640K is enough for anyone

640K is enough for anyone

My first “real” computer was a good ol’ Commodore 64. 64k of memory, external tape drive that ran off of “standard” cassette tapes, or the external floppy drive which was capable of 320k total storage! (Using both sides of the disk BTW.)

My second computer was bought from a furniture store in the early 90’s. Around here computer stores were still few and far between. It was a 386SX-25 with a whopping 4 megs of Ram, and a 80MB hard drive. Cost something like $2500. But man did I enjoy that machine. I had no idea what I was ever going to do with 100MB of space. DOS, Windows 3.1, and about a dozen games I had barely used half of the hard drive.

My next computer I bought the summer between my Junior and Senior year in high school. This was back in the day when I made $300+ a month and had no bills what so ever. Had about $1500 saved up in my bank account. I found a guy who was hard up for cash to pay for school, and bought a 486SX-33 with 6 Megs of Ram, and a 110MB hard drive off of him. The interesting thing about this machine was that it had four 512k memory chips in it. Those were incredibly rare, but existed.

This machine served me through college quite well. It got upgraded with a sound card and CDrom Drive. Then later on got upgraded with a 28.8k modem. THAT was awesome. I had the first one at the school – possibly the first one available to the public in the state. I was smokin’ with that computer. At this point in time I was filling the hard drive – tons of games mostly. But some graphics, midi files, misc text files and such.

A year later I got a job in the computer store. My knowledge was apparently far “beyond,” many others. So I jumped in, saved up $$$ and went to town upgrading my machine. New hard drive. Then a new mother board – finally upgrading to a Pentium 75. 16 Megs of Memory, 512MB hard drive, more, more, and more!

My computer was in the shop nearly every month getting a new upgrade. We would take the old parts and recycle them at slightly reduced prices into the used pile and people would instantly buy them. Was good in those days.

Nowdays I’ve got 18GB in each of my two “big” servers, and I don’t really consider that being very much. I have three 60 GB hard drives sitting around waiting for me to install into one or both of those servers, I have 40GB on my Powerbook. Then there is all the other machines I have, multiple gigs per a machine, multiple machines.

The funny thing is – that in this day and age, the bulk of the hard drives space I use it dedicated to software. I have fairly low-key needs personally, an OS, some word processing, my financial software, a web browser, maybe a game or two. I’ve got about 11GB of MP3’s, which represents about 1/3 of my CD’s after I ripped them and cleaned out the duplicates/bad stuff. Some pictures, mostly backgrounds and such (OSX’s automatic background switcher is pretty cool.) And then I’ve got about 4 gigs of various Ebooks – I’m such a pac-rat when it comes to knowledge.

What brought this whole thought up was a piece on NPR this morning talking about how search engines work. They talked about Yahoo going through and having humans validate web pages, then storing them into a database to be looked at. I started thinking about the numbers of bookmarks I have on my computers – a couple of thousand probally. So for them to have the books marks, AND be able to cross reference data in those pages, AND be able to access it millions of times per a second is simply astounding in terms of data storage.

At work our data needs range into something like a mere 8 terabytes. Most of it graphics and designs. Yet every bit of it is backed up nightly and sent to off-site storage. Quite another feat in itself. (I don’t work in that group – but I assume it’s incremental backups of changes only to keep the actual amount needed down much further.)

This all becomes quite astounding when you consider that we’re probally pretty typical of a large company. So thousands of companies around the world are archiving data. Governments are archiving data, and each person who owns a computer is archiving data seperately. The amount of data on this planet must truely be astounding. I imagine that The Ancient Library of Alexandria wouldn’t even make a dent on it.

So the real question is – does that much data REALLY need to be archived? If we remove duplicated data, how much of it is actually, truelly needed? I’ve been thinking of coming up with a data model that allows anyone in the world to have access to paticular data that is needed, shared out essentially much like a Peer to Peer network. Add in permissions and ownership rules for sensitive data and it could remove a companies large cost of data backup, while allowing knowledge to be shared easily.

As a home user I could have a group of bookmarks based on data type to certain files that contain the information I need/want. But it would be physically located in a central repository, much like a modern Library of Alexandria. If it’s a copy righted work, you could pay a small one time royalty fee to the orginial owners in such cases as novels or music. You get your limited rights to the IP which pretty much means you can read/play/use it as you see fit minus the normal rules for playing in public, etc. You could even transfer or sell those rights to somebody else if you wanted, and if the orginial copy right allowed it.

So it would break down like this:

Owner of data defines who can look at it. Sells licences if needed, and can decide if the licence can be transfered by the 2nd party.

Buisness could look at data and share among them selves, or other partner companies. They could sell licences to that data to interested 3rd parties who might add to the data.

