Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • I know, I know, I’ve been quiet for a week, but there’s been a lot to do away from the keyboard, much of which borders on sock-drawer sorting. Focusing on only one project for most of a year almost guarantees that things will get messy away from the target of your focus. So I’ve been picking up downstairs in my workshop and sorting my office closet. No socks, but lots of loose fileables sitting in a pile, one with a yellowed corner that did not come with age. (So much for cacheing data on the floor.)
  • We have a rattlin’ good sunspot creeping across old Sol’s face, and whaddaya know: I spun the dial across 15 meters this afternoon and heard voices. ‘Course, my fire alarm still does not like the Icom 736, so all I could do was listen, but it was nice to think of this overlong solar minimum as something other than eternal.
  • If you haven’t already, upgrade to Firefox 3.5.6. There are a number of newly discovered exploits in earlier releases, including a remote code execution item that looks pretty ugly.
  • I also upgraded to Thunderbird 3.0 earlier today, and so far am most pleased. They’ve added a profile-wide message search feature that (considering the appalling number of emails I’ve accumulated and carried forward since 1995) will be extremely useful here.
  • Speaking of ugly, when a film with the budget and ambitions of The Avatar can only do aliens who look like ugly humans, you have to wonder what CGI is for. This is the problem I’ve always had with Trek: A splurch of latex on some extra’s forhead does not an alien make. I’ll see it anyway, but I call failure-of-imagination based on the trailers.
  • InfoWorld posted a very nice review of the major virtualization products, including VMWare Workstation 7, Parallels Desktop 4, and Sun’s VirtualBox 3.1. VirtualBox is free and installed by default in Ubuntu 9.10, but you have to jump through some inexplicable hoops to get it to recognize USB devices. I haven’t upgraded to VMWare Workstation 7 yet, but Workstation 6 is cheap and does everything I need it to do.
  • People argue a little about how useful certain time-honored degunking techniques are (especially disk defragmentation, and double especially defragmentation for SSDs) but the biggest single win in my own experience is degunking the Windows Registry. There are a number of apps to do this, but the best on the free side is doubtless CCleaner. (Its original name was Crap Cleaner, which gets points for truth-in-advertising.) Freeware, and if you’re ever faced with a Registry that’s been gathering crap for eight or ten years, you’ll appreciate what it can do.
  • Two people wrote to me (a little breathlessly) to tell me that Neal Adams is drawing the next several PvP strips, and I had to admit that I had no idea whatsoever who he was. I flashed on Nick Adams, whom I saw on a few episodes of The Rebel back in 1961…but a comics guy I’m just not, even if I do follow PvP. (In case you’re as clueless as I, here’s a bio on Neal Adams.)

One Comment

  1. Carrington Dixon says:

    Movie aliens are still in the Edgar Rice Burroughs stage: bad guys are monsters and good guys are humans with (maybe) heavy makeup. Perhaps, we shall live to see an E. E. Smith stage where even the good guy aliens look like something from another world. Dare we even hope for a Stanley Weinbaum stage where they act like creatures from another world? Never mind a {insert name of favorite living stf writer here} stage?

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