Saturday, March 29, 2008

What the ...???





Middletown Closeup
I was playing with google earth, looking at my work location when I saw something ODD in the parking lot ... seems it wasn't in the parking lot .... it was above it!

#posted by Rob Roschewsk @ 7:41 PM

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Ha!

# posted by Blogger Mike @ 5:12 PM 

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Just call me a twit ....

I'm giving TWITTER a try. I can be found at: http://twitter.com/pabut/

#posted by Rob Roschewsk @ 9:03 PM

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ouch .. that hurt ....

Try to wrap your brain around this one: Turn a sphere inside out without making creases or corners, you may pass sides of the sphere through itself as if it were fluid. Trust me ... it's harder than you think.

Warning: you're going need to need twenty minutes in a nice quiet room to watch the video ... and if you follow closely ... a Motrin when you're done.

Google Video: Outside In
Credit: The University of Minnesota Geometry Center

#posted by Rob Roschewsk @ 9:43 AM

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Must...sleep...now...

# posted by Blogger Mike @ 10:48 PM 

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Wow ... Does the US House of Representatives actually have balls????

The US House actually passed a version of H.R. 3773, The FISA Amendments Act, that does NOT include immunity for the Telecoms! Further, instead of folding and going home they actually upped the ante and called for a commission to investigate the secret spying program.

This bill still needs to be reconciled with the Senate bill which has no such provisions. If by some strange fluke, the Senate decides to act like true patriots, take a few pointers from their congressional siblings and send a compromise bill with the House provisions to the president's desk it will surely be vetoed .... at which point the President gets NOTHING. Sounds like a win-win to me.

"You've got to know when to hold 'em Know when to fold 'em Know when to walk away Know when to run"

Amnesty proponents on Capitol Hill have been claiming that telecoms had acted in "good faith" believing that the spying program was legal. I guess one could interpret that these same proponents are admitting the program was illegal and are trying to now save the necks of their corporate buddies.

If someone in authority tells you to break a law .... you still broke the law. This is like the officers in the German Concentration Camps saying they were just following orders.


Wired: House Passes Spy Bill, Rejects Telcom Amnesty Despite Veto Threat

#posted by Rob Roschewsk @ 8:20 PM

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The new home computer (Part 1: The Decision)

It was time. The "primary workstation" an HP Pavilion (circa 2000) Pentium III 733 Mhz 768M Ram was starting to show it's age. I've done all the nips 'n tucks I could: More memory (originally 256M), larger disk (Originally 40G) USB 2.0 card (USB 1.1 on board) but there comes a time ... especially when Lisa wants to do video editing ... that nothing I could do would matter. It was time to send the old boy off to the basement ... maybe to be re-incarnated as a Linux Media Server.

It didn't make sense to build my own .... PCs have gotten to be like cars ... the individual parts cost more then the complete product .... also when something goes wrong their are multiple throats to choke .... When you buy a PC built by a vendor it's one number to call (even though they may not be much help anyway ... more on that later.

Fortunately companies like DELL and HP allow you to build a PC to suit your needs. I went with HP because I haven't had much luck with DELL support in work .... sure they are a few dollars cheaper ... but you know how that goes. HP has a build to order site .... and the last Pavilion lasted 8 years with just a fan replacement so why not. (Truth be told ... the 40G hard drive seized at some point to ... but that was after it was moved out of the box and reclaimed for another project .... The kids still haven't forgiven me for their lost "Aurthur's Teacher Trouble" game saves)

The base machine is an HP M9100T, to which I upgraded from a Core 2 Duo to a Core 2 Quad 2.4Ghz, from 2 GB ram to 4GB ram ... 300 GB SATA to 500 GB SATA .... 256MB video RAM to 512MB Video RAM .. from a 19" LCD Panel to a 22" LCD panel. In short ... loaded for bear and hoping to get another 8 years out of it.

This wasn't an easy or flip decision. Lisa actually asked the question "Why not a Mac??" To which I replied , "hmmm ... why not?" Especially considering the "Vista" alternative. I'd do anything to avoid selling my soul to the evil empire.

