Sunday, August 31, 2003

Great Lewchew!

A former barbershop around the corner from me is now going to be a school of Okinawan culture and arts. (I took this picture of their sign with my cell phone.) This is nifty for a couple reasons.

First, culture is just neat. Exposure to all sorts of different cultures is one of the big advantages of living in Hawaii.

Second, Okinawa is a culture I actually have some connection to! Yeah, I'm as anglo as the day is long, but a
cousin of mine (on my mom's side) lives in Okinawa, has a wife from there, and is one of the top experts on Okinawa's pre-WWII history. So I've long had more than a passing interest in Okinawa.

I think we'll all have to go check this place out.

Friday, August 29, 2003

I spit on your puny Earth Simulator!

A couple months back, Apple introduced their Power Mac G5, based on IBM's PowerPC 970 chip in configurations up to a dual 2.0-gigahertz one. They touted it as "the world?s fastest personal computer and the first with a 64-bit processor."

This met with all kinds of whining from, well, all sorts of people. AMD users, for example, protested that since a small-time specialty PC maker had started selling workstations with AMD's 64-bit Opteron CPU in early June, Apple wasn't selling the first 64-bit personal computer.

This took quite a bit of cognitive disconnect. Let's see... one computer is sold as a "personal computer," to people who expect to run all kinds of general-purpose software, from Microsoft Office to AOL. It uses a chip designed for personal computers. VH-1 runs ads for it. It sells hundreds of thousands of units a year. It's available at hundreds of stores all over the world, and via dozens of mail-order catalogs.

The other system is sold as a workstation to people who're going to be rendering video and animation, uses a chip designed for a server, and is available from... it manufacturer, and a couple dozen resellers in other countries. Sound like a "personal" computer of the sort you'd find in someone's house? Nope.

Just to be snarky, one could point out that the "workstation" has a slower bus, slower RAM (and less capacity for RAM), and slower hard drives than the "personal computer."

But now, it looks like one Apple reseller has gotten a little carried away with their ad copy. CDW - generally a sane bunch - is now claiming that "The new Apple Power mac G5 is the world's fastest computer." Given that they didn't even manage to get the product name right (it's "Power Mac" in title case), I suppose I shouldn't be too shocked that they're apparently totally unaware of things like the 
Top 500 most powerful computers in the world...

Of course, if the Power Mac G5 really is faster than, say, the 
NEC Earth Simulator, I'll be really happy when mine finally arrives!

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Great time to live in Hilo

 Earlier this year, Hilo got its first Starbucks. Quite nearby, actually. I was particularly unenthusiastic about this, partly because the location had, once upon a time before we lived here, been a Wendy's, and now the nearest Wendy's is 90 miles away.

Next month, Hilo is getting its 
second Starbucks. Since I don't drink coffee, I don't really care about this one either. It'll be located out near Kuhio Grill, across the parking lot from the mall (Prince Kuhio Plaza).

What I 
do care about is that this Starbucks will follow the example of Starbucks locations all over Honolulu, and include an adjacent Jamba Juice smoothie shop.

Now, it's not like Hilo is a smoothie void right now. There's an Orange Julius in the mall; across Maka'ala street there's another one in the Waiakea Pavilion food court, and Island Naturals has smoothies, as does Abundant Life downtown. But after spending a couple years in Honolulu, I like some of Jamba's flavors, so I'll be glad to see them here.

(Oh, and if you're wondering if I think Starbucks is for uppity type-A sorts who're caffeinating - and typically smoking - their way to an early grave... well, I wouldn't exactly 
disagree with that characterization.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

The Idiots Have Taken Over

To the driver of the white Taurus wagon, the solid line means don't change lanes here. It especially means that when the lane you're going into is occupied by a car moving significantly faster than yours. I don't know if you just upgraded from a Yugo, but please, learn how long your vehicle is, so those of us you cut off won't wear our brakes out. Thanks!

I was fascinated to learn today that it's a violation of federal law to boycott Israel. So if I were to decide, say, that I don't approve of, for example, Mossad carrying out targeted assassinations in the United States, and that I want to protest this practice by not buying things from Israeli companies... well, I'd best do it quietly, since actually stating such a policy, or in any way documenting it, or even saying "this product contains nothing from Israel" is a federal no-no.

Where it really gets confusing is this: There are countries (in the "Arab world") that are boycotting Israel, and the boycott probably includes not letting Israeli-flagged ships into their ports. Fairly logical if you're doing a boycott, yes? However, it is illegal in the US to agree that a shipment to a company in any of those countries must come in on a ship that's allowed into their ports -- because that would be supporting the boycott. So... how are you supposed to ship goods to those countries with any degree of certainty?

Geez, I'm glad I'm not in a position to have to worry about the boycott silliness. (And hopefully I'm not in one to have to worry about Mossad assassinations, either!)

I think the McDonald's in a nearby town must be firing, executing, or otherwise disposing of any employees who graduate from trainee status. They always seem to have twice as many employees as it should take to get the job done... yet none of them seem to know how to work the register and get an order right. With employment so soft here, there should be plenty of out-of-work Ph.D's who could do this...

Friday, August 8, 2003

Where does my money go?

Well, in the usual sense, I suppose I already know, at least to some degree. But in another sense, I'm going to try to find out, via Where's George? I've just gotten started in the last few days, and am currently ranked in the 30's out of 139 users in Hawaii (you may need to register there to see that list). So if you're in Hilo and find a bill with "" on it, maybe it's one I've seen!

Thursday, August 7, 2003

How will I know which 15 minutes are mine?

As part of revamping this site, I've been working on putting more in the way of actual excerpts up from my writing... and also from quotes by (or about) me in the media.

This little exercise is making it evident just how many times I've managed to be quoted here and there. Thus far, I've got something over a dozen media mentions in 8.5 years - and there are at least another four to six places I know I was quoted that I've yet to dig up online, free or through paid archives.

Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Yoga and First Aid

Most weeks - well, I like to tell myself it's most weeks, and I really mean for it to be - I take a cheap one-hour yoga class, Tuesdays at noon. I made it to class this week.

About 10 minutes into class, a couple new guys showed up. Young, maybe early twenties, slimmer than me and probably way more in shape from surfing or whatever. They had decided, for whatever reason, that they wanted to try yoga. Okay, no problem, the teacher got them started and when it sunk in that yoga was strenuous, joked about how people thought it was for "old ladies who can't do aerobics."

It was a hot day, and we were all sweating. About 45 minutes into the 1-hour class, we'd just finished some standing poses, and the teacher was starting to demonstrate a balancing pose we were going to attempt next. I'd wound up in the front, with one of the new guys behind me and the other behind him.

Suddenly, there were a couple loud crashes from behind me. The teacher looked horrified. We all whirled around, and one of the new guys was lying on the floor off to the side, unconscious, twitching and bleeding from a nasty-looking gash in his forehead.

As best as I can figure it, he'd gotten dehydrated or overheated, started to stumble toward something - water, a fan, the door? - then blacked out, gone headfirst into the corner of a pillar, and hit the floor, hard.

We all got to practice rudimentary first aid - wet towels, water, fan, et cetera - and then once he was feeling a little better, we wrapped up with Savasana, a pose which involves lying on one's back and relaxing.

When I left, the teacher was still checking on his injury, trying to figure out whether he'd need stitches... he said he'd be there again next week, though! I hope he is, and I'll have a lot of respect for him if he makes it.

Why I'm leaving Twitter.

I've stuck it out and continued participating on Twitter while Elon Musk has run it into the ground, made it progressively more inhospit...