Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

November 21st, 2008:

Odd Lots

  • My editor at John Wiley called and indicated that they want me (finally!) to rewrite Assembly Language Step By Step for a new edition in the spring of 2010. This will be a big job, since DOS will be jettisoned completely (and real mode relegated to a hisorical footnote) and a huge chunk of the book will have to be rewritten almost from scratch. More on this in coming days.
  • OEM Parts in Colorado Springs (our local surplus house) is moving to a new and larger building about 2 miles north of their current location on Palmer Park. I was there with Mike Sargent the other day and discovered that everthing was half price. Got a bunch of Compactron tubes, some NOS Miller coils, a dozen or so high-ohmage 1-W carbon resistors, and a roll of emery cloth for $22. The new address is 3029 N. Hancock. They weren't entirely sure when they new location would open. Phone first: 719-635-0771
  • PC Magazine is going “all digital.” That means they're dropping the print edition. The last printed issue will January 2009. I remember when that damned thing was an inch and a half thick. (Thanks to Pete Albrecht for the link.)
  • A wine to avoid: Schmitt-Sohne Relax Cool Red, which is a dornfelder so bad I drank one glass and dumped the rest. No wine has gotten that treatment since Three Thieves Zinfandel, and before that, Bully Hill's Sweet Walter, which still holds the prize as the worst single wine I have ever tried.
  • Mars is evidently not as dry as we thought: Glacier-sized water-ice glaciers (and not snowdrift-sized glaciers) have been reliably detected by way of the SHARAD radar system on the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter. Some of this stuff is half a mile thick, and you can do interesting things with such quantities of volatiles, water most of all. I recall an entry in my SF story ideas file from many years ago: Somebody has begun terraforming Mars—but nobody knows who.
  • While we're talking Mars, Pete Albrecht alerted me to the impending release of Christmas on Mars, a new film billed as “avant-garde SF,” which in my experience generally means “filmed in somebody's basement.” The major character is Major Syrtis. Nyuk-nyuk.
  • And while we're talking space, it's worth noting that the average American thinks that NASA gets 25% of the $2.7T federal budget. (!!!!) The truth is 0.58%.