Thursday, July 22, 2010

Steward Observatory

Here are some shots taken at Steward Observatory, Kit Peak Arizona in 2008. I and some friends of mine went there with our professor to gaze at the stars and other celestial bodies by using telescopes. At that time we were scores of students of English as Second Language at University of Arizona. Luckily we got a chance to study Astronomy as the bridge or addition class. The professor's name is Don McCarthy and I very much loved his way in teaching us. He was indeed really creative and friendly, discipline and punctual. I barely have ever found such professor like him here. He didn't just teach us well in class, but he sometimes brought us to the real thing that we studied at class – observatory like what I'm showing you here.

Well, I'm writing this as I've got a plan to visit an Observatory here in my city (tomorrow). I live in the city of Bandung - Indonesia and fortunately this town also does have an observatory, it is called Boscha Observatory. This is situated in the north Bandung and can be reached by car for about 50 minutes from the center of Bandung. Or if your are from Jakarta, it needs probably 3 hours to get there. So this piece of writing is kind of comparison between those two observatories. What I'll tell you in the paragraphs up next is about the Steward one as I haven't visited the Boscha. You'll be able to read my note about Boscha few days to come. It is kind of abashing as I never went to viewpoint in my city though.

The Steward Observatory can be reached for about 2 hours from the city of Tucson Arizona. This building belongs to NASA (if I am not wrong) and it is used for the research of University of Arizona's students and lecturers. There was also one or two belongs to South Korean government, the professor told me so. It was my remarkably nice experience to get this chance as not all Indonesian students could go there. We were 14 Indonesians but only 4 of us went there. Actually only 2 persons from those four who were students at Astronomy class. We kind of begged our teacher so he let us 4 in the trip.

We spent about 5 hours in the area – exploring the sites, taking pictures and videos, chatting, and of course observing the night sky. This site is in the high level so that the weather was so really cold. Some of us wore thick Jacket, socks and mantle. Thing that was quite surprising was that, the professor let us operate the telescope by using computer. I did make some clicks so that I could direct the telescope to find any celestial bodies as I wished.

We were then in Ramadan so that we got our ifthar there, too. Thankfully I brought some foods to eat. We had dinner together with some non-Muslims too. The sunset view was so much picturesque that we dream to be there again someday, insha Allah.

I hardly can wait any longer to see the observatory here in this city. I'm going there tomorrow with school of friends from MEC. I promise to post the writing about Boscha, too Insha Allah.

Many thanks.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Acer Extensa 4420

Dear all,
This time I'm eager to write something about laptop of mine. It doesn't mean that I don't have any other ideas. It's actually been long time I wanted to write it. Thanks God as I have a chance to finally post this on my blog.

Well, this laptop or notebook I am using now is Acer Extensa 4420-5963. I have been using this notebook for about 2 years now. I bought it exactly on September 2, 2008 at Bestbuy, Tucson USA (I've got the picture but I won't show it here). That day was labor day in the USA. I very much still remember it as I did buy it together with 7 friends of mine. Can you guess why we all 8 persons bought laptop at the same time? Well, it is because at that time we all got money and we badly needed handy computer to use, that's all very much it.
The dollars I spent that time was US$580 including taxes. It was actually around five hundreds before tax, but we had to pay additional for taxes, it doesn't matter though. Before buying this, I did some searches on net. I visited many websites selling notebooks. Bestbuy also does have a website so that we could easily find notebook we want and compare the price. Ebay and Amazon were also in the list in which I did search, but I thought going directly to a computer store is much better in this case.
This acer notebook was not the cheapest, yet not the most expensive either. This means, not the best yet not the worst either. As you may noticeably see above, it's just around 580 bucks. And you know what? By this number of money I could also bring home a nice black laptop bag as well as a Logitech webcam (my notebook doesn't have built in web camera). So it is more or less a mediocre notebook. Well, let me show you the spec:

Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processor TK-57
Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Edition operating system
Memory: 2GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM
Optical Drive: Multiformat DVD±RW/CD-RW drive with double-layer support
Screen: 14.1" WXGA TFT-LCD CrystalBrite widescreen display
Hard drive:  Hitachi 160GB 5400rpm SATA hard drive
Graphics: ATI Radeon Xpress X1250 graphics with 256MB dedicated memory
Audio: Acer 3DSonic stereo speakers with high-definition audio support
Wireless: Acer InviLink wireless LAN (802.11b/g)
Ports: 5-in-1 media card reader, Ethernet LAN with RJ-45 connector; V.92 high-speed modem
Weight: 5.3 lbs
Dimensions: 13.03" x 9.76" x 1.17 / 1.61"

