Atomic Relief

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Hacking Your Dreams

Trying to manipulate your dreams is hard unless you have a structured way to do so. This tested and working method involves several steps in order to achieve control over your dreams. The most important thing to remember is to have patience, this first time you try you will likely fail. Just in case, don't confuse the real world and the dream world. Don't do something stupid, because Atomic Relief is not responsible for any damages. You were told. Now let's begin.
  1. Recognize Your Dreams
    Keep in mind that as your dreams happen, you expect them to be real and normally only small details will give them away as dreams. While this sounds silly, the strangest things can happen and you will not know it was a dream until you awake. Before falling asleep, try to impose upon yourself the idea of catching a dream as it happens.
  2. Don't Be Surprised
    The first few times you realize you are dreaming, you will normally be hit with the realization and before you know it, you will be awake again. To stop this, expect your dream, well, to be a dream!
  3. Start Small
    Alright Neo, before you go defying physics you should probably start small before you go tumbling out of bed. Once you get your bearings in your dream, try changing an object, for example an orange to an apple, or a chair into a sofa, or your television into, a big flat screen. Want to try something bigger? How about a mansion? Defying physics can also be rewarding flying, gravity displacement, whatever you want.
  4. Be (Relatively) Realistic
    If you're in your dream walking along a crowded street downtown, don't try to fly over a meadow. First fly towards the meadow. It will take a lot of control to change your entire surroundings.
  5. Wake Up
    This is the easiest step so far and involves the complex and uncontrollable process of waking up. Wake up.
Have fun and sweet dreams.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Google Page Creator Review

Google's Page Creator, the newest addition to Google's services has been a big topic lately. It is (as of now) still accessible to create new pages on and off, but there have been many newly created Google Page sites.

Page Creator has a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get; pronounced whiz-ee-wig) editor as well as the ability to edit in HTML (Hyper-Text Markup Language). Google also dedicates 100mb of server space to each website, meaning that under one account you can create multiple pages and upload up to 100mb worth of content. There is also a maximum of up to 100 pages. "Change look" gives you a thumbnail view of 41 different templates to choose from, all of which look great. From "change layout" you can choose from four layouts of header and content, header, sidebar (left or right) and content, or header and three columns. Both images and links are easily added from the sidebar, as well as formatting options such as bold and italics. You do not receive your own domain, but a subdomain based on your account name. Some problems so far have been that the "edit html" link will disappear from the page with certain headers and you can't scroll down.

Other than that the only bad parts of Google's Page Creator is its small variety of templates (most are just different colors), and lack of ability to edit or create templates. Also unlike Blogger (also a Google service) that is for bloggers, Google Page Creator doesn't have an RSS feed. A hidden functionality is under "settings" in the "Page Manager" you can change your page's title, but lacks any other noteworthy settings. At first I thought 100mb was a lot of filespace for a website, until I realized that over 2500mb is dedicated to email for each Gmail account. I would like to see all this space pooled together so that the site can use all of the over 2600mb. Google "Analytics" should be included in the Page Manager to let website owners "view their new Google Pages traffic statistics", instead Google Analytics is available separate and by invitation only. Finally (and this one's the worst) Page Creator only supports Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Apparently Safari can be used by going through the debug menu, but Opera and Flock likely aren't supported. Whether you can still view a Page Creator site is currently unknown (so post in the comments), but right now it is making a page that is the problem.

Good
  • WYSIWYG and HTML editor
  • Nice looking templates
  • different layouts
  • can create many pages
Bad
  • Few templates
  • No template editing ability
  • No template creating ability
  • Still buggy
  • No RSS
  • No hit counter or analytics
  • Lack of browser support
  • Only a reasonable amount of filespace
If you would like to see an example, this is the Atomic Relief Google Page.



You may notice some of the uploaded content will temporarily go offline and since the images in this article are uploaded to Google Pages, you can tell yourself how flaky their service still is as the images don't always appear. Hopefully Google will work this out soon, otherwise it is back to flickr for me.

What I did not originally consider is that with the given 100mb, you do not need to use Google's templates. To do this, all you need to do is upload your website's .html/.htm/.css files and they will function with the url given. You can even redirect traffic from the /home page used as default to this new page. However, apparently PHP, SQL and CGI aren't supported, so no bulletin board system posting, unless you use this AJAX powered BB. Either way, 100mb of forum won't get you far, so unless they upgrade the size it won't matter.

