kengr: (Default)
Somebody on Freecycle posted a couple of items the other day. I asked and got both.

Turned out they lived less than a mile away, and on the bus route that goes past here. When I headed out last evening I had to wait about 7 min for the bus. Got off about a block and a half from their place. I scooted in, got the two bag s of stuff and loaded in in my folding cart.

As I got to the street I could see the bus coming about six blocks away. I didn't make it to the stop but the driver had seen my alternate waving and running and pulled over to let me get on.

So that was about as short as a run could be.

What did I get? A grocery bag full of blank CD-Rs *in cases*. That'll come handy come Christmas.

I also got another grocery bag full of old software they'd cleaned of their shelves. Various old games a lot of home office stuff, and lots and lots of driver disks. Got several copies of some things. Like 7th Guest.

I'll paw thru them some more and eventually pass on the stuff I have no use for.

Gotta pay special attention with the driver disks. A lot of ones for vid cards have games to install to demo that graphics quality. So I'll be doing a lot of digging for those.

And tomorrow I need to head out to the computer parts place I've been using for years. They're going out of business, and I want to get a few things while they are in stock. A couple of PCI gigabit ethernet cards for a couple of boxes that don't have it built in, and an HDMI to DVI cable, so I can use one of the monitors with a DVI connector as a backup if the TV dies.

May also be meeting someone at Powell's later in the day. Haven't heard back from them yet.
kengr: (Default)
After reading a post by [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith on disabilities in SF, I got to thinking.

First one I recalled was Arthur C. Clarke's "Islands in the Sky" with a legless guy on a space station (someone else with a better memory reminded me that he was the commander of the station).

That lead me to recall that the Commandant of the Patrol Academy in Robert Heinlein's "Space Cadet" was blind.

And now that I think more, there was Baslim the blind and crippled beggar in Heinlein's "Citizen of the Galaxy" (who turns out to be a lot more than you'd think).

Then I recalled Murray Leinster's "Space Platform" where a good chunk of the workers building (on the ground!) the first space station (they launched it in one piece!!!) were midgets/dwarfs because they could work in tight spaces.

at one point it's suggested they they launch a smaller setup crewed by some of them as a stopgap because they don't need as muchg space, air or food as regular sized people.

And these were all in the 50s!

Later came Anne McCaffery's "The Ship Who Sang". And a book whose author and title I forget whose main character was blinded (on purpose by some nasties) and used a prosthetic that let him see thru the eyes of nearby people or animals. He managed to take advantage of this to figure out what everyone had been trying to do for a long, long time and "map" hyperspace.

C.S. Freidman had a book where one of the cultures was built around almost all the people in it being neurodiveregent in one way or another. And being *designed* to accomdate them.

Anyone else have some stories to add? Fantasy stories are ok too.

Lairs R Us

Mar. 9th, 2017 02:29 pm
kengr: (Default)
A few days ago [ profile] gridlorehad a post about "Who built the Batcave?" I'm repeating my reply and expanding on it.

Do what rich white people do all the time. Bring in "illegals".

More specifically, hire folks with the right skills from all over the world. Bring them in illegally (which also lets you keep them from knowing where you are taking them).

Use refitted cargo containers. Which can also be used for housing on-site. Wayne enterprises could probably use portable housing of that sort in a lot of places anyway.

So all the workers and contractors know is that they got hauled somewhere, built some neat stuff, never saw anything outside the cave, and got paid very well for it.

You could even split things up so that no one group built more than a portion of the stuff. So even if they talk, they can't give away anything significant.

Heck, set it up as a special business unit in Wayne Enterprises, and keep doing the same thing for other heroes, the military, and intelligence agencies.

Inn a world with supers there are likely *several* such outfits.

And in some universes, they may get treated like the Whateley campus. They are hands off because *everybody* uses them, and *nobody* wants to have them (or their personnel "leaned on" to leak info about jobs they've done.

Picture having the Justice League, Lex Luthor and bunch of other "heavy hitters from *both* sides of the law "somewhat upset" with you? Or in the Marvel-verse, the avengers and Doctor Doom.

Though the business has other perils.

"What were you thinking of? Using a Lexcorp QX-3000 in a hero's base?"

"But it's cheaper and more reliable!"

"If a hero *asks* for stuff from Lexcorp, that's fine. And if they aren't one of the ones who has an ongoing feud with Luthor, you might *suggest* it as a possibility. But never do something like that without checking."

