Technology analysis of the latest gadgets, consoles, and computer architectures.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Here are some articles I found that I wanted to mention a couple of days ago:

Sony XYZ 3D Car GPS System - Well, the title is self-explanatory...just take a look at these images.

It really does look like a PS2 game!

Here's how it looks on the dash. Check out the Wired article here

DualDisc - "It’s not a CD. It’s not a DVD. It’s both. It’s a DualDisc." Basically, you've got a CD on one side and a DVD on the other. Sounds like it's here to speed up the progression from CD to DVD audio while minimizing cost; hey, it works for me. I can still listen to the cd with a normal stereo and get better sound quality and 5.1 channels on a DVD player. Read more here.

Google Gmail: Spook Heaven - As a current user of gmail (newsletters only, for now), I don't mind the method that it presents advertisements to me; when I read emails, Google scans them and presents relevant ads according to certain words in the text. No harm in that; I mean, I get a nice, clean interface and tons of space. The problem arises when the legal system comes into play. Google's advertising system gets challenged and is proven legal, and then the government would have more of a reason to build in filters in routers and ISPs to scan for certain words and have a right to read emails. Yes, I'm sure this already happens, but the large-scale image is what we're afraid of.

"Simply put, if a computer programmed by people learns the contents of a communication, and takes action based on what it learns, it invades privacy...Fundamentally, we should treat automated searches of contents as what they are: tools used by humans to find out more about what humans are doing, and provide that information to other humans. At least until the computers take over."

Click here to read more.

There were a couple of other articles that I was going to write about, but I can't find them at the moment, so I may choose to edit this page at a future date. Of course, feel free to leave comments.
I've been looking at power supplies for several days now, and I have to say that it is a difficult and somewhat tedious task; searching for reviews that accurately measure the performance of PSUs that I find on and sorting through many pointless customer reviews on their site isn't exactly fun. I will admit that I am looking for a power supply at a reasonable price (around $50); it would have been much easier to suck it up and pay $100+ for an Antec or Enermax, or just live with the crappy 350W PSU that is bundled with the case.

However, I think I have found a match: the Thermaltake Silent PurePower 420W TT420-APD PSU (with an Active PFC). It seems to be an improved version of the same PSU, with the main advertised difference being the Active PFC. This feature is supposed to increase the overall power efficiency of the power supply, which should reduce heat while providing the same amount of power. The actual terminology refers to power factor, which is used by electric companies to minimize cost in distributing power to businesses. Read more here. This PSU can be found for $50 at

Monday, June 14, 2004

You know, Wisconsin has one of the most democratic Senators in the nation (Feingold) and one of the most republican Congressional Representatives (Sensenbrenner). While Feingold openly critizes the Patriot Act and was the only senator to vote against it, the Patriot Act II, or the "Anti-Terrorism Intelligence Tools Improvement Act of 2003", is making its way through Congress, and was introduced by Sensenbrenner. This ammendum to the original Patriot Act allows the FBI to induce penalties for public revelations of FBI demands and expands the government's surveillance powers. Another piece of disturbing news is that they may try to slip this bill in with the Intelligence Authorization Act, skipping review and possible changes to the bill. For more information, check out this Wired news article for more information.
I can't help but create a post about this: Starz Movies has finally released their Movie-on-Demand service with Real! An announcement about this service came about a year or two ago, and I've been silently waiting for it to arrive. Basically, you pay the same price as you would to your Cable or Satellite provider ($12.95 per month) and get access to "over 100 movies" on your PC; you can download and watch as many as you want, and it sounds like you can keep them on your computer as long as you want (assuming you continue to pay the monthly fee). It is definately better than paying for the Cable/Satellite version, unless you already have Starz-on-Demand through the cable company or you like to watch movies as they appear on the channels.

It's the best legal movie download solution I've heard of; you don't have to pay a fee for each movie you want to watch, and you can watch them as much as you want. It also works on up to 3 computers. The only limitation is the movie catalog, but Starz usually picks up some of the best movies (next to HBO) including Disney/Pixar, Sony Pictures, etc. I may have to try it out during my August trip to Egypt/Jordan, since we won't be paying for Satellite that month anyways.