Monday, April 04, 2022

I've made the switch to Linux.

Heya everyone, I hope you're all doing well :)

So, as the title says, I've finally decided to make the switch to Linux. I've decided to go with Fedora 35 KDE/Plasma Desktop, because it's a rolling release style of OS, and it's easy to wrap my head around, and has support for a lot of things that I'm interested in. I've gotten my games to work on it, including Star Citizen (which is a must-have, for me), which works as a kind of benchmark for gaming compatibility, stability, and frames per second. I haven't yet tried Empyrion: Galactic Survival, yet, but will be doing so soon. But, first, I need to rearrange my drives a bit to provide more free space for games and other software, because 500GB is just not enough. 

I have a total of about 4TB of space, but need to find a good way to map the drives so that they're user accessible (instead of root only, which makes playing games and using normal software a little more complex, not to mention that you should never install or run anything as root unless specifically needed for system management, or related tasks), and easy to differentiate for deciding what to install where. I'm sure I'll figure that out as needed. 

Anyhoo, so far I've tested and played the following games, and more will come as soon as I have the space available for them:

  • Star Citizen, runs smoothly in most areas, other than high clutter zones, where there's a small amount of stutter.
  • Cyberpunk 2077, runs flawlessly so far. Loving how it plays.
  • Star Trek Online, also runs flawlessly. Just wish I could get STO Keybinds working so that I can map my in game macro keys. Small niggle there, but worth mentioning. Any help would be welcome on this one.
  • Baldur's Gate III, I absolutely love this game. Runs beautifully and with no problems at all. Larian Studios, you've created a beautiful monster :)

Star Citizen is running through Lutris and a special script provided by the Star Citizen LUG people, which works well, although I don't recall the name of the script. All the other games are running either natively under Steam, or via Steam Play/Proton.

I also have installed a KVM/QEMU Virtual Windows install for those bits of software on Windows that I can't get working on Linux. But, with my current and evolving setup, I don't see myself switching back to Windows as a primary OS anytime soon, especially with the privacy problems inherent in that OS. Sorry Microsoft, I won't be buying into your little walled garden anymore.

Anyhoo, I guess that's all for now. Let me know if you have any questions. I don't have comments enabled, because of spammers, but you can contact me via email if you can find it ;)

Have fun all :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Learning about game programming via a game engine environment.

Heya everyone,

I've been looking into trying to learn game programming, mostly because it seems like it would be a good way to get back into programming, and it would potentially allow me to create something that I've been wanting to build for years now, but haven't had the right tools or skills to do. I'll refrain from revealing the details, other than to mention that a game-like simulator environment would be part of it. It will need to integrate accurate physics calculations, but still be intuitive for users/players to interact with. I do wonder how big of a project it would be and how I would leverage certain technologies that I can see it needing in order to be as powerful and flexible as it would need to be in order to do what I'm hoping it will do.

I've been trying out Unreal Engine 5, and Unity, mostly, and have also looked at Lumberyard, and O3DE (too early in development to get working in a predictable and stable manner). So far I like UE5, and Unity, although Unity corrupted my test project before I had a chance to save it, so I'm not sure I'll trust that one in the long term.

My intention with my project is to make it cross-platform compatible between Windows and Linux, and perhaps Android. I don't know how well a phone will be able to run the project once it's built, although it's a long way down the road for now, as I haven't officially started it yet.

Any input and assistance on this would be welcome. I'm considering doing it as open-source, but haven't decided yet on that front, as what I have in mind is complex. I honestly wonder if I'll be able to get a handle on it, but I do want to give it a go. I would welcome some volunteers to help out, if anyone is interested. Even if it's only good advice. :)

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Debating whether to completely switch to Linux

 Heya everyone,

As the title says, I'm considering whether I want to go ahead and switch back to Linux on a more permanent basis. I've been testing windows 11, and it's fine, for a Microsoft operating system. But I really don't like the compromises and security issues that come along with it, especially from a personal data usage and privacy standpoint. I've been going back and forth between Linux and Windows for decades and know them both quite well by this point. So, that said, there's not a lot that I can't do on Linux that I can do on Windows, with the exception of certain kinds of gaming. Games that use certain types of anti-cheat software, and games that are insanely complex or tied deeply into underlying Windows systems tend not to be easy to run under Linux, but those are slowly dwindling in number as Steam's Proton Wine variant gets better over time.

