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Journal: *sigh* Valentine's Day... 3

Journal by lpret
Well, I think I've found the most incredible girl in the world. She reads slashdot, plays computer games, but that's not her life. We spent about 6 hours talking last night and it was the most entertaining evening I've had in a long time. And she paid for the movie. Anyways, a great evening, a great girl, and I hope for many more nights like last night...
User Journal

Journal: T minus 1 day...

Journal by lpret
Well, tomorrow it arrives, and I must say I'm quite ready for it. It's been OK since I've had this loaner, but I'm ready to kick some ass with the NZ90.

By the way, what's with the categories for the front page? I mean, the article about The Lord of The Rings had 5 -- LoTR, Media, Entertainment, Books, and Movies. Why? Could not the LoTR represent all of the above?

User Journal

Journal: The continuing PDA saga...

Journal by lpret
Ok, so my NZ-90 didn't come in. Apparently because it's on clearance, it's hard to get in on time. So they had to set up a store transfer from one that has one. In the meantime, I'm dying here. I missed 3 appointments, almost forgot an important meeting, and haven't kept any notes in class. It's really sad to realize just how dependent I am on my PDA. The manager I'd been dealing with was really understanding and told me to go grab a PDA off the shelf to use until the other one came in. I had to pay up front for it, but she gave me 50 bucks on a gift card, so I got that back, and I just return it when the other one comes in and I'm good.

So, I got the Sony TJ-25.

Picture

This is one amazing PDA. If I wanted a basic pda, this would be it. The button layout is outstanding, with an integrated scroll wheel instead of an up/down button, and the hold switch is a nice addition. The screen is brilliant and crisp, I almost forgot about dedicated silkscreen for the grafitti, but it's not bad. It's really slim, yet keeps the memory stick slot which you'll need since it only has 16 megs of RAM. I have to say, the Clie Launcher is perhaps the worst Launcher know to man. I immediately installed ZLauncher, which I'd read a lot about, and I love it. It's a very necessary addition to a Sony PDA. Back to hardware, the TJ25 doesn't have a real speaker, nor a headphones jack. That's reserved for the TJ35 -- and for 50 dollars more, I don't think the basic user would cry over losing it. Also, there's no cradle included, that again is reserved for the TJ35. If you're like me and you like to use your PDA at your desk at all, you will miss this. One more thing, the included screen cover is perhaps the worst design I've seen yet. It's a somewhat flexible cover that attaches on the side by a couple of sliding hooks. Unfortunately, if you carry it in your pocket, as I have been doing, as you slide it in your pocket the cover slides off. Terrible design, and thus an aftermarket cover is required. Sony, think about this one again...

You want this PDA if you loved the Palm Vx and are looking for a colour version. It's slim body and bright screen are a killer combo. Also, if you're thinking about getting into PDAs, you'll like this. It has the nice screen, but none of the extra stuff (bluetooth, wifi, etc.) that you may/may not use. Also, there is rumoured to be some wifi memory stick cards and also digital cameras, so you can play too if you want :)

One last note, there is no removable battery, it's got a screw covering the plate -- why they did this I'll never understand. People want to be able to switch out their batteries if they're out for a while, as I occasionally do. Oh, one more thing, the stylus is telescopic so that it's half the height so that it can fit in the top half of the PDA. It can be uncomfortable for writing, and we'll see how it lasts for a week.

I can't wait for my NZ-90, it'll be double the size and weight and have 20 gazillion more gadgetish things about it. I'm such a nerd...

User Journal

Journal: Kid in a candy store -- Me

Journal by lpret
Well, I don't think 4 hours went by after I wrote my last journal when I had the "what was I thinking?" thought. When I was leaving the store, the manager for the computer section said that she could order me a Sony PEG NZ-90 for me and it'd be here in about a week. Mind you, this was while I was walking out the door with a T3.

