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November 2004

Schrodinger's cat

Ever since I went to a pumpkin carving party and mentioned
Schrodinger's cat
people have asked me what it is.

Well, I just got a call from some co-workers who were out and about having a good time (and they didn't invite me). They called to ask about, you guessed it,
Schrodinger's cat
So here is a much better explanation from Whatis.com (itself a very good website):

Schrodinger's cat is a famous illustration of the principle in quantum theory of superposition, proposed by Erwin Schrodinger in 1935. Schrodinger's cat serves to demonstrate the apparent conflict between what quantum theory tells us is true about the nature and behavior of matter on the microscopic level and what we observe to be true about the nature and behavior of matter on the macroscopic level.

First, we have a living cat and place it in a thick lead box. At this stage, there is no question that the cat is alive. We then throw in a vial of cyanide and seal the box. We do not know if the cat is alive or if it has broken the cyanide capsule and died. Since we do not know, the cat is both dead and alive, according to quantum law, in a superposition of states. It is only when we break open the box and learn the condition of the cat that the superposition is lost, and the cat becomes one or the other (dead or alive).

My explanation was pretty much on target, but I didn't know about the whole superposition thing.


This might explain why we couldn't purchase Adobe 6 today

Adobe Acrobat Professional 7.0 announced:

Adobe® Acrobat® 7.0 Professional software is the advanced way to create, control, and deliver more secure, high-quality Adobe PDF documents. Assemble electronic or paper files—even Web sites, engineering drawings, and e-mail—into reliable PDF documents that are easy to share with others using free Adobe Reader® 7.0 software.

I love the interweb

gottschalks.gifEven us english majors confuse then/than from time to time, and as I was writing a post for this very blog I momentarily forgot which witch was which. I turned to Google, and typed in 'then/than' and had my answer in seconds from Common Errors in English, a site maintained by Paul Brians, an English professor at Washington State Univeristy, and a fellow Mac user.

Paul Brians also has a page of Photo Tours. I took the tour of Tour WSU and the Palouse, specifically Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, and Moscow, Idaho. In Moscow, Idaho I found out about Gottschalks, which may be the best name for a department store I have ever heard of.

"Hey, where did you get that fly matching pant suit?"

"Why, from Gottschalks, of course."

That must be darned fun. Why does Idaho get all the fun?


Pepsi-Cola Holiday Spice

pepsi-holiday_spice.jpgAs I mentioned earlier, Pepsi is releasing a limited edition soft drink for the holidays. Here is a the The BevNET.com Review Pepsi-Cola Holiday Spice:

"Holiday Spice is a unique, limited-time offering from Pepsi. Based on normal Pepsi cola, Holiday Spice is, as the name implies, a spiced-up version of Pepsi. We're not entirely sure what "holiday spices" were used in this product, but the end result is a definite improvement over regular Pepsi cola. This reddish toned beverage has a sweet and slightly syrupy body with a mild spice and bite to the finish. The classic styled package is a big improvement over the often-sterile feeling of Pepsi's packaging. Even though the quality is mediocre at best, this product is worth trying if you are a Pepsi-drinker."

The official website offers up very little information, but rather tempts the reader with recipes that are 'coming soon.'

I am thinking of temporarily lifting the Pepsi Ban so I can drink one can of this stuff and report on it here. If I see any in the local Wawas I will document the experience for all to share in.


Filed under 'Wal-Mart is more evil than Microsoft'

What Wal-Mart Knows About Customers' Habits:

With 3,600 stores in the United States and roughly 100 million customers walking through the doors each week, Wal-Mart has access to information about a broad slice of America - from individual Social Security and driver's license numbers to geographic proclivities for Mallomars, or lipsticks, or jugs of antifreeze. The data are gathered item by item at the checkout aisle, then recorded, mapped and updated by store, by state, by region.

By its own count, Wal-Mart has 460 terabytes of data stored on Teradata mainframes, made by NCR, at its Bentonville headquarters. To put that in perspective, the Internet has less than half as much data, according to experts.

