Wednesday, July 30, 2008

FTP for everyone!

So..What is FTP?
FTP is an acronym for File Transfer Protocol. As the name suggests, FTP is used to transfer files between computers on a network, such as the Internet. You can use FTP to exchange files between computer accounts, to transfer files between an account and a desktop computer, or to access software archives on the Internet. Keep in mind, however, that many FTP sites are heavily used and require several attempts before connecting.

Why Use It?
Its a guaranteed way to share DATA, namely files over the internet with any one who can connect to the FTP server.

How Do I Connect?!
You can use a web browser to connect to FTP addresses exactly as you would to connect to HTTP addresses. Using a web browser for FTP transfers makes it easy for you to browse large directories and read and retrieve files. Your web browser will also take care of some of the details of connecting to a site and transferring files. While this method is convenient, web browsers are often slower and less reliable and have fewer features than dedicated FTP clients.
Command line FTP
You can also use FTP in a command line format from your Unix account, or your Unix or Windows workstation. For help, see What are some common FTP commands? For example, to start FTP, at the command line prompt, enter: this also works with CMD in windows!

What Connection Information Or Credentials Do You Need To Connect?
To connect to a FTP server you need the domain, this is the most important component...depending on if the server uses anonymous FTP or requires you to insert a user name and password will dictate what other credentials you will need.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Second life Redux.

This week we were tasked to hop, skip, and maybe even drive around orientation island din linden labs second life, trouble is I had already been to the orientation island and there really inst any way to get back....I tried doing a bunch of searches and was unable to find anything relevant..unless....orientation island changed formats..cause I joined the SL community almost a year or two ago. This may seem like an odd request but I'd have to ask that you explore my blog a little and take a look at a few of the stories I wrote before in regards to SL.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Becon The Coders To Come Forth!

Mozilla is a rare, if not prefect example of what can happen when minds are allowed to collaborate on a single project that interests them all. As with OS distributions such as Linux and other projects in the same category the increased programing efficiency that can be brought forth by allowing many people to interact with a software code. However overcoming security issues as well as financial issues can bring even the best project to a halt; and thats where it takes a little luck and allot of skill. Both of which the guys over at Mozilla have in spades.

Personally I believe open source is a great Idea, not only to spark competition with products developed by payware companies but also to inspire creativity so that products become more robust and the coding community becomes self aware of how diverse and talented people that aren't necessarily connected with a mother company can be.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Bridge.

A long time ago, in an office or school far far away; I/O hardware was limited to keyboards , mice, printers and monitors; one had to type a command or click on a button and wait for the computers response. Just like the green and black monitors of old this hardware to will soon fade from memory, forced into the obscurity of Wikipedia and PC hardware books...but by what you ask. A new generation of I/O hardware is emerging that promises to seamlessly blend interaction with your digital world and your real world. Just one of these devices could fill an entire thesis paper but I'd like to cover a few of them rather briefly in this short blog post.

E-Ink, I'm sure you've heard this term floating around at one point in the other. E-Ink was originally a concept devised by OS programmers to allow seamless integration of written characters into TXT and Grahpics based enviorments, I.E your doctor drawing on your Xray on a touch screen pc. E-Ink has now evolved into a pratical replacment for printed media, one of the major issues of reading anything on a PC for long periods of time is eye fatigue; this is the main reason why digital distribution of printed content never really took off. New advances in E-Ink technology and even LED technology have allowed companies to solve that issue and the matter of power consumption. Below are three examples of said devices.
Toshibas New Sign.
Tokyo Subway
E-Ink Demo
Super Thin Display

