Android

We all know that Google’s ultimate goal is World DominationTM. What started ten years ago with a good search algorithm and web spiders on speed has now turned into a multi-billion dollar company with more than nineteen thousand employees. Their products range from web advertising to 3D animated chat programs. Google is also an important player on mobile platforms, like cellphones, and many of their web applications are also available for mobile users.

Only providing mobile applications and services is not enough for Google, of course. They will soon, as a part of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), be launching Android.

The Android platform is a software stack for mobile devices including an operating system, middleware and key applications. Developers can create applications for the platform using the Android SDK. Applications are written using the Java programming language and run on Dalvik, a custom virtual machine designed for embedded use, which runs on top of a Linux kernel.

If You Are Reading This, We’re Still Alive

Yes, the world is still here. Further reading on various web sites showed that the guys and gals at CERN won’t actually start doing anything of the really cool stuff just yet. Yesterday they just checked that everything works as it should and fired some test shots in each direction of the pipe to calibrate the huge magnets that will lead the hydrogen protons in the right direction. The first major collision will take place some time in October. If you’re wondering if the LHC has caused the destruction of Earth yet, you can check this page, as seen both in a comment to this entry and other places on the interweb. You can also see a live webcam feed from inside the LHC here.

The destruction of Earth is an interesting thought experiment. To me, the idea of knowing that Earth will be destroyed on a certain date is a concept I’m just can’t comprehend. Every time I start to think about it, my brain tells me that it’s a thing that just won’t happen. The logical part of my brain knows that there is a theoretical probability that it might happen while the rational part of my brain knows that because of the probability of it happening is just that, theoretical, it’s not necessary to waste any time thinking about it.

This Could Be My Last Entry Ever

And, if that is the case, it could be the last entry you ever read as well. Not that you’ll miss this particular site that much, because it’s a very good chance you don’t read it. Since I moved from my own CMS to WordPress, the number of visitors has gone down like the the London Stock Exchange when their .NET based crashed yesterday. The hits from search engines have almost completely vanished, probably because every entry was moved around and none of the links are valid anymore. The number of regular visitors – people who actually type in the site’s address or have it bookmarked – has staid more or less the same, close to no-one.

But I’m still the most important Vegard on the internet.

Anyway. What’s the reason why this entry might be the last one you’ll every read? It’s a good chance you know it already: The Large Hadron Collider, or the LHC for short. Here’s what The Register writes about the LHC:

[…] a titanic 27-kilometre doughnut made of ultra-chilly superconductor magnet pipe, is situated in hollowed-out caverns deep beneath the Franco-Swiss border. The machine functions essentially as a kind of enormous, outrageously powerful subatomic billiard cue, the idea being that it will smash protons into swarms of other protons at large fractions of the speed of light. Even though hadrons are much more strongly put together than ordinary billiard balls, banging them together at warp speed will blow them violently to bits.

Fascinating! The only problem with all this is that some scientists argue that playing with the really powerful forces of nature like this can result in a black hole that might eventually swallow Earth, the Universe and Everything. If I remember correctly, Dan Simmons writes about a similar happening in some of his books.

The CERN scientists will fire up their LHC tomorrow morning at 07:30 GMT, let’s hope that we’re still around at lunch time. If you want to know more about the safety of the LHC, you should read the official safety page.

Finger crossed for a safe tomorrow!

Audio

As I’ve mentioned earlier, my apartment building is soon making the move from analogue to digital TV. Through the same fiber optic cable the we’ll also get IP telephony and a lightning fast internet connection. All good, but as of now nothing has really happened. If I remember correctly, everything is supposed to be ready in September, but we’re already half way through August and the fiber cable is nowhere to be seen. Not that I expect it to be visible, but I know that they have to dig up the lawn to install the cable I have not seen any caterpillars yet.

Still it’s important to prepare for the new, digital world and find a replacement for my old Windows Media Center. Unfortunately, the new digital system will be closed, meaning that it will not possible to buy a digital tuner and a conditional access card reader and just continue to use the Media Center; I have to use the provided set top box. I can probably live with that, considering I don’t really watch much TV anyway these days and two of the channels I watch the most won’t be available on the new setup, at least not initially. I’ve got most of my music on the Media Center box, tough, and I’d like to be able to play music in the living room. But I don’t want to keep the Media Center just to play music, it’s a huge box and because it’s running Vista the startup time is too long when all I want to do is to jump around to a couple of tunes.

Television Digitales

By the end of 2008 analogue TV will be a thing of the past in Norway. By then all the analogue terrestrial broadcast equipment will be shut down and replaced by digital equipment. Personally, I’ve been trying to avoid digital TV solutions because they are usually encrypted, closed systems that are not compatible with my Windows Media Center. And I love my media center – when it works, that is. But soon a digital TV system will replace the nice analogue system in my apartment building and I don’t have any choice but to embrace it.

Yesterday me, Gine and the other members of the cooperative building and housing association who bothered to show up, had a meeting with the company that will implement the solution in our four apartment buildings. I guess it will be very interesting in September when they are supposed to have everything in place. They’ve been in business since late 2004, but their set-top box does not have PVR functionality, something that should be a very least common denominator for set-top boxes. The company do, however, say that this will be in place before September. We’ll see.

An interesting side effect of the introduction of digital TV in the apartment building is that there will suddenly be a dedicated fiber optic connection to each apartment building. This means that I can upgrade my internet connection to a whooping 100/10Mb. Good stuff, but not very necessary, I’ve got a theoretical maximum of 24Mb downstream on my current connection, and I never, ever use that much. Besides, the wireless connection inside my apartment only supports 54Mb anyway.