Picture Post: Suzaku’s Operation on the Lab Table

So… I got my RAM in yesterday and the modification part of me went absolutely nutty! I removed the sticks from the Crucial/Newegg parcel and beheld the RAM in their electro-static shielding bags.

After beholding the RAM, I had to get my “tools” for the procedure. The tools of the trade: a magnetic tip screwdriver with a small bit-driver and a vintage Revlon nail file to be my “scribe” tool to pry up the plastic bezel.

I would go ahead and loosen the screws holding in the plastic bezel as a preparatory step so I would have to have less hassle with that.

I would unbolt the second DIMM slot and replace the first stick as it is the easiest to access.

The original stick of 256mb

“Prepping for the Operation”

Check out the 1GB versus the 256mb!

Bolting up the first stick

The next daunting part was using the nail file to slowly pry up the plastic bezel without breaking anything. Luckily, the bezel doesn’t require too much pressure to pop off. After the bezel came off, it was time to pry off the keyboard and then find DIMM slot 1 waiting for me.

After popping offer the DIMM 1 cover I’d drop in the second 1GB stick and “sew the incision site” to a close…

Check it out! A 1GB stick literally “under the hood”!

After every screw was bolted up, the Dell PhoenixBIOS had a “cute” message saying “It appears you have increased RAM installed on this system”. I would take Maczimus’s advice and get Preload installed to cut load times from programs… After the install… I would notice a surprising drop in load times. For example, Open Office Writer went from 15 – 20 seconds to now 2.3 seconds. VirtualBox seems to lap up the 1GB of allocated RAM from my total 2GB and it was wonderful! I would say that the install was rather great and it’s shows that RAM does make a difference.

Under the Knife – Suzaku’s Upgrade Teaser

So my computer’s steroid injection came in at 6:07pm… I am fucking stoked… Time to rip my machine to pieces to install! I’ll post with results!

Teaser Update: The install literally took me 2 minutes and on rebooting… the BIOS had a comical message “It appears you have increased memory” More benchmarks later and all after my gig!

Second Update: I am a bit exhausted from my side gig and the paid dinner from it… so if you folks can sweat out another day… then well… Check the blog after 5:30pm! Promise!

A Distro Testing Teaser…

Virtual Box Running DSL

Click the above thumbnail for the original!

Notice something? I am running VirtualBox inside of my Ubuntu install to try playing around and testing it. Some distributions run great for me with only allocating 128mb of RAM, but it can be a tad straining on my machine with only being loaded up with 512mb of RAM. After the new RAM install and Suzaku toting 2GB, that should change things where I can run more distributions without taxing the main system. Hopefully, this should allow me to capture better images of the distributions I hope to try out and test.

Welcome to the Metaverse – Snow Crash Book Review

I have a guilty penchant for reading. I love books as sometimes it’s nice to be able to absorb a story at my own pace. Printed media has a great advantage of being readable and “pause” friendly unlike some digital media. As my teaser post had mentioned, my buddy Russ passed me Snow Crash to read and left me with the cryptic teaser: “You’ll never think of pizza delivery boys the same again after reading this book.” The cover’s teaser even leads the reader on about the premise:

In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s CosaNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that’s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy missionfor the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about the Infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous… you’ll recognize it immediately.
from the back cover of Snow Crash

The book is interesting as it shows something like a post apocalyptic world where the corporations have bonded into sectors and even carry gang influences. In the nature of dualities, there’s also a computer realm called the Metaverse where people can log on and goggle in to a completely virtualized world. Highly skilled users who plug in can code to create their own tool/weapons, clothes, or even detail their looks to a highly customized, detailed avatar. Though early on, the story details a world where the trade of information is similar to the trade of hard goods. Pieces of intelligence be it a rejected movie script to even a pornographic video of the young pop star sleeping with a politician are all valued by those who collect and resell “intel data”. Hiro’s “job” in the Metaverse is an intel hunter and hacker to make a buck off of whatever data he can nab, repackage, and even sell. The story doesn’t stop there though…