OK, I am officially creeped out by Wal-Mart (and I refuse to link to their website, take that faceless corporate entity!). You shouldn't shop at Wal-Mart, I know I don't.

First, they are anti-union (and my mother is in the union that they want to go away).

Secondly, they are driving increasing smaller margins are manufacturers, who in a quest to reduce costs must manufacture outside of the United States.

Finally, the smiley face is annoying.


Atlantis Found?

Lost city of Atlantis 'found' off the coast of Cyprus:

Robert Sarmast, an archaeologist and author of a book on the lost city, has located the centre of what he believes to be Atlantis, a "walled hillside" about a mile beneath the sea 50 miles off the south-east coast of Cyprus. A detailed sonar scan of the seabed has revealed what he believes to be man-made structures.

Mr Sarmast said the dimensions and configuration of walls and a canal on a hillside above a rectangular plain on the seabed "perfectly" matched the first known description of the fabled city by the Greek philosopher Plato. "There are walls, there are trenches, there are canals," said Mr Sarmast. "We have proven this is a match that cannot be coincidental."



The Grand Atlantic City Adventure

welcome_ac_small.jpgAll of a sudden I am doing interesting things, and taking part in day trips.  Where has my boring old life gone?

Yestersday, Dave asked me if I wanted to go to Atlantic City with him.  Having never been to AC (as the kids call it) I was intrigued, but last night it was cold and raining; a good day to stay home.

Dave picked up on my hesitation and suggested we go today, to which I promptly agreed.  It seems Dave had a bunch of quarters that he wasn't doing anything with, and he wanted to play the slots.

And play the slots we did!  Who knew there were such a variety of 'one armed bandits?'  Penny slots, nickel slots, quarter slots, dollar slots; the list goes on and on.

My favorite slot machine was the 'Price as Right featuring Plinko,' which any true Price is Right fan will tell you is the best game on the show.

While in the various casinos I took some pictures, and here they are for your enjoyment.

While in the casinos I saw several amusing things:

  • A woman wearing a 'I heart slots' pin
  • A guy dressed all in black with a large, diamond encrusted dollar sign hanging around his neck
  • David (3 meg AVI file)

Ahh, what a grand day.

 


Bluetooth Star Trek Communicator

As a Star Trek fan I have to link to this:

This Star Trek Communicator uses Bluetooth to connect to your cell phone as a hands free device, meaning you can keep your actual phone in your inside pocket (or secret stash fold if you're wearing the proper uniform) and use the Communicator like it was the real deal.

I must also admit that I thought about bidding on it, but I came to my senses.


The True Story of Audion

Everyone on the Mac web is linking to The True Story of Audion, written by the fine folks at Panic, and there is a good reason. This story of how their little MP3 player for the Mac almost became iTunes is fascinating:

That's Steve.. as in.. Jobs. Steve Jobs. Steven. P. Jobs. The guy.. who did the thing.. with the Apples and... in my INBOX.. Wozniak.. whoah. And he wants to know if WE are interested in throwing in with THEM? The guy who we basically owe our entire professional existence to, who basically created the very platform we want to hug, the computers we want to crush into little pure plump pieces of joy?

If you have ever wondered about the people that write the software you use everyday, read this story. Not only is it well written and humorous, but it is an interesting story to boot.


Wonder no more why Andy Ihnatko is my favorite tech writer

Andy on why he needed a new pen:

The NYC trip went really well. Alas, I need to get some work done so I can't write about it at length. I arrived at Penn Station at 2 PM and walked 13 blocks to the Art Brown International Pen Shop, where I had one of the best consumer experiences of my life and incidentally finally replaced the fountain pen that someone broke back in August, roughly ninety seconds after saying "Hey, can I borrow that for a second?" and three seconds before saying "I swear, that was totally an accident!". Good story, no time.

Now, I don't know Andy personally, but if there is one word that I would never use to describe him it would be succinct. Boy, am I glad he isn't though, because I enjoy reading what he serves up.


