Sunday, December 28, 2008

PSP Internet Review

2 reviews in a row! This time, I'll be complimenting the PSP's
NetFront internet browser. First, I'll mention everything I like about
it. Then, I'll go over some common criticism it recieves and shut it

My #1 favorite thing about it is features. The PSP can do more than IE
and as much as much as Firefox, with great stuff like bookmarks and
tabs. Attaching to a network is easy and fast, thanks to the ability
to save configurations.

There are also a few common complaints I'd like to adress:

"Most sites aren't compatible."

That's an overstatement. Probably 60% of all sites work fine on the PSP. Of the remaining 40%, 50% have "mobile"  versions that work great. So, 80% of sites are compatible.

"YouTube doesn't work."

Not with the normal browser, but you can install PSPTube (Google it) which works great.

"Text entry sucks."

Text entry is like on a phone, so you'd press "6" three times to type "m." However, for the nitpickety, you can switch to a plain numpad, a full QWERTY keyboard, or a symbols pad. A touch screen would help, but I typed this whole post up to the start of the complaints on my PSP. Then, I reached the maximum amount of characters it would allow. "Text entry sucks" probably is the most true complaint there is.

All in all, the PSP makes a great web browser for on-the-go, but if you can use a computer, I recommend that.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

DVD Flick Review

Note how this is not a rant, but a review. DVD Flick is a free and open source DVD creator, if that's the correct term. Basically, it lets you put a bunch of clips together, save them as a DVD Flick project file (.dfproj) and burn them to a DVD using open-source ImgBurn. Or, for the more advanced user, it will create .iso files to be burned with any ISO burner (I like ActiveISO). But the interface itself is incredibly easy to use. Most software has a toolbar at the very top with options like File, Edit, View, and so on. DVD Flick has just 9 big buttons. Although this may sound like an app for 3 year-olds, the settings menu has a lot of advanced features, like creating ISOs, verifying disks, and more. Plus, when it's burning, you'll see a button: [Entertain me.] This brings up a very nice version of Tetris to amuse your soul, probably the nicest download version you can get.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

LilyPond Rant

I love ranting. The other night, I was looking for some kind of free musical notation program, like Finale Notepad, but free. I googled it and came across LilyPond. It advertises itself with a warm (and false) slogan: " notation for everyone." There are two things wrong it this statement. The first one is that it is music notation software. In reality, it is a program that allows one to print out sheet music which can be downloaded from their library. And by the way: "There are now 313 pieces of music avaliable!" In case you didn't catch it, that's nothing. That's only 28% of everything Bach ever wrote or half of all of Mozart's songs. But all that is naught compared to the true lie: " notation for everyone." After I downloaded it, it took well over 20 minutes just to install. This must be a nice application, or very graphically based, I think. So I open the folder I installed it to and I can't even find the app itself! I had to look online to find out that it was is ...usr\bin, buried amongst 50 or so .dll files. I open it up GUI! The f***ing app that advertises itself as "...for everyone" has a command line interface! I promptly uninstalled it, a process which took 15-20 minutes. And even still, it didn't even delete anything. I deleted the folder myself, which took more like 15 or 20 seconds.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

VLC Rant

I love VLC. It's the best cross-platform media player out there. Except, it sucks on Linux. If you don't have internet, then you can't get it. I know, duh. But what I'm saying is that you have to have internet on the computer you want to install it on. I want to put it on my pitiful laptop that doesn't get internet in order to play DVDs. Yes, it has a DVD drive. On the site, they have no downloadable versions, just how to tell the computer to go fetch it. Not even a URL. I'm in the forums (help if you can) but it could take a while.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'll Tell You Why

There's a reason for everything. My not having posted in a while: I'll tell you why. Windows. These problems have yet to go away. Not that I'm surprised, or anything. And, the Dow is at it's lowest since '03. Right now, it looks like it's at 7552.29. And guess what: I'll tell you why. Windows. You see, Microsoft is in the NASDAQ, with pretty good stocks along with Apple. So what does the Dow have? Dowels. Bad pun. But still. And we all know that most car crashes are caused by younger people. I'll tell you why: (surprise!) Mac. You see, it works like this. College kids tend to get Macs more that old people, because they are smart. Sort of. They have awesome Macs, so they make some awesome home videos and show them to their friends. Their friends like them, so they decide to submit it to the movies. But, since they use Macs, they are obviously more educated, so they search for a way to stream their video to a bigger audience. And, with a Mac, they can get around the internet faster, so they do not grow impatient in their search and find instructions and software to help them hack into NASA's satellites. They then find directions on how to construct an ultra-powerful projector. Once they are done, they wait for a cloudy night. They set up their projector, followed by a pair of speakers directed creatively at an angled Mac Cinema Display, which directs the sound to the world. They start playing the video, both on the sky projector and the Cinema Display, then head to their computer. They tap the satellite, and stream the video to every internet-conncted 'puter in the nation, plus every TV. Meanwhile, John Smith, a really old dude, is driving 30 miles an hour on the freeway, thus slowing down the 927 cars behind him. His vision is distracted for a second, as he sees lights flashing in the sky and monitors lighting up in houses. Faintly, and then louder he begins to hear...the Pokemon theme song! Mr. Smith chuckles to himself, remembering that old show, before he realizes that he's stopped moving. The other cars pile up behind him. One of the radios in another car flies through his back windshield and he hears: On interstate 492 tonight, we have a 928 car collision. Officials are directing traffic onto the other side of the freeway. They have requested us to announce that kids using Macintosh computers for devious purposes are to be shunned.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Linux Rant 2 - What is the World Coming to?

