Archive for September, 2008|Monthly archive page

Windows, iTunes, iPod, and Linux can coexist (part 2)

I’ll start this installment with one paragraph of background.  I do not pirate music.  You Napster kiddies got the Britney Spears you deserved back in the day.  Music has never been better in my life than it is right now, and I strongly believe that’s because good artists are now getting paid (wow, what a concept!)  Also, I’m unashamed to admit that I like iTunes and the iTunes Store.  Its usability beats everything else I’ve used, and the Genius feature added in iTunes 8 has led me to music that I actually like based on my prior tastes.

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Falcon 1, Flight 4 achieves orbit!

Congratulations, SpaceX.  I had a good feeling that success was just around the corner for your team.  Here’s a short highlight video of the flight.  The increased delay from first stage separation to second stage ignition is noticeable in this video.

UPDATE, 10/3/08: SpaceX released this rockin’ music video yesterday that shows more of Flight 4, including a restart of the second stage engine.

Windows, iTunes, iPod, and Linux can coexist (part 1)

I’m running iTunes 8 on a WinXP box at my work.  I’ve got a Windows-formatted iPod Photo.  I buy music on iTunes Store from work, and it all plays on my Kubuntu machine at home (using Rhythmbox) via my iPod.  I buy Amazon MP3s from my Kubuntu machine, and those play just fine on the iPod and my WinXP box.

productive coexistence

productive coexistence

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Opportunity heads to Endurance

After last Monday’s announcement that Opportunity will be heading southeast towards “Endurance” crater, I learned that this new target is clearly distinguishable using Google Mars.  Using a combination of this landing orbit image (for scale and clear layout of neighborhood craters), and this labeled image (for crater identification), I came up with this labeled screen shot (here’s the interactive link on Google Mars).  The green color on this map represents elevation:

Endurance Crater on Google Mars

Endurance Crater on Google Mars

perfect morning at the Moontown overlook

After a cup of coffee, I met Ethan on the trail this morning by 6:30 right before sunrise.  We were both dragging at first, but that didn’t last long.  We started at the Bankhead Parkway barricade, rode Mountain Mist until we joined back up with the Family Trail near O’Shaughnessy Point.  One flat for each of us along the way gave me a couple of chances to catch my breath, so that I could (sort of) keep up with Ethan.  After finishing the Family Trail, I headed back down to the truck.  Another great Saturday morning ride.  Here was the Moontown overlook view soon after I left the biker’s parking lot:

Moontown overlook in early Fall

Moontown overlook in early Fall

jumping out of a perfectly good airplane…

…strapped to another perfectly good airplane.  Here’s the video & article.

personal jet

personal jet

bailout perspective

$700 billion is over $2,300 for every man, woman, and child in the USA.  Given a total workforce of ~150 million (from Bureau of Labor Statistics), $700 billion is nearly $4,700 for every employed American.  The 2006 mean annual earnings across all workers was ~$41,200.  Let’s guess that it’s $42,000 in 2008, that means 11.2% of the average worker’s 2008 earnings would go to the bailout.

Maybe I’m a little grouchy at 2:32am on a Sunday morning, but can we all agree that we’re sick to death of Federal spending?

  • rewarding bad behavior by both lenders and borrowers?  FAIL
  • a like-it-or-not Nanny State for millions of perfectly able-bodied Americans?  FAIL
  • every working American forced to donate the first 41 days of 2008 (through February 9) for bailout?  FAIL
  • politicians tripping all over themselves trying to buy votes in an election year?  FAIL
  • More Federal spending?  FAIL
  • economic common sense test?  FAIL

lax coach tip: restring reminder

As a youth lacrosse coach, emphasize stick and pocket maintenance during the first practice of the season.  Check your players’ pocket condition often, and far in advance of game day.  Never discourage a kid who shows the initiative to string his own stick.  Be honest, the first time you tried to string one, it didn’t look good, either.

there's teaching opportunity in that string

Often, you’ll notice a string segment on a player’s stick that needs replacing.  Around the house before your next practice, cut a length off your string spool (you DO have a string spool, right?), and burn both ends.  Tie the string through your own pocket as a reminder.  Then you won’t forget to give it to him next practice.  Teach him a knot or a stringing trick before you give him the string, and let him know you’ll be checking his repair before next practice.

a sun like ours in an unexpected neighborhood

Around the time Michelangelo began painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and nearly 100 years before the English settled Jamestown, the light in the picture below left star 1RXS J160929.1-210524 and headed towards Earth.  As described in this paper, this image was constructed from observations at the Gemini North Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii between April and August of this year.

1RXS J160929.1-210524 and its "planetary mass candidate" companion

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Federalist #3 – promoting a United America

Federalist #3 argued that a more United America would preserve long term “good faith and justice” to create a healthy tension against potentially shallow immediate concerns.  In this way, the national government would check and balance member States which might otherwise behave as reactionary, independent countries:

Because the prospect of present loss or advantage may often tempt the governing party in one or two States to swerve from good faith and justice; but those temptations, not reaching the other States, and consequently having little or no influence on the national government, the temptation will be fruitless, and good faith and justice be preserved.

United States in 1787

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