Another use for the Xoom

Motorola Xoom + MIT OpenCourseware + NordicTrack mashup

Motorola Xoom + MIT OpenCourseware + NordicTrack mashup

It turns out that the Xoom fits right nicely in the book-holder slot on the elliptical machine. But I really can’t read while I’m exercising … and I’ve never gotten the knack of listening to audio books. But hey! There’s a lot of video lectures out of MIT and elsewhere. That’s one of my biggest problems with exercise – I get bored. This has possibilities! No, there’s no woman with improbably blue contacts and a glass of some liquid fiber product lurking just outside of the frame. Multi-tasking has its advantages, though.

Something In The Air Tonight…

No, not the Phil Collins song, although I like that a lot, too. But I as I sit here in the family room with this airy bit of fluff that is nearly the fastest computer I have, I am pretty damned pleased. I liked the MBP when I got that a few years ago, but at that time, the Air was still a year away from introduction. When it came out, it was gorgeous and light … but underpowered in almost every measurable way.

Today’s Air is a powerhouse. Seriously. It’s not got enough moxie to be a decent virtual machine host, but as a standalone box, light and capable, I am pretty impressed.

Thoughts on Lion: I can dig it. There are some interesting UI decisions that Apple made, such as doing away with spaces (as such) and having apps that go to full screen. The most impactful change is the scrolling activity. My brain has been wired to use scroll bars on a computer for approximately ever. But using the inverted scroll worked well for me almost from the first day. It’s a natural small-screen (phone) action, and it turns out to be a natural for multi-touch touchpad use, too.

Now Marcia is home and we’re going to finish watching Holmes Inspection. Ciao!

Agog, Shiny

Shiny is actually an attribute of the new machine, henceforth known as Agog. Agog was my state of being when kindness by others turns out to have been expressed in the form of a 13″ MacBook Air. Core i7, 4G, 256G flash drive. Fast, light, and gorgeous. It’s funny, really, that I should have decided, just last night, that the right choice was to get a new battery for Darla, the MacBook Pro I picked up in January of 2007. Darla runs OS X Lion just fine, if a little bit slow. But slow is relative. I executed a test a short while ago, cold-booting both systems:

  • Darla: 48.9 seconds to the login screen.
  • Agog: 19.7 seconds to the login screen.

And Agog takes about 3 seconds to wake up from sleep – the huge advantage to flash disks.

Getting it to the state of minimal usefulness for a mobile machine: email, remote connections to work and home – that all took about half an hour. Now it’s supper time. Ciao!

Byte? SRSLY?

First off, Byte is back. Yeah, SRSLY, Byte. Talk about your basic reincarnation myth, remixed about 5 times over the last 10 years. And equally fully of #FTW, Jerry’s involved. Huzzah!

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Also, Jerry’s got a column out, having finally battle his way past nearly four months of creeping crud. I just finished the editing pass and got the column posted for him within the last hour. There’s still kinks to shake out of CMR at the new hosting site, but we’ll get them licked, one way or another.

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Nothing else going on, work and such. Remind me someday – I *still* really want  to build a Solaris 11 box. Can I do everything I do here (on Linux) with that? Do I want to try? The answer is “Probably”, but it sure ain’t this week. Maybe after summer session, and before fall classes start. I can’t just wing it, because I don’t have spare hardware, and no budget for any right now.

Miles Per Gallon

I may like summer least among all the seasons (except for the output of the garden), but my car loves summer. As long as I can keep the windows down and the air conditioning off, I’m doing nearly 53 miles per gallon in the Prius, according to the data from my Sunday fill-up. A week of driving without side trips costs about 10 bucks. That would have run me 25 to 30 dollars in the 4 Runner.

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Tonight was the monthly LOPSA meeting – the speaker was a former (he claims to be former, anyway) penetration tester with a decade of fun gigs under his belt. Topics ranged from ease of physical plant penetration to HB Gary, Anonymous, and Lulz. Technical details of the relative security merits of VPN design, MitM attacks against SSL,  and lousy automated registrars and Certification Authorities tied the evening up nicely. I’m going to be crying about what I learned this evening for a long, long time.

[[ This also serves as a reminder-to-self that I want to get a LOPSA link in the right hand margin one of these days Real Soon Now. ]]


In the style of Jepoardy

It is pumped from the ocean bottoms to the top of the spill mountains.

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Zidane is dead. Today we (and by we I mean Greg) has finally had the plug pulled on the third (or second) iteration of a box that we (and by we, I mean both of us) hosted assorted sites for us and friends and associates. The take barely paid for the box, but overall it was both a worthy and worthwhile endeavor. I know I became a better system administrator through working on the system, and got a fair taste of the joys of running a Hell Desk.

This place is easy to admin: keep the updates in place and do backups. The email, courtesy of Google, is as spam-free as I’ve had in twenty years. I’ll never complain of that. Someone was asking about the advisability of trusting the Goog. I replied that they probably already had the email, they might as well store it, too. I still keep an IMAP server running here at home, and that has copies of everything I want to preserve.

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No, I don’t know what brought the question to mind that prompts the Jeopardy answer. But I had to get it out of my head, and yours is a perfectly good place to store it until I need it again.

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Yesterday was house-cleaning. Not the whole bloody thing, just the hardest part – the main floor. I’ll possibly do the second floor tomorrow. Today was shopping and school work. I got a draft version of my first database class project done and sent in for review by late afternoon. Tonight, thunder and lightning and a delicious turkey and zucchini dish delectably concocted by my lovely Marcia. Now the fireworks are starting up in the neighbourhood and surrounding areas. Lexi hates the thunder, but the fireworks appear only to anger her.

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Oh, yeah. Last bit of news for now: First tomato! A cherry tomato was ripe enough to pluck from the vine, cleave in two, and share with SWMBO. We were both happy. First tomato is the harbinger of many tomatoes, which makes me very happy indeed. Ciao!

T-Minus Four Days

It seems that Jerry’s moved over to the new host, with Rick Hellewell’s capable assistance. I’ve got one or two more sites to flip over, then I think nearly everything’s off of Zidane. Checking, I see a couple of remaining problem children besides mine. So I’m sending a few emails to remind people that the box goes away on Thursday, 6/30.

Now I should move Marcia’s last site, and set up some posting methods for her. Ciao!

More Zoë

Zoë Keating, last night. Two items of interest: First, Wil Wheaton introduced me to Zoë’s music with this blog post. Second, listen to Zoë talk about her music and play in Musicians@Google: WNYC’s Radiolab + Zoë Keating. In the latter, Zoë describes how the version of each composition gets selected for an album, and how that relates to what gets played live. When she loops and layers music so intricately, there are infinite variations for every work. I could recognize the bones of nearly every piece she played last night, but deeply appreciated the nuance and freshness of each piece. I’m so, so happy she added Annapolis to her tour, and I can but hope she returns to our area someday soon.


Just back from Ram’s Head Live, where we saw the amazing Zoë Keating. Did I mention amazing? There’s more to say, but I’m whacked and it’s a school night. We had great seats, at a table abutting the stage. I cannot recommend enough seeing Zoe live – she rocks!

Zoe Keating at Ram's Head On Stage

Zoe Keating at Ram's Head On Stage