Linux, as I've always thought, is very buggy. I'm trying Ubuntu because it's probably the most reliable, but just downloading it is impossible. I chose my mirror and it started doing 14 Kbps. Fourteen! It said something like 17 hours remaining. So I started over with a new, farther away mirror, and it's pushin' 160 Kbps. But either way, this is the second time I've had to complain about Linux. It's supposed to be awesome! Help!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Let's Talk Politics

So, as we all know, Obama won. That's fabulous. But what, now is his job? It's been said that the president (Bush) is now called a "lame duck," although that seems more like Obama's role currently. And there's that other guy... what's his name? Joe Biden, that's it. What happened to him? It seemed almost, almost, like he was just there to help Obama win. Consider this: what tangible things does the vice president do (besides shoot people, we all know that)? I know, some political fanatic will run off a list of hundreds of thousands of duties, but maybe he is just the backup president. Not that there's anything wrong with that. So, right now, who, in the upper governmental group, is really doing something? Nancy Pawlowski?

Questions, questions.

For once, Windows seems nice

So... to avoid the wrath of Windows lately I've been trying out various other operating systems (it's nice to have a junk laptop that you can do whatever you want with, eh?). So yesterday, I'm cycling through all kinds of Linux distros, trying to find one I like. I started with kUbuntu Hardy Heron, 8.04. It's cool and all, but it doesn't work with wireless internet. And since my laptop has no ethernet port, that doesn't work. Next I try DSL (Damn Small linux, 4.4.8). The scariest part was probably the command line hard disk installation, but I pulled through. I even got the 'net working... for a few hours. Then I spent 2 or three more hours (I was bored, okay?) installing xUbuntu, with Ubuntu's finicky install GUI. So that gets all up and running. I had high hopes for this one, because it already had my WiFi card's drivers and immediately detected our network. I entered the password and it said I was online, with 2 out of 4 bars. But I open Firefox, and it can't connect, despite still having 2 bars. So, I figure, it must be just Firefrox, so I try ping, and (oh, snap!) no response. Software communication failure? I may never know. So today I shift into a new gear: Unix. Not Unix-based Linux, but plain ol' Unix. I go download the "boot only" FreeBSD ISO, burn it with never-failed-me-before Active ISO, pop it in and reboot. I select the kernel and all that, and it starts booting, then prints a peculiar error: "GTX halted." Whatever that means. Which puts me here: all I have to work with is Windows, one blank CD, and an operating system choice.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

How to Tell if You're Running Windows

Here are a few ways to tell if you are running Windows:

-Computer has many unpractical names for various applications and components. 
-Computer takes more than 15 minutes to start up.
-Computer uses strange metaphors like "Desktop" and "Menu".
-Computer's "Help and Support Center" has bookmarks.

I invite anyone else to contribute.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Election is Just Around the Corner...Two Blocks Back

Gotta admit, I didn't manage to post on Election night. But I't glad and All the Barack won. True, I was a Nader fan, but I didn't wholeheartedly expect him to win. Either way, I'm going to make a cheesy statement about the significance of it all just like every other person in the world. So brace yourself.

Two days ago, an amazing happening occured to mark a major milestone in the history of our country. We elected our first African American as president.

Alright, cheesy statement done. Besides that important event, everything's normal. Life is good, Windows is bad. In the past 2 days, I've had one Blue Screen of Death, and an internet hardware failure (managed to catch while I was running ping, so that was sweet).  My brain reaches for every Mac I see, but my train of thought always falls off the Bridge of Expense (that's a metaphor, by the way).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Random Realization

I just noticed this and I had to put it somewhere. Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs, and Microsoft's, Steve Ballmer, have the first name. If Linux had a CEO, his name would be Steve Smith. No joke. Oh, and happy Halloween! (I know, Halloween ended 2 hours ago, but still).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Nader, I Choose You!

Had to do the Pokemon thing, sorry. Anyways, I've been perusing the web a bit and have made the decision to support Nader. I know, I'm always changing, but two issues put me over the edge: Obama (and Mccain) do not support gay marriage, and Nader is against genetic engineering. Both (especially the first) are hot topics this election, but I know where I stand on them. Nader is also an Independent, like me, so that's helpful. I realize that he doesn't have a fighting chance against Obama, but if it's such a sure thing that Obama will win, why should we worry about a few Nader votes? Who knows, maybe he will win if people keep my mindset. There is no candidate the I have agreed with as much as Ralph Nader. Gonzalez is pretty cool, too, but that is a topic for another post.