"And while we're on the subject, be really careful about using Wayne Enterprises gear in projects that might not be entirely legal. They've blacklisted folks for that before. We don't want to be the next company that they won't sell to!"
kengr: (Default)
I've been rewatching some old programs from my childhood.

Among them were Fireball XL5 and stingray. I decided to check out the other Gerry Anderson shows that hadn't shown in my area.

Thunderbirds was ok, though like all of the shows it suffered from *horrible* plot holes/ignorance. Stuff like ignoring the way military groups work, science and tech errors, and just plain criminal stupidity on the part of various people and groups.

But Captain scarlet takes the cake. In the first episode, we have first contact with aliens *horribly* botched. Basically, the human group mistook something for an attack and destroyed an alien base on Mars.The aliens were able to recreate it with no effort, but while they claimed to be pacificists, they swear revenge on Earth for the attack.

The rest of the series is Earth fighting off the attacks. But the only mention of the attack on the Mysterons is when *they* sometimes mention it while announcing their next attack.

And while the Mysteron reaction is arguably out of line, why does nobody ever go into the fact that humans started it (note, the same folks that fired on the Mysteron base are the "heroes" of the show, except for the one who has been "converted" to the Mysteron side).

I know it was a kids show, but even so, I'm *appalled* at the way they just *accept* the attack that started the whole thing.

Silly idea

Dec. 25th, 2014 11:29 pm
kengr: (antenna girl)
I was reading some rather silly fiction by someone from the Traveller mailing list. He had a guy using a cover ID of an agent of the EPA.

This bit caught my attention:

“Most of my supervisors at the EPA could not care at all about the state of Humanity. But they are very deeply concerned about the state of The Earth.”

This led my brain down some strange paths and out popped the idea of the Environmental Prevention Agency.

A bit of backfilling led to this:

"Sorry, you've made a common error. Many newcomers to Mars make it. We aren't the environmental Protection Agency. We're the Environmental Prevention Agency."

"Huh? Why would you want to prevent the environment. Hell, how could you?"

"Remember? This Mars. We are charged with preventing the development of anything the EPA bureaucrats back on Earth could call an environment. Because if there ever is one, they'll find a way to use their rules to force us off of Mars."

So now I'm wondering what sort of logo the Mars Colony EPA might have. Because Fay and I would love to print up some ID badges for use at cons.


Dec. 11th, 2014 11:16 pm
kengr: (Default)
Ok, today I got the NAS box I'd orderdd, along with the 4 TB drive that is going in it. (It's got room for a second, but that's *not* going to happen any time soon)

Setup was fairly simple, though at some point I have to configure users and groups. Right now I'm accessing it as admin, and it'll only allow admin to be logged on from one system at a time.

Among other things, it works as a DLNA server. After I started copying files over from the Windoze box I'd been using as a media server, I set up the DLNA server (well, I still need to add more directories as I get them copied over). It was fairly simple.

Then I tried to access it from the bluray player. Which didn't show it. I messed around with the settings. Still no show.

At the same time, I noticed that it showed Kalonia (the Windoze box I'd been using as a media server but couldn't access anything on it).

This has happened before. Something had caused Windoze Media Player to turn off media sharing (and "lose" a bunch of files and folders that were supposed to be shared when I turned it back on). So I assumed it was the same thing and told WMP to add the files again.

This stuff wasted a few hours as I was doing other things at the time.

Finally as I was beginning to wonder if somehow the new box was interfering with the old one. Then I glanced over at the kitchen table where the NAS box was. As well as the gigabit switch and the 10/100 switch I'd had to hook up because the gigabit switch was out of ports. And I saw the ethernet cable I'd unplugged from the gigabit switch to make room for the NAS box. Since it has gigabit ethernet, it needed to go on that switch. I remembered that the cable I'd unplugged was a one that was only doing 100 Mb ethernet. And then I realized that the color of the cable meant it was the one going to the bluray player. which only does 100 Mb wired.

Oh. I'd not plugged it into the 10/1000 switch. I plugged it in and suddenly both the NAS box (Tellus) and the windoze box (kalonia) were showing up ok on the bluray player.

Hence the title of the post. Duh. It works better if it's plugged in.
kengr: (Default)
Saturday, I finally got a chance to head down to Free Geek with [ profile] fayanora. I wanted to get some RAM for a new-to-me box I'd picked up a couple months back.

