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Odd Lots

  • Well, I got the Mallo-Ware bowls I bought from eBay, and they were in better shape than they looked in the listing, and Dash has clearly busted his last bowl. Which leads to a thought: I used to prowl garage sales for entertainment, halfheartedly hoping to find something useful. (I once got a completely functional early-50s tube tester for fifty cents.) Now I just decide what I consider useful and go to eBay or Craigslist.
  • Adobe’s Flexnet copy protection system evidently writes to the MBR, and thus can make a system unbootable if it gets in a wrestling match with something else that also wants to be there. Flexnet, in fact, looks disturbingly like a rootkit from here. If I wasn’t sanguine about moving up to Adobe CS before, I sure as hell don’t intend to now.
  • Courtesy of Esther Schindler (who apparently was the editor who commissioned it) I give you a crackerjack tutorial by Tom Bunzel on how to do pivot tables in Excel.
  • From the Words-I-Didn’t-Know-Until-Yesterday Department: A luthier is one who makes or repairs stringed instruments. From “lute,” which is one of the most ancient instruments in its class.
  • Now that Apple has anointed the slate category, the usual suspects are coming up with their own surprisingly interesting takes on the concept. This is my favorite so far, and brings up the interesting question: Why not include both FM radio and TV tuners? If these things are to be travel toys, that’s a must-have. (I also want real GPS, not just cell-tower interpolation.)
  • Here’s a list of 100 resolutions (102, actually) that anyone aspiring to be an Evil Comic Book Overlord should make. Resolution #2 is particularly important: “My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.”
  • My daily spam count felll significantly (about 30%) a few days ago, and I wonder if this had anything to do with it.
  • Somebody told me about this years ago and I didn’t pay attention. I have one of these in a drawer. Will attempt when time allows.
  • I used to call Hoag’s Object the “Here’s Looking At You, Kid” galaxy. I’m amazed that so few people have ever heard of it, or seen photos. You no longer have an excuse.
  • If the chemical elements played rock music (or if rock bands were set up like the Metal Men) this would be their periodic table.


  1. Erbo says:

    I was disappointed that the periodic table you posted wasn’t this Periodic Table of Metal:

  2. Erbo says:

    And how about a piece of fanfic in which the villain has not only read the Evil Overlord List, he probably wrote it?

    Written by AI researcher and rationalist philosopher Eliezer Yudkowsky, the story posits that Harry Potter’s Aunt Petunia, instead of marrying that loser Vernon Dursley, married a college professor…and the two of them raised the orphan Harry to be a rationalist. Now Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres is off to Hogwarts…there to apply the lessons of Science to the world of magic, and maybe wind up dominating both worlds. But Voldemort is still on the loose…and a hell of a lot smarter than he was in the original books. (You would not believe what he made into a horcrux…) It’s fun reading, and very instructive besides.

  3. David Stafford says:

    > Why not include both FM radio and TV tuners?
    > If these things are to be travel toys, that’s a
    > must-have.

    I don’t know that that’s true. If you’re travelling you’ll be out of range of the local stations that matter to you. You might as well get your media over the internet (which is where every arrow is pointing these days.) The internet doesn’t care much about distance.

    This isn’t directly related to your post but you may find it interesting: The RIAA is pushing for a law that would require every cell phone include an FM radio receiver as a standard feature. Here’s a link:

    1. I saw that thing on the RIAA, which is a separate issue, and I oppose requiring FM in cellphones via regulation. The RIAA wants it because they get money from FM licensing. What has largely replaced radio listening is the playing of MP3s, which may or may not have been paid for, hence their position.

      Local stations don’t matter to me anymore, because for the most part radio stations are interchangeable. (“Canned” formats predominate nationally, and ownership of stations is hugely concentrated in a handful of national firms.) Ditto TV; there were local shows worth watching fifty years ago, but I don’t think that’s true anymore. The time slots may vary, but you can get “The Big Bang Theory” in nearly all TV markets.

      We’ve found in traveling between here and Chicago that Internet connectivity is a dicey business, and certainly isn’t available in the car. (Yes, a tablet would likely have cell-based Internet, but even that’s not a sure thing, if our experience with cellphones in the wilds of western Nebraska is any guide.)

      The electronics is now jelly-bean logic and doesn’t cost much, so there’s little reason not to “toss it in the pot.”

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