Posts tagged: Technology

Subtle but still strange

I know not everyone believes in the supernatural or ghosts or things of that nature.  I do.  I’ve grown up with it all my life in one way or another.  If you are a potential employer reading this it should have no bearing on me.  Believing that there are unexplainable forces in the world is no different than another person saying that they believe in Jesus or another saying that they believe in Darwin (just go with me here).

Obviously whatever is in this new house of ours is fascinated with electronics.  We’ve lost and had returned a flash drive, a portable USB backup drive and a Nikon flash.  Bit of a trend going on there.

So today either continues that trend or Kira is a flippin’ savant at less than six months of age.

I haven’t touched my computer since we got back from a wet session of garage sales in the rain.  The only one who has was Kira banging on my keyboard while I held her in my lap.  I just came back to my computer about an hour later and this is what I find on my screen:

communication from who?

At first I thought “Oh I know Calc was the active program while Kira was playing with the keyboard.  She must have hit a bunch of numbers.”  Then I started thinking, she can’t really reach the top of the keyboard to hit numbers.  Then I took a closer look and thought – “Is that what I think it is?”

Sure enough, I did a Google search and that my friends is the numerical value of Pi to what looks like 32 decimal places.  Uh… OK.  So of course I went to the other room and asked Muse if she’d been on my computer at all and of course the answer was ‘No’.

So I thought, well…  maybe somehow Kira just accidentally typed in a fraction that some how calculated to Pi.  It doesn’t seem like that is possible though.  According to that Wikipedia article, the trick with Pi is that it can’t be expressed as a fraction.  I didn’t know that.

So did Kira type it out?  No I don’t think so.  She was on my lap and couldn’t reach the number row.  Besides she was busy barfing on my mouse.  Did the cats tap dance it on the keyboard?  They’ve been given credit for some pretty unbelieveable computer feats, but no, I don’t think this is possible.

So if I didn’t do it and Muse didn’t do it… then who did?  And why Pi?  I guess because whoever or whatever did it knew I would figure it out.  I dunno.

Sure there will be people out there reading this who will just scoff and not believe a word of what I’ve typed and frankly I don’t blame them.  I’d find it pretty hard to believe if it hadn’t happened to me.  So take it for what you will.

OK Invent this

So here are a few ideas I’ve had for inventions that I can’t figure out.  I figure that since someone is always beating me to the punch, I might as well share the things that don’t exist that I can’t figure out myself.  If you do figure one or more of these out and become rich, could you at least acknowledge me for the ideas?  That’d be nice.

  • Air Conditioned Pillow
    I know that I’m not the only one in the world that likes their bed pillow the most for those first ten seconds after laying on it while it’s still nice and cool.  Then it warms up to your body temperature and depending on where you live may start sticking to you.  I would pay good money for a pillow that stayed cool all night long.
  • Digital Currency Converter
    I typed a lot on this entry and got pretty detailed.  Then I decided that maybe this one was possible after all.  So I’m not posting it just yet.  I just need help from someone who really knows electronics….
  • Pollution Eater
    After living in a pretty polluted city like Hong Kong for a while you start wondering two things: ‘How can this be cleaned up?’ and ‘If I fall in the harbor will my flesh melt?’  So I started thinking about all the new advances in nanotechnology and biotechnology and I’m wondering when we will be able to make a little nano/bio critter that can not only clean up pollutants but breed to make more of itself but also have a short life-cycle.
    The trick would be to introduxe said organism/machine into a polluted body of water.  It would basically ‘eat’ pollution and use that food to create two duplicates of itself and then die.  The ‘offspring’ would then go off and do the same thing and continue the cycle and exponentially increasing their numbers in an outward radius leaving pollution free water in their wake.  That’s also the reason they need a very short life-span so that once an area is clean, the nanos stop eating and thus stop breeding and die.  Sure there would be the equivalent of an extra thin layer of silt at the bottom of the body of water as a result, but at least it would be clean water again.
    This is doable, but I am in the wrong field for this sort of thing.  An airborne version for air pollution should also be possible but the logistics and locomotion are much more difficult.

