Snow

Looking out at the deck in the back, it looks like we got 16-18 inches here. What a day. I called in to work expecting the the “stay home” message but instead was told to come in. Well, I had a little trouble getting out of the parking space I was in, once I did, it was awful driving.

The metro was my destination, there was no way I was going to attempt 395 in weather like that. Got there with no real incident, but then I hesitated. I called in again to make sure that I was needed but didn’t get an answer. So I waited a bit and tried calling again, still no answer. I figured they were actually busy so I got on the train. When I got off the train at Pentagon City, I saw one of the guys I work with on the platform. Tony told me that they were closing the metro so I turned around and got back on the train.

I figured that if I got back to the Springfield metro station, I could get home. In a worse case scenario I could walk it. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but I was sure I could do it if I had to. What I didn’t anticipate was WMATA announcing that the train I was on was no longer going to go to Springfield, but to Huntington instead. The Springfield spur had been closed, thanks for riding metro!

I got off at King street figuring I could catch a bus. No, the busses were no longer running. Er, maybe a cab? I looked out and I knew that was hopeless too. Just then I saw a couple more work folks. Bryan and Helen were on the same train, and Helen’s husband was coming to pick her up. Would I like a ride? Oh yes…

The ride back was rather exciting. It turns out the best winter accessory you can have in your car are several more people. The extra weight helps the traction and they come in handy for pushing too… There were cars all over the place, and the roads were a total mess. They dropped me off in front of my favorite eating shopping center on Backlick and kept going. On roads like that, momentum is everything.

The snow was knee deep by the time I got out of the car. Keep in mind that walking along a regular sidewalk causes me to make numerous balance checks. Walking in the snow was a real chore, it’s a miracle that I didn’t fall over.

I ended up sweeping the neighbor’s steps and porch when I got back. It seems as though the guy that helped me dig my car out didn’t take the shovel I borrowed back to the owner like he said he would. SIGH. I have spent most of the rest of the time in bed, under the covers. I’m wiped out. Hopefully the main roads will be clear tomorrow so that I can take the bus over to the train station. The one good thing about all of this is that my car is in the metro garage, I won’t have to dig it out again! I do need to figure out where I’m going to put it though, there aren’t going to be any parking spaces around here for a little while. Maybe the park and ride lot will be plowed soon….

Google wave and the future

One thing that using wave made me think about is Google’s new Operating system called Chrome. It is still in the development phase, but we already know the basic idea behind it. The way that Google sees it, most people tend to do most stuff on the internet, so why have stuff on the computer at all? Why not just have all of your data and applications on the web?

A wild idea right? Well, not really. Many people already use webmail instead of a mail program on the computer. Google has already shown how useful productivity apps like word processors and spreadsheets can be online through Google office. How many of you use an online photo site like Flicker or Facebook to store your pictures? Banking, streaming music, shopping, watching videos and TV shows, even data storage via cloud servers are now all done online. The Chrome OS is essentially a browser that allows you to have very fast access to everything on the net. The OS itself will actually be at Google, not on the computer really, so viruses and worms won’t be able to affect the computer. Security is all taken care of online, there won’t be any reason to try to gain access to the computer because there essentially won’t be anything on it.

In theory, your computer should be as fast as your internet connection. It’s an exciting concept, and I think it will appeal to a lot of people that consume content (as oppose to making things like music, video, and other media) and don’t want to have to deal with the messiness of backing up data and security issues.

Using Google Wave gave me just an inkling of the potential of doing stuff without an OS on the computer. It will allow you to work in ways that we are just now starting to dream of. Something like wave has the potential to merge word processing, email, wiki creation, and IM on one tab of your browser. Applications will no longer be programs you run on your machine but simply links along the side of your screen. Now that I have FIOS, I can see the potential of online apps. Honestly, I am having trouble imagining anything that I do on a computer that couldn’t be done totally online. Well, eventually, right now I can’t do what I want online because there aren’t equivalents for everything I do online yet. There’s no reason they couldn’t be though…

Chrome won’t be for everyone, not until everyone can get unlimited access to fast internet, but it is an exciting new choice that should be coming in the near future. I can see my next laptop being one running Chrome. I’ll have a big rig for doing my audio, photo, and video stuff on, but for around the house and normal stuff, Chrome will probably be all I need. These are exciting times…

Google wave

I got a google wave invite several days ago in my inbox. I let it sit there until my brother called up last night and wanted to mess with it. It’s a very interesting program.

At first, I thought it was just another instant messaging program (IM). You can use it like that, but I think it’s a bit cumbersome as compared to other IM clients. One twist Google has put on things is that you can edit the other person’s text, and you can both see that happen in real time. Hmmmm…. maybe it is more than an IM client.

Wave also has a word processing capability. It’s limited, but perfectly capable for normal stuff. So imagine this, you can type up a document and share it with someone else, or a whole group. They can then add to it, edit it, append it, etc. It’s an ideal tool for any collaborative project, for brainstroming if nothing else.

Unlike an IM client, you can leave what you’ve done up and then come back to it later to see what the others have added. So Wave is kind of like a cross between an IM client and email, but everyone you have added to the wave can see the edits in real time so it’s also like a really responsive Wiki application too.

There are all sorts of different content you can put in as well. Here’s a wave I’ve made up with a youtube video embedded in it.

screen-capture-2.png

It’s just as easy to put in Google maps. There are other gadgets out there for Wave, but I haven’t had a chance to mess with them just yet. One of the ones the Google team used that is interesting allows you to put the wave in your blog. That allows all of the same functionality of the wave, the interaction, the editing, etc. in a blog post! As developers work on this, the functionality will continue to expand.

