Showing posts from February, 2006

Never bet against Egan

Saw this float across the blogosphere a few days ago: Quantum computer works best switched off This should come as no surprise to anyone who's read any Egan , especially Permutation City . The premise of which is that it really doesn't matter if a computation is actually performed or not, as long as it is computable.

Tagged Part 2: Four Movies, Four Places

I'm back in Seattle now. Su & C fly up tomorrow morning. One last picture from SF - yes, those houses. When we lived in SF I went past them practically every day on the bus into downtown. I promise actually respectable photos when Susan does an upload. So the challenge is to list four movies I could watch over and over again. I think one metric is "what movie would I not turn off even if it had been on TV over and over and over again". I also thing anything in the last 5 years gets an automatic veto - these sorts of things need to age. Star Wars - yes, I'm a geek. I wouldn't have listed this, though, unless I'd watched it recently to show Caspian. Note that I'm talking specifically about Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope , not the others. It is really, really good. Okay, it starts slow, but the acting, attention to detail, cinematography and everything is just beautiful. I just wish Lucas would release it on DVD without the Special Edition changes. The


SF MUNI is making their money on us this weekend, and it's a good thing Caspian likes public transit. We started off the day heading to the Palace of Fine Arts . Only the "Birds Eye" feature of Windows Live Local (nee MSN Virtual Earth) comes close to doing this justice in pictures. We wandered around, Susan took pictures with our real camera and I snapped these with my phone. I'm beginning to like the look of the cheap camera - the pictures come out "pre-aged" due to the low resolution, fixed focus, and poor light gathering. Or maybe I'm just rationalizing. Caspian fed a swan, which tried to steal his stuffed tiger, and talked with some artists who were setting up easels to paint "pofa" as Caspian has taken to calling it. We didn't go into the Exploratorium since Seattle has a great science center and C wouldn't appreciate the difference yet. We wandered over to the Marina to grab lunch and sit and enjoy the scenery - the One True

Walking and Weirde

I'm in San Francisco for a few days. Su and Caspian came down early on Wednesday and spent Wednesday at Ocean Beach by way of the Arguello Super , I followed them down after work. (Aside: the Arguello Super was half a block from where we lived in 96-97. We became big fans of their Dutch Crunch bread and Susan was particularly partial to their turkey sandwiches. We've raved about it to friends ever since then, and tell everyone we know who goes to SF to stop by. Their bags now say "Home of the world famous turkey sandwich" - I'd like to think we contributed to that.) On Thursday I was off on my own and took some bad mobile phone pictures in North Beach and the Financial District; they took the cable car and bus out to Golden Gate Park (with another stop at Arguello Super). I joined them shortly after lunch and we wandered around until we found the Carousel (not open yet) and playground (under construction) then back to the Conservatory of Flowers . Now, bear in

Tagged! Part one: Four Jobs

Oh crud, I've been tagged by Sarah . I'm going to have to spread this out a bit since life is a bit hectic. And I have a lousy memory. Four jobs I've had, huh? I think I've only had four that have fallen off my resume: Writing software for my Junior High School - a hockey pool manager for my shop teacher, and an teacher/student optional course schedule manager for the school. (Speaking of Junior High School, that gives me my first tagee - Arif . I'll finish everything and then go tagging.) Page at the Calgary Public Library Periodicals Section, meaning I put magazines away. Lots and lots of cool archived magazines going back almost a hundred years, though. Help Desk Weenie at the University of Calgary . Trivia: I had exactly the same job as James Gosling of Java fame. When he first made the news, all of the staff told stories about him working at the help desk. Wow, I even worked on this  - my first brush with the law. Part time liason/consultant between the U

Rolled up the King!

We have all the cousins and only need to find one more present, but Su and I hit a new milestone in We (Heart) Katamari last night - I successfully rolled up the King of the Cosmos. If you haven't played Katamari Damacy, this doesn't make any sense. If you have played Katamari but not the sequel, you're probably saying "Whaaaa?" And if you've played We (Heart) Katamari, you probably got there long before we did. But boy was it nice to hit 3200m, bump into him and see him bouncing away before we rolled him up. Yay! Anticlimactic, though. I was hoping we'd get to put dad in his place and start giving him an inferiority complex. "There is no 'why' in Katamari." - Susan to Caspian

Don't we want small children to recognize the difference between a picture and a real person?

Well, maybe, maybe not. This quote comes to us from The Irascible Professor , commentary on the challenges of contemporary education in the US, sometimes California specifically. Each week features a guest commentary by someone in the education "biz" (irony intended). This week it's about computers in classrooms, that quick fix for all your problems: The Irascible Professor-commentary of the day 02-05-06. The silicon bullet. I was talking with my friends Cory and Sarah on Friday and kids/education/virtual reality came up. One of my comments was that in fiction portraying purely digital beings (e.g. Egan 's Diaspora ) the beings have a home space ("scape") that is tailored to their particular tastes. That's fine for "grown ups", but what sort of "childscape" is necessary to allow a child to develop that in any way resembles its parents? Resembling your parents isn't necessarily a desirable trait; the most successful inhab