Tech

Category archives for Tech

As an archaeologist I often need to plot coordinates on maps and plans. At every scale, really: from individual finds on the plan of an excavation trench to the distribution of something across Europe. Just dots of varying shapes and colours on various background maps. Most often, it’s GPS data from field walking and metal…

Boat Carriers

Yesterday my dad had his boat lifted out of the water like he does every autumn to keep the ice from damaging it. I hadn’t seen the lift they used before: it’s a remote-controlled motorised thing, fast and nifty. Note the yellow control box. This reminded me of a fairly common motif in Bronze Age…

Steve Jobs is dead, an unfortunate victim of cancer and quackery. I never paid him much attention while he lived. Nor did I ever care much about Apple’s products. “Aha”, I hear you say, “this is one of those ‘PC is better than Mac’ screeds”. Not so. Because I have been an off-and-on Mac user…

Rode A Paunchy Plane

Rode a funny plane to Visby: an ATR 72-500. It’s a 1997 version of a French 1988 design with two propellers whose six blades curve rearwards. The rear undercarriage sits in bulky pods on the fuselage, right below the wings. Makes the plane look like it’s got a beer gut. And its cargo bay is…

Neal Stephenson is an unusually inventive writer of historical and futuristic fiction. I have previously reviewed his 2008 novel Anathem here. And somehow I have now come to think of one of his weirdest ideas: the subterranean orgy computer in The Diamond Age. This 1995 book bursts with far-out motifs and ideas, to the extent…

I Hate the Great Firewall

Here’s just short note to tell you, Dear Reader, that the Great Firewall of China is fucking annoying. I am unable to access Twitter, Facebook, any Blogspot blog and often most of Google’s services including Gmail. Meanwhile, the Chinese populace is so closely keyed in to what’s happening in the West that girls in remote…

Dear Bloggers, We have been forwarding reports from bloggers and users to our hosting service, Rackspace, over the past few days. After monitoring our traffic and these reports, Rackspace has determined that ScienceBlogs is experiencing a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack and has blocked a range of IP addresses involved. While this means that…

A Narrowed Social Horizon at Facebook

Here’s something Leif Häggström sent me on Facebook, originally apparently written by one Abby Smith. Have you noticed that you are only seeing updates in your newsfeed from the same people lately? Have you also noticed that when you post things like status messages, photos and links, the same circle of people are commenting and…

Wikileaks’ Non-Mountainous Non-Bunker

The current issue of Vanity Fair (#606, February 2011) has an interesting piece on the collaboration between Wikileaks, the Guardian and other old media. On page 110 we’re told that Wikileaks is “partly hosted on a server in Sweden that is lodged in a former nuclear bunker drilled deep inside the White Mountains”. This confused…

Eager For Better E-Book Deals

I’m eager to start reading more e-books. I rarely re-read books (except for work), and my friends rarely borrow paper ones from me, so I have little reason to hang on to paper books. E-books would be just the thing. But the prices aren’t any good. I either have to pay more for an e-book…