Leetaur's Blog

The aliens are going to visit us, and we are going to DIE!!!!


I found THIS ARTICLE interesting, on the downside of operating a WARP DRIVE (which is supposedly, theoretically, possible).  The problem - if we actually travel to a distance star, the time well that would be created that would propel the spaceship would end up annihilating the star system we traveled to.

Which could be kind of a let-down.  Go figure.

Hopefully, the vulcans solve this problem before they come to visit earth.

From the article:

The instant the Alcubierre drive is disengaged, the space-time gradient that allows it to effectively move faster than light goes away. All the energetic particles trapped during the journey have to go somewhere, and the researchers believe they would be blasted outward in a cone directly in front of the ship. Anyone or anything waiting for you at the other end of your trip would be destroyed.
Because of a funny little quirk of relativity, there is no upper limit to the amount of energy a Alcubierre drive could pick up. A long trip could vaporize entire planets upon your arrival. The researchers are beginning a new round of number crunching to see how bad the problem is. It’s possible the deadly particle beam could be projected in all directions, making Alcubierre drives unworkable. That spiffy warp ship might make a better weapon than method of transportation.

Why Woz Worries Microsoft Is Now More Innovative Than Apple


From TechCrunch TV.  Steve Wozniak talks about his views on technology, and gadgets, and has an interesting answer on Microsoft and their latest burst of innovation.  "Woz" was the "wiz" of the two Steves (Jobs and Wozniak).  While Jobs had an eye for design and a gift for salesmanship, it was Woz's technical prowess that launched Apple.  Without a product, you cannot sell it :)

This was an interesting interview.

Two Views on Apple's Siri


I ran across a couple of posts today concerning Apple's artificial intelligence, and digital assistant, Siri for the iPhone and iPad.  The first once takes a very negative tone toward Siri (and a very pro-Google tone).

It is called Siri Is a Gimmick and a Tease .  

The second article took a very positive approach to Apple's digital assistant technology.  It is called Is Siri really Apple’s future?  It also compares Siri with Google Voice, Google's technology that allows you to search for what you want using voice input, rather than the traditional typed-command input.

The second article made an interesting observation between the different strategies that Apple and Google are taking.  One is a fat-client App-Centered strategy, with integration with integration between different apps on the phone providing useful features to the end-user.  This is Siri.  The other is Google's strategy, which is more of the thin-client, do it on the web strategy.  

(Note:  Google is using an "App" to pursue this strategy, so take that assertion from the article for what it is worth.)

Here is a quote from the article:

Therein comes the web browser vs. apps unholy war. A conventional search engine like Google has to maintain an unpalatable level of click-stream snooping to track your financial transactions to build your purchasing profile. That’s not easy (likely illegal on several continents) especially if you’re not constantly using Google Play or Google Wallet, for example. While your credit card history or your bank account is opaque to Google, your Amex or Chase app has all that info. If you allow Siri to securely link to such apps on your iPhone, because this is a 
             highly selective
 request and you trust Siri/Apple, your app and/or Siri can actually interpret what “nice” is
             within your budget:
 up to $85 this month and certainly not in the $150-$250 range and not a $25 hole-in-the wall Chinese restaurant either because it’s your mother’s birthday.

I haven't followed the author's of the articles, Farhad Manjoo and Kontra respectively, so I don't know if there is any "fanboy" or "anti-fanboy" in their views regarding Apple and Google.  But even if there is, the high-level views about there the industry is going, and what will be useful to end users, is worth the read of the two articles, which analyzes voice recognition from different angles.

From my perspective, the technology that people use on a day to day basis is getting smaller.  While I use a laptop for anything serious, I do realize that I now use a laptop, not a desktop.  I almost always have it with me, and the battery will last me all day.  

Using Steve Jobs' analogy when Apple launched the iPad, these are todays "trucks".  But more and more people are moving to tablet computers (iPad, Nexus 7, Kindle, Surface, etc), which are more portable, and then Smart Phones are great for quick tasks, and they have extreme portability (and interesting technology coming in the future).

As we move to smaller and smaller tech, voice input will become more important.  Typing on tiny screens or keyboards (for phones that still have physical keyboards) is a pain, and if the majority of tasks can be accomplished via voice-input, that makes these small devices that much more useful.

It will be interesting to see where things go in the next few years.  Hopefully my efforts will help move things forward as well :)

Microsoft Tablet versus the iPad Mini

Um... welcome to Microsoft, as it enters the tablet wars!! We could use a 3rd power to mix things up between Android and iOS.  I found this "commercial" interesting :)

Linus Torvalds tries KDE, likes it so far

It seems Linus likes KDE. I don't mind KDE myself, as that has been my standard Linux desktop for years (when I've been on Linux, and not OS X).  