I play Star Citizen, and can get it to run under Linux, and CIG has promised in the past to make a Linux native version (eventually), but I won't be holding my breath in the hopes of that happening any time soon, as the game is far, far, far, from being released (it's eternally in 'alpha' at the time this was posted, and for the last 9 years). Also, games like Empyrion: Galactic Survival use Easy Anti Cheat, as their cheat protection of choice, and they don't currently have Linux Support, but I have heard that Steam is working with them and other anti cheat software authors to correct that, so perhaps there's some hope on the horizon on that front. If so, I'll be happy to see it.

Anyhoo, if I do choose to switch over, I can still choose to run Windows in a virtual machine of some kind. Perhaps I'll finally buckle down and start teaching myself how to run with a hypervisor, and run Windows with a virtualized hardware video card, that way I can still game, but have the overall system under the control of a more secure and stable OS.

Any thoughts and input are welcome. If you have anything constructive or insightful to add, please let me know. I'd also welcome any ideas or suggestions on how to get all this working properly, and with minimal cost.

Thanks for reading :)


Sunday, July 18, 2021

Getting Discord connected to the Blogger account...

 It's proving to be an interesting problem, but I'm working on it. This post is mostly to help me test to see if integrating Orbot worked or not. I suppose we shall see.

Anyhoo, if there's something you guys would be interested in hearing about, let me know.

Have fun all :)


Thursday, July 15, 2021

Regarding part deux.

 Well, it took a lot of struggling with DNS related settings and more patience than I thought I had, but we're back up and running. I've decided to stick with a blogger back-end, and moved my hosting to Google Domains. The integration works better, and there's less pain involved with getting the DNS related items working properly, especially after a week of trying to get DNS hosting to work via my previous hosting provider and the blogger back-end. Suffice to say it wasn't worth the trouble. As a bonus, they also provided an SSL certificate as part of the deal, and it doesn't cost extra. Given that I'm pinching the pennies these days, it helps a lot. I do suspect that if I were to want to setup some sort of online shopping thing down the road sometime, I might want a better SSL certificate, then I might have to pony up for an upgraded cert. But I won't worry about that for now. The site is up and running again, and I'm pleased with that for now. 

Anyhoo, I hope you're all doing well, and if you're running a web server for whatever reason, that it runs smoothly, and with minimal headaches.



Friday, July 09, 2021

Regarding and other fun stuff ;)

 I've had to fallback to this old thing of a blog, because I'm strapped financially and blogger, at least for now, is still free. I do still own the domain, and once I figure out how to do it, maybe I'll see about redirecting my domain to this, rather than a WordPress site. Admittedly Blogger is a lot less of a pain to manage, although, on the flipside, WP tends to be more flexible, and I can, if I'm desperate edit the backend code where needed to implement additional functionality.

Unfortunately, I have added ads to the site, but if you want to use an ad blocker I won't be offended, but that said, if you're willing to create an exception for this site, I'd appreciate it. This is far from being a profitable venture for me, but I'm hoping that I can make it something that I can do as a 'job' at some point, so that I can stop having to work for others, and start working for myself. Perhaps I'll even add my other half, so that she can share her interests and such (we have very different hobbies, so perhaps her posts will appeal to those who are geeky in other ways than technology, etc. She's an arts & crafts type of person, along with other interests that I'll let her describe.)

Anyhoo, in other news, I got my second Pfizer shot, so I am officially 'inoculated' against Covid-19, yay me. I guess we'll see what, if anything, it does to me over the next couple of weeks. The first shot really didn't do much more than cause a bit of fatigue, and soreness in the joints. Other than that I was fine, and it passed within a few days. (Thankfully, I seem to resist most side effects of medications, not sure why, but I'm glad that it's the case.)

