Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

Random bits

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

A couple of news stories on the English “Daily Telegraph” news site caught my eye. First one that said:

Legal bid to stop CERN atom smasher from ‘destroying the world’

The world’s biggest and most expensive scientific experiment has been hit by a last minute legal challenge, amid claims that the research could bring about the end of the world.

James Gillies, spokesman for CERN, insisted that despite the huge amounts of energy the Large Hadron Collider will produce, it posed no risk to the safety of the planet.

He said: “The case before the European Court of Human Rights contains the same arguments that we have seen before and we have answered these in extensive safety reports.

The Large Hadron Collider will not be producing anything that does not already happen routinely in nature due to cosmic rays. If they were dangerous we would know about it already.

“We are now concentrating on firing the first beams around the collider and then on fine tuning it until we can get collisions, when the science will start.”

A spokesman for the European Court of Human Rights confirmed the lawsuit had been lodged and the petition to obtain an emergency injunction against CERN was rejected. She said: “There will therefore be no bar to CERN carrying out these experiments but the applicants can continue with this case here at the ECHR.”

and then, another story

JK Rowling ‘delighted’ at decision to ban Harry Potter encyclopaedia written by a fan

JK Rowling has spoken of her “delight” at winning her copyright battle against a fan who planned to publish a Harry Potter encyclopaedia.

She had described the Harry Potter Lexicon as “wholesale theft” of her work.

In court papers, Mr Vander Ark, 50, said he was a teacher and school librarian in Byron Centre, Michigan, before recently moving to London to begin a career as a writer.

He said he joined an adult online discussion group devoted to the Harry Potter books in 1999 before launching his own website as a hobby a year later.

Since then, neither Rowling nor her publisher had ever complained about anything on it, he said.

In his court statement, Mr Vander Ark said the Lexicon “enhances the pleasure of readers of the Potter novels, and deepens their appreciation of Ms Rowling’s achievement”.

Rowling, who has earned £560 million through the Potter books, told the judge she had not brought the case for the money, but because the Lexicon was “atrocious” and “sloppy” with “very little research”.

The seven Potter books, which ended last year with the final book in the series, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, have been published in 64 languages, sold more than 400 million copies and produced a film franchise that has pulled in 4.5 billion US dollars at the worldwide box office.

On the one hand Science and on the other Fiction. Totally me. Add to that the “geek” factor that I am running the new Google Chrome web browser (and loving it)!

I wonder, in the JK Rowling story, when it says “adult online discussion group devoted to the Harry Potter” if that means it was a group for grown ups, or whether the tone of the postings were “adult” in nature. If it’s the latter I can clearly see why Rowling would object – slashfic ought to have nothing to do with a kid’s genre book! Authors have a tenous (at best) relationship with fan fiction writers. Some encourage it (Rowling has said in the past that she was “flattered” that people wanted to write their own stories based on her characters), some tolerate it, others actively try to stamp it out (Anne Rice has consistently and aggressively prevented fan fiction based on any of her characters, as has Raymond E. Feist and Anne McCaffrey).

Einstein Quote

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

What a genius:

Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.
— Albert Einstein

Apply it early and apply it often.

Send & receive email

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Zawinski’s Law of Software Envelopment

Every program attempts to expand until it can read email. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.

— Jamie Zawinski

Time machine saved my ass

Monday, July 14th, 2008
Time Machine Logo

As the title says, Apple Time Machine saved my skin this weekend. I bought this sleek little MacBook last week. I really want to have it supplant my Dell gaming laptop which will mean installing Windows onto a second partition of the MacBook drive and using “Boot Camp” (Apple’s nifty dual-boot utility) give me access.

I got the MacBook home and it quite happily migrated my user, my data, everything from an old Time Machine backup of the Mac Mini I have. The Mini has been used for podcasting and the goal is to podcast using the MacBook, so it made sense to migrate everything across using the migration assistant. You know, this really is how computers ought to be, just buy one and say “yeah … what that other guy did” and suddenly they’re dancing in lock-step with all the goodie moved across for you.

Then came the Boot Camp disaster. Or rather, the Windows XP install disaster that left me without a bootable drive on the MacBook. Still, nothing to panic about. Had a funny comment from Alison though – “Wow, you only had the laptop a couple of days and you’ve buggered it already?!” Yeah. I did … and a “full system restore” from the Time Machine backup rolled everything back to a working state. Flawless.

I was one of those strange people who lined up to buy a copy of OS X Leopard when it was released – I have the T-Shirt to prove that I was one of the first 100 people to buy a copy here at the Apple Store. At the time I told them that the compelling feature that makes me want Leopard is Time Machine … and this weekend it saved my ass.