A Neutral Point of View on SOPA

I hear that today is SOPA Resistance Day. I'll confess that I don't know much about SOPA. Normally, I'd go to Wikipedia for a neutral point of view (NPOV) on something like this. However, in furtherance of its policy of a Neutral Point of View (which is a very encyclopedic thing, one has to agree), they've decided to protest SOPA by blacking out their entire site. The only thing Wikipedia now does is to provide a box where you can enter your zip code to get a list of congressional representatives to contact to express their (er, excuse me, your) point of view on SOPA.

Yet Another Encounter With Google's Dark Side

Like Microsoft, I have long regarded Google as a necessary evil.  An encounter with Google yesterday has reinforced my belief that they're "evil" - despite their famous slogan to the contrary.  (Methinks the Google lady doth protest too much...)  I now question, though, exactly how "necessary" Google is.

PowerWalkers (TM): Saving the Environment One Step at a Time

Readers of my previous blog entry "What Light Through Yonder Flashlight Shakes?" have asked for details about the science project that caused my son and I to look into shake flashlights in the first place. Here goes.

Papa's Got a Brand New Brag

I bought a new toy the other day, a netbook.  It's an "ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1005HA-PU17-BU Royal Blue".  Although I recently confessed to being a late adopter of flat-screen TVs (actually, I still don't have one), I think I can claim to be a bit of an early adopter of netbooks since I don't know anybody who has one.  Here are my initial impressions.

To Early-Adopt or Not to Early-Adopt: That is the Question

Fred Allen once said "Imitation is the sincerest form of television."  With 3D becoming increasingly mainstream in movie theatres, television inevitably must follow.

The technology is here.  Flatscreen TVs long have had oversampled frame rates, LCD shutter glasses are a simpler technology than the LCD television you might watch through them, and Blu-Ray players hold oodles of data.  In fact, I'm surprised 3D TV didn't come out sooner.

What Light Through Yonder Flashlight Shakes?

I recently helped a lad put together a school science project that involved the idea of using "shake flashlights" as a power source.  The idea seemed like a good one when he first proposed it.  But when we began to implement it we immediately ran into a quite unexpected problem: it's impossible to find shake flashlights in retail stores.

Of all the Gall

I ran into Gall's Law recently, which states: "A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. The inverse proposition also appears to be true: A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be made to work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system."

The Old Defrag' Just Ain't What It Used to Be

 I decided to try to speed up my Vista laptop in place of - or at least before - upgrading it to Windows 7.  That would allow me a fairer comparison to the speedup after a clean install of Windows 7.  And that led me down the Yellow Brick Road of the Vista defragger.

There Oughta Be a Law Against Monopolies

I spent part of the day today trying to figure out whether I want to "upgrade" from Vista to Windows 7.  I run Vista on a Toshiba laptop and I've had a lot of problems with Vista: it's really a complete piece of garbage. 

Impressions of Matlab, Part 1

I've recently been learning Matlab, and I thought it might be fun to record some of my impressions of it as I go. First, a little background. I've been programming for many years, and know a variety of programming languages, including FORTRAN, C, C++, Perl, Python, and a few assembly languages. My preferred languages are Python and C++, depending on whether an application can be interpreted or must be compiled.

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