Bulging elevator

Aug19a
“When I was little, my grandfather used to make me stand in a closet for five minutes without moving. He said it was elevator practice.” ~ Stephen Wright

Aug19 Aug19 Aug19

Cement factory

Mar07a

“Political image is like mixing cement. When it’s wet, you can move it around and shape it, but at some point it hardens and there’s almost nothing you can do to reshape it.” ~ Walter F. Mondale

There are actually quite a few excavations out where I live performed by one or many cement factories.  Here’s one dirt sorting setup right off of Hwy 5.  If you look closely, you can see the power lines I tried to remove from the sky.

Laptops ready for shipping

Apr15

I have never done this before with any Apple product I have ever owned. I
actually went to the Apple Web site to look up the return policy!
That’s like dating a swimsuit model that you have been admiring for
years only to dump her after a few days when you realize she’s not
really that “functional.” She looks awesome to friends at parties, but
your friends never dated her-you did. I found myself longing for a more
fully functional model.  ~ Joseph Weber, in 48 Hours With the iPad

WePad-demo Man, that was a lot of work.  Now I can ship these out and get some cash for an iPad.  Why?  Cause the wife and kids will love it.   And I might even like it, despite the lack of features.  Maybe I should hold out for an Android tablet?

Getting rid of old laptops

Apr14

“E-waste in our country is being increased by 10 per cent every year and only five per cent of urban e-waste are recycled in India” ~ Abdul Kalam

Here I am wiping and installing windows on the four or so laptops I’m getting rid of.  The rest should become ewaste.

Trying to get an iPad – ouch!

Apr13

Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don't need to be done.  ~ Andy Rooney

So I've decided to sell the old Thinkpads around my house that no one uses – turns out, if I keep our best T41, I can sell the rest, which includes two other T41's, a T30, a T20, and three T20's that are only good for parts (no workie).

Anyway, the process for getting these ready for sale is interesting.  It goes like this:

  • Download the ISO file of the Universal Boot CD
  • Burn the ISO image to a CD (luckily, you can Burn ISO Images Natively in Windows 7)
  • Boot from the UBCD, then run CopyWipe to wipe all data (reformatting a drive does not remove all your data, all it does is clear the index)
  • Install Windows XP Pro w/ SP3

Apr13a Not that hard once you do it once or twice, but anyway, one of my T20's that I've already sold took a tumble and broke the corner off.  I took the picture to the right, then used a Picnik filter to make it artsy for this post.

Children have questions

Feb03

“A prudent question is one half of wisdom.” ~ Francis Bacon

Each morning, I drive my six year old to school, and we use it as “ask Papa questions” time.  My oldest is really smart (as most first-borns seem to be), and she is asking the hard questions.

Earlier this week, she asked me how God made humans, seeing that He has no body and is invisible (based on our previous conversations).  I explained to her the “God made man from the earth,” but she didn’t seem satisfied with that.  I then explained to her that some people believe that life started in a primordial puddle, then single-celled organisms formed, got more advanced, culminating up with humans.

I also told her that I don’t quite believe that version – I hated to introduce her to the fallacy of evolution, but I figure she might as well hear it from me first.  Partly, I want to teach her how to think, not just what to think, but partly because I don’t want her to think that I kept something from her.

In fact, that’s one of the reasons I came to DOUBT evolution.  When I first met Christians who doubted evolution, I thought that they were a little too fanatical, and besides, I had a science degree, so I knew better.  It wasn’t until I started looking into the counter-evidence that had been kept from me as a science student, that I formed a bit of a rebellious attitude towards evolution and it’s gatekeepers – I had not been told the whole story, and was kept from the counter-indications – told WHAT to think, not HOW. 

Further research proved to me that evolution has many problems, including statistical impossibility, lack of intermediates in the fossil record, lack of any real examples of macroevolution in the fossil record or in experiments (with fruit flies, for instance), no credible genetic evidence for the creation of novel information coding for new proteins, failure to explain the increasingly high level of information in the genetic code, and lack of explanation for regression towards the genetic mean, to name a few. Don’t get me started.

But I digress.  Today, my daughter and I talked about water towers, and how the pressure caused by elevating huge amounts of water pushes the water through our pipes, and into our house.  She was kind of amazed to think about that, so I’m sure she’ll ask to drive up close to see the big pipe coming down from the tank.

I love being the “answer man” every morning, teaching her how to think, giving her as much information as possible, and making her smart.  She’s gonna be a handful for her teachers later on – which, during middle school, might be her home-schooling Dad, I hope.

Thoughtful design in everyday things

Jan26

Design is intelligence made visible.  ~ Alina Wheeler

I have the opportunity to look at this lock a few times a day, and I noticed a few intriguing things about it.

First, it employs one-way screws – you can screw them in, but you can’t take them out!  Well, not without special methods, like using a Dremel tool to cut a slot in them so that a normal flathead screwdriver can remove them.  Ingenious!

