I haven’t posted anything for a long, long time. The post I did on the email that all Penn State Students received was a measure to hold any regular readers over until I had time to do real posts. This weekend marks the first weekend that I have off from the Penn State Marching Blue Band, so I’m busy researching a few stories and getting caught up on sleep and homework. So I’ll offer up a few cool stories with accompanying links in order to build up some momentum. Strangely, I get a decent number of hits on this blog even though it doesn’t have any current content. I must be doing something right 🙂
- Last Tuesday, Apple updated part of their Ipod line. A new Nano, Classic and Touch debuted, as predicted by many analysts and rumor sites. The Nano changes form factor from the previous generation- the shape is similar to the first generation Nano (tall and skinny). Price points are $149 for 8GB and $200 for 16GB. This is a substantial price cut and a shift to higher capacity storage. They come in nine colors (a color scheme similar to Creative’s Zen Micro if anyone remembers that DAP). The iPod Classic didn’t see much change other than resorting to only one storage option. You can now get a 120GB iPod Classic for $249. The new Touch is a slight refresh from the previous generation featuring 8GB, 16GB and 32GB capacities for $229, $299 and $299 respectively. The younger cousin of the iPhone now features a built-in speaker, a slimmer profile, and external volume control. These new features may not sound like much, but they improve the already exceptional device.
- The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), located between France and Switzerland, is now partially operational. Since starting the beam last week, scientists have been testing the machine which stretches in a circle 27km. The science behind this machine is way beyond my expertise, but what I can tell you is that it accelerates protons at 99.999999% the speed of light in order to smash them together. The purpose of this collision is to gain more knowledge about the immediate (fractions of a second) aftermath of the Big Bang. Collisions are planned to occur around the first two weeks in October. Many people have expressed concern over the project because they believe that micro black holes may be created when the machine becomes fully operational. I suppose we won’t know for certain for about another month, but Earth is currently free of micro black holes even though the machine is being tested. CERN (the international group behind the LHC) has released information refuting the claims that the LHC is dangerous to existence. Check out this Ars Technica article for more information.
- Although it is old news, I figured mentioning Google’s Chrome Internet browser was a good idea. Google is ballsy enough to debut yet another browser to the already packed rat race that the browser wars have become. In my tests, rendering of Java objects (a oft-used technology on many websites) is at least twice as fast as Firefox 3. In comparison to Internet Explorer 7…well to be honest, I didn’t even bother letting the test finish. All I know is that it was taking forever, not something I was at all surprised about. Chrome packs a ton of great features in a beautiful user interface. Although I won’t yet switch from Firefox 3 (mostly because of the add-ons and extensions), future versions of Chrome will likely merit switching platforms. Give it a try, it is a refreshing experience- especially if you only use Internet Explorer.
- A website called Speed.io measures your Internet connection speeds. I’m currently on 56k due to a violation of Penn State’s weekly 4GB up/ 4GB down limit, and I was able to verify my incredibly slow connection speeds and look forward to seeing how fast it is when the system resets sometime tonight. It also gives you an idea of the quality of your connection, which is also important. This tool is especially handy for those who are suspicious of their ISP’s advertised speeds.
- I’ve been playing Spore every once in a while since it was available for Direct to Disc through EA’s Download Manager. Some of you might have guessed, but downloading the 3.8 GB game file is what put me over for bandwidth for the week. Spore is a fresh take on the entire video game industry. I will say it was incredibly fun up until the time I was able to take a spacecraft outside of my planet. When I traveled between planets, the game became more like work than play as the number of things you had to keep track of was staggering. I haven’t finished the game yet, but I’m thinking about do a full review whenever it is I get to the point.
I hope this makes up for the lack of content as of late. I will be writing several security articles over the next few days and other general content articles.