The Tyranny of Planned Obsolescence

The post has taken me entirely too much time to write. Not because I’m procrastinating or writing slowly, but because I’m being held hostage by the spinning beach ball of death. I bought my current iMac in early 2011, which means that enough time has elapsed that the Apple Care warranty I purchased with it […]

Redux: Not One More Winter in the Tipi, Honey

This post originally ran July 14, 2011.  NOMWITTH, however, hasn’t changed, not one bit. There are a lot of ways to shrink a carbon footprint. Bike instead of drive. Eat low on the food chain. You know the drill. Where I live, in the boondocks of Colorado, a lot of people — myself included, but […]

Abstruse Goose: Technical Assistance

I’ve just been through several bouts of technical assistance and I have to say that 1) the ESL problem still exists but is much better than it used to be; and 2) a new sentence in their checklist is “Why yes, we can fix that;” 3) the last one thanked me for being such a […]

Charles Hard Townes Made Things Happen

Charles Hard Townes died a week ago, aged 99.  He was a physicist at Berkeley who came up with the principle of the laser; at age 98, he’d stopped coming into the office every day. His obituaries are thorough and their praise is justified.  I’d met him for reasons the obituaries don’t mention.  He helped […]

Conversation with Sharon & Geoff: Starship Fusion

Last week, Lockheed announced it had a small team working on what it calls a Compact Fusion Reactor.  Fusion is the opposite of fission that’s used in nuclear plants today; it can produce enormous amounts of energy; the fuel for  itis cheap and plentiful; a small fusion engine would solve the world’s energy problems. I […]

Happy Lady Ada Day

I’m not, in general, huge on holidays. I often wish that those of us in the U.S. would observe the weeks between Halloween and Martin Luther King, Jr., Day with a nice long nationwide nap. But I feel differently about Ada Lovelace Day, founded by British digital-rights activist Suw Charman-Anderson in 2009. Now, every year in mid-October, the world has a chance […]

Redux: Ixnay on the iPod: In Praise of Crap Technology

Tom Hayden, an ex-LWONian whom we miss beyond measure, posted this on Nov. 2, 2011.  At the time it seemed to hit a national nerve, but knowing Tom, we bet every detail of it is still true. I’ve been thinking about my Zune a lot since Steve Jobs passed away. You know, the revolutionary portable […]