November 23rd, 2010

Odd Lots

  • Maxwell's Demon as Web comic. (Thanks to GMcDavid for the pointer.)
  • Here's a tutorial on adding a MicroSDHC card to the Nook ebook reader. Looks like a mechanically touchy business (be careful!) and nothing substantive is said about sideloading content on the inserted card. Sideloading of content is something I'm less and less willing to compromise on, as I do not want a censor between my slate and material that I want to read.
  • I'm due-ing diligence on the very impressive, Android-powered Nook Color, but the frontrunner in the Great Jeff Slate Project continues to be the Galaxy Tab, especially since Samsung is offering this keyboard dock. That said, Nook Color is the right idea for ebook freaks: Approach a general-purpose slate from the ebook side, starting with a killer ebook store and working toward everything else. (Supposedly, V2.2 and access to the Android app store is coming soon.) My view: Dedicated e-readers like Sony's and even Kindle will eventually give way to more general-purpose slates of similar size, though slates may "lean" toward one enthusiasm (like ebooks) or another.
  • Back in 1983 and 1984, I did about 10,000 words on a since-abandoned novel that included a species of road surface that charged your car's batteries as the car moves over the road. A pickup called the "board" (after surfboard) was suspended beneath a vehicle and hovered over the road surface via maglev to generate current like a linear alternator. I was pleased to see that Wired posted a news item on some guys in New Zealand who are developing almost precisely that. Not sure how well the math works out (especially with respect to infrastructure costs) but it's a cool idea. I added another small touch: Ohmic losses in the "voltway" surface kept it snow-free in winter.
  • Pope John Paul II was an idealist. Pope Benedict XVI is a pragmatist. My SF prediction: As he grows older and sees the problems besetting the Church getting no better and possibly worse, he will begin considering other reforms that his uncompromising predecessor would have considered impossible. Hey, Bennie! How 'bout Vatican 3!
  • People who have lots of moles have longer telomeres. Or at least look younger than they are. Carol and I are both so blessed, mole-wise, but I think it worked better on her than on me.
  • If you spend a lot of time in the car but off the Interstates, take a spin through RoadsideAmerica, a bemused compendium of eccentric stuff you can see on road trips. I liked the entry on smiley-faced water towers, since we pass one in Adair, Iowa every time we blast back and forth to Chicago. And Adair is far from the only one.
  • From the above site: When we left Arizona seven years ago, some people nodded and said, Cool! Colorado isn't as crazy as Arizona. Well...I'm not sure that's true.