Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • After posting my June 13, 2008 entry, I did locate an unofficial list of apps to be included in the Ubuntu Netbook Remix distro: Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin, Rhythmbox, FBReader (for ebooks), Liferea (RSS feed reader), F-Spot (photo viewer) and OpenOffice. No serious surprises here, though I wonder how well a mobile CPU like Atom will run OpenOffice. I guess we'll find out later this year.
  • Ken Taaffe spotted my lament that my rotatable parts tower was no longer available, and pointed out that it can be had from a different vendor. It's more expensive than it was in 1990 (though what isn't?) but it looks like precisely the same item. $439. I paid about $350 for it in 1990. See a photo in my shop tips article.
  • Years ago, I half-seriously suggested that somebody should create a Bottom 60 radio format, and only play songs that charted but never made it into the Top 40. Well, Shawn Nagy's SuperOldies is pretty much the item, though it uses the Cash Box charts rather than Billboard. It's Internet Radio and you can listen with Winamp and other Internet Radio players. I've had it on for most of an hour and have yet to hear a song that I recognize. Is that good? Well, how bored with Clear Channel are you?
  • I'm intrigued by a recent run of articles about tweaking certain simple algae and bacteria to produce Diesel fuel as a metabolic waste product. Here's one. And another, both from the London Times. Assuming that this works reliably and doesn't have a downside, we may all eventually have a refrigerator-sized thingie in the basement or garage into which we dump trash, lawn clippings, or other organic waste and from which we extract vehicle fuel, drip by drip. It doesn't matter if it only produces a gallon a day; for a smallish car with a good Diesel engine, that's plenty. The other (and in my view, far greater) advantage is that it's completely decentralized: If our vehicle fuel comes from a hundred million little boxes (rather than five or six monster refineries) terrorists and hurricanes will have a bitch of a time messing up the transportation industry.
  • Aki Peltonen sent me a link to a large forum post by Java expert and author Bruce Eckel, about why he can't abide Vista and won't use it. Read the comments, too. Lots of interesting ideas and suggestions here.
  • Michael Covington posted a note abut the Ebox 2300, a very small, fanless $200 PC-compatible computer suitable for dedicated/embedded applications running Linux or Windows CE. One little but brilliant touch is making the machine's mounting holes the same as a VESA-compatible monitor stand, meaning that you can mount the computer on the back of the monitor using the same holes. I envision a desktop weather station or something like that. Oh, for time to tinker…
  • Pete Albrecht sent me a pointer to Virtual Moon Atlas, an extremely rich resource for Lunar geography that belongs in every SF writer's toolkit. 422 MB download, but hey, dare ya to find all this stuff on one Web site, or anywhere else.
  • Finally, here's the reason that “woe is me” is actually correct English, and always has been, right back to the days of Chaucer or even Beowulf. I had heard that, but never had the presence of mind to chase down the grammar. It's about the dative case, and all these years we thought we were just repeating an old error. Woe is we.

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