The Windows treadmill

I own a laptop that came bundled with Windows Vista. I installed Linux as fast as possible, but left Windows as a dual-boot option mainly to check that things behave nicely in Internet Explorer. And a good thing too, because they usually don’t. I also keep it because I own some junk hardware that also… Continue reading The Windows treadmill

We are Stars

The 3rd in Don Kurtz’s excellent series of lectures moved outwards, towards the edge of the universe. While the first was a brief romp through the history of astronomy, and the second focused on the wonders of our nearest star, the 3rd looked outward towards the stars and beyond. There’s $600 million spent on each… Continue reading We are Stars

Global warming and the Sun

The second in Don Kurtz’s excellent series of lectures focused on the plain, ordinary old sun. Now reaching middle-aged, 4.6 billion years old with about another 5 and a half to go, the sun is wondrously active and mysterious. Unlike the earth, which rotates at the same speed at the equator and the poles, because… Continue reading Global warming and the Sun

Which is the best search engine?

If you’re tempted to leave Google, and wondering if Yahoo have upped their game, or whether Bing is revolutionising search, take a look at Blind Search. You can enter a search term, and get the three sets results you’d get from Bing, Google and Yahoo, without knowing which is which. You can then vote for… Continue reading Which is the best search engine?

MTN, Vodacom and Cell C square up against a Faraday Cage

Hold the Nobel Prize for Science. Visting friends last night, they excitedly told me that they had a Faraday Cage. U had put her phone in the cage and tested it by trying to ring it (it connected outside the cage), but couldn’t get a signal. Wanting to see this wonder in action, I put… Continue reading MTN, Vodacom and Cell C square up against a Faraday Cage

Renewable energy feed-in tariffs approved

NERSA, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, has approved some quite generous renewable energy feed-in tariffs. In short, renewable energy feed-in tariffs mean that developers can invest in renewable energy, and sell excess energy back to the grid (Eskom) at a profit, a price more than it costs to generate, and guaranteed for a… Continue reading Renewable energy feed-in tariffs approved

Learning Languages Revisited

I’m making vague plans to go to Argentina in August, so I’ve started brushing up on my Spanish. I’d learnt Spanish for a month before going to Peru in 2001, but haven’t used it since, and have forgotten everything but Hola and, of course, Hasta la vista, Baby. I’ve been considering how my personal language… Continue reading Learning Languages Revisited