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October 27, 2008

Microsoft reaches for the Cloud

I don't think Charles as particularly referring to Microsoft when he referred to Computing in the Cloud. With Bill Gates now sitting in the back benches with Jerry Seinfeld, I guess time for Ray Ozzie to justify his Chief Architect title. Will Ballmer reprise his "Developers, Developers, Developers" cheerlead? See Microsoft's Power to Developers on November 6th

Posted by Anandasim at 01:18 PM | TrackBack

October 22, 2008

Continuing the Computer History theme

One of my RSS feeds gave me this Steve Jobs 1991 NEXT gem - presenting at a wyteboard, distinctive black jumper and jeans but a lot younger. Strong emphatic speaker and delivery. No Keynote or Powerpoint aid. A good one to show and tell at my next Powerpoint class. BTW, the competitors and machines he talks about? They're history.

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October 21, 2008

The Monash Computer Musuem

IBM PC with green monochrome display.

Image via Wikipedia

I don't normally drop by Monash University, Caulfield Campus. Today, I did and happened to chance by the Monash Museum of Computing History. It's open 9-5, weekdays, no one around, just students passing by the glass cases on the way to their assignments and classes. I didn't know it was there or that my friend, Stephen Dart, had donated his Vax to the display (how on earth would Stephen keep a Vax at home?)

Having a look at the exhibits brings back lots of memories of my undergraduate days and the early part of my working career. You'll find classics like the Apple ][ and the IBM PC, revel at the really little CRT of the Osborne (I think the LCD displays of these new point and shoot digicams have even more resolution and are bigger). The Lisa is there, the DEC line printer that produced those FOOBAR printouts of my 20 line FORTRAN programs.

Of course, there is the venerable Ferranti Sirius, part of an IBM 370. You gotta have a look - it's free.

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October 15, 2008

Looking into an LCD

Terminal Services

Image via Wikipedia

LCD monitors have become quite a screen revolution since forum members discussed them ages ago. Most self respecting office environments are keen to recover some writing space on the desk by ditching the deep 17" CRTs in favour of the shallower frontage 19" LCDs. With them, come also green power savings and the ability, for us nerds to run two screens. I once tried to explain the productivity increase in driving two screens - she could run Remote Desktop Connection to a work machine on one and check her local Outlook email in the other. It was quite a moment for her, she was very sweet but conservative in her tastes - not sure if she did take up the idea.

We're at the stage now, where people are buying the second round (or later) of LCD screens. The well informed consumer is now more able to define desirable characteristics of these screens and the screens themselves have got better.

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The first LCD screens I set up for friends turned out fuzzy and double lined - there was some interaction between the video card and the screen. Certainly, the VGA connection reduced the image quality but there was something not quite right about the final result. Still, they are in use even though we hint about bigger and better things.

Sharpness is now not a discriminant. All current LCD monitors should be sharp at native resolution and free from superimposed or double lined display artifacts. Regardless of whether they are connected via VGA or higher class DVI cables to the PC. Note that VGA cables are often free or cheap, for some reason, the DVI cable is twice the price and may not always be included in the box even though the monitor supports DVI.

Size, Shape and Resolution of the screens are obvious discriminants. 19" displays dominate the office desks. The 4:3 aspect ratio suits classic office programs like accounting software and so on. It's not hard to get a pivoting 19" that shows a fairly nice rendition of an A4 page in Microsoft Word. 19" and 20" widescreen displays came and went. The 22" widescreen (16:10 aspect ratio) is at an optimum value for home use in entertainment as well as SOHO work. It's not too big. The competition between brands is stiff though, and the presence of HDTV 1080 has encouraged the move to 24". 24" wide screens are in a less price sensitive market segment. With this, manufacturers can introduce some premum features - better quality 6 bit TN panels, 8 bit MVA or SIPS panels for the higher cost range (wider colour gamut, wider viewing angles). This is the start of good enough screens for avid amateur photographers and digital graphic artists to work on. 24" though is quite a size for desktop, sit-up-straight use - at usual desk and chair distance, you do have to swivel your head from time to time.

Nerds and keen gamers talk about Response Time for games and movies, Overdrive, even illumination or banding top to bottom, side to side colour change, static and dynamic contrast ratios, light bleeds when using the monitor as a TV. But that's them.

My choice for an affordable LCD with some attempt at nice colours and tones? The Benq V2400W.

Chat more? Come Here

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October 08, 2008

CDOs for the rest of us

Frankly, I'm not one of those economically literate folks, regardless of how much I listen to my accountant friends or listen to the ABC interviews about the state of the world economy. I thought CDO stood for Microsoft's Collaboration Data Object - how was I to know it stands for Collateralized Debt Obligations. People say IT terms are opaque and terminology a mouthful. What do you call these CDOs?

Fortunately, Paddy has got a wyteboard video presentation to inform.

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October 06, 2008

State Library of NSW now on Flickr

The State Library of New South Wales are now using Flickr and more specifically the Flickr Commons which deals with photographs that have 'no known copyright restrictions'. With the announcement on the Flick Blog who could be better to announce it other than our Aussie at Flickr George Oates. This puts the State Library of New South Wales as the 2nd Australian site of only 10 participants in the Flickr Commons thus far along with the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney and to sit along side the likes of the Smithsonian and US Library of Congress is great to see and here's hoping many more Australian archives start using Flickr to make available such a treasure trove of Australian history available to all.

Update: A slideshow is now available after the jump.

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