Archive for November, 2005

Black Friday Shopping

Thursday, November 24th, 2005

I got up around 3:30am on BF and the sale was already online! After ordering a few items online, I went to the nearest Circuit City store, only to find a long line outside (more than 200 people in such a small store…) Geeze, they must get up at 1am or had never gone to bed. The store opened at 5am, and luckily enough, I grabbed all I need.

Meanwhile, my friends in the local Fry’s Electronics stores started the craziness among a huge crowd of more than 1000 people, and managed to get me the free hard drive! Great job!

After checking out of Circuit City, I rushed to Staples around 6 and met some other friends who went there at 3:30. Without them, I would never get a chance to see that free prepaid cell phone. Sweet…

Now that the madness is over, it’s time to take a good rest and start dealing with a whole bunch of rebates :)

A list of what I got:

iCal, gCal or HipCal?

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005


I have been trying to find a good online calendar to keep my life organized (well, sort of).

Apple’s iCal is not bad, butI cannot use it on my XP box. GNU gcal on Linux suffers the same problem.

Google might be thinking about online calendar as well. The subdomain is active for several months now and it might come up any time I guess. Take a look at some discussions at Google Groups.

Yahoo! offers a good online calendar, but I don’t like the interface that much. So, finally it comes to the HipCal. It is a nice calendar service enabled by AJAX. Try the demo and you will like it. Although it is still in beta test, the interface is almost quite polished. And the hippo is nice :)

Apple might release Intel-based systems as early as Jan 2006!

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

The rumor (AppleInsider) has it: Apple could ship the first Intel-based Macs in Jan 2006, almost half a year earlier.

The first models could be an iMac or PowerBook with Intel version of Tiger system installed. As the leaked 10.4.3 Developer version of Tiger x86 suggests, most of the softwares will be run smoothly on the new Macs. Using the rosetta technology, even the PowerPC-based programs should still be usable on the new system.

Ubuntu Linux Rocks

Thursday, November 17th, 2005


I have been using Ubuntu Linux for several months. The whole experience has been great.

Since 1999, I have played with many different favors of Linux, but mostly in the Redhat family tree, from version 6 to Fedora Core 3. I liked it, but still I considered Linux as the good choice for servers, but not as a replacement for Windows. The reason is that:

  • There were quite many multimedia tasks that Linux couldn’t compete with Windows, and the support for hardware had been really bad, and causing lots and lots of headaches during installation. What’s more, maintainance of the softwares on the system was also an overwhelming challenge.
  • Notably, over these years, Microsoft also made some great improvements for Windows. My WinXP at home almost never crashed in three years! That’s really amazing, considering the amount of usage I put on the box (15 hours/day*3 years = 5500 hours!) If I am using Win98, or 2000, I might have thrown out the box after re-installing my OS the 20th time :)

Oh, well. Now the Ubuntu Linux changed my “out-dated” view. Linux is becoming a replacement for Windows. Be aware, Microsoft!

The idea of open source is becoming more and more popular. Take a look at Google, by offering quality Free web services (satelite maps…) to end-users, it simply made a huge success.

With all the great open source programs, like Firefox and OpenOffice, we just need an Operation System to integrate all of these. Here comes Ubuntu.

Ubuntu Linux has a very easy-to-use installer, and it can simply recognize most of the hardwares for you. Video and sound is no longer a headache to set up now. The Graphical Interface of GNOME or KDE provides an user-friendly environment similar to Windows. No more need to use the text Terminal to do everything (although you can still need to do many advanced things with Terminal).

What I like Ubuntu most is the package management and software update. With a simple mouse-click, you can update security patches and installed softwares. Using the graphical interface of Synaptic, you can also easily install all kinds of pre-compiled open-source packages. Linux users are demanding these features for a long time.

Another great thing about Ubuntu is that there is some well-organized and detailed documentations online. You would find most of your questions answered there. If not, the active user forum provides a good place to ask.

If you are interested after reading all this, maybe you are ready to try it out. Ubuntu provides a live CD, which means you can start using it even without installing it. Just burn a CD for the downloaded ISO file and reboot the system using the live CD. It will give a fully featured graphical interface to play around. If you like it, which I believe you will, you’d better install it on the hard drive, making it faster to run.

BTW, surprisingly, I just found out that many PC games designed for Windows can also run on Linux now, thanks to the software called Cedega from TransGaming (not free, though). Games like BattleField 2, World of WarCraft, Half Life 2, WarCraft III, StarCraft, are all supported! I have never dreamed of this day before!