This segways neatly into my next topic of interest, I-Displays. We breifly discussed I or Interactive displays in Monday's class with Microsofts Surface being the theme. For years end users and programers alike have tried to find a more natural way to interact with PC's and the content stored on them; trackballs, stylus, touch screens. These are just a few of the technologies that have surfaced thanks to work in this feild. Today however alot of the technology that was once relegated to high end users, coperate applications and in some cases military technology has slowly trickleled into the mian stream market. One of the most popular of these technologies is the interactive display, a screen that can be easily touched and manipulated with no obvious software layer. You just intuitively interact with the device and it excutes the desired command; and trust me it is as fun as it sounds. Here are a few video demonstrations after the break.
Data Vizulation And Traditional Interaction.
Analog Meets Digital
Sea Dragon
Water Board

The power of current day processors and GPU's makes this kind of interaction possible and not ludacriously expensive, ensuring that commercial and possibly even private acess to these technologies is less and less of a dream. Speaking of which..something I've been itching to show off, the new ATI Radeon 4870 GPU, packing GDDR5 memory running at speeds over 1ghz and only costing 300 dollars this GPU is capable of realtime video processing, physics processing and variable geomerty processing , it is also capable of putputing video and audio directly through a HDMI cable.
Tech Demo

Monday, July 14, 2008

Get A Life...A Second Life.

Greetings lads and ladies,

K.Rowe here with a few pictures from my recent excursions in secondlife. Why Kamal...what is this second life you keep going on about? Second life is basically a giant user created virtual world. People live, play, trade even fall in love in second life. Why Kamal...what are you doing in second life? Well...Ive got this independent study, we are scoping out second life as a virtual teaching medium and helping to establish Boston College's presence in this huge world.

Sounds cool right? Trust me it is, so far Ive barely scratched the surface of second life logging about ten hours are so. If any of you reading this had any notion of what second life was before I explained it your probably asking about the sex and other profanity that second life is supposedly plagued with. The thing about SL is that its broken into different islands and zones, PG, MA etc... so as long as you mind your P's and Q's its actually quite a tame and civilized place. One member even went as far as to say SL was a smart filter, all the dumb people get stumped at the login screen and eventually go away entirely. In my brief time there I've meet alot of people. Business owners, news anchors, teachers, social scientists. The list goes on and on really; but what each one has in common is an almost poetic relationship with second life and their own opinion on what it is and what it can become. In the coming weeks I hope to come to my own conclusion and experience as much as I can. I've managed to earn myself a bit of respect..popularity and Linden! ~Sl's form of currency~ The key so far is just to remember that Sl is made by people for your going to have all sorts of characters in there. Alright..time for postcards and pictures. Please enjoy and if your ever in SL feel free to drop me a line.
Here you can see the second life UK's learning island. Its chock full of interesting and creative content, from art gallery's to lecture halls. Also thats my avatar looking the part of the poor college student hehe.
Yes...thats a dragon..well a person. This is one of my friends avatar ~don't worry I asked for permission to post his likeness in my blog~ And yes, believe it or not each avatar is a person and you've got to respect their privacy and even personal would look very rude and be 3 inches away from someone; even in SL.

Here he is again posing for the camera. How nice of em.
Here is another acquaintance of mines in her werewolf form. I used some canned animations and a bit of timing to make a little machinima pose for you.
Here is that werewolf in her human form showing me some building skills. Thats the gunblade from final fantasy 8~for any gamers in the audience~
One of the MANY stores in second life. There was music..and greeters. It felt very authentic..I even won some money in a store lottery and game.
Me sporting some new threads. Yea I finally gave my fashion an upgrade. There goes my ramen noodles money.
Even in second life the stranger folks come out at night. This lot was particularly interesting. It was a huge hangout for avatars from every corner of second life where they could create items and buildings freely. It was actually quite a beautiful and unique place.
Wish you were here! Greetings from an animation store in SL. Yes...I realise my glasses are huge..and im working on that.
Me hanging out with one of the dogs on Sandras Island. Shes one of the more professional Sl members I meet with her own island and store and a huge amount of friends. I had a really pleasant time at her place.
Pictured here are the tons of dogs they have and a few of the people I meet. Yes, they are dogs in second life; and there actually quite nice and well trained. Although I got sniffed by almost each one.
More dogs! Rolling over none the less. Also pictured here are Mol and Blu, two of the ladies I meet. They are also co-owners of the island I was on and successful SL business partners. Mol also got married in second life, I found it a bit strange at first but after reading her profile it was apparent that her and her spouse were in love. They had a wedding and everything inside second life.
Dog whisperer move over..there's a new sheriff in town and he wears purple... More one on one time with the dogs. I did get to speak to the creator of these virtual pups and was assured that each one was running its own AI, pushing the SL servers to their max. A code over load has even gone as far as taking this entire lot off line for a period of time.