Anyway, in conclusion, for now, I hope you're all doing well, especially given the world we've all been living in over the last 1-2 years as of this post. Let me know if there's something that you would like to talk about here, or if you want to share how you're doing. I'd be very interested to hear it.

Thanks for reading :)


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Playing with CyanogenMod on my Samsung Galaxy S3

Those of you who know me on Google+ probably know that I've recently gotten a smartphone (mentioned above) and have been trying to root and install a custom rom onto it. Well, now that I've managed that, I think I'll go into some detail about how I did it, why I had trouble initially figuring it all out, and what I've learned in the process, so far. Yes, I'm still learning, and probably will be for some time, but this is here as part 1 of 'n'. So, that said, I hope you enjoy the read, and that with this I can help others to avoid some of the mistakes and pitfalls that I have run across.

Why do it?
Most people's first question to someone who does something along the lines of rooting a phone is generally "Why choose to root the phone?" Before I actually got the phone, I asked the same question, but also as a Linux user I think I had a head start on why: because we'll gain more control over the phone and the OS itself. Plus, having root can be very helpful (and it rocks). Also, there's the stance that Sir Edmund Hillary took "because it's there" or to put that another way "because I can".

Mistakes will happen.
When I first got the phone, my first concern was security. As a matter of fact, for a while, when I was researching which phone I would get, it was a toss-up between the Galaxy S3 and the Blackberry Q10. It was a close battle between the two, but once I got a chance to actually try the phones, the larger screen and nicer interface of the Android won me over, there was also the fact that I could choose to encrypt the phone. I really enjoyed the Q10's physical keyboard, and the fact that it was encrypted from the outset, but to me the interface was less polished and intuitive than the Android, but that's just my own assessment. So I got the Android, and one of the first things I did was to turn on full-phone encryption. Admittedly, this was before I had decided to try to root the phone, so don't think too badly of me for being security conscious. Also, my living situation at the time predicated that I keep the phone as locked-down as I could, but that's a story for another time...

Time Passes...
So, quite a while has passed since I started writing this. To the point that I had forgotten that I was writing it, if that tells you anything.

In the time that has passed, I've learned a lot about rooting not only my phone (the same SGS3 that I had when I first started writing this), but also about rooting my Nexus 7 v2 (2013). The big thing that I learned is never to try to upgrade the rom without wiping the cache and Dalvik on the device. To upgrade without doing wiping is asking for all kinds of soft-bricking trouble (potentially, upgrades within a rom family/version chain are generally safe to do without wiping the two. Do your research to be sure, though. Don't take my word as 'gospel'.)

Another thing that I learned is that not all roms are created equal, nor are they all equally compatible with certain devices. Some might run flawlessly on a given device, while others barely boot, or even refuse to install even though they're supposed to have been for that device. My advice? Be careful what you choose, and always make a backup on an SD card within the device if you have that option, and revert to it if something goes awry. I won't provide instructions here, as that is not the purpose of this post, and there are far better sources for that elsewhere.

One example of a rom that runs really nicely on one of my devices, and causes random reboots on the other. Cyanogenmod 11.x runs sweetly on my phone, but the Nexus, for whatever reason, has a bug that causes it to randomly reboot. Not helpful when playing a game, writing something up, or watching a video (or whatever). Suffice to say that I stopped trying to use CM11 on my Nexus. Currently, I actually have a dev version of Android L on the N7 (I like the interface, but I wish there were a PAC-ROM version, with all the CM11 tweaks, and other niceties. But, wishes are about as useful as religion in politics... ;)

Anyhoo, there may be more in this vein at a later date, as I'm sure that there's a lot more to cover here. Questions or thoughts? Feel free to ask, or drop ideas. ;)

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Stepping into a new skin, Transhuman style.

A few thoughts on #transhumanism / #cyberhumanism / #posthumanism / #hplus 

[Transhumanism / Cyberhumanism / Posthumanism / H+] WIP

So, I've been thinking this over for a while, and I've come up with some thoughts on what it'd require to become a true trans/posthuman or cyberhuman-being. Ignoring the cost side of it, since I don't have any kind of estimates or information on that side of the proverbial coin. I can say that I suspect the cost would not be insignificant.

