Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Sony PSP Browser

Observant readers will notice a few small style sheet changes to the site. I made the changes because I recently upgraded my PSP to get the new web browser software and this site looked crappy on its smallish screen.


I've only been playing with the PSP's browser for a few hours but already I've developed mixed emotions about it. On the good side, the screen looks nice and most pages work well. I've experience some out-of-memory problems on complex pages but not many. The wireless connectivity was seamless as well; it detected and worked with my home wireless network flawlessly. My biggest nit is with the virtual keyboard. It's really tough to hunt and peck names, passwords and other text with it. I understand the form factor and main function of the unit precludes a real keyboard but the virtual one on the PSP doesn't work as well as the one on my phone. For example, if your want to type two characters in a row, that are on the same key you can't just type one character and then wait for a second for the cursor to move, instead you have to manually move the cursor.


Playing with the PSP has taught me that I love the idea of a small form factor browser that I could keep on the coffee table to do quick lookups and web searches. Currently the PSP doesn't quite fill the bill but it's pretty close. I'd definitely spend a couple hundred dollars on a small wireless unit with a small keyboard and crisp screen.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Damien

Where did Damien go? Did someone forget to renew their domain?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Jarts

I've been pondering why I was so gung-ho on the dog leash issue this morning and I think I know the answer; Jarts. Some self-righteous do-gooders decided tossing metal tipped spikes for fun was a bad idea and got them banned. I loved my Jarts and the damn lawyers took them away. I want my Jarts back and this just wont do!

Annotations

I've not done much with annotation in either Java or C# but I like the idea of them. That said the following article by Robin Sharp, 'Annotation: Don't Mess with Java'
makes a good argument for why the suck. I particularity like the distinction Robin makes between decorative data and meta data. I still plan to use annotations but the article raises some good points to mull over.



via TSS

Safety

What is it about news stations that they feel they must warn us about every possible negative consequence of interacting with the world? Take for example this recent 'buyer beware' story about an 'unsafe dog leash'. The leash in question is of the kind that pays out a thin strand of strong cord as the dog pulls away but automatically pulls in the cord as the dog gets closer. In the accident being described the women lost a finger when it got caught in the cord as her dog started to chase something. It's certainly an unfortunate accident but is it really of special concern?



The fact is, any thin cord, whether it's a kite string, a fishing line or dog leash, when under sufficient strain can cut. Furthermore anytime you're attached to something with a mind of it's own, like a dog, you're in more danger than if you weren't. In this case the cord cut in a tragic fashion, but do we all want to give up using things with cords because they can cut you?



The article goes on to quote a lawyer who has sued the leash manufacturers previously for a similar accident. While the original case was settled out of court the lawyer maintains the leash manufacturer continuing culpability because they provide a warning on their packaging. If this is a legal trend I would hate to the manufacturer of sail boats with all their cords under stress from the wind or boat trailer winch manufacturers.



It's one thing for news stations to repeat basic safety mantras like don't skate on thin ice, or avoid the heat but when they get into issues as silly as this it doesn't server the public interest and only works to support the legal quagmire of safety related laws that further restrict our freedoms.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Bar at the Center of the Galaxy

This post isn't about a spin off of Douglas Adams' The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, it's about real science. According to an article on Space Flight Now, a recent galactic survey has revealed a prominent bar at the center of our galaxy. My only question is, do they make a good martini?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Man Food

In honor of the 2005 football season starting up I'm going to relate a gastronomic adventure I experienced at the last home game of 2004.





The scene is parking lot 11, a dirt field directly across the street from Gillete Stadium in Foxboro MA. Thousands of hardy football fans are braving the cold January wind to partake in the traditions and fellowship of the pre-game tailgate. Nestled in among the throng, huddled behind some tarps, my friends and I warm ourselves over a propane heater and prepare for the day.






Football games are always an excuse to eat and drink, but seeing as this was playoff football over indulgence was a mandate. And we had come prepared. On the menu:



Scallops wrapped in bacon.

