brainwagon "There is much pleasure in useless knowledge." — Bertrand Russell

11Jan/060

School bus camper conversion

Courtesy of the new forum section of the Make blog, check out Jake von Slatt's incredibly impressive conversion of a 1989 Thomas Saf-T-Liner bus into a family camper. He apparently got the bus for about $2000 on eBay, and with six months of work it's shaping up into quite the stylish home/ride. Me? I'm happy when I fix a windshield wiper.

Oh, and the Make forums have an RSS feed too, so I'll be keeping an eye on them too with bloglines.

11Jan/060

Intel Stammers Apology to Customers: “They aren’t dull!”

Apple's current TV ads apparently are not all that popular with Intel's other customers. The voiceover apparently claims that Intel's processors have been "trapped inside PCs — dull, little boxes, dutifully performing dull little tasks."

If suppose if you are a PC maker, that has to sting a little bit. But let's be fair, most of what Intel puts out is slapped in a cheap beige box and spends most of its life trying to run while carrying the bloat of Windows XP on its back. The criticism isn't entirely unfair.

When freed from the shackles of trying to load Microsoft products and the history of a zillion bad decisions, Intel's chips (and, frankly, AMD's as well) are free to do what they really are designed to. From the quoted article:

...if Intel's work with Apple inspires some PC makers to think more creatively, Intel wouldn't complain.

Indeed. If you are a manufacturer who used Intel chips, I'd say it's not a time to get mad: it's time to get creative. Apple certainly will be.

Intel: Our other customers aren't boring | News.blog | CNET News.com

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11Jan/062

Microsoft Losing Browser War at Brainwagon

Here's something faintly interesting I noticed while scanning my logs at statcounter.com.  Back in March of last year, I lamented that 60% of my readers used IE to read this blog, and told you all to get over to Firefox and download a reasonable standards based browser. Today, we have the following graph:

MSIE is only 30% now

Only 30% of my readers are using Internet Explorerer. About 3.5% are using Konquerer, a single person was using Opera, and the rest are using some variation of Firefox/Mozilla/Safari. Congratulations to all those who have discovered a better browsing experience. To the rest of you, what's keeping you on Internet Explorer? Feel free to leave comments...

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11Jan/060

Lightbox JS

Here's a useful little chunk of Javascript which can probably be put to good use on your website:

Lightbox JS is a simple, unobtrusive script used to to overlay images on the current page. It's a snap to setup and works on all modern browsers.

It works quite well, and is also somewhat instructive. I may work on my own version of this script to use here on my website.

Lightbox JS

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Addendum: I've removed the AJAX tag, since this actually doesn't do any asynchronous Javascript calls.

11Jan/061

Book Review: Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883: Books: Simon Winchester

For quite some time, I've been meaning to read Simon Winchester's book Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883, but haven't had the time. Now that I finally got a CD player instlled in my Expedition though, I decided to purchase it as an audiobook, and have been enjoying it during the hour or more I spend in the car each day.

It's a terrific book, of far reaching scope and depth. Someone with a short attention spam might call it meandering, but I find it to be an interesting look into the historical, scientific and political climate surrounding the eruption of 1883. Sidelines include a brief history of and introduction to the science of plate tectonics, a history of the Dutch and British colonization of the East Indies, and the role that the disaster at Krakatoa may have played in the rise of Islamic unrest in the region. If you are looking for a cheap thrill, pick a shorter book, but this one seems to be like a satisfying meal to me: nourishing the reader listener with knowledge and insight that goes rather deeper than just "volcano go boom!"

Oh, and Winchester narrates his book, he's got a very nice British accent which is pleasant to listen to. I suspect I'll be picking up several more of his books.

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