The novel shows us a world where the Metaverse is almost a realm that is a sophisticated “internet” with respect to the present day. The more intense data mining hackers however are almost biologically linked to the Metaverse, so you can almost imagine our modern concepts like SPAM, spyware, and viruses would basically act like physical maladies to these hackers. Like human beings, some hackers do get bored and resort to odd things in boredom… Drug use does happen in the Metaverse, but usually it is bad code… Until someone ends up pedaling Snow Crash as the latest drug. When someone very near and dear to Hiro takes Snow Crash and basically is never heard from again, this begins a chain of events that shows theres an even greater force that’s marketing Snow Crash both in the Metaverse and in the physical world.

Theories of “information hygiene”, religion as a computer virus of sorts, and even a link to Sumerian myths are all part of a battle between good and evil. It almost parallels the concerns of those in the computer security industry and how common folks have no idea on how damaging opening an odd e-mail or running that one program that some user has no idea of what is inside the payload. The vision of a future world are simply amazing, but you almost feel drawn to the characters even if some of their existences are boring or plain messed up. The second half is a frantic race against time to try to understand the fundamental essence of language and the power of viral concepts. The action really picks up and just leaves you addicted to read until the end.

Snow Crash is one book I would recommend to anyone who’s fascinated by computer technologies merged with Sumerian myth and a concept of a Metaverse being almost a future vision of the online world. The image of the future America that is represented is one that almost seems possible, but takes much of it’s influence from overtones of the Vietnam War and some other political dealings. It is definitely one on my list of “Essential Books People Should Read Before They Die”.

Professor Farnesworth: “He’s good alright, but he’s no Clem Johnson! And Johnson played back in the days before steroid injections were mandatory!”

So I was curious about RAM upgrades for my machine… I figured I’d hit up Crucial Memory to check my specifications and ran into a deal that I simply could not say no to. They had two sticks of DDR2 PC2-42oo 1GB RAM for $39.99. I figured “Let’s not get too excited… check Newegg” and no surprise they had the same deal but with better shipping options. For me, I am not going to lie… I love instant gratification when it comes to tech toys or upgrades. I tried ShopLocal to try to bargain hunt… but the local retailers were asking ridiculous $60.99 prices for just one stick of 1GB of RAM! The rational part of me said “Why the hell not go with Newegg? With their great shipping, it could be here as soon as Tuesday!” I am no brand whore, but to have Crucial Memory in my system will be hot. I got into playing with VirtualBox last night, so the RAM should help me test distributions within the comfort of Ubuntu.

The new RAM should be like injecting steroids into my laptop… I can’t even begin to tell you the excitement. I do plan to document my exploits though. Keep a watch for an image post soon!

A Boring but Possibly Productive Weekend

Well… with most of my plans in shambles, it gives me time to try to get some important things done for the site and as well as generate fresh new content. Here’s a run-down of what all is to come possibly with the following days and even into next month:

  • My book review of Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson
  • My evaluation of Puppy Linux 3.01 – Seamonkey
  • (Possible) Evaluation of Damn Small Linux
  • Introspective on the semantics of “best friends”
  • Notes and “diary” of doing a charity laptop project (Negotiations in the works)
  • Devil’s Physical: The 60,000 Mile Maintenance Event
  • Picking up a Callpod Dragon Extreme Bluetooth headset to evaluate and review
  • Funny adventures with my cousin Sol’s return to Dallas for Spring Break
  • Tips for the poor college student avoiding debt
  • The return of my retuned workout logs

It looks like a lot, but that should be my next set of things to post, rant, vent, and discuss until I get my hands on the consumer release of the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 communicator. Apparently some sources strewn about the web from XDA Developers’ forums have made claim that the processor for the XPERIA X1 is a Qualcomm MSM7200a with a smaller die print and powered at 525mhz. The small footprint means potentially a power efficient processor, but higher power means it’ll be able to really show off. There are rumors about Windows Mobile 6.5 being debuted when the X1 hits retail shelves and possibly HTC releasing their ODM version of the X1 branded with their own name… It’s a damn shame that the device won’t come out sooner, because I’d love to really have some fun with a new phone.

