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  • New Lappy

    Just before my Stanford trip, I bought myself a new laptop. I didn’t want a netbook, as much as I love them, because I wanted something I could really work on comfortably. I ended up with what BestBuy called a “Dell Inspiron” (really a Dell Inspiron 1545, I discovered after digging around online): Core 2 Duo 2Ghz, 4gb memory, DVDRW Drive, 320gb HD, 15.6″ screen…and Vista Home Premium.

    I really like it. Its decently fast, has a good amount of memory (and since the OS is 64bit, it actually uses it all), a decent sized screen and hard drive. The touchpad is a hair finicky, but I got an external mouse so I’m comfortable.

    Its of course now been replaced by the “Studio 15″ models. Models of laptops change constantly.

    The kicker is it runs Vista…and XP drivers for newer machines are often simply not available, so I’m kind of stuck with that as a Windows OS. Almost immediately, I deleted Dell’s “recovery partition” (it was a huge 18gb partition!) and installed Ubuntu (a Linux version) so I can dual boot. Now Ubuntu isn’t by any means my favorite version, but it installed flawlessly and everything worked right at install! Laptop components under linux can be hit or miss, because of proprietary drivers (wireless cards are notorious), etc. This is the reason I chose Ubuntu — Dell sells laptops with Ubuntu installed, so I was fairly sure there would be drivers.

    A few NASA and mission stickers later (secret NASA technology in the stickers makes anything they are attached to run 10% faster!) and I’m pretty happy with the setup.

    Next post: Vista…and Windows 7.

  • SLAC Tour

    Today was the last day of the conference, and at about 1pm one of the local guys took us on a tour of SLAC. Formerly called the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, its now just called the SLAC National Accelerator Lab, as they’ve refocused from just the accelerator to doing all sorts of high energy physics stuff.

    While he was only able to give us a tour of the computer facilities (the actual physics stuff is behind higher security and they’re revamping their tours at the moment) it was still very cool. Lots and lots of equipment and room.

    Most amusing part is a sign at the entrance: “Unique Hazards May Exist.”

    Unique Hazards May Exist

  • Stanford University

    So I’m sitting here at Stanford University for the second day, listening to the Dean of Carnegie Melon’s Silicon Valley campus talk (he’s one of the creators of the AFS system that the conference is about).

    In walking in to the building today, I was surprised at the amount of the open space around the campus…almost everywhere you turn there are quads, courtyards, small parks, athletic fields, etc. If this was ASU, they’d have paved it over and put a building (with a “Your Name Here for a Small Fee” sign on it). The other thing that strikes me is that the internal roads (which ASU would have turned into “malls” with no non-ASU vehicles allowed) are still mostly open to traffic (some are restricted to shuttles, etc).

    Then one of the locals explained the Mandatory Earthquake Instructions: move to the designated open space and wait for emergency services as necessary.

    Duh. Arizona doesn’t have earthquakes. 🙂

    Edit: Finally figured out how to get rid of the Drop Capitals at each paragraph. One is nice, 4 is just silly looking! Special thanks to my employee Zach for showing me how to find the css element in Firebug.

  • This is a test…

    This is a test of the LJ crossposting function.

    If this had been an actual blog post, it would have contained approximately 78% more angst.

    Assuming this goes well, I’ll be semi-abandoning my LJ and posting my huge life shattering events on my own blog at xoff.org.

    I know you’re all thrilled.

    Update: Like my comment on xoff.org says, you can just use your livejournal account to leave comments here without creating an account on my blog. Just use your LJ username as the Name and your LJ site as your website. Woot!