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Messages - Ralf Maximus [ switch to compact view ]

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Headline says it all.  From

Or, looked at another way, a petabyte for under $265K.

Living Room / Re: Recommended Gifts for the Tech Savvy?
« on: December 07, 2007, 03:48 PM »
Plenty of gift ideas for the nerdly here:

While most are safe, some are NSFW.

How to subdue a rabid fox?  Apparently you run it over with a Lincoln Continental.

Sounds like skills picked up from Grand Theft Auto.

Living Room / What the font?
« on: December 07, 2007, 03:17 PM »
Found an interesting online service today, called WhatTheFont?

Designed to help you identify a font whose name you don't know, it accepts a bitmap image of your mystery font for analysis, then suggests the closest possible match plus similar ones.

Armed with the name of your font, you can go google for something free, or click the link they provide to buy a commercial version.  Neat!

I tried it out on a few known fonts I had laying around and it's uncanny.  Just the kind of thing you don't know you need until you really need it.

Darwin, I want to have your child.

"A moose once bit my sister."

I must make a small confession.  I've been seeing another search engine.  And I kind of like it.

Yes, feeling like a dirty hypocrite because I bag on Microsoft so much, I went and downloaded a copy of Windows Desktop Search.  Surprisingly, it doesn't drag my system at all, even when indexing.  The preview is dead-on, comparable to X1.  Once I figured out how to make it index stuff out side "My Documents" I am now finding what I need pretty quickly.

It does not index my Thunderbird mail -- big shock.

But other than that, it's making me suspiciously satisfied.  And unlike Archivarius, it seems to keep the indexes up to date at all times, which is good as I'm constantly updating and moving stuff around.

So.. am I a pervert now?

Ultramon also does this, as well as a number of other cool multi-monitor tricks.  It's free.

UPDATE: I misspoke.  It's cheap, not free.  But indispensable for multiple monitor setups.

General Software Discussion / Re: Google GDrive: Coming Soon
« on: December 07, 2007, 07:47 AM »
Oooh!  The article has a nice graph comparing the services.


The chart really needs a "Percent Evil" column though.

Living Room / Re: The State the Art of 3D Printers
« on: December 07, 2007, 07:43 AM »
Exactly!  And Darwin's link is bad-ass, demonstrating that once you have one fabricator you can use it to crank out as many as you want, which means at some point the landscape should be littered with 3D printers.  You'll have to configure them NOT to reproduce.

Target's CandyFab is brilliant, but I can't help musing...  the CandyFab uses a jet of hot air to fuse the sugar, which is great for low cost but makes the pixels freeking huge.  The results are incredibly cool looking but look like rejected props from a horror movie.

Could CandyFab be tweaked to handle a 100mw laser pointer?  These things are powerful enough to light a match, so it should be able to fuse sugar.  And the price is right: $600.

Then you'd have a low-end, high-resolution fabricator.

Living Room / Re: What makes DonationCoder so special?
« on: December 07, 2007, 07:35 AM »
We're supposed to be writing software?

No, seriously, great article app.  Well written, especially with your non-DC target audience in mind.  I showed it to a couple of people who've heard me blather on about this place and after a reading they really got the core concepts.

My favorite comment: "What's with the bird?"

Living Room / Bedtime Story
« on: December 06, 2007, 08:16 PM »
"Daddy, will you tell me a bedtime story?"

"Sure.  Once upon a time there were two variables."

"What were their names, Daddy?"

"We'll call them D and M.  And D and M were initialized together and were very happy.  And then one day, they, um... multiplied..."

"Is that a euphemism for anything, Daddy?"

"Not at all, dear.  Not at all.  Anyway, they multipled and the result was a bouncing baby variable named A."

"And they lived happily ever after!  Together!"

"Well, not quite.  You see, there was an another variable, who'd never bothered to get initialized.  His name was X."

"Ooooh.  Was he a bad variable?"

"Oh yes.  Because X wasn't initialized, he was a big fat zero.  And then, he tried to divide D and M!"

"Then what happened?"

"A horrible division by zero error!"


"And then do you know what happened?"