Ok, so on with the show, as it were:

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to wake up as something beyond Human? Are you one of those people who are interested in knowing where Humanity might go next in terms of our evolution? Have you ever sat and tried to figure out what a being like that would look like and how it would work? I don't know the answers to those questions, but here is my viewpoint on several aspects of what it would take to create a true Transhuman being. Enjoy, and don't be afraid to comment below. All I ask is that commentary be kept civil, as I reserve the right to delete offensive comments without warning.

First, we'd need a good strong skeleton to build on.
My suggestion would be, as anyone keeping up on materials science would guess, carbon nanotube construction. They're very light and extremely strong, especially considering that once we figure them out and how to work with them, we can use them to build our first functional space elevator. Carbon nanotubes would allow us to be stronger than we could ever hope to be with our current bone-based skeletal structure. CNT construction would also make ‘bone’ breakage a rare thing. Although if ‘bone’ breakage does happen, since we’ve upgraded, we would only need to repair or replace the affected part, or parts.

On top of this CNT skeletal structure, we'd need an optical nervous system. 
Since nothing travels faster than light, we can enhance our reflexes and control by a considerable margin.

Alongside the optical nervous system, we'd need to have an advanced musculoskeletal system.
Our muscles (including the heart and other types of muscle) would perhaps be activated by pulses of light energy. This, along with our super-fast nervous system, would allow us to move and react hundreds or thousands of times faster than we can now. How would we seal off the nerves from outside light sources? I would suspect a thin coating of a flexible, durable and opaque material would suffice. Any suggestions as to that material would be welcome.

Now you’re probably (and justfiably) wondering about things like our internal organs.
Well, our human body needs separate and distinct organs to provide separate and distinct functions. If it didn’t, we would probably have one ‘super-organ’ in our torso that handled perhaps everything but thinking, breathing, heartbeat/blood circulation and waste elimination. Since a transhuman / posthuman / cyberhuman (henceforth referred to collectively as “H+”) may not have need of certain types of human organs, they probably wouldn’t have them. For example, the kidneys, liver and spleen would be unnecessary in a creature built of technology (unless that creature were intended to be able to process food and drink like a flesh-based human.) Something like a heart might be needed in order to emulate a heartbeat, and to circulate some sort of fluid through ‘blood vessels’ in order to accurately simulate a human body temperature. Something like lungs might be needed in order to mimic breathing and to help with modulating speech, and to also act as a resonance chamber, in order to help to make the voice more human-like. The pseudo-lungs might also have a thermoregulation function as well, which may also be shared with the skin.

What about the brain?
My thinking, so to speak, is that we could take advantage of a kind of advanced neural-net whose structure is based on the same type of three-dimensional grid layout as our brain, and whose ‘operating system’ is the same overall one that our human brains may have. Research hasn’t yet gotten far enough to tell us if our brain has an operating system upon which all of its functions run. If not, then I suspect that emulating the structure, and finding where every bit of data (and other functions) are stored in our human brain is then transferring all of that over to the neural-net, might just be enough to ‘awaken’ that neural-net, and thus, perhaps another ‘us’ or to be somewhat more emphatic about it, another ‘me’. This is all very much hypothetical and 'what-if' at this stage, but it's interesting to me to think about and mull over in my head.

How about that which separates us from the rest of our world? Our skin.
Our skin provides us with a massive amount of data every day. So, we want to keep that source of input, and we want to emulate that as closely as possible, right down to temperature sensitivity, texture, elasticity and deep sensation (that feeling you get whenever you move a limb or press lightly into your arm or some other spot, the fact that you can feel pressure and other sensory data not just at the surface of your skin, but inside the physical structure of, say, your arm, your torso, your more private areas, etc.)



Well, so far, this is just a rough draft of where I want to take this line of thinking. Any constructive comments are welcome. I would also welcome my fellow HPlussers to help me to ‘formalize’ this document into an overall picture of what it might be like to be ‘upgraded’ into an H+.

