Archive for May, 2008

Cost of storage vs DVD: BD=16x, CD=6½x, HD & DVD-DL=5x

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Just a quick followup note from a thread I did on Twitter yesterday on the prices of a Gigabyte of storage on various media.

DVD’s are still the king at just over 3¢ per gig:

Kind ¢/Gig xDVD
Blu-ray DL 25.0¢ 7.8x
CD 20.5¢ 6½x
DVD DL 11.0¢ 3½x
Blu-ray 10.4¢ 3¼x
Hard disk 8.9¢ 2.8x
DVD±R 3.2¢ 1x

I find the dual-layer DVD vs hard drive equivalence fascinating, especially after talking with Iain yesterday about
the eSATA ports on my Mac Pro’s motherboard.


Sources for prices are Canada Computers
and Fortune Computers.

Update: per my comment below, DVD-DL updated from 17¢/GB (5x) to 11¢/GB (3½x).

Update: per another comment, Blu-ray updated from 51¢/GB (16x) to 20¢/GB (6½x).

Update: another comment: Blu-ray updated from 20¢/GB (16x) to 12¢/GB (3¾x).

Update 2009-09-09: another comment: Blu-ray updated from 12¢/GB (16x) to 10.¢/GB (3¼x), added Blu-ray DL. Also updated hard disk from 17¢/GB to 8.9¢/GB as per current prices of 1.5 TB drives.

Trying out “Disqus” for comments

Monday, May 26th, 2008
Disqus

Let me know what you think of the new comment system.
I’ve installed if for all zero-comment posts (which includes all new posts), so old posts with comments still have the old WordPress commenting system.

This may involve you having to create a Disqus account, but the idea is that you can use that account across blogs.
I am also setting up Disqus on
my blog
so you only have to create your account once for both places.

Leo Laporte has also set up his blog to use it.
Maybe it will spread everywhere.

The idea is that your comments belong to you, and Disqus makes it easier to follow people, as opposed to blogs.

Phoenix lander safely touches down in Martian arctic

Monday, May 26th, 2008

To see a nice, 995×2,551-pixel version, click on the image to the left.

Yesterday at 7:53pm EST, Earth received telemetry indicating that the Phoenix lander had safely touched down 15 minutes earlier.
The 15-minute lag is due to the speed of light and the distance to Mars.

I’ve scarfed
a bunch of pics.
This one
shows the hint of Green Kryptonite that permeates the surface.

I think it would have been cool to start two quantum-state parties at 7:38pm – one where everyone celebrated the successful landing, and the other where everyone was sad that it had failed.
Technically, since the event wasn’t observed, the lander would have succeeded and failed at the same time until the signal arrived on Earth!

Ya, ok, maybe not.
But still, it would have been funny.
As it turns out the sad folk would have abandoned their room to party with the others!

I watched the landing in Earth-real-time (i.e. 15 minutes light speed delayed) on
NASA TV
over the internet.
At first I used QuickTime with the rtsp link on that page, but the audio wasn’t as good and the video was certainly no better,
so I ended up just staying on the NSASA TV page and used Leopards ctrl-scrollwheel zoom to make the streaming wmv fill the screen.

I phoned Andy to see if he was watching, and he told me it was showing on the Discovery Channel, so I switched over to that.
But I still had the laptop on NASA TV and switched back and forth, especially when Discovery went to commercial.

One thing I was disappointed by was that the landing visualization (which looked really cool) was not available in a good, HD-quality version.
Surely this would have been a good opportunity to use BitTorrent?
Ah well.

It’s interesting to note that the lander’s latitude and longitude are lat=68.011, long=-123.006, which on Earth would be
in the middle of Canada’s Tuktut Nogait National Park.

The picture below has a more detailed version if you click on it.

oops

Phoenix managed to just land inside its projected landing area.
The blue oval indicated the expected landing area.
Red cross is actual landing area.
Not sure what the red circle is. :-)

You can see the latest pics from the lander at this arizona.edu site.

Buzzword – competitor to Google Docs word processing

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Adobe launched a preview version of Buzzword,
which uses
Adobe Air to edit documents.

Pros

  • documents are on web server – so you can edit them anywhere
  • very slick UI
  • sharing sends a unique URL to the sharee
  • looks like it supports collaborative editing. Maybe two editors can see each other’s edits in realtime?

Cons

  • documents are on web server – so you don’t “own” them
  • can’t save to PDF .. on an acrobat.com domain!!!
  • UI is obtuse – instead of a simple tooltips UI, clicking on “radio button” options looks
    like a completely different action. e.g. sorting documents by date vs alphabetical order
  • password is forced to have non-alphabetical component
  • manipulating documents is difficult – single-clicking on a document’s name opens it rather than selecting it. You must click the icon next to the document’s name to select it. Renaming requires selecting “Rename” from a drop-down menu.

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