Some one from Macromedia should invite me to visit them

So I could go through this cool process:

on my ninth round, the receptionist kindly informed me that all i had to do was click the accept button after my photo appeared on the screen and my access badge would print out on the printer situated next to her. i realized this was her polite way of telling me to stop playing around on the computer and move-on already. i'm sure it didn't help that every time the webcam snapped my picture, the computer made a simulated retracting shutter noise. and i suppose it was kind of loud and annoying.

At my workplace you don't even need to sign in to visit anyone. You can just walk right in, and almost no one will stop you. Of course if I were cool enough to work on the second floor you would need the proper ID to enter. Alas, I am not cool enough, and I am unprotected from the unscheduled 'pop-in.'


Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger: Developer Overview

I know you are all as excited as I am about OS X 10.4, so take a look at Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger: Developer Overview:

The next version of Apple's powerful UNIX-based operating system, Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger, will be the most important release for developers since Mac OS X was first released in 2001. Tiger is loaded with a number of cutting edge technologies that translate into new and interesting opportunities for almost every type of developer. In fact, developers working with pre-release versions of Tiger—ADC Select and Premier members, and WWDC 2004 attendees—are already finding innovative ways to use the powerful new features, APIs, and frameworks.

Meat Fest 3

DaveandmauraDave, Maura and I went to Samba Churrasqueria & Night Club for their all you can eat 'Meat fest,' as we like to call it.

This is my third trip to Samba, and I must say it was very tastey.  It is a veritable parade of delicious meats, one right after another.  There was chicken, filet migon wrapped with bacon, turkey breast wrapped with bacon, garlic steak, skirt steak, sausages, chicken hearts (yep), and top sirloin.  To cap it all off there was grilled pineapple (which I didn't have because I don't like the pineapple).

MauralickAs you can see I took a couple of pictures, and as you can see it got a little crazy there.  I did't know I was on the menu tonight, but Maura couldn't wait to have a taste of my ear it seems.  I should point out that they also have a nice salad bar, but the meat is the star of the show.

Good food, good conversation who could ask for any more?


You know what Jesus loves; guns

Some sent this letter to the editor of the Morning Call:

I hope the election of George W. Bush is seen as a wake-up call to all the liberal Democrats who oppose God's will.

It is His doing that George W. Bush is still our president. Millions of born-again Christians helped win this election through our prayers and votes. Jesus speaks through the Republicans.

The Democrats will not be able to win elections until they renounce their sinful ways and stop encouraging abortions, gayness, and trying to take away our guns.

Earl Balboa

Washington Township

Earl, you're freakin me out.


HOW-TO: Play “movies” on an iPod photo

HOW-TO: Play “movies” on an iPod photo - Engadget - www.engadget.com:

Since we started playing with the iPod photo, most observers have asked us “can that thing play movies” the short answer is no, only music and photos—but the longer answer is “sorta, but not really anything worth calling a movie”. In this week’s how-to we’ll show you how to “play” a movie on an iPod photo by exporting frames of a movie, importing them to the iPod and playing them manually by click-wheeling through thousands of images, or even viewing 3d views of objects. Pointless? Yes, will a lot of people try this and put movie trailers and porn on their iPod photo? You betcha, and we’re here to help as always.

Blue, Red, Purple... who give a crap

SebiMeyer is a little paranoid:

This is probably nothing more than some military police humvees being moved to Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base. But after last week’s events it was still rather unsettling to see three military vehicles on the bridge between St. Petersburg and Tampa, all clearly marked as military police.


Maybe this is a sight I should get used to?

The event last week can only refer to Bush winning the election. Let's all keep in mind that Bush won by a clear majority, the people spoke and they disagreed with you.

The army is not going to be deployed in the US to keep the peace (and if it is any time soon on a large scale I will 'eat my hat' [good thing I happen to have a hat made of saltwater taffy for just such an occasion]).