Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Goodbye Hewlett-Packard

Posted: September 30, 2011 in Business, Technology

Anyone familiar with the ins and outs of technology undoubtedly has caught a glimpse of the tragedy of HP and continued debacles of the board of directors.

The most recent was Leo Apothecker, whose poor communication regarding the personal computer division had cause the company to loose over $12 billion on stock value.  He also killed the Palm division and the WebOS tablet, which was a great product.  His decisions make sense from purely a financial perspective, but not from a leader that should be more well rounded that can understand technology and the market.

HP’s board of executives brought in the infamous Meg Whitman, said to be an apostle of “darkness and ignorance” and “intellectually embarrassing” and “so banal” by Jerry Brown during her campaign for governor.  Her ethics seem rather spotty and she comes off brash and abrasive in the public’s view according to InfoWorld.   Her experience with acquisitions was purchasing Skype and then selling it off at a loss of $2.75 billion.  At FTD (Florists Transworld Delivery) famous for 1-800-FLOWERS, she was brought on board to fix it, but walked away saying hat the “company was not fixable“.  There’s an intriguing story about Meg’s tenure at FTD: Meg Whitman’s FTD Tenure Tells A Different Story by Juliet Willams.

There are some, like Professor David Hsu at Wharton, according to a Knowledge Today article, that think Whitman is a good fit to “out-IBM IBM or out-Oracle Oracle in the business services or enterprise software spaces” even though HP does not have a homegrown database solution they are positioning.

With these events and combined prior destruction of HP, I don’t expect them to be around for too long, for the writing is on the wall.  Thus, I have to say Goodbye HP.  And goodbye to prior companies it has absorbed: Palm, Compaq, Tandem, and Digital Equipment Corporations.  Those companies brought significant solutions and products to the market that forever changed the industry, but never adapted their offerings with the times under HP’s umbrella.

Adobe Muse

Posted: September 9, 2011 in Technology

I was hoping that someone would come out with a page layout oriented web design program.  Many products out there are less than desirable, more oriented toward web authoring (HTML tags), image editing (Photoshop slicing), Flash and other proprietary technologies (not HTML), or extremely limited (Apple’s iWeb).

Adobe finally came out with a product, code-name Muse, that can be downloaded now: http://muse.adobe.com.

I have been wanting to create language websites for Persian (فَرسى) and Arabic (العربية) languages, so I will try it out.

Nerdify-IT: Compiling Zlib, Part I

Posted: September 7, 2011 in Technology

In pursuing a business degree, I felt maybe I became rusty in technology, so I decided to get back into my nerd glory days of past yonder years by embarking on a quest to compile source code on Windows 7.

I downloaded a free copy of Visual Studio C++ Express 2010, and setup the command line build environment: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\VC\bin\vcvars32.bat.

Then I navigated to the source code of zlib 1.2.5 (http://zlib.net/), a popular compression library.  I crossed my fingers (metaphorically speaking) and typed nmake -f win32/Makefile.msc.  It seemed that everything was working, but then some errors popped up:

        link -nologo -debug -incremental:no -opt:ref -def:win32/zlib.def -dll -implib:zdll.lib  -out:zlib1.dll -base:0x5A4C0000 dler32.obj compress.obj crc32.obj deflate.obj gzclose.obj gzlib.obj gzread.obj  gzwrite.obj infback.obj inflate.obj inftrees.obj trees.obj uncompr.obj zutil.obj  zlib1.res
   Creating library zdll.lib and object zdll.exp
infback.obj : error LNK2019: unresolved external symbol _inflate_fast referenced in function _inflateBack
inflate.obj : error LNK2001: unresolved external symbol _inflate_fast
zlib1.dll : fatal error LNK1120: 1 unresolved externals
NMAKE : fatal error U1077: ‘”c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\VC\BIN\link.EXE”‘ : return code ‘0x460’
Stop.

I did some explicit searches on The Internet (ironically using Bing on Google’s Chrome browser), and I found a Chinese website (http://blog.csdn.net/tylere/article/details/5798903) amongst many that had some notes about compiling the library.  The author recommends editing the makefile to fix the problem, but instead I tried the line: nmake -f win32/Makefile.msc LOC=”-DASMV -DASMINF” OBJA=”inffas32.obj match686.obj” and was successful.  I am guessing that these objects was omitted purposefully.

Now I have to register the library (regsvr32) and test against it.

New Computer Not Macintosh

Posted: September 3, 2011 in Technology

Honestly, I really want to get a new 15″ MacBook Pro, but it costs $1400 and on a humble student budget, I just cannot conceive of getting this.  Instead I purchased a Sony VAIO E-Series (VPC-EH12FX/W) for about $600.

My main activities that I would do with such a system is use MS Office applications ($70) and Adobe Creative Suite 5 ($150)  for college, use multimedia (movies, audio, photos, games, web), and experiment with various enterprise configurations using virtualization.

