02/5/14

ADHD/ADD or something else? Thoughts…

I had a somewhat interesting experience the other day. The interesting bit about it was, that as far as I knew, I was not under the influence of any drug or psychotropic substance. My initial thoughts when I noticed what was occurring, was that the experience was very much similar to spacing out while under the effects of a chemical compound such as Tetrahydrocannabinol‎ (THC) but more towards the spacing out after consuming a member of the Psilocybe family of fungi. While not as extreme as the Psilocybe experience, it was still very surprising… mainly because at that point in time I was not expecting anything of the nature to occur, nor had I ingested any mind altering substances for a fair amount of time.

Of course, being some sort of a paranoid type, I started to attempt self diagnosis by Internet (which is typically a bad idea since symptoms of all kinds tend to overlap with all kinds of medical conditions and diseases). The fact that I basically had only a single symptom to work with didn’t really help much either and I ended up with a self diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 33. On the bright side, my self diagnosis accuracy up to this point in time has proven to be 0% – so I probably don’t have Alzheimer’s. Anyway, here’s an attempt at crowdsourcing a diagnosis… I’ve attached a number of graphs below which attempt to describe attention (in percent) versus time. Note that the time axis is in seconds and is in no means to be a 100% accurate reflection of the experience, but is more there to give a relative idea of time rather than a definitive measurement. I’d also like to add that these experiments did not break any laws of any kind and experiments with substances were conducted in a country where consumption is legal. Continue reading

01/20/14

Jolla Lands in Malaysia & First Impressions

After much waiting (and hefty donations to ParcelForce aka British Royal Mail), I’ve finally got my hands on the first (hopefully of many) Jolla device here in Malaysia. Here are my initial thoughts on the device…

It feels fairly hefty (because it is), but it feels good. At least it feels like you’ve got a well built phone in your hands as opposed to if it was really light, in which case, you’d probably think you had a plasticky dummy unit in your hands. The Other Half (hereforth referred to as TOH) of course is almost completely plastic with the exception of the tiny bit of electronics otherwise known as the NFC sticker. TOH is fairly difficult to remove (especially for a new user), and combined with the fact that it’s basically a thin piece of plastic, makes for a rather hair raising experience when first removing it to install the battery/SIM/MicroSD. After the first couple of times, you’ll probably develop some kind of method to help in removal – mine being getting the 2 bottom corners off first, then using a fingernail to pry out the plastic catches located along the edges.

Jolla Front

Jolla Front

Continue reading

10/2/13

GTA V: Lessons from Los Santos

Here’s a couple of things I picked up during my playthrough of GTA V that may (or may not) help you not lose hair/sleep.

  1. $$$ is pretty hard to come by until you finish the game pretty much – don’t spend on unnecessary (and expensive things). Properties can wait until you’ve got mad bank at completion.
  2. Everyone loves a modded car – I recommend that if you are modding a car, do it on the signature car of that particular character; that means the strange jeep for Trevor, the ugly red sedan for Michael. This doesn’t apply as much to Franklin, because he has the option of buying a Los Santos Customs franchise (which is the only property that is worth it early in the game IMO) and get all mods for free from that outlet (which is unfortunately out in the boondocks).
  3. A fully set up car will probably set you back around $100k – Even when modding ONLY signature cars to avoid the disappearing cars in garage bug (which may have been fixed with 1.01), there will be a couple of times where you’ll need to re-modify your ride. For Michael, your ugly red family sedan is switched for another car about midway into the game. For Trevor, for some reason, even though you retain the exact same car/jeep, there’s a point in the story where there’s an emotional break-up between you and Michael (no, I don’t consider this a spoiler and I left it vague anyway) and strangely all your mods vanish.
  4. As per most other sites recommendations, I’d advise you to avoid Lester’s assassination missions until after you’ve completed the game to maximize returns. On the non-optional assassination mission (that is required to progress the story), the stock that you can buy stops going up after about 1 or 2 missions/saves. Ditch it… it doesn’t go up after that, and if you don’t monitor it, you’ll end up making losses instead.
08/15/13

Ubuntu Edge Stops Just Short of the Edge

The lofty ambitions of Canonical to crowd-fund $32 million in order to produce the Ubuntu Edge “superphone” is looking just a little too lofty at this point in time. As it stands, the efforts of Canonical and backers have only managed to scrounge together 28% of the target with little time remaining (just under 2 weeks as of writing). Even taking into consideration the typical backing “spikes” which are common at the beginning and end of the crowdfunding life cycle, it’s highly likely that the Ubuntu Edge will never be much more than a snazzy looking piece of concept art framed and placed on someone’s wall.