Seperate flags could be used to say X data links to y and z data and that linked has been explored x+1 number of times much like Google does now. This way you get the useful data you want, plus other links to it that maybe related.

This would cost a of money to setup, but wouldn’t it be the way to go in the long run?

Around the World in 80 years

Around the World in 80 years

One of my favorite stories/movies is Around the World in 80 days by Jules Verne. (That man was a genius, I’m convinced that he actually was a time traveler.) Between that book, and my intrests in History and Archaeology, I want to spend the rest of my life traveling around the world.

One of the guys I use to work with quit his job a couple of weeks ago to travel Europe: here is his web site. In a short two weeks he’s already seen everything I want to see in that part of the UK.

The problem as usual, comes down to money. I’m not really concerned about the current political weather going on right now, it’ll blow oever eventually if we get a President who actually tries to fix what is going on. Besides that, there will always be dissendents and terrorists. There will always be somebody willing to die for their religious beliefs, no matter how misguided we may thing they are.

I’m not sure if I would follow Jule’s Verne’s route around the world, or go the opposite way. I think my ideal route would take me south through Mexico, down to Brazil to sample the culture. Then over to Peru to visit the Incan Ruins. I’d also want to visit Argentina and Columbia see how they differ as countires. I’d then like to take a boat across the ocean and visit the Island that Sir Francis Drake stopped at in the 1700’s when he was being pursued by the entire Spanish Pacific Fleet. Then hope over to Easter Island and spend some time in the South Pacific visiting old World War II sites. See how close I can get to Bikini Atoll, etc.

Afterwards I’d head to Australia, visit the land down under and see if I can get myself a Vegimite sandwich. I’m not really sure what there is to do in Australia. I’d like to learn Scuba Diving and see the Great Barrier Reef. Maybe visit the Sydeny Opera House. I’d love to take a little Walk-about though, hire myself a crusty old guide like Crocidile Dundee and see the country.

My next stop would be to travel North along the SouthEast Asian Coast. Visit Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, Bankok, etc. In this case I’d be traveling mostly for the food and culture. There dosen’t seem to be many historic places to visit in those countries other then Temples and such, but I’d love to find a local tour guide to show me.

I hear that there is a new dam in China. Smithsonian Magazine had an article about it a couple of months ago. The name escapes me, but essentially it’s a large dam that has actually destroyed several villages. The Chinese government help relocate something like 10,000 people, built new houses (mostly in the form of gian apartment complexes,) and even built factories for help people find jobs. The interesting thing is that the area has become quite a tourist area. Lots of the locals have even started their own buisnesses catering to tourists! Something that it was pointed out, would not have been possible even 20 years ago. I wonder if the assimilation of Hong Kong had much to do with it.

I’m interested in seeing the great wall, especially the parts that have been torn down or erroded. National Geographic had an article about following Marco Polo’s journey. I think that would be awesome to follow myself.

Somewhere along the line I’d want to stop in Japan and live there for a few months. The Japanese culture astounds me seen from afar. Very traditional, yet willing to except new things without question. Their outlook on sex is fascinating, the sex clubs, prostitutes who are middle aged house wives trying to make an extra buck, etc. I’d also love to visit some of the hot springs and temples, really learn what it was like to live in Japan 1500+ years ago.

My next stop would be aboard the Orient Express. It dosen’t seem like it runs all the way to Istanbul any longer, except once a year. But I would love to ride it back to Europe, Viennea or Bucharest. Of course once in Europe, what wouldn’t I see?

Everything I could! I’d drive from one country to another, visiting historic places, chateus, castles, battlefields, beaches, etc.

*sigh* Now… I just need to win the lottery.

I’m in college and I write like I’m in sixth grade

I’m in college and I write like I’m in sixth grade

I’m not the best writer. My grammar leaves something to be desired, I love throwing in radom commas, and my spelling is atrocious (see?) But… I try. English was my hardest class all through school, at least until I got to the point that I could start writing stories and such more often.

But please – in my senior of high school (a forlorn 10+ years ago,) I was in Advance Placement English and considered myself at the low end of the scale there. Yet one girl in the class had problems with they’re, their, and there. Not to mention a complete lack of a grasp of capitals.

Now I’m going to really show my age (and probally geekiness,) but I know why short hand became popular on the Internet. When you’re connected on a 300 baud or less modem you could type faster then the characters were echoed back to you. So people would do the old bc instead of because, and the whole smiley face revolution happened.

In college I would go on the Moo’s and thought that for the most part we were well educated people who typed out sentances in full to get a point across. Sure there was some short hand, LOL, RTFM, ROFL all came out of that. But for the sake of sanity! U does not equal you!