“Damn it feels good to be a gangsta” by Geto Boys

Any of you who have seen the great movie “Office Space” know this song. It’s when Peter gets promoted and just acts like an all around badass with his new found powers. He even goes as far as undoing the static laced doorknob to avoid the pain of being shocked. Tonight, I raised the bar with my cell phone knowledge and data mining to a new level. The song above represents how I feel after my game of cat and mouse. It’s locked in the next entry due to reasons beyond my control. If you want the code, just contact me on AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, e-mail, IRC or phone/text me.

Book Review Soon to Come: “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson

I must thank my good friend Russ (custom local jeweler – Dare2Dream) for passing me “Snow Crash” to read. I have been rather addicted to reading it when I am on my lunch breaks at work and well… It makes my vision of dreams more than plausible. It’s one that any computer or internet geek should read, because it almost paints a picture of what the internet could/should be in a decade or two. I have had days where the ‘net just seems no fun to me so “Snow Crash” is a rather nice way to wind down before bed. Keep a look out for the blog and my thoughts on a great book.

Thoughts on the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1’s Potential Impact on the Future Market

Mobile Burn has a pretty good pair of videos that they posted on YouTube showing their encounters with the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 communicator. Though in some of the other Mobile World Congress video clips on YouTube, the Sony Ericsson representatives are rather tight-lipped saying that they are bound by both Sony Ericsson corporate and Microsoft that even demoing the phone dialer application can not be demonstrated as quoted by Magnus Anderson (Sony Ericsson’s brand marketing team) in this YouTube video from msmobile.com and mytreo.net. Processor specifications, amount of RAM to be put into it, and even other specs have not officially been revealed other than what is publicly available to the press of the Mobile World Congress event out in Barcelona, Spain.

The main gist of the videos featuring Magnus Anderson seem to be that the XPERIA panels are to represent every “experience” you have in life. An idea that each panel represents each “experience” focal to a part of your life. When you apply that principle, it could be quite useful. One panel may have your work and productivity applications and maybe a big clock applet for your “at work” panel with a default looking Windows Mobile 6 Home Screen. Another panel could have the Sony XrossMediaBar (XMB for short) looking interface with direct access to your music, movies, and photos when you’re in for an “experience” to relax. Another could be the GPS application’s home screen for when you need directions. The possibilities are almost ENDLESS and the experiences becomes tailored to the user. A corporate grade communicator that does not force the user to conform to just one interface puts the XPERIA X1 as a communicator with a sense of fun.

The matter that the XPERIA X1 will be using the microSD form factor for memory cards isn’t much in Sony’s interest, but it does make way for a bigger impact as far as media capacity is concerned. At the time of this article, NewEgg has microSDHC (the HC acronym meaning “High Capacity”) cards go as high as 8GB for about $79.99 with 4GB microSDHC cards going as low as $24.99! For me, personally, this is much better than being “hard locked” in to a device that is limited to 8GB on board with no opportunities to expand the memory. By allowing users to expand their devices at their own paces, it gives them an opportunity to “catch up” with the trends. This can easily be seen with the iPhone camp with regards to the 4GB and (as of recently) the 8GB model… Imagine being that poor soul who bought the 8GB at Christmas and then hearing the announcement last week that Apple is now pushing the limits with a 16GB iPhone. It would probably irk you to no end, unless you find someone who wants yours and will pay a pretty penny so you can dump out for the upgrade. With how rapidly miniSD is developing, I do not doubt that a 16GB card could be out by the time the XPERIA X1 goes live and on sale. This gives mobile phone users the choice and ability to grow to their needs rather than being bottle-necked and then having to get into the kink of reselling and rebuying.

