Python has some language features that one might never use, but then
one day you come across them in some other code and need to know what
they do. The following fragments (see the reply by Xoanan on this page) are
To determine the intersection between two lists "list1" and "list2":
intersection = filter(lambda x:x in list1, list2)
To determine the union between two lists "list1" and "list2":
union = list1 + filter(lambda x:x not in list1, list2)
To determine the difference between two lists "list1" and "list2":
difference = filter(lambda x:x in list2, list1)
To determine the distinct elements, those not in common between two
lists "list1" and "list2":
distinct = filter(lambda x:x in not list2, list1) + filter(lambda x:x in not list1, list2)
A discussion of the various ways of extracting the
unique elements from a list
From time to time you might encounter a list which contains some lists,
and you want to flatten this into a single list of simple elements.
artical talks about two ways to do this. Perhaps the more readible
method is with the nested list comprehensions:
nested = [[1,2,3], [4,5], ]
flatList = [x for sub in nested for x in sub]
[1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]
this works by the first "for" loop (for
sub in nested) iterating over the top list and on each iteration
picking up a sublist and placing a reference to it in "sub", then the
second for loop (for x in sub)
runs and picks up the selected sub list and iterates over it, placing
each element of it in x. A list of all the individual values that x
takes is built up by the [x ...]
construct. A limitation with this is that all the elements in the
outer list must support iteration (i.e. be lists, tupples or something
else list-like), so you cannot have a simple scalar element in the
A review of the Canon
9900 large format printer. As for the cost of ink here is some info
Speaking with Canon,
I found the
Of course, every
image is different, but in Canon's testing, the company used the ISO
Standard #5 image to estimate inktank usage. (This image provides a
fair and accurate ratio of colors to approximate the average digital
photograph.) Here are the results, according to Canon:
Cyan: 1100 pages
Yellow: 540 pages
Photo Cyan: 380
Photo Magenta: 280 pages
Green: 2300 pages
new red and
green tanks, obviously, are used far less often than the others because
they're primarily used for accent work. They're the last tanks you'd
have to replace.
Jason Bovberg -June 3, 2004
Based on CDN$20 per cartridge (current pricing seems to be in the $15 -
$19 range) this would work out as $0.24 per print. What the poster did
not mention was what the print size was... in a follow up it was said
to be 8x10 on standard printer settings, using Canon Photo Paper Pro
Here is some more information:
I purchased the i9900
about 6 weeks ago
to replace my S9000. The
S9000 is no slouch and a top rated printer from 2 years ago but i9900
is much better. I now shoot with a Canon 10D and Canon L lenses even
though I have thousands of transparencies to scan on a Canon FS4000US
film scanner. The 10D was purchased just prior to a trip to Rome where
I shot about 1000 images.
I just finished
assembling 170 of
the best Rome images into an album using Canon PhotoRecord software
that comes with most Canon digital products. I printed the album on
both Epson dual-sided matte paper and Pictorico dual-sided semi-gloss
paper. The results are amazing. Both papers work extremely well with
the i9900 although they each have their own subtle tinting difference.
This can be corrected easily with color adjustment through the printer
driver. Printing the entire album on the dualsided 8.5 x 11 stock (68
pages total) used no more than half of some of the ink cartridges and
almost none of the red and green. People who have viewed the album are
stunned and amazed with the quality and can't believe it came from an
inkjet printer. The color punch and tone is incredible and the level of
detail and resolution equals or exceeds wet chemistry printing. If you
want to see dots you'll need at least a 4X loupe and there is
absolutely no banding.
It is a mistake to
not consider this
printer because of the limited selection of Canon papers. Epson papers
work extremely well on the Canon printers as do Pictorico, Mitsubishi
and Konica. These are the only papers I've had the opportunity to try.
Needless to say, I am very happy
I bought this printer.
Bob Baron -June 18, 2004
Also see this for
what to do if Windows Update keeps downloading the same patch again and
The Windows NTFS supports the concept of alternate data streams
within a single file. By default one always sees the primary (or
"unnamed") stream, but if one opens the file in a special way one will
be able to read or write a particular alternate stream. In July'06 the
which use these alternate data streams to hide were detected.
Windows Dynamic disks (described in this article: KB222189 - note
this article does describe an "import" function that is provided to
allow you to move a dynamic disk from one system to another) cannot be
moved from one system to another readily. This knowledge base article: KB232463,
mentions this in the context of laptops, but I have run into this while
trying to move dynamic-type disks from an older Win2K machine to its
replacement WinXP box (when I did this the disk was shown as
"foreign"). Probably best to stick with the basic disk type, unless you
are really needing to make use of the new features of dynamic disks
(for example to provide a RAID file system). It also appears that you
cannot put a dynamic disk into a USB drive case and still access its
contents (the article KB254105 confirms
this is the case) - probably for similar reasons relating to the disk
partition database, as once the disk is USB attached it could be
attached to any number of machines and this database is not designed to
handle this. Other articles on dynamic disks:
Apogee Inc makes
some astro-binoculars, including a pair with 90 degree prisims for
more comfortable viewing
- How to convert basic and dynamic disks in Windows XP
How to establish a striped volume with parity (RAID-5) in Windows
Server 2003: KB323434.
Best practices for using dynamic disks on Windows Server
2003-based computers: KB816307.
Basic storage versus dynamic storage in Windows XP: KB314343. This
says that the mirroring and RAID-5 features are not available in
Windows XP Pro.
How to use disk management to configure dynamic disks in Windows
 pyText2Pdf, a Python script to convert pain text directly into PDF documents.   The Epson R1900 photo printer has Epson's new UltraChrome Hi-Gloss2 ink and prints up to A3+ in size. 
NoiseNinja2 gets reviewed
IFranView is a
freeware image viewer, with some manipulation capabilities. Through a set of
plugins it has support for loading RAW format files for a number of
cameras, including the Minolta A1/A2. It is reviewed here,
apparently it now has the ability to create panoramic photos.
Video resolution test patterns
you can download, print and do your own pixel
PhotoFiltre is an
processing/manipulation program that is available in a reduced feature
free version and a commercial version. It is reviewed here.
