Friday, March 30, 2007

The mac Switcher

Recently there are a lot of people who are switching from windows to the mac although both are similar in many ways there are a few idiosyncrasies about the mac, this perpetuates from the way the operating system is used to the software that is available for it. To help people transit from windows to the mac smoothly I will be releasing tips that might help people in adjusting to the new environment from time to time. In this article I will give you alternatives to programs that you might have used while on windows but the mac versions are not available.

Switch: Windows Media player to VLC
VLC is a great replacement for the Windows media player. Unlike Quick Time (The apple default media player) VLC can play various types movie formats without the need to install codecs. VLC is riddled with features, practically any feature you see in a movie player VLC probably has it.

Switch: Putty to Terminal
For fellow programmers, mac's are Unix based. Terminal is a useful tool that comes with the operating system, it allows you to ssh, ftp do shell commands and so much more on the mac. This is a good replacement for putty, which tries to emulate this on a windows machine.

Switch: Direct Connect to Shakespeer
Shakespeer is direct connect ported for the mac. This is a peer to peer software for sharing files over a network.

Switch: Smart FTP to Cyberduck
If your a web designer and you FTP and SSH to servers. Cyberduck is a powerful program that lets you do what your Smart FTP has let you do for years.

Switch: Trillian to Adium
Are you an Instant messenger freak you have over four acc
ounts on different services and you are used to putting all of them on Trillian and managing them all at the same time. Adium is an open source Instant messenger client built on Gaim. I think this is one of the greatest Instant messaging clients ever. It lets you customize anything you can imagine, form the font the Adium displays your friend list to the sounds of the different alerts.

Switch: NotePad to Textmate
If you are used to creating text files on the fly Textmate is the software for you. The only drawback is that it is not totally free.

Switch: Winzip/Winrar to Stuff it
This is the ultimate solution for compressing and expanding files on the mac.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Are we gonna joost it?

As I was prowling through the web today (while I was supposed to be working), I bumped into an article about how Joost has been successfully put on the newly released apple TV and that got me thinking. For those who don't know, Joost is a new peer to peer software that promises to revolutionize television by letting us watch it through our computers through the internet. This project previously known/codenamed "The Venice Project", was started by the same internet entrepreneurs that started up Skype (Which was sold to ebay) and Kazaa which is dead now. Joost presently has 85 channels and is still climbing. This software is currently in beta and you can only use it if you have been invited (similar to gmail but not quite). Right now all the invites have been suspended till further notice (So if any of you have any or know when its gonna come back up I will like to know).

The question is here will Joost change the way we watch tv? will we watch tv through our computers or will our tv's become more interactive? Joost offers you the ability to watch what you want when you want. As their slogan goes:
"Tv anywhere, anytime..."

It will be cool to watch your favorite tv shows or music videos in the airport while you wait for your plane or in starbucks as you drink your coffee and read a book. I do not see this technology actually taking over tv but I can see it filling a gap. The ability to literally watch tv anywhere is great and has been missing link for a while now, but for us to come home from work turn on our 40 inch flat screens and look at a Joost logo? I am not to sure about that, but all in all I think it is a great Idea that will definitely change the way we do things and maybe influence the future of tv.
Joost VP giving a preview [Video]:

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Internal Alarm

Everyday as I go to bed I look at my cable box to get the exact time I lay my head down to sleep ( I have a clock in my room but I'm just lazy to look in the opposite direction) I think about my plans for the next day and then decide what time I have to be up the next morning, meditate on the time for a minute or two and then try to sleep and then "POOF" like clockwork I always wake up 10 -15 minutes before the time I planned to, I try to sleep the remaining 15 minutes away but I keep waking up at 5 minutes interval scared that I have over slept. Yes this happens every single morning and no I do not have an alarm clock, actually I have never owned an alarm clock in my entire life. the closest thing I have ever had to an alarm clock is the alarm in my cell phone.

I have told people this several times. Most people think I'm lying and others just say "Wow thats cool" (I'm not really sure if they believe me). In my whole life I have only met about three people who say they can do the same thing, go to bed decide what time they want to wake up and actually wake up at exactly that time. Noticing the small amount of people with this ability naturally I thought I was special, well I know we are all special but I was thinking towards the super heroes/ special ability kind of special only to be disappointed today when I stumbled unto this web page.

