09 9 / 2014
24 8 / 2014
"Bluetooth is a very well designed standard that is actually very reliable, and keeps its transmission rate well below what the current SNR will support, unlike wifi. The *problem* is cheap manufacturers who buy second rate parts for their bluetooth transceivers since 1) most people don’t use their bluetooth functionality and 2) most people won’t know why since bluetooth doesn’t provide signal strength indicators. The manufacturers cheap out like this because there’s no minimum standard for bluetooth devices, nor a common test that all devices need to pass."
22 8 / 2014
08 8 / 2014
21 7 / 2014
On September 1, 1983, Korean Airlines flight 007, a Boeing 747 with 269 passengers, was shot down over the Sea of Japan. At about 6am that morning, I arrived at my summer job at the American Embassy in Tokyo where my task was usually to start up the computer which had been turned off over night. But on this morning, I realized the system was already engaged and that a surprisingly large number of workstations had been left on over night. While rare, I had seen this pattern before when a Washington deadline for information was looming.
17 7 / 2014
From this AskScience thread, “What happens when I take a USB drive out without ejecting?”:
When you eject a USB drive, the operating system flushes all buffered data to the drive and closes the software device. This guarantees that everything you wrote to the drive is actually physically written there. If you do not do this, you stand a chance of losing data or corrupting files.
But… this doesn’t affect Windows users:
Interestingly, Windows disables write caching for “removable” devices by default because the developers of the OS figured that most people are likely to just yank it out without “safely removing” the device first. (You can examine the write caching in the Device Manager > Properties > Policies tab of any of your disk drives.)
Note: you can still mess up your USB drive if it’s FAT32 formatted… So please use a modern file system!
16 7 / 2014
Cool piece of MS history…
“It’s a widespread convention that the Ctrl+F keyboard shortcut initiates a Find operation. Word does it, Excel does it, Wordpad does it, Notepad does it, Internet Explorer does it. But Outlook doesn’t. Why doesn’t Outlook get with the program?
Rewind to 1995.
The mail team was hard at work on their mail client, known as Exchange (code name Capone, in keeping with all the Chicago-related code names from that era). Back in those days, the Ctrl+F keyboard shortcut did indeed call up the Find dialog, in accordance with convention.
And then a bug report came in from a beta tester who wanted Ctrl+F to forward rather than find, because he had become accustomed to that keyboard shortcut from the email program he used before Exchange.
That beta tester was Bill Gates.”
04 7 / 2014
03 7 / 2014
03 7 / 2014
“What makes a computer seem human isn’t how we perceive its intellect but its affect. Can it display frustration, surprise or delight just as we would? A computer scientist friend of mine makes that point by proposing his own version of the Turing Test. He says, “Say I’m writing a program and type in a couple of clever lines of code — I want the machine to say, ‘Ooh, neat!’ “ That’s the goal of the new field called affective computing, which is aimed at getting machines to detect and express emotions. Wouldn’t it be nice if the airline’s automated agent could rejoice with you when you got an upgrade? Or if it could at least sound that way? Researchers are on the case, synthesizing sadness and pleasure in humanoid that fall just this side of creepy.”
I’m actually okay with my computers not having feelings.