In Eastern Canada (Dec'04) Rogers has partnered with Yahoo
to provide high
speed cable modem service with 2GB email and supposedly unlimited
 Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 gets more features, but still could be made more user-friendly. This version added panorama image assembly (which compares well with Ulead PhotoImpact) and the new Group Shot feature is designed to allow one to make a single photo containing the best elements out of several group poses. This version also has support for producing photo books, which need to be uploaded to Kodak for printing. There are some other places that do photo books: Picaboo and ShutterFly.   The book Beginning Game Development with Python and Pygame (by Will McGugan) is offering a preview by way of a free chapter on Artificial Intelligence. 
mypublisher.com does photo books, they also provide an application (BookMaker) that you install on your computer to build the book. They have three sizes of books, including a large 15"x11" format and also offer dust jackets. PCMag.com has a short review of their service.
Adding a video
display to a computer case (fits in about 3 drive bays)
Lego Computer, here the case for a VIA EPIA-M9000 is made out of Lego
Benchmarking Intel's new (Mar'05) 64-bit
Pentium 6xx chip
a windmill built out of high altitude kites - position this in the jet
stream and you'll get oodles of power
Solar Tower in the UK is plastered with 7244 Sharp 80W solar panels
(at a cost of $11M so about $1500 per panel, as that's at least two to
three times what the panels should cost they must be including
installation and all the peripheral equipment - still an interesting
metric: "$18/W fully installed with all support systems").
Solar cells capable of over 40% conversion
efficiency have been demonstrated in the lab, and now researchers
are predicting the maximum achievable efficiency in a three-junction
design could be 58%. These cells require concentrated sunlight to
reach these efficiencies.
 July'07, a Norwegian car company is building
a compact electric car called the Think City that may be brought to
the US in 2009. Discussed here on Slashdot. Their plans have firmed up somewhat and in Apr'08 announced the first cars would go on sale to the US public in 2009. Discussed here on Engadget.
like Google Maps possible. More on its use.
A Slashdot book review of: Ajax
in Action, by Pascarello Crane, ISBN 1932394613.
Slashdot book review of: Foundations
of Ajax, by Ryan Asleson and Nathaniel Schutta, ISBN: 1590595823.
Could the compound eyes
of insects be applied to photography? A camera with about 90,000
microlenses has been developed as a thesis project.
The effect of megapixel counts and print sizes, this
article demonstrates that 5Meg (or more) can produce apparantly
identical results at a 16x20 print size. In my experience with printing
8MP images (all shot in JPEG) from my Minolta A2 at 13x19" size (on a
Canon i9900 printer), its pretty much impossible to see any evidence of
their digital origins - about the only chance is if you can pick out a
sharp edge between a light and a dark object, then you might be able to
make out a narrow band of lighter area intruding onto the dark region
(which is probably a JPEG artifact). I have done a 13x19 print from the
Minolta A2 of trees in autumn standing in a field of long dry grass,
and even on the grass I cannot make out stair casing. I did some
test prints once from my 3MP Canon G1 and printed a 16x20 as a tiled
8x10 set (which means that the printed pixels were about 100 pixels per
inch) and in those you could see pixelization on the edges of things,
but if you viewed from a reasonable distance you could not see them. My
conclusion is that 5MP should be good enough for most people,
especially if you get a camera with a larger sensor to reduce the
sensor noise. Of course if one is purchasing a camera with less than
about a 5x optical zoom then more pixels might well be useful to allow
for additional cropping before printing.
some printer reviews, including the Canon S900 and the Epson Stylus Photo 2100.
through the eyes on a Nikon 990
has quite a bit of digicam related stuff, and very good prices on
BP-511 replacement batteries
Problem with the A2's 4-way
controller buttons stopping working
to ship the first 50in SED based TV in March 2006, apparently these
have a 100,000:1 contrast ratio.
review of: Hardening
Apache, by Tony Mobiliy, ISBN: 1590593782
A Slashdot review of Wordpress
Complete, by Hasin Hayder, ISBN 1904811892
A Slashdot book review of, Head
First HTML with CSS & XHTML, by Elisabeth and Eric Freeman,
on Slashdot) they are the only ones to provide a Linux version with
GUI/X windows pre-installed (the comments in this
article mention this briefly). They use a different virtualization
Linux) than the rest appear to use, and are the only ones that
mention you can (space-permitting) install more than one version of
Linux at the same time in your account, and then reboot to switch
between them - which might be a good testing tool. A quick
review of Linode. Some scripts to help monitor
your bandwidth usage. Documentation on the screen package
that lish uses.
 The Asus Eee PC 701 gets reviewed by Laptop Mag, discussed here on Engadget. There's at least one 701 in the UK getting passed around the reviewers and its being received favorably. CNet's Rory Reid got his hands on it and quite liked it, a Slashdot discussion of this review revealed that ZDNet was to have reviewed the machine after CNet, but that CNet had messed it up by trying (and failing) to install XP on it. However, Rupert Goodwins the the ZDNet reviewer then fixed the problem by installing the new Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon release on it. Since the standard Ubuntu installed with only minor issues I'm guessing that this little laptop might receive a lot of attention from the Linux community which should be a good thing for it. There is also an unofficial Eee PC forum at www.eeeuser.com along with lots more news and some unofficial specs (like the VGA port supports up to 1600x1280). NewEgg appears to be the first to claim to have stock of these in the USA. Engadget has a round up of the latest post-release reviews. This review from Notebook Review is especially noteworthy has it includes instructions on dissecting your new laptop and also on upgrading the RAM to a maximum of 2GB. 