Here we can see Blu ~dog lover extrodinar~ forming a doggie conga went in a full circle around us. Very entertaining stuff. This picture also shows off the complexity and beauty of the island I was on. Its hard work building these things, but well worth it.

As you can see I've been a bit of a busy bee in second life. Thus far its been very enjoyable. Until my next update take care.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Space, just mite be the final frontier.

For the past decade or so the space shuttle has been an example of mans ingenuity and curiosity. However more recently the space program has faded into the back of the minds of many Americans, these days space shuttle missions are ~mundane~; heck I bet most of you reading this couldn't name two current astronauts without googeling or wiki. The Space Shuttle itself, officially known as STS or Space Transportation System is about to reach the end of its operation lifetime. In 2010 the Shuttle will be decommissioned and join the likes of other cold war technological marvels which include the likes of the Grumman F14 and SR 71 Black bird just to name a few. Unlike these other technologies NASA actually has no designed replacement that is ready to take over STS services and unlike a defense contractor no one really wants to fight for it either; I.E there is no X prize to save space exploration, no F22 raptor. NASA expects to have a replacement by 2015 and has actually implemented a *pay to ride* with companies such as Virgin Atlantic to piggy back on their commercial space ventures. For someone like myself its quite disappointing to hear something like this, I grew up with the shuttle and it will be missed; it was indeed an icon for our time. NASA just publicly released mock ups of what they think the next space vehicles will look like and honestly it isn't very promising but in today's economic environment I can see why they'd be rolling back to cheaper technologies. On average a single space flight costs 500 Million dollars, that's half a Billion dollars. So hopefully by 2010 NAHA, the national aeronautics, hoping to get into space association wont have to make that name official. Currently the private sector is the one experiencing the most growth as far as the space race goes. With google announcing their Lander Prize and with names like Richard Branson on the tips of every ones tongue it won't be long before a new commercialized space agency is formed, the UPS to NASA's USPS.For more info on anything you read here, please see the links below.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Homework Assingment 1 : One Rin..Erm Format To Rule Them All.


Assignment One

This data shows an interesting trend that many manufacturers are starting to notice, the casual audience dominates the buying market, it isn’t audio piles, it isn’t video piles, it isn’t hardcore techies. Its soccer mom Jill, Dan the accountant, Sarah the co ed and grandma Marcy. Technology that is fairly easy to use and more importantly easy to brand to a mass market will always dominant, regardless of if its a utilitarian product or not. It also shows how popular digital media, and more importantly portable digital media has become. Once upon a time to watch a 1080p movie you had to build a pc powerful enough to play it without a falter, set up a decoder box, correctly wire the speakers, the list goes on. Now its as simple as downloading it through your apple TV , video game console, or turning on your cable box.

