Sunday, November 27, 2005

Cheaper Veggie Diesel May Change the Way We Drive (Article)

Did you know that "55 billion gallons [208 billion liters] of petroleum diesel consumed in the U.S. last year." That's a lot of fuel. Everyone knows that petroleum drives the U.S. economy more then any one single product.

This fact was made evident by Katrina, and fuel shortages that were created soon afterwards. Several news sources are reporting that we have already hit the 'peak oil' production, and its all down hill from here.

Truth is that no matter how you look at it, we need to start cutting back on our consumption, soon rather then later before its too late. If we don't start converting from a petroleum based economy, as they say there will be 'hell to pay'.

I am a big fan of Biodiesel fuels, for a lot of reasons. Its made from renewable resources, it runs cleaner then regular petroleum fuels, and it can run in diesel engines with little or no modifications.

The following article from National Geographic talks about how they're finding cheaper ways to produce Biodiesel fuels, and the advantages of it.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Shoppers Robbed for Xbox 360

When the XBox was released on Monday, they were soon being auctioned off on eBay for few thousand dollars. Now I am running across stories, where people are getting robbed for their Xbox 360s. This was not an isolated incident, there are stories from all over the country. For example:
  • Minot, North Dakota - A 17-boy was assaulted and robbed of his Xbox.
  • Tallahassee, FL - A man was robbed at gunpoint of his Xbox.
  • Stafford, VA - Electronics Boutique was robbed of two Xbox 360.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Google-Mart (Dark Fiber and Google) (Article)

A few weeks ago I briefly mention that Google is buying up 'dark fiber'. Well Robert X. Cringely sheds some light what Google may be up to: "The probable answer lies in one of Google's underground parking garages in Mountain View. There, in a secret area off-limits even to regular GoogleFolk, is a shipping container. But it isn't just any shipping container. This shipping container is a prototype data center. Google hired a pair of very bright industrial designers to figure out how to cram the greatest number of CPUs, the most storage, memory and power support into a 20- or 40-foot box. We're talking about 5000 Opteron processors and 3.5 petabytes of disk storage that can be dropped-off overnight by a tractor-trailer rig. The idea is to plant one of these puppies anywhere Google owns access to fiber, basically turning the entire Internet into a giant processing and storage grid."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

IN2TV (Vintage TV on the Internet for Free)

About thirty old series (such as: Babylon 5, Beetlejuice, Lois & Clark, La Femme Nikita, etc.) that you may have grown up watching on the boob tube will soon be available through the 'AOL Video on Demand' service. This new service will be called 'In2TV', and will be launched sometime in early 2006 by AOL and Warner Bros.

The series will be grouped into channels by genre, including comedy, drama, animation, sci-fi and horror, action-adventure and "vintage TV." In2TV plans to offer more than 100 TV series and at least 300 episodes per month in the first year.

Right now the only system requirement that I can find is that it will require a broadband connection. I am not sure what computing platforms will be supported, or types of DRM that will be used. All the shows will be supported by commercials that you can't fast-forward through, but there are suppose to be fewer then what's on regular TV.

Don't grip about about the fact that there commercials, this is a FREE service and they have to make money to pay the bills. IMHO I think this is a great idea, I am glad to see AOL finally starting to do some stuff right.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

All Your 'Google Base' Belong to Us

Google Base is now available to the public. This service from Google allows you to post or find information on a variety of subjects, from parties, to events, to selling cars, and lots more.

The biggest problem with this site is that you can't classify it, like you can other sites (such as Amazon, eBay, TV Guide, etc.). It seems to incorporate a lot of features of a lot different sites into one big mishmash of a site.

Before this site was available people were speculating it was going to compete directly with eBay. Although, the more you dig into it the more you find that its not specifically true. Maybe one day it will, right now its not.

IMHO is more like a big electronic bulletin board that people can post or sell anything that they want. If you want to post, it does require that you to have a Google account.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Unsecured Wi-Fi would be outlawed by N.Y. county (Article)

CNET "According to a new proposal being considered by a suburb of New York City, any business or home office with an open wireless connection but no separate server to fend off Internet attacks would be violating the law."

IMHO this is a bad law, because you're punishing people for not having the technical savy to lockdown their own networks. You should not use a law to force people to secure their wireless networks, you should use education. This is like creating a law to send people to jail for not locking their doors.

I am not sure, but how does this law address 'HotSpots'. For example, coffee shops that offer free unsecurce WIFI to their customers. They would be now breaking that law if it passed, because these businesses generally don't enable encryption.

Enabling WEP/WAP encryption is not very difficult on a SOHO broadband wireless router with built-in WAP (Wireless Access Point). Although, most people have a 'plug it in go' mentality, and thats how these broadband routers are designed.

The Jet vs. the Bird

This is an interesting video of a jet crashing because a bird gets sucked into it's engine. These jets cost several million dollars each and can protect themselves against fast flying missiles and planes, but yet a bird can take one out.

To see the bird you need to watch the beginning of the video very carefully, then a few seconds later all heck breaks loose. The amazing thing to me about this video is that they were able to recover it, because you actually see the plane crash into the ground from the pilot's prospective.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Official Google Blogs

Below is a list of the official Google blogs that are available for you to read at anytime you want:

Archimedes Death Ray: Idea Feasibility Testing

From the MIT site: "Ancient Greek and Roman historians recorded that during the siege of Syracuse in 212 BC, Archimedes (a notably smart person) constructed a burning glass to set the Roman warships, anchored within bow and arrow range, afire."

Archimedes Death Ray is one of those stories that has been hotly debated over the years, with many attempts to recreate it. I first saw MythBuster trying to recreate this story with limited results. Now, MIT is taking their turn trying to recreate it.

IMHO, in the end the results of both experiments proved that in order for this device to work that there would have to be a lot of ideal conditions. For example, the ship would have to stay perfectly still long enough while the death ray focused the sun's energy on it.

Personally, I would think it would be a much better use of this device to try to focus the sun's light to temporarily blind the crews of the ships or the archers.

Watch the video here.

NASA has a plan for asteroid deflection

The Register reports: "NASA has outlined plans for dealing with an asteroid a quarter of a mile wide that astronomers believe is on a near-collision course with Earth. The agency says there is no need at present to dispatch a radio transponder to the asteroid, but adds that it will be keeping a close eye on the rock's progress through the solar system."

This doesn't appear to be a joke. They believe by 2036 an asteroid about quarter mile long can hit the Earth.

I am going to put my faith in God, and not NASA.

Friday, November 04, 2005

If you been listening to the radio, watched TV, or read any news source recently you have been hearing them rant about the possibility of a pandemic flu (or avian influenza). The idea of a pandemic flu sounds like the plot of a modern movie or book.

To help keep everyone inform the government has created the following web site to address this subject. This site calls itself the "The official U.S. government Web site for information on pandemic flu and avian influenza".

The site is broken down into several sections: General Information, Health & Safety, Monitoring Outbreaks, Planning & Response Activities, Travel & Transportation, and Research Activities. Then each section is broken down into sub-sections.

This site has a lot of great information, so check it out.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mazda Sassou (video review)

CNET does a video review of the Mazda Sassou. This is a small high-tech concept car from Mazda. Its really has some neat features and gadgets, like a USB key, and cool air induction system just name a few. Watch the video for more information.