Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Technological defeat.

I have a desktop on my bench.

It has been a bad computer, intermittent flakiness, weird networking problems, slowness and other strangeness.  I finally took it away from the suffering user, gave them a working machine and put on my bench to be tested.

I was pleasantly surprised when the first test revealed that it had a stick of memory, which not only explained all it's weird symptoms but was an easy fix.

Check to see if it is still under warranty, and it is!   But a quick call to the vendor and they want me to run their diagnostic to verify.

No problem, I reboot into windows and... I can't log in.

Keyboard and mouse not responsive in Windows.

*Fast Forward 2 hours*  Every keyboard or mouse combination I have has stopped working on this damn machine.  They work *before* Windows boots, work in the BIOS and if I boot of CD they work fine.

I don't want to have to try and reinstall the OS with bad memory... just so I can install the diagnostic to get the memory replaced.

Sorta related... no matter how you set the BIOS it is trying to boot off the network card first.. Which is starting to make me thing bad motherboard, not bad memory.

Still stuck.  *sigh*

*unrelated... When I am stopping to think about something I frequently stare out my window at the lovely little park across the street.  Sometimes I see dogs frolicking, sometimes I see people busking, occasional couples smooching and picnickers ummm picnicking?

Today there is a woman sitting in her car, obviously crying, wiping her eyes and gesticulating wildly.   Her wild arm motions are what caught my eye but what was really strange is how red she was.  I mean... cherry tomato  red.  It's a little alarming, I can only hope it is brought on by the heightened emotional and subsequent rising blood pressure and not say... some as of yet undiagnosed pigment changing plague.

Bright. Cherry.  Red.

Weird, but now she's driven off.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sci-fi reading list post.

As seen on Bayou Renaissance Man, a list of the top 100 NPR top Sci-fi as voted by listeners.

Ones that I've read in bold. *Edit*  and light blue...  bolding is barely readable in this layout.  Though it would have been faster to mark the ones I haven't read in fuchsia or similar.

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien 
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin (
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, by Stephen R. Donaldson  *First time I hated the main character in a book.
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey    *Tried to read it...
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson   *I am usually a big fan of Neal... three attempts to read this book
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe   *Not a fan of torture-porn, gave up on the first book.
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

Personally I would have added the Honor Harrington books to the list, if I had my druthers.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

We live in the future...

I could spend some time talking about the miracle anti-viral cure they are buzzing about, instant communication that allows people to track social changes real-time, or even the fact the flying cars are very nearly here.

No, instead I will point out the fact that the definitive reference of the English language, which is normally a 20 volume set that costs $1000 is available as a $13 phone app.

Yes, you can have the OED on your phone.

That's pretty amazing.

Now if you will excuse me, I have a dictionary to install...

*Edit*  Blech.  Someone pointed out that it may be dandy app but it is not in fact the OED.  If you read the reviews below you will see although it is a big dictionary it is not the complete OED and has no link to the web back-end that house the 20 volumes online.

Link removed.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Office Summer view.

I was about to e-mail a friend a link to the view out my office and realized the only picture I had was from when I started 6 months ago when everything was still covered in snow.

So here's a snow-free version for your enjoyment.