Posts filed under 'Technology'
One of my areas of low-level geekery is encodings (I say “low-level” because I usually decide to move on to something else in ten to twenty minutes), and I found a variation on the international maritime signal flags that at least a few other people will probably like. This is the sort of joke that could easily be carried to extremes.
November 14th, 2006
I got a rather macabre spam just now:
On further inspection, it turns out they’re referring to dead mortgage leads.
October 19th, 2006
Don’t know exactly how it happened (I guess I must have walked into something with it in my pocket), but my old cell phone’s screen got smashed on Monday, with the surprisingly pretty result shown above. Alas, it was not nearly as practical as it was beautiful, and so I went off to check CNet‘s reviews and then to the Verizon store to upgrade to the LG VX8300. I was thinking I’d change carriers, but a thread on the Metblog a while ago seemed to reach a consensus that Verizon had the best reception in SF, and I wanted to get a new phone as soon as possible. It’s been working out fairly well. My main complaint is one endemic to all Verizon gear–they lock out a whole bunch of interesting and useful stuff, with technologies like BREW and crippled Bluetooth implementations. But there is hope for the tinkerer who wanders in the strange land of CDMA: BitPim.
BitPim gives you read/write access to all the data on the phone, letting you transfer pictures, add ringtones, add contacts, and browse the filesystem, all via USB or Bluetooth. I’ve only started playing around with it, but it looks very promising indeed. Now all somebody needs to do is hack BREW so anyone can write apps for it.
September 26th, 2006
You might have heard about the Apple battery recall by now. Here is what I was thinking when I was checking my battery:
“Ok, let’s see . . . affected batteries for the twelve-inch PowerBook are model number A1079, serials ZZ411 through ZZ427 and 3K428 through 3K611. My battery . . . model A1079, serial 3K5arrrrrgh!”
And of course, the official site and telephone line are completely jammed with people trying to get batteries that won’t, y’know, violently burst into flame, so I’m stuck on AC power for now. This article on Macworld and this CPSC alert have more information.
August 24th, 2006
You! Yes, you! With the computer! Go download Google SketchUp right now!
I did about fifteen minutes ago, after the MAKE blog informed me it had been released for the Mac. I’d seen cool stuff done in SketchUp before, but I’d never used it as I didn’t have access to a Windows PC that was powerful enough. I just went through the tutorials, and I am remarkably impressed. It feels a little bit like a 3D version of Visio, but optimized for drawing things instead of diagrams. Much easier than the other CAD programs I’ve used, although I haven’t explored the area very thoroughly. Have a look!
June 12th, 2006
. . . CNN, for this pearl of wisdom that just showed up in my inbox:
A long running dispute that threatened to shut down the BlackBerry wireless e-mail service has been settled.
How has it been settled? In whose favor? By what means? Is the settlement confidential? I understand that organizations distributing breaking news need to strike a balance between speed and precision/accuracy (the friend who first informed me of the 9/11 attacks described them as a “bombing,” which was only correct in a highly technical sense), but I think some delay was clearly warranted here.
March 3rd, 2006
Any company that thinks “pirate” rhymes with “ran great” worries me a little.
That said, I seriously can’t see an outfit like Oracle including little poems in their products. And if it’s not fun, then why bother with computing at all?
February 17th, 2006
I forget where I got the link, but the Speed Demos Archive is pretty amazing. Because I am old-skool, the first game I checked out was Super Mario Brothers . . . for which the best time is 5:09. Five minutes, nine seconds. The guy avoids doom by one pixel more times than I can count; I was getting nervous just watching it.
More speed runs are available at the Internet Archive.
Y’know, I don’t think I’ve ever finished SMB1 . . .
tags: video games
October 24th, 2005
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
–Arthur C. Clarke
Gizmodo linked to this article about a clock inspired by the Weasleys’ familial-position indicator from the Harry Potter books. While the device in its current form is almost pure whimsy (I personally hope there’s some way for J. K. Rowling to block its manufacture unless they include “mortal peril” at the 12 o’clock position), Gizmodo’s treatment raises the central technology-and-culture issue: if technology changes such that it’s possible to verify things that we couldn’t before, should we necessarily do so, or is this “leakage” necessary for a healthy society?
Of course, this is far too much to cover in one blog post composed between Property and Civ Pro, but I’m going to point out that this is part of what made me leave the technology field. The problem of Pandora’s box got too disturbing, and I wasn’t sure I could help the good guys win. The whole truth is much more complicated, but I feel a lot more at peace in the world of law.
October 11th, 2005
So it’s Nobel Prize season, and while the Ig Nobels are wonderfully entertaining, I find the games on the Nobel website yet more improbably awesome. For example, how would you like to manage a POW camp?
If I were making the game, I’d put in some way you could consult your spiritual advisor by typing WWJD, WWMGD, or WWCKD.
October 10th, 2005