Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Google's Response

I got a not so exciting pre-generated response back from Google, but I'm sure someone there knows they rock now.

Hi James,

Thank you for writing to Google about our applications guidelines. While we're not able to respond personally to every note we receive on this topic, we're very interested in what you have to say and do read all of our mail. We appreciate your taking the time to write us.

The Google Team

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Honesty is the Best Policy

I recently read Google's Software Principles and to put it bluntly I was touched. A company the writes software and actually cares about the people that use it...is this for real? Let me hit some of the highlights.

We believe any situation where multiple applications are being installed should be made very clear to users, so that if you were to ask them several months later - "What's this?" - most will know where it came from and why it is there.

Once an application is disabled or deleted, it should not remain active or be automatically enabled later by itself or another application.

This information should be presented in a way that a typical user will see and understand -- not buried in small print that requires you to scroll. For example, if the application is paid for by serving pop-up ads or sending your personal data to a third party, that should be made clear to you.

These are directly copy and pasted from Google's Software Principles. I feel like a very fortunate individual to work for an honest company. Google is clearly an honest company, and maybe one day other company's will follow these foot steps.

I was so touched by Google's Software Principles that I was compelled to send them an email letting them know they rocked.

I totally read your software principles policy and I wanted you to know that Google rocks. You may already know this, but I had to say something on the off chance you didn't.

That was my email. I'll post something here if I get a reply.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Little known power supply facts

Today I learned some interesting things about power supplies and basic electrical precepts. Like most I already knew that the yellow wires are 12 volts and the red wires are 5 volts, and for your average case mods that's all you really need to know about. Keep in mind the wire colors I talk about are in a normal industry standard power supply. I've come across a lot of Dell power supplies that use orange as the 5V line....weird.

When I purchased a set of LED feet for a case mod I didn't give it a second thought when I started cutting and rewiring to incorporate the feet into my rig. The feet plugged into the 5V line; and, to my surprise, there were small resistors in line with the wire I had cut that reduced the 5V to 3.3V (I thought I was cool enough to have 5V LED's). So those LED's didn't last long. In fact they lasted all of about a minute before they burnt out, but for that minute they were so cool. The orange wires that go to the rarely used ATX auxiliary connector (looks a lot like the old AT style power connections) are 3.3 volts. Now not only do I not have an excuse when I burn out LED's I finally have a use for that cable.

I found some more information at this link.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Geek Memorabilia #4: My First USB Flash Drive

I got my first USB Thumb drive from a guy who was on vacation in my trailer park. He was a geek and he seemed impressed by my geek skills and it was all very flattering. The company he worked for (large oil company out of Houston) had recently supplied him with a fancy new 1GB Thumb drive, so he gave me his old cheesy 64MB model.

I've learned a lot about the wonders of flash memory and am continually impressed with the growing number of opportunities they provide. At first I only used it for transferring small files. Then I started to keep working files on it and was able to edit those files at work and at home. I remember thinking that I forgot how big 64MB's can be when working on small things like documents, spreadsheets, pictures, and lego models.

Recently I was introduced to flash memory applications like Portable Firefox and Portable Thunderbird. At first glance I saw little use for these applications, but then it hit me...I will never have to remember my online user names and passwords again (or keep them in an easy to use text file). Portable apps and a nifty little program like Private Disk it won't even matter if I lose my flash drive; both digital thieves and nosy people alike will be put in their place with killer encryption.

I know now I'm only scratching the surface of all the cool things I can do with USB flash drives, but this post isn't to introduce my would be readers to the uses of solid state storage mediums. It is instead to honor my first, and now retired, USB flash drive. Not only did this 64MB wonder turn me on to this new world of portability, but it showed me honest to goodness solid state resilience. What I mean by solid states is that there are no moving parts. As one can see by my two pictures I did not take care of this particular piece of geek memorabilia like I should have. Even after two trips though the washer and a case melting dryer experience, this bad boy still functioned. In fact, not only did it still function, I was surprised to find my data was safe and sound.

I regret not taking care of this flash drive like I will the next. An unsuccessful image search on goolge for how it originally looked showed me how rare of a find this gem was. In honor of this flash drive I could only replace it with the best, and now that have more portable megabytes I hope to play with all new and improved flash drive toys. First on the list is Portable OpenOffice.org.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

New Goals

Work hard, live frugal, and buy a house; this is the plan of attack my girlfriend and I put into place on the drive home from Houston after the July 4th holiday weekend. As a guy/geek/gamer, I see wonderful advantages to a house over an Airsteam. The most obvious being LAN parties. We don't have a lot of money to fill a house with furniture, but tables, chairs, computers, and friends shouldn't be a problem. What better way to break in a new home than create an unmanageable web of CAT5? The geek in me wants a place to work on PC's. A spare room or garage that I can use to test out new toys and put some killer case mod ideas into action.
Trailer life is a lot of fun, I don't plan to sell the Airstream to meet our new house goal. When it was just me, and I didn't know anyone, trailer life had more advantages. Now as my girlfriend and I grow older it becomes more of a hassle to entertain the occasional guest in the limited space of a travel trailer.
I know my girlfriend has completely different ideas for our home. It is interesting to me our overall goal is the same, but our reasons vary quite drastically (i.e. I want to case mod she wants a garden).
Our short term goals, work hard and live frugal, are already in action. We've decided to do simple things like drink coffee in the morning instead of Mountain Dew because coffee is $3.29 a can and last weeks where 12 cans of soda cost $3.49 and lasts a day (no exaggeration). I've finally, in all my 25 years, learned the value of coupons. In an effort to work hard I've started doing laundry on a more regular basis, paying bills on time, and even playing with the idea of a second job.