14 July 2010

Year of the click beetle

It seems as though each year, a different kind of Texas wildlife undergoes a population explosion and decides to visit our house. We had the year of the woods roach. That was pretty unpleasant. The year of the junebugs wasn’t much better, because the dead ones got everywhere and looked disconcertingly like dry-roasted peanuts. There was the year of the snail invasion; that one mostly troubled our neighbors. Much cuter was the year of the eight squirrels, and the year of the geckos was nice too. ... Read more

9 July 2010

RPM fail

It’s 2010, and RPM still sucks. Transaction Check Error: file /usr/share/man/man1/xdelta.1.gz from install of xdelta-1.1.4-1.el5.rf.x86_64 conflicts with file from package xdelta-1.1.3-20.i386 file /usr/share/emacs/site-lisp/psvn.el from install of subversion-1.6.12-0.1.el5.rf.x86_64 conflicts with file from package subversion-1.4.2-4.el5_3.1.i386 # rpm -q subversion subversion-1.4.2-4.el5_3.1 subversion-1.4.2-4.el5_3.1 # rpm -e subversion-1.4.2-4.el5_3.1 error: "subversion-1.4.2-4.el5_3.1" specifies multiple packages Apparently i386 and x86_64 versions of packages count as different packages for the purposes of installing and removing, but are listed identically. ... Read more

5 July 2010

Extracts from “iPhone Four” by George Orwell

Winston woke up inside 101 Infinite Loop. “I told you,” said O’Brien, “that if we met again it would be here.” “Yes,” said Winston. O’Brien picked up an iPad from the table, and brushed his fingers over the screen. Without any warning except a slight movement of O’Brien’s hand, a wave of pain flooded Winston’s body. He grimaced, and tried to remain silent. After a few moments O’Brien moved his hand again, and the pain receded almost as quickly as it had come. He turned the iPad screen towards Winston. It showed a set of candy-colored sliders, and a selection of buttons, but Winston was unable to make out the text. “That was forty,” remarked O’Brien. “It goes up to one hundred. Please remember: if I need to inflict pain on you at any moment and to any degree I choose, there’s an app for that.” “Yes,” said Winston. ... Read more

23 June 2010

iPhone 4, SAR, and antenna contact

The iPhone 4 uses the metal edge of the phone as its antenna. This means that it’s pretty easy to make contact between the antenna and your hands. As you’ll know if you’ve ever grabbed the antenna of a TV or FM radio, the human body conducts, and can have a pretty big effect on reception. Users are now reporting that it’s true for the iPhone too. You can lose most of your signal strength by holding the phone the wrong way. ... Read more

23 June 2010

The computer for the rest of them

MacWorld has an article about the sense of disappointment and betrayal many of the old “Mac faithful” feel at Apple these days. I think it’s a bit brief and could use some expanding on. The Apple II was an open machine. Open architecture, anyone could program it. Steve Jobs wanted the Mac to be a closed appliance, but the hardware was quickly opened up as well as the software. The Mac really started to catch on once development environments like HyperCard allowed everyone to develop their own software, for free, and distribute it to anyone they liked. ... Read more

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