Meet the Geek Behind the Vatican’s Website

This is a fun discussion with the Vatican’s Sister Judith Zoebelein. She’s a 57 year old American lady who also happens to be the editorial director of the Holy See that heads the team running the Vatican’s web site and data center.

Here’s the video, it’s about 25 minutes long and is actually 3 or 4 tech reporters asking her questions in an impromptu interview at a recent conference. In case you’re wondering, they’re running Linux on the backend, SUN servers and recently switched to Mac for their PCs.

Just as interesting is this businessweek article ‘O click all ye faithful‘, it’s a behind the scenes tour of the data center by Sister Judith.

“Unreal” Screens Preview

Unreal Tournament 2007

Ready for some visual gaming goodness?!?  These fantastically rendered shots of the upcoming Unreal Tournament have been posted over on The Hardest Boss for your viewing pleasure.  I’m pretty sure these are rendered or artist depictions, but I’ll tell you, if these are any indication of actual ingame play, I’ll be all over it like a fat kid on cake!

Why is U.S. always last in line for new phones?

MSNBC columnist Michael Rogers explains why Americans are the last in line to be served with coolest of cool new mobiles like the example he talks about playing with at the GSM tradeshow in Barcelona last week. The phone is the:

Samsung Ultra Smart F700, a sleek elegant black phone with a high-resolution color touchscreen, slide-out keyboard, a five megabyte auto-focus camera, all operating on an ultra-high-speed wireless network that will download a 4 megabyte MP3 song in four seconds.  The Ultra Smart F700 looks as cool as Apple’s upcoming iPhone — and actually does more. But we’re not going to see it in the U.S. for a long time to come: for starters, we don’t even have a network it will run on. 

Read more… 

Chinese to Send 14B Holiday SMSes this week

The Chinese New Year started over the weekend and the Chinese people generally take a week off to celebrate (I know because the folks I work with in Beijing basically go dark for a week this time each year before surfacing again).

Reuters is reporting (via that China’s mobile operators estimate that their customers will send billions of text messages during the week long holiday. Here’s the numbers:

They are hosting services for approx 400 million susbribers and last year each user sent approx 30 SMS’ a piece during the last New Year festival for a total of 12.6 billion during the week. They’re trending towards an additional 1.4 billion for this year’s festival for a whopping 14 billion SMS’ exected during an 8 day period this year!

My gawd, imagine if you could insert an advert into each one of those messages, you’d make a killing. 😈


Virtual PC 2007 RTMs….and is still Free

Download VPC 2007 from here. Yes it’s still free like VPC 2004 and VPC now supports Vista.

You can create and run one or more virtual machines, each with its own operating system, on a single computer. This provides you with the flexibility to use different operating systems on one physical computer. Imagine being able to host Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Win98, NT4 and OS/2 on the same box.

If you’re an IT Pro this is a godsend for the appcompat scenarios. I consider myself a VM newbie, having used VPC 2004 off and on over the past 6 months.

What Is Web 2.0? It’s Us.

An Assistant Professor from Kansas State has posted a video on YouTube, no wait…it’s not a video, it’s an amazing video and apparently quite popular! It’s his explanation of Web 2.0, something I kinda sorta understood before.

He posted it less than 3 weeks ago and has been viewed over 1.2 million times, yeah it’s pretty popular.

Watch the video, learn and at its end perhaps you should start being afraid of ‘the machine’. Deus Ex Machina?

Surprise! Mall Shooter Didn’t Own Video Games

Everytime someone goes on a rampage nowadays, video games are blamed. The hysteria pretty much started to peak around the time of the Columbine tragedy.

Last Friday 18 year old Sulejman Talovic started shooting people for no apparent reason in a Utah mall. 2 police officers in the mall, at least one of them off duty having dinner in that mall, eventually shot and killed him.

Since the kid is dead, everyone with an opinion or even remotely associated or interested in the story is seeking a motive, one of the most popular of course is the dreaded video game gambit.

Gaming site has quotes, links and more comments regarding the Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank’s latest comments during the investigation, the key one of which is this:

Although nothing will be completely ruled out in the search for a motive, some of the possibilities that have been rumored on Internet blog sites so far seem to have no merit, Burbank said.

For instance, detectives as of Friday had found no evidence that violent video games may have influenced Talovic. In fact, Talovic did not even own a computer or a video-game system, Burbank said.

Well, I wouldn’t say Rockstar Games is out of the woods just yet, but hopefully the hysteria will settle down in the coming years.

[Found through Digg]

What Is This?

