Mamado Inside

27 March 2007

ArsTechnica demystifies the F@H numbers

Filed under: technical — mhussein @ 4:23 pm

ars technica tries to describe why the latest Folding@Home statistics means with regards to PS3.

I really like the analogy that they are using to describe the results:

Here’s a simple analogy to illustrate the logic behind the rankings. The GRE exam has three sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. Let’s say that three different students took the exam, and they were then ranked relative to each other based on the average of their three scores.

Because student G is a mathematical genius and an autistic savant who can’t do anything but math, he was asked to take only the quantitative exam—an exam that he’s insanely good at. So his GRE average reflects his performance on that single exam. Student P excels at both math and vocabulary, so took he took only the quantitative and the verbal reasoning exams. Thus P’s GRE average reflects the average of only these two exams. Student C is good at vocabulary, average at math, and a solid writer. He took all three exams, and all three scores contributed to his GRE average.

If we were to rank the average scores of all three students, student G would outclass the other two by a wide margin, student P would come in second place, and student C would be stuck at a far, far distant third place. This is because G (the GPU in the analogy) took only the test that he was insanely good at, P (the PS3) took the two tests at which he excelled, and C (the general-purpose CPU) had to take all three tests.

Ultimately, the TFLOPS/CPU rankings given above align pretty much exactly with the degree of specialization of each type of processor. The GPU is far and away the most specialized of the three, so it sits comfortably atop the rankings. The PS3 has a lower degree of specialization than the GPU, but a significantly higher degree than the general-purpose CPU. Indeed, you could almost use each processor’s TFLOPS/CPU score as a sort of “degree of hardware specialization” rating.

The fun part for me was:

The final thing that’s worth noting is that the pool of CPUs that make up the “Windows” portion of the client list varies widely, from older Pentium 4 models to brand new Core 2 Duos and everything in between.

guys, there are still people with models older than P4, please don’t harm their feelings 🙂

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email subject tips

Filed under: email, web, writing — mhussein @ 10:37 am

I found a nice blog about writing tips through my favourite lifehacker, The author has some nice tips about how to craft your email subject line so that it gets read.

  • Write it after you’ve composed the body of your message.
  • Summarize the thrust of the message. Example: Cocktails resched to Friday 7 p.m.
  • Focus on what’s in it for the reader: Example: Here’s the data on Iowa you wanted
  • Keep it short.
  • Be specific – Not “Newsletter #4” but “Newsletter #4: Tips for spring cleaning”
  • Avoid words that “sell” like “free,” “buy,” and “call now” – they’re like flares to spam filters.
  • Have someone else write it – You’ll be surprised at how effective this can be.
  • Avoid dates in case it gets cut off – March 26 could appear as March 2 depending on the recipient’s setup.
  • Avoid: “Hi” and “FYI”
  • Don’t let your subject line be your message – It’s confusing to recipients because they think something’s missing (it’s like when someone says something is attached and there’s nothing there, you’re, like, huh?)
  • Change the subject line if the topic of the e-mail itself has changed, though include the original subject line in brackets if you can. Example: “Here’s your mtg info [Re: We won the account!]

Some of the commenters disagree with some of the tips, and I think that I agree with some of the disagreements 🙂

I like “subject only emails” they are more efficient, but as some of the commenters mentioned you need to indicate that in the subject. (I prefer <oem/> to (oem), it is geekier, though it has one extra character 🙂 )

I also use FYI, but I usualy use it in the body and not the subject.

I prefer to use prefixes that ease filtering, for example, I use [OT] for any “Off Topic” mail I send to colleagues, I also use [Fun] sometimes for Jokes.

I think if the email has a relevant date information, then it should be in the subject, the suggestion of using 26March is excellent.

ofcourse never send an email without a subject

Please tell us your tips in the comments.

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26 March 2007

What People say in Court

Filed under: fun — mhussein @ 11:57 am

It is amazing what people says in court, see some examples here taken from this post found at digg

—————————————————
Q: The youngest son, the twenty-year old, how old is he?
—————————————————
Q: Were you present when your picture was taken?
—————————————————
Q: Was it you or your younger brother who was killed in the war?
—————————————————
Q: Did he kill you?
—————————————————
Q: How far apart were the vehicles at the time of the collision?
—————————————————
Q: You were there until the time you left, is that true?
—————————————————
Q: How many times have you committed suicide?

and the best is :

Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for breathing?
A: No.
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began
the autopsy?
A: No.
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q: But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?
A: It is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.