I love smart designs that solve problems, like the new “spill proof” lips on detergent and side-cut can openers.  If you do too, you might like to read Cool Tools on a regular basis. 

Progress A second thing I noticed about this lock is the unique diamond shape of the slide-lock.  They could have made it square, but I betcha they save tons in metal costs by using this design.  And it’s probably just as strong, maybe stronger.

It makes me ask myself – where can I work smarter rather than harder?  My mom always said I was lazy, which may be partly true, but also, I am always looking for more efficient ways of doing things -as this poster from a woot contest says nicely.

My thoughts exactly.

Still demanding more out of my cell phone

Jan19

From cell phones to computers, quality is improving and costs are shrinking as companies fight to offer the public the best product at the best price. But this philosophy is sadly missing from our health-care insurance system. ~ Arizona Congressman John Shadegg (R)

I like my Motorola Droid, I really do.  But it has some fatal flaws.  But so do all the other phones. 

Blackberry’s are great for communication, have dedicated hard buttons and configurable hard buttons for important stuff – but they stink as multimedia devices – even on the Storm 2, surfing the net is awful.

The iPhone is really usable, but it’s on a mediocre network, and has low video recording quality.  I’m sure Apple will be correcting that with the next iPhone, but this one – meh.

The Palm Pre?  Great interface (better than either iPhone or Android IMO), but tiny little toy phone.  I want a big screen you dummies.

And don’t get me started about the unusable WinMo devices.  I had one for four hours before I put it aside in disgust, and returned it the next day.  I love the size and form factor of the HTC HD2, but I won’t go back on WinMo, nor T-mobile.

Sure, the Nexus One is a neat phone, and it might even be usable once Verizon carries it.

Anyway, I spend way too much time trying to get my phone to be my electronic slave.  Today I finally got a Gmail icon that will show how many unread messages I’ve got.  All that work for such a small thing.  Of course, right now, it’s not reading “38” – it’s reading “err4”. Sigh.

Palm3z1 One day perhaps they will make a phone with all of my requirements – one day soon in fact.  Just not yet.  “What are your requirements, Mr. Demanding” you ask?

  • Bluetooth call activation
  • Bluetooth stereo
  • High quality video recording and photo
  • Big enough screen to surf the net in native HTML without zooming in (5 in?)
  • A great browswer

I think it will happen in the next year or two.  But man, I’ve been waiting impatiently since I got my first Palm III.

Filters make the regular world fresh

Jan05

“Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret.” ~ Robert E. Lee

Today’s pic is the light fixture above our table at Red Robin’s, taken on my Droids using the solarize filter. It made the yellow fixture just a little prettier.

To wax philosophic, I wonder if my world would be more fresh and interesting to me if I looked at it differently?

But shouldn’t we be happy with reality, not a filtered view?  I guess it depends.   Filters have many functions, including:

  1. Clarification – perhaps our view is muddied or unclear.  A filter can remove noise and add clarity.  Think of those blue-filter sunglasses.
  2. Enhancement – perhaps we only see the most obvious attributes of reality, and a filter could enhance less obvious, but equally real or important features so that we notice them.
  3. Transformation – this action may distort reality, but it can cause us to see objects totally differently, perhaps even find associations that we had formerly missed, or even cause us to fail to recognize an object.
  4. Masking – this is possibly the most potentially negative aspect of filtering – that of hiding attributes, either pleasing or displeasing.  This definitely leads to misapprehension of reality, which might be a bad thing.

Questions to ponder:

  • What filters do I use when experiencing life, and especially people?  Do they mask or transform so that I see inaccurately?
  • What filters could I employ to clarify or enhance my view of the world and others?
  • Should I attempt to view the world and people without any presuppositions or filters?  All or just some of the time?

 

Why blogging takes so much time – templates

Jan04

“Form follows function – that has been misunderstood.  Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”  ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

This picture is of Larry’s 365 site.  It looks better than mine – you know why?  It’s not just because he’s intelligent and good looking, it’s because he’s using WordPress, and I’m on Typepad.  Unless I go get some custom template (and there aren’t half as many for TP), I”m stuck with TP’s templates.

What can we learn from this picture?

  1. Half the time spent on blogging, for a lot of us, is spent tweaking the look and feel.  Yes, we know that content is the most important, but who wants a blog that looks so pre 2000?
  2. I have a nice 21 inch second monitor at home, set up in portrait mode, for browsing.  It is SOOO excellent, everyone should do it.  Now, to get a third monitor so I can have two of the portrait ones and one landscape. 
  3. Larry may be a better photographer than me – but hey, he does that as a pro, I’m just a guy with a cell phone. 
  4. WordPress may be better than Typepad.  But I have all my blogs at TP, so I ain’t moving soon.