The Big Think

August 31, 2007

Impulse Buy

Filed under: Computing,Macintosh — jasony @ 2:50 pm

Went to lunch at Apple with Giles today and talked Apple, tech, and computer lust. He just got a new Mac Mini and is using it as a central hub for all of his music and movies. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. He showed me his friends and family discount on a new Mini and I aaaaalmost pulled the trigger. But I decided to be responsible and pass. Soon, though. I really would like a Mini running as the home automation server (to replace the 7 year old G3/333) as well as doing over-the-air HD recording and compression and acting as a movie/photo/music storage center for the whole house.

What I did do is purchase the newest version of iWork. It was only $55 with Giles’ F&F discount, which made it easy. I bought iWork about 18 months ago after taking a good look at it. It promised to replace Word/Appleworks/Pagemaker. I had been doing all those setups and layout stuff for CD’s, etc, in a bunch of different programs and was looking for a way to consolidate my efforts. iWork 1.0 did a good job of this but was still a version 1.0 release (some minor annoyances). After looking at 2.0 I jumped. Apple has added a VERY consolidated and powerful spreadsheet program as well as made the layout program (Pages) more “Word-like”. You can still do all the cool layout stuff (see here), but now you can choose to just do word processing without going through the layout layer. I imagine that I will be doing all of my word processing, layout, and spreadsheets in iWork from now on. Too bad I don’t do any presentations. Keynote is supposed to rock.

By the way, I just heard on a podcast that 60% of laptop users are reporting that they will be purchasing a Mac laptop for their next machine. 60%! This jibes with Apple’s laptop market share increase lately. They’ve gone from 12% to 17% of all laptops sold in the past few quarters. We have a couple of friends who have converted over and they are thrilled to have finally made the switch. It’s true- once you go Mac, you never go back. So what are you all waiting for? 🙂

Pen Tricks

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 9:23 am

When I was in college, our Nav leadership group all sat around learning pen tricks. We all pretty much mastered the helicopter, but never learned any others. This video shows and describes the helicopter as well as four other tricks. Makes me want to drop my pen ten thousand times again. Not.

August 28, 2007

Pocket Ref

Filed under: Woodworking — jasony @ 10:13 pm

What to get the geek in your life who has everything.

Or, what to get the geek in your life with a birthday coming up.


Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 12:33 pm

Going to see the Roundrock Express tonight at the Dell Diamond with our senior pastor, Rick Murray. Should be fun! Rick and his wife have excellent third-base seats about 100 feet from home plate. We’re really looking forward to it.

Red Moon

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 10:22 am

Erin and I got up at 5-something this morning to see the total lunar eclipse. It was a cool visual. When we went to bed the moon was blindingly bright. You could actually see colors and easily read under the glare of the Harsh Mistress. By the time the eclipse was in full swing there was only a ghostly, blood-red orb hanging sullenly in the sky. Beautiful and creepy!

August 27, 2007

Filed under: Mad Science — jasony @ 11:28 pm


August 26, 2007

October Sky

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 11:22 pm

LONDON (Reuters) – Popular mapping service Google Earth will launch a new feature called Sky, a “virtual telescope” that the search engine hopes will turn millions of Internet users into stargazers.

Google, which created Google Earth to give Internet users an astronaut’s view that can zoom to street level, said the service would be a playground for learning about space.

“Never before has a roadmap of the entire sky been made so readily available,” said Dr. Carol Christian of the Space Telescope Science Institute, who co-led the institute’s Sky team.

“Sky in Google Earth will foster and initiate new understanding of the universe by bringing it to everyone’s home computer.”

Like Google Earth, Sky will enable users to float and zoom in on over 100 million individual stars and 200 million galaxies. Users will view the sky as seen from earth.

via Yahoo.


Filed under: Music — jasony @ 10:39 pm

Barry Brake and Ken Slavin get a great write-up in the San Antonio Current. Barry just finished producing Ken’s CD “I’ll Take Romance”. It’s a wonderful romp through some good old standards re-imagined with lush Brakeish harmonies and instrumentation. The production is top-notch and Ken’s vocals are smooth as Hennessy. Congrats to them both.

No Receipt, No Exit

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 9:20 pm

This link tells a story about a man who was forcibly detained in a store for failure to show his receipt when exiting.=

August 24, 2007

We Need This…

Filed under: Science,Space — jasony @ 4:26 pm

…. like we need another Hole in the Universe.

August 21, 2007


Filed under: Audio — jasony @ 12:41 am

I just booked an audio gig in a few weeks with a crew I’ve worked with before. I’m really looking forward to it. The director is a lot of fun to work with and the script is a riot. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

I’m getting some mileage on the new SD302. It’s a completely unassuming bit of gear that’s built like a tank (cast aluminum) and it transparent as wet gossamer. I think you could throw the thing down a cliff and it would operate just fine after. It’s got most of the bells and whistles you need while still remaining very small- about the size of a paperback book.

It’s sitting proudly on my desk. I always get a kick out of people when they ask about the mixing toy. 🙂

August 20, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 7:06 pm

Good advice from Ben Stein.

