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Ruby on Rails Hosting is Cheap

It was just like yesterday everybody was talking about the new thing Ruby on Rails. Anybody who tried it promises to never go back to PHP land. But following that promise comes the complains that it will take a long time for web hosting services to support it. Only a handful, with TextDrive as the leader, gave Ruby on Rails hosting accounts. That alone was a reason big enough for many web developers not to jump in to Ruby on Rails too early.

Anyway, this very cloudy day just brought a big smile. To my surprise, I just discovered that my hosting account already has Ruby on Rails support! This is not any fancy hosting account either. I am using a simple GoDaddy plan (the $6.99 per month plan) and Ruby on Rails is already here. Now you all can kiss PHP good bye.

Apple Boot Camp

Hell just froze over Redmond. Apple is officially supporting Windows XP on the new Intel based Macs. Boot Camp by Apple lets you install Windows XP on your Mac, without screwing the system. If you were thinking of switching (and had the money and didn’t want to install the unofficial XP “hack”), Apple just made the decision for you. Get the buzz here (Google) and here (Technorati).

Kama Sutra Worm

The Kama Sutra worm also known as Blackworm, Blackmal or Nyxem will execute its destructive payload on 3rd of this month. Unlike the current worm trend where worms are made for purposes such as spamming and DDOS attacks, Kama Sutra worm actually damages your computer by deleting important files. You might have been infected for a long time, and the worm could be waiting for the right time to execute. This worm does not spread on any new kind of exploit, it spreads being helped by user ignorance. It comes in emails pretending to give away porn and users have to click the attachments to get infected. This would be the first major malware attack this year. Go clean your PCs as a precaution.

Vinyl vs Digital DJing

Vinlys were invented in 1880 as an audio solution for the masses. It became the replacement for the phonograh cylinders because the disc type vinyls were much cheaper to produce, maintain and store. In addition, stereo recording was introduced about 80 years later, bringing yet another new experience to listening to music. As time went on vinyls was taken over by audio cassettes, introduced in 1963, and the cassettes were then taken over by CDs in the early 90’s. Ten years later, we are seeing digital recording formats such as MP3, OGG Vorbis, iTunes and Windows Media challenging the CD format. With these rapid developments in audio recording and distribution, there still is a niche that prefers to stay with vinyls, they are the DJs. Cassettes and CDs did not have the same flexibilities as vinyls when it came to DJing, and the vinyls had to stay. After many years, we are seeing digital formats at their best challenging vinyls, trying to change what DJing used to be. We’ve had MP3s for a long time, but only now shall we see good applications and futuristic equipment coming into play.

MP3 vs Vinyl Records

Let’s compare vinyls and MP3s. MP3s do not have a physical form factor. The audio quality is better. MP3 releases are cheaper and they do not carry the overheads like shipping charges and storage. MP3s do not loose quality over time, they do not get damaged or scratched and they do not break. A lot of MP3s can be stored on a single hard drive that takes less space than a small CD player. As for vinyls. The sound quality is low, hisses, pops and crackles are common. They are big and are not relatively very portable. They get damaged, lost, broken, unusable and care should be taken in handling them. They are more expensive to produce, transport and store. Needless to say, MP3s are simply better.

Native InstrumentsTraktor 3

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Enlightenment DR17 on Fedora Core 4

The last time I gave Enlightenment a try was almost a year ago when I was using Fedora Core 3. Before that, I used Enlightenment sometime back in 1999 since Enlightenment was the desktop of choice for Linux. Today, I decided to give it a try and find out what has been done since then. All I can say is just wow! It has come a long way with major changes within the development release itself. Explaining what DR17 is about is beyond the scope of this post, this is like what you get when you put composite + gnome + fancy desktop on steroids.

The latest version is Enlightenment Development Release 17, or simply DR17, and it has been in development for a long time now. As for this day the development has progressed to a level where the components are stable enough for non critical desktops. Thanks to the enthusiasts, we now have RPM packages for Fedora Core 4.

Here is a shortcut method to install the DR17 packages on FC4.

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Google Analytics

If you have a blog or a website and would like to have those stats, go for Google Analytics. I myself have been using AddFreeStats on this blog since last February, but I just moved to Google Analytics. AddFreeStats itself is very impressive. It is free, has all the normal visitor, referrer, etc reports available and most important, the presentation is very neat. Google Analytics is more e-commerce website reporting oriented, and it gives way too much information you might not need or make sense for a blog. But the basics are still there and the presentation is much better. Another main reason is the speed. Google Analytics’ data gathering scripts are downloaded much faster than AddFreeStats’.

Google Reader

Again. Another switch.

Terragen

A lot of people hate Bryce. A lot of 3D Max and Maya people hate Bryce. Just because it is a hell lot easier to create landscapes with Bryce. Although an expert can achieve better results with the hardcore applications, Bryce is something very intuitive and very easy to use. aE taught me some basic things in 3D Max, as in how to make a shape and apply some textures to it. This was after I told him that the 3D Max interface scared me. Yap, it really looks too complicated (unlike Traktor and Reason). After learning how much you have to do just to put some water and some blockish thingies above, I hated Bryce for making things so easy.

Enough of Bryce, here comes Terragen. Best thing is that this is free. If you start looking at Terragen here, you will come to see that this is a much better toy than any Bryce is. But scenery? Can’t there be a Brycish application to create who cartoons and stuff. Hmm.

Pandora - The Music Genome Project

Music retrieval/suggestion systems are still very new. None of it is perfect. This is for obvious reasons ofcourse. Even us human cannot properly express what kind of music we actually like. Even if you say rock, or jazz, does not mean that you like all the rock songs and all the jazz songs. But there indeed is a common element in the music preference of each and every one of us, and it sucks that we cannot say what it is.

Pandora is supposed to be the best there is. It has learned lessons from many other stations, and this project has been going on for 5 years now. I decided to give it a 10 minutes try.As a startup, I was asked for an artist name, so I typed in “Mara”. I had in mind one of Mara’s very darky tracks. I clicked the next button and this bloody thing suggested me that I should listen to Ricky Martin. It even dared to give me a list of other songs that were similar in rhythm, lyrics to Ricky Martin’s Maria. What the hell?

A second attempt, I typed in a more mainstream name, Satoshi Tomiie, and this time Pandora asked me to verify between two Satoshi tracks and I picked “Love in Traffic”. I clicked next and it suggested me a very pop and very vocal house song. Not good. I passed this track, and next came the very familiar “Travelogue”, ah. But still mainstream! Again there were more mainstream tracks.

As I went on, I did the thing I was supposed to do by saying if I liked a particular track or not. This was supposed to make the suggestion accurate and better. After 7 tracks passed, it still gave more bad music than good music. I clicked the button that said “Why is this song playing” for one funky type track I did not like, and the answer I got was.

Based on what you’ve told us so far, we’re playing this track because it features tremendous bass, a knack for catchy hooks, vocal samples, a repetitive song structure and use of modal harmonies.

Okay that doesn’t sound bad. But I really hate this track! As a final word I must say that for 5 years of research, this thing is not very accurate either.. I say it sucks for someone who has a taste for music that is not available at the stores and not seen on TV and not heard on radio, therefore not bothered by this project. As for the rest of you, give Pandora a try, you might like it.

OpenOffice.org Base

Finally. OpenOffice.org Base. A blessing.