Archives for: "August 2009"

Mac OS 10.6 "Snow Leopard" takes 72 seconds to boot! Bwuahaha!

David Pogue well known Steve Jobs fanboy has wrote a gushing article on the New York Times over Apple's new pay-ware service pack.

He writes:

In any case, Snow Leopard truly is an optimized version of Leopard. It starts up faster (72 seconds on a MacBook Air, versus 100 seconds in Leopard). It opens programs faster (Web browser, 3 seconds; calendar, 5 seconds; iTunes, 7 seconds), and the second time you open the same program, the time is halved.

Nice, let's sum that up.

  • 72 seconds to boot
  • 3 seconds to open a web browser
  • 5 seconds to open a calendar and
  • 7 seconds to open iTunes.

I'll now run similar tests on the slowest computer I have. A Dell Mini 9 which was going for £199 when I got mine, about 7 times cheaper than the MacBook Air the above tests were carried out on, its also running the final version of Windows 7.

  • 37 seconds to boot*
  • 2 seconds to open Internet Explorer
  • 4 seconds to open the Outlook Calendar**
  • 4 seconds to open Windows Media Player***

Re-opening applications a second time typically takes a second, even on this netbook (Outlook excluded as on my setup it has to go and talk to Exchange). On a Windows desktop, often they'll be open before you finish letting go of the mouse.

*As David didn't define exactly what boot is, my figure of 37 seconds isn't just boot time until the login screen is displayed, or the time to show the desktop, this is when I could open the Start Menu.

**This test was carried out using the technical preview of Outlook 2010, which is considerably slower than the release version Outlook 2007, plus being hooked up to Exchange costs about a second.

***The player opened in about 2 seconds and playback would start, this also includes opening the Library and waiting for all albums and artwork to be loaded.


Mac OS X is still slower than hell, even with the new optimized service pack.

Nokia moving into the netbook space

This is a pretty swish looking netbook.

More details will be announced next month. But it looks like its got a 10 inch screen probably around 1280x720, GPS built in, 3G built in plus 12 hours of battery life weighing in at 1.25kgs and running Windows 7. Nice.

Spam never ending in World of Warcraft

So I've just logged back into World of Warcraft after having a break for 5 weeks. I see the spammers have got a new way to spam links in the game now.

Spamming in World of Warcraft using corpses

By making URLs out of corpses. Sigh.

Microsoft Security Essentials update

Those using the pre-release version of Microsoft Security Essentials may have noticed a new update being pushed down lately.

There's a few couple of changes of note.

WIndows 7 Action Center reporting on Microsoft Security Center

It now reports itself to the Action Center / Security Center as Microsoft Security Essentials, previously it reported itself as Microsoft Antimalware.

It also features a new set of icons, here's the old set:

Microsoft Security CenterMicrosoft Security Center

And the newer ones, which are much clearer.

Microsoft Security CenterMicrosoft Security Center

Questions for "Evolutionists" part 3

I stumbled upon a question on Yahoo Answers today, its related to a bit of confusion creationists have with evolution. The same sort of confusion you can see in my original questions for "evolutionists" post.

Soldier for Salvation asks "Why do evolutionists always try to separate the Big Bang from their other ideas?"

Where to start, as always I object to the term evolutionist, like Darwinist, its used to discredit people who accept evolution. Are you a gravitationist? No, because The Theory of Gravity is not a belief system, or a political system, or an ideology, or what somebody does, etc. It's a scientific theory explaining why matter is attracted to other matter.

Somebody who studies evolution is a biologist. They study the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, because it explains the diversity of life on Earth and how that life is related to each other.

Using the word evolutionist, is a cheap shot. But then, being in the position they're in they've got little else. Anyway moving on.

Whenever someone mentions the Big Bang, or anything occuring anywhere in the universe besides here on Earth when they challenge Evolutionism, Evolutionists always roundly tell that person that evolution only deals with things here on Earth. Why is this?