MacBook Pro (15″)

  • Processor: 2.10 GHz quad-core Intel i7
  • Memory: 4 GB 1333MHz DDR3
  • Hard Drive: 500 GB
  • Network:
    • Wi-Fi (based on IEEE 802.11n specification)
    • 10/100/1000BASE-T (Gigabit) Ethernet
  • Video (AMD Radeon): 1440 x 900

Sony Vaio E SeriesSony VAIO E Series VPC-EH12FX/W:

  • Processor: 2.1 GHz quad-core Intel Core i3-2310M
  • Memory: 4 GB)
  • Hard Drive (WD6400BPVT): 500 GB 5400 rpm
  • Network:
    • Intel WiFi Link 1000 BGN,
    • Realtek PCIe GBE
  • Video (Intell HD): 1366 x 768
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-2310M CPU @ 2.10 GHz (Quad?)
  • Memory: 4 GB)
  • Hard Drive (WD6400BPVT): 500 GB 5400 rpm
  • Network:
    • Intel WiFi Link 1000 BGN,
    • Realtek PCIe GBE
  • Video (Intel HD): 1366 x 768

So you want to program computers?

Posted: September 1, 2011 in Technology

When I was a young whippersnapper, we (students of programming) would program with BASIC to learn the basics of programming, such as branching conditions, looping conditions, and arrays.  Later, we would move on to something like Pascal, where we could learn structured programming and design through what they called a modular programming language; we would learn concepts like functional decomposition, and top-down design.

This would lead into object-oriented programming smoothly.  Later we could get into pointer arithmatic, algorithms and data-structures using C/C++. In addition to all of this, students would learn Assembly language programming, so they could understand how memory works (stack versus heap) and how the processor works.

This is before the arrival of Java and smart-devices changed everything (another story).   I would prefer that people actually learn to program before jumping into professional tools, as the code out there in the wild is beyond scary.  Nevertheless, for those impatient, I wanted to recommend these tools (for mainstream programming languages) off the top of my mind to grab:

  • Free Tools:
    • Visual Studio Express – Microsoft offers limited versions of development environments for C#, VB.NET, C++, and SQL.  You can develop standalone applications, web-based applications, to mobile phone applications.
    • Eclipse – This is a set of tools with support for Java, Ruby, C++ and other languages.
    • Bloodshed IDE – This is a graphical front-end to free GNU compilers that include C, C++, Objective-C, and Pascal (Delphi).
    • Komodo Edit – This is just a text editor with support for Ruby, PHP, Perl, Python, TCL, and other scripting languages.
    • jEdit – This is a text editor with a huge free market of add-on tools.
    • XCode – For those wealthy enough to afford a Macintosh, or smart enough to have a Hackintosh, can use Apple’s free development kit.
  • Commercial Tools
    • Komodo IDE – robust set of tools with support for Ruby, PHP, Perl, Python, TCL, and other scripting languages.
    • PrimalScript – robust set of tools for developing Windows scripting environments that include JScript and VBScript as well as the new PowerShell environment.

iOS Annoyances I: Saving Web Pages

Posted: September 1, 2011 in Technology

Sometimes, there comes a moment where there is a good web page, but I don’t have time to read the whole web page at the moment.  I wish I could preserve the web page for off-line usage, with the formatting.

Safari Menu Options ImageUnfortunately, the I cannot do this with my iPod Touch.  There is simply no way to save the web page that I have found.  I tried printing to see if there was some Print-to-PDF option, but nope. Other than copying the text and then later pasting into Notes, I cannot retain the information.  Even still, with this solution, I loose the formatting.

Another annoying thing, if I switch out of Safari on iOS 4.2, and then open Safari again, the whole page is reloaded, erasing whatever data was there before.  So if you are off-line, the page currently cached will be wiped and all of the information is destroyed.  You’ll be left with a blank page.  This is like, um, failure.

That sad truth is that all of this is as designed, and these gadgets are suppose to replace netbooks or personal computers?

I thought I would do something simple, copy up some files on a DVD, so that I can use them on my more affordable non-Mac laptop.  This should be a simple process.

FIRST ATTEMPT. I first copy some files, and see that they are aliases, the Mac equivalent of short-cuts.  I thought that this is really silly.  Perhaps when I burn the DVD, real files are copied there.  Not.

SECOND ATTEMPT.  This time I use the OPTION (or ALT) key and drag the files there, and this time they are actually copied.  I then click burn.  After the DVD is burned, nothing happens and the DVD is not ejected.  I have to restart the Mac to get access to my DVD.  Once restarted, I do Get Info on the DVD, and the format says Mac OS Extended, which means some Mac only HFS format or something, and not what I wanted.

THIRD ATTEMPT.  So now I do the following:

  1. run Disk Copy
  2. create a CDR master disk image with non-Mac only format
  3. copy desired files to disk image
  4. umount the disk image
  5. burn the DVD from that disk image

After the task is completed, I do a Get Info on the DVD, and it says Mac OS X Extended.   Aaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!

I later found the DVDs are in the UDF (Universal Disk Format) format, so I can use on Windows now.  Apparently the Mac OS X Finder program lies to users about the real format of the DVD…