What the article says in a nutshell is that psychologist have found that we all have this ability, that is if we meditate on the time we want to wake up some hormones that induce stress are released into your blood about an hour before we are to wake up and this wakes us up eventually. After several other attempts to research this phenomena, I read that this ability is most prominent/or easily controlled by people into deep meditation. Well I wont say I am into deep meditation but I know I think a lot, about a lot of deep stuff, I have also noted this ability since I was in elementary school, so I have been working on it for a while and I can say it has matured quite a bit (although from time to time there are discrepancies, depending on how tired I am when I go to bed and how early I have to wake up or If the time I plan to wake up is much earlier than my usual sleep pattern from the previous weeks).

After my discovery I was both happy and annoyed at the same time. Happy because I can finally prove to people that I have not been lying, that this is a known and documented occurrence but annoyed that it is not a special ability. You know maybe the Xmen times are not as near as I thought, but that would be a wack ability though.

There is one thing that I found interesting, of all the people I have met and told about this ability there is only one person that asked me a question that I still think about today. He can also wake up in the morning when he thinks about it and he asked "You know my body can tell the time when I am asleep and know when to wake up but when I try to guess the time during the day it never works can you?"

I will answer that on a different day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

You are REASON.

I was listening to a song (Soundtrack in the movie "Stranger Than Fiction") that said you are what you do. I found that interesting and for a moment true, but as i thought about it, the truth behind that statement began to fade.

To say we are what we do means that all the actions we take in our lives are just minor phrases or adjectives to define who we really are, meaning that we can never be fully described until the end of our lives. This makes perfect sense, because if you have ever been at a funeral when people come up and give eulogies of the recently deceased, a lot of their actions and achievements come into focus and then you actually see the true goodness or evil of the person thats has passed away.

My problem with that saying is that, many human actions if taken out of context can mean something totally different from what was intended. Take this scenario, Two eight year old boys steals a cupcake from a bakery. Without hesitation it is easy to call them thieves, but if we investigate the reasoning behind their actions we might see things differently. In one case the boy stole the cupcake because he was hungry and has not eaten for days and in the second case he stole the cupcake because he wanted to prove to his friends he was fearless. Knowing the reasoning for these actions would you punish both boys the same way? I wouldn't think so (The same logic is used when someone pleads insanity in court when they killed someone and rather than going to jail they go to a mental health facility) but taking the story out of context puts both boys on the same level and they are seen as the same.

My point here being that if we were to judge both boys and base who they are on their actions alone we would be very wrong, but if we are to understand their reasoning it would help us come closer to how they work, what drives them and who they really are. Hence if we can be judged by our actions it is not what we do that defines us but the way we reason.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Summer on the moon... Anyone? (Virgin Galactic)

You know as the future draws nearer (or does it ever really?) I see more sci-fi stuff becoming real. Sometime it makes me wonder, do science fiction movies actually influence what our scientist research on or do the movie directors have an inside scoop on what scientist dream about at night and then put them into movies, I don't know but I tend to lean towards the previous.

Richard Branson (Virgin group founder), has recently added a new company under his belt. This one called Virgin Galactic. Virgin Galactic offers normal people like me and you (Well wealthy normal people) tourist trips to space as soon as the year 2009. I found this mind shattering, so people now can go to space and actually look at the earth from another point of view for a hefty $200,000 ticket. With no surprise there is already a line of people that have payed for this and our on the line waiting for 2009 to launch this new service.

So what this actually means is that when your done traveling the world. Visiting Safari's, looking at the pyramids of Giza, the Great Wall of China and backpacking around Europe you can now round up your world expedition by viewing the world from the outside. As you know no good thing comes without a price. Before you go on one of these trips you have to have months of training and loads of health tests are done on you to ensure you are physically fit for such a trip, these can be time consuming and arduous.

Like any other business Virgin Galactic has competitors. Space Adventures, Rocketplane and the Benson space company, but Virgin Galactic is one of the more popular/ most commercialized of these genre of companies and one of the cheapest.

Its a matter of time and then we are going to have hotels in space to accommodate these High Fliers, in fact Hilton is one of the major investors in a private space hotel project. We are looking at probably a ten year wait here and with an investment of about 10 billion dollars needed to get this project out of the drawing boards and into space. What I find amazing about this is the how quickly fiction is turning into a reality.
What happens when we run out of ideas for fictional stories? well lets worry about that later and savor the technology of the present. Who is up for springbreak in space 2010?