A Random Collection Of Technological News and Random Musings on Current Events
By Alex Ferro on May 31, 2010 7:06 AM | No Comments
As mentioned in my previous post I attended the Maker Faire and more specifically the SparkFun SMD soldering workshop. The workshop was for a Simon game. Contrary to popular belief, I don't have the highest interest in actually playing Simon. Yes it is a fun game, but I wanted to learn SMD, and plan on using it as a 1.5V, 4x LED lit button pad Arduino

Maker Faire 2010
By Alex Ferro on May 29, 2010 1:24 PM | No Comments
I visited the Maker Faire in San Mateo on May 22. We had a carpool arranged with an exhibitor who had to be there at 7, but it fell through that morning because our alarms didn't wake us up. We invoked our backup plan of driving to the Maker Faire and arrived in San Mateo ~15 minutes before the gates opened. We parked in one of the free parking lots and walked to the faire. When we made it to the actual faire, we were greeted with a block-long queue of people waiting to get in. Thankfully some one spotted our Will Call receipt and pointed us to the much shorter Will Call line.
History of this blog and Discourse on Theming Movable Type
By Alex Ferro on April 17, 2010 7:46 PM | No Comments

This blog as created in September 2009 in response to a class requirement of a blog. The previous year we were also required to have a blog, but I did not feel like setting up and running my our blog so I used the Edublogs platform. Edublogs is a hosted Wordpress install designed for students and teachers. By the end of the year I had been dissatisfied with the way the blog was run. (Obtrusive ads, random downtime, and no tinker-ability.) I looked into my options for running my own blog. The two most common platforms are Wordpress and Movable Type. Wordpress is written in PHP and at the time I researched had a horrible security track record. Movable Type on the other hand is written in Perl, has a much better track record, and has a much cooler name. For those and other reasons, I chose Movable Type for my blogging platform. Despite its quirks, six months later I feel I made the right choice.

<title>Creating the Backend System for My Portfolio</title>
By Alex Ferro on April 16, 2010 6:39 AM | No Comments

Site History

I have had a webpage for a long time. In 2006, I used the "Web Sharing" in Mac OS X to serve my various projects in class for presentation just on the local network. In 2007, The presentation machine in most of my classes was on a different network from that of my laptop so I had to learn how to set up one of the computers at my house to be connected to the Internet and act as a web server to continue running presentations the same way. I asked my father to set up this subdomain and configure our router to send web requests to the machine I set up.

Google Public DNS
By Alex Ferro on December 5, 2009 2:41 PM | 5 Comments

Google has launched yet another new service. They now provide a DNS server for the public. DNS is how a computer translates an address that is easy for a human to understand (like www.google.com), to an address easy for it to use ( It can be considered as a phonebook for the Internet. It takes "John Smith" and turns it into a number that can be dialed on the phone (342-555-5243).

Organic - Part 2
By Alex Ferro on December 3, 2009 10:58 PM | No Comments
I don't buy into this whole "organic" thing. I buy whatever is cheaper and/or better. Those two requirements are best filled by local farmers. The produce is normal and the strawberries are not designed to be drop-kicked and still edible. They know they need to provide value. The food isn't shipped half way across the world with polluting engines, it's delivered by someone driving a few miles at most. If the food is "organic", that's great, otherwise, it's enough to know that the purchase price benefits someone in the community, someone I could run into at the library, someone I could keep buying fresh food from.
The Problem with the Electoral College
By Alex Ferro on December 3, 2009 9:44 PM | No Comments

The way the Electoral College currently works is a bit of a disaster. The Federal Electoral Commission has asked me to help them come up with a few ideas to fix the most blatant problems. For those not familiar with the system, the Electoral College is a group of representatives who actually vote in the presidential election. The vote that the everyday person on the street takes is actually selecting those groups of electors. Each state has a number of electors proportional to its population. California gets 55 electors while Alaska gets 3, and Indiana gets 11. Most states devote all of their electors to one candidate in a winner takes all allocation. Nebraska and Maine are the only exceptions to that rule; they allocate electors by congressional district instead. 

Windows 7
By Alex Ferro on December 1, 2009 12:05 PM | No Comments
I realized that running Windows XP on my MacBook Pro, while it works without any major bugs, is not the most optimal solution. Running an old operating system on a one year old machine means I miss out of features, support, and most importantly, an updated version of Minesweeper. 
By Alex Ferro on October 23, 2009 10:45 AM | No Comments

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