You may be asking: "Why not Linux Mr. geek??" Well ... I'm not going to be the primary user ..... and Lisa is already familiar with Photoshop and all of her other tools .... FOSS works well for me but it may be a little rough around the edges for Lisa ... and she has a very low tolerance for computers that don't do what she wants them to do :) (Remember the scene in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home when Scotty picked up the mouse on the computer and said "Ah how quaint" )

We set up a "personal shopping" appointment with the Apple store in Lehigh Valley. The system we considered was a 20 iMac. I probably would have upgraded to the 2.4Ghz model and brought the memory up to 2GB. The price would have been somewhere in the $1800 range.

The Machine is sweet to look at ... has a very friendly user interface .... runs a variant of BSD Unix underneath so it had plenty of geek appeal for me. Lisa liked it, the built in apps for music, video, and photo work looked easy to use. We were seriously considering it.

As nice as it was I couldn't get passed the price/performance ratio .... for the same amount of money I could get a fully tricked out PC. I don't mind paying a premium for quality ... and in many cases I prefer it ... but it just seemed like to big of a gap.

I ordered the HP M9100T.

#posted by Rob Roschewsk @ 12:18 PM

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Earth-Moon Rise



More photos from HiRISE / MRO. This one, a portrait of the land it left behind, the Earth-Moon system as seen from Mars. With any luck, the view my grandkids may have someday.

Props to the badastronomy.com blog which probably got "dugg" to death!

#posted by Rob Roschewsk @ 8:17 PM

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Multitasking doesn't work ....

Multitasking is all the rage in today's society. Not only are we being expected to do more .... we need to do more things simultaneously. In work meetings have been replaced with conference calls. It used to be that we had conference calls because the team was geographically diverse ... and then I realized I was having conference calls with people that all worked in the same building as me. Now it seems we never have face-to-face meetings anymore just so we can sit on the phone and "multitask" at our desks. Well studies have been done and the results are in .... guess what ... multitasking does not work. Surprised??? During the average work day, we are interrupted every 3 minutes, and on top of that we usually don't resume the task we were working on for 20 minutes. It ends up that because of this 3 minutes on 20 minutes off cycle the tasks we're trying to perform lack "deep thought" and it ends up we don't do ANYTHING very well.

For more, check out this CBC Radio "Quicks & Quarks" segment.

#posted by Rob Roschewsk @ 1:38 PM

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Avalanche!!!


When you're good you can send a mission to Mars to take incredible high resolution images of the surface from orbit. When you're lucky too you can catch a Martian avalanche in the images as well. The High Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was tracking seasonal changes on Mars' North Pole when it inadvertently captured an image of an avalanche.

SPACE.COM: Avalanche Photographed on Mars

#posted by Rob Roschewsk @ 6:01 AM

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Nick's First YouTube Video

Nick is hooked on Lego animations so he decided to try one of his own ....

#posted by Rob Roschewsk @ 9:30 PM

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Sysinternals

Don't take this the wrong way .... I'm not fan of Windows. I think I've just matured and come to grips with the fact it's here and I need to be able to work with it. Kind of like Republicans.

That said I just want to make a plug for Sysinternals.

Sysinternals was a website set up by Mark Russinovich in 1996 to host his Windows tools. The tools are so good the site has been acquired by the evil empire itself. No telling what the future will bring ... be that as it may I've used some of the tools on this site to solve more than one problem on the home Windows box.

My favorite tool so far is:
Process Explorer - shows information about what processes are running and how they were started as well as all sorts of other nifty information like DLLs, threads, performance stats. Using process explorer I am able to track down what stats a process (service, program) and prevent it from starting. Great for cleaning up all those phantom processes left over by packages you no longer use.

#posted by Rob Roschewsk @ 1:37 PM

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Process Explorer is like the Swiss Army Knife for Windows. I don't know anyone you can be a regular user of the O/S without it... great little invention.

# posted by Blogger Mike @ 6:33 PM 

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