Getting Older & The State of Operating Systems.

August 7th, 2015 No comments

I wonder what happened to this blog? I used to be so enthusiastic about it. Well, I was 17. I’m 24 now, almost 25. Nowadays, I don’t seem to get all that excited about things. It’s a real shame. At the same time of course, it saves me a lot of money because I’m not really interested in the latest and greatest hardware.

Does this happen to everyone as they age? It seems like it. Enthusiasm is lost. Well some things have changed since I was 17. Back then, it felt like the world was wide open, anything could happen. I was an entrepreneur, things were flowing. Now, I’m in college and feel like I’m locked into computer science. Which is sort of true, and I don’t mind it. I chose the correct major.

The state of operating systems:

I hate the direction computers are headed. Tablets and smart phones are abominations. Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Google have decided to collect everyone’s data like crazy. Privacy on the internet is dead. It’s not the 90’s anymore. Mainstream operating systems have finally gone insane, and I’ve decided to do a FULL switch to Linux. No, I’m not going to dual boot. I’m going to run Windows in a virtual machine when it’s needed. I’m done with this BS. I installed Windows 10 on my laptop and it had so many privacy invading options it pushed me over the edge. Windows 8/8.1 was also highly invasive. I’m just tired of it. I hung onto Windows because it always supported the cutting edge. Well I don’t care about the cutting edge anymore. I just want my command prompt and no BS. Bonus: I can make it look however I want. I prefer LXDE. It’s no frills, and not a pain in my ass. Don’t know why it took so long to be honest, Linux has always been more stable and less of a pain in the ass overall than Windows. Guess it was video games. Well I don’t care about video games anymore.

Aside from all of that, Linux is easier to develop on in general. If I’m programming in C, Python, Java, whatever, it’ll generally be no problem on Linux. Windows on the other hand, well, you can do it but it won’t be the best experience, and might cost some money. I just need SciTE and GCC, I’m good to go. Hell, I’m alright with using VIM and GCC.

Future generations:

If everyone thinks a computer is a tablet or smartphone or whatever, how are we going to get developers? Are they going to find out about integers, floats, doubles, chars, arrays, etc? No, because it’s covered up in GUI nonsense. In general, studies have shown that the command prompt is still more productive, yet companies are continuing to destroy the command line. This bothers me to my core.

Categories: Coding, Insanity Tags:

Yamakasi Q270 2560×1440 Review – Korean Monitors, are they worth it?

January 9th, 2015 No comments

So I haven’t written a review in quite some time. This will be short, however. Unless I get time and edit it.

Anyway, a few months ago I ordered a Yamakasi “2B” Extreme OC from Green Sum on eBay. That was all fine, I got it and guess what, a few days later it developed problems. It had a green line that went straight through the center of it. It was *supposed* to be a perfect pixel monitor. Not so much. Sent it back, got a refund.

A few months later I ordered another one for $299 (still “2B”). The original one was $329. The $299 one hasn’t had any problems in about a month now.

I’m coming from 1920×1080, so this was quite an upgrade. The colors are much better than on my e-IPS Dell 23″ that I use at college. That’s a pretty big thing with me – I can’t stand TN displays anymore, it has to be some kind of IPS variant. Due to being busy, I haven’t had the time to overclock this one to around 120Hz, but hopefully it’s possible. The first one did overclock to about 117Hz or so.

Screen space

This is the most important thing to me. I don’t really care so much about refresh rate, I game, but not that much. Mostly, I need a lot of space to store applications, virtual boxes, and anything else. Going to 27″ at 2560×1440 is similar to running dual monitor. It’s not triple, but it’s pretty nice having all this space on ONE monitor.

I no longer have to move from side to side to look at different things, it’s all in front of me. I much prefer having one big monitor to look at to be brutally honest. Dual monitors are great, but it’s kind of annoying. Will I go dual monitor again? Probably. I will pick up another 2560×1440 screen and hopefully yet another, to have 3 of these monsters.

Why would I want that? Well I’m kind of a power user, so having more viewing area is actually a bigger deal to me than a new processor or graphics card. Now, let’s get back to the monitor itself…

Coatings

It’s glossy, so I get glare. The other monitors I buy will probably be something else, I don’t like the glare during the day, but I love the colors at night. The glare isn’t too bad, but it’s definitely noticeable. I’m no color expert, I don’t do graphic work. However, the colors are the best I’ve seen on a monitor. Probably if you’re a general consumer and not a professional, you won’t care and this will look like the best thing you’ve ever seen.

