Great Backyard Bird Count Kicks Off

Friday, February 16th, 2007

Despite the cold weather I made a quick spin around the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and Prospect Park Lake for the Great Backyard Bird Count. My best birds were a Northern Pintail that’s been hanging out in the lake and one male Bufflehead, both the first reported in new York State for this count. The wind off the lake was bitterly cold so I didn’t stay out long, but I did tally 22 species and close to a thousand individual birds (mostly gulls and geese):

Vents on Top?

Friday, February 16th, 2007

Loop Rumors reports that “Unlike today’s Mac Pros, the cooling system will direct hot air through vents at the top of the machine, much like Apple’s Cube of yesteryear.”

I expect and hope that Loop Rumors is wrong. The problem with vents on top is that I (and many other users) put things there.

3 hard drives, TV adapters, memory card reader, and a USB hub sitting on top of a PowerMac G5

Putting the exhaust vents on top blocks useful space. By contrast the space on the back of the machine where the vents are now is relatively free.

Stuck on the Ground Again

Friday, February 16th, 2007

How many more stories like this one are we going to have to hear before Congress does something? The fundamental problem is that it is cheaper and simpler for the airlines to keep passengers crammed in deep vein thrombosis-inducing seats for ten hours on the slim hope that they might be able to take off than to allow them to get off the plane. Never mind what the passengers want.

Here’s a modest proposal: any plane that spends two hours on the ground after passengers have boarded must return to the terminal and disembark. No exceptions. No leeway for “We’re now tenth in line” or “We think the weather’s clearing up now. Just a few more minutes.” If the plane isn’t taxiing down the runway, it goes back to the terminal. If the gates are full, then pull up the stairs and let the passengers walk. This would give passengers who want to leave or make other arrangements the opportunity. Other passengers could at least walk around, use a full-sized toilet, get something to eat or drink, and so forth.

Frankly I’m hesitant to suggest additional regulations for such a marginal industry that’s usually about one broken propeller away from bankruptcy, but sometimes the egregious nature of an industry’s own incompetence and customer hostility demands action, even if it pushes a marginal company or two over the edge.

Most Popular Stories

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

I just did a quick check with LogValidator on the pages at this site for Refactoring HTML. Besides telling you where the markup is screwed up, LogValidator also figures out which pages are the most popular. The results were not what I would have guessed. After throwing away index pages, favicon.ico’s, Atom feeds and the like it turns out the most popular story of the last year is:

Windows Vista Insecure By Design

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

Joanna Rutkowska rips through Windows Vista “security”. I wonder what she’d do to Mac OS X or Linux?

Harry Potter Pre-orders

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

Amazon’s taking pre-orders for the final volume in Harry Potter septology. (Is that even a word?). It’s $18.89 + shipping. If I were Amazon I’d raise the price a few bucks and offer “free” overnight shipping. For myself, I’ll probably wait till a friend finishes it, and borrow their copy like I have for the last couple of volumes. Probably won’t take any longer than shipping anyway. :-)

Oh, and if you think Dumbledore’s really dead, can I talk to you about this bridge I have for sale down at the end of Adams Street? Cheap.