“It’s like the Superbowl of News”

It was aptly put as such by one news reporter I heard on TV while home for this past weekend. And is it ever, the elections are always one of the most watched things on TV these days. It comes (usually) only once every four years or so and lasts only one night. Can you say exciting? 😛

I can personally vouch for the popularity of following the elections. I don’t have a TV here at res, but I followed it online and were they ever trashed by the amount of visitors. The pages wouldn’t load properly or were slow as heck. The run up to election day had the news stations preparing madly for what they knew would probably be their most watched broadcasts, short of something disastrous. (read, 9/11) Here’s a page I was kindly greeted with around 11PM EST last night.

CBC page went down

Did you watch the elections? Be honest now.

News Comments November 30, 2005

Well, here’s another rant about the United States. They must be getting old, but this one got a little chuckle from me. Plus, it has to do with the computer industry so it’s extra interesting to me.

Samsung Pleads Guilty in Price-fixing Case

So, back several years ago, there were a few big DRAM (dynamic random access memory) makers who the rest of the tech industry liked to call the ‘DRAMurai’. The top four companies, Samsung, Hynix, Micron and Infineon control about 75% of total DRAM revenues. Because of this fact, it was relatively easy for the companies to collaborate to keep RAM prices articifially high. Actually as a result, OEMs such as Dell, HP and IBM were forced to either increase their selling prices or reduce the amount of RAM preinstalled in their systems. Of course, price-fixing is highly illegal in the free market economy.

Now, this story alone doesn’t really surprise me. Sure Samsung had to pay $300 million, but that’s relative pocketchange to them. What caught my attention was the fact that this ruling was made by a US District Judge. The three foreign companies (Samsung – S. Korea, Hynix – S. Korea, Infineon – Germany) all had to pay exorbitant amounts of money. The last one, Micron based in Boise, Idaho, is not expected to face any charges… Wow, the only American company named in the suit and they get off scottfree. What a coincidence huh? Now to be honest here, I don’t understand the full intricacies of the lawsuit so perhaps Micron didn’t “price-fix” as much. Who knows. I still found it interesting nonetheless…

News Comments November 19, 2005

I haven’t written anything about the things going on around the world, outside of my life in quite a while (almost two months) so I decided I’d put something down today. Mind you, I’ve found many articles which I’m found either interesting, infuriating, or plain hilarious, but I’ll cover the ones I’ve come across recently here.

IT workers dubbed ‘worst dressed’

This one really hits home hard since I’ll soon (actually very soon, like after Christmas) be joining the IT workforce. don’t claim to have an impeccable sense of fashion, but I don’t think I’ll be wearing black socks with shorts anytime soon either. It’s really quite funny because when you think about those tech geeks, you definitely can see them dressing abysmally. This article only goes to affirm that stereotype. After all, stereotypes usually have some basis in truth. Seems like this one is totally true.

Still ‘no demand’ for media-player-free Windows

Now to understand the irony of this article, you really have to have some understanding of the background of this case. Okay, so Microsoft is definitely not a new name when it comes to anti-monopoly or lawsuit cases. So it shouldn’t be shocking to hear that the European Commission decided last year that Microsoft should have to:

  1. Release documentation on their operating system(s) to companies who wish to create competing products for their OS.
  2. Release a version of Windows XP which unbundles the included Windows Media Player.
  3. Pay 497.2 million Euros for abusing its near-monopolistic position in the European Union.

Ok, well the first point there probably sounds legitimate and it is slightly unfair of Microsoft to essentially give themselves a huge upper hand when it comes to developing applications for their operating system.

But, the second point is what this article I’m writing about really puts to shame. Basically the European Commission made Microsoft release a new version of Windows XP, called Windows XP N with the Windows Media Player so consumers can choose what they want, not what Microsoft imposes. Okay, I’m sorry to say it, but when you buy a computer from say Dell, you get a crapload of random media players forced upon you by Dell anyways. I really don’t think that’s what the consumer wants either. Really, it’s replacing one evil with another. Personally, I don’t mind Windows Media Player at all. In fact, I find it a very nice music player. I’ve been using it almost exclusively for playing music and recently videos once I installed a few codecs. Only since my iPod got here have I been using iTunes more for music. I still use WMP for videos.

And this article blatantly shows that consumers generally don’t mind having Windows Media Player on their systems. It’s not a though it’s impossible to install another media player if you were so inclined on a Windows XP system. So who was the European Commission really trying to help and protect? It doesn’t seem like they were doing this in the aid of consumers at least.

News Comments September 22, 2005

Oh um, jeez. It’s been quite the busy year in the Atlantic hurricane season. In fact, it’s one of the busiest in recorded history and the United States, especially, has been getting pounded unrelentlessly by powerful hurricanes. Hurricane Rita seems to just want to continue that streak.

Rita Changes Path, May Avoid Houston

I mean at least it’s some sort of consolation that it may avoid hitting Houston directly. But in either case, the once Category 5, Hurricane Rita will still be a a hell of a storm for anything and anyone in the way. With a seemingly direct course for the heavily refinery-populated area of Texas, damage to infrastructure will most likely put the hurt on the already reeling oil conditions in the United States and thus at least North America.

If you think about it, it’s totally insane what’s been happening. There’s been a very large number of powerful storms this year. For even one very powerful hurricane to hit the US isn’t all the common. But for two or more (and we’re not even done of the hurricane season yet) is ludicrous. New Orleans took it in the face even though the hurricane never actually passed as close it was orginally feared it could have. That city is going to be out of commission for a very long time yet, even if it is basically dry now. They’re basically going to have to rebuild the city. The number of displaced people is mindblowing, especially considering it’s a so-called First World Country that they’re living in.

What is this? Is God punishing America for acts it has inflicted on other countries? Who knows. I’m not going to get into that here. All I know is there’s some weird phenomenon this year that’s causing too many people grief. Hopefully Rita won’t do what Katrina. People are more prepared and most importantly, much more aware.