Ignoring the promotional price of $600 which was offered for the first 24 hours, the Ubuntu Edge is priced at $695. Considering the iPhone 5 64GB retails at $849 off the shelf, the $695 that Canonical is asking for the Edge doesn’t seem so unreasonable especially considering the hardware it sports. Sure, some hardware may not be finalized, but from details that are available, it certainly does look like the Ubuntu Edge was looking to be the Bugatti Veyron of the mobile communications world – 4GB RAM, 128GB storage, dual booting of Android and Ubuntu, coupled with an undisclosed “fastest multi-core” CPU.

So, why is it that they look to be falling so far short of the mark? Let’s ignore the obvious comparison with the iPhone since Apple could release a rock with a keypad and people would still buy it for $849 (tin-foil hat engaged). Compared to other flagship Android devices (HTC One $599, Samsung S4 $649), the Ubuntu Edge appears to be a steal at a “marginally” higher price. The ability to dock the phone and boot up Ubuntu while at the same time having the flexibility to unplug and switch over to Android is a huge advantage and cannot be overstated. Despite the fact that smartphones are obviously getting more and more powerful, there are just some things that a full blown desktop OS will either be able to do that a mobile OS won’t, or just be plain better or more efficient at. Even ignoring the fact that the Edge has dual boot capabilities, it is still an Android device with incredible specs at a price point that is just a touch higher than typical flagship Android phones.

Added this bit in response to Colin’s piece available here.

The public stats for Ubuntu are quite impressive – generally it is the most popular desktop Linux distribution out there. Just look at the adoption & reception: in June 2009, it was estimated that there are 13 million active users; in fall 2011 Canonical itself estimated more than 20 million users worldwide. This number must have grown tremendously, but even at a 20 million base, you’re looking at 0.073% conversion rate to buy an Ubuntu Edge.

And here’s where I think the issue lies. It is true that Ubuntu IS the most popular desktop Linux distribution out there, however, while the numbers are pretty hefty (20 million at last estimate), the problem is that the majority of these users aren’t really Ubuntu users. I think they are users of a free Operating System, others, essentially hipsters who use Ubuntu because it is the path less traveled (that is cheaper than buying a Mac). My point is that Ubuntu has become so widely used that the average user is no longer your archetypal nerd with glasses who stares at an enormous multi monitor workstation all day anymore, that the average citizen of the Ubuntu community is no longer someone who “embraces” the OSS philosophy.

Based on some numbers from here, a rough estimate would put Ubuntu/Arch/Debian/Mint at 80% to 90% of the entire Linux distribution user pie – all highly accessible to anyone with basic computing knowledge (not that this is a bad thing). But assuming that the actual number of OSS advocates in those communities is closer to the average of the other reasonably large distros, then Ubuntu (and by extension Arch/Debian/Mint but to a lesser degree), the familiar geeky looking Ubuntu nerd population in the wild is actually closer to 5% of Canonical’s estimate – a very optimistic total of maybe 1 million (I personally think it’s much lower, probably 2.5% and 500k maybe). At that point, the conversion rate becomes a much more logical number.

As I mentioned earlier, I personally think that the price point isn’t the major hurdle that Canonical has to overcome. Anyone who is even remotely interested in OSS that happens to have that $600/$895/etc. available during the Indiegogo campaign would have jumped on that Ubuntu Edge bandwagon (yours truly included). It’s the fact that outside of the OSS community (and this includes the folks who are Ubuntu users), mentioning the Ubuntu Edge results in more raised eyebrows and confused looks rather than a moan that a porn star would be proud of.