Size

I think that 27″ is perfect for 2560×1440. I can see all the text and not worry about squinting. There’s no problem. Things in general are a little smaller than on my 1920×1080 display, but there’s not much to worry about.

Requirements

This monitor requires a dual DVI connector. so I can’t use the mini-DP ports on my HD6990. (Almost upgraded this to R9 295X2, but I’m still waiting) I only have one Dual-DVI output on my card, so it’s the only monitor of this type that I can run. Also, you have to be careful. Some cards just don’t support these monitors. They aren’t flashy and very minimalist. Before you buy, make sure your card can work with this display. In general, if you don’t have a video card I wouldn’t buy this monitor.

Conclusion

I’m actually very happy with this monitor. I don’t get happy very easily anymore. I’m pretty picky, but this monitor is nice, and I think totally worth the $299 price I paid. Hopefully I will be able to overclock it to around 120Hz. Watch this post for updates, I may expand this review and edit grammatical errors etc. :)

Last thing: But what about 4K? I’m personally not interested in 4K at the moment. I’m waiting that one out until scaling is properly implemented  and that will take quite some time.

College, Oh my..

January 3rd, 2015 No comments

So I’ve been in college for 2 semesters. What have I learned?

Well, I’ve mostly had General Education. Public Speaking, English 101, and some liberal arts type stuff thrown in.

As far as the actual degree I’m going for, Computer Science, I’ve had Java 1, Databases 1, and C & Assembly programming.

Java 1 was just general programming concepts like loops, objects, arrays, data types. Not too complicated. Before starting college however, I had just used scripts for the most part. So Java 1 was a good introductory.

Book used: Big Java

C & Assembly – I have a little experience with Assembly. I learned quite a bit of C (Just C, not C++ or C#). Thus, we used Linux exclusively. While learning C we learned 2’s complement, ASCII, IEEE754 floating point representation in binary, and some other binary representation of numbers. Once we finally got to assembly I was pretty enthusiastic. Unfortunately, we didn’t do much with it. I was pretty disappointed. There’s not any other assembly courses in the university I’m going to. So I won’t get to see it again unless I change over to another university and study electrical engineering or something. I did however learn how a buffer overflow exploit works, and made some simple assembly programs. This was done with X86/Linux Assembly. (NASM) I will most likely continue to self educate myself in Assembly, because I love assembly for some reason.

Book used: The C Programming Language – K&R, various assembly books/references.

Databases 1 – This was just an overview of SQL and scripting. I will probably take Databases 2. This course was supposed to cover SQL Injection towards the end, however there wasn’t time. I think this is problematic. If I made a SQL database and a PHP web program based off the knowledge I gained in college, I wouldn’t know that SQL Injection is a major problem. I am self learning good programming practices to prevent SQL injection.

Book used: Some book I didn’t buy. I borrowed it from the professor as needed.

I don’t feel like anything else was too interesting. Next semester I’m studying Python and Java 2, nothing too crazy there. I have however found that I like theory and low level languages far more than “programming”.

Not a real surprise to me, I never really cared about programming. I always wanted to know how a computer worked at the bare bones level. For this, I need to know more math. After Java 3, which I will probably complete Fall 2015, I will move into “real” computer science, which is mostly algorithms and more theoretical stuff. The last course I take is software engineering. My degree is ABET Accredited (of course, this may not matter) and there is an ACM presence on campus.

The college experience in general is easier than operating my own business. Sort of hard, but not really. Difficulty will probably increase as I go through the major(s). I’m also playing with the idea of getting various certifications during my time in college. This summer I’m looking at Offensive Security certifications. Security is important, and it helps to know how my code/servers could be attacked.

2nd part actually animated: Welcome to San Secuestro

 

Yes – I’m a big fan of YTCracker for some reason.. Hopefully I’ll see him sometime at def con. Introducing Neals is probably his best album.

Categories: Coding, Insanity Tags:

Surface Pro – How Well Does it Work in College?

March 20th, 2014 No comments

Well, I’ve been in college for a month or two now (currently on spring break) with just the Surface Pro as my main desktop, console, media box, tablet and laptop. The only other computer in my life while at university is my smartphone from 2009 that’s on PagePlus cellular that needs to be charged 2x a day to stay alive. (I pay around $5 – 10/month for it,  I use VOIP and internet texts lol)

Desktop Mode

I have an IPS LCD monitor at my “dorm/apt” thing. It has a built in powered USB hub. I plug in the USB to the surface, connect it to power and the mini-displayport, wallah full desktop PC with 2TB of storage. (2 1 TB USB drives 1 plugged in 1 self powered) The USB hub is only 2.0, but for my tasks I don’t need 3.0 speed really.

