Monday, October 12, 2009

Bits 'n Pieces - 2

BREIN Disconnects The Pirate Bay, For Now

The anti-piracy  outfit, BREIN, in Europe has succeeded in halting traffic to TPB at its new hideout in the Ukraine.

It seems that traffic is routed through Dutch ISP nForce which uses the carrier outfit Leaseweb.  BREIN has asked Leaseweb to block that traffic to the Ukraine site for now aside from its arguments that neither nForce nor Leaseweb are hosting any torrent site but are merely doing their job in routing Internet traffic to the separate, autonomous system.

Repeated "requests" from BREIN finally caused Leaseweb to cave and cut off all contact to the new TPB site.  This sets a disturbing precedent in that if anti-piracy outfits can bully and threaten ISPs and their carriers to cut off access to the various other torrent sites, then the future of BitTorrent is indeed bleak.

Read the details in the article at:

BREIN Disconnects Pirate Bay


Rolltop - A Rolled Out Laptop?

Here's an interesting concept that some design outfit from Germany dreamed up.  While it looks pretty snazzy in its 3D rendition, I wonder what the actual logistics would be concerning the implementation of this design?

Catch the YouTube Video at:

RolloTop Laptop


Micro Vs. Monstrous

Normally, we seem to be involved in the world of micro sizing.  The different ways to make something smaller, more powerful and outdoing that last guy's cool invention.  Here's an interesting gallery of nine monstrous inventions that make our stay on this Ball of Mud a little easier, supposedly.

Check it out at Wired Gadgets:

Monstrous Gadgets


Fifty Blogger Themes

Here's an interesting little side trip for you other bloggers out there.  I came across this from one of my other RSS feeds and have actually downloaded a few of these themes and ran a quick test run on how they would look on Penguin Power. 

Some would take quite a bit of reworking to have them fall into place while others only required some minor tweaking.  The biggest pain in the ass is that regardless of which template you choose, all your widgets would disappear and you would have to hunt them down and set them up again - Bah!  

I wish I wasn't feeling so lethargic of late.

For those of you who are interested:

50 Blogger Themes


The Intel Atom In Automotive

Again, while perusing my RSS feeds, I came across this item.  Being an old Automotive Guy, anything about cars, trucks, automotive in general usually catches my eye.  This article goes on to explain plans to use the Intel Atom Processor to power the 'infotainment' systems of upcoming automotive production models.  As mentioned in the article, the high end boys usually complain that they wouldn't want to use something run-of-the-mill in their systems but even they have to take a pause and reconsider their planning.  Why reinvent the wheel when there is a handy, efficient component tested through what is considered the most brutal of computer hardware platforms and will perform excellently for their planned subsystems?

The example estimate in savings is about $400 to the regular price tag of $7500 - about 18% of the usual cost for an 'infotainment' system.  For a definition of 'infotainment', I urge you to read the following article:

Will Intel Atom Bring Down The Price?


Microsoft Security Essentials - What You Need To Know

As I may have mentioned in the past, I subscribe to the MalwareHelp.Org newsletter which sends informative tidbits of what's the latest in Ad/Scareware and other nasties.

They have come up with an article describing and supporting what is called 'Microsoft Security Essentials' - MSE for short.  Apparently, it replaces that horrid Windows Live OneCare - man, did I have a rough time with that one on a few clients' boxes - and Windows Defender.

It comes stock with Vista and Win7 and can be installed on XP SP2+ as a download.  The only real negative thing they say is that once one has decided to use MSE, one HAS to join the Microsoft SpyNet.  There are two membership categories - the default is the freebie and then there's a paid subscription which responds with a few dubious extras.

All in all, Malware reviewers gave it a very positive rating.  I actually learned a few things that set me right about it.  It used to be that it was, 'Stay away from all so-called antivirus thingies made by M$.' but now it doesn't seem that way anymore - they're actually making/marketing a half decent app that actually works as advertised - Wow!  For details on what all is involved, how often it updates, what it does when it detects something evil, odious and nefarious, check out the review at:

Microsoft Security Essentials - What You Need To Know


Has Anyone Ever Thought About Servers?

Well, the title may be a bit misleading since Servers are now only components of larger systems nowadays.  Sure, being an Old Guy, I can remember when an individual Server box could run a BBS or two or three at the same time since traffic flow at that time was heavily monitored and access was restricted as needed. 

Then, as the Internet grew, more and more inspired techo-geeks realized the potential in large server farms, and Networking grew in leaps and bounds.  Not restricted to the Academic, Military, Government or Banking realm anymore, the networking geeks decided to take it to another level.

This is an article that roughly outlines what Networking is about today:

... and an accompanying Wikipedia reference to the Hadoop  Distributed File System used by a lot of the Big Guns on the Net today:


For Those Hoping For An Easy XP to Win7 Transfer

It ain't gonna happen.  Micro$oft, in it's infinite wisdom, has decided not to allow for a a smooth upgrade to it's now Flagship OS Release in any way, no how.  Nope, it's a wipe 'n install piece of business.  Then you're gonna wonder if any of your favourite apps will even work in Win7 - well, most of them do from what I've seen in preliminary applications - even bluffing XP printer drivers over to Win7 worked.

