January 12th, 2010

Odd Lots

  • We take digital clocks for granted, but this project may give you some perspective on just how difficult a challenge a digital clock really is. Absent integrated circuits, it takes over 1200 discrete electronic components to make a 6-digit digital clock. And you can get a kit.
  • Maybe RCA's engineers are having a little fun with us. It's hard to tell sometimes, but I still don't understand how this thing is not a hoax. I maybe know a little bit about both RF power physics (37 years in ham radio) and Wi-Fi. If there's a place in the world with enough Wi-Fi hotspots to make that little box generate useful power, please tell me where, so I can be sure never to go anywhere near it.
  • Several people have noticed that my author bio photo on Amazon has been replaced by someone else's. Most oddly, the photo is of my old friend Jon Shemitz of Santa Cruz, who's done some very good books on Kylix and .NET 2.0. I've been trying to get Amazon's attention for a couple of weeks now, no luck yet.
  • Classmates.com did it again: They sent me an email asking whether I'd like to reconnect with a girl from my high school class. As I've said before, Lane Tech High was all-male until several years after I graduated, so there was no Teresa Mazzerelli in my class--nor does she appear in the alumni directory. One I could call a database error. Two I call fraud. Don't give these guys your money.
  • Malt is my favorite ice cream flavor, but it's very hard to come by. Several companies have offered it in the last ten or twelve years, including Meadow Gold and Boulder, but the flavor has always vanished after a few months. I guess I may just have to make my own.
  • Sprint may be partnering with Wal-Mart to put WiMax nodes on top of every single Wal-Mart in the country. This is not the first time I've heard this, and have reported on it before, but having had some experience with something a little like WiMax, I think it could be a huge moneymaker for Wal-Mart if they don't let the control freaks at Sprint ruin it.
  • From the Words-I-Hadn't-Heard-In-Thirty-Years-Until-Yesterday Department: bildungsroman, a coming-of-age novel. Why, then, does it suggest erecting a shrine to the Emperor out of cow pies?