Gravitational Waves - Mar 17

Researchers recently announced evidence, gathered and analyzed over a period of three years, to support the existence of gravitational waves. This concept was first proposed by Einstein in 1916, nearly 100 years ago, as one of the predictions that arise from the theory of general relativity.

There are a ton of articles about this being posted on the web today, but many of them have errors in them (even the article, which I'm not going to link to, contains an about the timeline of the discovery and analysis). Anyway, the two best articles I've seen so far are on Time and Ars Technica:

Update and Shut Down - Dec 23

Microsoft Windows sometimes (still) requires a restart when an update is installed. It's getting rarer, but it still happens sometimes.

Whenever one of these restarts is required, the shutdown menu shows an option to "Update and Restart". Sometimes, it also shows an option to "Update and shutdown". However, the "Update and shutdown" command is not always available, and the rules for when it is available are not clear.

There are Registry and Group Policy updates available that allow you to modify this behavior in Windows 7 and 8, however, these updates still don't always make the "Update and shutdown" command available.

This is, at least from someone that doesn't know the underlying rules, irritating, and seemingly arbitrary. More annoying than it might seem. What makes this more irritating is that I would expect the "Update and shutdown" command to be available whenever there are updates to install, and not just updates that require a restart. And yet, it is available even less often than the "Update and restart" command.

This would be a small change that Microsoft could do to make updates easier, and make it more likely that they are applied as soon as they are available.

A Plea for Caution From Russia - Sep 11

All things must be taken with a grain of salt, but the Op-Ed piece in the New York Times by Vladimir Putin sure is interesting. Some quotes:

No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization.


Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country.


But force has proved ineffective and pointless. Afghanistan is reeling, and no one can say what will happen after international forces withdraw. Libya is divided into tribes and clans. In Iraq the civil war continues, with dozens killed each day.

Now, to be clear, I would be surprised if Putin wrote this entire article himself. There should also be no doubt that there are Russian nationalistic motivations underlying these statements. At the same time, there's something very interesting about a foreign leader trying to speak directly to the American people.

New by Paul McCartney - Aug 29

So great.

Free and Open Alternatives - Jul 17

Douglas Engelbart - Jul 03

Mark Stephens, better known as Robert X. Cringley, has posted an article on Douglas Engelbart, who passed away yesterday. I think Cringley does a good job of summing up the incredible, far-reaching impact that Douglas had:

In addition to the mouse and the accompanying chord keyboard, Doug invented computer time sharing, network computing, graphical computing, the graphical user interface and (with apologies to Ted Nelson) hypertext links.


Doug had a vision of modern computing back in the day when many computers were still mechanical and user interfaces did not even exist. He saw in a flash not only the way we do things today but also the long list of tasks that had to be completed to get from there to here. Now that’s vision.

Doug recognized immediately that to even describe his vision to computer scientists of the time would be to invite ridicule. He laid it all out for a colleague once and was advised to keep the whole idea under his hat, it was so crazy.

Cringley has some fantastic points in his article, which is absolutely worth reading in full. I really like what he has to say about genius versus vision.

Geniuses can be found on every street corner in Silicon Valley, but visionaries are much less common. Geniuses are good at completing tasks while visionaries are the first to recognize tasks that need completion.

Read the full areticle at

Google Nose BETA - Mar 31

I keep trying to sign up for it, but it keeps redirecting me to random web searches.

Google Nose BETA


For posterity.

Google Reader - Mar 13

When I first heard that iGoogle was being retired, I predicted to several coworkers that Google Reader would also go away soon. Looks like I was right; Google Reader is being retired on July 1 2013.

Time to start looking for alternatives.

Lifehacker has a list of alternatives

C|Net also has a list of alternatives

Wealth Inequality in America - Mar 09

How do you think wealth is distributed? How do you think it should be distributed?

The average CEO makes in one hour what it takes the average employee one month to earn. The top 1% of the wealthy own 40% of the wealth in America, and 50% of all stocks and investments.

The Joys and Pains of Parenting [PHD Comics] - Feb 22

PHD Comics

Absolutely nailed it. Maybe a bit more pain than joy sometimes :)

From PHD Comics on 2013/02/22

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