internet, but I will do that soon. It was very nice to see how smart some children are. The idea is that the teams build a robot using Lego Mindstorm to solve some ‘problems’. The battles were intersting and it was nice to see something like this for a change.

I also finished the redesign of the website of ESBV Panache. The site is pretty simple, but has to be available in both English and Dutch.

Very fast electric car

I think electric cars are the solution to a lot of traffic problems we are currently suffering. This article gives us hope for the future. I think products which use sustainable energy are the products of the future and will generate a lot of profit. The car in that article is faster than any Ferarri and almost as fast as the fasted production car on petrol.

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