Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • Intel’s announced the Compute Stick, a complete $150 Win8.1 machine in the format of a fat thumb drive. Looks like the plug is HDMI, though, and the device gets power from an uncommitted USB port. I could see this melting seamlessly into a big-screen TV (or any monitor with an HDMI input) and giving you something that indeed approaches (as Michael Abrash said probably 20 years ago about 21″ CRT monitors) Windows on your bedroom wall. (Thanks to Eric Bowersox for the link.)
  • It’ll be awhile before this becomes available, but a brand-new antibiotic has been isolated from bacteria that live in dirt. I’m doubly enthuisastic because this may encourage researchers to look harder at bacteriophages, which live in dirt and worse.
  • If you haven’t heard of Smart Pascal, it’s an interesting concept and worth a look: A commercial Object Pascal compiler that generates HTML5 apps. It’s basically a way of writing sophisticated Javascript apps without having to wash your mental hands and rinse your brain out every twenty minutes. To me that would be worth $42/year.
  • From the Words I Didn’t Know Until Yesterday Department: A selfie stick (also known as a narcissistick) is a camera holder that allows you to take pictures of yourself or groups by parking your camera on it and holding it up in the air so that the camera is facing you. It’s usually just a rod with a handle, sometimes telescoping. Many support bluetooth to trigger the camera, though the details remain obscure to me.
  • Beware the Facebook Logic Fallacy: One member of Group X is evil, therefore all members of Group X are evil. Much of my objection to Facebook memes is that this is a very common template. Attack memes must die. Not sure how to get there from here.
  • The percentage of ice cover on the Great Lakes is now 18.7%. Keep an eye on this graphic, as I think our current winter stands to be an…interesting…season from a Great Lakes ice perspective.
  • In general I’m no fan of government regulation, but here’s an excellent argument that both broadband providers and airlines could use a little consumer-oriented regulation.
  • Related to the above: Air travel is a lousy business (rather like health insurance, in fact) and merciless price competition has led to creative fee-hiding and generally charging extra for a travel experience that hasn’t been made deliberately miserable.
  • From the Department of the Painfully Obvious: There are many benefits in finding a spouse who is also your best friend. I guess it’s nice to have some research behind it, but damn, is this really news to anyone? (Maybe New Yorkers.)


  1. TRX says:

    I have a client with two PCs on every desk; one hooked to the outside network for internet access, one to the inside network to the business server running VNC to legacy businessware. Complete air gap between the two systems; separate routers, wiring, everything.

    They’re running four times as many computers as their air conditioning was sized for, and looking at a substantial price to upgrade things. They insist on Windows, which made most of the other alternate micro-PC solutions unacceptable. But these… when I finish costing the proposal, I expect they’ll sprain something whipping out the purchase order.

    Sometimes you don’t need a whole lot of power on a desktop. They’re only using PCs as HTML and console terminals.

  2. Erbo says:

    And there will be a Linux version of the Intel Compute Stick for $89. Shades of Jim Strickland’s “Penguin Ice”…

  3. Just in case anybody’s paying attention: Great Lakes ice cover rose from 18.7% to 30% in…five days. This is going to be an interesting winter.

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