Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cables Make All The Difference

Recently, I had to buy a length of network cable for $22 from Staples. I resented the price, until I saw this offering:

For *only* $500 you can buy a cable made by Denon, composed of "pure copper". Presumably that price is in US dollars so all us Canuckie types will need to add roughly 20 percent - call it $600 loonies for discussion purposes.

And why would anyone pay $600 for a cable?

Well -- this product will allow you to "Get the purest signal from multi-channel DVD and CD playback through Denon receiver". One way that it achieves this is that the "Connector and cable structure designed to thoroughly eliminate adverse effects from vibration". Because, ya know, vibration causes all those little electrons to jostle together and not get to where they are supposed to go. Clearly, a product designed for audiophiles who operate at a level that I can barely imagine.

But don't take my word for this -- read the reviews. There are others, who like me, stand in awe and amazement at this product, and anyone who would buy it.

UPDATE - Audioquest make an ultra-deluxe speaker cable for $6800. This relegates the Denon offering to the little leagues. The $22 network cable I was bitching about doesn't even register. People who use this product probably aren't even in the same species as those of us who meet our cabling needs from the Dollar Store.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Dangers of Re-use

In complete contravention of what the bottled water people say is safe usage, I re-use my plastic water bottle many times before it usually ends up being thrown out, typically by someone else. Of course, bottlers of water have no vested interest in making sure that you buy more bottles instead of using the one you have, nosirree.

The latest study from the plastics industry (news article here) showing health problems with re-usable bags strikes me the same way. No bias from this source, either.

On the other hand, I am probably not going to be incredibly sympathetic to someone who got sick because because they brought vegetables home in a bag that they had previously used to transport used diapers. Those cloth bags are in fact washable as well as re-usable.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Finally, the Star Trek movie!

This movie is worth seeing, and probably more than once. We watched this down at the Beaches Cinema yesterday. All three of us thought this was a good movie, although (as usual) I have issues. I had vague thoughts about taking the day off to line up and watch the first showing on Friday, but those never got past the vague thoughts stage. If this were 20 years ago, I would have done it, no question.

The review in the Toronto Star is generally positive.

Here are some of the issues (possible spoiler warnings) --

Delta Vega is fairly close to the energy barrier at the galaxy's edge, not between Earth and Vulcan.

"Red Matter"? WTF? This substance is used to initiate a black hole collapse. It should have been straightforward to insert a reference to dark matter here.

Replacing a planet with an equivalent mass black hole doesn't create an instant "vacuum cleaner" effect.

Most serious - a supernova explosion won't destroy a planet in the way that it is shown to occur.

However, the rationale behind the "reboot" is well done -- it allows therm to acknowledge all of the existing history without necessarily being tied to it.

After the disasters of Star Trek Insurrection and Star Trek Nemesis, this movie franchise needed a good entry to lift it back up - and this movie is it. Star Trek nerds can rejoice.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Cinco de Mayo, times ten

Today is Cinco de Mayo, a holiday held in high regard by our friends Angel and Bill on account of Angel's Mexican roots and Bill's many years of traveling there. But today is also Corwin's tenth birthday, which will occur at 8:26AM, about half an hour from when I am writing this.

Ten years ago at this moment, Jill was having the worst part of her labour, having already gone through more than twelve hours of it. To get to the hospital in time to be part of my son's birth, I had left my project in Detroit, and had traveled back by car overnight.

From those first moments of that small, helpless baby, it is amazing to think that ten years have gone by, and the wisecracking boy of today is the same child.

Friday, May 01, 2009

May Day baby

Our friends Dave and Marianna, whose wedding we attended a couple of years ago, had a baby girl overnight!

Congratulations to Marianna (who did all the recent hard work) and Dave, and welcome to Maia Willow!

Corwin's response to the photo above was "Mwaaahaaahaaa! Soon, another geek like us!"