Archive for August, 2007

Loken-Groening

There are many inventions and brands out there. Many of whom are strongly connected to its country of origin. Italy is famous for it’s many exotic cars, France for it’s many ugly cars and England for it’s novelty cars. English Russia bring up Russian products that at least I never knew were Russian. I know that Sweden contributed some of the the biggest store chains of the century, like IKEA and H&M though. For most inventions however, I guess I just always take it for granted it was invented by “some guy”. Surely a small country like Norway could not contribute anything of value?

I will list some of the more technological products and inventions I find to be of interest personally. If you have any to add to the list, please leave a comment. I will update the list whenever I come across something new.

Cheese Slicer
A most wonderful invention. Invented in 1925. Many Swedes also think that THEY invented it. Guess they just confused it for a wrench.

Luxo Lamp
I bet many of my readers have seen the Luxo Jr. short by Pixar (their very first!). The desk lamp playing with the ball. If you haven’t seen the short, than at least you have no doubt seen the lamp as part of the logo at the beginning of every Pixar movie.
The Luxo lamp is not a fictional lamp, in fact even the name is based in reality. The “Luxo L-1”, from the Luxo company, was introduced in 1937, and has since sold over 25 million units.

Tiki 100
A computer manufactured by Tiki Data, launched in 1984, aimed at the education sector. It was first known as the Kon-Tiki, but was renamed after a dispute over the name. This thing had polyphonic sound, 5¼ inch floppies, 64kB of RAM and it didn’t even run DOS (until later). It’s easy to understand exactly how far ahead of everything else the Mac was, when it was launched that very same year.

CSS
Would you believe that? CSS, the technology that no website can be without today, coming from Norway?
In 1994, Håkon Wium Lie proposed the concept of Cascading Style Sheets. He is currently the CTO of Opera Software, also a Norwegian company. He has also worked for the W3C, and in 2005 proposed the Acid2 test.

Object-Oriented Programming
Simula was a programming language developed in the 60s for making simulations. You might never have heard of Simula, but it introduced concepts like objects and classes, things that programmers today take for granted. As with CSS, we would be stuck in the stone age today if it wasn’t for Simula.

Think
smart isn’t the only company capable of building small and somewhat ugly electric cars. Norwegian Think deserves a place on the list too, if only for it’s bumpy history and number of owners. With roughly 1000 units sold, it is however the most successful car maker from Norway. America, you beat us though.

UPDATE October 6: The Paper Clip
Thanks to Annikken for pointing out the paper clip in the comments. Most Norwegians (and many outside of Norway too) seem to think the paper clip is Norwegian. Even I did, up until today. When I hit up Wikipedia, I realized this was not true however. Could be a good thing. After all, I think most of us are sick and tired of the paper clip by now.

Hit up the Wikipedia links for more info on any given invention.

(and yes, both Kristanna Loken and Matt Groening are part Norwegian)

 

Drewimroth

This my friends, is Drew Imroth. CEO of Ubient Software. Makers of the most used OS in the world. Run by many a consumer computer, as well as ATMs. In the series The 4400 at least. There is something about this guy that is just so typical of the stereotype computer CEO. He reminds me of the guy from Antitrust (also a cool movie).

My point today however, is a part of the latest episode of this series. Basically a computer virus infects all machines running Drew Imroths OS. And when agents come to investigate, they ask if he has any ememies. He hands over a HUGE pile of paper, lists of everyone who has ever threatened him. And one agent says, after scanning the first page: “Steve Jobs on page one?”.

Don’t worry, I’ll keep my eyes open!

 

Boot Camp woes

24Aug07

I’ve been a happy user of VMware Fusion and Vista for several months now, but it ain’t much for gaming, especially given that there is no DirectX support whatsoever. So I thought it might be time to give Boot Camp a try. How very wrong I was…

First off, I decided to play it safe and go with XP this time. I installed Boot Camp, and burned out a CD with all the Windows drivers. So far so good.

Then came the time to partition the drive…

First try: errors found. Time to run Disk Utility. I whipped up the first OS X CD I found (after a few years as an ADC member, you would be surprised how many I got). Wait, I can’t use this disk? Oh right, I need an Intel version now. Time to find the big box that my Mac came in. So I unload all the crap that sat on top of it, and finally managed to get the installation disks out. Booted from the first one, and ran Disk Utility. Volume Headers were repaired. Booted back into OS X.

Time to try again. No luck. Some files could not be moved, so the partition failed. Tried again a few times, with various partition sizes. No luck.

Decided to screw up my backup disk and try partitioning it. Finally – partitioned.

“Click restart to start Windows installation”. Click. Dock, menu bar, everything disappears. Except for the desktop. It just sits there. Now what? After 30 mins I decide to pull the plug. Silence. Plugging it back in, Windows installer actually loads after a while. Painfully watching a progress bar in all it’s DOS glory. Man, this thing really does my monitor justice!

Ok, time to reboot again and get the setup process started. Booting… booting… booting… DISK ERROR!?!? Time to pull that plug again. Repeat X20. OK, so I got a fubar installation. How do I get back to OS X? Shouldn’t holding down the mouse button on boot eject the CD? Well it didn’t. And space should allow you to select boot disk? Either I’m still stuck in the OS 9 way, or my mind is playing tricks with me. Some Googling revealed the magic key: option.

Phew, now I’m back. The backup disk is formatted and ready for new backup duties.

Apple: you did a terrible job, and I hope Leopard does it better.

