Category Archives: General

My favorite comment on the new hi-res galactic snapshot

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spitzer galaxy shot

NASA has released
a HUGE image of the milky way galaxy (396,032 x 13,520 pixels!)
(yes, I downloaded all 16 full-res pieces — new desktop pics abound!),
and there was news that some of the spiral arms of the galaxy may be “demoted” from bring major spiral arms.
Shades of Pluto!

There was a very pithy comment
on slashdot:

“two minor spiral arms of the Milky Way may be demoted.”

I suspected something like this might happen, I just didn’t dream that they’d go so far.

I mean, you have to be just a little suspicious about whether all star-forming arms are on an equal footing when you look at the names. There’s Perseus and Sagittarius. Then we get to Scutum-Centaurus, and you have to wonder if the astronomers needed a leg up in the imagination department. And then all doubt vanishes when we get to the fourth arm…Norma. Yes, Norma. Like the girl who couldn’t wait to get old enough to disown her parents, legally change her name to Chantal and get a job at the brass-pole ballet.

You just had to know they were having their doubts about arm number 4.

On a more positive note, the same bunch of guys who just slammed Scutum-Centaurus and, um, “Norma”, are also telling us that they “obtained detailed information about our galaxy’s bar, and found that it extends farther out from the centre of the galaxy than previously thought”.

A bar that’s closer to the house than you thought can’t be a bad thing. Especially when you need to walk home.

I’ve calculated my velocity with such exquisite precision that I have no idea where I am.

Trying out “Disqus” for comments

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Let me know what you think of the new comment system.
I’ve installed if for all zero-comment posts (which includes all new posts), so old posts with comments still have the old WordPress commenting system.

This may involve you having to create a Disqus account, but the idea is that you can use that account across blogs.
I am also setting up Disqus on
Tech Tok
so you only have to create your account once for both places.

Leo Laporte has also set up his blog to use it.
Maybe it will spread everywhere.

The idea is that your comments belong to you, and Disqus makes it easier to follow people, as opposed to blogs.

Most Romantic Books

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Not sure how I got there, but
this page
has a list of people saying what their favorite romantic books are.

A quick Perl script later, and here are the top books with the number of people on that page that mentioned them:

15 Gone With the Wind
15 The Bridges of Madison County
12 The Thorn Birds
11 The Notebook
8 Outlander
5 Wuthering Heights
3 A Knight in Shining Armor
3 Jane Eyre
3 Pride and Prejudice
3 Whitney, My Love
2 A Farewell to Arms
2 A Town Like Alice
2 Cyrano de Bergerac
2 Five Smooth Stones
2 Green Mansions
2 Joy in the Morning
2 Katherine
2 Love Story
2 Rebecca
2 The Flame and the Flower

So there you go.

Running Orange Box on my Mac using CrossOver

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I managed to get Team Fortress 2 to run under CrossOver, but only in a 1920×1799 window (which was basically full-screen, so not too bad, actually).

I was less successful with Portal. It always seemed to start in the bottom-right corner of the monitor.
I could see the starting menu, but the last item (quit) was always offscreen.
I did manage to click on “Options” and then cursor-down to get to “quit” though.

Twitter and Macworld

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This week is Macworld, and tomorrow at 9:30am PST is the keynote, given by Steve Jobs.
Jeff, Iain and I got on iChat and video-chatted about what might be revealed.

Common wisdom says an 8-core Mac Pro will be announced, but what else?

I told them about and they both have accounts now.
You can see mine at
I should change the picture; it’s kind of big.

Twitter is half way between a blog post and an instant message (IM).
It has the permanancy of a blog post, but the ephemeral quality of an IM.
It kind of reminds me of FORUM on the Dec-10 back in the 1980’s.

My favorite Twitter feature is that I have added Twitter to my AIM buddy list, and I can just send an IM to it and it updates my Twitter web page.
You can set up Twitter to IM you when a friend updates, but that can be irritating.
I have it off right now, but I might turn it on tomorrow when the keynote is on in case anyone is updating
the Macworld twitter group
with keynote news.

I’m in San Francisco this week

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OSAF is having one of its week-long get-togethers this week.
It’s kind of a “sprint”, but not really.

After I got off the plane, I did my usual transit to downtown via BART.
While waiting for the train, who should walk down the escalator but Jeffrey!

Jeffrey on the train

He ended up feeling sick today and didn’t come to work.
Hope I don’t come down with it too!
The meeting-of-people was complete when I ran into Ted and Robin on the way in to OSAF this morning.
I had gone to CompUSA to exchange a Logitech headset (hope the new one works), and we had taken completely different paths from our hotel to OSAF.

I am staying at the Hotel Fusion, and it’s one of the smallest rooms I’ve ever had.

Hotel Fusion room #1

The funny thing is, I really like the room!
It has a fridge, an HDTV, ethernet connectivity, and a desk for my Powerbook.
I don’t really need anything else.

Hotel Fusion room #2

Well, okay, a comfy chair to sit in and read my book would be nice.
But just look at all the connectors the HDTV has!
Next time I will bring my DVI-to-HDMI cable and RCA audio jacks so I can use the HDTV as a second monitor for my Powerbook!

Hotel Fusion TV

Ya, I broke my own usual rule about using Flickr pics in my blog.
I’ll try to remember to fix it later.