Monday, October 29, 2007

The best Laptop to run Vista is...a Mac!

Yes, you read that right. PCWorld did some testing to see which laptop would be the best to run Microsoft Vista on, and the clear winner was a Macbook Pro.

I'm feeling the love. Are you feeling it? Finally, at long last, the Apple hardware line is getting some serious street cred.

The future scriptorium?

A robot calligrapher!

I tried to find where this picture originated, but I didn't have any luck. Part of the trail went through here and here.

So I never did find the original source, but this is just stunning. What does it mean for those of us who played with calligraphy? Most of us were put out of business as a result of desktop publishing and laser printers. But there was still a place for beautiful Bibles lettered by hand, I thought.

I guess not. But it's still cool.

What every geek needs in this day and age of cubicles

Shooting Cubicle Alarm System keeps your stapler, paperclips safe - Engadget

Because that last piece of cake is never safe. At least, not from me. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

No Spots for Me

Update Monday, October 29 at 11:30am:

As it turns out, I went ahead and installed Leopard anyway. I figured, "Why not? I've got everything backed up." So I ran the installer but did an archive and install, where Leopard is installed in a new System folder.

Everything is running fine, and a day later, now my disk's S.M.A.R.T. status says it's okay! So perhaps Leopard does something odd. I'll be watching this closely for the next week.

Last night, I went to my local Apple store, hungry for the chance to buy my copy of Leopard. I had pined for this day for months. And there I was, in the line, at the front of the line, laying down my money, and finally--finally!--picking up the shiny holographic box with my tiny little hands.


I drove home in a frenzy, and walked into my house.

And sanity hit me up beside the head with a brick.

I breathed deeply, and realized: if I am going to install Leopard, I have to do this right. Which means: you back up first.

The imp inside me said, No! You can't wait! You have to start immediately! You have to be the first to install!

After beating my internal imp into submission, I dutifully started running my backup program. And I did my household chores while I waited for the backup to run. I did dishes. I fed the cat. I cleaned her water bowl. I put clothes away, washed my face, brushed my teeth--all the good stuff.

Finally, I checked the computer and the backup was done. FINALLY! said the bludgeoned imp inside me. So I stuck the Leopard DVD in and rebooted.

And again, sanity hit me up beside the head, with the same brick. So I started to run the Disk Utility on the Leopard DVD. By this point, the imp inside me was groaning and clawing (but gingerly, as it was still a bit bruised) and realizing that it wasn't going to win.

And that's when the bad news hit.


Huh? What?

There it was. Disk Utility said that the S.M.A.R.T. disk in my machine had determined that it was failing. My imp shouted, But I've only had this machine for a year! It can't be failing!

And somewhere deep in my brain this brain cell fired up--a brain cell storing information regarding some potential issues with this particular model of Macs having problems with hard drives failing. Oh, I can't find a link now that confirms this memory, but it's moot.

So now I have to wait until Monday to take my laptop in to the Apple store (it's covered under an AppleCare agreement) and talk to the bods about it.

Forgive me while I wear black, but I am in mourning.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

How my cat wakes me up in the morning


Apparently I'm not the only one with a cat who does this.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Order out of chaos

NASA - Giant Waves Over Iowa

radar image

Oh, sure; we know that meterologists have found some order in the chaos of weather for ages, but this...this is wild.

Those giant waves—"undular bore waves"—were photographed Oct. 3rd flowing across the skies of Des Moines, Iowa. (Credit: KCCI-TV Des Moines and Iowa Environmental Mesonet SchoolNet8 Webcam.)

"Wow, that was a good one!" says atmospheric scientist Tim Coleman of the National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) in Huntsville, Alabama. Coleman is an expert in atmospheric wave phenomena and he believes bores are more common and more important than previously thought.

But first, Iowa: "These waves were created by a cluster of thunderstorms approaching Des Moines from the west," he explains. "At the time, a layer of cold, stable air was sitting on top of Des Moines. The approaching storms disturbed this air, creating a ripple akin to what we see when we toss a stone into a pond."

Ripples in the sky?! Look in the lower-right hand corner of that radar image. Stunning. If you follow the link, there's a video that shows what it looks like in real life. It's slow to load, but worth it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

THE geek gift for Christmas

Now THIS is what you buy a geek for Christmas.

Nikko electronics R2-D2 digital audio & video dvd projector

I actually saw this in the Sharper Image catalog, and said to myself, "Any respectable geek would find this to be the best gift for several years, at least."

It stands 20.5" high. It has an LCoS projector that does 4:3 (eh) as wide as 80 inches. It has a built-in DVD/CD player, an FM tuner, an iPod dock, an SD card slot and a USB connector. It has built-in stero speakers with surround sound.

But to give it true geek cred, it has a wireless remote that is a replica Milleniium Falcon. Not only does the remote control all the geeky toys inside, it controls R2: forward, backward, right, left.

AND: put the remote in the stand and it LIGHTS UP!

Excuse me, but I need a mop, and now. To clean up all my drool on the floor.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Geeks in Hollywood

Alas, too long between posts... my own fault.

But I was finally pushed to write today because of something I have noticed within the new TV lineups. There are, to put it mildly, a lot of geek shows compared to previous years, when there were none.

We've had "Numb3rs" for a few seasons, and "Heroes" has some geekish qualities, but this year things have expanded. We have "Big Bang Theory" and now SciFi (visible online at their website) has "A Town called Eureka". All these shows have, in some position, geeks or scientists or computer nerds or other specialists in their fields. "Eureka" is geek heaven with all the brilliant minds supposedly living together in one town.

Actually, I'd like to pick on "Eureka" a bit, because they come so close to getting it right--but fall flat. First, while there are some super geniuses who feel as if regular men and women do not deserve any attention, that's not true of all of them. And those who act that way actually don't talk to regular folks at all. They avoid them like the plague. (And unfortunately, I know a few of these people--from far away.) But most of them realize that there super abilities are only in one field, and know that others can far exceed them in other specialties.

And while super geniuses can do amazing things, they generally don't mess up in the small areas; the small areas are so obvious to them they can't escape the attention. (It does happen, but with far less regularity than "Eureka" plots.)

They have nailed down the odd habits and hobbies that some geeks have. I mean, that was one of the things that got me interested in the show. But no one has a pet, which is odd. Either the animals are either lab animals being tested on or they are science projects that are released into the wild.

I have seen, first hand, how really intelligent people can have hugely emotional arguments about how right they are and how wrong others are, and it's amazing how well "Eureka" gets that right. Someone must know or have seen such arguments in the past. I'm not sure if it happens if they work together in proximity for so long that they start grating on each other, but the fireworks are simply astounding.

But the thing that is starting to bother me greatly about "Eureka" is how the sheriff is always the one to solve the problem. Always. He's always the one risking his life, figuring out the "out of the box" thinking that the supergeniuses aren't doing. Well, hello! That qualifies him to be a supergenius too. So either start changing the plots, guys, or get more people to realize his abilities for what they are. It's becoming very predictable. I wonder if that is because regular folks are trying to write the script as regular folks and haven't got a real geek to pull on to help them?

There's another issue that is actually good with "Eureka"--it admits that the supersmart aren't perfect and in fact can have serious flaws. Those of us who believe in Christ and the Bible would call that "sin", because sin is essentially a character flaw in all of us.