It's because you're getting the terms mixed up. Evolution was a word before Charles Darwin came along. There's the original meaning of it in English which Collins defines as:

Evolution "a process of gradual development in a particular situation or thing over a period of time."

And in biology nowadays it is short for the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, and explains the origin of species - it doesn't explain the beginning of the universe, or how life started, it deals with how life evolves.

When an astronomer uses the term stellar evolution, or planetary formation or whatever, and not all scientists do use the word evolution in this context, they're referring to "a process of gradual development in a particular situation or thing over a period of time" they're not referring to the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. They're talking about how the universe is aging, or developing. Not how stars are reproducing, undergoing mutations and how nature is selecting them - that would be silly.

Are you clear on that?

If you study astronomy you'll see the world "evolution" mentioned a LOT. there's talk of steller evolution, evolution of planets, evolution of galaxies, and many other mentions of it.

So how can you do this, Evolutionists?

/facepalm. Again two definitions, read above. One refers to change over time. A galaxy evolving, is just how it changes over time, not how or why it is, just that it is, or a person evolves from a child into an adult, it is used the same in this context as aging or growing up.

The Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection explains why and how species change from one thing into another.

One is a word describing change over time, and one is a scientific theory explaining how and why species evolve into other species.

It is rather comical watching creationists try and argue against Darwin, and Evolution by Natural Selection and seeing them extending that argument to the word evolution in general, I guess the city of London hasn't been evolving over the last 2000 years, because Darwin is wrong and things can't evolve!

Silent Hunter 5 announced

Coming to a computer next year, the fifth installment in the Silent Hunter series, this time we're back in the Atlantic (we should have never left) with the Kriegsmarine.

Silent Hunter 5

New features:

Walk through highly detailed submarines in the new first-person view and access every part of your U-boat.

Interact with your crew, watch them perform their daily jobs and experience the tension and fear inside the U-boat through the new advanced order system.

Choose your own strategy and select your targets with a new objective-driven, dynamic campaign.

Silent Hunter 5

Open new locations, upgrades and resupply possibilities, while the Allied ships adjust dynamically to your approach. Your actions will directly impact the evolution of the campaign.

Prowl the waters with a brand-new user interface. Now, every beginner can successfully command a sub while remaining free of confusion. In expert mode, experienced players will be provided all the necessary information and controls to command the sub completely on their own.

Experience the most realistic and immersive Silent Hunter ever created. Improved environment graphics create a powerful level of immersion as you operate authentic, highly detailed U-boats and fight against surface ships.

Silent Hunter 5

Let's hope they don't make it too arcadey so any monkey can play. I would embed a trailer, but until they have a trailer where the crew are speaking German, not English with a bad American accent there's no point.

Windows 7 RSS feeds don't update automatically

Carrying on from my preview post about how Internet Explorer and Pen Flicks are somewhat broken, next we come to the even more annoying issue.

RSS feeds don't reliably update in Windows 7. I haven't worked out exactly what is going on with this one yet.

But since I've been running Windows 7 I've noticed after logging onto the machine in the morning, that the RSS feeds in Internet Explorer - well any that are stored in the Common Feed List - aren't automatically updating.

I normally have my feeds set to update every 15 minutes, but after logging on in the morning 9 times out of 10 they'll all say last updated yesterday, even after waiting a couple of hours. You can easily tell it to start updating - by just right-clicking and refreshing all feeds, that starts the service working as usual, until the following day at least.

When I've come up with a work-around I'll post it.

Astronomers DO NOT say binoculars help with viewing the Perseids

The BBC was trying to do an article covering the Perseid meteor shower. Well they did a largely fair job on it, well almost.

No special equipment is required to watch the shower, which occurs when Earth passes through a stream of dusty debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle.

Yeah that's fine.

The meteors appear to come from a point called a "radiant" in the constellation of Perseus - hence the name Perseid.

Yup that's fine.

Astronomers say up to 100 meteors per hour are expected to streak across the sky during the shower's peak.

One person won't actually see 100 per hour, maybe three or four people looking at different parts of the sky might see closer to that sort of number.

