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Software development Technology

Got some tech toys for my daughter 

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I thought this problem for a while. Sometimes I heard people complained companies like Lego discriminate: their toys are more for boys than girls, so Lego came up this Lego friends series which is geared more toward girl, as they ranges from bakeries, beach house, to rain forest rescue, and they have a lot girl figures. 

I think I fell into this trap too. I think some of the tech toys can be helpful and stimulate my daughter’s interest on STEM, but I did not follow through. She is 5 and will be 6 in a few months. So recently I did something different, I bought a quad copter (while she cannot play it, it could stimulate her interest), and the snap circuits 100. I can still sense her natural tendency is still social science, as I saw that’s her favorite in brain pop Jr. But I will give it some time and hopefully she will fall in love with IXL too 🙂

Note: brain pop jr. And IXL are 2 kids education websites. 

Another related topic is the “hour of code” initiative, I feel the awareness of coding or programming is reach all time high in school these days. Still remember my first computer program in basic language, when I was in middle school (about 13 or 14). Of course now we have so much wonderful material and resources such as Kahn academy, raspberry pi etc. It’s much more fun and hopefully can be integrated into science and math curriculum as well. Personally I think that’s more fun than standardized tests. Don’t get me wrong, I think fundamental training is still important, but creative work or education are also important. This takes time and effort, I am hoping more stakeholders (educators and parents) can buy into this in the future 🙂

Refer to Scott Hanselman’s blog post “The 2015 Christmas List of Best STEM Toys for your little nerds and nerdettes” here. Btw, I also got the Snap Circuit SC-300 for my nieces (10 and 8 years old).

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Technology Web

Set up Apple TV with AT&T u-verse

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It seems the wifi router comes with AT&T u-verse does not work with Apple TV. Apple TV could not find the wifi network from the build in u-verse wifi router. I found one workaround, that is to turn off the build in Wifi, use an old wifi router (D-Link DI-524) for Wifi instead. But there is still problem with the mirroring from iPad to Apple TV. Since I still have my previous LinkSys wrt54g router, I set it up as second router behind the DI-524, and connecting both the Apple TV and iPad to wrt54g. That worked. Another side benefits is wrt54g is a newer/more powerful router, and could broadcast wider range. So in a summary the architecture from internet to apple TV is something like below.

u-verse modem (wifi off) => D-Link DI-524 router => LinkSys wrt54g router => Apple TV/iPad

You may wonder why I add this extra D-Link DI-524 old router. The problem was I could not easily connect LinkSys wrt54g (the newer router) to u-verse modem. So I used the old router as a bridge. If someone has idea to make it work without this extra router, please let me know. (Email: minjie DOT xu AT gmail DOT com; or twitter @stlplace)

There is another problem with setup AT&T u-verse which is not related to Apple TV. The problem is when creating new account at their web site, they prompt for secret question/answer, it appears they don’t take any space in the answer. It was a programming error (web page text field validation) in my opinion, since I have done some web programming lately. The workaround is not to type any space. Simple enough.

This is also after using cable internet for about 8 or 9 years, I am switching to AT&T. I was using their DSL before switching to cable. The main reason is their service is cheaper, another factor is the cable had some connection issues lately.

(Update 05-07-2015) Came across this post regarding how to make direct connection from linksys wrt54gl to uverse router. I tried it but was not successful. It does not like the new local ip address 10.0.0.1 for linksys. But the theory there (conflicting local ip address between uverse and wrt54gl) seems holds, as I saw people discuss similar problem on linksys support forum.

Categories
Life Technology

Does multitasking work (I)?

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One big complaints on the new iPad is its lack of multitasking support. From technical perspective, I think that’s because iPad will be use iPhone OS, currently at 3.2 beta, and it does not support multitasking. It does support iPod (listening to music) and another task such as browsing web though. Some developers speculate Apple will support multitask in its iPhone OS 4.0.

