Friday, October 31, 2008

California Proposition 8

Here's a nice little ad against California Proposition 8 (the attempt to amend the state constitution to make gay marriage unconstitutional):

The California Constitution really is beautiful, eh? haha.

New Version Of Chrome

Wow, just as I was commenting that the new browser wars were resulting in some serious improvements in web browsing, Google released a new version of Chrome.

Latest Chrome version: Total: 837.4ms +/- 1.3%

This convincingly gives Chrome the Javascript performance lead in SunSpider.

Competition is awesome for the consumer because in the end we get a better product. =)

Google Chrome Vs Firefox 3.1 (Minefield)

The browser wars are pushing browser technology to progress much faster than before. For example, a lot of work has been put into boosting JavaScript performance. Under Google Chrome or Firefox 3.1 (Minefield), web pages load incredibly quickly. One of the industry standard JavaScript benchmarks is SunSpider. This is a side by side comparison of the two running on my computer:

Google Chrome: Total: 1138.8ms +/- 0.9%
Firefox 3.1 (Minefield): Total: 984.6ms +/- 1.4%

You can see that Firefox is overall just over 10% faster than Chrome on this particular benchmark. Both of these versions are beta status.

For reference:
Firefox 3.1 Minefield) (JIT off to simulate slightly older versions of Firefox): Total: 1899.6ms +/- 0.7%
Internet Explorer 7: Total: 23412.2ms +/- 2.4%

Both Chrome and Firefox 3.1 are over 20x faster than Internet Explorer 7 at JavaScript in this benchmark. That's a pretty big improvement over last generation browsers. ;)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

To All You Conservatives Out There

I found this interesting list of the top ten reasons conservatives should vote for Obama. It's written by Andrew Sullivan and has some pretty good reasons in it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Another Big Endorsement

In the last week, we've seen Barack Obama pick up the endorsement of influential Republicans such as Colin Powell and Scott McClellan. Now the Anchorage Daily News has written up a very nice article explaining why they endorse Barack Obama. Yes, Anchorage is the biggest city in Sarah Palin's home state, meaning that's the biggest newspaper in Alaska.

Bush's former secretary of state, Bush's former press secretary, and Alaska's biggest newspaper make quite an impressive list of endorsements for Obama.

FiveThirtyEight has McCain's chances of winning at under 5% again. This does not mean Democrats should get complacent. It means by continuing to push hard, Obama will likely win.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Supporting Evidence on Palin

She's apparently going "rogue" and causing some internal problems within the McCain campaign. Honestly, choosing her as his running mate was one of McCain's biggest mistakes. You can clearly see her personality of being incompetent but not understanding her own incompetence and thinking she knows better than her experienced handlers.

Incompetence, Perceiving It, And Politics

I love the field of psychology. It gives so much insight into the way people around us behave on a daily basis. I stumbled across and article discussing the relationship between incompetence, the ability to perceive incompetence and how it applies to politics.

One of the main marketing points the Republican Party has been playing on is how the Democrats are "elitist." They push for candidates similar to George W. Bush, who are very incompetent by any objective measures that I can conceive of.

The article discusses how the most incompetent people overestimate their own skills the most and underestimate the skills of others the most. This applies perfectly to Sarah Palin. Her attitude of "my way is the right way" shows this basic tendency to not realize her own shortcomings and to believe that other people's way is wrong.

The article also discusses how the most competent people accurately estimate their own skills but somewhat overestimate the skills of others. This applies perfectly to Barack Obama. He has the attitude that he can work with others because he believes they they are capable of coming to an agreement with each other.

When given the choice of these two types of mindsets, I think it's pretty clear which mindset I would prefer leading our country.

I would have liked to have drawn a comparison between Barack Obama and John McCain, however, I don't think John McCain is nearly as incompetent as Sarah Palin (aside from him choosing Palin as his running mate). The comparison with Palin is still important, however, because there is a very legitimate chance that Sarah Palin might become president if John McCain is elected, given his age and history of cancer.

Windows XP 64

As a programmer and a person very much in favor of open source software and such geeky causes, I was very torn on what operating system to install when I upgraded my computer. On one hand, I had any of the many flavors of Linux. On the other hand, I had the Microsoft Windows family.

Linux was the obvious choice in many ways. You can't beat the price point of being totally free. It has come a long way from the last time I ran it on my personal computer in terms of usability, hardware support, and diversity of applications.

The Windows family of course has numerous drawbacks. It's expensive, closed source, and bloated (not that Linux isn't a bit bloated at this point). Of course the biggest pro in favor of Windows is simply that all applications work on Windows.

In the end, my decision had to come down to the one deciding factor of making sure everything just worked. One of my friends wants to develop a small game on the side at home and some of the possibilities came down to Windows only tools. For example, Microsoft released an API to develop Xbox Live games for home users. I'd bet the odds are that it would take a lot of effort to get it to work on Linux, if it's possible at all.

After giving in to the dark side, I was left with choosing a version of Windows. As much as I wanted to believe that Windows Vista might be a viable option, in the end, I had to choose Windows XP over Vista. It's simply much more efficient.

Additionally, I wanted to move to a 64-bit operating system because computers are now hitting the 4 GB address space limitation of 32-bit operating systems. Plus, it's a shame that the 64-bit processing capabilities of my last computer were completely ignored because I still ran a 32-bit operating system.

That's how I settled on Windows XP 64. I'm not all that pleased with still running Windows, but I do have to admit that my computer is fast and rock solid. I did have to blow $150 to get a legal license for it, but I don't regret it yet.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What A Crazy Election

(no blog posts on most of the stuff that's been going on since I've been pretty busy with work and other things. e.g. I upgraded my computer's motherboard, cpu, ram, and video card, which ate up a bunch of time reinstalling stuff)

Even after all the crazy things that have happened so far, I do believe that this is the first American Presidential election where the endorsement of terrorist groups has come into play.

Al Qaeda supporters back John McCain as the choice more favorable to their goals.

At the moment, though, Five Thirty Eight has Obama with a significant lead, so if all goes well, Al Qaeda will be disappointed.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Leaked Simpsons Segment On Election

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f7d_1222962429 Even The Simpsons gets into this year's Presidential election.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Real Differences Between Liberals And Conservatives

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind.html

This is a very interesting lecture discussing the fundamental differences in the liberal and conservative ways of thought in terms of moral psychology.

Sadly, this last segment is all stuff that I've recommended to my friends on many occasions as common sense. I just wish more people understood.