Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy birthday Google

So, today Google becomes a teenager.

I can remember more or less my reaction when I first heard of it... "Google, what is this? some kind of competition for Lycos? those fools, they'll never be as big".

The interface in 1998

Right now the company is one the largest internet related businesses offering everything: searches, blog hosting, videos, documents, and even a new social network. Who would have thought about it all those years ago? And people who have grown with Google, how do they think we searched the web before it existed?

Well there were several web hosting companies that offered a search, and some others that established themselves as the first generation of dedicated search engines: Altavista, Lycos, Excite, Yahoo!. Some of these still exist but none has a chance of competing with the almight Googz, not even Microsoft's attempt Bing.

Will the domination end? Will space explorers still use Google's services 500 years from now? Will it all end December 21st, 2012?
For now, Happy birthday, yo.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Laptop shopping

Since my last laptop completely died on me, I have been putting off buying a new one for a number of different reasons, not having enough money being the primary one. In the past few weeks I've been out and about both in electronic stores and their websites, reading and comparing models, and here's what I've found out:


Yeah how can this be a bad thing do you ask? Because when you really start comparing, you begin noticing that there are tiny differences between models sometimes, only varying slightly in the processor they use, or the amount of memory, the size of the hard drive.

It is then when you begin to wonder "what if I buy something, and two days later I find there was something much better for exactly the same price?" that you start to get frustrated. It baffles my mind and I've been around computers since I was 6 years old, but even more than that, I can't understand the logic behind this.  Sometimes the same brand will do 3 different laptops with a tiny difference in their incoherently long names of letters and numbers. I'll give you an example with these three Samsung models, which cost exactly the same:


These three are basically the same except one of them has a 500 GB hard drive instead of a 640 GB. It's the middle one. But the middle one has 1 GB of memory dedicated to it's graphics card, the top one has only half of that, 512 MB. But the bottom one has both the nice hard drive and the nice memory. So why do they have to build all 3 instead of just offering the nice one?!

It gets even funnier. The RV520-S02 is worse than the RV520-S01, and costs less. Why not call it the RV519 or something and make it simple? Higher number, better quality, makes the world a lot easier to figure out.

It's not a Samsung thing, either, all the brands fall on to the same mistakes. It's becoming quite hard for me to choose one without getting that feeling that my money would have better be spent on another model. I haven't even dipped my toes in the world of tablets, 'cos I know if I did, my head would explode in a thousand different directions.

I've made up my mind though... I'm going to buy 600 euros worth of pens and paper. Brb.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Where Romans walked

It is no secret that some ancient civilizations were able to construct incredible things that would impose a challenge to modern engineers: Pyramids, aqueducts, catapults, temples and cathedrals... and also long lasting, good quality roads.
As part of a number of activities planned for a neighbouring city's annual festival Chocalhos, I got to walk on a Roman road.

The walk started from the local city hall and ended at the neighbouring town, which is straight on the other side of the local mountain range. It started pretty early with the traditional bell-bearers and then some goats (yes, tradition... they didn't come along on their own accord). We overtook the goats 'cos they were shitting all over the place, and began the uphill walk with a good rythm. Got to the other side in around an hour and then started descending towards the other town through the roman road. This took like half an hour.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Science and tech roundup

It has been a very interesting week as far as scientific and technological news. In the middle of the whole economic crisis, this gives me both entertainment and hope. Here's a quick round-up.

Astronomers find Tatooine!

It doesn't look like this at all.
Well not so much, but they think they've found proof of a planet orbiting around a binary star system, that is, two stars rotating around each other. The planet is thought to be a cold gas giant, something like Saturn, and not the hot arid Star Wars deal. We will have to keep searching for the Jedis somewhere else.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Deus EX: Human Revolution

Check out my awesome mechanic eyes. Yeah.
It's the year 2027 and you're one bad ass ex-SWAT working as security for a company which is researching bio-mechanical implants. Then all hell breaks loose when an unknown commando force breaks in the factory, wreaking havoc and killing everyone around. You take a bullet to the face and wake up weeks later to find out your life was saved by the doctors, who had to extensively repair your mangled body with these new state of the art implants.

After you've spent several long minutes in this intro, which starts with a mysterious corporate CEO smoking a cigarette which reminded me a lot of Mass Effect 2, you're thrown into the tutorial mission which takes a little more of your time, because it's suggested you do everything slowly and stealthily, before the game really begins. This sets the tone for me, this game is gonna draaaaag.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I'm back! Paredes de Coura report

Well, after that short summer break of doing nothing and procrastinating as far as blog posts go, I'm back. Like you hadn't noticed by the fact there's a new post. Thank you Mr. Obvious Blogger... carrying on.

As I referenced in my last post I was attending an annual summer festival called Paredes de Coura, located in the far north of Portugal. I had never gone to it so it was a great new experience. As we all know the world is in economic turmoil and this country is one of the most affected at the moment by it, so the line up was not full of stars and world class bands, yet those who attended did their best to put on a show.