Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

March 7th, 2008:

Odd Lots

  • Do not fail to read Bruce Schneier's latest short item in Wired, which is his simple demolition of David Brin's peculiar “transparent society” concept, which I first read of in his so-so novel Earth (1990) and thought was BS even then. Having no secrets doesn't help where the differential of power between two parties is high. This seems pretty obvious to me; I do not understand why Brin gets points for this “no secrets” notion of his.
  • Some of the worst horror films (as well as SF films and some westerns) can be streamed without charge here. Where else can you find “Attack of the Giant Leeches” or “Killer Shrews,” both of which I recall seeing on Channel 7 at 4 PM on Thursdays back 1965-ish. Even at age 12 I could roll my eyes and say, “Those aren't giant shrews. Those are dogs in bad shrew costumes.” But hey, that's what makes a B-movie a B-movie, right?
  • It may be clever, but can a gun this small really be deadly? (That is, assuming you don't aim it up your left nostril…)
  • This is freaking amazing: Images of a landslide on Mars, taken while it's happening. (Thanks to Pete Albrecht for the link.)
  • Jim Strickland pointed out a pneumatic tennis-ball based antenna launcher. We always used slingshots back in the day, and I have a Greenlee Cablecaster that was designed for dragging CAT5 over suspended ceilings via fishline, but something about the ball shooter is very appealing.
  • Glover Wright is bringing back Science Fiction Quarterly as an online pub, and it looks promising. I recall reading a few ancient issues of the original SF Quarterly pulps from the late 50s and was pleased, though the world and I were, um, at least thirty years younger then. The first issue will be out in March.
  • Gripe of the week: The keycap letters on my expensive Avant Stellar keyboard are decals, and they are already wearing off. It's only been a year. What's this thing going to look like after another ten?
  • Speaking of keyboards: I need a wireless keyboard for use while sitting on the couch and running photos or video clips on our big TV. The SX270 is under the TV in plain view of the couch. The keyboard needs to have an integral pointing device. (I prefer things like IBM's TrackPoint nipple to the ubiquitous scratchpad.) Anybody got any suggestions?