Category: Technology

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Technology

Leo Laporte explains the need for strong encryption

This is one of the best explanations I’ve heard for keeping our devices strongly encrypted. The video above starts at 29 minutes and 34 seconds in… He continues on the subject for several minutes, at least through 38:26.

You can’t lower your guard without lowering it for everyone.

And that’s the key.

When you reduce security, it’s not just for bad guys, and it’s not just the government that gets access to that. It’s everybody.

Well said, Leo.

Featured, News, Technology

The Day of the ‘Challenger’

The ramblings of an adult remembering the shuttle accident through the eyes of a twelve year old.

So I remember that day quite well. In north-central West Virginia, January 28, 1986 was a snow day. No school in Harrison County. Those are the words every twelve year old loves to hear in January. Back then, we still had our summers, filled with basketball and music. (I always liked to type up the Top 40 tunes each week, as announced by Casey Kasem, on a typewriter. The red ribbon would be saved for the number one song!) Also, they didn’t keep extending the school year into the middle of June, nor start in August, to make up for missed snow days, like today.

c-128-screen
A Commodore 128 BASIC screen. At the ready.

Anyway, that particular Tuesday morning, I was busy plugging away at a computer keyboard in my bedroom. I was (what do you mean, was?) one of those nerdy kids. Synchronized-watch-with-the-school-bell kinda nerdy kids. Yeah, I really did that kind of thing… That morning I was busy writing a basketball simulation program on a Commodore 128 computer. I don’t have a screenshot of that program or a copy of it anywhere, but I remember it well. It was a side-on shot of a basketball court and backboard. When you pressed the space bar a basketball would head toward the hoop and it would randomly vary a few pixels left or right, and occasionally you’d “make a basket.” Anyway, it was just the kind of thing I was likely to do on a snow day.

“Jay, come in here,” mom yelled from the living room. “The shuttle’s going up.” “Oh, yeah, that’s happening today,” I thought. So… pack it up on the C-128, and head into the living room.

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Computing, Technology

90’s CGI memories

I’ve been undertaking a project recently to convert old VHS/VHS-C/Digital video tapes to a digital format to store on my home network Synology. It’s nice to have a backup and it’s also nice to be able to pull up any home video just within a few clicks.

Well, I happened to stumble across a video from 1990 titled “The Mind’s Eye.” It’s a collection of late 80’s CGI animation that obviously pales in comparison to the stuff in theaters today, but it certainly showed “what was possible” with technology, even in those early stages of computer animation.

Imagine my surprise (not really) when I discovered that the entire video is available on YouTube. So that’s one less video tape I have to convert…

Among the nuggets in the video is Stanley & Stella in: Breaking the Ice. It was the first computer animated short that I can remember emotionally connecting with. Give it a watch.

If you don’t want to sit through the entire Mind’s Eye video, you can find Stanley and Stella right here. Enjoy!

Technology

The HTC One M8 and Sense 6 – Ask the Internet

So, if I were looking for a SmartPhone today, I’m certain that the all new HTC One (M8) would be at the top of the list.

I’ve had the HTC One (M7), last year’s model, since the day it came out last year. I’m not in a contract position to be able to upgrade to the M8 now, and there will probably be an HTC One (M9) by 2015, so I’ll probably be skipping a generation of phones.

There are some things I’m able to take advantage of now, with a download of HTC Sense 6 from XDA Developers specific to the M7.  Sense 6 is an improvement over Sense 5.5 in several ways.  I like the theme capabilities, and the ability to change system wide fonts.  The built-in apps (Calendar, Contacts, Mail, etc.) are all improvements over the previous versions.  The first Custom ROM I loaded from XDA was the Elegancia ROM which seems to work well enough.  However, one app I do have a complaint about is Gallery, which, for some reason, no longer has the social aspects (Facebook, Flickr, Dropbox) that it had in Sense 5(.5).  I don’t know why this was functionality was removed, but it reminds me of when Microsoft did virtually the same things with Windows 8.1.  Windows 8 had the same type of photo collection ability.  Want your Facebook photos? They’re there.  Flickr? Yup.  I wonder if making these collections available somehow violated Facebook/Flickr’s terms of service…. Just a thought.  At any rate, I think I’m gonna reflash and go with Android Revolution 61.1 which is also based off of Sense 6 and see if that behaves any differently.  Also, live wallpapers did not work in Elegancia either.

At any rate, back to the M8.  If I were starting from scratch, which I’m not, and if I had unlimited funds, which I don’t, I would be picking up an HTC One M8 as my next phone.

Books, Featured, Humor, Internet, Technology

Google celebrates Douglas Adams

So I wake up this morning and head to Google, as one usually does on a Monday, and notice that the Google home page has a familiar look to it.

I see “large, friendly letters” that read “DON’T PANIC.”

After a few minutes of mouse hovering I discover that the cause of today’s Google salute is that March 11 is Douglas Adams’ birthday. 61st birthday this year, to be exact. Or would have been, had the author still been alive.

What a nice honor!

Happy 61st Douglas. Wherever he’s got to…