Monday, April 22, 2013

Dioxygen Difluoride

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h/t xkcd What-If

Here's a substance to suggest for use during Chemistry class.

On second thought, better not:

... The great majority of Streng's reactions have surely never been run again. The paper goes on to react FOOF with everything else you wouldn't react it with: ammonia ("vigorous", this at 100K), water ice (explosion, natch), chlorine ("violent explosion", so he added it more slowly the second time), red phosphorus (not good), bromine fluoride, chlorine trifluoride (say what?), perchloryl fluoride (!), tetrafluorohydrazine (how on Earth. . .), and on, and on. If the paper weren't laid out in complete grammatical sentences and published in JACS, you'd swear it was the work of a violent lunatic. ...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Ultra Small Form Factor (USFF) PCs's

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I just saw one of these for sale. PC's have just gotten a whole lot smaller.

This puppy is a mere 4x4x2". Packed within is an Intel Core i3-3217U processor (1.8GHz, 2 cores, hyperthreaded), 2 SO-DIMM sockets supporting up to 16GB of RAM, 2 HDMI ports for video, 3 USB 2.0 ports (plus 2 internal ones), Gigabit Ethernet, Mobile SATA port for an SSD, optional Wi-Fi and Blue Tooth.

Amazon's price (stripped) is about $300. Add 16GB of RAM (for $120) and a 256GB mSATA SSD (for $206), and you've got a really nice pocket-size computing platform for about $625 - which is cheaper than many systems of similar power that are physically much larger.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ars Technica: Inexpensive large SSDs from Crucial

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Ars Technica: Waiting for a 1TB SSD below $1 per GB? Crucial says wait no more.

Crucial has just announced the new M500 series of SSD drives, at great new price points:

  • 120GB for $130 ($1.08/GB)
  • 240GB for $220 ($0.92/GB)
  • 480GB for $400 ($0.83/GB)
  • 960GB for $600 ($0.62/GB)

Still much more expensive than a hard drive, but this does bring large capacity SSDs into the price range where ordinary people will be interested in buying some.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Controlling Apple TV with a third-party remote control

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An Apple TV box can be controlled with any IR remote control, not just the one Apple sells. No need for a universal remote - the Apple TV box learns what your existing remote transmits.

So, if you've got an old remote control from a device you no longer use, you can repurpose it for the Apple TV. Or if you have a universal remote, you can configure it for any unused code and have the Apple TV work with that.

I wish more devices supported this. Especially for those occasions when you have two identical devices in the same room (like at work, where our video-conference system has two identical big-screen TVs). This way, you can configure them to use different sets of codes.

I'm now wondering if I can do the same thing on my Mac mini. It has an IR sensor. If I can use a spare remote to make it do things (like run the DVD player app), that would be awesome. ... It turns out that there's an app for that at least for a small subset of commercially available remote controls.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

National Review: Don't Intervene In Syria

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National Review's Andrew McCarthy writes about policy in the Middle East and why the US should only intervene when there are clear American interests at stake:

Friday, April 05, 2013

OS X: Password may not be accepted after changing user's full name

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OS X: Password may not be accepted after changing user's full name

All I can say is d'Oh!

Newer Technology's MiniStack Max

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Newer Technology has recently released the MiniStack Max. According to the spec sheet, this device includes a hard drive, an optical drive, a USB 3.0 hub and an SD-XC card reader. And the pricing is very attractive.

Other World Computing is selling this for a variety of prices ranging from $150 (case-only - provide your own hard drive and optical drive) up to $570 (with a 4TB hard drive and Blu-Ray burner.)

And just to make it extra nice, it is designed to stack with a Mac mini and coordinate beautifully.

I haven't used one of these, but if this works as advertised, it's one of the nicest external drive chassis around.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Center For Consumer Freedom: Federal Court to Animal-Rights Legal Circus: Pay Up

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The Center For Consumer Freedom reports that Feld Entertainment was awarded attorney's fees in a long-standing suit brought by several animal-rights groups. The case was dismissed in 2009, and the dismissal was upheld by the appellate court in 2011. Hopefully, by awarding courts, this will strongly dissuade these groups from filing more abusive lawsuits

And let's face it, I love it when animal-rights nutcases get smacked down.