Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

I’ve been corrected

Friday, November 4th, 2011

A couple of years ago, I reminisced about the early days of personal computing.

Yesterday, a comment showed up on that post, pointing out that one of my memories wasn’t accurate, from the pioneer in the field who was involved.


Technology just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Miscellany 19

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

I’ve been accumulating a lot of links. Time to clear the tabs out.

A good overview of corruption in Obama’s DOJ here.

Interesting discussion of poverty here.

This must have something to do with truth in advertising: a supermarket chain has been forced to withdraw ads that show happy customers.

Useful knowledge: How to avoid going to jail for violating 18 USC 1001.

Not, perhaps, the best dietary choices.

It’s been a long time – I haven’t read much about spontaneous human combustion since I was in high school.

I’ve seen photos of people with elaborate facial tattoos before, but never in this context.

This is interesting – a section of Idaho where major crimes can’t be prosecuted.

Time for Science and Technology:

Carbon nanotube cables that conduct electricity as efficiently as copper? Bring it on!

This is a bit old, but … we can now measure the magnetic properties of a single proton.

This is also a bit old … a new type of car engine. These come around every so often. I was quite taken with the Wankel rotary engine, but it had problems with manufacturability. Maybe this one will work out better.

Visual cryptography. Interesting, but I’m not sure how easy it would be to extract the information into text form.

A visual reference to computer ports.

Fairly computer-centric, but, then, I am employed in the field of software, and I love the title – Here be dragons: advances in problems you didn’t even know you had.

New and improved wireless technology.

Fossilized feathers found in 80-million-year-old amber.

Here’s a scale model of the solar system. Be prepared to do a lot of scrolling.

On the subject of the solar system, here’s an orrery that I think is pretty damned impressive.

Continuing with science, the Ig Nobel awards are about to be announced.

Scientists are also planning to make an artificial volcano.

Here’s something unusual: placebos are becoming more effective. How’s that work?

Been hearing voices with nobody around? You may not be as insane as you feared – birds are teaching each other to talk.

A Z-machine interpreter and a list of games for it.

Technology keeps on improving our lives – here’s a self-inflating bicycle tire.

The Document Which Used To Be Called The MIT Lockpicking Guide. I downloaded a copy when it was called that. Related: a series of lessons on YouTube.

Some products aren’t well-designed. Here’s one example from a trade-magazine blog on the topic.

Time for a little humor.

Here’s something that’s a staple of Jay Leno’s “headlines” segments: marriage announcements.

Got OCD and like to cook?

Lord of the Strings?

I like some of these modified signs.

Not quite humor, but close … Which Programming Languages Make You Cuss More? More accurately stated: which programming languages have more cussing in comments in the code I looked at?

Lost and found

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

I had my cellphone at home with me last night, but couldn’t find it this morning. I spent the day without it – not much of a problem, given how few calls I make/receive – and eventually found it this evening. It had ended up beneath the cushions on my couch.

If I hadn’t found it, it would have been inconvenient, but I probably wouldn’t have done anything about it immediately. Next week is when I’m eligible for a cellphone upgrade, so I’d have held off until then. I’m definitely going to get a smartphone. I’m surprised at how much I miss not having the web and maps available anytime I want them.

I’d have been interested in the Droid Bionic, but the reviews I’ve seen say that the display, although higher-resolution than other Droid phones, is fuzzier-appearing. I guess I’ll just have to choose something else. Unfortunately, because of the timing of my Droid dying, and not having a smartphone since, I’m not grandfathered into Verizon’s unlimited data. Not that I’ve ever used more than a couple hundred megabytes per month so far, but you never know what the future will bring.

Miscellany 17

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

There’s not quite an hour left in the 52nd anniversary of Hawaii becoming a state (in this timezone, anyway). Time to clear out the browser tabs.

Andy Firth believes that people who code for a living aren’t learning enough about the abstractions they use and what those abstractions are hiding. I happen to agree with that. My list of things that coders should study/know would be somewhat different than his, but that is likely to be just because of our differing backgrounds.

The economy is going to hell in a handbasket. My company isn’t exempt from problems; our customers have taken to using us as a bank that provides no-interest loans – customers on net 30 terms have been taking 90 days or more to pay. Here’s a good roundup of poll results with respect to the economy and the government’s handling of it.

Perhaps this chart explains some of the problem. Pay particular attention to the last two lines.

Accounting rules have, of course, contributed to where we are today with respect to manufacturing.

Oh, for the days when farming was fun!

While we’re on the subject of dynamite, I’d like to suggest this as a problem that can be solved with a suitable application of high explosives.

