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September 17th, 2012

Odd Lots

  • I've installed Lazarus 1.0 without mayhem, and have created a few simple programs with it. So far, no glitches. My recommendation is still cautious. Nonetheless, I'd be interested in hearing other people's experiences with the new release.
  • Carmine Gallo wonders why more people aren't doing image-rich PowerPoint presentations. Um...it's because drawing pictures is way hard compared to writing text. Why is there no mention of this either in the article or in the comments?
  • Here's a great timesaver: Instead of making political posts on Facebook, point to this. Done! Effortless! (Link courtesy S. Hudson Blount.)
  • And if that doesn't work for you, this may. (Link courtesy Jim Mischel.)
  • I guess the evidence is piling up: It's time to stand in front of the bathroom mirror and ask yourself: Does this political opinion make my head look small?
  • I'm glad that somebody else besides me noticed that The Atlantic came back from the dead mostly by publishing articles calculated to raise people's blood pressure. I was a very satisfied subscriber back in the 90s and early oughts, but I suspect now that I never will be again.
  • Don't believe what the MSM says about volcanoes. Or about DNA. Or maybe anything else.
  • Maybe we can give them (the MSM) something for Christmas this year. And then tell them to put a sock in it.
  • The article I mentioned in my September 8, 2012 Odd Lots about transistor radio manufacturers tacking unused transistors onto their circuit boards to up the transistor count was in fact "The Transistor Radio Scandal" by H. M. Gregory, in Electronics Illustrated for July, 1967; p. 56. Some manufacturers used transistors for diodes, which was maybe half a notch better. The article includes some mighty weird schematics, too. Worth digging for, if you have piles of old mags somewhere.
  • If our understanding of solar physics is accurate, sunspots might become impossible (at least for awhile) by 2015 or 2020. (Full paper here.) The magnetic fields that create sunspots have been getting weaker by about 50 gauss per year for some time. Field strength is now at about 2000; once that value hits 1500 gauss, some research suggests that sunspots may not form at all. This is not new news, but it's interesting in that it's a bit of poorly understood science that most of us will live to see confirmed or falsified. At any rate, I'm guessing we will not be working Madagascar on half a watt into a bent paperclip again for awhile, as the late George Ewing WA8WTE used to say.
  • I've identified a new trigger for Creeping Dread: Hearing the fans incrementally rev up on what was assumed to be an idle computer.