Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Pergelator

Silicon Forest

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Babasonicos - Muñeco De Haití


Dance like a Haitian Doll
Innovative bank robbery. With dancing.

Algonquin Round Table

At the table, clockwise from left as seen from above: Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Alexander Woollcott, Heywood Broun, Marc Connelly, Franklin P. Adams, Edna Ferber, George S. Kaufman & Robert Sherwood.  In back, left to right are: Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt, Vanity Fair editor Frank Crowninshield, and Frank Case.
LeeAnn mentions Dorothy Parker and being as I'm not dead yet, I wondered who the heck is that? I've heard of a number of Parkers over the years. There's Peter Parker (Spiderman) and Bonnie Parker, late mistress of the departed Clyde Barrow, and let's not forget Parker pens. But who's Dorothy? She was a wiseacre, gadfly, writer and all around trouble maker. Got herself blacklisted by that blacklisty guy back in the 50's. Not surprising since she hung out with a bunch of like minded folks.

Small sample of her writing. A complete story in six paragraphs:
"Yeah," he said.  "I must have been dandy.  Is everybody sore at me?"
"Good heavens, no," she said.  "Everyone thought you were terribly funny.  Of course, Jim Pierson was a little stuffy, there for a minute at dinner.  But people sort of held him back in his chair, and got him calmed down.  I don’t think anybody at the other tables noticed at all.  Hardly anybody."
"He was going to sock me?" he said.  "Oh, Lord.  What did I do to him?"
"Why, you didn’t do a thing," she said.  "You were perfectly fine.  But you know how silly Jim gets when he thinks anybody is making too much fuss over Elinor."
"Was I making a pass at Elinor?" he said.  "Did I do that?"
"Of course you didn’t," she said.  "You were only fooling, that’s all.  She thought you were awfully amusing.  She was having a marvelous time.  She only got a little tiny bit annoyed just once, when you poured the clam juice down her back."
Stolen from FWRICTION

Goodreads has some pithy quotes.

The 'Algonquin Round Table' met at the Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan for lunch daily all during the 1920's. The number of people who showed up varied from just a few to a couple of dozen. Dorothy was one of the mainstays.

P.S. Typography note: Spellchecker didn't like the 'didn’t-s' in the story. Seems a true apostrophe doesn't sit well. Of course there's a risk that it will show up as tofu on your screen. Tofu, that's one of those technical terms for the little boxes that show up when your browser doesn't know what font to use. Sometimes they are rendered as Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Gizmo Design

Dilbert
This cartoon struck a chord with me this morning. The styrofoam is an annoying one time problem, but the invisible buttons hang around making trouble for years. I haven't run into the annoying sticker problem, but maybe they just aren't hard for me to remove.
     The user interface (i.e. the buttons) continues to be a problem. We get black labels on black buttons because molding the label into the surface is cheaper and more durable than painting it on. The ones that get me are the battery positive terminal indicators in the battery compartment. If you could just trust people to use the same mechanical connections we wouldn't need the labels.
     Then there are the guys who think they'll be better than that and actually label the buttons with a contrasting color, but use a 4 point typeface that might be cool or stylish, but is actually too small to be read without a magnifying glass.
    Then there is Epson, who devised a whole new set of symbols and meanings for the front panel of their XP-310 printer. The symbols are totally legible, but what the heck do they mean? Fortunately the printer broke down so I don't have to worry about it.

Homemade open crank motor bicycle


This is just the nutziest thing. It's like a steam-punk motor bike, if steam-punk used gasoline. The video starts with three minutes of following this thing down the road. Around the 3:30 mark they stop and start looking at the motor.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Adult Wednesday Addams: The Haircut


Because I'm feeling generous. And I'm drunk.

More Fun with Chromebook


What we have here is a Chromebook connected to a Dell keyboard and a Samsung video display. The Chromebook lid is propped open with a 3-hole paper punch. If you close it much further it will shut off. The three-hole punch has a nice wide base that spans the evil touch pad, and it is tall enough to hold the lid open. The mouse is a little weird. Sometimes it disappears, but since it's a big screen and a small cursor I'm not sure whether it really disappears or I just fail to track it. But I circle around for a couple of seconds and we sync up, so not perfect, but good enough.
     Open up the Files app (which accesses files actually stored on the Chromebook, not in the Cloud), and the big screen goes dead. Now you need to open the laptop screen to see what you are doing. I went through this rigamarole to get this picture up here, though I'm not sure I needed to. Too many places to put stuff, too many places to get stuff. Whether you can get by without making use of the Files app remains to be seen.
     Meanwhile, over on codingame.com, I was working on a program to deal with the Teads programming puzzle. I had gotten my program to successfully deal with most of the test cases, but there were two where it timed out. Timed out? Hmmph. Must be a glitch in the coding games site. So I tried it on my Zotac Zbox running Mint Linux (that's it sitting under the left hand edge of the monitor with its cool glowing blue circle). It took over two minutes to deliver an answer. Hmmm. Program did run to compeletion, but two minutes? That is a heck of a long time to run for a simple academic exercise. I mean this isn't a Windows program that is spinning its wheels mindlessly while it tries to figure out what it should do next, this is a heads down, running full tilt, adding the numbers, making the calculations, marching down the lists, no dilly-dallying around here, and it's taking two minutes? That's enough time to count the population of Earth. Twice. Something is not right.
    Okay, enough the with mental gymnastics (programming) for a bit. Let's see what else we can do. Well, I got my Chromebook out this afternoon to talk to my daughter (on Skype). Let's see what else it can do. So I plug in my Chromebook, just for grins, see if it will work, and lo and behold, it mostly does. But can I compile a C program here? Well, yes, you can. Seems there are several websites that will let you write, compile and run programs, just as though you were sitting at a regulation Linux terminal. Okay, let's try out our test case. I'll be durned. It compiles and runs, and it only takes seconds to complete. How can that be?
    Now the Zbox has an Intel Atom processor, which is like the cheapest and feeblest Intel processor from 3 or 4 years ago, but it is still a 32-bit processor running at some number of giga-hertz. This website ran this program ten times faster. What kind of processors are they running? This is just a little unnerving.

P.S. I wrote this post with the help of a bottle of cheap grocery store Champagne. Coincidentally,  Detroit Steve sent me a this link today.

P.P.S. A couple of development websites. Might only work with Chromebooks.

Update: Google's already been here. Adjust the settings, leave the power supply plugged in and you can even dispense with the paper punch.

Space Needle via Google Maps API



Just an experiment to see if this API Key thing really works.

The URL for an Embed API request is as follows:
https://www.google.com/maps/embed/v1/MODE?key=AIzaSyBeETmzg-g7-YuzXNpLln-nTQifA6D6nrk&parameters
Where:
  • {MODE} is one of placedirectionssearchview, or streetview.
  • {API_KEY} is your free API key.
  • parameters include optional parameters, as well as mode-specific parameters.