Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • The Big Honking Sliding Puzzle Project continues, and today Carol and I are mostly stuffing boxes downstairs. Mover guys coming Tuesday. The carpeting is coming out on Wednesday, and the plastic tarps will go up. Thursday they drill holes in the slab and start pumping gooey stuff underneath to stabilize the soil and raise the slab to where it originally was. We are shopping for new carpeting, and will begin choosing new paint colors tomorrow morning. The lower level will not be back in livable shape until mid-January, but when it is it will be much improved.
  • I do not do walled gardens. I absolutely do not do walled gardens. This gentleman from Harvard Law School has done a good job capturing my unease with vendor-controlled hardware and especially software.
  • Reader Nick DeSmith sends a pointer to a wonderful site on numeric-readout vacuum tubes of various species, from humdrum nixies to one I had never heard of before: A Compactron-based micro-CRT with ten guns. I consider Nixies at least to be steampunk-possible, since there’s no physics involved that wasn’t understood in 1900. Not sure they’ve been used in the steampunk canon so far; if they have, let me know.
  • There were giant beavers during the Pleistocene. There have been talking beavers on TV in the past, though they weren’t all that huge. Now there’s an angry giant beaver. Don’t piss one off unless you’re wearing the right overalls.
  • I’ll meet your giant, jeans-eating beaver and raise you a giant cricket so big it eats carrots! (Thanks to Esther Schindler for the link.)
  • If giant beavers or giant crickets aren’t your passion, how about miniature forests of old-growth moss that may be thousands of years old? Such are found in Antactica, and by spotting nuclear test fallout debris along the length of their stalks, we can see how slowly they grow. Think, slow. (Thanks to Frank Glover for the link.)
  • I keep tools and even a wi-fi bridge node in ammo cans. Why not wine?
  • The many faces of Superman. (Thanks once again to Frank Glover for the link.)
  • This has some steampunk resonance, but (oldster that I am; how old were you in 1966?) I keep hearing an endless loop in the back of my head: “Batfan! Batfan! Batfan, Batfan, Batfan. Na na na na na na na na na na Batfan!”


  1. Roy Harvey says:

    Many years ago my nephew was dressing as Superman for Halloween. He insisted his hair should be blue.

  2. Bob H says:

    On the ‘walled garden’ piece you quoted from Harvard Law School, my comment to the author, based on personal experience:

    You comment “Netscape could still be prebundled with Windows, as far as Microsoft was concerned”, then go on to slam Apple over blocking browsers other than Safari.

    Having been at Netscape in ’97-’98, the problem we faced was that, in fact, Microsoft was *not* allowing OEMs to prebundle Navigator with Windows. Comments by Sony and Compaq staff during the trial indicated that they’d been told, by Microsoft, that their OEM licenses would be voided should they do so. After Netscape’s collapse, when AOL had acquired the browser and portal portions of the software base (the server-side code went to Sun), they indicated they intended to create an cross-platform AOL client based around the acquired code. Microsoft again threatened to disallow bundling should this occur, the project was scuttled, and it was not until the open-sourced Firefox project based off the legacy-Netscape code that IE had serious competition.

  3. Aki says:

    “Zittrain in Technology Review: The personal computer is dead”

    I’ll give you my 20″+ widescreen monitor when you take it from my cold, dead hands.

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