Oh well, my point here is not just about iPhone/iPad multitasking. My point is trying to discuss whether multitasking, work both for us human beings and for the computers (ultimately controlled by us and supposed to help us work more efficiently). To be honest I don’t have the answer. But I read one interesting article when I google “multitasking makes you stupid”. I did not intensionally typed in those words, it just stands out when I typed “multitasking” in my browser google toolbar (another one is multitasking myth). Anyway, here are an interesting article from the Atlantic (2007)

The Autumn of the Multitaskers
and here an review article on the Atlantic article.
Multitasking Makes You Slow and Stupid…(I would read this one after the Long Atlantic article).

Categories
Technology

nook vs. Kindle

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From Fox Business News (via Youtube). The journalist also talked about Google and Android OS used in nook.

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Technology

Two Logitech mouse: V200 and VX nano

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My logitech V200 mouse is more than 3 years old. Recently it acts a bit strange, basically the clicking does not work very well: for instance, when I intended clicking once, it will click twice, vice versa. So I was looking for a replacement for some time. I found the VX Nano is a good one.

IMG_7016
(Left: the new VX Nano; right: the old V200

Price and Review
Bought both from Amazon.

Categories
Technology

The dark side of the technology

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A while ago I wrote about Internet Safety.

Last year
MySpace/Facebook, Barack Obama (this is probably the bright side, if you believe Barack is a good guy)

This year
Twitter revolution, Iran;

SMS (text message) + online BBS, Urumqi incident (what I call a terrorist attack/organized killing against innocent civilians);

Cyber attacks, notice the recent news South Korea and US gov web sites got attacked, not to mention the endless email from Nigeria says I will receive $10 million dollars if I can him my bank acct;

and there is this great thing many people love (but don’t want to admit), this porn thing (see WSJ video about software to help a guy get rid of bad habbit).

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Technology

nVidia

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nVidia got no love from the street these days. After yesterday’s earning (earning call here), the stock dropped more than 10% today amid weak (margin) forecast. This exemplifies that the market tends to be short sighted.

nVidia GeForce pic

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Technology

A legend is a legend

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(Update) Many people (such as DBANotes) think IBM is the ultimate loser in the Sun/Oracle deal. I think the deal is not necessarily bad news for IBM. Here is my rationale. IBM did not win because:

1) Anti-trust concern. Sun and IBM together will have a very high share of both UNIX server and storage tape markets.

2) Oralce CEO Larry and Sun CEO McNealy are very good friends (source: WSJ).

Negatives for Oracle:

Categories
Stocks Technology

Hard disk pioneers won nobel

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From Reuters, Hard disk pioneers won Physics nobel: France’s Albert Fert and Germany’s Peter Gruenberg won the 2007 Nobel Prize for physics on Tuesday for a breakthrough in nanotechnology that lets huge amounts of data be squeezed into ever-smaller spaces.

My take: Hard disk has changed the way we live and work, as we can find it in MP3 players or computers. But hard disk makers are not good investments in general. One can look at Seagate (STX), Western Digital (WDC) long term chart (5, 10 years) to see its so so performance. I think this industry is just too competititive and chronic price cuts makes the profit too thin.

Good technology does not necessarily translate into (very) profitable business. I think Google is a rare specie in the tech arena, with its unique business model and almost monopoly postion in the market, and the ever lower cost of hard drives to store its data 🙂

hard disk pic

Categories
Business Technology

Week in review 09/02-09/08

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1) Howard Schultz, Chairman of Starbucks, talked about competition from McDonald and Dokin Donuts.

Starbucks is not an advertiser. If other companies are going to advertise and promote specialty coffee, Starbucks is going to benefit in the long term,” he said.

2) iPhone price cut and iPod touch launch: Steve Jobs announced Apple will cut 8GB iPhone from $599 to $399, discountine to offer 4GB iPhone, and offer an iPod touch, which is “an iPhone without phone capability”. In other words: iPod touch will have touch screen, music and video capability, WiFi, Internet, etc. You can check out latest iPod lineup from apple.com