Thursday, June 17, 2010

End of the Semester

Today I went to the last lecture of this semester. As it is somewhat typical with last lectures, the professor talked about interesting problems that are somewhat above the scope of the course. If only those problems didn't tend to be more complex that what can be explained in a 45 minute lecture... Luckily, this is of little importance. While the problems discussed were interesting, I rather spend my time working on staff that is more relevant to me now. With the semester finally over, I now have tests to worry about, but I should also have plenty of time to write new posts. Actually, I have a few posts already in the making, I just need some time to actually finish writing them. With the semester over, I finally have time to do so.

To be honest, this year was for some reason really difficult for me. I never was good with making timetables for myself, so I ended studying till I was too mentally tired to do anything else. While I am pretty sure that I managed to do well in all of my courses, I barely kept up with my activity on the net. Both this blog and my stumble upon blog were not active most of the year. Hopefully next year will go in a more normal fashion.

In other news, I am considering to close my Windows Live account. It is not very useful to me, and I noticed that I am getting a lot of spam from it. Initially I opened it in order to have access to free online storage for my files. However, I cannot say that I am satisfied with the service, and therefore I will likely close this account. To be honest, I sometime think about closing my Facebook account as well, but it is slightly better than Windows live. And what is more important is that I can login to other sites using my Facebook account.

I have also started a little project. About two weeks ago, I got an invite to Dropbox. Basically, it is a file sharing site, but it has two features that make it nearly perfect for my uses. Firstly, Dropbox integrates into the desktop. That is instead of having to upload your files to the site manually, all you need to do is to put the files in a specific folder on your computer and Dropbox will upload them to the web and then sync them with your other computers.
Secondly, and much more importantly for me, Dropbox officially supports Linux and works well on it. I tried to find other similar services, but they all either don't support linux or they worked horrible. This even includes Ubuntu One (at least the version I tried about half a year ago).
The only downside it has is that they only give 2GB to free users. However, it is possible to get more space by inviting others - go to the site if you are interested in details, I am pretty sure that this policy will not last for a long time so there is no point to write much about it.

Right now I am using Dropbox to backup and share some video files (documentaries about dinosaurs and other scientific topics) that I have collected. I never cared much about video quality, so I encode the video files in low quality (all the important details are still there) add subtitles and then upload them. In one case, I managed to compress 3 hours into 300MB. As long as I watch them on the computer display, it is perfectly fine.