Thank you for reading. :)
Brian E Turner MKI ;)

Waiting patiently for an upgrade

Here is my Google Docs version.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

64 bit Linux: A descriptive comparison.

In this post I will be offering up my take on three different 64 bit Linux distributions which I have enjoyed for different reasons. I will try to delineate the relative strengths and weaknesses that I have seen so far in each, and where I believe each one needs some improvement. Constructive commentary is welcome.

The three distributions that I will be talking about are (in no particular order):
  • Fedora 15 x64
  • Ubuntu Linux 11.04 x64
  • Sabayon 6 x64

Each of these distros will have its own section. I’ll start by talking about my own experience with each, then go on to talk about specific points where each shines and then where each falls short, after which I’ll make whatever suggestions that I might have.

Fedora 15 x64:

I’m starting with Fedora mainly because that’s the distro that I’m currently running. It feels solid and stable, runs well, and doesn’t seem to have any major glitches. The fact that the primary UI is Gnome 3/Gnome Shell doesn’t slow me down, and with some tweaks is actually fairly nice to use. I did have to go through and search for a few things, like how to get VMware Player running under Linux Kernel 2.6.40 (which was less painful than I thought it might be). I still need to go and figure out something similar for Virtualbox OSE. Here’s a screenshot below for what I have going so far on Gnome-Shell (I won’t have screenies for the other two, since I don’t have them installed at the moment)

The Good:
Fedora 15, as I mentioned above, is a very solid and stable OS, as far as I have been able to see. I’ve been able to install more or less whatever I want to run, even a few packages that are not in the normal repositories.A good example would be the Wingware Python IDE (very nice software, by the way… Brian Tomlinson and I use(d) it to debug some python code he was working on). It runs flawlessly and detected the python install on my system without me having to dig around for the location of the executables.
Getting back to the subject; so far Fedora 15′s strengths are stability, speed, ease of use (for an old Linux geek, I’m not sure about how a Linux newbie would feel. Input from that front would be welcome.)

The Not Quite So Good:
I do have some issues so far with Fedora 15, but I’ll say that they’re more likely to be inherited from Gnome-Shell and Gnome 3 than any inherent flaw in the distro itself. I am unable to figure out how to totally turn off power management features using any kind of graphical client… I find this lack of functionality disturbing.
Now for the part of Fedora 15 that I really don’t like much; the package management system, YUM. I have to say that I remember when RedHat first came out with RedHat Linux and their then-highly-advanced Redhat Package Management (RPM) system. Back then it was the cool beans, and has progressed since then. I don’t know if the problems with YUM are rooted in RPM or if they are rooted in bugs in the implementation of YUM itself. But to me, YUM is slow and occasionally too buggy. I’ve never had the kinds of problems with APT that I have had with YUM. Again, these are my experiences. Your mileage may vary.

My Thoughts on this Distro:
Definitely usable to the general populace, very stable, and also pretty fast. It lacks the total control of some distros (see Sabayon 6, below). But, for a person who is new to Linux, or for someone like me that just wants it to work, it’s a good start and a solid base to build from. I’ll mention that I tend to test all sorts of Linux OSes, from Gentoo on up to Ubuntu. I can recommend Fedora 15 without significant reservation, even accounting for YUM. It’s a very solid distro, and will serve most people very well. So, with that said, your mileage may vary.

Ubuntu Linux 11.04 x64:

The Good:
Ubuntu is perhaps the single most installed Linux distro out there. It has a good interface and runs well on most hardware that supports 3D hardware acceleration. Its interface is straight-forward, with easy to find icons for most common tasks of entry-level Linux users. I call the interface “User Simple”, in that it’s simple for a new user to get a hold of and run with. For those who may be wondering which interface I’m referring to; I’m talking about the Unity desktop in Ubuntu 11.04.
Package management in Ubuntu is excellent with Synaptic Package Manager, and is tolerable with Ubuntu Software Center (which is being actively developed to make it even better.) The Debian package format has always been a high quality system, and remains so in Ubuntu. Updating and installing new software is a breeze and rarely causes any headaches.

