February 17th, 2010

Odd Lots

  • Several people have asked why I didn't post any photos from the big 4-day dog show in Denver, and I must admit (with profound annoyance) that my camera bag vanished sometime on Monday, and both of my digital cameras were in it. That's a Canon G10 and a Nikon CoolPix S630, and with the biggish SD cards I put in them, it's close to a $1000 loss. Neither the hotel nor the National Western Complex recovered the bag, so I can only assume it was stolen during the show, and with it went all the photos we took through Sunday night.
  • Slashdot reports that 80% of all software exploits during the fourth quarter of 2009 were malicious PDF documents. I've been a Foxit user for some time, but as Foxit becomes more popular, the bad guys will begin exploiting its flaws as well. (There is evidence that this has already happened.) It may be time to test software like Evince and Sumatra, both of which are available for Linux and Windows.
  • As I write this, you have eight hours to bid on the Compaq II machine that Anders Hejlsberg used to develop Turbo Pascal 4.0. The proceeds from the auction go to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. It's one of those green-screen luggable that I always admired, but bidding is currently at $2025, yikes. (Thanks to the many who pointed this out, with Larry O'Brien being the first.)
  • Something confirming a phenomenon that I've noticed: Food expiration dates are conservative, and most food is good for a reasonable period after they supposedly time out. Still, after expiry, your nose is your stomach's best friend.
  • For whatever it's worth, here's a list of the top-grossing movies of all time, with inflation-adjusted values. (Thanks to Frank Glover for the link.) Unsurprisingly, Gone With the Wind still beats all comers with a mind-boggling 1.5 billion dollars, the though the original Star Wars is right behind it at $1.3B. What's worth noting is that all but six films in the top 14 were either Disney animation or special-effects extravaganzas. (It's all but five if you think the opticals in The Ten Commandments were significant, as I do.) Lesson: We don't go to the movies to watch unpleasant people screaming at one another.
  • Also from Frank comes a pointer to a short item suggesting that we kiss to enforce reproductive monogamy by developing immunities to one another's specific viruses. I'm not sure I buy it either, but evolution has done far weirder things than this.