Archive for May, 2008

Thought: The Sociology Book I Would Write

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Feminism and Fidel: the beard’s role in rebellion, and the forbidden allure of machismo

Che GuevaraIt would trace the long history of hirsuteness in rebellious youth-cults, be it anarchy, communism, or al qaeda, and combine it with an evolutionary-anthropologic exploration of the nature of competition for reproductive rights in the 18-24 year-old demographic.

Alternately I would call it “Gals and Guevara“…

Thought: Behind the times

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

So my friend gives me crap for running an older (but still supported) version of Ubuntu. “Upgrade” he says. “Your packages are behind the times” he says. “Nerds will laugh at you” he says.

Who’s laughing now, bitches.

My favorite is the long thread of hatement about this. Having done similarly (but not as spectacularly) stupid things, I’m going to say the onus is upon the Debian contributor. There was a line of code inside an #ifndef PURIFY block, which set off valgrind. So the guy probably greps the source for that code, sees it in two places, and doesn’t think “Hmm… Only one’s diked out if you’re running -DPURIFY, maybe I should only dike that one out and test”. He just dikes them both out because they’re not well documented and they look like they do the same thing. As a result, the problematic one (marked as problematic by the distributor) is fixed, but the non-problematic one gets broken. All because no-one spent time deliberating.

Which comes to my point about running an older “stable” version: When you don’t know how something works, you should proceed with the maximum amount of caution.

(note: This advice doesn’t apply to children. That’s how parents who keep their precious babies wrapped up and hidden from the deadly daystar end up having kids with rickets. Raise ‘em feral, I say. You can go all Lord Greystoke on them later)

Review: Nikon SB-600 Speedlight: the two-sentence review.

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

So I got a new SB-600, which works as a remote flash with the D-80 and up. It’s awesome, but it needs one feature: it should automatically go into remote mode when you remove it from the hot-shoe, and come out of remote when you plug it back in.

Review: Oh Vista 64…

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

So I just installed Vista 64 on my thinkpad tablet, which is only notable because a year ago, I tried Vista 32-bit on my brand-new Dell XPS 710 and hated it. On the Dell–which by all measures was “super bad-ass“–it was slow and annoying and never really worked right with my Samba domain login (and this was Vista ‘Business’, mind you). I ranted about it at length on the interblags.

But a year later, with the 64-bit version and a spanky new Service Pack, it’s all changed. There’s drivers for all my hardware on Windows Update, there’s not four dialog buttons to click to delete a file, and I can use all 4 delicious gigabytes of RAM.

The memory thing is the biggest part: since Vista “uses” something like 800 megs of RAM just sitting there looking pretty, it’s hard to accept that I only have 2 gigs of 4 installed to use. Which makes me wonder why Microsoft wasted our time with a 32-bit version. They should’ve released Home Basic as 32-bit and all the other versions as 64. I mean… Vista drivers were already a scant resource when it rolled out. If they’d just told us up-front that things would suck but be totally worth it, it might’ve been an easier pill to swallow.

Also, the Tablet PC options are a major upgrade. The handwriting recognition is nearly prescient. (Even if it does think that ‘heh’ isn’t a word, and should be ‘bch’.) Being able to answer an IM that pops up while you’re sketching in photoshop–without rotating the screen–is fantastic. Not only that, but being able to write it, in cursive, without even thinking. I approve.

The only thing I really wish vista had was a way to quickly say “pause indexing” or perhaps “don’t index unless this computer is plugged in”. (Though… actually it may do that. I just got tired of watching the drive light spin after copying over my 40 gigs of documents, and turned it off.) And Readyboost and SuperFetch bring nothing to the table for me, except spinning the drive while I’m trying to work. Yes, thank you for reorganizing blocks when I open programs, but honestly, my drive is slow and you’re not really buying me anything… hell it might actually be faster to zig-zag the blocks since I bet the seek time is better than the rotational latency… Look into that.

But I tell you, vista 64 is indeed totally worth it. And I take it all back. Welcome to the future.