Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Valley of Fire, Nevada

Valley of Fire, Nevada
Originally uploaded by firemeboy.
This is a picture I took in Nevada.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Physics is Free...

We need more professors to use this text. Of course there are drawbacks to an online textbook. You can't use it as a door stop, you can't use it as a booster seat. If a rabid dog comes charging at you, you can't bop it over the head with it.

But then again, the online version is free, it's over 1500 pages but can fit in your pocket (assuming you have a flash drive), and the author can update it at a moment's notice.

Wasting Time

It's the Thanksgiving break, you should have some mindless activity to do.

It's also a nice example of how order can spring from chaos with just a few simple rules. Over time the tiles begin to generally face the same direction.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Dig vs. Dot

I'm a long time reader of Slashdot, but recently I've also been watching I get good news in both places, even though the style of posting news is different (Slash uses an editorial board to determine what gets posted while Digg uses a voting system based on what their users find interesting).

Now there is a site that is tracking which site beats the other to the punch. It's kind of fun to watch, and apparently overall, Digg comes out ahead.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Podcast For Dollars

Looks like folks are trying to figure out a way to make money off podcasting.

That's just great.

My favorite quote from the article.

"I'm not anti-money or anti-commercials, but people who listen and do podcasts walked away from commercial radio for a reason," Bates said. "For me personally, I got tired of constantly being marketed to and hearing a generic fake radio personality. When the traffic guy has something to pawn off to the listeners, there's a problem with that model. So why are people so eager to return to that failed model?"

Thursday, November 10, 2005

10 Week Blahs

I'm a victim of my environment. I did my entire undergraduate program under the Quarter system. Each quarter was 10 weeks long. I can handle anything for 10 weeks. I could even handle statistics for 10 weeks (ok, that's a lie, but almost anything else).

But under the semester system, we go 15 weeks. So at about 10 weeks I start to struggle. It's not that I don't like my classes. I love them (if you are one of my professors reading this, you know that I particularly like your class), but I think my academic schedule is still on a 10 week pattern. I have had the uncontrollable urge to play video games, watch sill TV, and let the brain cool off, if only for a few weeks.

But alas, that is not the case. I've got a lit review to write, some code to write (although I must admit, I really like writing the code), and readings. Always the readings...

Anyway, 5 more weeks. I've been saying that a lot, lately.

5 more weeks.

Should I Really Be in a Ph. D. program?

So I was walking across campus today after a few errands, and I thought I'd turn back on Marche Slave, by Tchaikovsky.

I hit play and nothing happens. There is no sound. I check the track and it's counting down, so I know it's playing. There is the little triangle up in the left hand corner, and not the two pause bars. I check the volume, and it's turned up. I crank it more, just in case we're at a slow place in the song.


It was then I realized I was holding the ipod in my left hand, and the headphones in my right.

I guess as long as I don't have to work an iPod in any of my comprehensive exams, I'll be ok.

Friday, November 04, 2005

When a computer just isn't smart enough...

Looks like Amazon is now paying people to do simple tasks that computers can't do very well. You can check out the site here.

Part of me thinks this is really cool. The internet lets a company connect with people in a way that was never before possible.

Then part of me (the sci-fi part), thinks that if we start doing these kind of tasks, and leave the more difficult (challenging/fun/interesting) problems to a computer, then aren't we basically just their lackeys?

Then again, maybe I've been watching too much Battlestar Galatica.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Sweet Vindication

I wrote a post several months ago about John C. Dvorak's article blasting the Creative Commons license. I didn't know much of Dvorak, but the article made me not like him.

Then I started listening to the Twit podcast, and I couldn't help but start to like the guy. He's cynical, goofy, and fun to listen to. In fact, he's the reason I listen to Twit. But it still bugged me that he had so thrashed Creative Commons. It wasn't just that he had bashed it, but that he just didn't get it. How could I like somebody who doesn't get it?

Well, now he get's it. Episode 27 of the Twit podcast features Larry Lessig, and a great discussion on Creative Commons and the future of copyright. Dvorak has seen the light, and now all is well. I can like Dvorak and his antics with reckless abandon.

If you want to listen to just the creative commons bit, move forward about 8 minutes into the show.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Happy Halloween

Halloween is one of those holidays that holds it's own, at least for a while. When you're a kid, you love the holiday because it's all about the candy. Free candy. Lots and lots of free bag of candy. It's enough to quicken the heart of even the most stoic 7 year old.

Then you go through a brief time when you're too cool to trick or treat, but quickly you find out that Halloween can still be fun. You get into High School and College and realize it's still fun to dress up, go to parties, be a little crazy.

For me, Halloween is now hit or miss. Sometimes it's still fun, but often it's just another night. I spent this Halloween sitting on the couch doing homework, worrying about OCW, trying to concentrate with the doorbell ringing every 4 minutes, handing out cheap candy and wishing I could be one of those 'cool houses' that gives out full sized candy bars, then fighting with four boys trying to get them to calm down with 48 pieces of candy pumping sugar through their little veins.

I guess if it were a different holiday I would be saying “Bah, Humbug”, but I don't think it fits for this one.

Maybe next year...