Maxtor announces (Sept'04) their 300GB external
to IDE (both 3.5inch and 2.5inch connectors) cable,
little gadget to have
in your tool drawer
your own DVDs
Here's an updated press release that claims samples
will ship in the 3rd quarter of 2002. Here's some more news
DVD storage. This gets mention on Slashdot
(16-Jul-02) as some ex-Sony engineers have demonstrated this.
inkjet printers, the
890 and StylusPhoto
1280 (reviewed here)
which offer some of the best printing you can get. They can all do
borderless prints on regular media (no perforated tear-off strips needed), the
only real difference between the 780 and the 890 is that the 780 cannot
handle roll paper, the 1280 is the only one that can handle large format
paper. The I
Love Epson site has some information on new printers (probably in
Photo S900 also appears to be a good contender in the photo
printing arena. It has high resolution, speed and a 6-colour ink system with
individually replacable tanks. Supplies for it are not as readily available (in
Western Canada) as the Epson and HP printers. The sample print that Canon
supplied to the dealer where I saw it was far more detailled than anything my
Epson Stylus PhotoEX could do. The lower-end but newer Canon
i850 looks like it might be a good alternative to the S900 for all
but the most high-end user (even thoug it only uses a 4-colour ink
system), it also includes a USB2.0 interface. The Canon i965 printer is reviewed
here, this is the
European version of the i960, but it has a CDR printing tray which the i960 does
The Canon i9900 large format photo printer gets reviewed here.
This is a great printer, if you feed in an 8M pixel image you can get a
full-bleed 13" x 19" print out of it in about 6 minutes - at that size
there is still no visable pixelization or other artifacting. If you use
a magnifing glass you might be able to pick out a little bit of white
edging that is introduced by the JPEG compression process (so if you
use a RAW image this should even be eliminated). But who's going to
look at a 13x19 print with a magnifing glass?
In 2004 Canon introduced the PIXMA
iP8500 printer, this is sort of a small format version of their
i9900, it uses the same 8 colour ink and print head, prints very fast
and has a built in page duplexer.
The new (March 2002) Canon
S9000 printer sounds like it might be a strong competitor to the
Epson large format printers that have ruled this area of the market place for
the last 4 years.
Sony makes a cute little (2-3 inch) "table top" tripod,
but the neat thing is that it looks like you just attach it to your
camera, and when not using it you just flip up the legs and from then
on its hardly noticeable (in fact it may act as a handy griping surface).
you choose a prosumer digicam or a DSLR for your next camera?
How to build a cable
shutter release for a Pentax DSLR, with additional reference to a
tutorial for doing this on a Canon DSLR.
One professional photographer's idea of what would make a great compact camera.
This is an interesting specification here are some thoughts about it:
Here's a digital
photo frame made (or distributed) by Pacific
Digital, that RadioShack (in Canada this became "The Source by
Circuit City") carries, it has a USB port for photo
download (Jul 03).
 dpNOW.com reviews the Epson PictureMate 290 printer, which is a standalone unit with a 3.6 inch screen dedicated to making 4x6 prints. This also includes a built in CD/DVD writer that can be used to archive photos from memory cards (and you can also read photos from CDs for display and printing). Printing costs could be as low as $0.41/print (20p UK). PCMag.com reviews the Epson PictureMate Dash, which is the same printer without the CD burner, they quote a per-print cost of as low as $0.25. TrustedReviews has also reviewed the PictureMate 290 and found with the largest media pack a printing cost of 14.7p UK per print. BlankDVDMedia.com in Canada stocks the paper and ink packs for these printers and it currently works out at $0.45/sheet. PC Magazine reviews the Epson PictureMate Zoom which is very similar to the Dash.  Beginning Game Development in Python and Pygame, will be reviewed here someday. 
A review of: Secrets
of the Digital Darkroom,
by Peter Cope and Simon Joinson, ISBN: 1904705073.
Digital Photo Doctor, ISBN: 1-904705-73-1,
a book on retouching and correcting digital photographs, to be
published in Sept 2006.
 Wikipedia writes about the Slashdot effect, the example load graph they include shows a web server going from idle to delivering content at a 900k bytes/sec rate and gradually declining over a 12 hour period. Simple integration of this curve (which is essentially a triangular shape) leads to a total delivery of about 19GB of data in response to Slashdot requests. A visualization of this effect can be seen here.  Buffalo's LS-WTGL/R1 NAS will hold up to 2TB in 2 drives, priced between $490 and $1100 depending on storage size.  While not strictly mini-ITX in form factor, the gOS Dev Board is a micro-ATX board based on the Via C7 processor, so it has the nice low power characteristics of a mini-ITX board, but it has more slots and it is roughly 1/2 the cost of an equivalent mini-ITX board. So unless you want to put it in a very small case this might be a good choice. Since it has both ATA and SATA connectors if you have a defunct PC you could just remove its motherboard and pop one of these in its place. If this board had DVI or HDMI output it would actually make a reasonable media PC for quite a low price. Discussed here on Slashdot and here on Engadget. 
a Commodore 64 emulator for the Palm PDA, discussed on Slashdot here
(well the ARM powered ones at least). I guess its getting time to cast
off my SJ30...
The Sony Clie PEG-VZ90,
perhaps the most expensive Palm device in the world - and its got an
A portable bluetooth
keyboard and the Stowaway
Keyboard and one from Brando
In Sept 2005 the sale of
PalmSource to Access (A Japanese cell-phone software company) was announced,
is this the end of the road for Palm-based organizers?
an encrypted data storage folder by MSB Software Engineering
for your Palm device, to view the contents you must enter a password,
if you switch applications or turn off your Palm it automatically locks
up. When it syncs to your PC its backup database is encrypted, a
second tool (Yaps
Viewer) is available that lets you view the database on the PC. I
highly recommend Yaps.
A review of 4
live-CD Linux distros
9.1 Personal is now available
10 is now available (June'04)
distro hits 1.0
Linux, also examined here.
as well. In May'06 SUN Microsystems started
to adopt Ubuntu. Could this cause compatibility
problems for Debian? In Sept'05 version 5.1 of this was previewed.
Taking linux on
the road with a small USB drive and the Ubuntu H2
distro. In late Oct'06 the 6.10
version of Ubuntu was released, there have been reports
of problems when upgrading to this version.
Linux now allows you to write your data back to the CD you booted
from - it appears this would work with CDRW, but only the same way as
CDR media is treated (so free space is gradually lost, one session at a
time as you use it. When the CDRW is full you could presumably erase it
and reuse it again. Apparently this should also work with DVDR, and at
$0.30/disk this would be the way to go! You'd probably damage the DVD
physically before filling it...
Cookbook, by Carla Schroder, ISBN: 0596006403.
Step by step installation
procedures for Debian 3.0
sounds like a nice, fast, Linux install (I got good download speeds
The documentation is available at knoppix.net.
