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July 8th, 2012

Odd Lots

  • I hit a milestone the other day: 40,000 words on Ten Gentle Opportunities, which is at least halfway there and maybe (if I'm willing to settle for a 75,000 word story) more than halfway.
  • One of my readers sent a link to a page describing how to install the Insight debugger under Linux Mint. As my ASM freak friends will recall, I no sooner described Insight in Assembly Language Step By Step, Third Edition than Debian pulled it out of their distribution. Supposedly this method will also work for newer versions of Ubuntu. I need to test the repository under both distros, and will report when I do.
  • There's a new nova in Sagittarius. (Is that redundant?) Mag 7.8--which is easy to see with binoculars, if you can separate it from the stellar mosh pit in which it appeared. Thanks to Pete Albrecht for the link.
  • Michael Covington sent a Google Ngram for the words "whosever" and "whoever's" indicating that "whosever" has been on the run for a couple of centuries. It became the minority player about 1920 and has been down in the mud since about 1960.
  • Ok, I agree: This is the most brilliant kitchen gadget since the salad spinner. Or before.
  • I used to do this a lot, though I haven't done it since 1977: pull the guts out of a photocopier. This guy's blog, by the way, is news to me but should be on every techie's blogroll. (Thanks to Jack Smith K8ZOA for the link.)
  • Haven't heard much about software radio recently. Ars Technica just had a nice overview piece on it. The hardware keeps getting better, but all the promised weirdness (including new types of pirate radio) hasn't happened yet. My theory: Wi-Fi is just a better weirdness magnet.
  • Foxconn is releasing a fanless nano-PC toward the end of summer, and I like the looks of it, at least if it's got something better than an Atom in it. Roughly 7.5" X 5.25" X 1.5". No optical drive. 5-in-1 card reader on the front panel. Under $300.
  • Talk about nutty brilliance for film promotion: RC drones in the shape of superhero-style flying people to hype the film Chronicle, which is evidently about...flying people. (Thanks to Pete Albrecht for the link.)
  • To inflate a Buckyball, just use a laser.
  • This sweet merlot (scroll down) was lots better than I thought it would be, especially for a hot summer evening's barbecue. May be hard to find outside Colorado. No least hint of concord grape, for you mutant-blueberry purists. About $15.
  • Yet another sign that we may be winning the Fat Wars: Fat-free dressing is bad for you.
  • Still yet another sign may be that the grocery store near our condo outside Chicago carries a sort of spreadable lard called "smalec." This is the best-kept secret in the food world; it took me ten minutes to even find a picture of it. It was brought here by Polish immigrants and is no less healthy than butter, though I have no clue as to its taste.
  • As if we didn't have enough to worry about, well, the latest home hazard is swallowing loose bristles from your grill brush. My brush is at least five years old and failing. Looking for another technique. (Again, thanks to Pete Albrecht for pointing it out.)
  • This sure sounds like a hoax, but there could be a zombie apocalypse theme park in Detroit's future. The concept suggests that time's about up for the zombie craze, so I'd better get my novel (which contains dancing zombies) shambling on to completion before the whole thing caves in.