Gigabytes, terabytes and beyond….to Geopbytes

Megabytes, Gigabytes, Terabytes – What Are They?

· 1 Bit = Binary Digit
· 8 Bits = 1 Byte
· 1024 Bytes = 1 Kilobyte
· 1024 Kilobytes = 1 Megabyte
· 1024 Megabytes = 1 Gigabyte
· 1024 Gigabytes = 1 Terabyte
· 1024 Terabytes = 1 Petabyte
· 1024 Petabytes = 1 Exabyte –
· 1024 Exabytes = 1 Zettabyte
· 1024 Zettabytes = 1 Yottabyte
· 1024 Yottabytes = 1 Brontobyte
· 1024 Brontobytes = 1 Geopbyte

Talk about lots of cool Scrabble words. They also have a “Byte Converter”:http://www.whatsabyte.com/P1/byteconverter.htm that tells you for instance 100MB is 104,857,600 bytes 🙂

Danity Kane

!<http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/images/pref_images/p63697qri6a.jpg! Well, they may be prepackaged, but they are pretty good…haven’t heard their latest album but Showstopper was good!

Billboard.com – Biography – Danity Kane

The third group to be put together through the reality television series Making the Band — O-Town being the first, Da Band being the second — Danity Kane’s membership includes five women who beat out hundreds of hopefuls. Chosen by music mogul and Bad Boy Records CEO Diddy, members Aubrey, Aundrea, D. Woods, Dawn, and Shannon sang, danced, and watched their competition stumble over two seasons of the series. By the end of the second season, Diddy decided this was the quintet who fit his dream of creating the next En Vogue or Destiny’s Child. A third season chronicled the recording of the band’s first album and the process of naming the group.

PC Video Encoding

I blew up my main video machine. Too much crud on it. So here is the fresh installation:

# Sony Vegas Platinum. I only have v6, but it is up to v8. While Adobe Premier might work for the real afictionados it is too complicated for me. The tricky part is making anamorphic standard definition come out. You have to set it to DV NTSC Widescreen and then *uncheck* do not letter box. You then use it to produce DV format in AVI containers. These are very large. 1 hour of video is 14GB!
# “VLC”:http://videolan.org. This is the best player out there that I can find. Nice thing is that include automatic codec installation and also with the Wizard, it will automatically transcode from say any format it can read to MP4 as an example. So you get media player and transcoder.
# “TMPGEnc”:http://www.mediachance.com/dvdlab/dvdsc.html. Still probably the best MPEG-2 encoder out there. DVD Labs has a $12 deal with them. Main thing is that it allows variable bit rate encoding. 4Mbps for MPEG-2 is very high quality. For one hour of video, you’ll need 2GB.
# “DVD-Labs”:http://mediachance/dvdlab. This is the DVD titler that I use. Mainly because so much is automatic. Take the MPEG-2 from TMPGEnc and make a DVD with DVD Labs.
# Handbrake. I’ve used this on the Mac too, but it is the easiest way to encode DVDs or MPEG-2 into MPEG-4 (aka H.264) for playback on computers, iPhones and iPods.
# “Videora iPod Converter”:http://www.videora.com/. Actually it converts any AVI file into iPhone or iPod formats that is h.264 that is correctly encoded. Typically an iPhone h.264 is about 400KB for 1 hour running at 768Kbps. If you want movie quality, 1536Kbps is what you need which you can also get with it. One confusing thing is that Videora is a completely different product that does bittorrent downloads. And there are zillion Videora Converters, but they are all the same software. One will do iPod Video up to iPhone, but they name them differently.
# “PSPVideo9”:http://pspvideo9.com. The way to encode for Sony PSP and you need this because Sony has some strange naming requirements. It doesn’t work just to drag an MP4 over into a MemoryStick.

Wallpaper Changer

I love how Mac OS X changes the wallpaper automatically. With Windows XP, there is a “Creativity Fun Pack PowerToys Wallpaper Changer”:http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=ce1d596b-6851-4948-ab76-b5ff22d37d69&displaylang=en that does the same thing essentially.

Like the Mac one, the main drawback is that it won’t search through lots of directories to find lots of wallpapers, so everything has to be in a single folder. Too bad!

Also it doesn’t scale correctly if the wall paper isn’t quite the right size.

Camcorder for casual use

Jim asked me, what’s a good camcorder for someone who isn’t a serious pro but who wants good pictures. It can’t be too big. There is really just one afictionado choice right now, the “Canon HF-10”:http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-Vixia-HF10-Camcorder-Review-34711.htm and “Pricegrabber”:http://cameras.pricegrabber.com/camcorders/m/62668226/ has it for $830 or so right now.

The reviews have been very good, it is high definition, uses 16GB of onboard flash (that’s an hour of HD video) and can take SDHC cards. It is small and is very good in low light and has good picture quality. It uses the AVCHD codec which let’s it get very good compression. The main drawback is that it doesn’t have a viewfinder which pro’s like. Also, with current cards (32GB SDHC), it has storage for about 3 hours of HD vs. the bigger Sony SR-12 that has a 120GB hard drive. OTOH, flash cards won’t crash like hard drives.

“Camcorderinfo.com”:http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-Vixia-HF10-Camcorder-Review-34711.htm has a good comprehensive review. And you can now get 32GB SDHC cards for not much. “Pricegrabber”:http://computers.pricegrabber.com/flash-memory/p/152/st=filter/popup2%5B%5D=15:207/popup1%5B%5D=215:105 shows the Adata 16GB Turbo at $80 for instance. So you can get a set of these. These are so called class 6 SDHC so it writes at 6MBps which is plenty fast.