So Google wave is a word processor, IM client, wiki maker, collaborative tool, and email all rolled into one thing. It takes some getting used to in order to take full advantage of it. I can’t say I’m there just yet. I’m still stuck in the either it’s an email OR an IM session mode. I do think that with more use, I’ll get into the rhythm of using it. It’s still early in the game for Wave, but I see big things ahead for it. We just need more gadgets for it, a little smoother operation, and most importantly, a critical mass of people using it. Watch out for Google, they have some big things coming down the pike!

TV on my mac update

Everything is still going well. I had been getting annoyed over the jagginess I was getting while watching hockey on my 2006 macbook. I figured that the integrated graphics just weren’t up to decoding the HD stream on the fly.

I fiddled around a bit tonight and found a solution. It turns out that the jagginess only occurred at certain window sizes in the viewer. Well, at most sizes really. I’m assuming that at certain image sizes there is less interpolation going on and therefore less processing by my wimpy graphics chipset. Once I found the sweet spot, the image quality was quite a bit better and the game was much more enjoyable There is still a fair amount of smearing on the action, but I’ll forgive my computer that issue. I’m assuming that once I go to a new computer, with a real graphics card, there will be no more problems with the TV stream.

Climategate

Wow… all I can say is, wow. For those of you living in a cave or getting your news from TV, climategate has really rattled the global warming orthodoxy around the world. What is climategate? A whole slew of emails and code were either leaked or hacked from CRU, one of the most influential data centers in the world when it comes to global warming data.

The emails are an embarrassment. In them we read about people conspiring to keep dissenting views from being accepted into reputable journals, gnashing of teeth over why they can’t explain the lack of warming, and possibly the effort to delete information that had been requested through freedom of information requests.

As damaging as the emails are, the more serious bits of the release consist of the code used to make the final temperature results used by the the IPCC and many others for policy considerations. At best, the code looks manipulative, at worst, it looks fraudulent. It is littered with comments by programmers that essentially say that the adjustments being made are totally artificial. We’ll see what happens as the code is examined more closely. The head of the CRU has already stepped down while this is being investigated and the UK MET office (closely attached to the CRU) has announced that it will release all the data and redo the calculations for the last 160 years. If they had done that 6 months ago there wouldn’t be such a scandal now.

Those of you that have read my blog for a while know about my skepticism about anthropological global warming. All of that has been based around the sloppy statistical methods and data secrecy involved with the most prominent global warming folks. If nothing else, I hope that these documents will show that this “settled” science seems to rest on some pretty shaky ground. If you don’t believe me, surely you can trust John Stewart, right?

And here’s something from that hotbed of right wing conspiracies, the CBC…

If you’d like to read what has been published, you can find it here.

Geeking out

I got my FIOS installed last night. OMG! Not only do I now have internet in my house, it is freaking amazing. My downloads are silly fast and webpages open up almost instantly. Youtube is a revelation…

I also got a TV package. There’s a digital cable box in my room but I don’t have a TV. I am watching TV on my laptop computer. ON. MY. COMPUTER!!! This may be old hat for some of you guys, but I think it’s awesome. All I needed was a firewire cable connecting my box and my computer and a few free programs. Now I have HDTV on my computer. Seems to me that I should be able to record this, but I haven’t figured out how yet.

I may never leave my room again… 🙂

"But what does my picture really look like?"

That’s a question I got a lot when I sold photo gear and I’m still getting it now. Last night, a lady was comparing the regular glossy screen to the anti-glare one on the laptops. They do look different but she was distressed because she didn’t know which one was “right.”

*PISH* Give me a color slide any day:-) Seriously, there is something satisfying about making a physical object that actually exists. Making a string of numbers whose appearance varies considerably depending on how it is rendered just doesn’t feel the same. Or maybe I’m just old fashioned.

I do think that the analog still has a place in this world, even if it’s only in the way people think about stuff. Are we hard wired to think in an analog fashion about certain things or is it just the way we were taught?

This should be the last Monday

… That I have to go to the library to get on the Internet. If all
goes well, the Fios guys will be here next Monday (sometime between 8
and 5 grrr…) and I’ll be happily surfing away on super speed
Internet. I should also be able to watch TV on my computer assuming
that my poor MacBook will be up to it. I can’t wait to rejoin the
modern world, only one week to go!

Sent from my iPod

Film and sunk costs

I picked up all of my film when I last went to mom’s place. It’s an
impressive amount, close to 200 rolls. They were meant to be used in
Yemen but the logistics proved too difficult to be practical.

So what am I going to do with it? I still love shooting film, and I
still have nice equipment for doing that, but am I really going to
shoot that much? Some might say that since I spent the money on the
film it would be silly not to use it. I think a more rational way of
looking at it is to realize that money is gone and just look at the
costs involved in going forward.

The big problem is that the film is color. It would cost a ton to get
it developed and scanned. If it were B&W, I’d probably hang onto it. I
enjoy the process of developing B&W film and it’s a far sight cheaper
to develop to boot.

I think using the money that it would cost to develop all that film
would be better used on a new… digital camera. I know, I can hardly
believe it myself. What, you think i’d be without a decent camera? The
thing is that there are finally some good digital cameras that I think
I’d like to use. Plus, many of them are also HD camcorders, it would
be nice to try some more movie stuff after all these years. The new
Panasonic would be the safe bet, but I’m mighty intrigued with the new
Ricoh.

So the time has come. I’m going to hang on to several of my cooler
film cameras, but I’m ready to make the switch. Anyone need a bunch of
120 and 35mm film?

Sent from my iPodl