There are even specialized
versions of Knoppix for particular applications such as bioknoppix and clusterknoppix. And KnoppMyth for MythTV. And Quantian which
focuses on numerical analysis tools. And KnoppiXMAME for
arcade game emulation. June 2004 and another
Knoppix release is due soon. March 2005 and Knoppix 3.8 is almost
ready to appear. Looks like Knoppix 3.8 has
been released and could even run within Windows.
Debian Linux on the Linksys NSLU2
So many bootloaders,
 it is now
possible to read and write NTFS partitions from within Linux. The NTFS-3G project is addressing this
Build a home Terabyte
backup system using Linux
 Toshiba's new SCiB batteries are an improved Li-ion design that can take a 5 minute charge (to 90%) and last for 5000 cycles (about 10 times what a conventional lithium battery does). These are being targeted at the new hybrid and electric vehicle markets. At 5000 cycles, even if you only got 100km on a charge that would be 500,000km of driving out of one car - so these will probably outlast most of the cars they get installed in. Which means there might actually be a significant used battery market.  Computerworld takes a look at the Samsung 64GB flash drive along with five other drives in a review of the six top hard drives for speed and capacity. 
of the Serenity Virtual
Station, software that allows one to run one operating system on
top of another
Joel on Software,
has some books that may be of interest to software developers: Joel on
Software and User Interface
Design for Programmers.
Slashdot book review of: Micro-ISV:
from Vision to Reality, by Bob Walsh, ISBN 1590596013.
All about starting a small software company.
Project Management, techniques for coping with short schedules. Discussed here
IT projects either don't finish or are poorly completed, though
this might not be as bad now as it was in the mid 90's
by Michael Loop, ISBN: 978-1590598443,
sounds like it might be worth a read.
 The HP Photosmart Pro B8850 gets reviewed here, it is capable of printing 13 inch wide media in panoramic lengths (i.e. exceeding the 19 inch maximum of the Canon 9900 printer).  Lumiram makes the ECOLUME full-spectrum fluorescent lights. These have a 5000K colour temperature, which is in the natural daylight range (these might be available at some Canadian Tire Stores). GE makes a similar product which has a 6500K temperature (unfortunately GE's web site is not well suited to linking, so this will not work, instead you'll need to search their products for "GE Daylight Energy Smart" or a product number like 85394 or 89095)which I have found at both Canadian Tire and Walmart in Calgary.  The Maha MH-C9000 WizardOne is an intelligent AA/AAA battery charger. This has four independent charging circuits, so different sizes and capacities can be charged at the same time. It also has a number of special cycles, including a discharge, a refresh (combined top-up, discharge, recharge) and a break-in cycle (for batteries that have lost their full capacity). It is reviewed here and here. In Calgary it is available at MemoryExpress.   Sony is going to be producing some photo frames (DPF-V900 and DPF-V700) that have HDMI outputs. This means that you could hook up a photo frame to your large screen HDTV and have a classic slide show evening.  The Popcorn hour networked media player is now shipping in limited quantities at $179. This supports up to 1080p (both component and HDMI) as well as composite and S-video. It also has two USB ports for adding devices as well it supports an IDE internal drive for more storage. It supports a pretty wide set of CODECS. There's more information on this on the Networked Media Tank support wiki. In May'08 this started to ship in volume, comments from early adopters are pretty positive. A very good review of the Popcorn Hour with some internal pictures, this review has been updated a number of times as the author has worked with different firmware versions. Engadget asks its readers how they would change the Popcorn Hour. The next generation of this (the A-110) went on pre-order in Aug'08 and they are also making a mini-ITX motherboard called the B-110 for home theater applications. CNet takes a look at the A-110.   ComputerWorld takes a look at 7 secure USB drives, this is discussed here on Slashdot.  The MSI Wind is another competitor to the ASUS Eee - this will have a 10 inch display at 1024x768 resolution and sell in the UKP299 to UKP699 range. Now MSI is talking about June'08 for first shipment of the 8.9 and 10 inch Wind devices, for prices in the range of $470-1099. MSI has posted its official specifications for the Wind, the 8.9 and 10 inch displays will be 1024x600 and be LED-backlit, so battery life may be better than a similar sized Eee. Engadget reports that this is to be $610 for a 10-inch screen, 1.6GHz Atom processor, 1GB RAM and XP. MSI has finally announced that the price for the 10 inch version will be $399 (with Linux) and $549 (with Windows XP). At $399 it really under cuts the 9-inch Eee and provides more features than the 7 inch Eee (which is also about $399) so ASUS will have to rethink their pricing a bit - isn't competition great! A Chilean gets to review an early version of the Wind and quite likes it. The UK site Mobile Computer reviews the Wind and Slashdot discusses it here. CNET takes a hands-on look here with followup on Engadget here. Another pre-release preview here. LaptopMag reviews the MSI Wind, and likes it. More reviews of the Wind and questions about why the Advent 4211 (which is the same machine under a different label) is less expensive.  The ASUS 9 inch Eee makes an appearance on the FCC website.  CNet's list of 10 most obsolete computer interface ports. It includes a reference to the Red Dwarf robot Kryton too. Most of this makes sense except, perhaps, for the inclusion of FireWire. Discussed here on Slashdot.  The SONY HDR-TG1 Handycam (which will be the HDR-TG3E in Europe) is a very compact full 1920x1080 HD camcorder that writes to memory stick flash media (needing about 4Gig/hour in LP mode). It can also act as a 4M pixel still camera. Discussed here on Engadget. An unboxing and quick look at it in video form are here. Engadget starts to take a look at one. 
