Brooklyn College Library

Visited Brooklyn College yesterday to take a look at the newly reopened library.

Well, they’ve spent countless millions, and now the insides look like a typical yuppie apartment. Various designer chairs (mostly Aerons and some other expensive looking wooden ones) , desks. The circulation desk looks like a reception desk in a Fortune 100 company. Tons of tables with ethernet hookups. Some crappy Dells with 15 inch flat panel monitors running Win XP are available in “labs”. Lots of air conditioning ducts and eyes-in-the-sky.

Could not find any of the books that I wanted in the horrible mainframe search app (you telnet into it from the workstations). I was looking for some Lee Friedlander photography books , “The Legend of Amdahl”, some real estate books, some books about NYPD. Nada. Oh well, there is and And I have Aerons and fast network connection at home.

I thing that royally pisses me of is that they are using crappy bright fluorescent lamps. I hate those. At work I unhooked one that is right above my cube because it was driving me nuts. Yeah, spend millions on chairs and desks and install lamps that give everyone headaches.

The La Guardia reading room is gorgeous. There were some very nice black and white photos on the walls, a mildly interesting exposition of historical documents and photographs.

If I actually found any good books and did not get a headache from the lamps it would have been a great experience.

Marilyn Maye

You know what provides perfect music for coding? Sirius satellite radio. Just click on “play now” – and bam – 100 commercial free streaming radio stations. The “Pure Jazz” station is awesome! It’s all free for now and Sirius seems to have financial difficulties.. I hope they survive. I am even considering subscribing.

Just heard an absolutely amazing singer I didn’t know about, Marilyn Maye. Just for the song “Washington Square” I am going to buy a whole cd of her music, “Meet Marvelous Marilyn Maye”. Mmmm.

By the way, at least two of my coworkers did not know what “Sirius” meant and why their logo is a dog. Strange..

Ok, break over, back to coding.

Righty -Tighty, Lefty -Loosey

Reading a book about NYC subway.

Interesting fact: old subway cars used regular light bulbs for normal lighting and special left-handed screw threaded bulbs in emergency lighting. The regular bulbs were always on, and because of that nobody could steal them easily (they were too hot). The emergency lights were threaded incorrectly, so the potential thieves would have to figure out how to unscrew them first, and even if they succeeded, they would not be able to use the bulb at home. This is kind of like special coat hangers and non-standard linens in hotels. Hmm, I can’t remember any other uses of non-standard equipment for theft prevention.

Computer Desk Manifesto

I need new computer desks. Two of them. I’ve spent enough time working with computers, and here is my computer desk manifesto:

1) All desks created specifically as computer workstations suck.
2) Keyboard drawers are evil. You don’t need them.
3) Telescoping keyboard platforms are evil as well.
4) You don’t need a section in a desk to hold the computer case. It will make it hard to get to the computer, plug in devices, change video cards. You computer will overheat.
5) Little shelves and enclosures on top of the desk suck. They will fill in with worthless junk, like old disquettes and cds, paperclips and other garbage. You won’t be able to fit in a large monitor, and the monitor will overheat.
6) There is no need for a special monitor stand.
7) There is no need for a printer stand under the desk. In fact, you don’t need anything under the desk except space for your legs, computer case and the cat.

So what an ideal computer desk is like?

1) It’s a regular sturdy table. 4 legs and a tabletop. Very sturdy.
2) Height should be easily adjustable.
3) It should be fairly large.
4) If there are rollers on the legs, you should be able to lock them.
That’s it!

I like Overkill Design’s Jack Kidney table. They make other stuff as well. One thing I’ll say for themBlue Jesus is cool. (sung to JCS music)

Bag Lady Thatcher

“To handbag” – to assault verbally, to intimidate. This expression was coined by Margaret Thatcher’s opponents. The actual bag sold for 100,000 pounds.

What does Queen Elisabeth carry in her handbag? My photography teacher said that she carries a Rollei rangefinder camera, but I could not find any references on the Internet. Oh, and the Queen’s website doesn’t run on Linux these days. It runs on a Windows machine. But It looks like she does use a Dualit Toaster though.


My electric bill last month was $148.95 . It says there that I’ve used up 797 KWH. That’s 26.6 KWH per day. That means that on the average I consume 1.1 KW. That’s 1100 W every hour, 24 hours a day. It’s like having 36 light bulbs on at the same time. All the time.

The only things that work full time are refrigerator (84 W on the average, lets say 200W while it’s hot), TIVO (40W), aquarium pump (30 W) . One AC was on during the night most of the time, another for a couple of hours in the evening.

I have a suspicion that:
a) my KWH meter is connected to something of my neighbor’s.
b) the old 220V AC is eating an enormous amount of electricity
c) all of the power supplies for cell phones, hubs, router, a/v components are leaching a shitload of juice

I really wish there was a portable KWH meter that I could hook up to any device and calculate the _actual_ energy consumption. But looks like there is no such thing.
Ok, this is pretty idiotic.

I really got to do something about this. Maybe I can get a better rate then 15 -16 c per KWH. Maybe I can find the mooching device that eats all my juice. I need to try and check the readings on my meter myself. Here is how. Neat.

Now, this is pretty idiotic. If not, more idiocy can be found on the other end of the spectrum.

Also, I don’t think I have good surge protection for my stuff, and the wiring quality is pretty dodgy. Which reminds me, my renter’s insurance ran out and I really need to renew it. Crap.

Well, at least this post helped me to get my thoughts in order.

Mmmm, nucular ..

The spirit of adventure is alive and well in me. Today instead of just eating my Atkins bar, I decided to nuke it in a microwave for 15 seconds. Well, it became much more edible!
Guess I was not the first one to figure this out.

Speaking about nucular. One of my favorite magazines, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, had a very funny article about mispronunciation of “nuclear”. Homer Simpson is not the only offender in this matter. Eisenhower , Reagan, Bush-I usually said something like “NOO-kyoo-lur”, “NU-kyuh-ler” or “NU-cu-lar”. Carter, in a class of his own, liked to reminisce about being a “nu-KEE-ar engineer” (I wonder, was he the only engineer among American presidents?)

One of my favorite FIDO origin lines from was “I put instant coffee in the microwave oven and almost went back in time.” I don’t advise it, even for time traveling :)


My new digital camera is on it’s way from Canada.

I’s a special black finish edition of Canon Powershot G2. B&H and Adorama did not have it in stock, and the only place selling it on the web was Photocreative in Canada.
I am going to name my new camera Hoser.
Don’t you hate silvery finishes in cameras, eh?

Meanwhile — another photo from my archive.