Black Saddlebags

Friday, August 11th, 2006

Dragonfly in flight over pond

Brooklyn Botanic Garden, August 11, 2006

A Corpse Grows in Brooklyn

Friday, August 11th, 2006

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden‘s Titan Arum, the Corpse Flower of Simpsons fame, just started blooming last night. This is the first one to bloom in New York City since the 1960s.

Titan Arum, Corpse Flower

It wasn’t nearly as stinky as I (or the garden staff) expected. However I did get strangely nauseous while looking at it. The power of suggestion, perhaps? Anyway, it’s blooming now. See it (and smell it) while you can. It should continue blooming through Saturday, and maybe Sunday (but probably not). The garden’s open till 6:00 P.M. and opens tomorrow at 10:00 A.M.

Flying Naked

Thursday, August 10th, 2006

Not a lot of technical details have surfaced yet about the latest alleged terrorist plot to blow up airplanes. However from what little has been revealed, it appears that the explosives were liquid and would be carried in hand luggage. I’m willing to bet that whatever they were using would not have been detected by X-ray machines and metal detectors. In fact, it very possibly could have passed a hand search if it were disguised as some similar but harmless liquid (milk, hand lotion, soda, etc.). Or maybe toothpaste or soap? According to the Guardian,

Thinking Different: Time Machine

Tuesday, August 8th, 2006

Watching yesterday’s Steve Jobs keynote at WWDC, the thing that really surprised me was Time Machine. Where has this been all my life? I am curious about some of the tech details. For instance, does it store diffs like CVS or only entire files? How do I securely delete something? Can I exclude large files I don’t want to back up to save space? (Update: Yes.) Can I specify redundant backups across multiple hard drives and network connections? Are the backups compressed? Can you backup to removable media? Is a .Mac subscription required? Will this backup system files or just home directories? (Update: Yes.) Will it create bootable backups? Do different file types require custom support, as with .Mac Sync? Can I back up network clients too? But overall these are only things a geek would think of and half of them only a geek would care about.

I wasn’t so impressed when I just heard about Time Machine, but when I actually saw it I was astonished. What surprised me was the user interface. This is decades beyond any other backup program I’ve ever seen. Once again, Apple threw out conventional thinking and designed something that’s actually easy to use. I don’t think other backup programs have changed in any significant way in the last 15 years. Why is only Apple able to think of things like this?

Blue Dasher

Monday, August 7th, 2006

Blue Dasher dragonfly, perched with torn wing

Brooklyn Botanic Garden, August 4, 2006

Eastern Amberwing

Monday, August 7th, 2006

Eastern Amberwing dragonfly perched

Brooklyn Botanic Garden, July 26, 2006