Now, I am hooked to my PDA with an IV. Without it, I kind of sit in a corner and wonder what meeting I'm missing. So when I had the chance to walk out of the store with a PDA, that was worth it's weight in gold. However, after it all wore off, I realized the T3 is not what I want. Let me tell you who wants a T3:

You want a T3 if size is a big issue to you. The thing is incredibly small, and yet has the biggest screen I've seen on a PDA in person. The screen truly is incredible -- viewing some pictures on there was exciting, the first time I can say that since owning a PDA. The T3 is also your PDA of choice if you look at large amounts of data in a spreadsheet or in the notepad. The horizontal viewing is absolutely awesome, something that cannot be emphasized enough. I'm waiting for all PDAs to have this. Also, if you have any bluetooth items, the T3 is your PDA. Palm has done the best job with creating an interface that is beyond simple. The T3 is not your PDA if you like the "Gee whiz" factor. After it slides out, people say "so what else does it do?" and you struggle to explain bluetooth and how no one really uses it yet. Now, coming from a Pocket PC with built-in wifi, I was crying at this point. People thought I'd taken a step back, and I really felt like I had. Although this is a beautiful PDA, it's not my PDA. Not anymore. If I had gone straight to this from my Vx, I'd be on cloud nine. But I've tasted the ridiculousness of PDAs, and I can't go back.

So I ordered the NZ90. This baby sells for about 600 bucks retail, and I have no idea how Best Buy has it for just over 400. This thing has a 2.0 megapixel camera built-in -- and I've been meaning to buy a digital camera, so this fits in just right. This review talks about how great the camera is, and that was an integral part of my decision. I wanted a camera that I'd always have with me, but it being a part of my PDA -- _and_ it being good quality is like heaven. Although it only runs PalmOS 5.0, I figuere that's new enough to play with the big boys. Oh yeah, it has bluetooth in it too. Oh yeah, it has a compact flash card slot for wifi. Oh yeah, it feels like a Pocket PC :) So, I only have to wait seven days -- next Thursday. For those of you who are PDA users too, you know how I feel when I won't have it for a week. Hopefully this pad of paper I'm carrying around will suffice. Heh.

Oh, I must say, Best Buy is amazing. I bought my Toshiba e740 off of ebay from some guy in Pennsylvania who had gotten the Product Service Plan with it, and I've gone through a few e740s, a T3, and now I'm on my 5th PDA with this Sony one coming in. All for 69.99. And it's only been a year, I still have 2 more years with this plan. So kudos to Best Buy, I will always buy your PSP becuase I know you will honour it.

User Journal

Journal: My switch ad (no apple involved) 2

Journal by lpret
Okay. Let me give you a little background. When I was just a high schooler, I started using a PDA. I used the top of the line...Palm Vx. This thing was a beast, it had 8mb, and was the best of the best. It had a 2 week battery life and was sleek and sexy. I think that is the best PDA ever developed hands down.

I had that Vx until my sophmore year of college. Right before finals in the Winter it was stolen in the library. So I started looking on the internet for the most awesomest PDA out there. Mind you, this was when Palm was in it's slump and was making the crappiest PDAs ever. I was almost certain they would stop making PDAs and just focus on the OS. Then I heard about the Toshiba e740, with built-in wifi. This was the first PDA to do this, and since my school has wifi, it was love at first sight. Just think: slashdot while in class, Messenger while in class, etc.

What I didn't count on was the abysmal battery life, the incompatibility with linux, and the larger size of the pda. I had that for nearly a year, and over that year I have had it replaced 3 times and I've grown to hate ActiveSync. I was starting to eye the new breed of Palms and PocketPCs. And my Toshiba died once again.

So I take it to Bestbuy, where I have a Service Plan for it, and told them I wanted a new PDA, I hate this one, it's a piece of crap. I about crapped my pants when the guy said, OK, go pick out a PDA 500 dollars or less. So I did. I picked the Palm Tungsten T3.

Now, I'm really worried about the lack of wifi. I mean, it's kinda like "once you go black you cant..." you get what I mean. Luckily I won't have to sacrifice mp3 playing or that may have been the last straw. Needless to say, I'm really excited about this switch, and I'm looking forward to being able to stay in Linux a lot longer now since I can sync it in there. I will be givign a little report now and then about what I like/dislike coming from a Pocket PC device.

