2008 — 26 Mar: Wednesday — is it raining?

It's 00:12 and I'm fading. Time to call it a day / night. Got to nip down and do the dishes, after all. Tomorrow is, they say, another day. Time enough, then, to get my spinning head around the geometry of music... Which led me to a new (to me) Feynman quote:

I have a friend who's an artist and he's sometimes taken a view which I don't agree with very well. He'll hold up a flower and say, "look how beautiful it is," and I'll agree, I think. And he says, "you see, I as an artist can see how beautiful this is, but you as a scientist, oh, take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing." And I think he's kind of nutty.

First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me, too, I believe, although I might not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is. But I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower that he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside which also have a beauty. I mean, it's not just beauty at this dimension of one centimeter: there is also beauty at a smaller dimension,1 the inner structure — also the processes...

Richard Feynman quoted here

Systems rebooting

Well it's now 08:49 and I'm tapping away once again, but will now go downstairs and start my crockpottery magic once again. Could use a cuppa, too. Where's the heavy rain that lying BBC website promised me? According to my sister-in-law I gather there's a tiny bit of anti-parching going on 12,000 miles away but it's not the same, is it? Big Bro also chimed in, asking whether "anti-parching" was a code phrase meaning "cool beer". After all these years he still doesn't realise I'm not really an "ale and hearty" chap.

Zooming spatially in and out with that "Powers of Ten" applet obviously set something ticking in my mind overnight. Were I to follow Ken Livingstone and his apparent desire to take the entire of London2 off-grid, would the sparks leave my life, do you suppose? If so, I have an offer to keep the contents of my cranium active with some software called Ninja Brain Workout. If you'd like it, Lis, I have a useful discount offer. How do marketing people sleep at night?

Waiting for...

.. the discreet tap on the door that says "CityLink calling". Trouble is, with a home delivery they allow themselves to come a'tappin' as late as 8pm. Hah! I've just reminded myself of Poe's masterly poem The Raven. I think I'll give that Ninja workout a miss. Here's a nice free audio site (describing itself as "acoustical liberation of books in the public domain" — you hafta love that) with a version available, in the USA at least, free of copyright.

And now (13:20) it's trying to rain. I must say I find the level of "debate" on the BBC Radio 2 lunchtime show to be — how can one put this delicately? — rather pathetic. But then, what do I know?

Back to that other form of scansion. Good ol' (new, actually) Epson. Hang on, there's a tap on the door...

Today's resolution is...? dept.

One can get very annoyed with the way a certain operating system not only slows a fast PC down to a crawl, but also chortles while outputting messages like "You do not have the necessary level of administrative privilege to change the resolution of your display". Excuse me? And it takes a degree of programming skill way beyond mine to boot the system with a working display, and then to lose said display. Let alone happily report (some 30 frustrating minutes later) a message to the general effect that "You may not have successfully installed the display driver." No sh1t, Sherlock! I'd worked that out for myself, thanks.

The mini-beast is currently driving Christa's 18" LG screen at 1,280 x 1,024 which is actually an improvement on recent times. And I've been able to set the graphics card (purportedly) to the full 1,920 x 1,200 that I want for the new Samsung screen. But get such a picture? Not so far. I gave up in disgust at about 15:00 and set off for a quick inspection tour of Brian's new 42" plasma and "Oppo" upscaling DVD player. Very nice it is, too. Pity he managed to total the USB stick I'd taken over with some of my DVD cover artwork on. I'd have liked to see how it looks on a full HD screen. So much for the safety and good nature of his hacked Xbox Media PC!

It's now 17:35 and pouring with rain. I got back in time to avoid this — just. The crockpot is starting to make my mouth water. I've also had a nice postcard from Cathy G who has, she tells me, successfully walked the Overland Track from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair (a [possibly the] Tasmanian National Park). Well done! Mr ERNIE has also written to me, returning Christa's death certificate and Grant of Probate "on the assumption that you might need to present (these) to other organisations." Actually, Mr ERNIE's organisation is the last of the batch, and almost the only one that needed to see the Grant.

Time for a cuppa.

Sweetness and light

It always helps to read the manual, doesn't it? Or the message popped up when trying, once again, to install the driver ab initio. Turns out the driver on the CD isn't suitable for Vista, but the one downloaded from Samsung's web site is. And the resolutions are therefore a) always read the manual and b) the full 1,920 x 1,200 — now, let's investigate that enticing crockpot, after all it's 19:21 so I figure I should be eating by about now.

Much better. So, what's got 6,912,000 sub pixels in its TFT LCD panel? You guessed it.

Samsung 245B

Under the heading "Dot Acceptable" I learn that:

TFT LCD panel manufactured by using advanced semiconductor technology with precision of 1 ppm (one millionth) above is used for this product. But the pixels of RED, GREEN, BLUE and WHITE color seem to be bright sometimes or some of black pixels could be seen. This is not from bad quality and you can use it without uneasiness.

Unknown Korean technical author

That's a relief. I hate technology that engenders feelings of uneasiness (and have done ever since reading Theodore Sturgeon's 1945 story "Killdozer!"). You can find that in the Amis/Conquest Spectrum 3 anthology.3 This is, of course, the chap who gave us "Sturgeon's Law" — for once, a Wikipedia entry (and links) brimming with enjoyable stuff.



1  Reminds me I recently found a nice new presentation of "Powers of Ten" here. (Needs Java.)
2  Compare and contrast Ken with the character John Amalfi (the fictional mayor of a future [space-hopping] Manhattan) in the wonderful "Cities in Flight" saga written by the late James Blish. That was a city that was not merely off-grid, but off the planet. (Sorry. It's just the way my mind works.)
3  My Pan paperback edition (cost, 5/-) dates back to 1966, so you may have some difficulty tracking one down. No matter; there are 15 other places to look for it.