The platform of the device being a Windows Mobile 6 device rather than a Symbian UIQ device really changes things up. Currently, the market of corporate applications caters more to the Windows Mobile or Palm OS. This has somewhat of an impact on me, as medical/drug databases like Epocrates do not cater to UIQ users. The convenience to have a database of drugs on my phone rather than carry a bunch of books about them or even things like pharmaceutical law are rather important with my future profession. Add to this mix that with a Windows Mobile 6 update due out in 2008, things like a “full browser experience” like the iPhone should be due for mass consumption. Keep in mind that the next Windows Mobile release codenamed “Photon” is probably due soon, if Sony Ericsson is not about dumping their consumers off a bridge by providing a free update… the XPERIA X1 may be rather future-proof.  Want to see an example of a company angering consumers, check out Apple charging $20 for some additional software to early adopters of the iPhone. Sony Ericsson’s reputation of taking care of their fans has been demonstrated when some fans of the P990i had noted the “final” firmware update to their phones that cause rather poor stability. Users had made their complaints public to a UIQ web forum that Sony Ericsson developers have been known to drop by and say hello… Surprisingly enough, they decided to make things right and release a proper “final” firmware release to stabilize the usability of the P990i.

For media capabilities, the XPERIA X1 looks like it may be a rather fun device. I don’t know if anyone will take much advantage of the device for mobile gaming applications, but if they keep in mind about the touch interaction, that could make for some fun games. As far as music, movies, and photos… On one of the images of the XPERIA panels, one of them looks very akin to the design principles of the XrossMediaBar of the PS3/PSP’s fame. If that keeps true to the final product, accessing media may be a rather painless experience. For the audiophile that has it all, the XPERIA has a 3.5mm jack port for those nice Shure E2C earbuds you shelled an expansive amount of money on. This is also great if you want to still be able to use that line-in adapter or FM radio broadcaster for your car. If you’re a Bluetooth audio fanatic like me, you’ll definitely be glad to know that A2DP, AVCRP and the other Bluetooth audio/video control standards are all present with this device. The vibrant high definition 3″ VGA screen will make viewing photos and movies in a broad 65,000 colors a pleasure. Bundle in the Cybershot grade 3.2 megapixel camera on the XPERIA and it’s quite a media device if you decided to go big on the microSDHC cards.
Connectivity is a big focus with Windows Mobile devices. The XPERIA is equipped well around with technologies like 3G (UMTS) and HSPDA to ensure for fast data streaming and provide true speed to mobile internet usage. Stack on top being able to do secure connections and transactions without having to worry about encryption errors would make a device like the XPERIA a good integration device that can play nice with the corporate setting, especially with consideration to Blackberry Enterprise Server usage. Add to that, Sony Ericsson’s PlayNow recently signed distribution deals with a bunch of record companies and adding 5 millions new tracks as of lately… You can also throw on top of that the aGPS module on the phone and more than likely ways to keep the maps fresh and updated. This lethal cocktail of features in connectivity makes for quite a robust device.

The big thing that I will say will level the playing field will be that the phone should be that the XPERIA will be available in unlocked form. For American folks, it will allow them the freedom to keep their provider while enjoying a great communicator device that will not have hindered functionality (rather than forcing users to pick who their provider is). I will make a guess to say that if Sony Ericsson is clever about shaking up the market in America, the unlocked version should be going for about $500 – $600 unlocked at any Sony Style shop or official Sony Ericsson vendor. Though with all due respect, I don’t doubt that with AT&T and T-Mobile being highly compatible with this device that it could be released to both carriers and branded/locked. With the branded ones, the devices with a 2 year contract and some data plan of some sort could break the device into the S350 – $400 price range. The subsidized pricing on a contract and XPERIA X1 purchase could put fuel to the fire for the “smartphone” category.

Zero’s Pearl of Mobile Phone Advice: If you have not bought an iPhone, Blackberry device, Nokia’s N-Series, or an HTC communicator, I would wait until the XPERIA X1 comes out. For what it is packing, it could be one of 2008’s best buys. Sure, the iPhone’s second generation is rumored due out close to the end of this month (iPhone Updates site), but the iPhone may need more than another storage upgrade and 3G baseband chips if they want to play the smartphone market like how Sony Ericsson is with the XPERIA X1.