Puzzle Games (Games)

Journal: Options tonight: 1

Journal by lpret
  • Stay home and play poker with roommates
  • Go to some country concert -- guaranteed hot chicks...
  • go to friend's house and get drunk.

1 hour to post your reply -- if anyone actually replies I stay home and read slashdot.

User Journal

Journal: All the hoobah about blaster...

Journal by lpret
So I've spent the past month working 70+ hour weeks trying to get ready for students to get back to school here at Baylor. It was moving smoothly until Blaster hit. What a mess... My favourite line I've heard about it was from the Resnet mailing list -- "I want to just crawl into a hole and cry everytime I think about the possibilities..." Sounds like me too. Well, off to work -- about 40 machines left on the network that are infected (but are quarantined and are not allowed on the network by the switch).
User Journal

Journal: Quick note about Linux 2

Journal by lpret
Have you ever been to Zone-H? They have a list of most site defacements by hackers, etc. So I was browsing it and noticed something: Most sites that have been hacked are Linux boxes.

Waiting for flame...

Now, the argument will usually be as follows: Of course, Linux runs on 60-80% of servers out there so of course there's going to be more down. And here's where I want to say something...SO??? Give me a good reason why Linux is being hacked so "easily." I must note here that Microsoft runs on 80-90% of all boxes (even the lusers) and so following the previous argument about Linux, it's apparent that even if Linux was "the" desktop OS, it would still have viruses and trojans. So, please, let me know what you think, I've got my fire-retardant suit on...

User Journal

Journal: Elections coming... 2

Journal by lpret
I like to research a lot when I'm looking at elections -- starting early to see whether they stand out on some issues or not. I especially enjoy watching the non-incumbant (what are they called?) race with 5+ people all trying to win the party's nomination. They affect each other's views and each other's handling of situations.

We've seen how Bush does it, so let's look at the Democrats. I must say, for Democrats I favour Howard Dean. I think he's far enough away from Bush in terms of liberalism, but since he is a physician he comes across as very learned and deliberate in his actions. Not to say that those two stances are mutually exclusive, but you get the point.

I found it interesting to read his website and see what he had to say on several issues. I've started reading more in-depth into his health care idea, and I have to say I like it. Our country has always been founded on the principle of: if you got money, you'll take care of yourself. And if you have money left over, take care of others. However, people aren't doing that. And they inherently won't. They'll buy their Ferrarri's and Aston Martins. They'll buy that 2nd beach house in Bermuda. And it's not wrong, it's just against the idea of voluntary wealth distribution. As we start to realize more that we need to take care of everyone, we have found ourselves going against the laissez-faire and capitalist urges that our nation has always had. So we might as well jump in instead of sticking our toes in, then our angles, then our knees, etc. that takes long and people suffer in the meantime.

However, I'm not sure it's going to work out for them. Dean's goals and ideas appeal to the lower to low-middle class people. Although their votes count just as much as Bill Gates' vote, it's all about marketing. So Dean needs to appeal to the upper class and corporations to win, and I just don't see him pulling that off. You're more likely to see someone like Lieberman be able to do that, a more laid-back guy. But Lieberman would struggle with any dealings with the Middle East since he's Jewish and every Arab country would cry foul play.

So, let me know what candidate you like (I don't want to hear anything about Bush, we can see him in action right now) or any information you think it would be good to know about a particular candidate.

User Journal

Journal: Modules of applications

Journal by lpret
What do you think about having different modules when installing software -- especially in Linux. Like a profile list. Programmer, Graphic Design, Audio Manip, or Basic. This way, instead of having all those completely useless programs, you could keep it simple and light. Even settings could be this way -- similar to the Macromedia way when you start Dreamweaver or whatever, you are prompted with either being a Developer or Designer. What do you think of it?
User Journal

Journal: Levels of computers/connectiveness

Journal by lpret
Ok. I want to propose that there are 5 levels of computers/input devices/connectivity devices. Here they are:
  • Cellphone: This is with limited calendar/to-do/contacts/e-mail/internet abilities. Like being able to check your schedule at all times etc. This is always carried in pocket.
  • PDA: This is with extended calendar/to-do/contacts/e-mail (with multimedia)/internet. Also basic networking/gaming/word processing/audio is included. This is carried in hand or sidebag.
  • Subnotebook: This is with a keyboard so it allows everything in PDA but at advanced levels (except gaming), and also allows database entry. This is a Wintel platform, and can run standard applications. This is carried in main bag but to most places over a couple hours.
  • Full Notebook: This runs most advanced applications and contains everything needed in a computer in a portable format. However, it is meant as a desktop replacement and is only moved a few times a year.
  • Desktop: This runs everything at advanced levels, costs similar or less to full notebook, and is easily upgradeable. This is not portable in any way.