The same can be said for content delivery; people want it, and they want it now. Once upon a time Friday night was movie night, you drove to blockbuster or the local cinema and sat through that annoying pack of people behind you talking through the entire flick. However now with advances in home theater technologies and distribution mediums a lot more people are *waiting until it comes onto DVD*, or more recently..*waiting until it hits live or psn,* ~Xbox Live & Play Station Network~ or simply just downloading it directly to a pc or laptop connected to a TV. On more than one occasion I’ve spoken to friends that were *watching TV on You tube*. So now the big fight is between traditional media, in this case a 50GB or 50 000 Megabyte aprox, optical disk or a 20Mb high speed fiber optic connection. It’s gotten to the point where the hardware required to access multi-media content from both these mediums is identical and in the case of the Play Station 3 both built into a single device. Now this is fine and dandy for gamer Stan, with his 1000 watt sound system, 42 inch lcd and shelf upon shelf of content at his finger tips; but what happens now to accountant Dan that visited Stan’s house and decided he wanted get in on this, but didn’t want to drop 5 or maybe even 6 grand. This is where the true battle lines are drawn to decide what will become the dominant content delivery medium and more importantly who will come to dominate that market. Markets run by terms like plug and play, accessibility, usability, personalization and now more so than ever affordability.

For my analysis I chose to take a look at BRDVD or BluRay Digital Versatile Disk .Versatile because you can store more than video on it, along with its pros and cons. BR is a next generation storage medium, offering all the convenience of a physical, light weight disk, combined with ludicrous storage capability. How ludicrous? Lets make a little comparison; the average DVD stores 4.7 Gigabytes of information, the average hard disk stores 250 Gigabytes of information though HDD are being made in platter sets equal to a terabyte 1000 Gigabytes. A BR disk on the other hand can hold up to 50 Gigs in dual layer format; immediately you can see why this is beneficial. Now before you say,well there you go one hard disk can hold 5 or more BR disks; consider the following. A HDD requires a power source, generates heat; needs drivers, and most IT professionals wouldn't recommend carrying one around and certainly not shipping one with data on it to your local store for a stock boy to chuck around and then selling it. Basically as a quick and dirty storage medium, the HDD is no good; this is where BR comes into play, and all you need is a drive at home that can read a BR disk. Games, movies, RAW images, uncompressed video, uncompressed audio; they all instantly become portable without fear of losing critical information because of an accidental drop.

Of course, there is nothing good on this earth, which in too great amount can not harm. The same goes for BR, the most prominent con being its cost. To be frank BR is bloody expensive; on both a manufacturing and commercial level. The diodes that create the light which reads BR disks is very difficult to create and any device that promises to play back 1080 P content in 7.1 must have the processing power to do so. Lets take a look at some prices; the average BR PC drive is 300$ U.S, the average BR certified H.T.P.C or home theater PC is 1000$, the average stand alone BR player including the Sony PS3 is an astonishing 900$. This is before you throw in movies that cost Aprox 50$ a piece, and what ever else Best buy wants to con you into buying. It seems the old mantra of Live Long And Purchase is alive and well; however with all emerging technologies prices at first are slightly inflated , or as I like to call it *early adopters tax*. The competitions on the other hand, in the form of downloadable content and High Definition cable are all much cheaper and some argue much more practical, a one Terabyte hard disk is three to four times cheaper than the average blue ray player making storage for downloaded content less of a concern that it used to be; with the introduction of PVRs, IP TV and the evolution of gaming systems and pc' into more powerful multimedia devices than ever before, there’s no doubt that the cheapest and most practical devices will win. At the moment Sony has a good footing with the PS3, it’s been estimated that 4.48 million PS3’s have been sold thus far; however the number of machines bought purely as BR players is unknown. In the US the competition is very tough, with 51% of households having access to cable and subsequently HD cable and another 26% having satellite television. Broad band internet penetration is even higher with an estimated 57% of American households with PCs having high-speed internet.

So what exactly do these numbers mean for BR? Sony needs to keep in mind that only 30% of Americans have a high definition television set so their market for BRDVD as a source for HD content is limited to say the least and currently there here in the US there is no way to commercially obtain a BR RW drive and blank BR disks, so its usability as a storage medium is also limited. To be blunt BR has a serious fight on its hands if it wishes to dominate anything other than the $5.99 bin currently occupied by HD-DVD movies and old black and white movies.