LED Light Bulb and CFL Reviews

There are so many brands of CFL (Compact Florescent Lamps) and other energy efficient LEDs that it is hard to know where to start.

h3. “Consumer Reports”:http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home-garden/home-improvement/hardware-building-supplies/lightbulbs/compact-fluorescent-lighting-10-07/overview/bulbs-ov.htm?resultPageIndex=1&resultIndex=2&searchTerm=light bulb

They have done the most intense study including running the bulbs to see how long they last. It cost $26 per year for a subscription to their site and another $26 for their magazine. I’d recommend it as they do great work and don’t accept ads. I use them religiously for buying cars to check reliability. And they’ve done CFLs too! The did note that they really did a full stress test of these bulbs and all were OK except that 7 of nine Feit Ecobulb ESL13Ts failed after 3300-3900 hours so you want the Fiet Ecobulb Plus ESL13T/Eco which is working through 5000 hours. Others were GE 8000 Long Life 41525 and N;Vision 423-599 which still worked after 7600 hours (despite reports from many that ehse were no good). Ecobulb Plus and N:Vision claim they have half the mercury (2.5mg vs 5mg).

They have some good advice for types of fixtures, use spirals for lamps, flood CFLs for cans. Buy Energy Star certified (not all bulbs are!). Soft white or warm white look like traditional incandescents running at 2700K

For table lights, they tried the Bright Effects (Lowe’s) 70% efficient, GET Soft White 60, Philips Marathon 60 (Costco) 66%. These are 65-70% efficient compared with 14% for a typical incandescent. OTOH turn on time was 25-36 seconds for CFLs.

For recessed flood lights, they tried the GE Floodlight Soft White 65, 43% efficient and 131 second to turn on, Philips Marathon Energy Saver Reflect Flood 16 BR30, and the Sylvanid 16 watt flood 65 BR30

h3. “Popular Mechanics”:http://www.popularmechanics.com/home_journal/home_improvement/4215199.html

They didn’t test reliability, but mainly color and liked the Westinghouse Natural Light $6, Phillips Marathon $3, MaxLite MicroMax $4.50, Sylvania Daylight Extra $6, Westinghouse Soft White $6, GE Soft White $5 in that order.

h3. “LA Times”:http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/emeraldcity/2008/01/the-quest-for-a.html

They have a good compendium of quick reviews like the NY Times piece below.

h3. “NY Times”:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/10/garden/10lighting.html?_r=3&pagewanted=1&ref=garden&oref=slogin

!http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2008/01/10/garden/10light.graphic.ready.html!

In summary, they liked the TCP SpringLight/Soft White, MaxLite SpiraMax and the GE Energy Smart for their colors, but didn’t test reliability.

They hated the TCP n:vision (also poor reliability noted in Popular Mechanics user comments). They also didn’t like the color of the Sylvania Bright White Designer Choice, GE Energy Smart Daylight 15, Sylvania Micro-Mini, MaxLite MiniBulb or the Greenlite Mini 13. There was also slight buzzing from GE Energey Smart, Sylvania Designed Choice and TCP Spring Light/Soft White.

They did like the light of halogens which last twice as long and require less energy by a little like the Daylight Plus, Sylvania BT15 and GE Edison 60.

The ones they liked in CFLs were nvision TCP Home Soft White, MaxLite SpiraMax had good color

h3. “Grist.org”:http://www.grist.org/advice/products/2007/12/14/index.html?source=rss

A environmental ezine did their own mini review as well. Short review, but she liked the Philips Soft White $3.88 14 watt

h3. “Greenhome.huddler.com”:http://greenhome.huddler.com

Does have user ratings. There aren’t too many reviews, but for instance for “LED Light Bulbs”:http://greenhome.huddler.com/products/category/led-lightbulbs, they show:

* “EarthLED”:http://www.earthled.com/cl3.html CL-3 and CL-5 are the most 8sued. The big deal is that they are much brighter. The CL-3 is 45w equivalent at 240 lumens, 50,000 hours (that’s 11 years in normal use!). It is $30 each though although you get a 10% discount off right now from “Store.earthled.com”:http://store.earthled.com/
* “EarthLED EvoLux S”:http://greenhome.huddler.com/forum/thread/227/new-earthled-bulb-produces-serious-light?replies=15 is going to be 75 watts. The main limitation is you can’t use it with a dimmer. It also costs $90! They have a good comparison video on “You Tube”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5ppqz6zGCE&eurl=http://greenhome.huddler.com/forum/thread/227/new-earthled-bulb-produces-serious-light?replies=15. It actually has a fan built into it as the LEDs get hot!

For CFLs, here are some of the top reviewed:

* “TCP n:vision 14W CFL” which actually in other reviews is called unreliable, so caveat emptor. It is sold exclusively at Home Depot.
* “Greenlite”:http://greenliteusa.com comes up second rated.

Cordless Drills and Screwdrivers

Hey I need one now that I’ve got a boat to mangle.

Some to look at are:

Panasonic EY6432GZKW $200 and the Ryobi P813 at $170 are really godo if expensive. The Makita BDF452HW $200 is only 3.5 pounds.

If you want to be really manly, then the Hitachi DS18DMR at $200 and 6 pounds is the way to go or the Makita BDF451 at $280 is nearly a pound lighter.

Finally, if you don’t like turning screws, then the Ryobi HP472K seems like the best choice at $30.

BTW, Craftman are only at Sears, Ryobi only at Home Depot. While Hitachi is only at Lowe’s. You can get Makita at Sears, Home Depot or Lowe’s.