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If he needs a third eye, he just grows it.


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  Monday, April 25, 2005

The other day, I started having some problems with my ThinkPad -- the disk seemed to be freezing, Windows would hang, etc. The thing just wouldn't stay working long. I started copying stuff over to a box on the network (prioritizing so I would make sure to have the most important stuff saved). But it was pretty gruelling -- the laptop wouldn't stay working long enough for me to get all the files off. But I did over a couple days get most everything. My suspicion was/is that it was a drive problem. This has been a troublesome ThinkPad for drives; I'm on the third drive in this machine in less than four years.

But I really got to wondering if it were the drive. It's in a state now where it boots, but when I log on, it just sort of hangs before it reaches the desktop. Then today I remembered that I had burned a copy of Knoppix Linux -- which boots and runs from a CD. So I booted the laptop with this CD, and it's working just fine -- all afternoon I've been finishing up copying stuff to the network drive, just to make sure I have everything. And I haven't had one problem. So my suspicion is a corrupted Windows instead of a bad drive. So tomorrow I'm going to do a fresh install of Windows on the machine, and probably wipe the drive while I'm at it.

Bu if I didn't need to be running Windows on this laptop, I'd stay with this Knoppix. It's very nicely done, very attractive, very easy to use. I haven't used a graphic Linux in a long time, and I fell in love with this one. I have another machine I've been thinking of bring up, and now I'm pretty sure I'll put Knoppix on it. In any case, I'm very glad I had this Knoppix CD around.

8:13:34 PM    comment []

Marcia Muller

Today's Los Angeles Times pays tribute, in a lengthy profile, to MWA Grandmaster Marcia Muller, who created the first female private eye, Sharon McCone, blazing a trail that Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky and others have followed with great success.

"McCone's development is kind of the history of where women were from the '70s to the '80s, where we were still fumbling our ways into some of these roles," says Paretsky, whose Chicago private detective V.I. Warshawski debuted in 1982. "The year I published my first book was the first year the Chicago police force let women be part of the regular force, as opposed to matrons. It's kind of hard to believe it's only been 20 years and everybody takes [female police] so much for granted."

It's likely, critics say, that modern female hard-boiled detectives would have entered fiction without Muller, though probably a few years later. "What we were looking for in our culture were models for how women could best be not only strong emotionally, but more independent and alone — like Raymond Chandler's concept of man defining himself," said Jerrilyn Farmer, who teaches mystery writing through the UCLA Extension and is the author of seven Los Angeles-based mysteries featuring caterer Madeline Bean.

Muller got there first, an arrival she ascribes to luck: She found a willing publisher, though it took her four more years to sell her second book. And while Muller has been successful, with about 3.5 million books in print, her readership pales next to that of Grafton, author of 17 Millhone novels, the last four of which have nearly matched Muller's career sales, according to estimates by Publishers Weekly.

Grafton, though, credits Muller with helping make her own success possible.

"She paved the way for the rest of us," Grafton says. "She was doing what had not been done. I know there are antecedents in terms of other women doing mystery fiction years before, but Sharon McCone recast the part. She sort of brought us into the 20th century."

(Via A Writer's Life.)

3:12:20 PM    comment []

Hubble Space Telescope Turns 15

Launched 15 years ago today, the Hubble Space Telescope has racked up an impressive array of discoveries and snapshots of our universe.

(Via National Geographic News.)

3:07:02 PM    comment []

Philip Morrison

Editor's note: Noted physicist Philip Morrison died on 22 April 2005. Details to follow.

(Via NASA Watch.)

I read his book reviews in Scientific American for years. There's an obituary at the SETI Institute site.

1:56:32 PM    comment []

Conversations with Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen is busy. His new album, Devils & Dust will be produced using new dual-disc technology, and he's about to hit the road on a solo tour. The rock legend performs "Jesus Was an Only Son" -- a preview for two conversations Renee Montagne has with Springsteen.

(Via NPR's Morning Edition.)

12:32:26 PM    comment []

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