Wednesday, September 28, 2005

DIY iPod

This article shows the adventures Keith Axline of Wired news had when he tried to make his own MP3 player.

"For those with curiosity, diligence and a rebel's spirit, it's quite possible to get your hands on a unique MP3 player and avoid selling your soul to tech conformity."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Jeeves loses job

InterActiveCorp, who bought Ask Jeeves in July, has decided to sack Jeeves and use as the focus of the brand. He is still on the site, but we are no longer asking him 'questions'. I'm guessing that they will slowly phase him out. Jeeves is seen by many as a reminder of the playful 'good ol days' of the Internet.

He will be especially missed by children, who will no longer be able to ask Jeeves questions about his hygene, his sexual preferences, or whether not he is 'real'.

Read this article for more info.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Google used to discover ancient ruins and save baby from having a blood transfusion

"Google literally saved our newborn son from having to endure an extremely dangerous, and totally unnecessary, blood transfusion.”

The above quote is from a letter sent to Google by Howard and Melissa, who come from Florida. Some doctors wanted to give their baby a blood transfusion because the hemoglobin, which takes oxygen to the brain, was low. Howard used his cell phone to do a Google search and found out that “it's perfectly normal for preemies to have their hemoglobin levels drop to 7 between the first and third months of life, and apparently this is especially true with twins.” The neonatalogists then did some research and came to the same conclusion.

This article from describes how an Italian computer programmer discovered the remains of and ancient Roman villa using Google earth. Luca Mori was studying maps of the region around his town of Sorbolo, near Parma, when "his eye was caught by unusual 'rectangular shadows' nearby. Curious, he analysed the image further, and concluded that the lines must represent a buried structure of human origin. Eventually, he traced out what looked like the inner courtyards of a villa." Experts at the National Archaeological Museum of Parma confirmed the find. Inspection of the site turned up ceramic pieces that indicated it was a Roman villa.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

First impression of next version of MS Office (Office 12)

Note: This article has been re-written to incorperate new ideas and outlooks on the situation/product.

Microsoft’s next version of the Office suite, called Office 12, is an interesting ramification of Microsoft's 2007 strategy. This strategy will use Windows Vista, .NET, XML, WiFi, and WinFS to completely re-design the computing landscape. Office 12 is due in late 2006 (so expect it to arrive mid 2007), and will be available on both Windows XP/2000 and the new Windows Vista (Longhorn).

Office 12's interface looks completely different from the old version, it uses Windows Presentation Foundation (formerly code name "Avalon"), so if you're using Windows XP you'll be forced to install Service Pack 3. This picture of Word shows the new menu system and if you look closely, you’ll see that the only drop down menu is the file option, the rest are ‘command tabs’ that change the toolbar below it.

The new menu system would be especially helpful for the more complex applications like Excel and Access. Access had spent too long with its clunky interface, so I was especially relieved when I saw the new ‘access objects’ sidebar. I was even more so when I saw the tabs along the top. I also think Excel will benefit greatly from having related tasks grouped together. No more looking for buttons, when you’re doing page layout you only see layout stuff, when you’re doing formula work you only see formula stuff, it’s great.

The PowerPoint interface looks great. This article from Cnet claims that PowerPoint will automate the document process so that users can “quickly create documents that look good”. I can’t help wonder if more automation would create more presentations that look the same and have pointless ‘special effects’. I have seen too many tutors skip through animations that shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

The other major feature in the upcoming version of Office is a communications package, which includes Voice over IP (internet phone) and some XML based tools. Very little information has been released on this feature.

Friday, September 16, 2005


“One ought to seek out virtue for its own sake, without being influenced by fear or hope, or by any external influence. Moreover, that in that does happiness consist.”

"We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less”

"Dogs and philosophers do the greatest good and get the fewest rewards"


I’ve been reading about Diogenes of Sinope today, thanks to a quote on my personalised Google home page. Diogenes was a Greek philosopher who believed in living a simple and true life. “He has the most who is most content with the least" (Diogenes). He practiced self-control and lived in extreme conditions for his faith, he went through severe heat and cold and lived on his wit and the kindness of others.

While sailing to Aegina, he was taken by pirates and carried to Crete, where he was sold in the public market. When the auctioneer asked him what he could do, he said, "I can govern men; therefore sell me to one who wants a master." Xeniades, a wealthy Corinthian, was surprised with this reply and purchased him. Xeniades gave him freedom and committed to him the education of his children.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

How to study better, ace your test, and get straight A's

Here’s some tips from ehow (and myself) to help you study more efficiently.

How to study better:

How to ace your next text

  • Start studying early.

  • Focus on material you know will be in the test.

  • Take deep breaths while you’re taking the test.

  • Have your pens and stuff ready the day before.

  • Read the questions at least twice.

  • Look over your answers before leaving the test.

  • The day before the test, condense your notes into a summary.

  • Read your summary on the way to the test.

  • Leave questions that you find difficult and go back to them later.

How to get straight A’s

  • Know what’s going to be in the class beforehand. Read your PowerPoints, textbooks, or do some online research before the class.

  • Read your notes at least three hours after the class.

  • Help your classmates.

  • Find your learning times, your brain learns best at certain times of the day.

  • Actively motivate yourself.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Lucovsky claims Microsoft CEO vowed to 'f---ing kill Google'

The battle began when Microsoft executive Kai-Fu Lee left for Google in July, Microsoft claimed this was a violation of a one-year, non-compete agreement.

The following is a sworn statement in which Mark Lucovsky, another Microsoft senior engineer who left for Google in November 2004, recounted Steve Ballmer's reaction.

'"At some point in the conversation, Mr. Ballmer said: 'Just tell me it's not Google,'" Lucovosky said in his statement. Lucovosky replied that he was joining Google.

"At that point, Mr. Ballmer picked up a chair and threw it across the room hitting a table in his office," Lucovosky recounted, adding that Ballmer then launched into a tirade about Google CEO Eric Schmidt. "I'm going to f***ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I'm going to f***ing kill Google." Schmidt previously worked for Sun Microsystems and was the CEO of Novell.'

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Petals Around The Rose

A great puzzle called Petals Around The Rose; one question, five dice, one rose.


I was browsing Engadget this morning and I saw two extremely cool articles.

The first was written as a 1985 bulletin board, it was what Engadget would be like if it was around in 1985. There was some extremely old gadgets, the BBS reviewed a brick cellphone, the Macintosh and an AM/FM watch.

The second was about a washing machine, what's so extremely cool about a washing machine you ask? Well the extreme part is that it claims to kills 99.9% of the bacteria in your clothes. The cool part is the name Samsung gave it, Silver Nano. Not to mention that it kills the bacteria by electrolyzing 400 billion silver ions.

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