The Not Quite So Good:
Ubuntu is based upon Debian, which is known to be a very stable and carefully managed Linux distro. Given that, you would expect Ubuntu to continue to remain stable. I have one problem with it though. The problem that I have encompasses a lot of territory within this distro. It appears to be that a lot of Ubuntu developers are putting out new interface and software changes just for the sake of maintaining their coding quota. This behavior is driving the overall quality of Ubuntu downward, not upward. I consider this a serious problem that desperately needs to be addressed. One example of that is Unity itself, which was released far too soon. It started out as a barely functional UI which Canonical then proceeded to patch into something approaching a functional stage. This is not the way to develop software, especially an OS which has the largest (to my knowledge) share of the Linux market.

My Thoughts on this Distro:
If you want a good and stable OS which is also easy to use and isn’t hard to maintain. Also, if you don’t mind weird and unexpected changes to the user interface of what is supposed to be your OS. Then I recommend using Ubuntu. If you don’t like unpredictable and somewhat flighty development, then I’d suggest staying away.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. I used to really enjoy Ubuntu, but ever since Unity and other unilateral decisions, I’ve been more and more wondering why I support a distro that doesn’t really seem to care what its users want.

Sabayon 6 x64:

Sabayon is one of those distros that takes an existing distro, reimagines part of it, expands on other parts and really applies a nice finish to it. It’s a stable OS with a lot of really innovative and cool features. Its Entropy Package Management system is top-notch. It’s blindingly fast in certain areas, and it’s a fun distro for the experienced Linux Geek to play around with.

All that being said, this distro is not for the person who is new to Linux. It is easy to break if you decide to use the wrong repository for your packages. You have to be very careful with what you decide to install from where, and you have to keep a close eye on updates. You also need to know what really needs updating, and what can wait.

The Good:
Being based on Gentoo, this distro is one of the few that gives you total control over what you install. You start with a reasonable base, and a few extras. From there you can go in and install software to your heart’s content. This is a blazing fast distro and will take good advantage of your hardware.

The Not Quite So Good:
Some things in this distro are (at the time of this writing) broken. If you want to use Gnome-Shell (heretofore referred to as “GS”) on ATI/AMD video, you’re out of luck. For some reason the maintainers of Sabayon have decided to lock GS into what’s known as fallback mode. Fallback mode resembles the interface for Gnome 2 (“G2”). It isn’t quite as pretty as GS, nor is it quite as intuitive (once you wrap your head around the interface of GS, that is), but it’s powerful, and easy to manage, and if you preferred G2 to begin with, then with a few differences, you’ll either love it or hate it.

Documentation? What’s that? So far the distro maintainers have been a little slow to document changes on Sabayon. They only have limited manpower, so their reasons are justified. If you’re running this distro, or are considering doing so, and have a bit of spare time. Consider offering to help them out on this.

A personal pet-peeve of mine: Sabayon will not work with certain advanced features of Google+ Hangouts (Hangouts with extras). This was the final straw that sent me back to Fedora 15. This needs to be fixed. Along with the problems with GS, which other distros have solved. I find that for me, this isn’t tolerable.

I run Sabayon on my other laptop in GS without issues, on Intel video, and it’s a beautiful experience.

My Thoughts on this Distro:
This distro has the potential to be truly inspiring. All the pieces are there, they just need polishing and fine-tuning. The problems with GS, Hangouts with extras, and package maintenance need to be worked out. entropy is an excellent system, but it needs a manual and it needs an interface that is less confusing to those who are new to it (I’m primarily speaking of the Sulfur gui).
Few other distros give this level of control and flexibility. But, also few other distros can be as easy to break. So, if you’re a Linux Geek, and have been for a while. Have a blast. This is a fun and highly performant distro.

My girlfriend and her son seem to enjoy it, and they seem to get it. They are not computer geeks, by any means. So, with that said, and what I’ve mentioned above, give this distro a shot, and have a blast. But only if you know what you’re doing and are not running AMD/ATI video (and also if you don’t play in Google+ hangouts with extras).

Final Thoughts:

Fedora 15 is stable, and fast. You also have several nice desktop options to choose from. I chose GS (gnome-shell).