"Tell me!"

"The bad old variable was taken out of the program, and then it compiled just fine.  The end."

"Um... Daddy?"

"Yes, sweetie?"

"You still program in BASIC, don't you?"

"Ah... well, it's Visual Basic."

"Poor Daddy."

Living Room / Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« on: December 06, 2007, 07:16 PM »
For all its flaws, AmigaDOS was *amazing*.  Quite literally 10 years ahead of its time, and even the first-gen version that shipped with the original machine was stable and quick.  Since service packs were shipped on floppy disks in the mail, I don't think we even applied any for the first year or so it was out.

It had everything we take for granted in modern operating systems: pre-emptive multitasking, integrated memory management, windowed GUI, command-line, long file names, daemons,  hardware graphics support, and more.  Yet it was developed on a shoestring and under intense deadline pressure and shipped with only a few minor defects. 

It's the equivalent of building a jet aircraft in 1935 and having it fly & land perfectly the first time.  THEN building a million of them and handing them over to novice pilots and none of them crashing.  Simply amazing.

I'm not interested until I can get one that sounds like Christopher Walken.

Living Room / The State the Art of 3D Printers
« on: December 06, 2007, 04:20 PM »
The Z Corporation ZPrinter 450 represents a middle-of-the-road solution to your 3D printing needs.


What is 3D printing?  Imagine working with your favorite 3D modelling software, and when you hit the "Print" button, instead of getting a piece of paper with a picture of your creation, you get an actual 3D plastic model in full color. 


It's here, today, now.  For a cool $39,999 USD you can have the 3D printer of your dreams.  Oh sure, a cheaper monochrome model exists, as well as a top-end ultra-high resolution edition, but for everyday fantasies the Z450 can't be beat.  Like I'd know -- if I had $40K to drop on a printer the damn thing better come with beer taps and print real money.

But patience is your friend.  Remember when color laser printers cost as much as a car?  Now you can have one for the same price as a week's car rental.  I expect the same thing to happen with 3D printing.

But until that day comes, you'll have to do things oldschool.

Awesome newsletter, Darwin!  And thanks for the Top Ten shoutout and kind words.


An interesting essay from Bill Watterson on his life post C&H (written in 2001):

An absolutely up-to-date blog/tribute page to C&H (last entry 19 Nov 2007):

And finally, this collection of rarities, including the only unreprinted C&H strip:

Living Room / Re: Committee work
« on: December 06, 2007, 11:23 AM »
I find it amusing that these large organizations find it necessary to form a COMMITTEE to make suggestions about how blogging should work for them.  Blogging, is by its very nature, a personal thing.  Otherwise it's just a disconnected series of press releases.

General Review Discussion / Re: Best spreadsheet
« on: December 06, 2007, 11:21 AM »
Ooh!  And here's a thread on importing .xls files into Quantrix:

General Review Discussion / Re: Best spreadsheet
« on: December 06, 2007, 11:19 AM »
Darwin, just outta curiosity: have you tried highlighting sections of Excel and copy/pasting them into Quantrix?

General Software Discussion / Re: Skin Your Shutdown...
« on: December 06, 2007, 11:17 AM »
Assuming not too much time has passed, you might consider using System Restore to get Windows straightened out.

Living Room / Re: Committee work
« on: December 06, 2007, 11:14 AM »
One of my favorite computerisms goes:

"If computers ever get too powerful, we should organize them into committees.  That will be their undoing."

Living Room / Re: Destroying the World, One Server at a Time
« on: December 06, 2007, 08:33 AM »
Your neighbors report that their entire litter of kittens have suddenly died over the course of a few hours.

Oh good lord, not the kittens!

Living Room / $4,450 World of Warcraft Edition Laptop
« on: December 05, 2007, 06:08 PM »
Via Wired's Gadget Lab, Dell Readies $4,450 WOW Laptop.


No.  Just... no.

General Software Discussion / Re: Skin Your Shutdown...
« on: December 05, 2007, 05:50 PM »

shutdown -s -f -t 01

-f forces a shutdown regardless of what fails to close properly.

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