Dec 27

Christmastime

This past weekend was of course Christmas. I went up to my aunt’s house for the weekend, and I got to see all of my cousins. This stuff is relatively boring, so let’s talk about something else instead.

Where to start? I’ve got a bunch of random stuff, so let’s start out with some code!

For whatever reason, since I’ve started my co-op job again, I’ve been dreaming in code somewhat. I’ll be sleeping, and then out of nowhere a block of code will come out. That’s not particularly accurate, but bear with me! So the other night, I woke up early in the morning and really had to go to the bathroom. Now sometimes after I wake up, I can get a little confused, especially if I was just having a very vivid dream. So anyway, as I’m sitting in bed, halfway between awake and sleep, I was also dreaming a bit about code. So in my dream, because I really had to go to the bathroom, I actually had to really return a float very badly. A float, as in a data type in programming.

….Yeah, I’m not really sure where that came from.

For the holidays, I got a few books off of Amazon, some for myself and some for presents. I got two books for myself; Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex and World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War.

Now, the Artemis Fowl series is a series more meant for kids. However, I absolutely love it. I saw the first book in middle school. Some kid who was sitting in front of me on the bleachers was reading it, and had it next to him. I thought it looked interesting, and so I then read it. Turns out, it was really awesome. The Atlantis Complex is now the 7th book in the series, and it’s still rocking hardcore. Probably my favorite part was a pun on Wikipedia-instead of looking stuff up on Wikipedia, the fairies look stuff up on Wicca-pedia(*rimshot*). (Yeah, I like puns). Anyway, the book was quite good. I don’t think it was the best, but perhaps that’s because I read it in the car driving up. I’ll have to read it again sometime.

Now, World War Z is quite an awesome book. I mean, seriously, this rocks. I picked it up because it looked interesting, plus it’s a bestseller anyway. It’s written in the style of a group of interviews from different people in different perspectives, in the style of Studs Terkel. I had to read a bit of Studs Terkel for a class a few years ago, so I really found it quite cool. In fact, the author, Max Brooks, credits Studs with the format of the book. The style of the book actually makes it flow really well. Instead of having a story following a person or a group of people after the zombie apocalypse, the story instead asks people about their experiences during the war. I think that it gives you a much broader view of the war, instead of a “well here’s a group of people and here’s what they did” sort of thing. You also have to figure out what exactly is going on, as the way it is written uses slang that real people would have said, such as “Zack” or “G” for zombie, and the original name of the disease being “African rabies.” I read it all in just about a day, I found it so fascinating. I suppose part of the reason is that because there isn’t a real story to the book, you really can use your imagination more or something. It’s not a blow-by-blow account of the entire war and the events leading up to it. While it was quite fascinating, it was also a little bone-chilling, because it all seemed so real, except for the unkillable zombies of course. Some of the narratives describe how people would flee to Canada so that the zombies would be frozen, but they weren’t prepared for the winter. That just really stuck in my mind as being so plausible. Final rating: 5/5. If you like zombies, you should read this book. Actually, you should just read this book anyway.

My final thought tonight is on fake gift boxes. To that end, I got these Prank Pack Gift Boxes from ThinkGeek. I gave the PetPetter box to my mom. Her reaction was quite awesome; as she opened up the box, she went “but Ethan(our dog) loves to be petted!” with an expression not unlike this smiley: o.O

It was awesome. ^_^

Dec 16

Thoughts on Net Neutrality

So for the past few years, we’ve been hearing about this thing called “Net Neutrality”. Basically what that is, is that all content on the internet is delivered the same. There is no preference over what sites get better speed and/or service to the users of the internet.

Recently however, some companies have looked to tiered internet(where you pay more for faster speeds) and/or a download limit. We’ve already seen Time Warner institute a policy on this, albeit on a very limited scale.

My real thought on the matter though, is why? Why do the ISPs want to charge more for a higher download limit? While I do agree that most people may not download a lot in a month, there’s really no good reason to have a download cap like this.

Basically, what Time Warner is saying is that it costs more to send 10GB of information than it does to send 40GB of information. This isn’t true(or, at least as far as I know). While cable internet access is shared among all of the people on the network, that only matters if everybody is downloading a lot of information at one time. Anyway, my point is that there isn’t a noticeable cost difference between downloading 10GB and downloading 40GB.(if there is, link me to something that shows that!) Because of the nature of the network, the more you use it, it does not get correspondingly more corroded. For example, charging based on water usage makes sense. There is a finite amount of water for people, and for each gallon processed you need to clean the water, pump it, etc. As well, the more water you push through the system the more strain is put on the system over a period of many years.

“But wait!” you say. “Since cable is a shared medium among subscribers, isn’t that just the same as the water line, which is shared among customers?” Well, yes. Paying for faster speeds makes sense, as basically all that is doing is making the pipe which comes to your house larger. However, unlike the water system, where how much it costs is directly related to how much you use, this is not the same with the internet. Network hardware does not have a certain lifespan, to the extent that it can only take X number of packets before it needs to be replaced. How long before a part of the water system needs to be replaced is almost always directly related to how old it is. While it is true that network hardware does need to be replaced eventually(as it will eventually break), the amount of data does not determine this. If we try to force 10,000 gallons of water though a 1-inch pipe in one minute, that pipe will have to be replaced very soon, as the pressure is very high. If we try to force 10,000 packets through a piece of network hardware that can only take 8,000 packets a second, the 2,000 remaining packets simply disappear. There is no forcing of the packets through the hardware.

Note: Don’t quote this information as factual. Anything stated here is to the best of my knowledge. I’m not really a network guy.

So, to conclude: Internet based on how fast you can download makes sense. Internet based on how much you download doesn’t.

Dec 14

Welcome to RM5248.COM

Why hello there.

As you probably don’t know, I’ve been working on this website for the past few months, looking to teach myself a bit of PHP and MySQL. It is of course, not done, but it’s getting there. 🙂 It’s done to a point at which I feel that I can use it as more or less a blog now, which is what I was intending it for. Actually, I was going to make a site to work with a new game engine to play [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Command_%26_Conquer:_Red_Alert]C&C: Red Alert[/url] on, but then I saw on Planet Command and Conquer that somebody made a new engine(not FreeCNC). So that plan sorta died.

  • This site however, is going to become a [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_content_management_system]CMS[/url] system. However, this is nowhere near what I would like it to be. Things to add:
  • Ability to dynamically change pages. At the moment, really the only page is the ‘about’ page. I’d like to make it so that you can easily add new pages on the fly.
  • Add new links. There’s no way to change this at the moment.
  • Comment on news posts.
  • User administration. You can’t do anything yet.
  • User profiles. This would probably be something that you could turn on and off, as some people might not like this.
  • Searching. Apparently, the InnoDB engine of MySQL doesn’t do searching very well. We need to find a way around that…
  • BB-code tags(i.e. [b] for bold, etc)

Well, that’s about it for now. If you notice something horribly wrong, e-mail the webmaster. That is of course me. So, that’s just webmaster@rm5248.com.

See you later.