OK actually that’s all I can remember at the moment.  Of course there are other things like self-powering electro-magnetic propulsion and anti-gravity and invisibility but I was trying to be somewhat realistic.

If you were going to try and invent something, what would it be?

I hate Blackberrys

I hate Blackberrys. Not the fruit but the more popular psuedo-pager Blackberry that most people assume work by way of magic. Which they do kind of. They also seem to stop working as if by magic as well. Perhaps it’s more like voodoo. The only thing for sure is that business people love them and can’t live without them. And when they don’t work they want us tech people to wave our magic wand and make it better in 10 seconds or less.

For those of you that don’t have to support Blackberrys, here’s how we troubleshoot them when they stop working:

  1. Check to make sure that the radio is still turned on. So often it gets turned off for mysterious and dark reasons.
  2. Make sure it shows that it has a signal and sees the network.
  3. Realize that Step 2 was absolute rubbish (because that means nothing) and pop the battery out to truly power off the device.
  4. Put the battery back in and start chanting praises to the lesser demons of wireless. They sometimes enjoy that.
  5. Sit and stare at that stupid hourglass till it finishes booting up. Continue with the chanting or begin the ritual dance as described in Blackberry tech support article FU666BS86.
  6. Check to see if mail is being sent and received. Most of the time, it will be fixed and no matter how many times you tell the user that simply removing the battery (with ot without the chanting and dance) is well within their means.
  7. If it’s still not working, curse the lesser demons of wireless and try manually setting the Network Provider. You know, just in case.
  8. If the user is standing over your shoulder, you may want to poke about in the Advanced options as quickly as possible with a stern yet determined look upon your face until they decide they have better things to do.
  9. Mumble to them that you’ll get back to them. They like that.
  10. Remove the Blackberry account from the Blackberry Enterprise Server. Because you’re using that, right? If not, you are a mockery to all the other Blackberry support people. And also a bit of an envy to us too. We hate you either way.
  11. Add the Blackberry back onto the server and get a new activation password. If you are doing this for someone else, make sure you make the most difficult password you can possibly imagine. Especially if the Blackberry is saddled with one of those crappy T9 inputs.
  12. Wipe the Blackberry. This isn’t always necessary BUT it seems to work better sometimes. Magic.
  13. Go through the Enterprise Activation one more time and enjoy the thrill of clicking Next on meaningless screens of crap you’ve seen a hundred times before.
  14. Enter the e-mail address and password and then take up a new hobby. Model plane building, learn the guitar, paint your office followed by the rest of the offices in the building, blog posting, etc. Whatever you do, and this is crucial, DO NOT sit there and wait for that activation to complete while you sit there and watch. You have a better chance of curing a person of leprosy by licking their wounds than you do of outlasting this painfully long process. This is where the lesser demons perform their activation rituals and they are shy. And evil. Do not mess with them at this point.
  15. When you get back from vacation, check the Blackberry and see if activation is complete and then see if it’s working. If so, yay! If not, quit your job and become a firefighter or a bomb defuser or a journalist in the Middle East. Because that would be easier than trying to figure out what exactly is the issue.

As you might have guessed, there’s been a few Blackberry issues here lately. They come in groups it seems. Nothing for weeks and then four or five of them will flake out at the same time. Very rarely do you ever see one go bad on it’s own. They just don’t have the ambition or self-confidence to do anything on their own. They live and work in a pack mentality. You just have to learn to deal with that.

Tesla reborn

Nicola Tesla would proud, and probably really jealous, of the guys at MIT that plan to commercialize the wireless transmission of electricity. If they can improve the efficiency or more importantly the range (which is currently at 7 feet), this could revolutionize many industries.

One industry in particular that I think would greatly benefit from this technology is nanotechnology and nano-robotics. One of the big downfalls of creating nano-robotics has not been the creation of tiny machines, but a lack of a way to power them. Recently a group of people came up with a way to create a microwatt of power based on the sound of the heart beating in nanomachines but the power created was still too little (for now). Sorry I can’t find the article on that one again.

Although it’s still very unlikely but maybe… just maybe, I will get to see the advent of true nanotechnology in my lifetime. Maybe.

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