With this free 100mb of internet space, consider it an alternative method of transferring large files from computer to computer.

A problem Google had since about February 28, is the maximum of 100 pages is automatically exceeded for (apparently) all Page Creator sites, even though no pages are shown. Not even user created pages are shown. This also means you can neither delete, add or change content because almost all links are disabled. Note that in the picture, none of the filespace was even used yet, add that this problem also occurs with content filled sites.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Poor Spelling on Purpose and Making Millions out of Typos

Companies are cashing in on a new type of advertising that uses common spelling mistakes to bring users to their sites or adds with search engines like Google.
After reading a this story it appears that bloggers are doing this too. So I ask this, is sacrificing linguistics and readability just to get page views from Google. Do those hits even matter if they look at your webpage, see all kinds of spelling mistakes, and decide not to continue reading, don't bookmark your page or delete their internet history to erase the sheer memory of your website? Anyway, without the exaggerations, what do you think matters most to your website; simply page view counts that occur by mistake, or dedicated viewers that will come back to a spelling error free webpage? Considering that you may even lose visitors that have your page in their favorites or are frequent viewers is it worth it? It's a personal preference really, you just have to decide what's more important, but to me, it's not the page views. If people visit your site, but stop reading, is your message getting out there? Websites are designed to give and relay information in a communal way; this gives what you have to say on your blog notice. However, if this attention is only accidental and no one reads it, will it have given your message to the world?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Report An Error

If you have found an error in one of my postings, grammatical, spelling, linguistically, technical, or any other, please detail the error in the comments of the posting you have found it in, or in the comments of this post. Thank you for keeping Atomic Relief accurate!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Color Blind Friendly Websites, The Truth

After seeing this slightly inaccurate posting on Digg I would like to set something straight as I, Atomix, am not unfamiliar with colorblindness. First off, it is not widely understood that 1 in 12 web surfers are colorblind, but rather that 1 in 10 males are colorblind, but fine I'll accept 1 in 12. However, it must be understood that this only applies to males, only one in every few hundred females are colorblind. This is because while many females carry the colorblind gene, they are not affected by it, but pass it on to their children. So knowing this, you must account for the fact that there are female websurfers, so it may appear that All Web Design Graphics has embellished their information, so I would be interested to know the source of this particular fact. Also, some colorblind people that have problems differentiating red and green also suffer with browns, so stay away from any reds or greens on browns and all other red-green-brown combinations as best as you can. What this website failed to mention is what to do about people who struggle with blues. Well, for blues the main problem is mixing it with purples or even putting it on a red background or red on a blue background because the contrast between these colors, even with fully-color enabled people, is distracting. So to prevent from repelling colorblind websurfers, when putting any of the above color combinations in your website, try to have one of the colors dulled down a bit(add it's complimentary color, the color opposite to it on the color wheel). Finally, remember that everyone can differentiate between different shades, so keeping all of your website's colors different shades you should be able to remain colorblind friendly. If you want to make sure you don't have similar shades you can use the color blind filter that All Web Design Graphics recommends or press the print screen ("Prt Scr") button on your keyboard and paste it into Photoshop, The Gimp, or even MS Paint and set your image to grayscale. Now all you have to do is look for any areas where there should not be similar shades.

Note: As All Web Design Graphics mentioned there are many different types of colorblindness, so mention in the comments if my methods above do not suffice for a type of colorblindness.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Who Will Be The Next Microsoft?

So who will be the next mega-giant of the technology world? Apple, Sony, and Google all share a large electronics or software base that could put them into major competition with Microsoft, so lets look at them each individually. Let's start with Apple. With the great success of the iPod, Apple has officially gone mainstream, so the future of Apple may look a whole lot brighter. However, with the amount of people who won't be comfortable changing and readjusting to the cleaner, slicker, easy-to-use system, there just won't be enough public backing. In fact the ease of use may just be their doom. How many Windows users who don't have iTunes have dragged and dropped other than into folders? Overall, I believe that Apple's computers are very well made, but I don't believe they are the new MS (Microsoft). Sony has had great success over their Play Station, but with the controversy surrounding the huge rootkit and DRM (digital rights management) audio CD's, Sony has lost their footing. Also it is important to note that another company had made the DRM software with a rootkit and Sony put it on their CD's for distribution. Sony does not make all it's own software, that is how they claim the rootkit was put on their audio CD's, so to compete with Microsoft, a primarily software company (other than the XBOX hardware), is unrealistic. This brings me to Google, you know the company that started with a simple search engine but has branched to shopping, Gmail, map service, and even video search as well as many other tools, such as Google Earth which even television channels use for weather forecasting. Coupled with the constantly rising stock price, Google is coming into the picture. People love Google so much that they are even making stories about a supposed Google PC, which if Google made would sell very well, even if they made just an OS. People can't get enough of the innovation of Linux, styling of Apple, and the functionality and availability (or mainstream factor) of Microsoft. So overall, Google makes great competition, and will give us all a change from Microsoft. Especially with Microsoft's "intentional WMF backdoor" as Steve Gibson from GRC calls it, there is a lot if speculation about the true integrity of the security of Windows which, truthfully, there should have been before.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Digital or Analog?

