06 April 2003

Some observations on my new Mac G4 12" laptop and home wireless...: Am finally getting some quality time (that means, time-wastin' time) with my Mac. Things I like -- its looks, the size, the wonderful feel of the keyboard. The screen. I don't have enough use of OS X yet to compare with XP. I downloaded Safari though and it is MUCH better than the IE version that comes with the Mac. First of all, it is much, much faster. More importantly, it renders pages the way the most advanced PC version of IE does on Windows XP. Font sizes, page layouts, small bits of design integrity all come out the right way in Safari. I noticed this immediately on the Irish Times website, Ireland.com, which looks REALLY UGLY in IE for the Mac. It returned to normal in Safari. So did this website. Why should Mac users have to tolerate poorer performance from IE? Safari's now my browser of choice.

Like many of the Mac forums have noted, this little Mac runs incredibly hot, though. You could not hold it on your laptop when you've had it on for a while, especially not while running a CD or DVD -- even the disks themselves also get hot (is that a bad thing?). I haven't found it uncomfortable to the wrists though.

Do all metal-case laptops get so hot underneath? This is my first foray into using one, so I don;t have a point of comparison. I know Dell intends to move towards all metal leptops as well (according to a Dell insider). Is this a good idea, or are future generations under threat because the heat given off by machines that everyone will insist on cradling on their laps anyway will cause sperm-production problems for men (boy, those poor little buggers used to dislike too-tight Y-fronts. Wait'll they get a (literal) feel of a G4 laptop...).

As for the wireless network: I am realising that having one in the house engenders a total mind shift. I am used to having to GO TO the internet to use it. I have to go sit at a desk in front of my big Dell desktop in a single room in the house. Now, a critical change in perspective: the internet COMES TO me. And it comes to me wherever I want it -- sitting on a chair in the sun at my front door, sitting at the dining table, standing at the counter in the kitchen. This means I can use it in new ways. I am only beginning to realise what some of them are, and they remain pretty basic and low-key uses for now. Because wireless is not yet widespread, we have not yet  found many of the ways in which we will undoubtedly utilise this mobility and computing ubiquity in the future. But this will change, of this I am sure, and I know I am getting a glimpse of the future. I haven't had this sense of amazement and latent possibility since the first time I saw Mosaic running -- wow, graphics! On the internet! We all know what happened next.

1:00:37 PM  #   your two cents []
Squid, Griggs Why are we all (OK, maybe it's just me) fascinated by the idea of giant squid? I love these kinds of stories. Do go to the BBC link embedded in the story -- it's absolutely fascinating: That's one colossal squid there, Captain!. "A BBC News story relates that a New Zealand marine biologist has discovered the mostly intact body of a colossal squid, Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni --- that's bigger than a mere giant squid --- in the seas off Antarctica. Its discoverer believes that a full grown animal would be more than twenty yards long." [kuro5hin.org]
12:32:55 PM  #   your two cents []
Groucho Marx. "I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." [Quotes of the Day]
12:30:03 PM  #   your two cents []
For when you REALLY have nothing else to do: Floppy-disc-a-gami Starship Enterprise. Step-by-step instructions for turning a floppy disc into a model of the Starship Enterprise. [Boing Boing Blog]
12:29:01 PM  #   your two cents []
Heh!! From megnut: On the impossibility of owning.... ...too many pairs of shoes. It has been said by some that I own enough shoes, to which I respond, are there enough stars in the sky?

Via email, a response
The sky is vast, but our closet is not.

Via email, a response to the response
You live in NY now...that's what your stove is for.

12:27:26 PM  #   your two cents []
Mae West. "You're never too old to become younger." [Quotes of the Day]
12:26:01 PM  #   your two cents []
Technology Marketing: The Awful Customer. Michael Schrage: "Virtually all the work I now do with the government is on a expenses-reimbursed, pro bono basis. Patriotism and public service aside, it is cheaper and easier to work for the government for free than to attempt to live profitably as a Beltway Bandit. Washington is indeed a harsh mistress." [Tomalak's Realm]
12:25:14 PM  #   your two cents []

Another 'friendly fire' incident kills at least 18 and injures at least 45, including American soldiers [update: new reports say the dead are all Kurdish, one a BBC translator], and seriously injures a senior Kurdish political figure. A US bomber dropped a bomb on the group of Americans and Kurds this morning. The BBC's John Simpson was with the group and injured, with a perforated eardrum and shrapnel is his leg, after the bomb landed lest than 12 feet away. According to the BBC report:

[Simpson] described a "scene from hell", with all the vehicles in the convoy on fire and bodies - American and Kurdish - lying around.

In his radio report he also describes parts of bodies everywhere and bodies on fire. I know the US argues that in the heat of battle such mistakes happen, but some of these incidents have happened when pilots and gunners should have had the time to notice something like large British flags painted on the vehicles under attack, as British victims of a recent attack said bitterly. The US certainly seems to have a particular problem with trigger-happiness, which has got to be of concern to senior brass. The MSN report closes with this sobering observation:

Thirty five of the 146 Americans killed in action during the first Gulf War were killed by their own comrades and American soldiers killed more British than the Iraqis did in that conflict.

Those figures, showing that about a fourth of the American deaths in the first Gulf War were caused by Americans firing on Americans, are not widely publicised, needless to say, nor are those British figures.

12:19:05 PM  #   your two cents []