Archive for Geek out

Power of the mind

IBM are happy with their latest achievement. They’ve discovered it takes a supercomputer with 4096 processors to think ten times slower than a mouse with half a brain and for only 10 seconds.

Sooooooo, we’ll not be expecting the Matrix to become reality anytime soon then.

I can’t help thinking they could have got the same effect for a lot cheaper with the application of copious amounts of alcohol.

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Nostalgia

Nostalgia, its not what it used to be.

Geek nostalgia usually means emulation, but  sometimes old hardware has its attractions too, which is why this article on the BBC website about the Sinclair ZX Spectrum brings a smile. Ah, those young and innocent days of breaking the keyboard playing Daley Thompson’s Decathlon. Whose idea was it to make you run by repeatedly pressing buttons anyway?

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One hand in my pocket

And that hand is on my USB memory stick/pendrive/jump drive/whatever.

This will be a slightly geeky post of tips, but at least they’re useful, which is more than can be said for most of what I write here.

USB memory sticks  – useful, cheap and with more and more storage for less and less money. They’re also horrendously insecure, unless you set them up right, and what can you do with them apart from store stuff and copy files? Alright, one thing at a time.

First, lets make those stored files secure. To do that, you need to download True Crypt, a fantastic encryption program that is completely free and damn near uncrackable. Unless you’re carrying around secret codes to launch nuclear missiles, this should do all you need and more.  Its even easy to use.

So, you’ve got your vital mp3’s, I mean important work documents, encrypted. What else are you going to put on all that free space? How about some programs? Yes, you can run programs directly from a USB memory stick and very efficently too, if you download the full suite of programs from portableapps.com . Yes, its free again and now you’ll always have a program available to show someone that hilarious video of a penguin falling through the ice, chat on instant messaging or even open that vital document. Need to step away from the computer or hide what you’re doing? Simple, unplug your USB memory stick, the program goes and all your data is encrypted and secure.

Concerned about running any programs or opening any documents on an unknown Windows PC that may be infected with virus etc? There’s a way around that too, by using the embedded version of Damn Small Linux. This will install onto your USB memory stick and when you run it it runs in its own emulator window, giving your an operating system within a window. Its not particularly intuitive to set up and get used to, but DSL has a good community who can help. Is it free? Better believe it.

So there you go, a new geek out post in a new geek out topic. I might well do more of these, if only for there to be something on the blog that isn’t utterly confused and rhetorical.

One final thing. Not only is all this software free as in gratis, its also open source, which means its free as in freedom. Open source – that’s my kind of freedom and definitely something not to be confused about.

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