Another way to make
money from SPAM
supposedly this will trick the dialing computers that telemarketers use
into thinking your phone is disconnected, but does it really work? I
must admit the idea of paying one fee, only once, to get rid of these calls
is appealing (it sure beats having to pay "protection money" to the
phone companies on a monthly basis for caller ID, a service that costs them
absolutely nothing to provide and on 90% of my telemarketers identifies them as
Mr. "Out of Area" because they are calling from another province) but I
can't help thinking that a few software tweaks to the computers that do this
calling and they will no longer be fooled, and you'll have to buy a new
zapper. 27-Feb-03: it looks like the telezapper may actually have been
for-real; however, its days are numbered by software
from Castel that will allow call centers to ignore the tones the
zapper produces. And best yet, Castel's software will allow the call
center to transmit any caller ID information they care to choose - you can bet
they'll be choosing some misleading names like "visa" or just taking
your last name and putting a different, random, initial in front of it.
has started watching license plates in Sprindale Ohio. Patrol
cars are fitted with and automatic scanner that can read 900 license
plates an hour and as it does so it automatically checks to see if the
plate is associated with any bad act. The same system has also appeared
in British Columbia.
 The launch of the ASUS 9-inch Eee 900 starts now (in Hong Kong and the UK). Looks like being about $500 for both the Linux and Win XP versions, but you get 8GB more SSD in the Linux version for the same price. The US release of this is to be on May 12th for $549. There are reports that the first batch of Eee 900 machines to be sold in hong Kong have included a 4400mHh battery pack rather than the 5800mAh unit that was in the reviewers' units. ASUS is going to be replacing the 4400mHh batteries with 5800mAh units.  The first reviews of the ASUS Eee PC 900, a collection can be found here on Engadget and more discussion here on Slashdot.
Linux modules on the way
 The ASUS Eee PC 900 gets dissected.
 The Akoya Mini from Medion is another potential competitor to the ASUS Eee 900.  Will Microsoft wake up smarter and extend the retail lifetime of Windows XP beyond 30-June-2008? Dell has announced they will provide copies of XP Pro past the cut off date, this is being done under the Windows Vista for Business downgrade license program, so you need to buy a Dell machine with a Vista for Business license and they will supply an install image CD for XP Pro (in case you want to downgrade to XP) or on some models Dell will even pre-install the downgrade at the factory. Microsoft says that XP will still stop selling in June. There are some on-line petitions to save XP and there has been an attempt to demonstrate that people still want XP by calling in to Microsoft's support lines en-masse. More on Dell's XP Pro downgrade offering, looks like it will only be available on a few of their machines, and it may cost you $50. Microsoft said in late June that there would be no reprieve for XP, but that local OEMs may still continue to buy XP through to 31-Jan-2009, they also say that support for XP will last until 2014. This article claims that Microsoft's software license allows customers who purchase a copy of Windows to install and run a previous version of the OS at no additional cost, I wonder what really happens when you enter a Vista license key into an XP install...  Slashdot discusses an article about how after market inkjet inks hold up with time. Turns out some fade a lot in only a year. There also seems to be some dependence on the type of paper that is used. My only experience with using third party inks was in an Epson printer, I tried them once and found the colours to be quite poor so returned to Epson inks. These days I use a Canon i9900 printer and am quite pleased with the quality of output and so far have noticed no problems with fading of prints over about a 2 year period (though I do not hang any where they would be exposed to direct sunlight).  The ASUS Eee 900 is now available for pre-order in the US with delivery set to start on May 12. Apparently Costco will be carrying it.  Microsoft is starting to wake up to the threat that Linux poses in the new developing low cost PC and laptop market. They are now looking at a program (discussed here on Slashdot) that would sell XP Home licenses at $26 (emerging markets) or $32 (for developed markets) a copy. With the caveat that the machines it is sold for cannot have more than a 10-inch display, 1GB RAM, 80GB disk and 1GHz processor (though there will be some exceptions on the processor speed). Also these machines cannot have a touch screen - they can't seriously think that the vastly over priced UMPC and Tablet PC concepts are still viable, can they? One question about this is: will these limits be enforced after the machine is sold, or can the user toss the 80GB drive and install something larger, or go into the BIOS and set the processor to a fake overclock speed?   NZMATH (here on the cheeseshop) is a number theory calculation system written in Python.   The ASUS Eee 901 will be based on the Atom processor, some initial pictures here. This is going to be available 3-June-08 for $650 and will include built-in Bluetooth. For me the Bluetooth is not an essential, but there are some nice wireless headphones that use it, so if it supports the advanced audio distribution profile (A2DP) it would be a nice feature. ASUS released some pricing and specification of these in June'08 along with the 1000 series, look for the 901 to be $550 and the 1000 to be $650. The official pricing for this is now US$599 (a bunch of reviews are here too), though I would expect this to drop quickly as soon as the competing MSI Wind and ACER Aspire One reach the market as these are claiming $499 and $399 prices which makes ASUS's price hard to justify.  The gdium EM-PC mini-laptop from Emtec is set to compete with the ASUS Eee 900, but with a price closer to $400.  Talk of a successful cold fusion experiment by Yoshiaki Arata in Japan. A bit more here on Engadget. The source article includes some comments, one of which links back to this video (which though sensationalist, might be worth a watch).  The ASUS Eee 900 is being delivered with the lower capacity 4400mAh battery in the UK. This may also be the case in Canada. A UK review of the Eee 900 mentions this. Now ASUS is offering an upgrade to the larger battery in the UK for £10 and also a BIOS update that should add some run time to the current systems.  not all USB flash drives are the same (discussed here on Slashdot. If you are looking for a speedy drive, especially if you need to write a lot of small files, then there can be large differences in performance and probably the only way t ofind a fast one is through tests. Kingston has some documentation about what sort of NAND flash RAM technology it uses in its products, which may be significant if you use a flash drive for something that does a lot of writes (like running an operating system off one). They also mention that flash drives can store data for up to 10 years under normal conditions - something that does not receive much attention. This is particularly troubling as prices for SD cards (the most common format for digital cameras) have dropped to the point (in mid-2008, some are going on sale for $10 for a 2GB card) that one could consider just using them on a shoot once and then file in an album basis and not bothering to transfer the contents to hard disk or DVD media.  The Eee 901 gets reviewed by TrustedReviews.  pycuda (home page is here, the documentation is here) provides access to Nvidia's CUDA parallel computation API. So if you really want to crunch a lot of numbers, now is your chance to do it from the comforts of Python. The July'08 meeting of ChiPy is taking a look at CUDA. An introductory presentation on using PyCuda. PyopenCL is a Python wrapper for OpenCL.    The Eee 901 gets dismantled, in case you're curious.  Google's App engine experiences its first significant outage. 