Ubuntu is a good start if you're just starting out in Linux, and want to get your feet wet, but not too wet. Its performance is adequate for most purposes, and it is reasonably stable.

Sabayon is fast and stable, but you can get into trouble with it if you choose to use certain software repositories. It also is buggy on certain video hardware.

My Final Recommendation:

Overall, out of the distros that I mention here, I'd recommend going with Fedora 15. Ubuntu/Canonical doesn't seem to care what the user really wants, and Sabayon is probably a bit much for most people who 'just want to get things done'.

But, with the above being said, for new users who have tried Fedora and just don't get it. I'd suggest going with Ubuntu, Linux Mint or PepperMint OS (Linux Mint is derived from Ubuntu).

I won't assign numbers or ratings, because each person knows what they want and what they're willing to tolerate. I want performance, stability and ease of use and configuration. So, I went with Fedora 15. Please leave a comment and let us know what your choice is, and why. I'd like to hear your thoughts :)

I'd also like to hear about other distros to test out. Ideas are always welcome, as is constructive criticism.

Thank you for reading,


Monday, August 22, 2011

An idea for a decentralized and cryptographically strong ID system for Google+

Here's an alternative method for self-verification. For everyone you know, and know to be real through Hangouts or whatever means, mark them, through a checkbox or some-such in their profile (this is hypothetical) as "I verify this person as real".

This would enable cross-verification through peer-exchange, not through some unilateral demand by a corporation to verify yourself based on some unknown criteria.

To explain the idea further: Let's say I go to Ryan's profile page and verify him, and some of his friends do the same. Ryan comes to my profile page (assuming he believes me to be a real person) and does the same for me. This goes on throughout our networks, with those who believe their network associates to be real verifying those associates. This builds a trusted network, through a peer review process, instead of a mandated system of providing personal data.

Someone I know on Google+ had this argument, and I believe that he makes a good point, so we need to find a way to keep the spam-bots out of the network, or at least to a minimum.

Here are his thoughts on the subject:

"And spam-bots would happily cross-verify each other. It's a good way for me to trust that +Ryan Schultz can strongly identify people I don't know. But it's not what Google wants. 

I think verification is a good idea -- it just needs to be optional. And universal -- Anyone want to take the bet that you won't need to be in the US to be a Real Person™ for the first while?"

My reply is the following (edited for brevity, clarity, and to remove irrelevant content):
'Perhaps a form of built-in captcha combined with context sensitive image recognition? Combine that with a cryptographically strong ID string which requires some time to generate, similarly to bitcoin...

The idea behind the bitcoin-like key-string generation is to waste spammer's time and processing power, and to generate a truly strong ID for each system/person.'

I think that this is an interesting subject. I welcome opinions and ideas.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

An Idea for Power Bricks

Laptop Power Brick Specification Proposal (WIP)
I'm still working on this; any constructive input is welcome.
For those of us that are more than a little tired of having to purchase new power supplies every year for our laptops, notebooks, etc.

Getting the power done right:
Let's make this make sense to us, as well as business, or it will not be implemented.
1) The power supply must maintain its own cooling.
  • This one thing alone will help to extend the lifetime of any power supply, especially if that cooling mechanism isn't dependant upon the circulation of air. I'm half-tempted to suggest some sort of internal gel-cooled method, but that's probably expensive, and prone to any number of potential issues.
2) The power supply must have a universal ability to detect and provide power to whatever (laptop, notebook, net-book, etc.) system it is plugged into.
  • Working on the assumption that whatever one is plugging it into is something that it has the proper adapter and physical ability to power effectively.
3) The power supply must be designed to last 5 years or longer, given proper care.
  • Anything less than 5 years seems to be too short. I know that most people consider laptops and computers in general to be ancient at that time scale. My question is: "why shouldn't the power supply be reusable for a new system?"
  • A notebook is still a notebook, and will have similar power requirements over time. So why not re-use existing power supplies? Especially ones that are designed to last a long time. This is more ecologically friendly than tossing out (and purchasing new) power supplies each year, and more cost-effective for end-users/consumers.