Archive for June, 2005

Digital Home Canada – Canadian PVR Roundup – July 2005

Thursday, June 23rd, 2005

Digital Home Canada
Digital Home Canada
is a new (to me) tech site that is (obviously) Canada-specific.
Right now they are running a
Canadian PVR Roundup
article.

Looks interesting.

TV show distributors hacking BitTorrent?

Thursday, June 23rd, 2005

Posts like
this one
are showing up on BitTorrent sites, detailing the IP ranges that should be blocked to avoid being torrent-spammed.
Apparently someone is flooding the BitTorrent network with garbage data for certain specific shows.

Six Feet Under
episodes have been especially targeted.
What happens is that when a user starts downloading a torrent, clients in these IP ranges claim to be seeders for that torrent and start sending packets.
Indeed, so many cclaim to be seeders that real seeders are elbowed out, causing the user to spend a lot of time downloading garbage packets.
The end effect is that the torrent claims to be downloading at, say, 120 kbps, but the show’s “% complete” remains at zero.

An interesting tactic in the never-ending escalation.
One user on the page above laments:

I gave up on this and just waited for the HBO2 rerun. I have Sygate Firewall, Bluetack Protowall with today’s Blocklist, and Azureus with SafePeer, and I manually entered all the IP ranges indicated on this page, and I was still getting more garbage than actual file. What’s more disturbing is that hours after I deleted the torrent and what data I did manage to download, then quit Azureus, I’m still getting a continuous stream of packets from Time Warner. Sygate is blocking them, but they’re still coming at around 2K per sec average, and occasionally interfering with my web surfing. This really sucks, because if they can come up with more IPs per day than we can screen and block, as well as issue attacks on our personal machines for hours afterward, then it looks like Bittorrent may be about to bite the dust.

Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Thursday, June 23rd, 2005

We finally got it today.
It’s good fun watching which way the energy is moving on the little diagram on the dash.
I tried to get a feel for what it was doing and I eventually got it to drive from a bus stop all the way home (500m?) without burning a single drop of gasoline.
Generally however, it seems to prefer using gasoline to speed you up to cruising speed and then expend battery power while cruising (against the wind) and then recover that spent energy while braking for the next light.

Now, I know the batteries are under the rear passengers’ seat, but in an Intrepid, that’s where the gas tank is, so I don’t know how they did it, but I can’t see any difference at all in cargo space between the regular Highlander and the hybrid.

Under the hood is a thick orange cable which the salesman said was “high voltage — do not touch.”.

Instead of a tach, you get a meter that shows how many kilowatts are being used by the motors.
It goes 0-200kW.

The thing is super-quiet, you’d think it was a good thing, but the good old brain emphasizes what you can now hear more of: the other cars.
No psychological gains there.

The specs of 7.3 s to 60mph seem about right, I’m not going to lead-foot it for a while.

Btw, as with other hybrids, when you turn the key to start, a light that says “ready” comes on, along with the other dashboard stuff, but the motors and engine do nothing.

When parking, the engine does not come on and there’s no traffic to hear… It just seems like the law of gravity has been rescinded while you roll hither or thither.

According to my calculations, if my wife just drove it to work, she would only have to buy a $48 tank of gas once a month.
I think it would take about 4 years to make back the extra money they charge you for the Hybrid hardware but for us, that’s not really the whole point.

The allotment to Canada this year is about 400.
That’s 2 per dealer on average.

Presumably in 5 years everyone will be driving hydrogen fuel cell motorcycles, but hey, no car lasts forever anyway.

Our Highlander

“Apple’s Clock is Losing Time” – circa 2000

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

Ran across
an interesting article from circa 2000 that compares PowerPC and Intel chips.
There are particularly interesting graphs on
page 3
that chart the relative performance of integer and floating point as well as the CPU clock speed between the years 1994 and 2000.


PowerPC vs Intel, back in 2000

You can definitely see when the 450/500 MHz G4 came out and remained the top Mac for quite a while, while Intel went on to 900 MHz.

Toyota Highlander Hybrid Hits the streets of Toronto

Friday, June 17th, 2005

Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Toyota’s Highlander hybrid vehicle

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid has a continuously variable transmission and supposedly gets about 7.5L/100km as opposed to 13ishL/100km city for a non-hybrid, but I think as with the Prius, your mileage will vary.

I also heard that they are hard to get in Canada because they sell so many in the U.S., however with the 7.5L/100km rating you don’t have to pay the gas-guzzler tax, but then the vehicle is quite expensive.

SONY Mini-HD Camcorder

Thursday, June 16th, 2005

Sony HDRHC1 HD camcorder
Mini HD Camcorder: Sony is releasing a smaller High Definition camcorder around about July 18, 2005. At $2500, it’s about half the price of the first generation semi-pro model and a little less than half of the related pro-sumer model that came out last year. It’s 1080i and I’m going to give this one serious thought.

Paris Airshow

Wednesday, June 15th, 2005

Air Show
Paris Air Show

Photos from Paris Airshow It is taking place at “Le Bourget” near Paris. I have even been to this place, oooh, ahhh. There’s a French-style sushi place across from the museum there. There are some photos of the A380 prototype, UAVs, and such. Presumably you can find more photos somewhere on the web. Like here maybe: A380 Tags on flickr

Microsoft Acrylic – Expression’s new home

Friday, June 10th, 2005


Acrylic
is an app that used to (a) be called Expression (see the URL),
and (b) run on the Mac.
Both are no longer true.

It’s an attempt to move towards purely algorithmic image editing.
This means trying to step away from pixels, having them show up only when you import image data.
It’s not unlike what Live Picture was doing back in the 1990’s, before it was bought by MGI.

Apple Core Image

Tuesday, June 7th, 2005

Interestingly, Core Image claims it uses parallel execution wherever possible, including using the GPUs on graphics cards, as well as handling the 12 bits per color images that modern digital SLRs put out.

I wonder if it could help with concerns like:
Image stacking (astrophotos)
Fill-flash simulation (12 bpc raw-mode color curve enhancement)
Cleaner image stitching (panoramic images)
Thermal-noise subtraction (astrophotos)
Portrait fill-flash with typical portraiture flesh-tone adjustments.
Compare 2 images, and automatically eliminate CCD noise (darker parts of images)

Core video is being developed too. I would like to get it to do after-the-fact image stabilization.

Anyway, just thinking out loud.

Apple Throws in the Towel and goes PC

Monday, June 6th, 2005

Apple to use Intel x86 chips. Anyhow, I admire an upgrade path that includes such radical hardware changes, and amazingly final and complete product obsolescence (of previous models).