But if you've got an exclusive XP setup, then you're going to have to do the nasty - backup to DVDs or if you're lucky, to another drive.  

But, there are twerps on the planet who have far too much time on their hands and have developed an item that is supposedly guaranteed to do this transition smoothly.  According to the article, this "amazing" piece of software will take the agony of transitioning XP to Win7 without withering your brow.  Of course, at this time, it's still in Beta but it will be ready for full, ungirdled, naked-loined battle come the Official release of Win7 on October 22, 2009.  Oh, did I mention that they actually want money for this . . . ?

Oh, Whoopee - I can hardly wait - if you wish to read this piece of pap, refer to this:


I've already gotten my XP backup strategy figured out and as soon as I'm financially and hardware-wise able, I'm doing the plunge.  Hmmm, I wonder if the usual techniques of recovering the Linux GRUB bootloader will work with this - it did on Vista.  I guess I'll find out, eh?  I welcome the challenge!


Linux Is Bloated

Wow!  Can he be in his right mind saying that?  Yup, and it's not me saying it either.  I have always taken an interest in the development side of Linux for quite a number of years even though my programming talents have fallen by the wayside due to lack of use.  Still, I have always had this fascination with the Linux Kernel ever since I once spotted and bought this tome containing the complete source code in a No-Name Computer Tech book store.  There it was, sitting there almost by itself; a large, semi-permanent binder that was about 80 cm long and 60 cm wide.  It was also thicker than two bricks and weighed a tonne as it was comprised of dot-matrix type sheets - thicker than standard paper.  I poured over it for hours, nay, days going into weeks, trying to understand the various sections - I thoroughly enjoyed that experience.  

Even though the Kernel I studied was a later version than what Linus Torvalds published in 1991 - I do remember that it was the 0.96c version -  and therefore archaic and prehistoric compared to the 2.0.x series I was enjoying at the time, it was an insight into the the actual development of what an Operating System is like.  Although it covered a lot of dot-matrix sheets, I do believe that that 0.96x kernel was only about 200+ K in size compared to the 57 Mb behemoth that I had just downloaded and compiled a few days ago.  The 2.0.x series was only about 4.5 - 6 Mb in comparison and I thought that it was HUGE at the time.  Even then I was compiling them from their source code in addition to using the binary versions from whatever distro I was exploring at the time.

The comment that "Linux Is Bloated" was coined by non other than the "Penguinator" himself, Linus Torvalds, at the recent LinuxCon 2009.  For the article covering that comment, read it at Linux Magazine .  The actual page is:

Linux Is Bloated

While currently offered kernels are 57 or 58 Mb, if one knows what one is doing and is attempting to use it to imbed an OS into an appliance of some sort, then it can be whittled down to about 10% of that size and maybe even smaller.  The kernels' source codes are offered, for free, at  - have a gawk!


TDK Develops 320 Gb Optical Disk

From PC World comes this little tidbit about how TDK has developed an optical disk that can store 320 Gb.  Apparently, it has 10 recording layers which hold 32 Gb each compared to the standard Blue Ray which only stores 25 Gb per layer .  The Blue Ray and its dual layer version is the only commercial large capacity media available today.  The article also mentions that Pioneer has developed a 400 Gb disk which was displayed at some trade show last year.

I thought Pioneer went out of the Optical Disk market a number of years ago.

The only small problem with these developments is that they won't be available for commercial distribution.

Check out the article at:

TDK Develops 320 Gb Disk


A Review on The Upcoming Official Release of Ubuntu 9.10

Here's one guy's outtake on what people can expect with the official release of Ubuntu 9.10 at the end of October.  He calls it the almost perfect Linux release.  

In his review he prattles on about the colours - how the Orange and Brown are a little more darker and vivid and along with the new icon themes gives the interface a little more snappier presentation.   Oh yeah, he also mentions that there are now a lot more default backgrounds to choose from.

From there is mentioned the new Software Center which although is still the Synaptic software manager, it also contains a Ubuntu Software Store that will allow a user to purchase specific software from the Canonical Developers.  I guess they have to start scraping for bucks somewhere to cover their freebie distribution of the OS itself.

As I've mentioned, I think the almost fanatical preoccupation with the six month upgrade schedule that Ubuntu has developed for itself will eventually lead to a collapse of quality.

Anyway, here's the review to let you decide for yourself:

Ubunti 9.10 - Almost Perfect


Six Apps To Help You Become More Productive (Mac)

Now, for all you Mac Fans out there comes this article regarding implementing these apps, a few new ones and rediscovering some old ones, to help you multitask and concentrate.  While these may be of help in certain respects, nothing beats good old determination, self-control and discipline.  It is an interesting article, nonetheless.

Have a look:

6 Apps To Help You Focus


Well, that's it for now kiddies.  I've been having problems getting online with my wireless for the last few days, but that's the problems one encounters when trying to live Life on the cheap.  Hey, I'm broke!  What can I say?


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