Saturday, July 30, 2005

Saturday Night Geekin'

Okay, let's chill the wonking and up the geeking tonight. Allow me to introduce a couple fun compuker programs.

We all know and love Google maps, especially their satellite feature. Well, you knew it wouldn't be long until Microsoft tried to steal their thunder. And as you'd expect, the Microsoft version, called Virtual Earth, is pretty danged cool. Not really better than what Google offers, just slightly different. I think the satellite map images are a little sharper with the MS version.

But Google hasn't stood pat; they've introduced a wicked cool product called Google Earth, which is like their satellite maps on steroids. You can zoom very deeply (is that the right term for zooming?) on areas all around the world, from the pyramids to the Great Wall to your grandpa's house (I could even make out my Aunt's and Uncle's car out front!). You have to have high-speed internet, and there's a download of about 10 megs. Lots of fun.

A little farther off the beaten path is the Konfabulator, which is an application that allows you to customize your desktop in ways previously unheard of (at least for PC users; Konfabby's been on Macs for years). It basically bells-and-whistle-izes your desktop with various little plug-ins, called widgets, that do things such as show the weather for the next week, report the traffic conditions in your metro area, and illustrate the phases of the moon. Yeah, I thought it was pretty dumb too until I saw it installed on a friend's computer. I think the word that best describes it is nifty. It won't change the way you compute, but it just might improve the quality of your life a little. The download is around 9 megs, and a couple of the widgets (such as the weather and traffic ones) do require real-time access to the internet.

Each of these programs is worth checking out if you've got some time to kill while your turtle porn is downloading.


Yossarian said...

Macs Rule! Kneel before ZOD and our mighty widgets!

Thrillhous said...

I have to admit, Macs are pretty cool. But the whole proprietary thing kills me. Come on, Steve Jobs, open it up!

Did you hear that Apple is switching to Intel processors?

Yossarian said...

Yeah, but the fact that microsoft never fully converted office to Mac (we still can't use access) kinda makes up for any propietary shenanigans by Jobs. That reason alone, many offices don't think of macs as serious computers.

And I did hear about the Intel Processoers. - Rivers and seas boiling! 40 years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanos! The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats, living together - mass hysteria!

InanimateCarbonRod said...

Why did I click on the turtle porn link? Did I expect to see something else?

The one and only reason I do not switch over to macs is that the games. They have about 1/10 of the games out there, and when the mac edition shows up it's at least a year after the pc one releases its sequel.

I shouldn't say too much about technology because I'm still on dial-up. It's the 21st century version of smoking menthols. Nobody wants to bum bandwidth off me. Plus, my consumption of internet pornography is remarkably low.

InanimateCarbonRod said...

PS I'm going to Dragon*Con again this year if anyone wants to come along. I may play some Dungeons and Dragons with "Celebrity Game Masters."

Troi, Geordi, and Chewbacca will be there along with the cast of Firefly.

Plus Kevin Sorbo!

Otto Man said...

My Mac may not be able to handle the Google Earth, but it's loaded with Dashboard Widgets. Including my Homer Simpson Hula Girl and Magic 8-Ball. Suck on that, PC boys!

Mrs_Thrillhous said...

Attending Dragon*Con would be worth the effort even if the only thing I did was tell Kevin Anderson how much the new Dune books suck.

T'hous might be interested in seeing Erin Gray again, and may even stammer a "hello" this time. I, for one, would love to see Nurse Ratchet! And some certain people's rugrats.

Tokyo Joe said...

As a PC user, I just wanted to throw some fuel onto the whole Mac/PC debate.

Even though I admit they might get a little more power for your buck, the fact that something like 97% of the software is made for the PC made the decision easy for me. Go to any software store and check out the selection. there are rows for games, business, education, etc. Then way in the back there is that tiny little column that meekly states "mac" (usually in lower case).

Also, I could never get use to only having one mouse button.

Yossarian said...

You can get a two button mouse for a mac (heck - I know somebody with a 5 button mouse for a mac)

And as far as lack of soft ware being made for the mac - that is just the "man" trying to keep us down. Although you could just run a pc emulator if you need to play the newest edition of monoply.

Thrillhous said...

I don't have a whole lot of restrictions when I consider a new computer. I don't mind the lack of games and apps for the mac, and the mouse thing only bothers me for a few minutes -- then I just adjust.

Basically, I think of computers as internet and porn boxes. I'll never be the guy with the fastest processor or the most memory; I really just want to download (legally, of course) and watch Rocco doing Prague without impediment.

Macs definitely give more bang for the buck, but the minimum number of bucks you must lay out is so much higher than the minimum you have to lay out for a decent PC.

Tokyo Joe said...

I'm with Thrillhouse on the main use for computers, but I'll add one more: video. I don't mean the actual editing and making of video (which I understand macs are better at, but I've never seen them in action). I'm talking about watching videos downloaded off the internet. Aside from the obvious porn, I watch most of my television this way. Since I live outside the US, the only way I can get the current episodes of Family guy and Bullshit is to download them. Also, fansubs for the latests anime are an awesome way to see what is worth buying. It's been my experience that most of the videos out there are in formats that are more compatabile with PCs. Not sure why, it just is.

Tokyo Joe said...

Also, if you want to play games - BUY A PLAYSTATION 2. I stopped putting games on my PC when I had to reconfigure my sound drivers for the third time to hear all the cool sound effects. The joy of a console is that you just put the disc in and it works - no fuss/no muss.