It feels like I’m on a high end PC from about 2006 or 2007? Something like that. It’s faster in general though, just because of the SSD. The specs (performance wise) I think are nearly identical to the computers we program on in my Java 1 class. The video card is more like 2003ish but, it’s still pretty good considering.

Desktop mode is for programming, essays, math work, etc. Works great. I feel almost like I’m at home. I do a little PC gaming in this mode as well, mostly CS:GO and CS:Source. First encounter assault recon runs relatively well but it does lag a little bit and gets annoying for me.

Console Mode

I plug in a 360 controller to the monitor, flip the monitor around to face my bed, plug in my headphones and bam. I can play basically all PC games from the Xbox 1 era and a little beyond. I’ve mostly been playing Halo 1 and Halo 2. Some of the older racing games and GTA’s also run fine. Roms would work in this mode as well I’m sure, but I haven’t really messed with it.

Media Box Mode

This is rather similar setup to the console mode, with flipping stuff around etc. I have XBMC setup on windows 8 with the Touch cover plugged in and I can control XBMC from there. XBMC can also be controlled from the Xbox 360 controller if I want. Hulu, Youtube, Netflix, crunchyroll etc at my fingertips.

Works great.

Tablet Mode

I mostly use this in between classes if I happen to have the Surface on me. (I don’t always have it due to weight, even though it is only 2lbs, I don’t like lugging it around some days) This is in situations where I take the “keyboard” off and mostly rely on the touch interface. So for the most part what I’m doing here is looking at youtube videos, netflix, or playing some tablety type game from the windows store.

There is some productivity going on here though – I use this “mode” in class a lot – pulling up PDF documents of readings and marking them up with the WACOM pen is awesome. Sometimes I bring essays to class and just have the professor mark up my Word document with the pen.

It’s also my “digital scrap paper”. If I’m sitting in front of a computer and I happen to have my Surface Pro with me, I write out my math equations etc in One Note on the Pro. No wasting trees.. It’s also handy because I can copy the necessary information and just paste it into the onenote page. ( I got thrown into pre-calc even though I took Calculus 1 in high schoool :( oh well I’ll probably take Calculus 1 over the summer. It’s all review till I hit Calculus 2)  I love the WACOM display on the Pro :)

Laptop Mode

Laptop mode sees very little use – in fact probably the least use out of everything. It just doesn’t make for a good laptop to be honest. The screen size is too small and due to me not wanting to shell out for the type keyboard, I rarely use it. The touch keyboard is fine to use here and there, but really – this thing is not a laptop.

I use this mode at the library when I’m doing some work, while it’s okay in a pinch, I don’t really enjoy it too much. Sad thing is I tried taking my Yoga 2 Pro around and man.. that size doesn’t work for bringing it to class, just doesn’t really fit in my backpack well and seems like it could easily be damaged, it just doesn’t have the build quality of the Surface…

This is really where we start to have problems… A laptop, even an Ultrabook is generally too big to haul around campus, yet I need the screen size and full keyboard of a Laptop to get any major work done.. (Programming, essays  and such..) The compromise would be dealing with the Pro’s small display and funky keyboard which I’ve had to do for now.

I would generally advocate getting both a laptop and the Surface Pro, because while you’ll be mainly using the Pro, the laptop will come in handy if you need to work in the library often. Pro’s are only $400 and going down, why not get both? $400 tablet + $400 laptop and you’re set. The android/ipad tablets that cost $400 are not nearly as useful.

Battery Life

As a college student, I don’t find the battery life that big of a deal, I’m around an outlet a lot of the time. That, and I go back to the apt/dorm all the time to cook my food and watch some TV, so I just charge it up. No big deal. I never really run it down to more than 50% which means I’m generally not without an outlet for more than 2 hours usage time. That said, there’s power outlets all over campus, though I don’t even carry the charger.

This was the biggest complaint on the Surface Pro 1 and I’m just not seeing the problem in day to day use. Obviously, usages differ, but I’m specifically talking about college/university use.

Conclusion

In college, light and small is always going to trump everything else. The bigger and more weighty it is the less likely you are to haul it around with you. Even though the Yoga 2 Pro weighs about 0.5 pounds more than the Surface, I didn’t end up using it due to the form factor. It’s being sold. I will pick up something cheaper for library use later on. I am definitely a future buyer of Surface Pro’s and I hope Microsoft continues to make them.