Archive for August, 2005

Test Drive

August 31st, 2005, 10:57am by Mike

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All you non-Mac users out there, here’s your big chance! Apple has a program where you can test drive a Mac Mini for 30 days, and if you don’t like it, send it back! Of course you have to put up the money on the front end, but for as little as $499 (assuming you have a monitor and USB keyboard/mouse — and you know you do), you can see what all the buzz is about.
And according to the fine print on that page, there’s no restocking fee. Nothing jumps out as bad in the terms of Apple’s usual Sales and Refund page, either, assuming that the 10% open box fee is superseded by the “no restocking fee” on the test drive page. And there’s no stated limitation on what you can install or how you can use it, as long as it’s returned complete in the original packaging to Apple.
So what are you waiting for?

Agony

August 28th, 2005, 3:42pm by Jake


Today I tried waterskiing for the 1st time. I managed to get up on the skis on my first try, thanks to following the advice of keeping my arms straight. I even managed to (accidentally) ski outside the wake. I soon fell, and things went downhill in a hurry. Read on for more.

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Moonrise over Winnipesaukee

August 25th, 2005, 11:22pm by Jake


Here’s a picture from nearby my cabin, in front of the campfire as the moon and Mars rise into the sky. Lots more camp fun, taking the War Canoes out tomorrow.

Yahoo LaunchCast Plus for Free

August 23rd, 2005, 4:44pm by Kelvin

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I haven’t signed up for Yahoo Music Unlimited yet, but the word is that the service is now out of Beta, with no change in pricing. They are planning an advertising blitz, featuring Segways, to coincide with the MTV Video Music Awards. Hope MTV isn’t planning on pre-empting Real World Austin with music programming! How quaint that would be!
I recently found out that my SBC Yahoo DSL account includes a free upgrade to Launchcast Plus, normally a $3/mo service. I’ve been using it a lot lately (mostly at work), and I like it a lot, especially the “My Station” feature.

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Boston Sports Pride

August 23rd, 2005, 2:47pm by Mike

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It’s easy to have pride in your local sports teams, and to show it by naming streets after them. We have not only the Ted Williams Tunnel, a new connection from Boston to the Airport created during the Big Dig, but here where I work in Framingham, Route 9 is also called the Ted Williams Highway (that makes the official Ted Williams score San Diego 1, Boston 2). But not even that is the best sports-related road here in Framingham — the most clever, by far, is Flutie Pass, an homage to the great Boston College Heisman Trophy winner and his Hail Mary pass back in 1984. You may remember that he then went on to prominence in both the USFL and CFL, and lately, even the NFL, with a side project as autism benefactor/breakfast cereal salesman. All this, and he’s only 5’10”.

Camp fun

August 22nd, 2005, 7:45pm by Jake


Just thought I would give everyone an update from the Bear Island in the middle of Lake Winnipesaukee. So far I’ve done swimming, kayaking, ultimate frisbee, campfire, ropes course and riflery. Here I am practicing my sharpshooting.

Flashback

August 22nd, 2005, 3:51pm by Mike

Not really a flashback, but if you’re bored, check out today’s Engadget 1985. Unfortunately, I was a little behind the times — we didn’t have a computer until I was 14 (1987), and I remember I got Windows 1.0 from a friend — not that our 512 kb of memory would let me run more than 1 program, anyway. Our machine had two kickin’ 5 1/4″ floppy drives, and even a “hard drive,” that could store 20 MB on it (the equivalent of 14 high-density 1.44 MB floppies!!!). I also borrowed a 1200 bps modem from the same friend, and used it to log into BBSs that looked surprisingly like the one in the link, at least as far as the ASCII art was concerned (of course, Engadget can make the pictures look grainy, but they’re still graphics — that’s about 1991 web technology, by my recollection) . Good times.
Can anybody match that nerdiness?

Bailing on Amex: Priceless

August 21st, 2005, 1:28pm by Mike

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Over the years, I’ve been an American Express fan — I’ve had several varieties of their cards (including regular Green, Blue, Cash Rebate, and now, Corporate). It’s always been my go-to card, even though I always have to carry a MasterCard or Visa, just in case. But now, the party’s over — read on for details, and put your recommendations for a new card for me in the comments.

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Nanotubes

August 20th, 2005, 9:20am by Jake

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Not sure if everyone knows what carbon nanotubes are, but they are one of the most exciting new materials to be developed since plastics. Very strong and lightweight, it is thought they are the first material with the potential to be used for a space elevator. Browsing through the Wikipedia article, they’re also touted as having biotech applications as well. And they’d be widely used in aerospace if they ever figured out how to make the material in bulk; stuff is generally bought or sold by the gram. As you can see here, someone claims to have just figured out how to make sheets of the stuff at 7 meters/ second. While it’s not yet a finished product, it’s easy to see how these sheets could be used to produced composite reinforced structures. Plus, with a bulk material, laboratory testing will provide useful field data instead instead of largely theoretical material property claims. You can read the press release. I’m not sure if I’d go as far as Cory Doctorow (this is the biggest technology breakthrough of the year, quite possibly of the decade), but unless this is some sort of Pons & Fleishman trick, it is a huge– and much anticipated– advance. Lots more coverage via Google News.

Google spies, too

August 18th, 2005, 8:12pm by Jake


Turns out Burstnet isn’t the only one spying on me to serve relevant ads. Even Google is “evil” when it suits them, I guess. I was searching for Anaheim Angels on Google (directions actually), then I decided to check SigAlert for traffic. What do I see, but contextual Google ads for Anaheim Angels tickets! Obviously, Google is using my search history to generate ads for me. I suppose eveyone does this, but seeing it thrown in my face like that makes me a little bit more paranoid about Google. Should I be using a search engine that doesn’t store my search history? At least A9.com lets me look at it.


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