Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   frantically confusing richness
Monday, May 18 2009

Windows offers two options for those who want to preserve a computer's state without using the its full power budget: standby and hibernate. For over a year now I've been pretty good at putting my computer into the zero-power hibernate state before I go to bed at night or leave on a trip, although sometimes it would have been nice to use standby. Standby uses a trickle of power to keep memory alive and can be entered and exited more rapidly than hibernate, but it's a fragile thing and my computer Woodchuck has never been able to do it. Today I tried to get standby to work, eventually abandoning my existing Windows XP profile for a new one, which seemed to allow standby, for awhile anyway.
The switch to a new profile was almost as much of a pain as installing a new operating system; all sorts of data had to be moved or recreated from scratch. It's fairly easy to move parts of one Windows profile to another if you know where the data is stored (it's usually in a hidden directory called C:\Documents and Settings\[profile_name]\Application Data, although some programs such as Juice, seem to store their data in the registry). Unfortunately, Windows has a very poor implementation of drag and drop copying. Should it fail in the process of overwriting files in the destination directory, it leaves that part of the file system as a chaotic mix of old and new files, a prescription for data loss. In the process of moving my email from one Thunderbird profile to another, I had a brief scare where I thought I'd accidentally overwritten all my old email and it was gone for good (but it wasn't).
By the end of the day, though, standby was no longer working in Woodchuck's hard-won new profile, and I had no way of figuring out why. It's things like the fragility of standby that make Macintoshes so appealing. Standby just works on a Mac; there's no fiddling around in the BIOS or fruitless Google searches that turn up useless advice from people more clueless than you.
When it comes to information that I really need to know, Google seems to be growing steadily less useful, its results cluttered with spam and junk sites? How about, that site that tries to get you to pay for tech advice? I see their grim grey header navigation and I immediately click the back button. That site and all the sites that try to scam me into installing a "driver scanner" (yeah right!) are evidence that the web actually provides less technical help than it used to.

The weather was unseasonably cool today. So it was a good day for burning junk mail in the woodstove and benefitting from the energy released. Our friend Deborah was getting kidney stone surgery today, so we were once more dogsitting her ginormous Malimut dog Juneau. He likes the cold, and enjoys sitting out on the stones in front of the house in this weather.

Gretchen and I went to Rolling Rock at the mall today where we had dinner and met up with David (of Penny and David) before the three of us went into the cinema to see the new Star Trek prequel. Gretchen and I both managed to have solid vegan meals, but David ordered a vegan nightmare. It was a plate of four shrimp-and-hot-pepper cheese balls, each nearly the size of a fist. Most of it was molten cheese contained in a batter-fried shell. Swimming somewhere inside was a hot pepper and a shrimp. They weren't what you or I would think of as health food. David quickly decided he couldn't eat them all, so he foisted one off on me, and I semi-reluctantly took it. To Gretchen's horror, I managed to eat the thing, but I don't think I'll ever be eating another one.

I've never been a fan of things Star Trekian, but Star Trek it had its good parts. Seeing the origins of the characters was delightful, and some of the visual effects were spectacular (if a little jarring -- at times it seemed like the frame rate of the computer generated imagery was too low). But the plot of the movie was an absolute mess. I didn't understand why the Romulans were so pissed off or so focused on Spock, and the chance events that had a young Captain Kirk meeting an old Mr. Spock seemed preposterous. Also, as Gretchen pointed out, there was plenty of unnecessary filler padding out a story that didn't actually require a feature-length film to tell.
The thing that most intrigued me about the movie was what it inadvertently had to say about the layering of a human lifespan over massive technological change. We could see some of these changes as depicted in the movie itself (though not much attention was placed on them). But I was also thinking about the changes that have taken place in technology during the lifespan of the Star Trek franchise itself (whose years are dramatized by the lines on Leonard Nemoy's face, here to play his aged self sent back from the future). It was odd to think about the old Star Trek teevee series from the 60s and how, with respect to tonight's movie, it lay in the future. Yet its special effects were the primitive kind available with 1960s technology, and the technology depicted in its space ships were portrayed in ignorance of the richness that would soon come to our time. And now here's a prequel of a time from before that time, depicted with technology that can now show anything that can be imagined. And of course the technology of that time is shown with even more frantically confusing richness than even the kind we have.

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