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Klippan-Bemz
Well, I don’t think I’ll be making a habit of writing about furniture (even if I hopefully have to get a lot of it in the near future, as soon as I land a job and move to a new apartment).

Anyway, if the fatboy I previously wrote about is a bit expensive for you ($229-349), refreshing your existing furniture might be worth a shot. Bemz is a company based in Sweden that creates slipcovers for sofas, armchairs and cushions from IKEA. They cost a bit more than the covers you can get from IKEA, but at least they are more unique! And the selection is pretty awesome. Basically, you pick your model and you pick a fabric – they then make your product on demand, so to say.

Given that IKEA furniture is so cheap to begin with, perhaps investing in a cover to make it a bit more unique isn’t such a bad idea? I’ll probably get one at some point anyway, just need the sofa first 😉

If you still want more, I should probably mention Veerle’s post on Belgian outdoor furniture. And part 2. More tech-posts soon!

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Thunderstorm-Mad-Guy-Forgot-Ups

How about that feeling when you’re working on a project, and suddenly the room goes black. All black. Never mind the fact that you can’t see, but where did your work go?

Or you leave your computer on while you run out for errands, only to get hit by a major thunder storm, and not making it back in time. That’s making it back in time to unplug the computer, not not making it back at all.

I have had modems and routers destroyed by lightning. Phones. Even motherboards. And it’s a pain every time. The costs are one thing, but being disconnected for several days is almost worse.

Living in this old house with some wonky electronics, and a power company that thinks it’s ok to cut the power every now and then, made me think. Think, research and buy.

Apc-Closeup

This is what I ended up with. The APC Back-UPS ES 700.

Why this one?

For starters it’s one of few cheap UPSes that work with the Mac. A UPS needs to work with your computer you say? Sure, any UPS will give you extra juice, but what about the times when those five extra minutes aren’t quite enough, and you are still out doing those errands? With a USB cable, and a small piece of software, your UPS can automatically shut down your computer when it’s running low on power, saving you that “accidental” shutdown. Be warned though that the APC UPS will not save your work, it will shut your Mac down the hard way. Unless… yes, there is a workaround. You can write small shell scripts that will be run before shutdown, performing any crucial work you might need to get done (now is not the time to run those monthly maintenance cron scripts though).

The ES 700 is also one of the cheapest UPSes. Cheapest among the most powerful that is. Which brings me to the third reason I picked this.

405 watts. That’s how much juice it can deliver. Or 700 VA if you like. What it means is that if your equipment is pulling 405 watts, the UPS will deliver backup power for 3.9 minutes. At half load, or 202.5 watts, it will give you a staggering 15.1 minutes, defying all laws of gravity (and power).

If you’re pulling 410 watts… well, you ain’t gonna get much love at all. For me, 405 watts is enough to keep my Mac Pro running, with my Dell display hooked up, and a couple external drives (and still some room left). I would however recommend you get one of those thingies you hook up between your power strip and the outlet, that will tell you exactly how much power you’re drawing. It’ll run you about $15.

Like I said, this one is one of the most powerful UPSes among the cheap ones. At least from APC. Any more capacity, and you are looking at the “pro” products, which while I don’t know how, work in a different way, are ten times bigger and heavier, and probably also ten times more expensive.

Apc-Mess

The money shot.

The APC Back-UPS ES 700 has 8 power outlets, 4 of which are backed up by the battery, and the other 4 just protected by the surge protector. It also has connections for your phone line, to protect phone, fax or modem/dsl connection against power surges. Oh, and a USB port for connecting your computer, like mentioned above.

The price seems to be around $90, and if you ask me, that is a small price to pay for not losing your work and/or equipment. Then again, it all depends on where you live, and how careful you are. But really, I’d say it’s worth it none the less. One can never be too careful, right?

UPDATE: in the US, this model seems to be replaced by the ES 650 at $80, or the ES 750 at $100 MSRP.

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Was it a keynote?

Well you know which event I’m referring to anyways.

The new iMacs look gorgeous. No doubt about it. I’m particularly fond of the fact that the GPU is DirectX 10 compatible. Hello Vista gaming!

I love the new keyboards, but why did they choose a different design for the wireless version? It’s not that I hate it because it lacks the keypad (well, a bit maybe), but why? Wouldn’t it be easier to just make one keyboard, and then put a wireless thingie into half of them? I mean, the wireless and wired versions are NOTHING alike. Nothing!

The Mac mini lives on! I’m so happy they didn’t give it the axe just yet. Hopefully I’ll pick one up for a media center later in the year (and don’t even mention the Apple TV to me).

iLife and iWork got some decent updates I guess, but I’ll have to play with them first to know for sure. Or at least finish downloading the guided tour, a tiny 765 MB download.

Whoa, an entire post without a single link? Yes, it’s the new, lazy me.

What did y’all think about the new products? Anything you’ll be picking up?

 

me

One of the things I’ve been working on lately is a theme for the RSS reader Cyndicate that was just released yesterday. My theme, Bethrood, is actually included as the default. Click the tiny thumbnail for a bigger version. If you still haven’t joined the wonderful world of RSS (or you are simply stuck with the useless NewsFire), I recommend that you try out Cyndicate. The developers behind it are the same people that brought you Pulp Fiction, one of the early RSS readers for the Mac. One of the innovative features of Cyndicate is ratings. At least check out their site!

I was not paid to write this 🙂

 

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