Author Archives: brenthawthorne

Read the originals

The British Library has made available a number of very old books available in their original format, using Turning The Page software. It’s nice to see institutions following Google’s example and making actual scans of the books available. Much more interesting with these historical books to see how the books were originally published rather than just the text.

Who’s the toughest?

Some accidental experimentation has led me to the following observation: Black ants can stand at least 3 minutes minutes on high in a strong microwave oven.

Out of something in the neighborhood of 12 ants that came in on a kid’s bowl, not one dead ant was found after a 3 minute run in the microwave.

If ants could survive that long, I wonder how long the roach, as most likely to survive a nuclear holocaust, would last? Unfortunately my wife frowns on roaches in the kitchen.

So Vista is slow as a dog on a hot summer day…

In a quick post on InfoWorld, Tom Sullivan notes that XP is faster than Windows Server 2008 is faster than Vista. This as Microsoft makes a desperate attempt to woo us into reevaluating Vista, with a commercial noting that once people thought the world was flat. We no longer think the world is flat, but I still think Vista fell flat on its face and stayed there.

Bush reform has a rocky road

In speaking with several friends who actually watched the state of the union address, I was surprised at how much of Bush’s plan for Social Security reform was unclear.
The numbers being thrown out for the private investment account were varied, and no one was sure how this was supposed to help the Social Security crisis, nor really what was being proposed as a solution for it. None of the numbers I heard match the 2/3 of contributions reported by the AP (Yahoo! News – Republicans Question Social Security Plan). I really don’t understand how diverting 2/3 of in-bound SS funds is going to solve the looming crisis.
Apparently neither do the Republicans. AP quotes Rep. Mark Foley of Fl as saying “I’ve talked to some of my colleagues and they’re panic-stricken.” Hmm. Wonder why.
Reading the AP article on reactions from both Republicans and Democrats, I think this idea has got a steep road ahead of it. At the very least, they need to find some leadership with a clearer vision of how to put in long term fixes, not just sell something that sounds nice to yuppies.

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Go, Google, go!

Google adding major libraries to it’s database!
Google will be digitizing a number of major libraries and making them available on-line. That’s what I’m talking about!

The price of security

The price of airline flight security has taken a steep climb, and one that I’m pretty P.O.ed about.
Since the new TSA rules implemented from the Soviet airline explosions, you will now be subject to groping. And I don’t mean by a wand.
The new rules call for hand pat-downs not only of people setting off detectors, but also of 15%+ of other passengers selected by “visual inspection.”
And I’m not talking about having them check your armpits and leg. TSA checkers are now checking crotch, buttocks, and breasts. Women have been asked to remove their shirts in public view and are having their breast handled.
New York Times: Many Women Say Airport Pat-Downs Are a Humiliation
To add insult, there are not always female TSA available, and they are not necessarily told they can ask for one. There are also reports of typical bureaucratic retaliation for complaints.

So, take your wife for a vacation, and you start it out by watching her being sexually assaulted, in public, to start things off with a bang.

We have a winner!

This morning, Rutan’s group successfully sent their craft into the edges of space for the second time in less than two weeks, well ahead of the deadline required for 2 flights for the X-Prize. This is a huge step forward in proving the commercial feasibility of “tourist” flights into space. Congratulations guys!
CNN.com – SpaceShipOne captures X Prize – Oct 4, 2004