How To

Filed under: Mad Science — jasony @ 9:44 am

Hirst Arts Fantasy Architecture has a page on how to make your own molds and do your own casting. This is tempting for no other reason than it’s cool.

Filed under: Science,Space — jasony @ 12:14 am

Is cosmology in trouble?

update: maybe not.

August 19, 2007

Not Such a Good Vista

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 12:31 pm

“I’ve been a big proponent of the new OS over the past few months, even going so far as loading it onto most of my computers and spending hours tweaking and optimizing it. So why, nine months after launch, am I so frustrated? The litany of what doesn’t work and what still frustrates me stretches on endlessly. . . . I could go on and on about the lack of drivers, the bizarre wake-up rituals, the strange and nonreproducible system quirks, and more. But I won’t bore you with the details. The upshot is that even after nine months, Vista just ain’t cutting it. I definitely gave Microsoft too much of a free pass on this operating system: I expected it to get the kinks worked out more quickly. Boy, was I fooled! If Microsoft can’t get Vista working, I might just do the unthinkable: I might move to Linux.”

Jim Louderback of PC Magazine

August 17, 2007


Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 10:00 am

The Ridiculously Thorough Guide to Making Your Own Pizza.


Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 12:41 am

100 things you can make yourself.

August 16, 2007

Friday Night Lights

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 8:53 pm

Okay, so I really thought Adam would be writing a post like this, because he’s MUCH more likely to get an actual speaking role, since I couldn’t act my way out of a school for mimes.

On a whim I signed up to the extras call board for Friday Night Lights, which is filmed here in Austin (the school they shoot at frequently is about a mile down the road here in Pflugerville). Adam was actually cast in a speaking role and got some good camera time with some of the principle actors, but, sadly, his scenes were cut (stupid 18 minutes of commercials!). I think you’ll be seeing him on there again soon, though.

Anyway, I figured I’d get called once or twice a season and sit in the bleachers, slather on sunscreen, read a book, and get paid for making contacts and watching a film crew work (lots of stuff to learn there). I signed up three days ago and just got a notice tonight that they want me tomorrow if I’m available. It’s to be an “ADULT DINER CUSTOMER “, which I take to mean an adult customer at a diner, and not a customer at an Adult Diner (cue the wakka chikka guitar). I’d love to do it, but unfortunately I have a previous commitment tomorrow. Ah well, hopefully they’ll call again soon. The pay isn’t great, especially for an 8-10 hour day, but it’s fun. And before you all plow into me for the Great Hypocrisy of not watching TV but still agreeing to be an extra I have one thing to say… my comment section doesn’t work. So there.

I’ve done the extra thing before (check out my IMDB entry here) and it’s generally pretty fun, especially when you’re not out in the heat. I much prefer a role behind the camera but I’ll take any opportunity to get on the set. Hopefully I’ll get the call with more than 18 hours of notice next time. I guess flexibility is the key here.

Say, I wonder if the boom guy might get sick and they might need an stand-in. “Is there a boom operator in the house?”. Why yes, yes there is….

Don’t Fear the Music

Filed under: Music — jasony @ 12:23 pm

Like many people, I tend to put off difficult stuff until later. Luckily, I can do a bunch of easy work now and let the other stuff slide until closer to deadline. I work really well when under a tight deadline, so I know that the shorter time will add motivation later on.

I’ve been putting off doing a difficult arrangement for several weeks now and finally got up the motivation to tackle it. It was partly the weather- a rainy day always puts me in a productive mood. Give me rain and a hot cup of tea and I can sit happily at my desk for hours.

As is usually the case with these things, once I got into the music I discovered that it wasn’t very hard at all. The whole thing took me about four hours to knock out and I loved every minute of it. Typical.

One day I envision doing all of the (supposedly) hard stuff first and then really feeling “off the hook”.

Now after working on it for the last four hours I just have to get the music out of my head. That usually only happens when something else comes along to take its place.


Filed under: Science — jasony @ 9:05 am

Two German scientists have reportedly broken the speed of light using two prisms and microwave photons:

[T]wo German physicists claim to have forced light to overcome its own speed limit using the strange phenomenon of quantum tunnelling, in which particles summon up the energy to cross an apparently uncrossable barrier.

Their experiments focused on the travel of microwave photons — energetic packets of light — through two prisms.

When the prisms were moved apart, most photons reflected off the first prism they encountered and were picked up by a detector.

But a few appeared to “tunnel” through a gap separating them as if the prisms were still held together.

Although these photons had travelled a longer distance, they arrived at their detector at the same time as the reflected photons. This suggests that the transit between the two prisms was faster than the speed of light.

I kinda doubt this, actually, since the speed of light is so well established as a fundamental limitation of our universe. It seems more likely that there was either something wrong with the experiment, or that the phenomenon does represent new knowledge, but doesn’t violate the limitations of “c”. Extraordinary claims demand yadda, yadda. It seems like every day we get some odd little scientific experiment or observation and the popular press falls all over itself pushing out headlines that proclaim “Is Free Energy Far Behind?”, or “Time Travel May Be Possible!”. Ugh. Might as well use the Big Font to declare “Lose Weight While You Sleep!”. Why anybody would get their science from the newspapers is a mystery to me.

you can go here for the story.

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