Archive for the Technology Category

Gotta love Gladwell

Posted in Deep And Profound Brain Things, Meanderings, Technology with tags , , , on August 16, 2008 by weirleader

It’s scarcely new (dates back to May), but I stumbled across this really interesting article by Malcolm Gladwell and thought I’d share it.  It’s funny, but for me saying Gladwell wrote an interesting article sounds redundant… he always seems to find fascinating stuff to write about.  In fact, I suppose that, were I to have gone into journalism, I would have very much enjoyed the profession – provided that I could have found a niche similar to his.  It wouldn’t have had to be as prominent, but as variegated would’ve been nice.

It’s fascinating to think of how often invention occurs nearly simultaneously in separate areas.  One example that Gladwell mentions that is dear to my heart is that of Newton and Leibniz and the controversy over who really ‘invented’ the calculus.  It seems the more amazing feat is to invent something that nobody else has dared to dream of.  Because once the time is ripe for a new idea it will pop out – and the longer the wait, the more likely that several people will ‘discover’ that idea independently.

Anyhow, hope you enjoy the article as much as I did!

A Cravat Caveat

Posted in Bizarre, Humor, Technology with tags , , , on February 22, 2008 by weirleader

I recently noted an article dealing with a dress-code for academia…

and then came across this.  It almost (almost, I said) makes ties worth it…  for a day or so, I figure.

A *gasp* point in favor of Macs

Posted in Technology on February 4, 2008 by weirleader

reading Coding Horror, I discovered (to my great surprise) that although Macs at one point were accessible only to the economically advantaged, they have normalized in price.  The important detail to point out is that an “apples to apples” (quite a nice pun, no?) approach is necessary…  that is, you first need to spec out the typical PC laptop with all the bells and whistles that typically accrue to a Mac.

Which is why I still am not likely to own a Mac anytime soon.  Though I might enjoy one, I can get a very functional laptop (without the bells and whistles) for maybe $600-700, as opposed to an $1100 iMac with a tiny little screen (and absolutely no gaming ability).  Though I don’t play a lot of games, I still want the ability to do so from time to time.

Quit the Multitasking!

Posted in Deep And Profound Brain Things, Psychology, Technology on January 28, 2008 by weirleader

I try not to simply post articles here, but felt this one worth it. Daniyel recommended it to me, and though I didn’t quite read the entire thing (I skimmed at parts, being on a very short lunch break) I can assure you that I attended to every word I did read with no other distractions. 🙂

Laptops for the third world

Posted in Deep And Profound Brain Things, Education, Technology, Toys & Games with tags , , on November 20, 2007 by weirleader

XO laptopJamie came across an ad for One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) and it intrigued us enough for me to look into it. I have to say, this article in the N.Y. Times was compelling. It’s basically a low-cost laptop with rugged design and some pretty cool features – we’re tempted to pick one up ourselves. It doesn’t hurt that for a very reasonable price you get a laptop for your own child, the pleasure of a gift for the less-fortunate, and a tax write-off as well. My only dilemma is that this computer seems well-designed to be used as part of a network of XO machines (a special network, called a mesh) and it seems a shame to buy only one when I have two kids that could get good use out of it. The sad thing is that, while $400 sounds like we could work it into our budget, the $800 for two just sails right past *ooo-kay* and right on up to *boing-zowie*!

Now the warning – this is not your typical laptop in that it doesn’t load software (as we know it), doesn’t have a hard drive (it makes use of 1GB of flash memory), and has no CD- or DVD-drives. Still, what it does have it seems to excel at… great power management, slimmed-down open-source code (as opposed to corporate bloatware), neat extras like sound editing, picture-taking/movie-making, sharing of documents, and an e-book reader all wrapped in a durable, dirt-proof shell.

I just don’t know – very tempting… what would Dave say?

Google Earth – shooting for the stars

Posted in Education, Technology on August 22, 2007 by weirleader

The Eagle Nebula (Hubble Space Telescope)I have to admit – I like those folks at Google. In addition to “not being evil“, they are pretty darn clever and creative. Not only did they pick up GrandCentral (thanks Stephen for introducing me to that), but they’ve expanded GoogleEarth to create GoogleSky. I haven’t had a chance to truly check it out yet, but as we’re covering Astronomy this year with Quinn I’m really looking forward to making use of some great pictures and/or resources.

If you’ve never tried GoogleEarth, it’s pretty fascinating… though I don’t really have much time to mess around with it. I checked the usual, my house, my parents’ house, UCLA, Pete’s place, Long Beach Town Center, the old condo, and the old homestead before I ran out of interesting places to look at. I guess some crazy people spend their time browsing through it to find random images of planes caught by satellite image. Anyhow, check ’em out.

Every Breath You Take…

Posted in Technology on August 11, 2007 by weirleader

er, perhaps that should be “Every Key You Type”, but anyhow…

I don’t know if you’ve ever had somebody who looks to you for tech support, but it can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it feels pretty impressive to know that you are the (or, in modesty, one of the…) uber-geek(s) amongst your close circle of friends/relatives (Dave Parkinson excepted) – but being on call all week long, at any random moment, pro bono… well, it can get old. Especially if you need to make house calls. (Ever try talking someone nearly computer illiterate through replacing a missing toolbar, or “finding” that bookmark list that just disappeared, or troubleshooting why Firefox won’t load and explaining how to kill the process because it apparently still thinks a previous session is running?) Continue reading