12 April 2013

Pondering priorities

This is an interesting factoid to ponder: 

 "The annual budget of the US Department of Defense is about equal to the sum total of money NASA has ever spent since its inception in 1958." 

 Richard Obousy, president and senior scientist for Icarus Interstellar

You have to wonder where we'd be if that spending had been inverted. At the very least, we'd probably have vast arrays of space-based telescopes sending us pictures of seasonal change on far off planets with plant life. We'd definitely have a colony of scientists permanently living on Mars.

10 April 2013

Well now, this is a most worrisome development:



PYONGYANG (The Borowitz Report)—In a move that has further ratcheted up tensions on the Korean peninsula, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un today moved his entire collection of Transformers action figures to the border with South Korea.
According to sources familiar with the size and scope of the collection, which is believed to be the largest in Asia, the mercurial Kim began assembling it when he was either eight or nine.
In Washington, an intelligence source reported that satellite photos have confirmed thousands of Transformers massing on the southern border: “We are seeing no Autobots. Just tons and tons of Decepticons.” Kim himself confirmed the Transformers mobilization today on state television, announcing, “I am Megatron,” followed by an unintelligible roar. The latest development in North Korea follows published reports that Kim Jong-un may be trying to obtain a light sabre.

7 April 2013

I've got those new computer blues...

I got a new computer loaded with Windows 8. For the life of me, I can't figure out why computer companies make every new version impossibly complex. Simple things like turning the computer off are impossible to figure out without someone guiding you through the process and even then, it's hard to remember. (I've resorted to finding the icons using the control-alt-del sequence.) To make matters worse, the computer goes into sleep mode and is impossible to wake up. I'll see if I can find someone who can get into the system and turn all the power-saving crap off, but if not, I'll have to take it back. It isn't just me. A tech person came and helped me for half and hour, and even after internet searches, couldn't figure out how to wake the damn thing up. My advice for computer makers. Come out with a computer that has an on and off switch that looks (and works) like a big ugly plastic light switch and stick it right on the front of the computer. If you include a sleep function, include a second such switch with a big "wake me up" logo next to it. And finally, shoot the software developer who came up with the idea of hiding options under roll-overs that are in empty parts of the screen. This whole experience is making me long for the days of Windows 3.1.

I also updated my Endnote software to Version 6. Every new Endnote version gets a little uglier. This one has eliminated the useful feature of automatically saving changes. Now, every time you change an entry, you have to go through the menu to save changes. I tried changing a name in multiple entries and it took forever. The Windows 8 developers are evidently moonlighting over at Endnote.