Although many electronics books commonly confuse the reader, the difference between digital and analog is simple. An analog signal is, for example when you talk. Talking in different pitch creates sounds and words. A digital signal is reminiscent of Morse code. Morse code has two different states, known as "discrete intervals", with different patterns of these states, one can find letters and words. Both speech and Morse code are used to communicate, but Morse code has a limited number of states and speech uses different pitch. Much the same, electronic circuits can use digital and analog circuits to communicate with other devices or components. With digital two states, on and off, shown with 1 (on) and 0 (off), different patterns of the states are used to communicate, for example 01000001 is a pattern of 1's and 0's, but this specific pattern is equivalent to the letter "A". With analog, the circuit communicates like speech, where the pitch is now the voltage of the current. Think of it as a high voltage is like a high note, on it's own it does not mean much, but add other notes (other voltages)and you can create words. Analog signals can manipulate a speaker system to make different pitches of sounds because the analog signal directly represents the pitch. However, a digital signal, although also representing the sound, must be interpreted into pitches with a digital to analog converter (known as a DAC for digital to analog converter).

Note: Speech has two variable, pitch (highness and lowness)and decibel (softness or loudness or strength). Similarly, electricity has two main variables, voltage (high and low), and amperes (strength). Also analog signals are not limited to variation in voltage, but also frequency (how often something occurs), and other properties.

Note: There are also ADC's that are analog to digital converters.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

AC or DC?

Well other than the band, what do you know about AC or DC? It's electricity, a type of current, but what's the difference? Seeing as Atomic Relief does accommodate beginner topics, I thought I would start off with this one. AC and DC are both types of electric current, the difference being that in DC, standing for direct current, the electricity simply flows only one way. AC, or alternating current switches between one direction of current, to the other direction. This means AC, the current you receive from a wall outlet , must be converted to DC (at least in North America, maybe not in other areas) before it can be used in most electronic devices, unlike with common batteries that have a DC current. This is because PICs (printed integrated circuits, or computer chips) and diodes such as LEDs (light emitting diodes; an alternative to light bulbs) can only function with one direction of current. This means an LED in an AC circuit will switch between forward biased (current flows the proper/natural way), and reverse biased (current flows backwards), and because current can only flow through a diode one way, the LED will not function properly.

Handheld TV Games

With the introduction of the TV Games where you plug a small controller directly into your television to play, and
Ben Heck's NES Micro I think it would be suitable to use a <=2.5" portable TV to make a wide variety of handheld video games systems. I know someone will think of this eventually, so since I won't be getting to this project anytime soon, I figured I'd give everyone a head start at replicating this. If you think of it, with such a small screen, the graphics would actually appear half decent (all graphics look better farther away). With the many possibilities of this, I figure this project should go right after my "eX-BOX".

eX-BOX

I was hoping to have this done before the release of the 360, however it is still far from finished. I am modifying (modding) my game system to be more to my liking, most notably running Linux, doubling the amount of RAM, and cooling and aesthetic upgrades. So far the only completed part is lapping (sanding for a better finish; tutorial coming up, but in the mean time all I can say is use a kit) the heatsinks on the CPU (central/main processor) and GPU (graphics processor) and improving the air flow (basically cutting gaping holes in the sides soon to be covered by aluminum screening). The Atomic logo will then mimic the apple logo as it takes the place of the jewel on top. So why call it the "eX-BOX"? This is my game system, so I'm doing it my way. With completion of this project I will also post pictures of the finished product.