TechnoMagician's Weblog
(aka Tim Aiello)
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - Arthur C. Clarke.

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Friday, July 25, 2003
Distributed Operating System

I commented about a post Scoble made about Microsoft's P2P SDK.

It reminded me about distributed operating systems for some reason. Back in the late 80's I remember being shown a really slick prototype of a distributed OS being developed by a company just on the outskirts of the University Of Waterloo campus. That company tanked or was bought and development of the OS stopped if I recall correctly and I haven't really seen anything like it in the mainstream since. Doing a google search I found a list here. Not sure how current it is but I see there is some activity in this area and probably has been for a few decades at least. Although, it would be interesting to see when a distributed OS becomes mainstream and you're running one on your desktop.

Anyone want to make a prediction?

3:56:33 PM    

Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Odai and Qusai are done

At the very very least, the world is less two complete pieces of garbage. Odai and Qusai are done.

Update: How do you spell these clowns names? I normally see it as Uday but I used Odai above cause the article used that spelling. Not that it really matters anyway.

8:27:36 PM    

Monday, July 21, 2003
Wheels Of Zeus starts rolling

I've been waiting (probably for the 18 months the article says Wheels Of Zeus has been in stealth mode) to see what it was all about. Getting a bit of a picture now:

Markoff: "Mr. Wozniak described WozNet as a simple and inexpensive wireless network that uses radio signals and global positioning satellite data to keep track of a cluster of inexpensive tags within a one- or two-mile radius of each base station." [source: Scripting News]
12:27:49 PM    

Friday, July 18, 2003
Yahoo Buzz

Some interesting search buzz over at Yahoo. And according to Jeremy they are providing RSS feeds for these as well.

10:30:12 AM    

Friday, July 11, 2003

I've been doing some experimenting with Google AdSense in the last hour. Can't say what it is just yet though but stay tuned and I may be able to talk about it in the next couple of days.

Update: Sorry, but I still can't reveal what the experiment is. I will when it is out of the bag but not any sooner.

3:51:25 PM    

Tuesday, July 08, 2003
iPAQ Expansion and The Search For a decent Browser

I've been holding off buying a Compaq PCMCIA Expansion pack because it just seemed to pricey for what it is. Basically a piece of plastic with probably a minmal set of electronics that accept a PCMCIA card and connect that card to the actual iPAQ. Well, ok, it also includes another battery but its not like there is an option for one of these without a battery. Its just a method to sell you a device thats 10 times what it should really cost.

I finally scored one for an acceptable price on eBay. It is slick to say the least to be able to roam with the iPAQ wirelessly. Finally I'm also able to sync without requiring the cradle. Now I just have to figure out how to sync from OUTSIDE the firewall.

This all reminds me of the days of the original RIM where I would be wondering why would have to connect the thing to a cradle in order to sync. It just didn't make sense to me to be able to contact my desktop to sync my email YET not be able to sync anything else without the cradle. VERY LAME. I imagine they must have this feature by now as I haven't had a RIM for a few years at least.

The only unfortunate thing so far with the iPAQ is this lousy Microsoft IE browser that comes with the Pocket PC. It renders pages horribly and plain doesn't work with a number of pages that I really need to access on a regular basis (including my Userland Radio news aggregator page). And I'm not tallking about pages with strange Javascript or other stuff. Plain old HTML that just renders horribly.

So I went in search of another browser and so far have been really impressed with ThunderHawk. It uses a client/server architecture which I didn't realize until I visited and noticed that I was connecting with a strange IP address. After a bit of reading I see that ThunderHawk uses its servers as a proxy to enable proper rendering of pages. I guess that is the other reason why one needs a subscription to run the full version after the trial ends. I was also wondering why I couldn't access anything on the intranet here either and of course it was because of the proxy. Obviously the proxy had no clue what IP addresses I was trying to connect to and even if it did it wouldn't have slipped through the firewall. I understand they have an Enterprise Edition that one can run internally. Might be worth looking into.

2:02:01 PM    

Sunday, July 06, 2003
Excellent vs Lousy Customer Service

Recently one of my wireless Linksys routers went on the fritz. After struggling with it for a while I called Linksys and they confirmed it was a known problem and that they would replace it. No hassle, no fuss, no arguments even when I couldn't produce the proof of purchase. I have the new router and it is working perfectly. Great customer service.

On the other hand, I had to return a car battery to Canadian Tire (I'm not linking to them) well within the 3 year FREE replacement period. Of course, I did not have my receipt so they said because there was no way to tell when the battery was purchased they could only provide a partial payment towards the replacement and I would have to cover the rest of the cost. The interesting part is that they know exactly when the battery was purchased because they looked up the information in the computer to determine how old it was, how many months of warranty still applies etc. Argument after argument with them proved useless. Its pretty tough when dealing with people who have no ability to reason intelligently. We've now dealt with the parts manager, the store manager, the store owner and now head office. It seems that the customer service at every one of these points is absolutely lousy. All this for a measly $50. Its not about the money. I have a new battery I paid half price for and there are only a few months of warranty left on it (not that the warranty is good for anything anyway).

It is not surprising that Canadian Tire is struggling considering the way they run the lousy place. Lets not fool ourselves into believing that it is because of other big box stores (like Home Depot) moving in all around them. Some of us used to go out of our way to buy stuff at Canadian Tire (or other Canadian owned companies) when it made sense but not anymore.

1:47:37 PM    

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