Sometimes I make games. Sometimes I make websites. This is my blog.
Reliable access to information is important. Like electricity, we don’t think about it much until it’s gone.
Just imagine how much harder your daily life would be if you weren’t able to access a given piece of information. Whether it’s because the server is down, workplace firewall rules, or some sort of government censorship, how would you get what you need in order to do your work? Is it even possible?
If you’re a student looking for data for your research paper, or you’re a automotive dashboard designer trying to reduce driver distraction, or you’re a marketer looking for data to analyze customer habits, you need access to quality information that will help you make decisions based on data.
It’s no secret that most academic and non-profit organizations are constantly strapped for cash, often requiring donations or tax breaks just to keep the lights on. While it’s always welcome to donate money, there are other ways you can help out.
Have you ever considered donating a bit of hard drive space to help host academic files for universities? Many of us (myself included) have a home theater computer connected to our living room TV. Whether it’s an old laptop with a broken screen, a Raspberry Pi, or an Intel NUC, we’ve got something that’s available for most of the hours of any given day and has a hard drive that is almost never used.
Why not donate 10 to 15 GB of space to host important and much needed legal torrents?
This is what I’ve started doing. Using Transmission, which is available for free on Linux, Windows, and Mac, you can easily set up a folder to host legal academic torrents.
Worried about it killing your Internet speed or receiving hefty bandwidth bills? You don’t need to be. If you click the little turtle in the status bar, you can set sane speed limits. To not interfere with my Netflix streaming and gaming, I’ve got mine set to low speeds. It won’t be a deluge of data being sent, but just imagine if 50 of us all had these settings, the speed for the files will be fast, because that’s how Torrents work: splitting the file across multiple people to increase speed and reduce the chance of one down server stopping everyone.
Take a look at Academic Torrents to learn more about how you can help out.
Unity 4 was released three days ago, on the 12th of November. I installed it as soon as I saw that it was available. Unfortunately, it overwrites any previous version of Unity you have installed, so I lost my install of Unity 3. To make matters worse, I could not find any download link on the Unity3d website.
Thankfully, the official @unity3d twitter account pointed me toward the installer for Unity3D 3.5. Here it is.
There exists an obscure music format that an entire generation of kids grew up with, most without ever realizing the sub-culture and community that had grown up around them. The file format is called Music Modules, or Mods for short. There are many different kinds of Mod formats, each with their own unique set of features, but they all work using the same basic principles: The Mod file contains the “patterns” (digital sheet music) as well as the “samples” (instruments) that play according to the patterns. In this way it is somewhat of a cross between a MIDI and an MP3 file. Because each Mod includes the instruments with the file, each Mod can have a unique sound.
Mods were frequently used in videogames and PC games during the 1990s. If you had a Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, or Atari Jaguar, chances are you have listened to Mod music and never even knew it.
The Mod community has been around for a long time and includes some of the best Demoscene musicians in the world. Making your own mods is free and easy and when you’re finished with your masterpiece you can unleash it on the world for comment and rating via websites like The Mod Archive.
In order to make music modules you will need a computer with a sound card (if you bought a computer after about 1993 you should be okay :D) and a Tracker. The Tracker I use most frequently to make Mods is Schism Tracker. Schism Tracker is a remake of a classic DOS-based Mod Tracker known as Impulse Tracker. Schism Tracker will run on Windows, Linux, and Mac and is free to download.
If you’re interested in getting started with making music on your computer, check out this tutorial for Impulse / Schism Tracker and have fun!
The world’s fastest web browser, Google Chrome, has recently been released on the Linux platform. This is big news since it will greatly improve the web browsing performance of many of the world’s netbooks.
I’ve been a huge fan of Google Chrome since it appeared in the summer of last year, but haven’t used it heavily simply because of the lack of Linux support. It is installed on my Windows 7 virtualization, however.
Word on the street is that Google Chrome is also available for Macs, so if that’s your platform, take a look!
One thing that I think is important to note that I haven’t seen anyone pick up on is this line on the Official Google Blog post about Chrome being available for Linux and Mac:
“At Google, most engineers use Linux machines …”
Hmm.. No wonder they’re winning! ;)
Go for it -> Download Google Chrome for Linux