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May 28, 2006

The True Price of Cheap Fuel

Lately I've gotten reports about people trolling car lots looking for a new more fuel efficient vehicle. The excuse given is that they're looking for ways to save money because the price of fuel is so high. Well, hate to burst their bubble, but purchasing a more fuel efficient vehicle doesn't always give the savings people envision. Why? Well, you need to figure in new vehicle costs also. For example, I don't owe anything on my Pathfinder, but it gets 17 MPG. If I bought a Jetta TDI that gets 40 MPG I would probably lose about $240 USD per month! Great way to save money, LOL.

To help people figure out some of these costs I put together a calculator that takes fuel costs into consideration. Check it out here [hazelnutcafe.net].

Posted by Guy at 9:37 AM | Permalink

May 27, 2006

The 25 Worst?

The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time [pcworld.com]: I don't think I agree with all of these products. For example, the Iomega Zip drive was fantastic when it worked. For a while it was much cheaper and easier to use than CD-RWs. Keep in mind this was before the ubiquity of flash drives. Zip disks (when you weren't a victim of the click of death) worked rather quickly and made a great piece of transitionary technology from floppy disks to flash memory.

Some of the other ones I completely agree with. Um, MS Bob anyone?

Posted by Guy at 10:32 PM | Permalink

JSR 223

Build your own scripting language for Java [javaworld.com]: It's about time. I've played around with BSF and Rhino in the past, but a formal specification would alleviate a lot of the confusion in development of additional scripting languages. For example, I really like Lua [lua.org], but I can't seem to find a good way to integrate existing scripts with my Java code. Lua can be used on a JVM via LuaJava [keplerproject.org] or (maybe, I don't know) JLua [hetland.org], but I don't think these can be used to automate Java applications in a meaningful way.

Posted by Guy at 10:17 PM | Permalink

May 25, 2006

New Microsoft Madness

Microsoft shows off JPEG rival [news.com.com]:

This has got the be the crappiest thing I've seen in a while. Not because it's MS, but because it's MS. Let me explain, I don't have anything against MS, in fact I would probably apply for a job with them if I was moving to the Pacific Northwest. However, they have been known to put some realy crappy DRM controls into their media file formats. Am I anti-DRM? Yes. Am I anti-big business? No. It's quite the conumdrum, I confuse a lot of people.

I just think that DRM creates more problems then it solves. Is there DRM in most of the CDs sold throughout the world? No. Have album sales truly suffered? I really don't think so. How about DVDs? Are DVD sales "down" because of rampant piracy or maybe because services like Netflix make renting so easy it's not worth buying a movie when it comes out?

I'm a fan of better technology, but not when those technologies are hindered by other technologies.

Posted by Guy at 9:58 PM | Permalink

May 22, 2006

GMail - Denied!

It really sucks when seemingly ubiquitous technologies get blocked because of how they are perceived. Case in point, the facility I work at blocks access to the usual suspects, MySpace, eHarmony, etc. But then they also block things like GMail. This really sucks because I do a lot of business with my GMail account. Of course I also have personal emails flowing to my GMail account, there's no denying that, but for location to block a business tool, i.e. something I need to get my job done is ridiculous!

For too long had I simply stood back and said, "Okay, that's the way it is, that's how I'll play." I started looking for alternatives. First, of course, were the proxies. Absolutely none of them worked in accessing GMail. It could be because my server is hosted outside the US, but I don't think that's the problem. I think the problem was the fantastic javascript GMail uses to make itself so responsive and pretty. Then I ran into libgmail and GMail-lite. Long story short, I put GMail-lite on my site [lunaflare.net] and now I can access my GMail anytime I like. Sweet!

Feel free to use it, but help a brother out with ISP costs. If you find one of the advertisements helpful or interesting then explore the opportunity.

Update: Whoops, it's actually libgmailer [sourceforge.net], not libgmail.

Posted by Guy at 4:06 PM | Permalink

May 21, 2006

Shadow Internet

I wonder how many people know about the "shadow" internets there are around the world? Talking just US-only defense networks there are 3 major ones, each one with their own classification. It starts with NIPRNET [wikipedia.org]. This is the lowest classification for things that are sensitive, but unclassified (SBU). This network actually has gateways to the internet so a user on NIPRNET should be able to access all internet resources.
The next classification is secret, enter the SIPRNET [wikipedia.org]. This network is for classifications up to secret and is what most of the DoD uses.
After that is JWICS [wikipedia.org], the top secret network. Actually it's SCI [wikipedia.org], not just top secret. This is what most of the Intelligence Community and intel-related DoD users use.
Each of these networks is supposed to be air-gapped from each other, but they do everything the normal internet does. There are websites, email, IM, blogs, wikis, you name it. A user can access these networks (I'm guessing) from almost anywhere in the world.
Interesting that the internet is so powerful it has been replicated like this in these shadow internets.

Posted by Guy at 8:45 AM | Permalink

May 8, 2006

What's Old Is New Again

Ada Get's New Lease on Life [vnunet.com]:

I didn't even know Ada was actually used for current development. I had thought it went the way of COBOL and was only even thought of in maintenance budgets. Apparently it's still alive [adacore.com] and kicking. I wonder if there's an Ada to Java byte code compiler?

Posted by Guy at 7:28 PM | Permalink

May 3, 2006

Here's the Problem

Versioning and Classloading in Java [linuxintegrators.com]:

This is what I was talking about in a previous post about my trials and tribulations when dealing with Java classloading. It's a little vindicating to see there is a bigger problem at work here, but unless the JVM specification is changed or if there was a decent open source JVM [zdnet.com.au] I still have no work around. That sucks!

Posted by Guy at 6:17 PM | Permalink