AMD Dual core is not too bad. I can almost do anything with this chip, though for a very heavy games I have to be patient. Thankfully I don't like gaming so that this AMD is more than enough. 2 GB RAM is awesome. I can open any program quite speedily, if I want I can upgrade until 4 GB. I don't find any problem with Harddrive as 160 GB is big enough for all music, videos, pictures, software and files of mine. I still have large space till even now. Operating system I got when I bought it was OEM Vista Home premium 32 bit. Now I am using MSDN Windows 7 Professional (original) from a friend of mine, thanks :). In a word, this OS is “perfect” for my notebook. To make easier to understand, here is the pros and cons of using this notebook for about 2 years.

Cheap, indeed not expensive for this specifications
More than enough for students (doing homework, netting, make school project, presentation)
Touchpad is comfortable
4 USB ports, other notebooks may only have 2-3. I need this for USB drive, webcam, blower an d mouse.

Can be so heated that is why I use blower under it.
no Webcam.
Battery runs out (after 20 months use).
Looks standard, not stylish.

Well, over all I am quite satisfied with this notebook. If I have to rate between 1 -10, I'll probably give 7 for this Acer extensa. So, for you who have the same notebook like mine, please share you information with me. Or for those who are planing to buy new laptop, you may consider Acer notebook. Not precisely like mine though as I am sure the new Acer like what I have here is no longer available at stores. Ebay maybe can sell you one though, try it if you wish.
Final statement, “thanks Allah for this notebook. You gave me this so that I could finish my final paper, you gave me this so that I could write a book, you gave me this so that I could learn blogging, you gave me this so that I could work and create something. Thank You Allah....!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The fastest yet not the best!

Google, who doesn't know it? I'm very much sure everybody knows this very short yet so prevalent word, at least for those who are net users, I'm one of them. Yes, google has always been on everybody's mind in terms of search engine on the cyber world. We almost can find anything by using this website created by the company named Google incorporation. What I'm going to talk here isn't this web search engine nor the company. Instead, I'd like to highlight the web browser created by google, it's called Chrome, or Google chrome. You may see the screen-shot bellow. It's merely all about my sort of impression and uneducated techno valuation on Chrome anyways.

To be honest, I'm not really keen on using this web browser as I have been stuck with the burnt fox since long long time. It's been in ages I use this latter and the best web browser ever, I think so. Once I tried using the google chrome, but it never lasted for quite sometime. I uninstalled it. Why? It is because, I think we need only one yet the most reliable web browser (except IE as I'm not able to uninstall it). We don't want to compare and spend much time to find the best. I mean, I experienced this kind of situation when I installed almost all well-known browsers on my Acer laptop, and you need not to do the same – saving your time. I have ever used Safari, Mozilla, Chrome and of course IE. But, now I realize, I just need to pick one, the best, and the choice goes to MF. Trust me, this MF is the best.. (no promotion, just personal judgment based on real experience and experiment).

Well, I don't want to say bad about google's product. I still love it anyways. My impression when I used this, it's so radically simple and so speedy in opening or rendering pages. I have never before found or used web browser with this amazing simplicity. I don't know the so called java script or whatsoever, but from I what I heard, Google uses a sophisticated kind of java script to create this very fast browser. It is the well-advance technology that creates this (in which I do not really know much). Feel free to correct me or tell me if I'm wrong.
But to me, a browser isn't merely about the speed, though speed is very important. Why did I say so? There are indeed other aspects we need to put into account when comparing the web browsers. This is security and adds on. Al least these two things that MZ has with it. Mozilla Firefox has anything that secures our internet experience. Besides, adds on let me use any customizable thing that makes me easier in exploring the net. I just use several adds on, not many. Orbit download manager is on of them. I frequently use it to download videos from youtube or anywhere. MZ also has ever warned me not to open particular websites which are categorized dangerous. I thank it then. Data stealing in internet is thriving so that we need to be very careful in opening any website, more over filling the data of ours at that sites.
It seems to me we have different needs so that we choose different browser. For a person like me, MZ is probably the best for the time being. But for you, Safari or Chrome or Opera can be the number one. Whatever your choice is, we just need to be fully understanding the browser we use. I mean please do search some information about the web browser we are using so that we will know that it suits our needs. If ya don't want to, just trust me. Use Mozilla Firefox then :)
Thank you.