Right now I am trying out Gnome for the first time in a serious way, and to be honest, I like it.  

I have used so many interfaces myself (Android, iOS, Windows 3.1/95/98/MIllenium/XP/7, OS X, Unix, etc) that I have come to the point that what I really care about is that I can get my work done.  

The "cleanest" interfaces I have used have been the touch ones - iOS and Android.  They are simple, but not exactly powerful, considering you only use one application at a time.

On Linux, what I care about is being able to launch Eclipse, Writer, Chromium, whatever.  Give me a fast interface.  Oh, and give me access to the command line.  There are things that I can do better at the command line (Terminal Window) than using a GUI.  Version control with tools such as Subversion is a good example.  I also like quickly editing text files using vi.  I know, I've just given Windows users nightmares ;)  Oh well!

Powered by Debian

I am now running off Debian Linux. 


 It is quite a change from Mandriva Linux.  Very different.  I have not put the distribution through its paces yet, but I am working on it.  I have Debian running in a virtual machine on my MacBook Air.  Here are my first impressions.

This distro is running fast.  It helps that the host machine is a very fast machine.  My MacBook Air runs off flash memory, so disk-access is nearly instantaneous.  I also allocated a full gig of RAM for Debian, as well as 20 gigabytes of hard-drive space.  More than enough.

For web browsers, I am currently use Chromium (typing in that now), which is the basis for Google Chrome.  It is very fast.  I also have Epiphany and Iceweasel installed.  Epiphany seems to be a good browser as well.

OpenOffice for my office suite.  I have used OpenOffice Writer and OpenOffice Calc a ton in the past, so no surprises there.  They are good programs.

I have a lot of the standard games installed - Frozen Bubble, SuperTux, etc.  I also have some educational apps for the kids installed - like Tux Math and Tux Typing.  I've always felt that Linux and Linux applications are better for kids than the stuff on Windows or Mac.  There is something simpler and easier about them.

As to the headache in Linux - installing and configuring new software, Debian has a very good solution in Software Center.  At least I haven't run into any problems yet.  The solutions I have used throughout the years in Mandriva have been buggy, and I have often had to go hunting on the web to find files to fulfill the dependencies.  That, at least so far, has not happened in Debian.  I hit install, and the programs are installed.

Using VirtualBox, when I hit "Command-F", I go full-screen into Debian.  That is also how I get out of it :)  So when I go full-screen, I am using what feels like a pure Linux system.  Which is cool.

There is one weakness so far.  In Chromium, when I tried to run a YouTube video, it is very laggy.  I think that if I was running Debian right on top the hardware, this wouldn't be a problem.  But it isn't.  I am running Mac OS X Mount Lion, and in that I am running VirtualBox, and it is inside VirtualBox that I am running Debian.  That has to sap some hardware power, and bandwidth.  So, unless I can solve that issue, if I want to watch YouTube videos, I will need to drop back to OS X.

Finally, I haven't done any programming yet.  A couple of quick taps at the command line tells me that I have perl and gcc readily available.  I can get a lot done with that.  I'd like to be able to use Eclipse, and do some Android programming in it, but we'll see.  I will update this blog with the results when I try that.

Welcome to Leetaur's Webpage

It has been a little while since I have used the "Leetaur" id - at least with a website.  I felt like relaunching, so here it is.

Probably the most frequently updated part of this site will be the blog.

The main purpose of the blog is to talk about my families and my hobbies.  I especially like technology, which is a good thing since I am an iPhone programmer.  While I very much like Apple, and in fact am typing this on a MacBook Air, I love following all tech.  The Microsoft Surface, and Windows 8, look really interesting.  Linux is a growing force in the industry, especially the Linux-based Android operating system.

Technology is shrinking.  More and more is being done with mobile devices.  My iPhone 4 does a whole lot for me, especially an app I have programmed for it that I will likely talk about going forward.

While I really like the look and feel of iOS and how it works on the iPhone and iPad (though not perfectly), my heart is more into open-source systems.  I am enjoying trying Android out on my Kindle Fire HD (yes... Amazon's Android  is a fork of Android, but I think forking open software is important), and I run Linux (Mandriva... I'm a sucker for punishment :) ) as a virtual machine on my Mac.

In the past I programmed heavily on Windows, but that has fallen away as I mainly work on the iPhone professionally right now.

I also like chess, kids (I have 7!), reading and, when I get the chance, writing.

Hopefully I will get lots of chances to work on this webpage.  I hope in the weeks to come to put a lot of interesting stuff here, such as information on what I am writing.  Stay tuned.