2007 — 24 Feb: missing only the planet
Although it's Saturday, I'm catching up on yesterday's "Science Friday" on NPR which at the moment is grappling (in not a very advanced way) with the NASA Space Guard survey that, by the way, doesn't have the power to see, nor the money to do much about, earth impact satellites. They're talking about a particular little charmer of 300 metres diameter or so that is due to hit1 on (of course) a Friday 13th, though I'm afraid I missed the actual year. It's about 30 years away, I gather. (More here, courtesy of a near Earth neighbour/reader.)
I missed the original broadcast as I was busily soaking up the food, alcohol and work-related gossip on offer over in Rownhams. The heaviness of the eyelids this morning is a tribute to the success of the evening. (Indeed, there may even be a scale that could be calibrated.) Thank you, Lesley. Nice to see everyone even if the youthful vigour of some is in stark contrast to my retired sloth.
The natives aren't restless
If you think it's been a tad quiet round here today, you're right. That's the effect of shifting left logical all the audio kit up here (which I still haven't rewired yet) and unplumbing the Gateway Ubuntu box to shift into the doorway temporarily. That way I can move the HP Media PC to the left side of the desk and have enough room to put the iMac (did I mention it's gorgeous by the way?) on the right hand half of the desk.
In between times, of course, I've been using a sledgehammer on Her previous bookshelf, assembling Her rather swish new metal and glass bookshelf, leafing through my just-delivered freebie copy of How to cheat in Photoshop as a reward for subscribing to Mac User magazine (which I hadn't realised is fortnightly!) and going shopping in Eastleigh. Having discovered that the Ottakars that is now Waterstone's has precisely two Mac books (one of them being for Dummies) and two full shelves of Vista books, there was nothing for it but to head for the "exclusive to WH Smith" The Mac Book which is apparently my essential guide to iPod (which I have not got), iTunes (which has only ever been bad news on my Windows boxes) and iLife '06. I deduce it to be a collection of articles dating back to September 2006 or earlier (as it seems the Intel Macs weren't then out in the wild). The young lady scanned its barcode and announced it was £6.49 despite the cover price being £12.99, so I also still had the financial headroom I needed to get the Sean Penn DVD The assassination of Richard Nixon for a mere £2 and a pair of CDs in "The Works" for a fiver. And I still had change from my £15!
Whether I'll be able to get a cover scan of the DVD depends on how the attaching of the new Epson to the new iMac (did I mention it's gorgeous by the way?) goes, and the extent to which I can get it and the HP box talking nicely to one another. She who must be adored already has my previous scanner, you see.2 I've also discovered a minor speed bump on the road to running Open Office on the iMac (did I...?) as I need to do a custom install of X11 first. But I have successfully downloaded and installed about 300MB of upgrades, security patches, Java updates, DST updates, and even a rather scary firmware upgrade to the Intel hardware itself.
Plus a very (very) nice-looking writer's application called Scrivener which is one of those items that makes you believe software can be beautiful and useful at the same time. (Not Windows software, either!) Written by a writer for his own use, and marketed by him as shareware on an e-commerce site that is a model of how to do these things.
While I've been typing this (on the HP machine), the iMac has put itself to sleep, making about 1dB difference in ambient noise level. I've also been keeping an eye on the tales of woe regarding my DTP application Ovation Pro in its Windows incarnation under Vista. A further reason to set off on the Mac Open Office trail, methinks. But now it's time for an apple pie and cream supper (for me, not the iMac — did I mention it's gorgeous by the way?). Now, where did I put all those USB hubs?