Monthly Archive for January, 2009

have we run out of new invention ideas? …not!

Recently I had a con­ver­sa­tion with my uncle. We talked briefly about get­ting a job vs. being an entrepreneur.

My con­clu­sion was that get­ting a job is prob­a­bly suit­able for the “stable” people who won’t want too many fluc­tu­a­tions and just want to get by, while being an entre­pre­neur is not for the faint-​hearted but will def­i­nitely bring greater rewards if you are not too dumb.

His con­clu­sion was that get­ting a job is the way to go for except the really bril­liant people, and his reason was we have run out of ideas in today’s world and it is too dif­fi­cult to com­pete with estab­lished giant com­pa­nies if we don’t invent new ideas.

So really, is that the case?

On the sur­face, his con­clu­sion seemed to have a lot of truth to it. I remem­ber my dad telling me the same thing when I was a child, and I couldn’t come up with a clever new inven­tion idea to chal­lenge his stance. Even today, I can’t come up with some cool ideas on the spot. So it would be normal for most people to reach that we have run out of new ideas to start a new, suc­cess­ful business.

I don’t think so

But then, I really put some think­ing into that, and I could see that there are in fact end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties still wait­ing for us to dis­cover. How did I know? I asked myself this simple ques­tion, “Does every­thing in the world that we live in simply just works?” Obvi­ously, any­body will tell you how some­thing, many things, don’t work quite right in their lives. As opposed to having to come up with con­struc­tive ideas, just blam­ing what’s not work­ing (or put another way, incon­ve­niences of life) is a lot easier. I can come up with a few on the spot here:

  • I still spend a sig­nif­i­cant amount (maybe 5 – 15%) of my life on transportation.
  • I recently permed my hair curly, and I am con­stantly wor­ry­ing that I might do some­thing wrong that will make it straight.
  • If I want to eat some food I enjoy, I’m con­stantly count­ing the calories.
  • Urban coun­tries dump tons of food every day. Third world coun­tries dump tons of corpses every day.
  • I have to man­u­ally clean my ass with toilet paper every time after I defecate.

OK the last one might sound like a cheap joke but it’s a pretty legit­i­mate issue, when we look at the fact that flush toilet is con­sid­ered one of the inven­tions with most impacts by many scientists.

See, there are count­less small things that are still scream­ing for improve­ments in our daily lives. It’s just that we don’t notice them. Many people think that it would take a rocket scen­tist to make some ground break­ing inven­tion, which is totally not true. For exam­ple, I recently came across this bril­liant new device:

Approx­i­mately 3,000 wood­work­ers get their finger cut by a saw like that every year. This new inven­tion, which con­sists of no next-​generation sci­en­tific dis­cov­er­ies, is saving 3,000 woodworkers’ fin­gers every year.

The point I want to illus­trate here, is that there are still end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties here in the world, and we are not des­tined to be stuck in a cubi­cle day in and day out. All it takes is the ambi­tion and the cre­ativ­ity, and we all can do much more mean­ing­ful work than sit­ting in a cubicle.

So until the day when we have all the gad­gets in Dorae­mon, you don’t have to get a job because you can start your own!

Comodo: a free antivirus/firewall solution vs. ESET Smart Security

Update 2: I’ve given this prod­uct some real life usage tests. I must con­clude that the antivirus component’s per­for­mance is slow, ugly and unac­cept­able. I was fooled by its small foot­print (memory usage), but the scan­ning speed is slow and it effec­tively ren­ders my com­puter unus­able when I am doing any slightly more demand­ing oper­a­tions. Bot­tom­line: Stray away from this if you want any per­for­mance at all – for that pur­pose, I’d say ESET AntiVirus is still the best

Update: Unfor­tu­nately, after some test­ing, I just real­ized Comodo’s UI still requires the use of a mouse. Although it has slightly more options than ESET’s fire­wall, the manda­tory use of mouse still sucks.

In the past I’ve always used the com­mer­cial NOD32 Antivirus. Since ver­sion 3 it has also included a fire­wall in the ESET Smart Secu­rity. I have been quite sat­is­fied with NOD32 Antivirus since it has a solid detec­tion rate and more impor­tantly to me, very min­i­mal use of system resources. This is unlike say Norton, which is noto­ri­ous for eating up 50% of your system resources even when it is doing observ­ably nothing.

Recently though, I started get­ting annoyed enough by ESET’s firewall’s user inter­face. Simply put, I’m get­ting really annoyed by the fact that I have to con­stantly click the fre­qently appear­ing pop ups. What’s worse, the pop ups must be clicked by a mouse – it doesn’t sup­port using a key­board with tab­bing to the right button.

That’s not too bad though, after maybe a year of using it, I’ve learned of its con­fig­u­ra­tion enough so that I could set up rules to pre­vent the pop ups from appear­ing so fre­quently, but the occas­sional pop ups that appear finally drove me to inves­ti­gate into better solutions.

Then I found Comodo Inter­net Secu­rity – which comes with an Antivirus and a Firewall.

Comodo has been well known for its fire­wall, but the Antivirus com­po­nent is the company’s new inven­tion – this is like the reverse of ESET, which is best known for its antivirus but then expanded its market to fire­wall too.

I still haven’t used Comodo long enough to do a com­pre­hen­sive review of the two, but there’s one thing that I can say for cer­tain: Comodo’s user inter­face is so much nicer and pro­vides much more options than ESET.

And from some­where I’ve read, per­for­mance and low system resources usage is one of the design philoso­phies of the Comodo’s team. I forgot where exactly but I think I read it from the Comodo’s offi­cial forum – you can prob­a­bly take a look and you’ll quickly real­ize how inter­ac­tive the sup­port staff are in the forum – some­thing that blew my expec­ta­tion for a free product.

So, give it a try for this free secu­rity prod­uct, it’s def­i­nitely not wosre, if not way better than, most of its paid counterparts.

cygwin: WARNING: terminal is not fully functional

I recently encoun­tered an error where when I do a less in cygwin it goes WARNING: terminal is not fully functional Quite some people seem to have encoun­tered this prob­lem before and there are some dis­cus­sion threads on the Web, but I couldn’t find a page that pointed out the direct solu­tion after some googling. Here’s what I did to fix the prob­lem: It turns out that the envi­ron­ment vari­able TERM is some­how set to dumb instead of the normal cygwin. Appar­ently the dumb ter­mi­nal is not as fully func­tional as cygwin. Here’s what I did to con­firm the prob­lem: $ echo $TERM dumb I got less work­ing prop­erly again by doing: $ export TERM=cygwin $ less It turned out that some­how the $TERM envi­ron­ment vari­able got set to dumb. To fix that, simply run sysdm.cpl from a Win­dows com­mand prompt, and delete the envi­ron­ment vari­able TERM. cygwin will then default TERM to cygwin