It only had 512 meg of RAM and it was *agonizingly* slow ayt some things (like when I cloned an old IDe drive to a newer SATA drive. Took all day to clone a 300 gig drive. Ugh.

I'd found the specs online and wanted 4 1 gig DDR2 DIMMs. 533 MHz. That'd bring it up to its full 4 gig capacity.Even if Windoze XP can't use all of that Linux can.

This was our first time at Free Geek's Thrift Store. Lots of interesting stuff. I had to "settle" fotr 667 MHz parts. Fay was looking at LCD monitors and other things. She got a mike, an ergonomic keyboard and a mouse.

I spotted several things I wished I had the money for. (heck, I'd had to borrow money from Fay to get part of the RAM)

the saga of upgrades and new-to-me systems )
kengr: (Default)
I frequently run into situations in online fiction (and even printed books) where the author has neglected to do some simple math, and has thus set up a situation that is embarrassingly stupid for anyone who has a feel for the numbers involved.

What got me think on this most recently was a story where someone had managed to get the better of some Russian Mafia bosses, and got their stashes of gold.

Ok, he got things right in moving the stashes from the chests they were in to a number of suitcasres, at about 40 pounds per suitcase.

What he got wrong was having the chests be "full" of gold bars and krugerrands. and yout only amount around 300lbs.

Gold has a density of 19.3. That means that a given volume of gold weighs 19.3 times what the same volume of water would weigh. So, that means 1 liter of gold weighs 19.3 kilograms. That's 42.55 pounds.

So this huge stash of gold only occupied about 7 liters. Even allowing for empty space between the coins and the gold bars, that's *still* a might small box, not several large chests.

Also, going with the value of gold, a couple years back (first per pound price I found with google). Gold was worth over $16,000 per pound. Using the exact figure from the quote, I about 61 and a third pounds of gold to make a million dollars.

I'll spare you the math, but that works out to less than 1.5 liters of gold.

From the info above, you can also get the idea that the proverbial "gold brick" (which in tales of greenhorns was usually an actual building brick painted gold) is going to weigh 40 or more pounds. If the guy trying to sell it to you is holding it in one hand and doesn't look like Arnold Scharzennegger, it's a fake. :-)

So, for writers, numbers matter. That huge fortune in gold (at least at current prices) is still going to weigh a lot, but isn't going to take up *nearly* the room you think it will. A footlocker full of gold is going to need heavy equipment to move.

Why? Because with really rough figures for the size, I get around 89 liters of volume. Which is around 1 and 3/4 metric tons.

I'll leave calculating the value as an exercise for the reader. :-)

Waiting is

Jun. 24th, 2012 12:50 am
kengr: (Default)
A week or three back, I finally got a chance to go back over to Fay's and try the replacement power supply in Eddore (what had been my main computer) (it's been down since at least last summer).

It didn't even twitch when power was applied. Which meant that either the new power supply was dead or the system has *much* more serious problems than I'd been afraid it did.

Anyway, that left the power supply available for it's original purpose, namely replacing the dead supply in the Ploor (my third string computer). I'd wanted to use it to test the dead primary box first, so as to eliminate the power supply as the problem.

Tonight I finally got around to swapping it into the Ploor. Had a bit of fun until I realized that a supposedly keyed 4 prong power connector *wasn't* keyed usefully unless you made sure that the latch was aligned. Once that was done, the system poewered up just fine.

I'd grabbed some RDRAM (both Thrale and Ploor boxes use this obscure type of RAM) at a *very* good price to upgrade the two boxen (both Gateway systems I got ages ago at Stuff) to max capacity (2 gig). So I tested both sets in Ploor. Both sets are good so next time I shut down Thrale I'll upgrade it. Given the usual sort of uptimes I have, this may be a month or so.

Anyway, with Ploor upgraded and running I've got Windows, various AV programs, etc running updates. This may take a while.

Tranny porn

Jun. 7th, 2011 10:19 pm
kengr: (Default)
Someone on one of [ profile] fayanora's sites was griping about some tranny porn. I forget whether it was just low quality, unrealistic or exploitive.

Anyway, my mind immediately thought of a response. I had Fay type in some search terms and she quickly located this bit of "appropriate "tranny porn".

Worksafe & childsafe (in spite of all the naked parts on display), but *strong* drink warning.