A discussion on arstechnica about wiring LAN jacks with some useful tips.  A short look at the good and the bad sides of that ASUS 900 Eee.  Mobile Computer has a video tour of the MSI Wind and compares it to the Acer Aspire One and ASUS Eee PC 901.  ASUS is planning to release at least three more Eee PC 900 series models.  A micro-hydro power turbine built out of PVC pipe, looks like a pelton wheel design.  BMW is planning to offer 490 electric Minis for sale in California, looks like they'll need a lottery.  Buying Vista but downgrading to XP is discussed here on Slashdot. A short summary of how to do this is given here, you install XP as usual fro an XP CDROM using an existing XP key, then when you get to the activation part you must call Microsoft over the phone and tell them you are doing a downgrade of Vista to XP and at this point you give them the Vista key.  LG wants MSI to build their X110 netbook, and wants to sell it in the $625-790 range. With prices like that LG better include a docking refrigerator.  Slashdot discusses a new catalyst that makes electrolysis more efficient and safer. This appears to be done by dissolving cobalt phosphate into the water and using an otherwise conventional platinum electrode electrolysis apparatus. Reuters has another reference to it here. More discussion of this on Hack A Day.  In Aug'08 Olympus and Panasonic announced the Micro FourThirds lens system. The objective of this is to bring the larger 4/3rds sensor size and interchangeable lenses into a small (perhaps point and shoot sized) body by eliminating the optical view finder and mirror box. Since the sensor remains the same size existing 4/3rds lenses will be able to be used on these new cameras by an extension tube style adapter. This design will also result in a reduction in size of the lenses, since the rear optics can be much closer to the sensor. About a month later Samsung announced plans for a similar system called Samsung Hybrid based on the larger APS-C sized sensor. I wonder when Canon or Nikon will try the same thing, perhaps introducing a sensor that is smaller than APS-C (yet larger than the typical digicam sensor to reduce noise), this way they can introduce a new line of smaller lenses to sell to a new consumer group. This way your initial $200 digicam purchase gradually builds to $1000 as you buy a few lenses and, when you replace the camera in a few years, you stick with the same company because of the set of lenses you now own.
- he calls for an APS-C sized sensor, which would be a very
good thing from the noise perspective (but this will make the lens
larger so he accepts a smaller zoom range). The resulting zoom
range of 28-70mm is useful for much photography (especially landscape
type work) but the 70mm end is going to be too short to appeal to a lot
of people. I have found that with the 28-210mm range of my Minolta A2 I
rarely need more zoom, and in the times I do I'm looking at something
so far away that I'd probably need a 500 or 1000mm lens to get a decent
photo anyway. Back in the late 70s and 80s when I did 35mm film
photography I typically found 135mm adequate and considered the 200mm
telephoto "exotic". The Minolta A2's lens is about the same
physical size as may 35mm camera's 50mm lens, largely because of the
film-size issue, the A2 has a smaller sensor that APS-C (but its larger
than somthing like the Canon G series), and I'm sure today that a
sensor of this size could be made with low noise up to at least
- I don't see much need for additional screw in optics (i.e
a 2x converter) as they tend to be so bulky (as big as this camera!) that
you're not going to be carrying them with you - it is better to make
the basic lens a bit bigger to get a bit more zoom range (using a
folded optical path you probably could fit a 28-150 or even 200 lens
with a bigger sensor in a pocket size camera).
- I agree with the need for standard screw-in filters, I
often make good use of a polarizing filter.
- I find his specification of only having a live-view LCD
and no optical view finder built in refreshing, he's missing two points
though, first you need the view finder to be articulated, both so you
can look down when shooting waist level and so you can look up at the
camera for an overhead shot; the second point is for you to be able to
do manual focusing the Minolta A2 shows you need at least a 900K pixel
resolution (and even then that's often not enough).
- The internal buffer should hold 10 shots in RAW, and in
motor drive mode it should pre-capture some frames (i.e. once the focus
is locked it should capture frames even before you finish pressing the
button) and save a number of these at the start of each sequence.
- The battery pack should be standard AA size (not another
custom lithium pack that needs a custom charger), using two NiMH cells
normally and regular AA cells if you get caught in a tight spot, I
wouldn't mind only getting 200-300 shots out of a single pair of NiMH
cells as they are so cheap you can always carry a few sets with you to
do something big.
The Panasonic Lumix G1 (also here on PhotographyBLOG) will be the first of the micro 4/3rds cameras, it will have a flip out 3 inch display (it looks like it is fully articulated and can be turned face in to protect it, yeay! this was a feature I really loved on my Canon G1) with a 460K pixel resolution (which still might not be enough for manual focusing). It has a very high 1.44 million pixel resolution viewfinder (so that might be enough to do manual focusing on, but I found that the 900K pixel view finder on the Minolta A2 was not enough for this so I am expecting this will will not be enough, however Panasonic is using a different technology which effectively stacks the RGB pixels so it might be a much sharper display than the traditional pixel count implies.). It got HDMI output too, so you can inflict painful hours of slide shows on your friends and relatives. Digital Photography Review has a preview of it here.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 started shipping at the end of Oct'08 (actually a little ahead of schedule) and the first full review of a production model is here.  The MSI Wind U90 will be the the 8.9 inch display version of the MSI Wind. This is to ship in Europe around the beginning of Oct'08 for about 339 Euros.  Running the Acorn Archimedes emulator from disk images.  Perhaps Dell's recent entry into the netbook market has caused a drop in ASUS's Eee sales already, as by Sept. 8th ASUS had repriced two machines already, the Eee PC 901 dropped to $500 and for some reason the 6-cell Eee PC 1000H dropped to $449. I rather bet the original 7-inch devices will be hitting $199 for Christmas.  Using the Python Imaging Library to generate degrades letter stimuli contains examples of text rendering in PIL as well as modifying the contrast, luminance and introducing noise to an image.   Neuros is releasing a new version of their OSD device, this adds support for HD video encoding (including recording 720p from component inputs) and is built around a mini-ITX sized motherboard and enclosure. For the $250 price its actually pretty good value just for the case, power supply and motherboard alone. Note, this is not a general purpose motherboard, but does have a processor with 256MB or RAM and flash built in along with 100MHz LAN and hard disk interface so could well be used for other sorts of computer appliances. A good look at the inside of the device is here. The Neuros OSD 2.0 wiki has more information.    A Basic Guide to DNS from the Google Apps Admin help.  Is Google Maps actually blurring out any sensitive locations? I think there must be something super secret happening under cover of the Nakiska Ski Resort.  Toshiba's new Super Charge Ion Battery (SCIB) can accept a 90% charge in just 10 minutes and last for 5000 charge cycles. This would make for a very big change in the electric vehicle market since recharging while on a trip could be done in a reasonable time - just about as long as it takes to buy a coffee and a doughnut. These are getting closer to market.  The MSI Wind U90X, which is a MSI Wind with a smaller 9-inch display gets reviewed here, they didn't like the included operating system and the rather short (less than 2 hours) battery life.  The MDI air car, this looks so odd it will never get approved for use on North American roads... The AIRPod gets closer to the roads, apparently this oddity has a 90 mile cruising range and can reach 50mph.  One user's first impressions of the Eee PC 901.  The Netgear EVA9000 might be a good set top box media player. It has all sorts of video output, wired and wireless ethernet and can take a SATA hard drive. Looks like this will be in the $400 range.  The Linksys WRT54GL is a Linux-based wireless router (the wireless section can be disabled if you just want a wired router) that is well supported by a number of open source projects:
Tomato the manual is here. This installs very easily over the original Linksys firmware, just download and unpack one file then go into the administration section of the interface and upload the new firmware.
