iPod/iPhone Updates

Written by rob on September 6, 2007 – 1:52 pm -

Apple today hosted a special event at which they unveiled the new iPods, and also gave a product update about the iPhone. Here is just a rough, bulleted look at what was revealed:

  • The current iPod w/ Video are renamed to iPod Classic. The hard drive choices are now 80 and 160GB. Also, the user interface and physical design have changed slightly. A notable new feature allows you to browse your music using Cover Flow (iTunes users will be familiar with this album-flip view).
  • The current iPod Nano has been removed from existence. The new iPod nano looks like an iPod Classic that got smushed vertically. The features? It can now play video and do everything a normal iPod can, just in a smaller package. 4GB and 8GB versions available.
  • iPod Shuffle is the same. The only (possible) difference is a new color… purple. Although I’m not sure; this may not be new. I just never saw it before.
  • The brand NEW iPod (hence the need for an iPod Classic) is called the iPod Touch. It is essentially an iPhone that doesn’t make phone calls. It does music, video, photos all like the iPhone, and also has Wi-Fi internet access and is Safari and Youtube-enabled. Yay! The problem is that it, like the iPhone, uses flash-based storage. Meaning less space. The versions are 8GB for $299 and 16GB for $399.
  • iPhone 4GB, previously $499, no longer exists. iPhone 8GB, previously $599, is reduced to $399 after less than 3 months!

OK. That basically summarizes it. Head on over to Apple’s iPod section to see pictures and more info about all of the new changes made to the iPod lineup. You really need to see the iPod Nano to appreciate its odd appearance.

I just have a few comments.

First of all, the iPod Touch. As soon as the iPhone was announced, I hoped they would make an iPod that had all the features without the phone part. It seems Apple has granted my wish. Still time must pass before I can be sure the iPod Touch is everything the iPhone is… in terms of browsing, etc. I suspect it is pretty good. I don’t see Google Maps on the list of apps, which is disheartening. Either way, even if we assume that it does everything the iPhone does, there is still a major problem with it. $399 for 16GB of space is not an iPod. Sorry. That was like 5 years ago.

Second, I thin it is kind of ridiculous that Apple decided to lower the iPhone’s price $200 after only three months. If I was a loyal Apple customer who already had an iPhone, I would be pretty mad about this. Apple is essentially telling people that it doesn’t pay to buy their products immediately. This may have large consequences for them.

Either way, I’m not superbly happy. The new iPod Classic is cool, but the iPod Touch needs more space.

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Some Guild Wars Goodness

Written by rob on March 14, 2007 – 9:42 pm -

I haven’t posted anything for a while. Guild Wars would be the reason. Here are two cool GW videos for your enjoyment… I am going to be able to do the first one very soon with my Ritualist (I don’t have Nightfall yet so I can’t do the second one at all):

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A Match of Wits: Computer Chess Showdown (Part I)

Written by rob on February 11, 2007 – 8:00 pm -

I don’t know exactly how I got the idea, but I recently decided to have a tournament of computer chess programs. I’ve been into computer chess stuff for a bit, and while my personal chess skills have lately waned, my fascination for computer chess has not. I always thought it was amazing that a programmer could create a formidable chess opponent. Years ago, a computer beat the reigning human Grandmaster. Ever since, the gap between human and computer chess strength has been enlarging. Computers are getting faster, and programmers are making the programs stronger.

Click the link below to read the rest of the article and find out what happened.
Read more »

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And the Saints Go Marching In…

Written by rob on January 13, 2007 – 11:33 pm -

The Saints win over the Eagles 27-24. What else do I have to say?

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24 Season 6 Kicks Off Early

Written by rob on January 8, 2007 – 6:36 pm -

For those of you who like the Fox TV show, 24, as much as I do, I have some very nice news… the new season is starting a little early for those of you with a Bittorrent client. While I won’t post any links for legal reasons, the 4-hour premiere for the sixth season that is set to hit the States on Sunday and Monday (the 14th and 15th respectively) has already hit the torrent community. Though I have no idea where the leak came from, these first four hours were released yesterday. Having “previewed” them myself, I can confirm the validity of the various other sources that report on the leak.