But this year, light from the last quarter Moon will interfere significantly with the view.

Yes it will.

Astronomers say binoculars might help with viewing the spectacle, but will also restrict the view to a small part of the sky.

No sane astronomer would ever say that, you'll never see any meteors through binoculars. Don't bother even bringing binoculars with you, unless you plan to have a look at the Moon (best to do once you go outside so it doesn't ruin your dark adaption), or some of the open clusters in the region.

Pen flicks in Internet Explorer 8 on Windows 7 half broken

Now that Windows 7 has RTMed, it's time to look at where we are exactly from a bug standpoint.

Last week we had a lot of fuss over the so-called check disk bug, where check disk would use up all but 50MB of RAM. When was the last time anyone here ran check disk? And as I've always said, unused RAM is wasted RAM. I'm sat on my machine at the moment and it’s got 2GB unused, come on use that RAM.

Non-issue, that's not to say Windows 7 doesn't have bugs, I've come across more than I came across with Windows Vista when it first RTMed.

The second most annoying is this one, pen flicks being broken in Internet Explorer 8.

As many of you know I am a fan of the Tablet PC, I currently use a Motion LE1700. Windows Vista brought massive improvements to the Tablet, a new TIP (Tablet Input Panel), plus handwriting recognition that learns as you use it and pen flicks, the ability to quickly swipe the screen, and move say back and forward or scroll a page up and down. Windows 7 has improved upon the old TIP. But, its suffered from one massive almost deal-breaking bug.

Pen flicks do not work to scroll the page up and down in IE8 when it's using the new rendering engine. They however work fine if you're visiting a website in compatibility mode.

As a partial work-around you can enable compatibility mode for all websites in Compatibility View Settings under the Tools menu. But this work won't for websites that declare themselves as IE8 compatible.

So worst of all, this bug will get more obvious and annoying as time goes on as fewer websites will be displayed in compatibility mode.

What's even more annoying is Microsoft is talking up the touch features in Windows 7 - touch like using a tablet also uses the same pen flicks system, so undoubtedly it will be broken for those using touch screens too.

Quick hands-on with the Zune HD

CNet had a look at the Zune HD last Thursday. The mood seems generally positive.

Donald Bell:

The Zune's coolest music trick, though, is that it automatically pulls in a gallery of band photos, biographical information, and similar artist recommendations for any currently playing song--regardless of whether the track is from Zune Marketplace, your friend's hard drive, or torrents. It's feels a little more like digging through now, instead of just a straight-up music directory. If the Zune's connected to Wi-Fi, listings of related artists will link though to the mobile version of Zune Marketplace, where tracks can be streamed and purchased directly.

Speaking of Wi-Fi, the Zune's new Web browser smokes. Not since first using the iPhone have I been this impressed with a mobile Web browser. There's no branding on the browser, but I was told it was cooked up by Microsoft's Internet Explorer team (makes sense). Page load was snappy, and pinching and reorienting pages work just like the iPhone and iPod Touch. You also get a fast onscreen keyboard with a nice little magnifier effect with each keystroke.

Zune HD

Matt Rosoff:

But the real innovation seems to be going on in user interface--how do you make a touch screen workable on such a small device? Here, Microsoft has done a solid job, taking the mixture of horizontal and vertical menus used on the current Zunes and adding particular tweaks for the touch screen. You can scroll horizontally or vertically simply by swiping your finger along, and there are multiple "ways in" to and "ways out" of the various menus and screens, which encourages exploration. When a song's playing, you control the volume by touching the screen and hitting a little plus or minus button; numbers show you absolute volume. Clearly marked "exit" buttons are usually available to get you back to the previous menu, and a physical button below the screen (you can see the black trapezoid shape on the screenshots here) takes you back to the home menu page. There was a bit of a learning curve, but after a couple minutes I was impressed by how much functionality Microsoft was able to pack into such a small screen.

Hopefully Windows Mobile 7 will pick up on some of the nicer featuers of the Zune HD.

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