Boneless leg of lamb, stuck with slices of garlic and marinated in a red wine and Dijon mustard with sprigs of rosemary and red onion.

Steak Tips marinated in soy, teriyaki, and Italian dressing

Itallian Sausage with onions and peppers.



And to wash it all down plenty of cold beer and Jagermeister.



I'll grant you, taken individually, there's not much adventure in this menu. These items can be found at many a Sunday barbeque. The gastronomic adventure started as we began to cook.



First onto the grill was our appetizer: scallops wrapped in bacon. I had suggested to Ricky, my brother in-law with whom I share my season tickets, that he pre-cook the scallops so we wouldn't have to deal with all the bacon grease on the grill. He had no interest in doing that so I suggested he at least bring a pan to catch the grease. (Previous experience with a grill fire and a burning propane tanks made me a tad cautious).



Once the scallops where done, onto the grill went the lamb. While the lamb was sizzling away, the pan containing the scallops passed around a few times as hungry men snatched the toothpick speared bites. Unfortunately, given the cold and the wind, the scallops started to get cold quickly. In a stroke of brilliance Ricky placed the tinfoil pan containing the scallops atop the propane heater in the center of the tent thus keeping the bacon fat and the scallops nice and warm.



We don't generally worry too much about plates and utensils at a game. We just cut up the food into finger size bites and pass a plate around. So when the lamb was ready that's what I did. People were pretty content after having devoured the scallops so the lamb lingered on the plate and started to get cold. Ricky, in a second stroke of brilliance (note: this is now more brilliance than Ricky displays in a typical year), sees the lamb getting cold and dumps the whole tray into the warm bacon grease at the center of our gathering.





If you've never eaten grilled marinated lamb chunks, dipped in bacon grease, with you fingers on a cold day in January and chased it down with a half frozen beer, you've not lived. This was MAN food. I can't imagine Mammoth hunters celebrating a recent kill or a band of Vikings sharing Mead and Venison after pillaging a village enjoyed their meals any more than us.






After the lamb, the teriyaki tips and the sausage, onions and peppers all entered the bacon bath. Heart risk aside, this was the best feast of the season and a fitting end to a great tailgating year.



Go Patriots in 2005!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Itchy Robot

I was wasting time, like I often do, trying to think of title for the CD Developingstorm would make it was a band. The name I came up with was Itchy Robot. Turns out someone's already used the name for a blog. Cool stuff.

Blogzilla

Another member of the Justice League has joined the blogsphere! This time it's Matthew Hatem, an Eclipse guru and all around nice guy. Welcome to the blogging world Matt.

Intelligent Falling

The Onion is spoofing the Evolution vs Intelligent Design debate with this very funny piece titled "Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory".


On a related topic, Richard Schwartz points to a interesting article from the NYT (Link) about the existence of the genes responsible for the creation of eyes, brains and central nervous system being found in Marine sponges. In his post Richard points out how the existence of these genes could be used to refute a common anti-evolution argument, irreducible complexity.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Watch Jewels

If you look at nice mechanical watches you will often see a phrase like 'Seventeen (17) Jewels' stamped on them. If you're curious about how those jewels are actually used in a watch I recommend the following page from Elgin watches (Elgin Link). It shows some great details on the design and functioning of a mechanical watch.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Bug kills bird

This is something I've never seen before - a praying mantis capturing and eating a humming bird. (Link)


This makes 1957's The Deadly Mantis a tad more scary.



(via Don)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Moon Orbit Vacation

Would you spend one hundred million dollars for a trip around the moon? Space Adventures is hoping someone will. Call me unadventurous but spending a couple of weeks in a can that's hurtling through space just to look out the window and see the moon and say you've been there isn't that appealing. Now if you got to land and walk around, that would be worth something.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

YAML

I love simple things and as such I'm a new fan of YAML. YAML is a simple data serialization format popular in scripting circles. I don't have anything to add to the discussion on the subject but I felt compelled to jump up and down and declare my love for it.
 
The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of Atheism