We are running out of metric prefixes for big data

We all want digital storage to keep increasing, but it seems that it is at a pace quicker than we can make up names to quantify it. It is hard to believe that we are hitting storage levels that seemed astronomical at the turn of the century. Looks like we’ll need to create new names to keep up with our insatiable love for big data.

MIT Tech Report – http://www.technologyreview.com/view/508526/will-big-data-get-too-big-for-the-metric-system-to-handle

Amazon Instant Video now available for the iPad

Sometime this morning Amazon released their Amazon Instant Video app for the iPad. The app allows anyone with an ipad to stream previously purchase movies and tv shows or for those with an Amazon Prime Account, access to Prime Instant Video. Finally for anyone that is in the Apple camp, you now have an option other than flash video in your browser to make use of your Prime Instant Video. It will also sync your place in a video so you can pick up where you left off on another device.

That is not to say the app is without its flaws. It seems impossible to find a search field to find video, so you either have to make do with Amazon’s recommendations or use the website to add content to your watch list. And sadly you cannot Air Play the video to your Apple TV (but you can stream the audio, which is pointless in my opinion). I don’t have a video out cable to see if that is disabled, but I’m betting it is.

All in all if you are either invested in the Amazon media camp or a Prime member such as myself this app is a no brainer to download. Finally I don’t have to sit at my Mac even more if I want to enjoy Prime video. Hopefully this will pave the way for an Instant Video app for the AppleTV, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.

Itunes store link: Amazon Instant Video for iPad

Jlabs Audio J4 Earbuds Review

I’ve been looking for a decent cheap set of earbuds that don’t sound horrible and will allow me try them to see if I really like the in ear style buds.

A few months ago I purchased a set of Meego brand ear buds that were on sale at Amazon for 15 dollars. Needless to say they were awful sounding. The made every type of music, even country, sound like hardcore deep bass rap. The amount of bass is already ratcheted up on any earbud, but those were all bass and no highs. Needless to say they were quickly returned to amazon.

So I was skeptical when Groupon had a set of JLabs Audio J4 earbuds on sale for $19. I also had a coupon for ten dollars off, so after shipping was added in I figured I can’t go wrong for $12. Continue reading Jlabs Audio J4 Earbuds Review

FitBit and My Newfound Fitness Craze

After much procrastination and finally tired of looking at my jiggling belly I decided I need to get back into shape. I’ve been using the food diary software for the iPhone from Lose It, but felt that I needed more data. You see most of these food diary programs use standard equations to calculate your daily caloric amount. And if you don’t fit into the equation, you don’t lose weight. Now all hope is not lost. Most of these many tools can have more data input into them, input it into the equation, and it will be more accurate.
So here are the tools I’ve acquired for this experiment.

FitBit Ultra Pedometer
FitBit Ultra Pedometer – Courtesy of FitBit

FitBit – www.fitbit.com

I first wanted something to measure how active I am on a daily basis. You wear the tiny little device on your waist and it will track how many steps you have taken, how sedentary you are, even monitor your sleep patterns.
There is also a companion website that automatically tracks all of your data and real time updates it for you. The biggest plus to the FitBit site, is that is links with so many other products such as Microsoft HealthVault, Endomondo, and Lose It!, which are also being used in this trial. Continue reading FitBit and My Newfound Fitness Craze

Mountain Lion Available

After repeatedly clicking the buy button and seeing every Mac AppStore error available the Mountain Lion download has begun. Its saturating my connection completely so no problems there.

All apps have been updated thus far, and a Carbon Copy Clone made of my system disk.

Hopefully this is as uneventful as the Lion upgrade. Now just to remember to copy the installer to a thumb drive so I don’t have to download it a second time from my MacBook Air.

More to come!

UPDATE: After about 45 to 50 minutes, my iMac rebooted (albeit slowly) and everything is good to go. One thing I did notice is that my default brightness on the screen was maxed out and with a 27 inch iMac one could get sunburn. Otherwise so far everything seems to work just fine, and actually feels a tad bit snappier and looks just a bit crisper. Maybe its just me.

One thing I’m not too fond of if the new look of the dock. The less translucent frosted glass doesn’t really bother me, but the almost disappearance of the running application “lights” looks like someone could measure pixels right and cut off the screen.

UPDATE 2: Been a good portion of the afternoon and no noticeable problems thus far. Wasn’t at home for a bit, Mac went to sleep and woke right back up. A bit disappointing that no programs I have are iCloud saving enabled, but that does give me a reason to finally purchase Pages.

UPDATE 3: It seems that Apple has fixed a bug that was driving me nuts. In Lion, a Safari child process, WebProcess, would end up eating up memory. My RSS reader which used a web view also would do the same eating up a gigabyte or more of memory. Now both will increase memory as tabs are opened and reduce it as the close. Well done!

Norfolk Southern’s 30th Anniversary and Heritage Fleet Day

Norfolk Southern's 30th AnniversaryOn July 3rd and 4th Norfolk Southern held a 30th anniversary celebration at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer NC. As part of this celebration they have painted 20 of their newest locomotives in the livery’s of their predecessor railroads grouped into the three “families”; Norfolk and Western, Southern Railroad, and Conrail.

