Back in the lab

You ever look back at something you did months ago and wonder, "why did I do that?"

I did that this evening with the controller that I’ve got in my lab.

I’m starting work on another hologram for a professor at A&M and needed to do a bit of maintenance on the table. Strange, but every time a new hologram request from her comes in, there’s something that needs doing in the lab before I can get started.

This time the HEPA fan wasn’t shutting off during an exposure and the table light sensor wasn’t working.

It turned out with the HEPA fan that somehow I’d wired up the relay connection with an additional 5v going to it. I have no idea why I did that. Fortunately it just caused the controller chip on that port to heat up (and not work) but didn’t blow anything. Odd that it was working for a while and then just stopped.

The light sensor just turned out to be a loose connection at the junction between the table wiring and the controller wiring. Gremlins.

I also found a problem with the holocontroller software not always shutting off the fan and fixed that.

Now I just need to straighten up the lab, prep some film, paint the subject and shoot. All tomorrow morning.

Art Rage 2.5

Alright, just to get it right out in the open, the Ambient Design guys rock.

Besides being a nice bunch of people (actually I’ve only corresponded with Matt Fox-Wilson and I’m sure he doesn’t remember but they’re all great guys, I’m sure) and I’ve probably been swayed somewhat because they’ve got a cat as a mascot but if you haven’t tried Art Rage with either a Tablet PC or a Wacom compatible digitizer, you’re missing out.

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Dance for me, little atom!

Do they wear dancing costumes?

Reuters reports that NIST has developed what may someday become a building block for quantum computing.

Suspended in laser light, thousands of atoms pair up and dance, each moving in perfect counterpoint to its partner. Porto’s team isolated pairs of atoms in a lattice of light formed by six laser beams all fixed on one point, suspending the atoms in a uniform pattern. "There is no container. It is levitated by the laser beams."

Continue reading “Dance for me, little atom!”

Windows Vista, go back where you came from!

Last week there was a rumor that a beta of Vista SP1 was going to be released any day now.

This week the rumor (supposedly iron-clad) is that SP1 won’t be out for more than a year.

Most people who’ve tried Vista would likely say that SP1 needs to come out this year.

Now there’s another tech writer who’s coming out of the closet and planning on switching back to XP.

Vista is taking body blows by ZDNet‘s Marc Orchant — I’ve been on a bit of a blog and RSS hiatus the past couple of days and have been working my way through tales of destruction and distress (the 365 outage, not Lindsay Lohan’s latest episode), news, and views. In my reading, there’s a recurring theme that beats louder all the time. People are just not loving Vista.

I’ll grant you that my four-day test of Vista shouldn’t be taken as gospel.  That was enough for me to know that there weren’t any features in Vista that I could live without and UAC I couldn’t live with.  Add to that that Vista is slower and device support isn’t as good and it was easy for me to see that XP was where I needed to stay.

Other people are finally coming around.

Alright Amazon

So Amazon’s had a grocery service for a while now and even though I took a quick peek at it I haven’t ordered anything, is anyone out there using it on a regular basis?

Don’t know what I’m talking about?

Go here…

The Cathedral in Cartagena de Indias

CathedralPhoto_thumb[3]

This is the picture that I mentioned in my previous podcast. Susan took it around sunset and once we got home played around with it in Picture Publisher (yep, she still uses it).

Larger versions and a close-up after the jump.

Continue reading “The Cathedral in Cartagena de Indias”

iTunes is evil?

That was a user name I saw recently in a public forum.  I suspect they chose that name because iTunes has a thick layer of DRM covering it from end to end and that particular person is rabidly against DRM.  I know how they feel.  Granted, there are a few areas in iTunes where you don’t have to accept a pair of handcuffs just to listen to some good music but those are still rare.

Thing is, iTunes isn’t evil.

If Apple hadn’t started sleeping with the record companies and accepted the DRM handcuffs we still wouldn’t be able to buy single tracks of music at $1 a pop.  The record companies are still too attached to the "album" as a measure of performance.  They still don’t get that buyers have never wanted a disk that’s 50% crap just to get the few good songs.  If people had been able to consistently buy singles back in the 60s they would have.

Apple’s no saint here but at least they were able to force something basically good down the throats of the record companies.

So iTunes/Apple is a bit of a slut but not evil.

I hate you all. Every one of you.

No, not YOU. These people:

Tracy Hooten

Warner Crocker

Eric Mack

OK, I don’t really hate them. I’m jealous. With the exception of Tracy they get to play with new gadgets all the time and the latest making-me-drool gadget isn’t the iPhone but the Lenovo X61. As a real-world user there are definitely times when I wish the rate of change in the tech world wasn’t so high.

A few months ago I bought a Fujitsu T4215 and while I’m very happy with it, it’s hard not to read about other fancier machines and not think about a trade-in.

Trouble is, I’d be doing that every six months.

*sigh*

OneNote tag summary page useful?

Does anyone find this feature useful?

I’ve tried using it and all I end up with is an unconnected list of tagged sentences. All context is removed with no links back to the source material.

Consider the following from my own notebook:

image

those two items are from very different sections but even if you were familiar with the subject matter you’d find it difficult to find the source material.

ON can create hyperlinks to any page so why doesn’t it do this automatically on summary pages?

Am I missing something?

My first podcast!

And probably my last just because I don’t have that much I feel a need to cast about and it’s a bit of a pain to do.

Oh well, playing with the new microphone because I felt like it.

Listen here.