They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

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Entropy Issues


Don't talk to me about Entropy. I had this entry almost ready to go and moused on the wrong X -- thought I was killing the Preview box but killed the Mozilla session instead.

Good move.

Why Did They Bother?

After all the upheaval of moving my campus e-mail from the VAX to the lousy new web-based e-communications site, after all of two whole weeks, I find that they have installed an entirely different web-based e-mail suite. Gee, guys, don't I feel like I've had a good time learning a new system and setting up options, only to have a totally different setup, with different options -- and oh-by-the-way, all my deleted e-mails are back and I had to delete them all over again because we never got the one month expiration and auto-destruct of deleted e-mails...

Geesh. Whatta waste of time.

Several have wondered if I can use some other system like Thunderbird -- and the answer is probably "yes", but since I move around a lot and might not be on one of my own systems, including PDAs on WiFi, I thought it best to learn the new system.

Doesn't the university, which pays my salary, think I have "better" things to do than keep on upgrading my e-mail -- which I didn't want upgraded in the first, damned place?

Ooops, Sorry!

As we wait the last few hours before NASA tries to resume manned space flight, we heard last night about the window protector panel which, uh, fell and damaged some tiles near the orbital engines at the base of the Shuttle's tail.

I tell you, entropy is a bitch.

UPDATE: They've called off today's launch attempt. Faulty fuel sensor. You might think that's not all that important, but the Shuttle's main engines have turbo pumps which run at tremendous speed -- they require the cryogenic liquid fuels to cool themselves and keep from melting/tearing themselves apart. If the computers thought they were running out of fuel prematurely, they might decide to shut down the engines, leaving the Shuttle in any of several dangerous Abort and Return scenarios. RTLS -- Return To Launch Site -- involves jettisoning the "stack" with the external tank and solid rocket boosters while upside down and then trying to glide back to the Cape. MECO Press to (Site) involves Main Engine Cut Off and trying to make it to one of the landing sites on the other side of the Atlantic: Rota (Spain), Dakar (Africa) or Press to Orbit using the Onboard Maneuvering System (OMS) engines.

Trust me. Caution on the bad sensors is a good thing -- much more problematic than having the Check Engine light come on your dashboard of your car...

Bzzz, Zzzzoom

There is this fly -- some big noisy fly -- which has been around for a week or so, assuming it is just one -- and it goes up and down the corridors of the Physics Dept. and takes a turn in various offices which happen to be open.

Now sometimes I am real death on flies, but this bastard will not light on anything, so I can't do my patented Kung Fu Fly Clap Of Death maneuver on it.

It didn't come by yesterday, so I thought maybe it was gone. But maybe it just found someone else to love or got caught behind a closed door.

Of Course It's Not Available Here Anyway

Imagine a Windows XP Pro machine about 6-1/2" x 4-1/2" x 1" and weighing 1.2 pounds. I was just reading about the Sony VAIO VGN-U71p. It's an odd combination of touch screen, PSP-inspired thumb controls for mouse actions, etc., and an external folding keyboard, so it's like an oversize PDA which isn't running some Pocket Version of software but The Real Thing. There are people in Japan, Hong Kong and Europe who will sell them to Americans -- about $2400 and so way out of any discretionary funding of mine -- but there's something awesome in seeing pictures of something that small which apparently really works. And this is sort of the third version of the machine, so it's not like a first-off glitchy mess.

A lot of people complain about Sony's pricing and their continued use of Memory Sticks. I dunno -- I have Sony laptops, a tiny Sony camera and a Sony digital voice recorder for dictation which all take Memory Sticks and find them pretty useful. Our HP photo printers have slots for Memory Sticks, so I don't see what the big deal is. Oh, yeah, that price thing.

Frankly, most of the Sony products I've ever owned have had decent engineering, sturdy construction and (trying to resist sounding like a shill for their website) a certain style which is lacking in a lot of other people's gear. If you don't like Sony -- and I don't for all things -- then don't buy Sony.

But that U71p is awfully cute...

In The P.O. Box

Besides junk mail, fliers and a bill, got a new issue of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet and a similar-sized envelope with a pretty blue butterfly on it from Australia -- first issue of my subscription to Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. The LCRW is fairly bursting with things stuffed into the pages and held closed with tape. The first issue I got on my subscription came in a big envelope with a book I ordered -- this one came on its own. I wonder how they ship if you get the subscription which includes a bar of chocolate with each issue?

The pretty mailing envelope from the Australian Post reminds me that many of the national postal systems do a nice job of making un-boring stamps and such available. The USPS provides some excellent envelopes for things like Priority Mail and Global Priority Mail, but they aren't artistic, just highly functional. And the USPS does have some decent stamps, yet they also do some monochromatic jobs such as the 23cent, 60cent and 83cent stamps which can be hard to read, let alone "admire" the artwork.

Now that I'm getting mail from around the globe -- okay the U.K. and Australia -- I have to say that I've gotten some really nice stamps from both countries.

London Hurts

My heart goes out to the families of the missing in London. The bombing sites in the Underground are being treated as crime scenes and the work is going very slowly and they haven't recovered all (most of) the victims.

Dr. Phil

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