This is a seemingly once in a lifetime occasion where all 20 of the locomotives will be in one place and will be as clean and spotless as they will ever be. I decided to brave the 95+ degree southern summer on the 4th and brought the camera along. Horrible sunburn and eight bottles of water later produced the pictures in the gallery below. Kudos to Norfolk Southern for spending the time and money to pay homage to the lines that pre-date it and also for organizing an event that allowed rail fans and railroad families a chance to see these masterpieces up close.

Continue reading Norfolk Southern’s 30th Anniversary and Heritage Fleet Day

Trains in Landis NC – June 2012

A beautiful small town setting to shoot trains is Landis NC, which is not too far from Concord NC. I hadn’t been out shooting in awhile and the weather on this Sunday was perfect.

NS P99 starts off the afternoon followed up by Amtrak 75, both southbound to Charlotte. NS 119 and 40W round out the afternoon.

A History of Winamp – ArsTechnica

WinAmp Version 2
The most remembered UI of WinAmp, Version 2.

Anyone who was using computers in the late 90’s to early 2000’s had a copy of WinAmp on their computer. What is funny is that I almost forgot about them till I read the article. Funny to reminisce about the brown square interface with green text, that “Kicks the llama’s ass.” Bang it here for the link.

Google Nexus Q Reactions

Google Nexus Q
Google Nexus Q – courtesy of the Google Play Store

The Google Nexus Q is a product I think will be dead on arrival, only in the houses of the Google ecosystem diehard. It seems like a second attempt at the Google TV idea, but less functional. In fact I’m not sure what the point of it is. If you want to see specs and less opinion, jump on over to ArsTechnica for their story. Here are my reasons for thinking the above (and I’m not the only one, Leo Laporte during his live coverage said as much):

Price: This shocked me when I read rumors on the price, but it was even worse when they confirmed it. The device doesn’t seemingly do any more than an Apple TV or Roku box would; yet it is three times as much? Granted it has a small amplifier in it, and a decent quality one is not cheap, but who needs that? If I am integrating it into an existing home theater I will use my speakers and amp that I already own.

Continue reading Google Nexus Q Reactions

Reactions to the Microsoft Surface Tablet Launch

On Monday night Microsoft held a super secret event to launch their own tablet named Microsoft Surface. As one would expect it is a Microsoft branded Windows 8 tablet with some pretty interesting and original design, and a few original accessories.

The design is similar for both tablets, with the Pro version being a bit thicker and heavier. You can tell the Metro square theme is in full force with the design, employing 22 degree angles on the sides (which is important for what I don’t know) and seemingly hard edges. There is a kickstand built in to both allowing them to stand on their own in landscape mode. One differentiating feature is the pro model has a gap around the edges to let heat out, necessary with a Core i5 under the hood (this is not pictured anywhere on the surface site at this time, but was brought up during the announcement).

WIN RT SURFACE

This is the consumer version of the Surface tablet, essentially an iPad competitor. It is a 10.6” wide screen display, which no actual resolution numbers have been given. The weight at 676 grams is around the weight of the OG iPad and it is about .1 mm thinner. It will be Tegra 3 powered and should have respectable battery life with a 31 Watt-hour battery. The RT version has a microSD (not SDXC like the pro), a USB 2.0 port, and will come in 32GB and 64GB varieties. The omission of a 16GB model strikes me as a way to position it favorably price wise with the more expensive versions of the iPad at those sizes without having to lose money on a $499 model.

WIN PRO SURFACE

In the same style chassis, albeit a thicker and heavier one, is the Pro tablet. This is the one more like a real computer. It will come with a Core i5 processor, full HD screen (again the actual resolution has not been released), USB 3.0 port, and Mini DisplayPort. All in all it seems as if this is the perfect device for someone who doesn’t really use a tablet all that often and will mostly be docked on a desk with a real keyboard and monitor.

The Pro tablet to me makes less sense. It seems like it is a hot rod that they shoe horned into an econobox chassis. I fail to see how a Core i5 based computer running a full version of windows will last more than an hour or two with a 42 Watt-hour battery. Or, if it has great battery life, it will be a performance kludge. They also don’t state how much RAM the tablet will have and being real windows it will need a good portion if it is to feel responsive with a gimped CPU. For a device that is to offer No Compromises, I fail to see how it won’t.

NO COMPROMISES

Now that I have brought up the “No Compromises” tagline, I really think Microsoft is going to be bit hard with this one. They say it is running Windows on a tablet, which is true, but which version. What I mean is, they have to realize a lot of people are going to buy the ARM version of this tablet. They are going to think it is a hell of a deal being priced like an iPad, but getting the “No Compromises” of Windows. And then they are going to try to put the Windows software they already own on it. At this point they will realize it is not a Windows tablet. As the frustration of why this won’t work slowly rises from a simmer to a boil, they will go online and do some searching and find out that they really needed to buy the much more expensive pro tablet if they want to use their existing software. Inevitably in their anger, they return it and buy a iPad or an Android tablet.