2008
11.19

First off, say goodbye to a lot of spam. At least for now. McColo, a hotbed of, among other things, “botnet” control centers that were used to mastermind massive spam campaigns, was pushed offline last week. The results are tangible; my personal e-mail address, posted several places online and usually subject to what I estimate as well into the triple digits of daily spam, has dropped to maybe seventy messages per day, with an even lower number at the point when the McColo plug got pulled. Sure, the spammers will be back, but I’d encourage you to enjoy the relative lack of spam while it lasts.

2008
11.12

First off, if you’re wondering where Tech News Bits went, due to lack of interest I’m going to post a subset of it on my personal blog. If you don’t like this development, by all means complain n the comments.

You may have heard of netbooks (see my previous article on the subject). Well, now there are more

Asus has released a thinner Eee PC, the s101, which trades a bit of thickness for a chunk of change. It costs about $250 more than an equivalent regular-sized Eee PC, but for those who want the thinnest computer possible on the cheap, this is a good bet. If you want something closer to a regular notebook, Asus also has the N10 series for people looking for a slightly more substantial computer. It’s bigger than an Eee PC, but keeps the 10″ screen and Atom processor. What it expands: hard disk space and graphics capabilities (if you get the more expensive model, you can switch between integrated an nVidia Geforce 9300M graphics). Also, it costs more, more in line with a rasonably spec’d budget 15″ notebook. Due t the large hard drive on the N10, it comes with Windows Vista installed by default.

Averatec, a lesser-known but high-quality notebook manufacturer, has their own netbook, with a hard disk, a webcam and Windows XP Home. You get a memory card reader thrown into the deal as well. The screen size: 10.2 inches. The price: $480, at the moment.

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2008
11.05

Every time I review an Apple computer, or buy one, I feel my productivity inhibited until I get a few applications on my system. Here are the ones I use, in order of how much I miss them when a given Mac doesn’t have them installed…

1. Quicksilver
Hit a shortcut key (I set mine for double-tapping the Command key), then start typing. Applications and files pop up quickly. Hit enter to run, use your up and down arrow keys to select from the list of files and applications that come up, use your left and right arrow keys to burrow deeper into the functions of a program. With another click, you have a menu of actions that you can take, other than opening the program or file (revealing it in Finder, deleting it, moving it, etc.). It makes launching applications a breeze for me, as I’m a rather keyboard-driven person, and it’s absolutely free.

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2008
11.03
I’ve decided that the best format for News Bits is to put them at the beginning of the week rather than the end. To that effect…

Google Earth is now available for the iPhone and the iPod Touch. Less features than the regular Google Earth app but still fun. By the way, you can see the Mines “M” from Google Earth…check it out!

If you have a Mac, you can now stream Netflix movies online within OS X. Nice feature, especially with Netflix’s growing instant-watch catalog. Additionally, Netflix streaming will be available on the TiVo , and in HD on the XBox 360.

Heard of the Amazon Kindle? How about Oprah? Put the two together and you get $50 off the Kindle, so it’s now a cool $309. Contrast this to the new Sony eReader, weighing in at $400…I’ll take the internet-connected Kindle, thanks.

One of the high-speed internet networks powering the Mines campus, along with most colleges and research institutions, is the National LambdaRail. Soon, regular companies will be able to get a piece of the supercharged internet action, thanks to DarkStrand . Don’t worry; there’s plenty of internet to go around, with 300 gigabits per second of capacity available right now on the network.

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