June 30, 2009

Blood, glowing.

So today, I achieved two things that make me happy as a geek.

For one, I learned one of the actual uses for Technetium, the lightest radioactive element (I think). I learned this as they pushed a syringe full of the stuff into my arm.

That, in turn, means that I spent the rest of the day emitting freaking gamma rays. No shit. As a result of positrons. Because I was stuck into a PET imager. At least, I think it was positrons. But in any case, think about that. I became a gamma emitter.

That's pretty cool.

The bit where they bring out the syringe in a radiation-shielded box, though, is a little disconcerting. You know, so the staff doesn't get exposed. The staff doesn't get exposed.


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June 26, 2009

Dear Microsoft Mac Business Unit

When will you deign to make your fucking Office suite work properly with Spaces on Mac OS X? As in, not have the goddamn floating palette windows randomly change spaces, and then have them lose track of which space they're in causing your whole desktop to swoop to another Space when you click on your Office document? It's really getting fucking old.


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June 10, 2009

iPhone 3GS

Want. Heh.

Bear in mind I'm still using my original iPhone, so this is a pretty significant upgrade for me. If I'd sprung for a 3G, I probably would be holding out past this, I have to say. In my case, though, Apple will refuse to renew my Applecare on my phone past this month...so it makes sense.

Plus, I got one of those $100 credits from the original iPhone purchase that I never used (because I didn't buy an iPhone 3G!). I tried to use the code at an Apple Store and they said they couldn't take those codes anymore with the simple codes that AT&T SMS-ed them out with. They did helpfully give me an email address at the Mothership where I could send my iPhone serial number, the 6-digit code I had and my AppleID - and sure enough, 36 hours later they sent my back an email with my full store credit info. Good on ya, Apple.

Here's what I'm really worried about. For me, my number one 'app' use of my iPhone is as an ebook reader. I have a library of a couple of hundred sci-fi novels that I keep on my phone in HTML format. In order to do this, I need to jailbreak my iPhone for two reasons:

  1. MobileSafari won't accept file:// URLS without a patch available only through Cydia
  2. The only way to ensure I can have my files accessible when out of network coverage (coughSUBWAYcough) is to use the Jailbroken SSH server to scp the tree of files over to the iPhone's local storage

...so while I initially thought that at least the iDisk access of files on the iPhone might solve problem #2, I realized that nope, that still streams the damn data and needs a network connection. I do *not* understand why Apple thinks users shouldn't ever have a need to use their data while unable to reach the network.

Sigh. Here's hoping the DevTeam comes through like the champs they've been.

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June 9, 2009

Grey Lady Down

The New York Times doesn't come off well in this story from Harper's regarding reporting on the torture controversy.

I'm saddened that I'm not surprised.

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June 3, 2009

Can you say 'shill'?

I knew you could.

Anytime someone uses the word 'wrongheaded' to describe a policy decision, it sets off alarm bells for me.

Although that may just be because in the book 'Baked Potatoes: A Pot Smoker's Guide to Film and Video' there is a quote from Roger Ebert saying something like 'how anyone could be so wrongheaded as to watch movies on marijuana is a mystery to me.'

But yeah, that article makes me react in exactly the same way.

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June 1, 2009

Your Lack of Encryption Disturbs Me.

From a story on a Global Hawk emergency landing by Ares, the Aviation Week blog, comes this winner of a quote:
This is hardly the most dramatic in-flight emergency for the young UAS program. Earlier during testing of the Block 10, a Global Hawk conducted what appeared to be a standard self destruct sequence to the surprise of operators. They later discovered a radio tower at another base was testing its transmissions using a self-destruct code for the UAS. Though they were geographically separated, the UAS flies high enough -- around 65,000 ft. -- that the aircraft picked up the signal and followed orders, plummeting to its death. Needless to say, the testers at least got some data from that incident.
Wow. Let me get this straight - the 'self destruct' code for a Global Hawk is either a) something simple enough that another station might decide to pick it accidentally as a test pattern, or b) is something that said radio stations (assuming they are Air Force) have decided is a perfectly fine pattern to use for transmitter testing.

Either way, Houston, we have a problem.

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