On my way to work this morning, I was half-listening to NPR and picked up on the following snippet of commentary: “The 9⁄11 attack was shocking, but it should not have been surprising”. Hmmm…so, “shocking” but not “surprising”. Interesting distinction.
I have since become enchanted with two culinary devices: french butter dishes and egg coddlers. A french butter dish, which I have actually wanted for quite a while now, is a piece of pottery that holds butter and keeps it fresh outside of the refrigerator (thus keeping it soft and spreadable). It is still mysterious to me how exactly it works, but somehow, creating a seal with water, it keeps air out and thus prevents spoilage.
The latter artifact — the egg coddler — I discovered in an antique shopping expedition last weekend. Whilst perusing an antique shop that also sold many British foods and goods, I saw a pair of these adorable wonders. Apparently, you break an egg into the cups, close it, and drop it into boiling water, thus cooking (“coddling”) your eggs. You then eat the egg with condiments (like cream?). It sounded quite intriguing (although, I’m sure at least half of my enchantment has to do with the name — “coddling” my eggs just sounds absolutely precious). Unfortunately, the pair of egg coddlers I saw in the shop cost over $90 (which I found obscene), but I have since found more plain ones online for much less.
- Robustness and long-term stability and security.
- Transparency to determine when changes are needed and that undesired functions are not being performed.
- Ease and low cost of maintenance.
- Minimization of maintenance.
- Ease and low cost of modification.
- Ease of replacement.
- Compatibility and ease of integration with other applications.
- Long-term availability of individuals able to train, maintain, modify, determine need for changes, etc.
These qualities are not demonstrated by most commercial software, but the author suggests that they may be be met through open source.
Once again, I’ve decided to alter my blog quite a bit. I ended up liking the wallpaper I designed very much so…so I decided to redesign the look of my site to imitate it. I think it’s very sexy…
I also switched my blogging software to WordPress. I was using Greymatter — which I liked very much — but I took a look at WordPress and discovered it had a lot more bells and whistles (what sold me was the categorization and the blogroll features). Plus, if I recall, the guy who wrote greymatter ceased devloping it…so, there you go.
At any rate…forgive the look of this website as I am in the midst of transitioning between styles and weblogging software. Some of the miscellaneous pages on this site are in dire dire need of polishing.
Eeewww! And again (for emphasis)…eeww!
Intense boredom prompted me to make a slick fidlet wallpaper picture for windowmaker (although, it can be slapped behind ANY window manager). Click on the thumbnail below to see the full screenshot. Note that, besides the scanlines and fidlet logo, the picture is transparent, so that the background color that you have set will show through (mine happens to be black).
I think it looks very chic indeed…I despise busy backgrounds so, for me, this is appropriately simple and elegant. If you’d like the fildet wallpaper you’re welcome to download it here. And since I’m not so pretentious as to think that anyone would really care to have my logo plastered on their desktop, you can also get just the scanlines (just be sure to set your wallpaper settings to “tile”). (Note: To download these, right-click on the link and then “Save link to disk”. If you just click on the link, your browser will just open the picture, which itself will be almost impossible to see since it is transparent!)
I just discovered the best game ever (apparently, it’s been out since 1997, but I just happened upon it). Who wouldn’t love a game with robots and kittens?
In skimming a book I just checked out from the library — Simplicity Lessons — I became curious about a movement called New Urbanism, and subsequently looked it up on the internet. It’s a fascinating movement of urban development that began in the late 80’s and which was a reaction to “urban sprawl”. According to the movement, sustainable communities are designed such that everything one needs is within walking distance, and is designed with pedestrians and bikers (instead of merely cars) in mind. I think this is a wonderful idea…you may want to check out this nice article that explains the movement better than I. Here are the elements of a new urbanist community according to this article:
1) The neighborhood has a discernible center. This is often a square of a green, and sometimes a busy or memorable street corner. A transit stop would be located at this center.
2) Most of the dwellings are within a five-minute walk of the center, an average of roughly 2,000 feet.
3) There is a variety of dwelling types — usually houses, rowhouses and apartments — so that younger and older people, singles and families, the poor and the wealthy may find places to live.
4) There are shops and offices at the edge of the neighborhood, of sufficiently varied types to supply the weekly needs of a household.
5) A small ancillary building is permitted within the backyard of each house. It may be used as a rental unit or place to work (e.g. office or craft workshop).
6) An elementary school is close enough so that most children can walk from their home.
7) There are small playgrounds near every dwelling — not more than a tenth of a mile away.
8) Streets within the neighborhood are a connected network, which disperses traffic by providing a variety of pedestrian and vehicular routes to any destination.
9) The streets are relatively narrow and shaded by rows of trees. This slows traffic, creating an environment suitable for pedestrians and bicycles.
10) Buildings in the neighborhood center are placed close to the street, creating a well-defined outdoor room.
11) Parking lots and garage doors rarely front the street. Parking is relegated to the rear of buildings, usually accessed by alleys.
12) Certain prominent sites at the termination of street vistas or in the neighborhood center are reserved for civic buildings. These provide sites for community meetings,education, religion or cultural activities.
13) The neighborhood is organized to be self-governing. A formal association debates and decides matters of maintenance, security and physical change. Taxation is the responsibility of the larger community.
On slashdot, I read that Commodore (I didn’t even know that company was still alive) is coming out with thier own line of mp3 players. So giddy curiosity led me to their website, where I learned that they are going to be developing some new Commodore 64 products, including a game console!
This is intriguing, but completely baffling…I owned a Commodore 64 for about 10 years when I was younger, absolutely LOVED the system, and am STILL smitten with bittersweet nostalgia whenever I speak of it…but is Commodore seriously thinking that mere nostalgia will motivate people to buy NEW Commodore products 20 years later?! I admit that I myself am guilty of downloading the occasional C64 emulator in hopes of recapturing the magic, but this hope is soon sobered after about 5 minutes of poking around on the familiar blue screen when I realize that, however cool the system was then, compared to today’s technology it rather sucks. I imagine (indeed I HOPE) that these new “Commodore 64” products will be a bit more technologically sophisticated than those they developed in 1985, but I suppose we’ll see.