Category Archives: science fiction

Don’t Panic

I’ve been reading an excellent book recently that I saw on a list of the 5 books every geek should read and wanted to recommend it as the best on the list. It is also one of the few books I would actually recommend that you see the movie first – simply because of how odd the book is. It is the 6 books of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy – better known as the The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide.

Be forewarned that it can be odd and seemingly pointless at times, but if you get it, it can be one of funnier books that you will read. It also has some interesting bits of philosophy in it – mostly poking fun at or exploring the oddity that is life.

I have read 4 of the other books and would recommend them as well. Neuromancer seems to be where they get a lot of the ideas for the Shadowrun books. Ringworld also seems to be an idea well for several other series. Finally, Asimov was always a good science fiction writer.

Enjoy. And remember – don’t panic.

Random Tidbit: It’s always important to remember The Ten Commandments of Web Design.

So you wanna live forever (or Opera is the best browser no one’s heard of)

So scientists, at least I’m assuming he’s a scientist – which could be dangerous, are not reporting that someday we may be able to use nanotechnology to gain immortality. Basically we could use tiny nanobots to do what our body naturally does, except better. It would enable us to avoid “transcription errors” in our DNA – which brings to mind the glitches you get on your computer when you leave mozilla running too long – thereby keeping us young forever as well as fighting most common diseases. It’s a pretty neat idea and I’m in as long as Microsoft and Sony aren’t. Last thing I need is some legacy code or DRM messing with my motor skills and I start spastically slapping myself.

As for Opera, I found a recent article that talks about how designers can edit their pages in real time and see the results using Opera 9.0. I haven’t had a lot of time to use Opera, but from what I have I’m fairly impressed. It has all the good features of Mozilla – including some additional ones built in that are extensions in Mozilla – as well as neat features like zooming and the ability to render the page you’re viewing as a text browser would – great for improving the accessibility of the site you’re designing and/or improving the SEO. The best part is of the 3 major browsers, it’s the fastest I’ve seen. Unfortunately there’s 2 problems. One is probably user error – some of the pages I’ve designed come out a little funky. I believe this to be because Opera renders the box model correctly but also reads some of the IE hacks I use – or vice versa. I did upgrade to 9 and most of this went away, so that’s a good sign. Two is the bigger problem. Only about 2% of the web users out there use it. That’s on average, and if your site or blog is about the web, especially cutting edge web technology, it’s likely much higher. But it’s still disappointing. With IE7 not looking like it’s going to fix many of the major bugs – and no real explanation why not – I almost wish they would just use all that money they’re raking in, buy Opera and plug it into Vista. But that will never happen.

Another interesting stat on that is that 5% of users still use IE5. Which leads me to believe they either can’t afford to upgrade their computer or they live in a cave. I’m hoping for a day that all users will have a CSS2 (or 3) compliant browser and designing will be a lot easier. But, not too easy, sometimes I feel I’m one good copy of Dreamweaver from being obsolete.

Random Tidbit: An interesting story about the PS3 being make or break for Sony. I had a blog recently about my thoughts on this matter. The more I hear about PS3 the more I think I’m not going to buy one. I think I’ve become an Xbox man. Which is very, very depressing when you think about it. I think I’ll just lie and say I own only the Wii…

The World is a big Computer

Saw and interesting article a MIT professor about how the world is really just a big quantum computer. It’s a different take on the creation of the universe, the definition of reality and life after death. I’m kind of torn on how to take this. I mean, I have faith, and I believe that there is something bigger then all of us. I just never thought it might be a computer (and we’re all done if it runs Windows). The author does concede at the end to the existence of heaven, so perhaps it’s not that he believes God doesn’t exist – rather that the story we’re told by organized religion might be a little off. If you’ve ever read the book God’s Debris then some of this rings true. I’m willing to concede that being human, we may not be able to understand and/or fathom all that’s going on. And maybe we make generalizations to allow us to wrap our minds around it.

Pretty deep in all. I highly recommend God’s Debris and especially since he’s giving it out free in PDF form. It’s a relatively quick read too.

I like his last point. That somehow the ones we care about have affected this world and continue to be a part of it, even after they’re gone. It’s been shown, I believe, that matter can’t be destroyed – only reorganized. I’m not nearly intelligent enough to draw many conclusions from either work, but the more exposure they get the better.

To become less serious for a moment, speaking of computers Intel is slashing prices. Supposedly to match AMD’s recent advancements and to try their loss of market share. Not really related to the earlier topic, but I wanted to pass it along as well.

Geek War

Ever wondered how a Death Star would match up against a Halo? Or the Borg ship to a Super Star Destroyer? Well, I don’t think the actual arguments could ever be resolved, but an interesting site allows you to at least compare them in size. It takes actual specifications and lays out graphic models so you can kind of get a scope of the different universes – all in one place.

On size alone, a Halo looks like it would decimate pretty much anything. Leave it to Microsoft to think bigger is better.