Okay, I skipped last week, I’m sorry! Due to dire family events, I was called away to attend to other duties for the last several days.  But, now I am back in full storm, even though I’m feeling a bit under the weather.  So two weeks ago, pjwhite identified the image I posted as the main circuit board of an older IDE harddrive.  Good Job!

This photo was given to me in a request that it be included in this puzzle post.  It’s old school tech, but I challenge the sailors of the data ocean out there to figure this one out :)

What Is This?  

And a closeup of this object below.

What Is This 2?

As usual, hit the comments section for your best guess!  Have fun :)


Anime Supercon

The Anime Supercon has a new web site as they invite you to the big event in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Apr 13-15.

A plethora of stars and special guests have already signed on and a lot of events are scheduled (including a LAN party?). A weekend pass is only $20 if you register now.

BTW, this is not to be confused with the Florida Supercon also in Ft. Lauderdale but in June. It’s for a greater variety of geeks including sci-fi, comic book, animation & anime. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if you found a ‘Furry’ or three there.

The History of Electronic Arts

Gamasutra provides a lengthy 7 page history of the life and times of EA.

Follow the history as they grow from a tiny shop with humble beginnings with games like Hard Hat Mack, to the mega-powerhouse that they are today.

While you’re at Gamasutra you might as well read the details they spill on Bungie Studios regarding their Halo3 Beta that is stirring quite the controversy. Looks like you gotta pay your dues with ‘Crackdown’ if you want a crack at the Halo Beta.

Geek Hierarchy

The Geek Hierarchy is a graphical representation of the natural order of geeks in the world and where they see themselves as being ‘less geeky’ than others.

For instance, Video Gamers are less geeky than roleplaying gamers, who consider themselves less geeky than Live-Action roleplaying gamers, who look down on 13-year old gamers of any sort who in turn look down on Furry fans who look down on even Erotic Furries which is apparently the bane of all legs of the hierarchical tree.

Other classes of geeks in their own hierarchy include:

  • People who majored in Folklore and Mythology
  • Comic Book fans
  • Anime Fans who insist on Subtitles
  • Heinlein fans
  • Amateur SF/Fantasy Wrtiters
  • Science Fiction TV Fans

French Maids Teach You To Register A Domain

Learning has never been as fun as taking a lesson from French Maids. In this case they walk you through the step by step procedures to register your own domain on Go Daddy. I’m going to assume you’re not surprised by the sponsor? 😀

Oh, and they’ll finish you off with a pillow fight. Now that’s what i’m talking about. 😈


Toshiba PDA/Phone Running 800×480 Res Screen

Akihabaranews has the low down and photos on the latest Toshiba bombshell, the G900 seen at 3GSM this week.

According to their short play test it’s running WM6, has a 3″ screen, a fingerprint reader that doubles as a sort of optical mouse according the spokesperson in the video below, 64MB mem, Wi-Fi, BT, 2M pix camera and more including a slideout qwerty keyboard and a whopping 800×480 resolution! Go check it out!

Bonus: MSMobiles has a video review (requires Flash) that you can watch here.

The Perfect Hippy Bag to Charge Your Gadgets

Voltaic Systems has some terrific bags. Bags with solar panels that is.

These things are basically mobile power generators designed to recharge devices while your traveling, biking, hiking, etc…

The panels use a standard car adapter to enable the gadgets to jack into the generator, you can pick up a wide variety of adapters from Voltaic as well for a myriad of device standards.

The panels that are embedded onto the outside of the book bags and laptop bags are waterproof and very flexible generators that can convert up to about 4 watts of power!

To top it off, the bags come with a Lithium Ion pack to store extra power that is not being used. So if you plug in your gadget and your sky ends up being a cloudy day, no worries, the device can charge up from the battery backup.

Word of the Day: Trivium

The word trivium comes from the Latin prefix tri meaning “three,” and the Latin root via meaning “way,” or “road.” The word literally means “the three-fold way or road.”

In medieval schools, the trivium was the beginning of the liberal arts since it consisted of the three subjects taught first: logic, grammer and rhetoric. The English word  of trivial derives from the fact that the trivium contained the least complicated studies.

Dual-core Smartphones ‘Real Soon Now’

I found this at LinuxDevices.

At the 3GSM event this week, Qualcomm announced expected delivery of dual-core smartphones this year.

Qualcomm expects to sample a low-cost, dual-core mobile phone processor that supports Linux and other third-party embedded OSes, in Q3 of this year. Smartphones based on the Mobile Station Modem MSM7225 will sell for less than $200, the company forecasts.

In its announcement of the MSM7225 at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, today, Qualcomm said the new device is aimed at making dual-processor smartphones more affordable so that they can move beyond enterprises, into the consumer consumer market.

You can read the full article here which includes more specs and features on the prospective phone.