Ok. Here's why I made that list. I've been thinking about PDAs and laptops, and wondering why they're not smaller. And it's because they are continually adding features, and so they stay the same size. The system I have been going with is 2 and 5 -- where I have a PDA (Toshiba e740) and a desktop (home brew barton 2800+). I haven't considered my cellphone becuase it never had capabilities to be counted on the list. However, with my new cellphone -- Nokia 3595, it has WAP, Java, calander, to do list, contacts, and all the things I need instant access to. Since I don't always have my PDA with me (I walk down the hall to get a drink and I meet a cute girl and we set a date) I need something to be able to write down phone numbers/dates. So it's started to take over my scheduling and contact info. Also, it can synchronize with my Exchange server, so when I sync it, it uploads all the info to my PDA and PC. Very handy. So, I'm at the 1,2,5 combo sort of. However, I'm thinking of going to the 1, 3, 5 combo, as that more suits what I need. A Sony Picturebook would do well. And perhaps a 2,4 combo woudl work as well. Anyways, just an interesting thought in trying to keep connected and all...

User Journal

Journal: Mentors Hacker Manifesto 1

Journal by lpret
I've started checking Zone-H.org's list of defacements that are pretty much live. It's interesting to read what people are willing to get caught for are saying. I've found that in the last couple days, most are Turkish or Morrocan hackers who are against the war in Iraq and dislike Bush. Ok, that's pretty standard, but what else is out there? I found a page that is in Florida, presumably one by the department of state. It was an unpatched NT4 box, so it wasn't that hard I would assume. Well, here's what the kid wrote:

Another one got caught today, it's all over the papers. "Teenager Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal", "Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering"...

Damn kids. They're all alike.

But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950's technobrain, ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him?

I am a hacker, enter my world...

Mine is a world that begins with school... I'm smarter than most of the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me...

Damn underachiever. They're all alike.

I'm in junior high or high school. I've listened to teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. "No, Ms. Smith, I didn't show my work. I did it in my head..."

Damn kid. Probably copied it. They're all alike.

I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it's because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn't like me... Or feels threatened by me... Or thinks I'm a smart ass... Or doesn't like teaching and shouldn't be here...

Damn kid. All he does is play games. They're all alike.

And then it happened... a door opened to a world... rushing through the phone line like heroin through an addict's veins, an electronic pulse is sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought... a board is found.

"This is it... this is where I belong..."

I know everyone here... even if I've never met them, never talked to them, may never hear from them again... I know you all...

Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They're all alike...

You bet your ass we're all alike... we've been spoon-fed baby food at school when we hungered for steak... the bits of meat that you did let slip through were pre-chewed and tasteless. We've been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us willing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert.

This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals. We explore... and you call us criminals. We seek after knowledge... and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias... and you call us criminals. You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals.

Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for.

I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual, but you can't stop us all... after all, we're all alike.

---Mentors Hacker Manifesto

So, that's what's written on there. The Hacker Manifesto. Basically, the kid is saying, I don't fit in the system -- I am so beyond what they are trying to teach me. This his whole reason for starting to hack. It's to do something that is worth his time. I know this feeling really well, I felt it all through high school. But I didn't start go hacking, I just found social things to do -- for me social things were much harder to do than computers. You write a program correctly, and it works. You act "correctly" and you don't make the friends/girlfriends. It's a whole different world to be able to survive and do well in the social world. It wasn't enough for me to continue writing programs and stuff, I found that tedious and repetitive. The only difference from what I was doing and what some uber-programmer was doing was a whole lot more time spent in front of the monitor. On the converse, I am now able to interact in the social world -- much more than some computer people I know. Yet I can still program. I play bass guitar -- mostly funk and jazz, but I enjoy a little RATM once in a while. I am a dj, I can sense the mood of the crowd and play what they want. I drove a Toyota Corolla WRC 2.0L up to World Rally Class specs competitively. I enjoy fashion, to me, confidence comes from knowing your own style. And girls.

