Category: Geek

I, for one, welcome our new extra-dimensional overlords!

So the Large Hadron Collider came online today, and has passed its first few tests without blowing up.  As a scientifically-minded individual, I’m amazed by the numbers of folks who are really, truly afraid that this device is going to somehow end the world.  I’m not even going to acknowledge any of these kooks with a link, but here’s a breakdown of their fears:

  • The LHC will spawn off a [microscopic] black hole that will consume the Earth.
  • It will create “strangelets” that will convert the Earth into a lump of dead, Strange matter.
  • It will somehow create a wormhole that could open extra-dimensional doors.  (sounds a bit like Half-Life!)
I must state for accuracy’s sake that each of these are – theoretically! – possible.  I might also state that it is theoretically possible that martians land on the National Mall in Washington DC tomorrow, or that our Sun will explode overnight… but the probability that any of these events will happen is so infinitessimally small that we would be foolish to let our irrational fears override our sensible explorations.

What WILL happen through operation of the LHC is an expansion of our understanding of elementary particles, quantum physics, space-time, special relativity, and the conditions in which our Universe was created.  We will further our species’ knowledge and capabilities.  The LHC will take us places that Einstein and Hawking could only dream about.  

However, just in case, I’m making a welcome banner for the brain-sucking, extra-dimensional beasties that might come through.  You can’t be too careful, you know?

Google launches a new open-source browser!

Well, isn’t this interesting? Google has decided to put the smackdown on Microsoft (and to a lesser extent to Firefox) by launching their own open-source browser, called Chrome

They even explain in an online comic-book why they’re doing this (to give back to the ‘net that made them, and to drive innovation – in short, to Not Be Evil), and how Chrome will be different…and better.

I’ll be downloading this today, and will post impressions later on.

To the moon! (and back again)

So it would seem that my almost seven year-old daughter Jessica is really enjoying Amateur Radio. I just joined a local club, and she’s been attending meetings and events with me. This serves a dual purpose: it eliminates the need for a babysitter, AND it allows me to expose her to my newly rediscovered hobby. This past Monday, she came with me to the West Chester Amateur Radio Association’s August meeting. Knowing that the best defense against a cranky kid is ACTIVITIES, I came loaded for bear. Jessica was carrying a backpack containing a couple of books, a Nintendo DS, gummy worms, the toy from her McDonald’s Happy Meal, and her MP3 player. She was amazingly good, quietly and contentedly sitting there through the entire 90 minute meeting. Afterwards, she wanted to go up to the club hamshack and “play some radio.”

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iPhone software v2.0 review & live notes

iPhone screen shotIt seems like any blog out there seeking tech creds is reviewing the iPhone 2.0 software that was released today.  Unlike most geeks, I didn’t jump in on the early “release” yesterday, waiting instead for software that wasn’t going to potentially screw up my phone or make it unstable. But, now that I have the official, Infinite Loop Drive-blessed, Jobs-approved release, I’ll be putting it through its paces, so expect my review this evening or tomorrow.

One snag on install – iTunes is having slight difficulty re-authorizing my phone through ITMS.  Updates as they become available.

UPDATE #1: I finally got everything installed & working – it DID take about 5 – 10 minutes of “Accessing iTunes Store” before the phone was completely installed.  Lots of people doing what I did…when I did it, I’d wager.  Apps are pretty cool…but some definitely need some polish.

UPDATE #2: So I’m standing behind my earlier statement regarding apps needing some polish.  Some apps (WeatherBug, for example) seem to hang for extended periods while they download data.  I’m forgiving about this on my Edge connection, but at least provide a modicum of notification to the user as to what’s going on. Also, I’m getting quite tired of having to authorize location services to every application each time I launch them.  Apple:  How about a preferences pane where I can explicitly authorize an application to use location services?  Monkey Ball is pretty darned addictive, and wickedly hard to boot!  I can’t really see giving this to my 6-year old daughter, for fear of her chucking my iPhone out the window.

Geeking out – Quote of the day

I went to the Dayton Hamvention on Saturday. It’s been YEARS since I last went. I’m setting a goal now to have my “Amateur Extra” license by December 31, 2008. That means I will buy an all-band radio at NEXT year’s Hamvention!

As of right now, I’m eyeing a Yaesu FT-897D radio.  This baby does almost all available bands, in all modes, is built for portability…and is under $1,000!

Today’s quote:

Wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. And radio operates exactly the same way. The only difference is that there is no cat. — Albert Einstein