I was chatting with this guy online who claimed to be a professor of some history department on the East Coast. And he said something like “Are u sure?” I mean… that’s for kids who are in sixth grade! Add the friggin’ y and o you idiot. Nothing destroys your credibility as an educated person then shorthanding a word that is only three letters long in the first place!

*sigh* Oh well… I guess I’ll either die as a relic, or I’ll need to keep up with the cultural revolution. I didn’t officially reconize that the Internet was “popular,” until about 1997. At which time I conviced the boss at work to start an ISP. Of course I still believe that the Commodore 64 was the pinnacle of computer evolution, even though graphically and sound wise it’s been surpassed years ago.

I’m still convinced that Pirates! and Below the Root are the best games ever, despite having been hooked on the Civilization series since it first came out. And I still believe that my 1995 Ford Crown Victoria is *the* car.. despite drastically rising gas prices.

Chopsticks – the greatest invention ever

Chopsticks – the greatest invention ever

I have on my desk at work two pairs of chopsticks. One I stole from from Pho Hung, one of the better Vietenamise beef noodle soup places around town. They’re plastic, and have some random writing on them, and what looks like a peacock.

The other pair is by far my favorite. They’re your typical enameled Japanese Chopsticks – not really special in them selves. The black enamel is shaved away at the top revealing spots of different colors. These were given to me nearly ten years ago by a friend who had recently returned from Japan as a Christmas gift. Was VERY awesome, as I also got a Raman bowl from someone else. The bowl got busted a couple of years ago, but for a long time I used the chopsticks everyday.

You see, I have a really sensitive sense of touch. I love velvet, but can feel each fiber that sticks up. Cordory bugs the hell out of me. Certain woods do too – especially if they’re semi-finished at all. The fake wood they make cheap wooden chopsticks out of is the worse, so I’ll bring these with me to the restraunt. It never fails that I get a comment from the wait staff about it.

The funny thing is that traditionally you carried your chop sticks with you every where. In some cases they were even used as weapons. I guess they’re just not used to American’s being that picky about a set of chop sticks.

On the other hand I guess I’m lucky, I’ve only ever once been in a restraunt where some white trash was dining and demanded to have forks and spoons “like civilized folks,” instead of some “stupid sticks.” I felt embarresed about the way the waiter and owner bowed and scrapped to make them feel at home, and the couple didn’t even realize it. They went on to complain loudly that there better not be any dog or cat meat in the food, sniffing heavily at each piece of meat. Like we American’ are much better. Eating Pig’s feet, Pork Rinds, and who knows what else.

All I want to do is Sing and Dance

All I want to do is Sing and Dance

I’m looking for suggestions on new music to check out. I use to use Kazaa Lite for this. I’d randomly type in a word, or perhaps a type of music and download everything I came across. Then I’d spend hours going through what I downloaded looking for stuff I liked. Then it was a quick trip down to Everyday Music to look and see what they had that I liked.

I found a good group called Toybox after looking for the word “Sailor.” I was actually looking for Ray Steven’s “The Pirate Song, (I Want to Sing and Dance,)” after seeing some friends perform it at Embers (also known locally as “the” Bar,) for a GBLT benefit.

Anyways – I liked it so much that I downloaded a few more of their songs. They’re very Aqua like – but for some reason the tunes and words are much catchier. I mean, Barbie Girl is ok, but Toy Box takes that a step further and puts it in all their songs. From the first album Fantastic, I like “The Sailor Song,” “ET,” “Tarzan and Jane,” and “Best Friend.” Best Friend is funny, on the CD there is a music video included that brings us back to Aqua’s Barbie Girl.

Anyways, I think that my favorite type of music has become Techno or Punk Remakes of more famous songs. Me First and the Gimme Gimmeies are a really good example. Pretty much their entire discography is based on remakes. One of my favorites is “Science Fiction Double Feature,” being a big Rocky fan back in the day (a mere two years ago,) it really hit the spot with me.

Another type that I enjoy is Old Time Radio. Jack Benny is probally my personal favorite, but (George) Burns, and (Gracie) Allens, Bob Hope, Fibber McGee, etc, are all really good too. My only gripe is that my car MP3 player won’t play these at the lower bit rates. Most are 30 minute shows, since the orginial format is so bad they’re ripped at a really low rate, so 21 – 30 minutes ends up being your typical 5-7MB file. Being a bit of an amateur historian, it’s really cool to listen to these old shows. Unluckily I don’t have the 45 minute commute to work like I use to, so it’s hard to find time to listen to them. 9 times out of 10, they’re usually funnier then anything that’s on the air today.

So if anyone has any suggestions for some music to check out, hamellr@yahoo.com. (remove the extra period,) would be appreciated. Please no Modern Country or Rap! I don’t want to shoot myself, or get shot for listening to the wrong type of music.