A Botnet Worm has been identified that targets modems and MIPS-processor routers based on Linux (such as the OpenWRT, DD-WRT or Tomato firmware). Discussed here on Slashdot. It looks like power cycling the device will clean it, but then you should also change passwords and disable any administrative access from the WAN (which is how it gets infected - though presumably if you have WiFi enabled it could get infected from that network too).  SKI*GO (also SKI*GO Canada) makes ski waxes, including some for cold conditions on hard (aggressive) snow. Their Racing Universal wax (90245) is a high fluoro kick wax for all snow except new snow, to be applied in 4-6 layers. This is supposed to be good on man-made snow (such as we have at the Canmore Nordic Center - CNC), see their racing wax table. I have used this wax at temperatures from -25C to +3C at CNC with very good results, this includes the CNC's Lynx trail (which is an intermediate, heavily groomed, man-made snow trail) and Banff and Bow trails (which are mostly natural snow), on all these trails I can stride up all the hills with it. This wax also appears to work well (perhaps with slightly less grip) on new snow.
 The Tech Report takes a look at a lot of computer power supplies in a power supply round-up, discussed here on Slashdot. This article also includes information on the type and lengths of the cables on these supplies, which can be hard to find. I have found that Antec makes pretty reliable power supplies (the review only takes a look at a very low end model). Don't forget that these days, unless you have some monster graphics card installed you likely do not need anything bigger than 400W, in fact you may find your system is really in the 100-200W range. If you do have a smaller system you will find that the power supplies below about 350W get harder to find, have fewer peripheral connectors, use smaller fans (so potentially are noisier) and get more expensive, so you might just end up getting a larger supply anyway (which might not be a bad thing as the 80+ supplies in this review all tested at about 90% efficient when run at 25% load which is very good). A power meter (such as the UPM EM100 energy meter) is quite useful for seeing what is really going on.  An Australian study finds that open-plan offices (cubicle farms) make workers sicker.  Canada Olympic Park (which used to be Paskapoo) has a 2km (with about 35m of climb per loop) groomed cross country ski track (lit for night skiing). This is equivalent in difficulty to the Lynx track at the Canmore Nordic Center (though it twists a lot more). This image (grabbed from my SportTracks training log) gives you an idea of the course.
 Experiments with frozen soap bubbles, if its -20C outside get out the bubble mix, put on your swimsuit and run through the backyard making bubbles!  The ACard ANS-9010 is a RAM disk that interfaces with your computer via a standard SATA connection. It includes battery protection and has a built in compact flash slot that can be used to quickly save and restore the drive's contents if power must be disconnected for longer periods of time. This can take up to 64GB of DDR2 RAM and turn it into a very fast hard drive. Discussed here on Slashdot.   Where do we stand on the standard infrastructure front when it comes to web site software?  How to set up a web page for better printing by using a custom printer style CSS.  Fast geometric hashing is being applied to the problem of automated astrometry.   The SheevaPlug is an embedded Linux device from Marvell Semiconductor that will deliver a low cost, low power, platform for working with ethernet and USB devices. It gets discussed here on Slashdot, here on Make and here on SlashGear. It is what the Pogoplug is based on. Attaching something like phidgets to it would allow for some home automation functions to be implemented, but as the device contains some IO lines it would make more sense for someone to build a version that includes analog and digital IO interface circuitry. This is now available (see GlobalScale and PlugComputer.org), Slashdot discusses what to do with it. It appears that Seagate is making a NAS adapter for their FreeAgent portable drives that is based on the Pogoplug system. After about a year the second version of the Pogoplug got announced. An updated version with a 2GHz processor was announced at the start of 2010.  To find the list of all the available drives on a Windows machine (with Python) you can do the following:
s = win32api.GetLogicalDriveStrings().split("\x00")[:-1]
The [:-1] is to drop the last element from the list which will be an empty string.
