Categories: "computer/tech"

My life for Auir

Last night I played some Starcraft online with Brendon and Tim. A few days before that I was playing with Brendan and Henry. If there's anyone else who want to play with us, then drop me a line and get in on the next game. We should be playing again next Tuesday if not sooner.

But I still love technology . . .

I haven't been adding much to this site lately, but I have been doing some fun blogstuff. I volunteered to be a moderator at the b2evolution forums. I'm trying to learn more about this very nice blogging software and I'm answering other users' questions when I can. I want to get familiar with this software (and other database-driven web apps). I found a good book about PHP and MySQL: Build your own Database Driven Website using PHP & MySQL by Kevin Yank. The first four chapters are available for free online. I went through them and learned quite a bit. I used what I learned to write some very simple blog software from scratch. Go ahead and try it out. Click on the admin link at the bottom and submit a post to see how it works. I want to buy that book so I can learn some more, but I need to pass the CompTIA Network+ certification exam before the end of the month. The bank sent me to night classes for two weeks to prepare for this. Starting in July the new exam will replace the old one and I'll have to prepare all over again. So, I'm going to get ready and take the exam. Once I pass it I'm going to get the PHP book as my reward.

Update: If you're interested in my PHP project, then you can find the source code here and here. Feel free to download it and modify it.

anti-telemarketing counterscript

anti-telemarketing EGBG counterscript - I haven't had to deal with this in a while since Missouri got a no-call list, but if you want to have some fun with a telemarketer, use this script and give them a taste of their own medicine.

Google calculator

Tonight my father-in-law called with a math problem for me. He built a water tank out of six-inch pipe to go on top of his horse trailer. This will be much more stable and wind-resistant than the 55 gallon barrel that he had been strapping up there. He was trying to figure out how many gallons of water it would hold. He has 396 inches of 6 inch pipe. I thought back to my geometry days and somehow remembered the formula for volume of a cylinder: pi(r*r)*h . pi9*396 = about 11196 cubic inches. Thank you, Mac OS calculator. I brought up the Dashboard widget for converting units of measure. Alas, it doesn't convert cubic inches to gallons. Then I remembered that Google added a conversion feature recently. I figured it was a long shot, but I typed in 11196 cubic inches in gallons in the Google search window. Brilliant! 48 gallons. I gave Joe the answer and he said that was about what he expected. Thanks, Google. But that's not all. I came back later to see if I could have done the whole thing in Google. I tried (3*3)pi * 396 cubic inches in gallons. Wow. Very impressive.

Space tourism, orbital vs. sub-orbital flight

Another company has started selling tickets for a sub-orbital space flight. After reading that article I started wondering why they don't just enter an orbit around the earth. That would be a more exciting trip and it would last longer. If you're paying 150,000 dollars, then you don't want the trip to be over in just a few minutes or hours. So I did some research into the difference between orbital and sub-orbital flight. As usual, Wikipedia had a very good article on the subject: Difference between sub-orbital and orbital spaceflights. Turns out that the lateral velocity of the ship is the big difference. Here's an excerpt:

The difference between the lowest speeds required for orbital and sub-orbital space flights is substantial: a spacecraft must reach about 18,000 mph to attain orbit. This compares to the relatively modest 2,500-3,000 mph typically attained for sub-orbital crafts.

The important difference in energy requirements between a sub-orbital spaceflight such as that required for the X Prize and for an orbital spaceflight is that no lateral or angular velocity is required for the sub-orbital flight. The energy required to get to 100 km or even 350 km altitude is dwarfed by the energy required for the necessary lateral velocity of orbital space flight.

In terms of energy: accelerating a spacecraft to orbital speed requires about 31 times as much net energy as just lifting it to a height of 100 km (together 32 times).

Longhorn to have fewer BSOD

Red Screen of Death thumbnailThe new version of Microsoft Windows, code-named Longhorn and due out in late 2006, may have fewer Blue Screens of Death. But it will have a new feature to fill that gap: Red Screen of Death. I, for one, can't wait.

Someone predicted this back in 2000, but they thought it wouldn't show up until 2016 (one year after IE 6.0 is released for Mac OS).

(via Slashdot)

Insanity . . . subsiding

I'm not going trade my computer in. With the discount I would lose and the restocking fee I would pay, it would cost me around $300. I was already planning on upgrading my RAM (an extra gig rather than 256 MB) and when I need more hard drive space I'll get a USB 2 external drive. The processor speed bump was minor, the video RAM only matters in video games (which I don't plan to do much of) and the wi-fi isn't worth much when the computer is two feet from my ethernet switch anyway. So I'm going to keep my computer and continue to be very happy with it. The price for the older iMacs like I have has dropped to $1299, so I can get back the difference between that and what I paid. If you're thinking about getting a Mac, this is a good time to make the switch, whether you're getting the newest iMacs or you can find one like I have for $1299.

I think I'm going to be sick

Apple just upgraded their iMacs. For the same cost you can now get a computer with a faster proc, double the memory and hard drive (and video RAM), and a dual layer superdrive. Oh, I think I'm going to be sick. Excuse me.

Update: I read that if they upgrade a product within 10 days of you purchasing it, you're eligble for an exchange. I hope so. I would probably lose the 10% discount I had Friday, but this seems like a much better deal.

iMac

new computer boxI did finally make up my mind and end my search for a computer. I settled on an iMac G5. I bought it Friday night at the Apple Store in Kansas City. It just happened to be the release party for Tiger, the new version of the Mac OS, so the place was packed and they were giving scratch tickets at the door. A few people won an iPod or a laptop, but everyone else got 10% their purchase that night. That worked out very nicely for me. Here are some of the specs from my computer, if you're interested:

Monitor: 17" widescreen LCD
Processor: 1.8 GHz G5 600 MHz FSB, 512k L2 cache
Memory: 256 MB PC3200 DDR (soon to be upgraded to 1.25 GB)
Hard drive: 80 GB SATA (7200)
Video: NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 64 MB of DDR SDRAM (AGP 8X)
Optical: 4X/8X/16X/8X/24X slot-loading Superdrive

There are more pictures in the gallery. So far I really like it. The Mac OS is very nice. I'm working on a new video of Emma, using the built-in iMovie, and I should be posting it online soon.

We're back

This website, along with all of brendoman.com and a great deal of our webhost, Vizaweb, has been down for about four days. There was a spam attack that caused our site to overload a server, so we got suspended. It took Vizaweb four days to get back to me and reenable our site. But we're working on protecting the site from spam attacks so this won't happen again.

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