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25 March 2007

urlTea

Filed under: web — mhussein @ 11:40 am

Thanks to downloadsquad, I found urlTea, I have been using TinyUrl for a while, but urlTea (earl Tea 🙂 ) seems a lot better.

It has a nice feature of allowing you to add description to the usrl, for example:

http://urltea.com/20w

is the same as

http://urltea.com/20w?mamado_blog

To easily use this new service, you can use this simple bookmarklet:

urlTea

Do you think it is better than tinyUrl?

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21 March 2007

Teach Programming concepts with Alice 3D

Filed under: development, education, freeware, kids — mhussein @ 6:16 pm

One of my favourite blogs, downloadsquad just posted about a 3D animation program that can teach kids programming.

It’s like welcoming LOGO to the 21st century. Alice is a Java based 3D toolkit which serves as an excellent foundation for teaching youngsters the basics of programming. The Alice 3D Authoring system is developed and maintained by the Stage3 Research Group at Carnegie Mellon University

Through a simple drag-and-drop interface you can build all sorts of animation by attaching object methods to events, giving clear visual feedback in the form of the animations you build, but also stealthily teaching simple modern programming techniques. Even the only slightly nerdy kids you know will fall in love with animating characters while learning valuable lessons along the way.

Takes you back to writing simple programs in BASIC but, with a whole new modern twist. Alice is a hefty download, at 115MB, and you’ll need Java installed as well. Still, it’s free, educational and just the perfect thing for a rainy spring day. Take the jump to see some shots of Alice’s user interface.

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Convincing your Boss to let you work from home (and other 501 goodness)

Filed under: business, finance, productivity — mhussein @ 4:56 pm

Thanks to dumblittleman I just discovered Productivity501, I entered to read the post about Convincing your Boss to let you work from home, which was great. I liked the way Mark sets his strategy.

1. Stealth Mode Research – The Technology

first make sure it is possible, then

2. Positioning Yourself for Success

improve your status at work to show that you can work efficiently without supervision, then

3. Determine the Business Reason You Should Be Allowed to Work From Home

choose the correct reasons from your Boss’s point of view to why it is better that you work from home. then

4. Prepare your Proposal

preferably written, and allow for

5. A Successful Trial Period

___

On the same site I found other excellent posts like Your Own Business and Getting More Done There are also some nice affilliated sites in the same series like Money501 and Profit501, I will be looking into those more, and might come with separate posts on them in the future.

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P2P poisoners’ tactics

Filed under: p2p, web — mhussein @ 3:29 pm

arstechnica had an enlightening interview with the largest company in a -usually- very secret business.

MediaDefender is the largest company in a business that aims to disrupt p2p networks on behalf of large music labels and movie studios.

MediaDefender uses four main methods in their quest, to quote the interview:

Decoying. This, in a nutshell, is the serving of fake files that are generally empty or contain a trailer. The goal is to make legitimate content a needle in a haystack, so MediaDefender works hard to ensure that its copies of files show up in the top ten spots when certain keywords are searched for. Everything about the file is tailored to look like the work of pirates

but decoying has a down side: the bandwidth. Because MediaDefender actually serves these large but bogus files, it incurs a significant bandwidth bill by using this technique.

Spoofing. Spoofing sends searchers down dead ends. MediaDefender coders have written their own software that interacts with the various P2P protocols and sends bogus returns to search requests, usually directing people to nonexistent locations. Because most people only look at the top five search results, MediaDefender tries to frustrate their first attempts to download a file in hopes that they will just give up.

Interdiction. While the first two techniques try to prevent searchers from locating files, interdiction prevents distributors from serving them. The tool is generally used when media is leaked or newly released; the goal is to slow its spread in those crucial first days. MediaDefender servers attempt to create constant connections to the files in question, saturating the provider’s upstream bandwidth and preventing anyone else from grabbing the data.

Swarming. Though he acknowledges the BitTorrent networks can be hard to disrupt, Lee points out that MediaDefender can use “swarming” to make life more difficult for users trying to download copyrighted content. BitTorrent works by using a hash file to reassemble a file from many pieces, each of which may have been downloaded from a different user. MediaDefender simply serves up its chunks of these files, but instead of providing the proper data, its chunks contain static or nothing at all. BitTorrent will discard such junk data, but a flood of it can slow a user’s download to a crawl.

This as expected doesn’t stop the p2p networks, but it can delay the distribution of the pirated content for few weeks, that will be enough for MediaDefender customers to take their profits home.

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15 March 2007

Adding Social networks buttons to wordpress.com posts

Filed under: autohotkey, development, wordpress — mhussein @ 5:37 pm

I wanted to add social networking buttons (del.icio.us, reddit, digg, …) like:
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to the end of every post, There is no way to do it automatically as wordpress.com doesn’t support modifying the post template.

