Tuesday, May 26, 2009

People are slime...

or another word starting with 's'.

I was hoping to write a really different blog today, but reality got in the way.

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I took in a stray cat from the streets that a friend told us about -- a pregnant female. She was called "Mona", because her meow sounded like she was moaning.

The next day we got her to the vet. Nope not pregnant. Not even close. "Mona" was a neutered boy...

Cleaned up, dewormed, treated for fleas, "Mona" was now "Moe." And we took him out for his first "cat pimping" outing. At Petsmart, he looked pretty in the playpen and was active. One couple almost adopted him, but he lost out to a snowshoe siamese lap cat.

The next weekend, I was doing other things, and didn't take the foster babies out.

Then, last Tuesday, a woman looking through at the Stray Cat Blues website sent an email, saying that she was almost certain that Moe was her lost cat, Bentley. And her 4 year old daughter missed her cat.

I sent her more pictures. We made arrangements that I would bring Moe to Petsmart on Saturday, and she would come and positively identify Moe.

On Saturday, I was eager and waiting. But, an hour after she said she would be there, nothing yet. Call and leave voicemail (including phone number). Wait more hours. Try calling again (went to voicemail, but leaving 1 was enough). After a full day there, Moe was going home with me, and nobody had stopped in to see if Moe was their lost cat.

It's now Tuesday. Still no email or phone. If I thought I had found a lost cat, especially one that was a 4 year old daughters pet, I would make damned sure that I checked it out. And if I looked closely at the pictures and decided that this really wasn't the cat, I would at least let the people know that.

As part of cat rescue, we've seen just about everything, including cats thrown out a 4th story window. This is minor in comparison.

People are slime...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ever want to take a picture...

...and all you have is a piece of paper and a roll of film?

No, me neither...

But, it can be done.

It's called a pinhole camera. If you trace the rays coming from a distant object through a tiny hole into a box, you see that the object is focused. If you put a piece of film inside the box, it will be exposed.

So, try it. You can make a mock 35mm camera with the instructions here. And check out the rest of the page, too.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Computational Search Engine Fail...

Wolfram Alpha launches today. It's supposed to be an "intelligent" search engine that can pull together information to answer your questions, not just provide websites that match your keywords.

But, being a good little geek (and with a little nod to Abstrusegoose), I though I would try to break it.

Best Star Trek Captain
fails miserably. It doesn't know what to make of the question.

OK, let's try something simpler
Is Angelina Jolie Hot.
Nope, still nothing.

But, humor aside, it doesn't work as a "search engine". Try searching on "c compiler" and it has no idea what to do.

But, if I enter "23.34 * 1.27" into google, it does know what to do with it.

Nice idea, but chances are I'd type any question into google first, since between it's built in calculator and billions of web page indices the answer is probably already out there. And it won't tell me it doesn't understand the question.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I feel like being a geek...

Actually, I feel like taking a sledge hammer to the prototype board, and deleting with extreme vengence all the source code, including the network backups.

But, that probably isn't a good idea in this job market...

So, instead I think I'll go watch Star Wars.

In glorious ASCII.

Yup. I'm not insane (well, no more than usual).

Make a big bowl of popcorn, fire up your computer, and telnet to towel.blinkenlights.nl and watch the show...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fanboy time...

OK, despite being busy, I found time last night (May 7, 2009) to catch an IMAX showing of the new "Star Trek" movie with my wife.

We both liked it.

But, despite that, it's not an EXCELLENT movie.

This movie tried to do several things at once:
* Introduce us to the start of the USS Enterprise saga

* Give us fresh young actors in place of our aging heroes

* Reboot the franchise in a way that will not cause the continuity freaks to have kittens

* Be a "summer blockbuster" to bring in more than just the trekkies
(or trekkers...)

* Be "Star Trek"

That's a tall order. They seemed to do this by throwing plot to the wind (the first half actually seems to follow a plot. This did not carry through into the second half).

They also tried to "compress" the evolution of the characters into one movie, so that everything that comes after this is back to the Star Trek universe we all know. This results in weird stuff like a "about-to-be-kicked-out-for-cheating" cadet somehow winding up captain of a starship in the space of a couple of days...

Physical reality was thrown out the window (even more than the original 60's TV series) to make for better eye candy.

On the other hand, the writers have a great knowledge of Star Trek and the characters, and showed us their love of the universe (mostly... Chekov was way too far over the top...). There were cheers in the audience when lines were spoken ("I'm a doctor, not a physicist...", for example). The casting was damned near perfect, and kudos to Bruce Greenwood for a Captain Christopher Pike that brought a maturity and sense of purpose to a noisy, busy film.

So, my recommendation: See the movie on the big screen. You'll love the visuals. And the actors.

And hope the next installment brings in some of the thoughtfulness and philosophy of the original series.