Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • You’re getting two Odd Lotses in a row for a reason. Stay tuned–I’ll try and explain tomorrow, if I don’t run out of Aleve.
  • Bruce Eckel is returning his Kindle Fire because the damned thing will not render .mobi files. C’mon, Amazon. I mean, come on. (Thanks to Mike Bentley for the link.)
  • Xoom 2, where are you? Whoops, it’s going to be called the Droid XYboard to distance itself from the Xoom brand, which was done in because Somebody Didn’t Want It To Have a Card Slot. (Don’t know who. Have suspicions.)
  • Charlie Stross makes a good case that DRM on ebooks (as required by the Big Six) is a stick handed to Amazon with which to pummel the Big Six. Read the piece, follow the links (make sure you know what a “monopsony” is) and then read the comments.
  • Schumann resonance waves can apparently be detected from space. This is surprising, as my earlier readings suggested that they only exist by virtue of a sort of immaterial waveguide formed by layers in the Earth’s atmosphere–the same waveguide effect that allows hams like me to bounce signals around the world.
  • Femtotech? I postulated a “femtoscope” in my novel The Cunning Blood, but it was used to plot quantum pair creation and did not rely on exotic matter. I’m not sure such things are possible, or could be done in any environment where we could live or even work through proxies. But as with a lot of things (especially LENR) I would hugely enjoy being wrong.
  • I torrented down the brand-new Linux Mint 12 Lisa the other day, and like its predecessor it will not detect the video hardware correctly on my 2009-era Core 2 Quad with NVidia 630i integrated graphics. Somewhat surprisingly, it will install on an older Dell GX620 USFF with (as best I can tell) no video problems. Not sure if I like GNOME 3, though. MATE, a GNOME 2 fork, has promise.
  • I may have made this point once before, but hard steampunk authors should have the Lindsay Books catalog on hand, or at least have the site bookmarked. These are books explaining how to actually do steampunk technology, often in the form of reprints of original Victorian-era reference texts. Thermite, brass, steam engines, and loads of other goodies just as great-great grandpa learned them. (Thanks to Bruce Baker for the noodge.)
  • One of my German friends told me that plagiarism in German doctoral theses is so widespread that it’s spawned a crowdsourced mechanism for detecting it. That’s the abbreviated English-language version; if you have a reasonable amount of German, go to the richer, fuller main page.
  • Very spooky time-lapse video of a little-known physical phenomenon. (Thanks to Pete Albrecht for the link.)
  • I originally thought this was a hoax. On the other hand, I have a Tim Bird and I love it. It’s hard to believe that such things actually work as well as they do.
  • Sometimes you wear what you eat–or at least a reasonable facsimile.

3 Comments

  1. Jeff: Well, there’s a shocker. Bruce Eckel gets it wrong. I can read MOBI files on my Kindle Fire just fine. Also from the same blog post of his, I can watch movies uploaded to my Kindle Fire just fine. In fact I’m looking forward to my next plan flight this weekend when I won’t have to use my iPod Touch to do just those two things.

    Cheers, Julian

    1. That’s good to know–and corroborates my initial impression that Bruce’s report was too bad to be true. I’m used to seeing big corporations do dumb things–Sony, anyone?–but this seemed over the line even for a firm that big. I’m still reading ebooks on my Thinkpad X41 Convertible and desperately want a device that will handle that and more. It’s the “more” that I don’t think I can reliably expect from Amazon. There are too many gizmos sucking at the electron trough (and the attention trough) already. An ebook reader needs to do a lot more than just read ebooks.

  2. Aki says:

    “…plagiarism in German… ”

    You already know this, but anybody can be a computer scientist nowadays. ;-)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCIgen

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