I found an ecellent post about this at sunburntkamel as I am very lazy (as most software developers) I have created a simple autohotkey script to do it for me.

The script prompts you for the url and the title then reads a simple template file adapted from sunburntkamel’s, and add the html code to the Clipboard ready for pasting.

you can download the script at socialsignature.zip This is a very simple script (I spent less than 10 minutes in writing it, most of that time writing comments, yes, I do write comments 🙂 whenever I can of course.)

Please tell me if you know a better way, or if you have problems or comments on the scripts.
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Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School

Filed under: education, productivity — mhussein @ 3:06 pm

It is strange that here in Egypt we regard the American education system as way more modern than the Egyptian one, though you can find on the web articles about the American system describing it as:

the American education system is in sore need of an upgrade. The world is changing at such a rapid pace and it’s my strong opinion that there should be more classes dedicated to helping students prepare and cope with the real world once they graduate.

If you look at this generation of students, you’ll find that most are “shell shocked” once they graduate because they had little or no preparation for what was to come.

High school mostly teaches you to memorize information and to regurgitate it back to your teacher, only to completely erase the information from your mind the moment you walk out after taking the test.

When you go on to college, you do a bit of the same things, but you also learn to think analytically, critically, and to broaden your mind so to speak, but even people who graduate from college will learn lessons from the real world the hard way as well. The sad part is all of this could’ve been prevented with some proper education beforehand.

If someone has told me this omitting the word “American” in the first sentence, I will -at once- think that he is talking about the Egyptian system, but it seems that this problem is universal, a quick google results in this, this, this , this, … Of course Egypt has its mention as well.

WikiPedia has a nice article on Education Reforms

The author of the article mentions Top 5 things that should be taught in every school.

#1. Personal Finance
#2. Communicating Effectively
#3. Social Skills
#4. Sales
#5: Time Management

I do think that if you didn’t learn those in school (who has :-)) you should start to do so NOW.

In 43folders (where I found this link), you can find great responses in the comments.

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Outlook2003 : warning for emails without subject

Filed under: outlook, productivity — mhussein @ 11:33 am

How many times have you sent an email without a subject? yes You! A quick search in my emails tells me that I have been guilty of doing this 6 times this year alone 😦

If you are like me (and you use Outlook like me) you will definitely benefit from my friend‘s latest post.

He has been plagued by the same problem for ages 🙂 but unlike me he decided to do something about, he did his research and found that Outlook MVP Sue Mosher had already wrote code to fix this issue.

The solution is a simple macro that you put in Outlook to warn you and stop the sending process if there is no subject.

I tried it and it worked perfectly, I had a problem when I copied the code from Abdelhalim‘s post because of the double quotes, so I recopied the code here and fixed this issue, if you get errors when you paste this code in VB, delete all double quotes and rewrite them.

Private Sub Application_ItemSend _
(ByVal Item As Object, Cancel As Boolean)
Dim strMessage As String
Dim lngRes As Long
If Item.Subject = “” Then
Cancel = True
strMessage = “Please fill in the subject before sending.”
MsgBox strMessage, _
vbExclamation + vbSystemModal, “Missing Subject”
Item.Display
End If
End Sub

Check the complete instructions and warning on the original post.

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14 March 2007

10 ways to help yourself excercise

Filed under: health — mhussein @ 9:14 am

One of my recently discovered excellent blogs “dumblittleman” links to an excellent article by Diet Blog about how to get your self to start excercising.
It has great 10 tips, of them:

What are your priorities?
When taking time to plan your week you will be forced to address priorities. If you are working 16 hours a day and (understandably) have no time for exercise – then you need to sit right back and take a long hard look at what you truly want out of life.

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8 March 2007

Lifehacker Money saving day :-)

Filed under: cars, diy, fun, photo — mhussein @ 10:09 am

It seems that Lifehacker editors are running out of money :-), In one day had a series of articles on how to be as cheap as possible 🙂

So if you can help please do 🙂

btw, for the NonEgyptians out there, they linked to a nice article about parallel parking. Learn the secrets of parallel-parking success

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5 March 2007

Kids domain – freewares for kids

Filed under: freeware, kids — mhussein @ 10:46 am

Thanks to lifehacker I found KidsDomain which has a great list of freewares for kids, well organized by categories like “Art and Creativity”, “Math”, “Keyboard Bangers” -I have a couple of those bangers now, so I was very interested in this :-)-, If you have tried any of those freewares and found it interesting, please leave a comment.

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