Saturday, February 10
A selection of headlines:
The brain scanner that can read people's intentions
Mice cured of autism
Wizardry at Harvard: Physicists move light
Quantum computer to debut next week
Engine on a chip - the dream of the personal turbine
Ocean planets on the brink of detection
Still no flying cars.
Thursday, February 08
I can't get to my blog. As far as I can tell, the rest of the world can. After a certain amount of digging, it seems that some of the IP addresses on Akane and Nabiki are no longer reachable from Pixy Central, but what tests I can run remotely indicate that the problem is close to my end and nothing to do with the servers.
But what the problem actually is I have no idea. So I'm going to reset the modem.
Nope, that's not it. Bah.
Okay, I did a ping test from the modem itself, and now everything works. Double bah with extra cream.
Sunday, February 04
Steven Den Beste doesn't like to recommend Haibane Renmei as the first show for an anime newcomer to watch, in large part because it's too good. Once you've seen it (he says) it's all downhill from there. I don't entirely agree, but the point is well taken.
And I think I just did that to myself in another field.
I just finished listening to it today (except for lecture 10, which is AWOL), and I have to say that I would cheerfully pay for this series if they had it on CD or something. It's that good. Now, part of that is that it's a subject I've always been interested in but didn't think to take when I had the chance, but a lot of it is the presentation. Jeremy Wolfe is a brilliant lecturer, funny and engaging and able to clearly get the point across. You lose a little with the audio lectures because you're not there, but they are nonetheless superb.
I've tried listening to 9.01 Neuroscience and Behaviour, but it's just not the same.
So if you're at all interested in how your mind works, in what makes you you, in a riotous Freudian analysis of Hansel and Gretel and Snow White, I can't recommend this lecture course too strongly. Download it, evict some songs from your iPod, and listen to it on the way to work. Then you can come back here in a few weeks and thank me.
Really. It's that good.
Caught the first two episodes of The Dresden Files today. If you haven't heard of this, and you like urban fantasy, you should check out author Jim Butcher's site and then take a look in your favourite bookstore.
Anyway, the show: It's good. It's not a direct adaptation of the books, at least not so far; there are hints that some later episodes will be closer to the source material.* Also, there are changes: Harry's apartment is aboveground; the Blue Beetle has been replaced by a Korean War era Jeep (which is fine; the reason Harry drives the Beetle in the books works just as well for a Jeep, and a Jeep would make some of the scenes in the books work better); Murphy is brunette; and Bob has gone all Quantum Leap on us.**
None of these present a major problem, and Paul Blackthorne makes a great Harry Dresden. He's not quite how I pictured Harry... or wasn't, until I saw him playing the part. Valerie Cruz isn't Murphy, but I think she'll make an acceptable not-Murphy. Terrence Man isn't quite Bob either, but given the changes that they needed to make to Bob for TV, I think he'll do fine. Conrad Coates as Morgan hasn't shown up yet, though it's a good sign that they list him as a major character.
Overall, a strong thumbs up from me. SciFi have put the whole first episode online so you can take a look.
** You'll know what I mean when you see the first episode. You'll say "Who the heck is that?!" That's Bob. "Oh... He's gone all Quantum Leap on us!" It works okay though, and book-style Bob would have been tricky to bring across to TV.
Saturday, February 03
There's something screwed up with my Windows box. It won't reboot. Most of the time I don't want it to reboot, but when I need it to do so it won't.
Why? Well, it seems that the boot sector is getting corrupted or something. I say "or something", because if I run a
fixmbr and a
chkdsk in that order, it will boot. If I only run one of those, generally it won't reboot. If I run
chkdsk and then
fixmbr, it generally won't reboot either.
What I'm not seeing is (a) any file corruption, (b) any viruses or malware, or (c) any system or application crashes.
This is pretty much how the machine died last September: It was working just fine, then I rebooted to complete an update for iTunes, and it never came back. Only in that case the disk was verifiably toast - it barfed on chkdsk and locked up the computer. This time, the disk is fine, the files are fine, it just won't boot.
So every time something (thanks a bunch, Microsoft!) decides that it has to reboot Windows, it takes me an hour-and-a-half of stuffing around with the Windows Recovery Console to get it back.
I need a new computer.
Friday, February 02
Just waiting for Ryoga and Mousse to come online actually, then the hardware preparations will be complete. And all that will be left to do is... everything else.
There is an Australian manga distributor. Naturally, it's Madman Entertainment. Interestingly, they seem to be sublicensing from Singapore, at least in the case of Midori no Hibi, of which I just picked up four volumes to distract myself from the eternal evilness of real-estate agents.
It would be quicker, and on recent experience, less painful.
Thursday, February 01
I seem to be accumulating servers here. I have three dedicated to mu.nu - Akane and Nabiki, currently in production, and now Kasumi as well; two dedicated to mee.nu - Ukyo and Shampoo; and now two for file serving and off-site backups - Ranma and Ryoga. 12 CPUs, 16GB of memory, 4.5TB of disk, and 13TB of monthly bandwidth.
Update: Added Mousse. 8 servers, 13 CPUs, 17GB of memory, 5TB of disk, 14.5TB bandwidth.
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