The keywords (please don't check without clicking the link first) )
kengr: (Default)
You scientific types will especially appreciate this.

This is pretty heavy scientific stuff... converting units:

Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter = Eskimo Pi

2000 pounds of Chinese soup = Won ton

1 millionth of a mouthwash = 1 microscope

Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement = 1 bananosecond

Weight an evangelist carries with God = 1 billigram

Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour = Knotfurlong

16.5 feet in theTwilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling

Half of a large intestine = 1 semicolon

1,000,000 aches = 1 megahurtz

Basic unit of laryngitis = 1 hoarsepower

Shortest distance between two jokes = A straight line

453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake

1 million-million microphones = 1 megaphone

2 million bicycles = 2 megacycles

365.25 days = 1 unicycle

2000 mockingbirds = 2 kilomockingbirds

52 cards = 1 decacards

1 kilogram of falling figs = 1 FigNewton

1000 milliliters of wet socks = 1 literhosen

1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche

1 trillion pins = 1 terrapin

10 rations = 1 decoration

100 rations = 1 C-ration

2 monograms = 1 diagram

4 nickels = 2 paradigms

2.4 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University Hospital = 1 IV League

100 Senators = Not 1 decision
kengr: (Default)
Spending too much time online? Want to cut down your posts to only truly *necessary* ones?



Dec. 27th, 2010 07:13 pm
kengr: (Default)
Ok, as I mentioned, the other day in a dram I was thinking about flying. Specifically about the sort of super-hero "think and you move thru the air" sort.

I've tagged this "geekery" because it's *such* a geeky thing to think about. And "writing" because they way I was thinking and the way in which I intend to explore the idea amounts to the sort of world building a good writer needs to do with regards to their world.

Starting assumptions:

It's possible to fly unaided.
The ability can be taught.

Without the first assumption, we don't have a post. :-)
Without the second we are dealing with a "unique" ability/situation. One which has had a fair bit of exploration.

So, now we need to define the ability a bit more. different parameters/limits will have quite marked differences in the resulting world or story.

First things that come to mind are "how fast?" and "how much?"

Being able to fly at walking speed will have results quite different than being able to fly at supersonic speeds.

Likewise, "how much?" as in what can you take with you also greatly affects the outcome.

Consider one extreme of "how much?". If people can only fly while naked, that is different from being able to carry a normal load, much less extreme loads.
Off we go into the wild blue yonder )

Geek fun

Sep. 23rd, 2010 05:29 pm
kengr: (Default)
I spotted this at the grocery store and a quick google found the supplier...

Yep, a remote triggered Mentos/Diet Coke fountain unit. Just like the stuff they built on Myth-Busters
kengr: (Default)
I got a spam in a language I don't recognize (other than suspecting it's from the India to SE Asia region.

Subject below the cut.

If anybody recognizes this, let me know, ok?
Read more... )
kengr: (geocaching)
Seems Richard Garriot hid one on the International Space Station


Aug. 9th, 2009 03:54 am
kengr: (Default)
Earlier in the week someone offered a 21" monitor (*heavy* CRT) on freecycle. They included a link to the the specs, it'd do 1600x1200. Better than any monitor I've ever had. And the same resolution as one I'd been using when I visited Lin.

But when I emailed the person, they said it'd already been taken. I was sorry to have missed it.

Friday night someone posted that they'd gotten it but it didn't fit their computer area. So I emailed them. And they offered to bring it by Saturday morning because they were so close (a couple of miles away).

I damn near killed myself getting it (85 lbs!) up the stairs. But since Fay was coming over later, I left it sitting by the door in the hall.

Between the two of us we got it to the desk chair and balanced it on the back while we shifted grips since there wasn't enough room for both of us to work at the desk. I got it the last couple of feet and hooked it up.

Had to restart the systems to get them to set the new resolution, but it's been working fine since.

It's "lighter" than the previous monitor, which took a little getting used to, but it's closer to the "right" color" than the old one (which has been set aside as a spare).

BTW, the "viewable area" on this monitor is about 1/4th smaller than the entire front of the previous monitor. :-)
kengr: (antenna girl)
After seeing Griffen going "I *heart* <person>" I thought I recalled an obscure bit of html. And I checked a reference and found I was right. There are codes for card suits.

&hearts; ♥

I ♥ chocolate.

Blast. It works in IE 5.5, but not in Netscape 4.79.

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