Saturday, September 24, 2011

Facebook Timeline: A Lifebook? And how to view your timeline now!

The internet is buzzing with posts about the new Facebook feature, timeline, first of all what is it? Timeline is a chronological ordering of all your activities on facebook (and more, more on that later). But isn't that what the wall is for, the problem with the wall is that it is very current, a month old post is lost to the sands of time (unless you go on clicking the more posts button). Also the wall only shows what you post and what people post about you, so if you are the kind of person who updates their status once a month then it will be impossible to gloss over what happened on your wall. The timeline solves this with new kinds of posts, such as significant events, leaving a job, joining school, breaking an arm are some examples. This gives the whole thing a very organized chronicaly feel.

I was recently reading a book called "Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything", the book describes a state of mind which everyone has experienced, loss of memory because of consistently repetitive days, days which meld into one another completely, same lunch, same people, same routine (what we commonly call a rut). The author says that the best way out of this is to surround oneself with unique and new activities everyday, for the sole purpose of generating new memories, even simple changes like taking an unexpected walk can hasten this process, this leads to the formation of a mental rolodex of memories which are ordered chronologically, so you would be immediately able to recall last month with all the new things you did. Timeline builds on this and allow you tangibly create a list of all significant stuff you did for all posterity (of course you can hide posts). You can at an instant glance at all the fun weekends you had based on the pictures and events, how many new people you met. You can drill this down to individual posts, or take a high level view, looking at all the graduations, the location changes, the jobs, the relationships all beautifully arranged in a timeline. Its as though you have a personal historian.

When I first opened my timeline I was shocked to realize how much I had forgotten about how many things, I had forgotten so much, and looking at it all at once brought about a kind of "life flashing before your eyes" feeling (the kind people describe after a near death experience), it was a shocker, and all at once my mental rolodex was spinning recollecting everything. Yes there are privacy issues, but the sheer awesomeness of seeing such an arrangement of your life as though from a third person was amazing. I can see this really catching on.

Now how can you see your timeline before the official rollout on October 1st, 2011. Follow these steps:
  1. Type developer in the fb search bar, go to the first link.
  2. Grant permissions, click create an app.
  3. Create any app (give any name) and click next.
  4. Once the app is created click open graph and follow the prompts.
  5. Go to your homepage and you will see an invite to try out timeline.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Biostar Board: Two devices one IDE port

Gist: If all BIOS option and all configurations in the 40 Pin and 80 Pin cables fail, try using the jumpers.

I got a Biostar N68S3B for a HTPC which I wanted to build with very old hardware, to cut a long story short, I had two IDE devices (a DVD drive, and a IDE Hard Disk) and only one port. I have largely only worked with SATA devices so I had to do a little research on how to get it to work, it is possible to get two IDE devices sharing the same Bus with a Master\Slave arrangement.

First off there are two types of IDE cable, 80-pin and 40-pin, I had both, the 80 pin connected my HDD and the 40 Pin connected my DVD drive to my erstwhile motherboard.

The main difference between an 80 Pin and 40 Pin cable is the one pin that is blocked in an 80 Pin cable (this is done so that the cable is installed with the right orientation). Now the IDE is supposed to recognize Master\Slave based on position of the cable (The cable has three connectors, the lowest one goes to the board and the two which are close together go into two devices).

  1. 40-Pin: The Master device goes into the middle connector and the Slave goes into the end.
  2. 80-Pin: The Master goes into the end connector and the Slave to the middle.This cable is also color coded, the blue end goes into the mobo, the grey end into the master.

While adding the devices to the cables I had to move the DVD drive closer to the HDD as the cable length is quite small. These were all the configs I tried:

  1. 40 Pin connector with DVD as master and HDD as slave and vice versa: The bios didnot detect the Slave in both cases and booted from the master, booting from the HDDresulted in a BSOD in XP.
  2. 80 Pin connected with DVD as master and HDD as slave and vice versa: same result asabove.
  3. I tried force detection by defining which device was a master and which was slave(assigning type in BIOS IDE section), this resulted in a POST error.
  4. Disabled SATA on the BIOS completely, no effect.

After tinkering a lot with the BIOS, I decided to give the jumper pins (pictured below) a try, turns out LG (the DVD drive manufacturer) does not follow standards with the jumper positions, after two trials, it turned out the pushing the cap on the middle jumper pins configured the DVD Drive as a Slave. After this the IDE drives worked.