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Technology Blog, by: David Monaghan.

Archive for December, 2005

What I am Listening to Right Now.

Posted by David on December 30, 2005

I don't know the name of the song or the artist of the music currently playing on my desktop computer in my bedroom as I lie in bed and type this post on my new laptop, and there is a perfectly good reason; I am using Pandora.com as an internet radio. Now you may wonder what makes Pandora any different from the rest of the internet radio out there, and if so you asked the perfect question. Pandora doesn't just play any music, it plays the music you tell it to. Now you can't just go and type in a song name and start playing the song, Pandora is for a different purpose and that is finding new music that you would like based on music you already like. By entering an artist or song name into Pandora's online interface you start a radio station which plays music similar to your selection. Besides that you can add multiple artists/songs to a station, skip forward through songs, and let Pandora know if you like or dislike any music it plays. Pandora doesn't plays the songs in good quality through a flash interface which keeps the music flowing as long as there are more songs in the genome project database which match your interest.

If you don't believe this is worth listening to try it out yourself, I have to say it is a must for anyone seeking new things to try. Hope you enjoy!

EDIT: April 4th 2006: After about a month of usage I stopped visiting Pandora because I experience frequent stops in the audio which hasn't seemed to be fixed, and I'm pretty sure it's not my computer although I haven't asked around to validate this. In any case, I really think the idea is solid but until the service can function without pause I won't be using it (I also found a mirror which hooks up Pandora and last.fm, pretty cool but same problems). Perhaps I'm having problems with the player itself, I'm not so sure but I do hope in the future I will have more luck.

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Some Christmas Chicken Humor.

Posted by David on December 30, 2005

http://www.savagechickens.com/blog/2005/12/christmas-carol.html – These comics are great, a must subscribe for any clean tech comic lover.

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Free Web Based Applications More Possible, More Popular.

Posted by David on December 21, 2005

These two examples should show you that not only is it possible to mimic the functionality of applications that already exist on the desktop, but that they can be innovative as well. I'm excited to see these two pieces of a big puzzle, the solution (a full suite – and by suite I don't mean one vendor – of desktop replacements) may be years away but it seems to be coming together good so far.

Writely.com is a free web based word processor and RememberTheMilk.com is a free web based list organizer.

Posted in Cultural Forces, Techniques, Tools | Leave a Comment »

Ease Your Mind with a Free MMORPG.

Posted by David on December 19, 2005

"RuneScape is an MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game) implemented in Java, with over 2.8 million registered players. RuneScape was launched by Jagex Ltd. on January 4, 2001 and offers both pay to play ("P2P") and free to play ("F2P") membership options to players."
Wikipedia RuneScape

I didn't really have any interest in role-playing games to begin with, but since trying out RuneScape and getting tired of the same old games, I must say I am hooked. I'm glad there can be free services like this available for anyone with a relatively decent internet connection.

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Inside Microsoft with Channel 9.

Posted by David on December 18, 2005

You may have already seen this, but I just want to give a chance to those who haven't already had one. Channel 9 is an online video show (you might be more comfortable using vodcast) which goes into the trenches of Microsoft and shows what they are working on by talking to real employees in their office or on their campus. If you are at all interested in the products and services being worked on by the large software provider, this is the site for you. Besides video Channel 9 also has audio and text, all of which are valuable pieces of information for anyone who has an interest in such things.

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Thank You for Upgrading.

Posted by David on December 18, 2005

Hello all, thanks for visiting Upgrade and reading our obligatory first post. My name is David, and as the sole author, editor, and administrator at this time I will be introducing you to this blog, and bringing you up to speed with today’s technology. As a technology hobbyist it is my privilege to familiarize my family and friends with new and upcoming technology products and services especially when it can improve their quality of life. This blog will be my publishing house for the information I wish to share with these and any other people who wish to take part in receiving and inquiring about such things.

“Why use a blog to keep people updated?” – That is exactly the question you should be asking right now, especially if you haven’t had previous experience with blogs before, and I would love to point out the many great benefits that publishing information in a blog has over using word of mouth, email, or even other publishing systems.

  • RSS (really simple syndication) – RSS gives readers a way to easily collect articles in their own reader without using a web browser. A good blog has RSS, and a good blogging service offers RSS by default.
  • Archival – Everything you put into your journal stays there, and that means you can read it a gain at a later date, which for humans, a species which normally can’t remember every detail of something that happened a decade, century, year, month, week, day, hour, or even minute ago, having a record that you can reference from later is very handy and in some cases important.
  • Distribution – Compared to word of mouth using a news system is infinitely better, in that each time something happens each person needs to be told. If we multiply the number of people that need to be informed by the number of events which happen in our lives, you can see how obviously much of our time is going into repeating information.
  • Formatting – Like a word processor document, a blog entry can be made up of formatted text often using HTML or CSS.

As a gift for reading this first post, I would like to present you with two services which I just recently got acquainted with; LogMeIn and Hamachi. LogMeIn and Hamachi are both free services (or more accurately have free versions of their service) which I ran into on my quest for the holy grail of secure WAN connectivity. I got both pieces of information from a security podcast (apparently a very good one as I have pulled 3 very valuable pieces of information from just a small handful of their podcasts) called Security Now! with Leo Laporte and Steve Gibson, if you don’t listen to it already please do. LogMeIn is a service which allows you to remotely control a Windows PC using ActiveX, Java, or HTML over HTTPS, and Hamachi is a TCP UDP wrapper which allows you to set up virtual networks which easily traverse NAT firewalls, which you could use for remote desktop control, file sharing, or anything else you would do over such a network. Each of the services use 256 bit encryption so your information is kept safe, and because they use SSH (port 2073) you don’t have to configure your firewall as long as it let’s 2073 pass (which most do because it is reserved for such encrypted traffic) probably best described on their website or by Steve Gibson on their corresponding web sites.

For those of you who aren’t interested in remote administration or vitual secured networks, perhaps you would be interested in starting a blog, collecting your RSS feeds, 2GB of email storage, sharing photos, sharing videos, contributing to or reading from an open source encyclopedia, free eBooks, a tag based bookmark service, or just some ordinary fun.

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