Surfing the internet, finding how to be a better German

November 17th, 2012

Everybody knows the internet is a large place that contains many curious things – some of them even funny, here is what I found today: How to be a German in 20 easy steps

I have to say: I was LOL – for the entire article.

The author does a great job describing German stereotypes in a very funny way – if you know to not read it as literal instruction.

Plus after reading the entire thing, I came to the conclusion that I am everything but NOT GERMAN at all :D

UEFI…

November 15th, 2012

… has nothing to do with The X Files.

It is a new and upcoming interface for the computer – formally known as the BIOS. It is not an update of the well-known BIOS running on every computer (in one way or another) but rather a new version altogether. Like Apple changed its power ports to Lightening this year ;-)

With the introduction of Windows 8, Microsoft also wants to introduce the UEFI to its hardware – the ARM machines anyways. Those are handhelds, cell phones, and tablets nowadays – but it might progress to Laptops and desktop computers as well.

There is nothing to be said against change, but if it constitutes a possible constriction of my freedoms, I start to care. In this case, the UEFI has the ability to lock ones computer down to one specific operating system. Thus if I, for whatever reason, want to change my operating system, I might not be able to do it. If you are the kind of user who buys a computer, powers it up and uses it until it dies – this is fine.
But if you are like me, and you like to play around with Linux and stuff, you will not be as thrilled!

Apple used to have the closed off hardware option, but changed that strategy a few years back and now allows Mac users to install whichever operating system they want. So why is Microsoft just now getting where Apple used to be? And why even consider going there, there surely is a very good reason why Apple abandoned this strategy…

* that number is a wild guess!

From Linux to Windows

November 13th, 2012

Unfortunately, going from Debian Squeeze back to Windows is a bit like stepping backwards.

Don’t get me wrong Windows 7 is a step forward from Windows XP, but Linux had somewhat better features out of the box…
Yet, getting to know a new OS is never bad, so I decided to stick to Windows 7 at least for a bit. Plus I have a better machine now and therefore can run Linux on a virtual box :D (yes, I know wrong way around)

So here I am, a laptop on the desk hooked to a second monitor, because really: that is the way to go nowadays! (once you start using a second monitor you will not like not using one).
But what is really missing is the extended task-bar, while on Debian I was able to configure as many task-bars as I wanted and put them wherever I wanted them, in Windows this is a bit difficult – even with Add-on (extra software).
Also spanning a wallpaper or having a wallpaper for each monitor is somewhat more inspiring then just one repeating itself. (at least for me)

Now, I found a rather good program called DisplayFusion.
It adds another task-bar, that includes the Start-button. It also allows for multiple wallpapers – NICE!!
Incidentally, I hear Windows 8 will be able to do that out of the box… but I also hear not so good things about Windows 8…

Anyways, if you are interested check out the program, but beware, there is a free and a premium version. The free version basically allows you to do what you can do with wallpapers using the Windows 7 wallpaper options, only the premium has the extra features.

Mozilla Popcorn

November 11th, 2012

No, Mozilla is not suddenly the provider of freely shipped popcorn that you can devour in front of your tv, it is a new tool which can be used to edit videos – on the internet.

Sadly, locally stored videos can not be edited, but any video you find on the internet and that has a url to it’s name can be dropped into this browser based software and be “commented” on with it.

Meaning you can add texts, maps, popups, twitter feeds, other images and so forth. It is rather easy to start on – just a few clicks here and there and with text you can even use your keyboard ;-)

Trying it out is easy and does not require an account, but if you want to save and/ or share your video(s) you will need to sign up to persona – it is free no worries.


Popcorn Maker Tutorial (from https://popcorn.webmaker.org )

Windows 8

November 9th, 2012

The official launch of Windows 8 happened a few days ago and the first customer reviews have been sighted.
So far, I did not get a chance to install the new Windows version, since my hard disk is currently a little littered up. But I am working on it and as soon as it has enough space, I will give Windows 8 a spin in a virtual machine.
Sorry, I like Windows 7 and just started on it, since the new Laptop had it pre-installed – otherwise I most likely would still be on Debian.

Anyways, it seems Windows 8 is not your usual Windows. A lot has apparently changed – so Windows users should expect a learning curve before everything goes smoothly. Also an internet connection with Google at hand seems to be handy – in order to find some how to’s – Lockergnome has some very good Tutorials on hand, by the way.

For starters, there is no more Start Button, the Front screen has tiles that are used to operate the computer. It seems more of a cell phone screen than a PC or Laptop screen.

However, I can imagine that Monitors will have a Touchscreen feature in the future, I already have one that has it integrated. Otherwise there are add-ons one can buy to get the monitor to have touch. Also, I have already seen some Laptops with a touchscreen installed. This might be a challenge now, but could very well be the standard in the future.
Also more and more people are buying tablets, since they only check emails and surf the net – nothing more – anyways. And Windows 8 is intended to run on these too.

Therefore, if someone wants to get a hold of Windows 8, should basically expect the same differences than changing to another OS – and what comes with it. If you do not want this, you might be better off staying on your current system.

And the MP3-Player: is the iPod Nano 6th generation

November 7th, 2012

Yes, I tend to buy the last years models in the year the new stuff comes out. First of, because just because a new model comes out it does not render the last version obsolete – it usually works just as fine. Second of, I do work for a living – as some might say – and I like to enjoy my earnings: gadgets are just a part of this enjoyment.

So yes, I caved and went out and bought a Nano.
Reasons? Are plentiful: All the MP3 players cheaper than 120 bucks, did not look like they could last more than a year – and I have had it with exchanging gadget every other year to every year.
I already realized that my technology tends to need replacement after about five years and that is fine. You can get your moneys worth in five years. One year, however, is not an option for me. Thus, I hope the iPod will at least last five years – hopefully, it will not take me that long to figure out how to work it ;-) – I am actually closing in on that one already.

