Daily Archives: March 3, 2008

Shall we end software patents? Please?

i-5720602d36f6bac8fc7cf76a321f276d-scream_red200.jpgESP is a new organization formed for the purpose of putting an end to the madness. The madness, of course, is the new corporate business model of patenting something utterly absurd, such as “click on something and something happens” or “computers can store data” or “tell the user there has been an error” … then you get a team of lawyers in expensive suits to take down all of your competitors by suing them for having the audacity to steal your ideas.ESP will be the ACLU of the software world. I hope they have a lot of money.Here is their press release, in part: Continue reading Shall we end software patents? Please?

Best Life Science Google Search Evah!

This is not new, but i is so good that I like to remind everyone of it once every eight months or so.i-fa6f46d09510f412e2ebc1adab575501-image.php.gifThis is the Minnesota Citizens for Science Education Real Science Search Engine.

This engine searches the whole web, including commercial sites, but omits several hundred carefully chosen creationist URLs. When you want to see the science, published books, professional societies, etc., but skip most of the creationist stuff, use this one.

The Origin of the Human Smile

i-292d5241115b67e27ce78512e86d1926-chimp_smile.jpgA colleague and grad student of mine, Rob, just sent me the following question, slightly edited here:

A student in my intro class asked me a good question the other day to which I had no answer. When did smiling cease to be a threat gesture? I have a couple of ideas. One is that with reduced canines, smiling became a way to say “look, I have small canines, I am not a threat to you.” The other is that smiling is based more on a “fear-grin” than a threat. Under this idea, smiling might have been a way of showing deference to others. If everyone shows deference, it would be egalitarian, until the one guy comes along who never smiles. Maybe that’s why bosses often don’t smile. … let me know when you have some free time to have lunch. Tuesdays andWed’s probably work best for me.

Good question, and good ideas as to a possible answer. I have a couple of other ideas to contribute…. Continue reading The Origin of the Human Smile

Does Apple Throttle The Competition, Microsoft Style?

i-adadfbca326e5a1894f73206ab52a3ab-apple_computer.jpgThe developers of Firefox ran into an interesting situation with Firefox 3.0 (in production). There are reasons for it to have run faster than Firefox 2.0 on a Mac, but in some ways it ran more slowly.After a great deal of research, they figured out why. Essentially, there is a thing that happens to software running on a Mac that does not use certain native Apple system software … causing it to run much more slowly. But a very simple change (which is somewhere between undocumented and very very poorly documented) in the software can fix it easily. Continue reading Does Apple Throttle The Competition, Microsoft Style?

Linux Magic

Let’s say you want to make a directory tree in Linux a few directories deep. You could do this:greg@greg-laptop:~$ mkdir tstgreg@greg-laptop:~$ cd tstgreg@greg-laptop:~/tst$ mkdir tstdeepergreg@greg-laptop:~/tst$ cd tstdeepergreg@greg-laptop:~/tst/tstdeeper$ mkdir evendeepergreg@greg-laptop:~/tst/tstdeeper$ cd evendeepergreg@greg-laptop:~/tst/tstdeeper/evendeeper$Or, you could be smart and do this: Continue reading Linux Magic

Airbus 320 Gone Wild

My colleague Christian Reinboth (Frischer Wind) sent me this amazing video. Christian says it has been circulating on the European YouTube circuit (which, from our American perspective could be known as “TheirTube“). It has been very windy in Europe lately, as you know from the amazing Wind Turbine Catastrophic Failure videos (Wind Turbines Gone Wild).This is an Airbus 320 trying to land in a very strong cross wind: Continue reading Airbus 320 Gone Wild

Best Buy will Sell Linux Computers

The Asus Eee Laptops being sold by Best Buy come featured with an Intel Celeron M Processor, 512 MB of DDR2 memory, 7″ widescreen display, 4GB solid state drive, built-in webcam, and the Linux operating system. Weighing in at only 2lbs, the laptop is great for day-to-day traveling. The hardware might not seem much, if you’re used to the high demands of a Windows-based PC, but for Linux, 512 MB of memory and a 4GB hard drive is plenty. You won’t be using the laptop for much server-based work or playing any 3D accelerated games, but that’s not what the laptop is about. It’s about having e-mail, internet, chat, word processors, and other applications that you need day-to-day while traveling, or working out of an office, or while on a trip.[Source]