Monday, October 27, 2008

When Windows Meets Anything

Brace yourself for another Windows rant. Since we purchased a new, widescreen, 1680 by 1050, 19 inch monitor, everything in Windows has gone down. I'm not much of a gamer myself, although the 2 games I have, Microsoft Flight Simulator X and Sim City Societies, have both ceased to work. FSX died before this transition, but it's still worth mentioning. It worked fine, but now crashes whenever you start a mission. Naturally, I tried reinstalling it on the new monitor, but it just opens a black square. Then, it crashes. Sim City had some graphics related issue once we got this monitor, probably because it was configured for a fullscreen resolution. Reinstalled, and now I get the same "black square of death" from FSX.

I wish I could afford a Mac.

When Mac Meets Windows

Mac is a good operating system. Windows is a mediocre operating system. But if one tries to put a good operating system's programs (hint: iTunes, Quicktime, and Safari) on a mediocre operating system, stuff screws up. iTunes is alright, assuming your fine with RAM crowding, skippy cover flow, and slow syncing. Quicktime is great, provided you never try to play anything. Only Safari can keep its head above water, actually outstriping the speed of Firefox, IE (duh), Opera, and depending on the page contents, even Chrome. If you notice, the comparison tests on Chrome and Safari's sites both don't mention the other browser, because they run neck and neck. The pages I load have lots of images and minimal flash/java, and Safari seems the fastest. For some reason Chrome tends to crash with Youtube. But anyway, I'm straying off topic. These programs that Apple generously made for Windows are almost all pitiful as far as performance goes, except for Safari, a gem in a coal mine.

So, here's what I've decided: it's best to use the applications that are included with your operating system, as there are deigned by the programmers of that OS. The only exception is you web browser, because something went terribly wrong in the development of Internet Explorer, and your media player only, I repeat, only, if you must because you mistakenly bought an iPod, or you need a quick one that launches fast for just playing single audio and video clips (try VLC, it's pretty nice), and don't need to organize a library of music.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Political Obsession

Politics is addicting. It's one of those things where you think it'll ultra boring, and then you look at it a bit, and you're hooked. Even now, I've got a live stream from CNN on the computer with C-Span on the TV. Political obsession. I can only hope that I will never become my mother. You should see her bookmarks. I can't even count how many news sites she's got. Let's looks like Palin's rallying in Indiana, and the supreme court candidates are squabbling over something. With the audio tracks mixed, it's not easy to tell. Hey look, I can watch this discussion in all of it's entirety on Technology is amazing, in an annoying and redundant way. Palin's thing is now playing some odd fight song-like thing. I'm turning off C-Span to hear this...that's quite entertaining. Some 70-something with a cowboy hat and sunglasses sing not off-key, but without key. It's like he's rapping in slow motion. Alright, I'm done with that. That song gets really old, really fast.

Ok, so Windows' problems are fixable with time and effort

I've found two ways of tackling my internet problems. One is to restart the computer and go through the whole ordeal described in my last post. The other is to get as far away from the router as possible, and that usually fixes it. That's what I'm doing now. I can't contemplate how hard it must be for the poor folks with Vista.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Windows Rant

I hate Windows. Not that I didn't always. But this computer has the worst everything in the world. It takes ten full minutes of the computer not appearing to do anything before it even starts to load Windows. That takes only two. It takes about thirty seconds to log on, but if I try to do anything in the two minutes following log-on the computer freezes. So, if the computer's off, it takes almost 15 minutes just to get ready to start doing things. And the internet is a whole other story. Plugged into the ethernet, with a cable, mind you, it says I have limited or no connectivity. It comes on and off totally spontaneously, so much that I have to have a ping utility running in the background. And if you're using a Dell (Microsoft's brand, the same company that makes Windows), then you can't update Windows XP to SP2 without crashing the thing.

I hate Windows.

What is Apple doing?

Apple, let me make this short and sweet [angry]:

Let me say that again. 

As much as I love them, I would really be interested in finding out how much it actually costs you to make a MacBook, or an iPod sock (click that first link). Emphasis on iPod sock.

Seriously, it's a sock. 

Let me say that again.

Seriously, it's a sock.

I made one of these in a few hours for a cost of 0 (I know, it's a Sansa, but humor me here). And even if I hadn't had a spare soccer sock lying around, it would still cost a hell of a lot less then $30. C'mon, people. We're in an economic crisis. this is not a neccessity. 

11 Days from the Election

Somehow this doesn't seem right. Having just watched two (not one, but two) shows on MSNBC ranting about incredibly similar issues with the McCain campaign, I can't see why anyone would vote for him. Not to be another one of those exubrant Obama supporters with no basis for reasoning, but seriously! It's almost as if McCain's campaign only behaves when Obama is around. Barack leaves to visit his dying granny, while Sarah Palin's stylist is getting paid $22,000 per two weeks. Meanwhile, Joe McCain (John's brother) calls 911 to complain about traffic twice. Granted, McCain himself didn't do much, but the fact that he can sit around normally through all of this astounds me. With my luck, some astounding new revelation is coming about as I write. The only living people on the planet who make sense anymore are Steven Colbert and John Stewart. And it is safe to expect that my blog will contain many of these political rants.