Also, I could not find one MP3 Player that could double as a fitness coach, granted the Nano is not THE fitness coach but it has essential functions that can be used for checking ones progress. And I only need to lug one gadget with me – not two or more. Yeah, over time I will need the little Nike+ chip – but as I researched I found out, that at least the Nike+ shoe is not essential. Also the heartbeat monitor will take some extra dough, but will be worth it – if I decide I need it.

Finally, as the money’s worth in general goes: 120 bucks are not what they used to be. My rent used to be that high – warm – for a month. Sure, it was only a 11 sqm(eter) room, but it was mine. Also I could easily live off of 100 bucks in food and drinks a month – now I need 200 easy to accomplish the same thing, with fewer perks, because this is a minimum calculation. Thus, 120 is not as much as it used to be.

And the cell phone is: a Samsung Galaxy S2

November 5th, 2012

And I am very pleased with it.

I had seen the Galaxy S1 in action and was able to play with it a bit, and ever since I was thrilled to get one myself. BUT I only bought my last cell a year ago back than.
It has been six months since, and I had been checking the websites for developments in that area. While, I know a newer version of the Galaxy is available, I guess a phone that has almost the same power as my Laptop is a bit overkill – plus one year old equipment has the advantage of more reliable reviews. Which is a good thing, since the S2 has two options: one with a G and one without – the one without is a bit better, yet was on the way of being sold out. By now, it probably is. I was lucky enough to get one without the G, though!

The only obstacle thus far was its price – my goal was to go up until 200 – but seeing as not that many cell phones exist that have the specs of a Galaxy in that price range – and apparently the S1 is no longer sold – I said well 300 it is then… well it did not really work out. Yeah, there are phones in that price range that essentially do what the S1 and S2 can do, but parts of the specs suggest a bit lower performance… And I know me, if I see something work that smoothly and then buy something smaller, while I actually want that smooth experience, I will dislike the product. So I coughed up the other 60 bucks and thought: suck it, at least I will be satisfied with the product.

And now some of you will say: 360 bucks for a phone, isn’t that a bit steep?
I will answer you: for a cell phone it is, for a small computer with the capability to call someone, text someone and be online anywhere with a cell tower – not just WiFi – it is not. Sure, Netbooks are cheaper, but you cannot put them into your pants pockets, nor can you call someone with them.

Thus, the only question for anyone in the market to buy a new phone is: What is it, I want to do with it?
Call someone? – get a cheap phone
Text someone? – get a cheap phone
Calendar and Task settings – might want to invest into something more expansive than 30 bucks.
Basically do anything you do on your PC on the go and be able to put it into a pocket: go for the expensive stuff – either a pad, netbook or a smartphone.

However, there are smartphones for starters in the market (they are not as expensive) – I had one of these (70 bucks, but it was not the newest either), and I quickly realized I wanted to do more with it and not be sidelined by the developers restrictions. These “smaller” smartphones usually have a closed OS – not iOS, Android or Windows – which are adaptable via Apps.

So, figure out what YOU want to do with the phone and then find your mobile phone.

In the meantime…

November 3rd, 2012

… of my absence here, I got a new Laptop, a new cell phone, and a new MP3- player – and I came to the surprising conclusion that I am not just growing up, but I am also becoming more and more of a fan-person.
Don’t get me wrong, I chose all of my new gadgets not only for their brand, but also for their specifications; but the brand did play a role too.

Thus, the Laptop is again a Toshiba. So far, I had three Laptops: one from Gericom, which failed awesomely (at least something it did in an awesome manner) and two from Toshiba.

The Gericom was not really one that allowed you to worked with it – my memories of it are bleak. It was mono-tasking at its best – more than three open windows and it would go down.

The first Toshiba had low expectations to fulfill: work for 6 months very well, do anything I want and it has been money well spent. It worked for up to 6 years – and is still working. It is just not really equipped to do hardware heavy duties. Surfing the net, writing something in Word and Co it still does. Even watching videos and stuff, editing however is not its fort, if one wants results fast.

The new Toshiba has a bit more power and is therefore faster.
With its four cores (each 2.3 GHz), 8 GB of RAM (4 were added after the buy), LED display, USB 3.0 ports, build in WiFi, Bluetooth, card reader and so forth, it has all the advantages. It is fast and it is reliable: after all, a Laptop usually runs about eight hours in a row at my place, if I am off work even the whole day minus the time I sleep.
But it has one more expectation to meet, the old one had not: work and be reliable for the next 5 years ;-) << if so, it will have been a steal.
But then again, this accounts for the Laptop as a whole, parts such as the hard drive and the RAM are exchangeable – and had been changed in the old one as well. Also I can upgrade my RAM up to 16 GB – I guess this will help somewhat with the 5 year plan :D

By the way, what I also really like about Toshiba Laptops is the fact that not only is the battery easily accessible, the RAM bank and the HDD bank is also rather easy to access. Therefore, changing or extending the RAM is a matter of minutes, and so is the changing of the hard drive – time for reinstalling the software and getting it to work again not included.

Just a short shoutout for all on the east coast of the USA

November 1st, 2012

Be brave and hold strong, even the toughest storm will pass and water of floods will dry up!
My thoughts are with you.

Waiting for Marco

September 27th, 2010

Dresden managed to complete the most important preparations, thus is ready to welcome its guest: Marco.

Marco, however, confirmed not so long ago, a belated arrival of 15 minutes.

View of Dresden mainstation