Part 14 of elf's Apple PowerBook G4 Journal


Mon May 01 09:10:36 2006

Earthview is a nice little program that displays the earth from orbit and updates the rotation in realtime. I don't know if the clouds are actual or simulated. The only suggestion for improvement I have, is to make it scalable.

Applestore Downtown

Tue May 02 04:28:17 2006

The Applestore scheduled to open in the Eaton Centre will have the grand opening this Saturday, May 6. I may wander through the Eaton Centre today and find the store location, on my way up to HMV to order a copy of The Marriage of Figaro (Réné Jacobs, dir. on the Harmonia Mundi label) for my Dad.

Update Tue May 02 18:43:43 2006: Walked through the Eaton Centre and couldn't find the store. I missed it because I started at the ground level on the queen street side walked North to Dundas; according to TUAW, the store is on the upper level on the Queen Street side.

New Apple TV Ads

Tue May 02 05:49:15 2006

I'm a PC; I'm a Mac.

Get a Mac ads— Viruses, Restarting, Better, iLife, Network, WSJ.

Update Tue May 02 18:43:11 2006: My favourite Ad is the Networking one. Oh, yeah. I posted to #nihongo asking for a translation.

Update Wed May 03 13:34:38 2006: She asks, "Is Darian like nerd?".

Official Eaton Centre Queue Information

Wed May 03 07:20:24 2006

Eaton Centre will allow fanatics to queue overnight for the Eaton Centre Applestore grand opening.

Any chance of seeing me there? I don't think so. Do I look like an Mac Weenie™ to you?.

NAB Demo Reel

Wed May 03 13:55:48 2006

A beautifully edited demo reel showing-off Final Cut Studio; the soundtrack is a peppier version of "Hush" by Deep Purple. I had to upgrade iTunes/Quicktime on my PC workstation to watch it— well worth it! I know the difficulty of choosing good background music and Apple always picks the best.

Hebrew iPod

Sat May 06 08:51:18 2006

Yesterday's Report on Business had an article about how Yinon Yamin, an Israeli student from Ben Gurion University, modified the iPod's firmware to display Hebrew and made the patch freely available on his website. Even though there were other patches that did the same thing, Apple chose his implementation, as it was closest to what Apple engineers were working on internally, and paid Yamin a small fee and made the download officially available from the Apple Israel site. The only requirement Yamin had for Apple was the the software remain freely available.

A Google search shows that this is a rather old story (Sep. 2005). Hmmm.

A Touch of Evil

A policeman's job is only easy in a police state.
—Vargas, “A Touch of Evil”

Sat May 06 09:10:52 2006

An excerpt from, “The Big Discooooonnect” an article in the April 23, New York Times Magazine about China's censorship of information available on the Internet, or more like China's requirement of self-censorship for all Internet companies:

I expected Zhao [a blogger whose MSN blog, located on U.S. servers, was shutdown by Microsoft after an informal request by China; Microsoft archived the blog to CD and informed him that they would send the CD to any address in the U.S.] to be much angrier with the American Internet companies than he was. He was surprisingly philosophical. He ranked the companies in order of ethics, ticking them off with his fingers. Google, he said, was at the top of the pile. It was genuinely improving the quality of Chinese information and trying to do its best within a bad system. Microsoft came next; Zhao was obviously unhappy with its decision, but he said that it had produced such an easy-to-use blogging tool that, on balance, Microsoft was helping Chinese people to speak publically. Yahoo came last, and Zhao had nothing but venom for the company.

"Google has struck a compromise," he said, and compromises are sometimes necessary. Yahoo's behaviour, he added, put it in a different category: "Yahoo is a sellout. Chinese people hate Yahoo." The difference, Zhao said, was that Yahoo had put individual dissidents in serious danger and done so apparently without thinking much about the human damage.

Eaton Centre Applestore T-Shirt

Sat May 06 11:19:28 2006

Searching Flickr this morning so see if anything was available. I found a picture of a T-Shirt with the Apple logo and the words "Eaton Centre" on it— no caption— and a picture of a tall rectangular white box sealed with grey tape decorated with a white apple logo— no caption, again.

Update Sat May 06 21:53:01 2006: deeveepix has a Flickr set for the Eaton Centre Store opening.

Sigmund Jobs

Sun May 7 14:28:18 2006

At the center of Freud's work lies a fundamental perception: human beings are not generally unified creatures. Our psyches are not whole, but divided into parts, and those parts are usually in conflict with one another.
—Mark Edmunson, Freud and the Fundamentalist Urge

In The April 30, New York times Magazine, there is an article, by Mark Edmunson, about Sigmund Freud's later works on the topic of politics and tyrrany. It explains the three parts that make up the human psyche: the id (or the "it, an agent of pure desire"); the superego, or the "over-I, the agent of authority"; and the "poor ego, trying to broker between the it and the over-I". The article continues:

Humanity, Freud says, has come up with many different solutions to the problem of internal conflict and the pain it inevitably brings. Most of the solutions, Freud thinks, are best described as forms of intoxication. What the intoxicants in question generally do is to revise the superego to make it more bearable. We like to have one glass of wine, then two, Freud suggests, because for some reason— he's not quite sure what it is in scientific terms— alcohol relaxes the demands of the over-I.

Falling in love, Freud (and a thousand or so years of Western poetry) attests, has a similar effect. Love— romantic love, the full-out passionate variety— allows the ego to be dominated by the wishes and judgement of the beloved, not by the wishes of the demanding over-I. The beloved supplants the over-I, at least for a while, and, if all is going well, sheds glorious approval on the beloved and so creates a feeling of almost magical well-being. A divided being becomes a whole, united and (temporarily) happier one.

Steve Jobs understands this conflict and he uses his Reality Distortion Field as the intoxicant which causes me to refer to my Powerbook as my beloved mathilde.


Tue May 09 09:42:10 2006

Bricksmith is an application for creating LEGO models in three dimensions. This will come in handy when I re-do the instructions for building a LEGO abacus which were originally created using FrameMaker.

XNU vs. Linux

Tue May 09 12:24:00 2006

There have been recent mutterings/rumours about Apple dumping the XNU kernel and switching to the Linux kernel after the departure of Avie Tevanian, a proponent of micro-kernels. Why is everyone suggesting that Apple switch to the Linux kernel and not the FreeBSD? I don't know. I decided to see if Google Scholar had any papers comparing micro-kernels and monolithic kernels. I found, “The performance of μ-kernel-based systems”.

Process Limits

Wed May 10 21:54:22 2006

It seems OS X has a rather conservative limit on the total number of processes each user can run— 100. Of course, there are ways around this. At this moment, ps aux | wc -l, returns 67 on mathilde.

Had an extremely busy day today customizing Gnome on Fedora Core 5. During lunch I played with DVDrip (Perl based DVD ripper for Linux with a GTK front-end). Spent about and hour figuring out how it works compared to 5 minutes for MacTheRipper. 4.7GB rip took about a 30-40 minutes on a 3GHz P4 Dell.

Security Update 2006-003

Fri May 12 08:51:39 2006

Security Update 2006-003 released by Apple includes patches for ImageIO, Finder, Keychain, Flash Player, FTP server, CoreFoundation and other vulnerabilities. There goes my 27-day uptime.

Update Fri May 12 14:58:53 2006: On #emacs, <lucca> after installing security updates on macosx, copy doesn't replace clipboard contents anymore, cool. Thanks, apple. Lovely.

CSS Paradise

Fri May 12 08:54:38 2006

Yahoo has made available a set of CSS templates that can be combined to generate up to 100 different combinations of page layouts. Woohoo! (or rather, Yahoo!).

Revolution In the Valley

Fri May 12 12:47:08 2006

Andy Hertzfeld discusses the publishing of his book, “Revolution In the Valley”, in this Google Video. He mentions that the woman who threw the hammer in the “1984” TV commercial died of breast cancer 5 years ago.

Movie Time

Sat May 13 00:07:30 2006

Full-screen Quicktime without paying Apple $30 to unlock the Quicktime Player, courtesy Movie Time. So they say; I haven't tried it.

Inside AppleCare

Sat May 13 09:02:27 2006

An ex-AppleCare employee reminisces (the actual site has been slashdotted, this is a link to a copy of the article) about his days working the phones. He talks about the good, the bad and the ugly side of AppleCare.

After my single (great) experience dealing with AppleCare, the impression I was left with, and confirmed by this article, was that these individuals work in a very, very relaxed environment.

Canadian Census

Sun May 14 18:37:08 2006

I went to fill-out the 2006 Canadian Census only to be told that I have to use Safari on my Mac. Is it conceivable that the Government of Canada is ignorant enough to believe that Mac users only use Safari and that no one uses Linux? Why is a particular browser in combination with a particular OS such a strict requirement? What about Opera and Camino? Both capable browsers and yet disqualified because of pure ignorance.

You cannot imagine how upset this makes me. I can understand if this was the U.S. but this is Canada— land of diversity where all varieties of peoples with various views and opinions are welcome. Clearly this is not the case. Why must people suffer because of ignorance?

Update Mon May 15 06:29:10 2006: Statistics Canada are actually allowing Linux submissions, "With the addition of this new operating system, the capacity of the Census Help Line operators to respond to technical calls from open source users may be limited. However, we expect this will not be a major obstacle for the vast majority of these users." I am completely, and utterly surprised!

Bricksmith LEGO Abacus

Mon May 15 09:08:23 2006

LEGO abacus model on Bricksmith— the main window and the 3 sub-windows; the parts catalog at the bottom and the step editor on the right.

I spent this weekend modelling my LEGO abacus in Bricksmith. My biggest frustration was choosing the parts from the library because first, I didn't know the formal names so i had to browse through entire libraries and second, the database does not realize that a "1x12 brick" is the same as a "12x1 brick" is the same as a "1 x 12 brick".

Overall, it's a nice package that could use a few improvements:

Security Update Breaks SMARTReporter

Mon May 15 21:44:21 2006

SMARTReporter crashes on startup in CoreFoundation. Bah! Downloaded latest version (2.1.5)of SMARTReporter and we're back on the air. Phew!

21:49  up 14 mins, 3 users, load averages: 0.77 0.84 0.59

Creative Sues Apple

Tue May 16 08:25:41 2006

The creators of the original mp3 player, the Zen, have sued Apple for interface patent infringements. It's difficult to believe that the iPod wasn't the first; in fact, it was dismissed by the Slashdot crowd when it was first introduced in 2001.

Update Fri May 19 08:31:27 2006: Apple countersues Creative.

AppleStore is Down— MacBooks

Tue May 16 08:37:02 2006

As reported on #macosx, the AppleStore is down (has been down since 8AM). It's Tuesday. I predict MacBooks.

Introducing the superfast, blogging, podcasting, do-everything-out-of-the-box MacBook.

Update Tue May 16 08:39:57 2006: It's up! They come in black (blackbook) and white (whitebook). 13 in. screen with 64MB of shared video RAM with an integrated video chipset. If it's possible to be simultaneously overwhelmed and dissappointed, this is it. How long does the battery last?

Update Tue May 16 12:51:22 2006: "MacBook offers up to 6 hours of battery life. (2.5 hours of DVD playback, 3.5 hours with wireless turned on.)"

MacBook Fallout

Tue May 16 12:45:36 2006

The major complaint on #macosx seem to be about the Intel GPU that shares 64MB of main memory; the second-most popular complaint is about the weight. It was also noted the the Blackbook comes with a white remote, not a black one. Also, people don't think that paying $200 for the black one (with a slightly bigger drive) is worth it.

RAW Images

Wed May 17 00:00:57 2006

Dave Shea has a great post that very simply, using 3 different images of the same sccene, shows the benefits of shooting RAW images.

Photoshop Elements 4 Review

Wed May 17 08:34:56 2006

Giles Turnbull reviews Photoshop Elements 4; the workflow is rather different than iPhoto with high marks being given to Adobe Bridge image management application.

Ooooh! Look! Shiny Object!

Glossy displays have effectively taken over the entire laptop market. Why are they so popular? ... People are idiots.
—John Siracusa

Wed May 17 21:06:59 2006

John Siracusa makes his point about the glossy MacBook screens.

Checkpoint Charlie

Wed May 17 21:20:20 2006

According to this article on Ars Technica, the latest Security Update wreaks havoc on MBPs, especially if you have Photoshop installed. All the more reason why OS X should checkpoint itself so you can back-out of patches that render your very expensive Mac, completely impotent.

Either Steve Jobs doesn't have a MBP (no problems reported with iMacs) with Photoshop installed or he hasn't installed Security Update 2006-003 on it, or he's waited for some unsuspecting, and trusting guinea pig to test it out for him and ensure it works, before he installs it.

Fear And Desire

Thu May 18 00:00:29 2006

After the MacBook release, yesterday morning, a few people kept wishing they could afford to buy one or sell their "obsolete" Powerbook and buy a Macbook; I kept responding with, "the cause of all suffering is desire", Sideshow Bob quoting the Buddah.

In Starwars: Episode I, there is a scene where the young Anakin is brought before the Jedi council where he denies he is afraid. Then Yoda warns him the one of the most famous quotes, "Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering."

So it seems that both fear and desire lead to suffering. If one considers fear and desire to be complete opposites, isn't it strange that they both lead to the same result?

Klosed Kernel

Thu May 18 08:39:04 2006

Tom Yager is reporting that the OS X kernel source code for Intel x86 is not available for download from Apple's developer site. The reason that Apple gives is that the state of the Darwin kernel is "in flux".

MacBook Count on #macosx

Thu May 18 13:34:44 2006

Five people on #macosx have ordered MacBooks (and have publically declared it); the average wait for the order to arrive is 5 days. This higher-than-usual acceptance of new Apple hardware than previous seen, is likely due to the affordable price of a Macbook (just over $1000). I expect the price to drop by $100 in a few months.

Update Thu May 18 17:32:15 2006: The count drops down to four as one order is canceled for the reason that for an additional $600 he could have had a MacBook Pro without waiting 2 weeks for the order to arrive.

NYC AppleStore

Thu May 18 13:49:56 2006

The New York City Applestore opens this Friday. Flickr gallery of the cube being unveiled at night. It will be open 24/7; 2500 free T-shirts given away at the opening and one MacBook every hour for a few days.

Update Thu May 18 14:29:00 2006: A preview from inside the store.

Update Mon May 22 11:51:28 2006: Apple's gallery.

Man Handler

Fri May 19 08:33:15 2006

Similar to xman, Man Handler is an AppleScript based front-end for reading Unix Manual pages writting by the mysterious Nitewing. Giving it a try.


Fri May 19 09:25:18 2006

I (accidently) coined a new word today— "spewcifically"— “when you say "it fails", what happens spewcifically?” in reference to a command working on a command-line but not when run from cron.

I'm on a roll today— “DoubleCommand: when your fingers can't "think different".”

MacBook Reviews and Benchmarks

Fri May 19 13:34:11 2006

The ever-reliable Macworld had the first review of a MacBook (with OS X installed and another review with Windows/XP installed) and benchmarks of the new Macbook.

Update Fri May 19 14:22:04 2006: Ars Technica's review of the MacBook with benchmarks.

MacBook Dissection

Fri May 19 13:44:02 2006

Kodawarisan takes apart a MacBook.

Idle Temperature

Fri May 19 16:21:39 2006

According to the Ars Technica usage review, "63°C is the idle temperature of the 2.0GHz MacBook in my possession." My Powerbook idles at 46°C. If you buy a MacBook you better be prepared to pay higher utility bills bout for the higher consumption of the MacBook and for the air-conditioning to keep your lap cool.

Intel Stock

Fri May 19 16:53:42 2006

In other news, Intel stock drops to a three-year low because of gains by AMD:

Intel has traditionally had a massive advantage in market share, with 83.13% compared to AMD's 15.14% of the U.S. retail market for notebook PCs in April 2005, not counting sales by Dell or Wal-Mart Stores, according to a survey of national retailers by Current Analysis.

By April 2006, that lead had nearly vanished, with Intel at 54.71% compared to AMD's 44.66%.

The MacBook Pro is NOT a Laptop

For prolonged use, place your portable computer on a flat stable surface. Do not leave the bottom of the computer in contact with your lap or any surface of your body for extended periods. Prolonged contact with your body could cause discomfort and potentially a burn.
—MacBook User's Guide

Sat May 20 08:40:52 2006

From a May 19 posting by <Voodoo Murphy> on the Apple discussion forum:

I have a Macbook Pro, and my wife and I drove home from Disneyland yesterday. She had the MPB on her lap and was watching a movie from the hard drive. It got hot enough to actualy burn her leg.

I call Applecare this morning, they facilitate a repair by sending me a box... and John (the Specialist) actually said "In the manual, it says that the device shouldn't be placed on your lap." Granted the guy apologized for it getting hot, or as he said "overly warm", but holy crap! To actually try and blame us for this unit getting hot enough to HURT someone is ridiculous.

I've got all the usual problems. The whine, the heat, the random rebooting..... but it's my fault that I didn't read the manual.

They say you should always use it on a flat surface, well I have an Antec cooler with 2 fans and it still runs hotter than ****.

I'll keep you guys updated.

Thermal Paste

Sun May 21 12:17:53 2006

Jonathan sent me email noting that the hot Macbooks are a result of production errors in applying the thermal paste to chips on the MacBook. Several sites have documented this and shown that applying the thermal paste properly and in conservative amounts, bring the temperatures down appreciably.

Update: see below.

2001 Themed Icons

Sun May 21 12:55:31 2006

A set of icons using the movie, "2001: A Space Odyssey" as a theme.

Finder/Terminal Interactions

Sun May 21 20:46:34 2006

If you've ever wanted tighter interaction between the Terminal and the Finder, there is a collection of scripts that makes this possible.

iPod/iTunes Usage Stats

Mon May 22 08:30:41 2006

Paul Lamere has an analysis of iPod and iTunes usage statistics based on information uploaded to the iTunes Registry. The most interesting statistic is that 64% of the songs on the surveyed iPods are never played and that only 23% of songs see active play. He concludes that as simple as the iPod/iTunes interface is, it doesn't allow a person to manage a huge library of songs.

Victoria Day

Mon May 22 08:41:52 2006

Today is a holiday— Victoria Day, named after Queen Victoria; also called the "May Two-Four Weekend", named after a case of 24 beers. Traditionally, Canadians go north to their cottages and open them in preparation for the coming summer; boats are taken out of storage and launched, and there are fireworks in the evening (and accompanying fires and injuries because the idiots have been drinking all day).

Another Macbook Review

Mon May 22 10:02:05 2006

Another new Macbook review, by John Waller, with lots of (flash) photos. Interesting that he has had so many problems with the latch on his Macs. (I remember that the hook latch of the early (Rev A) PowerBooks had problems and that the lids would pop-open.

New Favicon

Mon May 22 10:06:50 2006

I made a new favicon using the image of the Powerbook on the main page of my Journal. I converted the GIF to a PNG in Photoshop Elements and used png2ico under Windows to generate the ICO file.

Mac OS X Internals

Mon May 22 10:23:58 2006

Amit Singh's book, Mac OS X Internals will be released August 11th (the last day of the 2006 Apple WWDC). Looking forward to the book.

Alternate Reality

Mon May 22 10:38:34 2006

What if Apple didn't switch to Intel but instead waited for the PA Semi successor to the G5, running at 2GHz and consuming 5-13 watts?

Is Apple still committed to Intel Only? Is there no hope of it ever shipping PPC-based computers? Will the Woz buy an Intel-based computer?

Flash Drives

Tue May 23 08:50:16 2006

Samsung's new computers have flash drives only; the first model will ship with a 32GB disk. There is also a new hybrid drive where the flash (a few hundred MB) caches disk accesses, allowing the mechanical drive to be shut-down to conserve power. The drive also has the ability to store the boot data into flash thus reducing boot-up times (currently only Vista supports this). My essay, “Time”, was about instant-on computers.

Google Video Ads

Tue May 23 21:16:59 2006

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google Video Ads are coming soon to a browser near you. Google makes money when you click on the ad to watch it.

100 Dollar Laptop Protype

Wed May 24 11:54:24 2006

One of the first prototypes of the $100 laptop was shown. Please try not to get too upset at the HP craptop with the Apple stickers.

USB Turntable

Wed May 24 12:04:34 2006

The Register has a review of a turntable that connects to the PC via USB and that can be used to digitize your entire collection of precious vinyl records. It ships with Audacity, the free multi-platform audio waveform editor. Very nice.


Thu May 25 00:00:21 2006

JWZ has released Xscreensaver the X11 collection of graphics hacks and now includes a port to OS X 10.4 (bleah!). Over the holiday I also found ports of four classic Windows screensavers: Fieldlines (meh), Helios, Hyperspace (nice, but cpu intensive) and Skyrocket (WOAHHHH! Very cool! Even has sound effects; it looks better with the ground switched-off)— and these screensavers work with 10.3.9.


Thu May 25 00:00:28 2006

Panther logs system stuff in /var/log/system.log and console gets logged in /Library/Logs/Console/, there's a directory for each user.


Thu May 25 08:32:01 2006

A movie on YouTube shows the LCD screen of a Powerbook being tapped to change desktops. The Register linked to the code to do it— it's a python script interfaced to Amit Singh's amstracker with an AppleScript to send a key-sequence to SystemEvents to change desktops or whatever else you may want to script. There seems to be some dispute whether the virtual desktop manager he's using is Desktop Manager or Virtue. I suspect it's Virtue as the site is down at the moment.


Thu May 25 09:11:18 2006

I modified the script to tell the Finder to display a dialog as I don't have the Desktop Manager and it worked! Here are the steps:

  1. Create a folder called "Bump"
  2. Get amstracker and store it in the "Bump" folder
  3. Download and store it in the "Bump" folder (call it, of course)
  4. Open a Terminal and cd Bump
  5. type: ./amstracker -u 0.1 -s | python
  6. Hide the Terminal with Cmd-H
  7. Tap the side of the LCD
  8. Dialog with "Bump!" should appear


Thu May 25 21:44:55 2006

The reason I didn't mention the Nike gizmo that counts your steps and wirelessly beams them to an iPod Nano, is that all I ever own is one pair of Gortex-lined Vasque Sundowner hiking boots— all-season, all-weather, all-terrain. I am a nerd; I do not jog. I walk a total of 80 minutes per day during my commute to work.

What will be interesting to see is how people hack these gizmos and get them to do more nerdish things.

The Thermal Paste Question

Fri May 26 08:50:06 2006

MacDevCenter has a detailed look at the MacBook's thermal paste application and the affect on temperature. The conclusion: 2°C difference in temperature between a Macbook with factory-applied paste and a "fixed" MacBook.

Mac Pro

Sat May 27 00:14:08 2006

Mac Pro represents "the big guns". These machines are not toys, they are for Real Work™— editing films that you and I pay to see in the theaters, editing photographs that you and I drool over in magazines and mastering CDs that I will unlikely hear, as my tastes in music are extremely narrow and refined (currently enjoying music from the Elizabethan era: Heart's Ease pieces by various composers performed by Fretwork, Pièces de viole du troisième livre by Marin Marais and performed by Jordi Savall et. al and Rosa: Elizabethan Lute Music performed by Christopher Wilson). And yes, late on Friday nights, to escape the stress, the Pros will play a few rounds of Quake Wars at tremendously high, and enviable frame-rates rendering near-perfect worlds.

Neom's Macbook Blog

Sun May 28 12:45:16 2006

Neom, a fellow-Canadian, got his Macbook delivered and began blogging about it. From his photos it looks like the screen is bright enough to be readable in direct sunlight.

Screen Polarizer

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
— John 1:5, KJV

Sun May 28 20:49:10 2006

The Register has a review of 3M's Laptop Privacy filter that makes the screen readable only by those sitting directly in front of it and completely opaque to those shoulder surfing.

There are many people using their company-supplied craptops on the train commute (and I have only seen 3 Macs in the entire year I have owned my Mac) and typically people are actually doing something work related; the odd time, someone is playing Solitaire.

Update Mon Jun 05 16:05:49 2006: anonymized #macosx conversation:

<tom> anyone used the 3m privacy filter on their macbook?
<alice> I haven't even heard of it.									[14:35]
<harry> you have to look directly at the screen to see anything
<tom> so I can view pr0n on the bus or plane, geeze.
<tom> 'course I should probably invest in headphones too.
<alice> lol															[14:36]

MacBook EFI

Mon May 29 09:47:08 2006

The EFI on Intel Macs is not accessible unless you install the Sample Implementation from Intel; Nak shows the way.

Blind Search

Prithee, go in thyself; seek thine own ease.
—King Lear, III.iv, William Shakespeare

Tue May 30 17:47:46 2006

How do you find something quickly if you can only hear what you're searching for? In other words, is there an optimal way of finding a particular song on an iPod Shuffle, given that the device doesn't have a display? Peter Norvig has an answer, or rather, the algorithm, "using randomness to solve a deterministic problem faster than you could without randomness".


Wed May 31 18:04:56 2006

In 1995, Douglas Coupland's book “Microserfs”, anticipated today's, "technologically sophisticated but socially alienated", society. His new book, “JPod” is an enjoyable re-hash of his 1995 book according to David Itzkoff's creatively written review in last Sunday's NYT Book Review. The review begins:

The unavoidable destiny of any franchise is to disappoint its dedicated customer. A long-running televsion cartoon satire on the nuclear family devolves into repetition and self-parody... A beloved sci-fi film epic is revealed as a promotional vehicle for crude merchandise and empty pop philosopy.

Just brilliant writing.

Dr. Who

Wed May 31 18:10:49 2006

I stumbled upon the BBC's Dr. Who website where I found many ebooks (I have read the first chapter of “The Well-Mannered War” by Gareth Roberts, video clips, photo-novels and other things to keep the fan entertained for hours.

My favourite Doctor is the Tom Baker incarnation and my favourite assistant is Romana, played by Lalla Ward— she was both pretty and intelligent enough to match wits with the Doctor, unlike most of his other companions which only existed as the writer's device to ask a question so the Doctor could explain the plot to the audience. I have to also admit a fondness for the Jon Pertwee incarnation of the flamboyant Doctor and his cute assistant, Jo, and their adventures with UNIT and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

luis fernandes / G4 PowerBook Journal, Part 14 / Last Modified: Sat Jun 03 10:40:12 2006