All the geeky stuff that gets me hot.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Optimizing flash memory

I happened upon this forum posting that explains some good methods for optimizing flash memory. Depending how a memory card is formatted it will either hold more data or be able to write it faster. File systems write data in chunks and files almost never use up all the space allocated to it. You can gain more of this wasted space back by making the chunks smaller but at the cost of speed. Having to deal with a lot of smaller chunks takes more time.

Another aspect is the file system used. Today FAT16 has pretty much been phased out in favor of FAT32 because of it's inability to deal with today's large disks. That doesn't mean FAT16 is not a good file system though. It turns out its a bit faster than FAT32 and using the default settings is a good balance between space and performance considerations.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Get your Blackberry fix

Originally uploaded by skidder.
Before I used a blackberry I thought they were pretty cool. Then I had to set a few up for some people at work. These things are like TI graphing calculators that send email instead of doing calculus. Maybe great for email and the occasional call, but thats it.

I really hate the term "crackberry", it ties mobile e-mail to a brand of device. Guess what? I have a Windows Mobile 5 device and it can check my Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and work accounts all at once. If we used exchange at work I would get push email just like a blackberry.

Maybe if I actually owned one for a while I might change my mind but I think Blackberrys will always be out classed by pocket PC devices. But then, for the less technically savvy people that's probably a good thing. They want a phone that just "gets email". They don't care what else it does. I feel Palm is the same way. Less powerful but easier for the average person to pick up and use.

So maybe that is the real power of the Blackberry, it's easy enough to use that people don't get intimidated by it. If it's to hard to use it doesn't matter what the device can do, it will end up neglected in a drawer. Crackberry really isn't that bad of a term then is it? It's like a gateway device that get them hooked on smartphones then they graduate to harder devices.

Just remember, the first ones always free kids.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2

You may have heard that MS released a beta of IE7 recently. In fact I am posting this entry using it right now. IE7 has been a long, long time coming and I'm afraid to even say that if Firefox hadn't given MS such a run for it's money it might never have gotten here. It has some issues with forms right now, mainly it doesn't let you type in them very easily. In order to get the cursor in the Title box for this post I had to right click on it and say "select all". No amount of regular clicking would get me there.

I love this hilarious Slashdot Comment.

User: I wish to make a complaint!
Ballmer: (hurriedly) Sorry, we're about to ship Vista.
User: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this web browser, what came bundled not five years ago from this very operating system.
Ballmer: Oh yes, IE, ah, version 6. What's, ah... W-what's wrong with it?
User: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. It's dead, that's what's wrong with it.
Ballmer: No, no, It's ah... it's undergoing a security upgrade.
User: Look, matey, I know a dead browser when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.
Ballmer: No no, i-it's not dead, it's... getting its user interface upgraded!
User: User interface?
Ballmer: Y-yeah, the UI. Upgradin'. Remarkable browser, IE, isn't it, eh? Beautiful layouts!
User: The layout-complete build don't enter into it. It's stone dead!
Ballmer: Nononono, no, no! 'E's bein' upgraded!
User: All right then, if he's bein' upgraded, I'll run 'im!
(starts typing)
Looky looky looky! Happily rendering the Goatse Guy! Hey, IE, I've got lots of lovely RAM for you if you're running, Mr. Internet Explorer!)
(pounds keyboard)
Ballmer: There, the page refreshed!
User: No, he didn't, that was you clicking reload!
Ballmer: I never!!
User: Yes, you did!
Ballmer: I never, never....
(pounding Ctrl-Alt-Del on the keyboard again)
Now that's what I call a dead browser.
Ballmer: No, no.... No, it's just running a signed ActiveX Control in the background.
Ballmer: Yeah! You invoked an ActiveX control, just as it was wakin' up! Believe me, IE runs those easily, major!
User: Look my lad, I've had just about enough of this. That browser is definitely deceased, and when I booted its PC up after buyin' it not half an hour ago, you assured me that the PC's total lack of computational power was due to it being tired and shagged out after a prolonged virus scan.
Ballmer: Well, he's... it's, ah... probably needin' activation and authorization with Windows Genuine Advantage.
User: WINDOWS Genuine ADVANTAGE?!? What kind of talk is that? Look, why did the OS crash flat on its back the moment I plugged it into the router?
Ballmer: The Norwegian Bluescreen prefers kippin' on its back! Remarkable UI, though, isn't it, guv, eh? Lovely layout-complete screenshots!
User: (coldly) Look, I took the liberty of examining that browser cache when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that the PC had anything to run on its hard drive in the first place was that it had been bundled in there along with the spyware and the DRM.
Ballmer: Well, of course it has DRM there! If I hadn't bundled that browser and nailed everything down with DRM, all the content would have nuzzled up to those wires at the back, bent 'em apart with its little bits, and VOOM!
User: "VOOM?" Look matey, this browser wouldn't "voom" if you put four thousand kilobytes of W3C standards through it! It's bleedin' demised!
Ballmer: It's not! I-It's just authenticating!
User: It's not authenticatin,' it's passed on! This browser is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet its maker! This is a late software release! It's a stiff! Bereft of RAM, it rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed it to the system with DRM and your monopoly it'd be pushing up the daisies! Its spawned processes are of interest only to historians! It's hopped the twig! It's shuffled off this mortal coil! It's run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible! This.... is an INACTIVE X!
Ballmer: Well, I'd better upgrade it, then.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Finally, cheap A2DP Bluetooth adapters

I have been waiting for A2DP Bluetooth adapters to come down in price for a while. I saw the Scosche UBCK on Gizmodo, made a quick check on eBay and scored one for $45 shipped. That's about the same price as those Griffen iTrips.

I want one so I can hook my HTC Wizard up to my car stereo using it's built in Bluetooth. Getting the transmitter is a just a plus, I might even sell back that part on eBay.

These are a much better option than FM modulators in my opinion, FM has pretty terrible sound quality and generally gets a lot of static. They really, really need to add A2DP support to iPods, it would be sooo convenient.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Sony hates you

Music phones are catching on and really in the future no one will have an iPod and a phone, everything will be on the phone. While I can't carry my entire music collection with me on my phone yet, I'm sure I will be able to eventually. Sony however, just can't seem to figure out what makes a good MP3 player. First they ruined their stand alone players by making you convert all your music to ATRAC format in order to listen to it. No one wants to convert their music again, they want to listen to in the format they have now. As a result Sony MP3 players bombed, and almost no one has one. If you don't believe me all I have to do is mention the bean.

Since they can't make a decent stand alone MP3 player Sony decided to focus instead on the Next Big Thing, music phones. They make some pretty nice looking music phones but they all have at least one flaw, they don't hold enough music. Most of them only hold 512MB which is really not enough. 1GB should be the minimum anything that plays MP3's should have. Sony is working on a 4GB phone, lets hope they don't screw that one up too badly.

Today I noticed this gem, the Sony Ericsson W300i. Notice the big plug on the bottom. There's NO regular headphone jack. How can you make a music phone without a headphone jack?? Sony is either completely clueless or they really don't care about the user, they just want to push their accessories and memory formats. The latter sounds about right because instead of using the industry standard SD card for storage it uses you guessed it, the new Sony micro memory stick. Oh boy another micro memory format that only works in Sony products and holds a whopping 512MB (for now, 1GB versions are supposedly coming). It's nice to see a phone that exists solely to push other Sony products.