This will give you a list of drive root directories like:
['C:\\', 'D:\\', 'G:\\', 'I:\\', 'S:\\', 'Y:\\', 'Z:\\']
If you need to get the volume label, or some other information about each of these drives you can use the GetVolumeInformation function, like:
t = win32api.GetVolumeInformation("C:\\")
This returns a tupple like:
('MDATA', -590490522, 255, 6, 'FAT32')
where the first element is the label of the drive (which can be handy if you have a few USB drives that Windows insists of giving different drive letters to depending on the order you insert them or power them up and you need to be able to find a particular drive to do some processing on).  Ned Batchelder thinks about some of the current choices for hosting a public code repository.  Various resources on the conficker worm that is set to change course on 1-Apr-09. Slashdot has more on it here. This has actually infected some medical equipment in hospitals where the equipment is based on Windows NT or 2000.  A Whirlwind Excursion through Python C Extensions sounds like a good place to start if you need to extend Python with C.  Using the Google Maps annotation service to track reports of the spread of swine flu in 2009.  At last, a real webpad! The Smart Q7 is a 7-inch device that actually calls itself an "internet tablet". If only the price is right. This has been spotted in the wild and the price is believed to be about $190 in China, which would be quite good for this sort of thing, it is like a low end netbook, but with less bulk and some lost functionality, so if you don't need to enter a lot of text it might be the better choice. A good video review of this device.  The UK has launched a national database of all its children, with a mere 390,000 authorized users it won't be long before someone finds a flash drive with all of its contents in a pub parking lot.  A discussion of some warts that exist in the conversion of floats to string form. The real issue here is that the str() and __repr__() functions of a float do not return strings formatted to the same degree of precision. str() which is used by "print" returns less precision than __repr__(), as can be seen here:
 Fetching docstrings from Python objects.  Excessive (in the several litres a day range) Cola consumption can lead to a number of problems, including muscle weakness.  Some reviews and sample footage from the Canon VIXIA HF200 (a HiDef 1080i/p capable camcorder with SDHC flash card storage).
, this got down converted to SD. Probably about 300W of incandescent to illuminate a kitchen and dining area.
Day and night, this was shot with the HF20 (which is the same thing as the HF200, except with some built-in flash storage), the day time shots are in a cactus garden, so there is a lot of sharp detail visible. It also gives you some idea of the depth of field on closeups. The night time views were probably shot during and after sunset. So provide a range of lighting levels. There also appears to be some use of the built-in video light to illuminate a child in the foreground of some of the shots.
A discussion on low light performance on the AVForums.
A positive review from infoSync. This one likes the low light performance:
Not only were video clips sharp and highly detailed, but noise levels were also minimal across the board, even in low light. In fact, there were some instances where we preferred the Vixia HF20's low light performances to the formidable Canon Vixia HF S10's.
and provides a few still samples of the low light performance.
Camcorderinfo.com's review finds low light performance to be poor. It appears that the previous model (HF11) had a larger sensor and could reach 50 IRE in about 1/2 the illumination of the HF20.
 Real-world cloud computing takes a look at the current state of cloud computing services.  GE Energy Smart LED lamps will take about 10W to produce 340 lumens of light, and are designed to be driect screw-in replacements for regular light bulbs.  The Samsung YP-R1 portable media player has a composite video output, though if the new Zune HD players will do both composite and hidef video output (and it looks like this is the case, but that you need to buy the optional $90 dock kit or $49 dock without cables kit to do so, raising the price to at least $270) Samsung is going to have a problem.  The Nokia N900 could offer the iPhone some competition, especially for those who are looking to be able to extend their phones with specialized applications.  Microsoft is offering a free 90-day trial version of Windows 7 RTM.  Perhaps one day we'll be able to write our own (better) version of a movie or TV show and computer render it.  Very powerful magnets can actually levitate small living creatures based on their water content.  Mr is a module to provide functions for working with Carmichael numbers.   Accidental Haikus may lurk in your programs or web pages.  Western Digital explains that one reason you don't want to use their desktop drives in a RAID array is that the desktop drives will try to read a failing block for a long time (say up to 2 minutes) before returning an error and this long delay can cause a RAID controller to think the whole drive has died and drop it from the array. Their enterprise drives implement a feature they call TLER (Time Limited Error Recovery) which limits the time spent trying to read a bad sector to about 7 seconds and so should not cause a RAID controller to panic and drop the whole drive when only a single sector is having trouble.  Slashdot discusses scanning books for use on a PDA by photographing their pages using a camera and software to flatten the resulting images. From the Slashdot comments: Snapter is one such package. Make Online mentions a book scanner a project to build a books scanner from the instructables. A tutorial on stitching flat scanned images with Hugin. Prizmo is OCR software to do this sort of thing. Scan Tailor is a free software package. More discussion of book scanning here on Slashdot of a rather nice camera-based unit which can be found on diybookscanner.org.  PhotoSketch is a tool that will search for and combine elements from photographs in accordance with your hand drawn sketch instructions. Discussed here on Slashdot and mentioned here on Gizmodo.   The PhotoTrackr Mini DPL900 is a small (flash memory stick sized) GPS tagging unit. Now at $69 one wonders how much longer we must wait until GPS tagging is a built in function for all new cameras.  A 90 day trial version of Windows 7 Enterprise is available here until Mar'10.  The LifeBook UH900 is another mini with a 5.6 inch screen that would be nice and portable, but probably on the pricey side. It appears to be available now for about US$850.  Looks like 2010 will be the year of the HiDef PMP, the iToos M6HD will output at 1080i (and has a 1360x768 4.3 inch display) for less than $90.  Looks like Monsanto's GMO corn may not be safe for rats to eat, causing liver and kidney damage after only 90 days of feeding.  A large reserve of methane hydrates has been discovered in China in the tundra of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. This reserve contains enough energy to supply China for about 90 years (equivalent to about 35 billion tons of oil). Discussed here on Slashdot.  Sometimes big brother gets caught by his own surveillance, the strange story of urban golfers clashing with Seattle police and the police claiming that their arrest videos were deleted after 90 days.  The CanoScan 9000F is the 2010 upgrade to the 8800F which is capable of doing reasonably good slide scans.  A remote shutter control with time lapse and bulb functions that will work with the old Minolta A2 and other similar cameras and a wireless trigger device.  A pair of short examples of using Qt (via PyQt) to play audio and video.  The Rollei DF-S 190 SE is a negative and slide scanner that uses a 9 megapixel imager to shoot one frame at a time to a flash card or memory stick.  PocketBook is making a touch screen, Android powered e-reader. Their ProBook 603 and 903 units will have 6 and 9 inch screens.  Darwin may have run the first terra-forming experiment at Ascension Island.  Most litigated patents tend to lose nearly 90% of the time, so patent trolls need to get their victims to settle before going to court.  A cautionary take of some of the US nuclear disasters, discussed here on Slashdot. 
['90'] is in these pages: