My company-issue Dell Latitude conked out on Friday leaving me mostly high and dry all weekend long. Got a lot of reading done anyway. I mention it because in the past I've had mostly positive things to say about this computer so I wanted to keep the record complete. I think it was the motherboard that gave up. Mike the ass-kicking IT fellow popped my hard drive into another company-issue Dell and I was good to go. I worked that machine pretty hard, I'll admit, but I'll also point out that the HP Satellite laptop I got in 2001 (Christmas-issue) was worked equally hard, if not harder and still works even though the screen hinges have gone floppy and the space bar doesn't register most of the time. The computing parts have held up.
The weird thing about putting the old brain in a new computer body is how much it feels like some kind of mad scientist zombie movie. It's still my machine; even the icons on the desktop are in the same places. But the keys all have letters instead of warn spots. The smooth patches where the heel of my hands rest and that scuff on the touch pad where my thumbnail had passed a million times is healed. I'm not complaining, of course, but I do feel a little like the suspicious but clueless victim right before his brains are eaten by the familiar but ultimately sinister zombie.
Speaking of name brands of tech stuff, I've been pretty excited to follow the rumors of release dates for the Palm Pre phone. Early reviews are good (it made a lot of noise at CES this year) and as a Sprint customer (actually the second number on my wife's account) an iPhone is not in my likely future. In case you pay attention to such things, I currently have a Treo 700wx. I read the Web on it for about an hour every day and use the Google maps app and a lot of texting. The bigger screen is what I'm most looking forward to.
Speaking of bigger screened gadgets, did you see the big screen Kindle? Doesn't look quite as portable but it definitely looks nicer to read and it even looks a little more plausible as a replacement for the shaggy cornered tabloids down at the end of the bar where I get my coffee every morning.
300 Ritz/Wolf Camera stores closing across the US. 30-60% off everything. I never manage to take advantage of stuff like this but maybe you can.
WikiPaths is a hyperlink scavenger hunt game played on Wikipedia.org in which players try to find the shortest path between two, seemingly unconnected articles. Like the Kevin Bacon game only Wikipedia entries.
Have you ever seen those surveys that show a certain (significant) percentage of people getting all of their news from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert? I'm always skeptical about those polls. How could anyone feel confident reverse-engineering the news from a joke about the news. Today I realized I had done something similar with the Jonas Brothers. The only thing I know about that band is from the South Park episode making fun of their chastity rings and general boy-band-ness. Then, reading this bit of rage about the not-very-subtle sexuality of Disney's "tween" targeting I shared the writer's shock that the Jonas Brothers really do spray their fans down with phallic foam. The exaggeration coefficient I was using to reverse engineer the joke into reality made the whole phenomenon more normal than it really is.
This is probably all over the place online for a quick easy search but today I ran across what appears to be the complete "Surely you're joking Mr. Feynman" for free.
When you think about it, The Apples is a pretty cool name for a band - particularly if they're Israeli so you can reasonably conclude the name refers to the downfall of humanity. I'd never heard of them until I clicked this fun cover.
Grooveshark has only a few of their songs.