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Happy New Year

Written by rob on January 1, 2007 – 7:58 pm -

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year. 2006 was a relatively good year for this site. I hope it is just the beginning. I can’t say I am disappointed that almost all my traffic is due to the games on the forum, but I would like to broaden my horizons, so to speak. I’m hoping to put up at least two meaningful articles per month. I was really losing that the end of last year. Here’s to a 2007 filled with much more traffic and diversity in content.

Cocktail for the New Year

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Fun Flash Game

Written by rob on October 20, 2006 – 4:57 pm -

Check out this awesome Flash game. Basically, you use a pencil tool to draw lines. Then a sledding guy uses those lines as his path. At first it is odd because you are getting used to the physics, but you can quickly do awesome stunts with it. My favorite thing to do is make a really steep slope so he builds up major speed, then have him go off a ramp into a wall! I tried to do a flip but still haven’t been able to get him to land well. 🙁 Let me know what things you can do.

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Reggie Bush – The Greatest

Written by rob on October 9, 2006 – 2:20 pm -

Here’s one for the long weekend.


EDIT: YouTube removed this due to “copyright infringement”. I guess you can’t use any NFL highlights.

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Noir AMV

Written by rob on August 7, 2006 – 8:08 pm -

I spent this past weekend creating an AMV (anime music video) for the anime series called Noir. The series is about two female assassins that are trying to figure out the secrets of their past and a shady organization known as “Les Soldats” (The Soldiers in French). It is a very entertaining series, with a bunch of action sequences and a great story. The song I used for the video was “Watch me Shine” by Vanessa Carlton. I felt that it fit the two assassins in the show perfectly.

I created the video using Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0, and exported it in three separate qualities to please all viewers:

  • Low Quality (recommended for 56k dial-up users)
  • Medium Quality (recommended for everyone else)
  • High Quality (recommended for those who want to see it in the best quality and don’t mind waiting for it to load)

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del.icio.us (Tiny): Firefox Extension

Written by rob on July 31, 2006 – 3:34 pm -

One of the best things about Firefox is its extensions interface. You can add functionality and features with a few clicks of the mouse. There are hundreds of these extensions available at Mozilla’s official site here. (Hmm.. what a coincidence that the Featured Add-on for today is the del.icio.us Extension that I’m going to talk about in the rest of this brief article) There are many other sites online with bigger repositories, but I just stick with the officially uploaded ones. The second best thing about Firefox is Themes, which are skins you can apply to your browser to make it look different. It will have different Forward, Back, Stop, Refresh, Home, etc. buttons and more. You can get themes from Mozilla’s site as well.

The problem is that sometimes the Themes and Extensions don’t work too well together. Extension developers think you will use the default theme, and so the buttons they use on the toolbar may not have good enough transparency masking to look good with a different background (adding a black theme when you have tons of extensions will show you tons of artifacts around the edges of icons). Another problem is that the icons may be too large if you chose to use a minimal theme (like me).

I recently started using the theme called Breeze. (I should note that the Breeze theme does not work well with Firefox 2.0 Beta 1, as it doesn’t have support for the Tab close buttons.) It uses very small black-and-white icons, and I think it looks really cool. The problem is that one of the extensions I use, the del.icio.us extension has toolbar icons that are way too big. It looks completely stupid to have these giant del.icio.us icons next to tiny browser buttons. Also, it defeats the purpose of using smaller icons since the toolbar itself will be the same size as the default because of the no-good large icons of the del.icio.us extention.

So, what on earth did I do to fix this annoying problem? I tapped into the hidden potential of Firefox’s extension system… the ability to modify them to do what you want. In the case of this extension, I didn’t have to modify anything other than a CSS file, then rename some images. Regardless, my little hack worked like a charm.

I figured I would repack it into an XPI file and share with others that may need the same functionality. You can click here to download it. Firefox will ask you what to do with the file. Just download it to the desktop and then, while inside Firefox, go to File->Open File and double-click the file. It works with Firefox version 1.0 – 1.5.0.x. Enjoy 😉

By the way, just for those of you who care about such things, the XPI files used by Firefox extensions are just ZIP archives with a different extension. You can unzip it with WinZIP or anything similar, or using the CLI with the “unzip” command.

To give you an idea of just how small this mod makes the icons, look at the following image of my Firefox toolbar. This is the actual size of everything:

My Firefox Toolbar

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