Wednesday, September 23, 2009

other people's blogs

Sometimes I randomly run into someone's blog.

If its good, I tend to go back and try and read like 1-2 years of stuff, which takes forever!

So I know all about this guy, and he knows nothing about me!...

Its like a one way friendship, or stalking or something.


But why do they have babies more often in the winter?

Is the more interesting part of this article.

New Light on the Plight of Winter Babies

(short story, poor folks tend to have more babies in the winter, so the winter babies scores are lower.)

I am betting on the "prom effect", heh!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rocket ideas from a friend

Recently, a friend had an idea for a new (well, old, but actually built?) configuration for a rocket engine.

Its been interesting to think about it, but the best part was the stationary that he used to draw the rocket picture on.

I have removed his drawing/rocket plan so that you can just see the paper.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Its still there!

Over the summer I visited an old workplace.

The "Junction Interface" box is still there!, staying strong.

huge box for a small simple board, but hey, stuff takes time to fab and estimating size is hard when you don't know anything.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Reports on computing from 1967-1968

I recently read two papers about the future of computing (for the masses) from late 67 and mid 68.

The first one was "The Computer in Your Future" by W. H. Ware. He brings up that there is a man-man interface between the customer and the programmer, and a man-computer interface between the programmer and the computer (mostly to say that errors occur at both interfaces). He explains some stuff about computer systems in the beginning so that the second section will be believable. (The intro stuff is things that they knew how to do way back when, similar to the "PILOT: A STEP TOWARDS MAN-COMPUTER SYMBIOSIS" paper I wrote about but they have forgotten now). In the second section he is really careful to say that these things are possible, but not predetermined and not that crazy. He hits on the cloud "computer utilities that would offer services to subscribers" except that he saw it using phone lines instead of the way we connect to the web now (though, we did use phone lines back in the 90's). The family would have a computer that would be used for many tasks, balancing check books, income taxes, price checking, homework, phone books, Christmas card lists, (no games?). Computers in cars! Computer planned/assisted crimes! Computers in business! He thought of something cool that is a bit deal, the reeducation/training required as our society changes and jobs don't last lifetimes. He talks about computers in engineering and is pretty correct. He then talks about computers in medicine/biology and forsees (which seems to be coming) the ability to grow organisms to specifications [like genetically engineered rice or e. coli]. He finishes with computer generated graphics that would be driven by physics based simulation for design and sharing of information.

The second paper was "Some changes in Information Technology Affecting Marketing in the Year 2000" by Paul Baran. Its 2009 so we can see how he did. "widespread large-screen, color, person-to-person TV communications over cables using a switching network similar to the telephone system" - Yep. (webcams). He talks about the cost of writing/publishing going to zero (blogs). He talks about transitioning from push to pull for information. (ha, and they still are! ) He predicts Amazon (buy anything online) but misses a search box and instead has an interface where you choose a category and zoom down to the product that you want. He mentions targeted advertising after you get down to the item that you want, because thats when you most likely would want to know the differences of the products. Google seems to be doing that. He then talks about a recommendation system that basically is Amazon's recommendation system. Last thing he mentions is being able to check the weather on this network, which we do today.

Just was interesting reading about what they thought would come up. I can send you a copy of either if you are interested, just email me.

side note, Ubuntu made my spellchecker en-GB which sucks. So change spellchecker.dictionary to en-US.

So many things to write about

so little time.

Been working on work, school, and home stuff.

I have been helping quite a few people get jobs lately, though I don't attribute it to the recession. One person just graduated, another has been "looking" on and off for 5-6 years, and the third was laid off when the company did not get a major contract (military, so I think it was just that they lost, not that they aren't doing that contract due to the recession).

Just saying hi to the folks out there.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Thunderbird attachments and imap

Sometimes my email client (thunderbird) does not download messages properly. They are always the ones with attachments, so I finally (might) have figured out why.

In the config editor, change mail.imap.fetch_by_chunks to false.

Also, when I went to the offending folder's properties and hit "rebuild index" it redownloaded one that it had messed up and it worked out.

Time will tell if that worked, its hard to test. I'll delete this post if the fix is wrong.

I used to have to log into the web based mail for that account, and forward myself the email, which would then download properly, which was weird to me.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Rare earth and iphones



anyway, a lot of people saw this coming. welcome to the new OPEC for electric cars, the main found stash of Lithium (for teh batteries) in electric cars is in Bolivia.

I have faith in the market, stuff will work out.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


I may have the swine flu.

Its not over, but I think I am past the peak.

Its pretty weak sauce, the flu of Jan 07 was horrible. In 07 I had a delirious fever, hallucinations, and the whole bit. Confined to bed!

This flu, I felt bad, but it was manageable. Fever was never over 100.something.

I wish I knew if I really had it or not, so I could either say "Stop freaking out about the swine flu" or "man, my immune system is so awesome, the swine flu is more like the 10 minute sore throat".

Thursday, September 03, 2009

One way trip to Mars

What I have been saying for years, Sending Astronauts On a One-Way Trip To Mars.

Sign me up!

I guess I should write more op-eds?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

first real attempt at some emacs hackery (related to beamer)

I create my presentations in beamer (uses latex) and use emacs as my editor.

I found myself typing,


And then either going to the title or one space past the item.

I quickly whipped this up, stuck it in my .emacs and was on my way.

;;a function for helping with beamer
(defun make-new-frame ()
(insert "
(search-backward "\\item")
(forward-char 6))

Alt-x make-new-frame [enter] and I start converting thoughts to bits.