You see? I focused on the opposite side of the spectrum -- learning more about how to interact with other people instead of learning how programs interact. It was perhaps the greatest move I ever made. I am now a Human Resources major. I love observing people's behaviour and their reasoning behind it. I love finding out how to create the best environment for a worker -- how to best train them for their job. People are so much more complicated than computers that it's years ahead of trying to write a script that automates picking your clothes for you. but that's just me.

User Journal

Journal: Corporate Blogging 1

Journal by lpret
First off, let me say that we have resolved most of the issues from my last post, it's been an -- opportunity, but it's good.

Now, here's my new idea. I saw a thing on the frontpage about corporate blogging and I had no idea what it was. However, one of the explanations (which it is not) that I came up with is that it is a way for everyone in a company to be able to blog anonymously about their job. More broadly, about the company and what they really feel. Everyone's blogging would be anonymous and treated equally. So the lowly data entry guy could share his vision for the company, and the CEO could share his. Or specific complaints. On the whole, I think this would be an interesting way to share ideas/complaints without having to take the blame for them. Perhaps this would allow the CEO to see more exactly what the company's feelings are, etc. What do you think?

User Journal

Journal: 802.1x and Universities 1

Journal by lpret
Wow. So we just rolled out our 802.1x stuff at Baylor effective July 1st. And imagine my surprise when the next day I hear about some guy from some university who just rolled out 802.1x and was having issues. I want to be able to say that I knew it couldn't be us because we didn't have any issues, but I'd be lying...

802.1x is not ready and does not work yet. That's all I have to say. We have 4 distinct problems that each could make us scrap this whole thing:

  1. Many wireless cards, including Intel, do not work. Intel's Centrino chip, which was supposed to make all of our wireless headaches go away, does not work with 802.1x before driver version 1.1.7. However, no manufacturer has anything newer than 1.1.6. Add to that all the D-Link crap we'll get, and the issues there...
  2. Microsoft released a patch for XP that screws up WEP. So, if everyone follows our directions, and makes sure to keep their computers updated, it won't work. Also, Microsoft has another issue with Windows 2000 and a non-broadcasted network name which won't let it work.
  3. Our access points don't work. Well, only half of them do. The other half can't get the 802.1x stuff happy. And these are supposed to be good ones...
  4. If you have any other language for XP, it won't work. For instance, if you have a Chinese XP, SP1 won't install, and thus 802.1x won't work without a 40 dollar client. This may sound trivial, but we have a large foreign student population who are very tech-savvy. Considering one of those foreign students is the Prince of Saudi Arabia, you don't really want to piss them off.

So as you can see, there are some major hurdles that need to be considered. We have had to touch every machine to get it to work, and when this gets to the fall (we have over 7,000 unique users of our wireless network), we will be crying. So, we thought it would be bad, but not this bad, and now we have to figure out what to do. The worst part is that we're not in a position to make decisions, we can only support whatever decision is made. Sic 'Em Bears.

Announcements

Journal: Patrick Dennehey Missing 1

Journal by lpret
I go to Baylor University, and for those of you who don't know, one of our basketball players, Patrick Dennehey, is missing and is presumed dead. A press release from the PR department of Baylor may shed some light on the subject for those of you unfamiliar with the situation. I feel particularly close to this topic as I'm not only a huge fan of what Dennehey is going to bring to the team next year, but I had a class with him this past semester. He's really shy and softspoken, but friendly and respectful. If you believe in God, I ask you to pray for his safety and for his family as they deal with this whole situation. I'm also a little shocked that the rest of our team are suspects in the murder investigation, as they all seem like solid quality men on and off the court. Check the message boards of BaylorFans.com for more information and ways to support his family.

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