I don’t agree with Fred all the time, but he’s almost always worth reading. He’s got a sobering take on the London riots.

The closest I can come to matching this customer service story is to note that I used to be a regular-enough customer at a local Mexican restaurant that the staff knew my usual order. Nowhere near the same thing. I’ll have to get to a Morton’s sometime when I feel as though I can afford it; such service deserves reward.

I need to find out more about this. There may be nothing there, but, if there is …

Free online classes in AI. Might be fun. Here’s more information about other online education sources.

I saw an interesting documentary on burlesque a couple of weeks ago. This song was in part of it, but never sung in its entirety. I looked it up because it sounded fun. Note: the page automatically plays a MIDI file of it.

Surprisingly, it’s not a trade exposition for bad cooks

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011


Miscellany 16

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Let’s see what we can pull out today, shall we, boys and girls?

I don’t use picks much, apart from finger picks when I’m playing banjo. I do use picks when I play mandolin, but I don’t play my mandolin that often (and, actually, it’s on a long-term loan at the moment). However, I can’t help but wonder if I’d have a better grip and be able to keep the picks from sliding around in my fingers without having to clamp down to the point of cramps if I were to punch them out of old credit cards.

Carbon fiber is neat stuff. I’m quite taken with the Blackbird carbon fiber ukulele, although I doubt I’ll ever own one. Perhaps I can eventually learn to make my own, though.

If you’re interested, there are more extreme substances discussed here. I don’t think there are any hobby guides for using them, though.

There are a couple of new British reality shows in the process of finding cast members. I’m linking to this article because the shows are based in Liverpool, where I was born, and I enjoy stupid puns such as the series names.

Invisibility cloaks are now officially passé – now they’re proposing time cloaks.

This is an extremely heart-warming story. I so understand why the father feels like that.

We’ve long had computers that could play games, but that’s because they were specifically programmed to do so. There have also been computers that have been programmed with the rules for a game, then tasked with determining a winning strategy by playing countless games against themselves or other computers. Now there’s a computer that learned to play a game by reading the manual.

Here’s a cool video: one year of the moon’s cycles covered in 2.5 minutes.

If someone tells you that the Sun doesn’t affect weather on earth (which I’ve seen argued by some global warming/climate change advocates), tell them “thanks for playing; now go away.”

Lots of information about sunscreen here; some of it I’d known, and some I hadn’t. It does put me in mind of the letter purportedly received from a child by a book publisher: “Dear Sirs: I am returning your book because it is about penguins and it tells me more about penguins than I care to know.” The link goes to PDF file of a speech delivered in 1948 – I first ran across the anecdote (which I remember slightly differently) in an earlier edition of this book.

This looks like an interesting site to help with learning a foreign language.

Mark Steyn has a disturbing report up.

Here’s a series of mug shots. A couple of them show up more than once. All I can say is, the only way I’d get tattoos like these people is if someone drugged me and applied them while I was unconscious. And then I’d have to worry about getting mug shot, after I went after them.

And, finally, the (presumably) first Pastafarian driver’s license.

There’s no way that this will end well

Friday, May 20th, 2011

But it is pretty freaking awesome.

Miscellany 15

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Got some good stuff today, some of which I’ve been holding onto for a week or so. A little video-heavy, too.

First, one of those quintessential Japanese culture things: a cute girl with cat ears. These, however, are controlled by brain waves. It’s everywhere now, but I found it at The Presurfer.

When Marion and I were vacationing in Ecuador, we saw this volcano off in the distance. We saw a column of steam and ash, but nothing like this, although we did hear an occasional booming in the distance. It doesn’t really look like the same mountain in my photos, but that could just be the vantage point from which we saw it.

Volcano in Ecuador

I’ve known some vicious cats in my time, but I would never have expected that I’d need to be medevac’d after a knife fight with one.

Whisky by the shot. Via Cool Material.

A remake of When Harry Met Sally? Looks like it has promise. Via Bad Example.

When Harry Met Sally 2 with Billy Crystal & Helen Mirren from Billy Crystal

Bad Example also had this one, which is pretty fun.

I missed Star Wars Day last week. Whether you did as well or not, you may enjoy these retro Star Wars propaganda posters.

If you prefer Star Trek to Star Wars, you may appreciate hearing that a German television station gave the Maquis credit for taking out Osama Bin Laden.

I want one of these when they’re available.

Want a big photo of the sky?

A town with a population of 1? Sounds sorta familiar.

Reconnecting with Connections

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

I loved Connections when it was first broadcast. It was a fascinating show. A few years ago, I discovered that the downtown location of the Denver Public Library had a set of the VHS tapes of the shows, but I never got around to checking them out.

Now I don’t have to.