Could iOS 4.1 be released on Wednesday?

Apple will hold a music-related event on Wednesday, September 1st. New iPods will be introduced, as it happens yearly. There is strong evidence of a new iPod nano based around the 3×3 cm touch screen seen earlier this year, and possibly a new iPod Touch with 3G data capabilities — essentially a smaller iPad.

This leads me to think that these new units may require iOS 4.1 at minimum, and the new firmware could therefore be made available to iPhones (and older generations of iPod Touches — ok now that’s a weird plural) on the same day.

Of course, the new units may be shipped with a particular version that won’t be made available to other devices, as it was with the iPad: iPhone OS 3.2 was never made available for iPhones, and iPads won’t see iOS 4 until the fall. Apple may also release iOS 4 for iPad on Wednesday, or give a release date. Or perhaps introduce iPad 2 whilst lowering the price of the current iPad, probably giving a refund to angry customers (it has already happened with the original iPhone.) Besides, Apple would get to use the line they love so much: our competitors are still trying to copy version 1, and we have already released version 2.

Personally, I don’t care what new hardware is on the horizon. I just want iOS 4.1 for the iPhone and I want it to make my 3G decent again.

Zero Views: the best of the bottom of the barrel

A website called Zero Views has made its mission to repost the best Youtube videos that have zero views, effectively delivering them from such state. It’s yet another Tumblr, but unlike most Tumblrs (how on earth do you pluralize that?), it’s not hipster at all.

Most of the videos posted therein are genuinely funny, either because they involve cute things (cats and kids) or because they have a strong WTF component (a guy enthusiastically chewing a gum), and it’s even better than Wimp, because these are user-uploaded. They are still selected, of course, but it works like a direct access to weird videos you would never look for on your own. It’s somewhat big-brotherish, but it’s still fun. Continue reading “Zero Views: the best of the bottom of the barrel”

Back me up, store me away, and do so redundantly

I, like many others, have had my fair share of hard drive crashes; and like many others, I have my tastes when it comes to brands. My favorite brand is Seagate, my least favorite brand is Maxtor. This poses a big problem because they joined into Seagate Maxtor, so I usually lean towards Western Digital these days. The point is that you can love a brand as much as you want, but hard drives can and will fail. And will do so at the least appropriate the moment.

The best case scenario is that you have a very recent backup. The worst case scenario is that you don’t have any backup, and you lose valuable data, from either an emotional or professional point of view. Often, from both. This usually leads to nervous breakdowns, extensive cursing, going through a list of past, present and future deities to blame, and possibly weeping. I’ve done all of that, and I’m not ashamed of admitting so.

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Languages: life, evolution, death and extinction

To call a language “dead” is often an exaggeration. Languages seldom really die; they evolve, and sometimes they fade out of usage.

Latin, for instance, is usually deemed to be a dead language, but this is not the case. To begin with, Latin is still the official language of the Vatican, and while catholic functions have been in local languages since 1964, papal documents continue to be redacted in Latin to this day. Moreover, while there are no native Latin speakers, there are hundreds of millions of people whose native language is directly derived from Latin: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Romanian; these are usually called “romance” or “neo-latin” languages. The word romance has unfortunately nothing to do with feelings, and is rather a reference to roman. Ancient Romans did, in fact, spread the usage of Latin around the world.

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The Woz on The Big Bang Theory

As if anybody needed another reason to watch The Big Bang Theory, here it is: the Woz is going to be on it. Gizmodo reports that he wrote so on Facebook, and it’s currently unknown when the episode will be aired and whether he will play himself, it’s obvious that it’s going to be great. I can’t wait for Raj and Wolowitz short-circuiting when they see him. Can you say nerdgasm?

Weeds comes back tonight on Showtime

For those in the US and who are addicted to Weeds (get it?), the sixth season starts tonight at 10 PM ET/PT, whatever time zone that translates to for you. In all truth, the premiere has been leaked a few days ago, but if you’re like me, you resisted the temptation. Good for you.

According to the teaser and the trailer, Nancy and her family flee to Canada after Shane killed Pilar in the season 5 finale. They all take up new identities (going from Botwin to Newman), but as the trailer suggests, “you can take the girl out of the business, but you can’t take the business out of the girl.” The trailer suggests that Doug, Cesar and the never-hairy-enough Ignacio are there, at least in the first episode. Online sources claim that Lupita is apparently coming back, which is definitely going to be fun. Hopefully they can get rid of Esteban soon.

I will have to wait until tomorrow to watch it, but hey, it’s definitely well worth the wait.

Also remember that that both 30 Rock and The Big Bang Theory come back on September 23rd, on NBC and CBS respectively. Whee!

Edit: Showtime posted a video on the cast’s memory loss. The actor who plays Doug is Doug-y in real life too, it seems. Way to go!

Language: defining identity

In my previous post about language, I said that the ability to conceive and communicate complex thoughts is what sets humans apart from animals. I want to make it clear that I do not mean in any way that animals are stupid, on the contrary. However, seeing as they rely on instinct much more than we do — partly because we traded off instinct with learning — they are more radical in their behavior than us. Anybody who tried to calm down a scared cat or dog knows exactly what I mean. I hope this settles any doubts that readers might have had about my point of view.

I have already said that language is the foundation of human culture. It is, however, more than that. Language is one of the very few “inner traits” that define the different ethnic groups, that is traits not immediately visually discernible when seeing someone new. Everybody can tell if somebody has a similar ethnic background: Caucasian people look different than African people, or Asian people. Yet, while is it true that a Swedish will probably look different than an Italian, it will be virtually impossible to discern a Spanish and a Portuguese just by looking at them.

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Language: the foundation of culture

Language is the fundamental trait that sets apart homo sapiens from other animals. The physical ability to generate complex sounds has given us the ability to go beyond instinct.

Culture could not exist without language, and not only because we wouldn’t be able to share it with one another. Animals, lacking full languages, are only able to communicate simple pieces of information: there is food over there; a predator is approaching; I am ready to mate. Contrary to popular belief, they do not chit-chat with one another; they are simply relaying basic information. A cat might indicate to one of its kind that it is happy, but will not seek a full conversation with its fellow. They lack the body parts to do so, and are therefore unable to conceive any higher form of communication. This is not unlinke people who are blind from birth: not having ever seen colors, they simply don’t know what color is. It’s an entirely abstract concept to them, much like every human fails to grasp the concept of a fourth dimension. (I strongly recommend reading Edwin A. Abbott’s “Flatland” to get a better idea of the problem.)

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Happy 60th birthday, Woz!

Today marks the 60th birthday of the most brilliant mind in the computer industry: Steve Wozniak! Co-founder of Apple, visionary, philantropist, aircraft pilot and universal mascot of geekiness. Happy birthday!

(Can someone please make a Woz plush and/or action figure? Am I really the only one wanting that?)

Turning casual gamers into frustrated gamers with a PS3

Ars Technica talks about how the fast pace of firmware releases for the Playstation 3 adds to the frustration of casual gamers. Being forced to update your system once per week or so makes people pissed off, and it’s worse for those who only play once in a while because it’s more likely that they will need to go through that every single time. I had a PS3 and I sold it for different reasons — I only used it as a Blu-ray player, as I prefer playing on the Xbox 360 — but I can talk about another, even worse, frustrating thing about Sony’s console: forced installation.

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