Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maybe it's time for an update, I don't know.   In the latest news, I went in to see Dr. Butler today, and he told me my arm is doing well, and he doesn't need to see me anymore unless I have some specific complaint (this was my last followup).   He says the bone is about 90% healed at this point.   I'm still not feeling confident enough to do yoga, but soon.   Soon.

The OLPC arrived today.   It is ludicrously cute.   It's obviously an MIT hack, too - only MIT geeks would put a cokebottle key on the keyboard and make C-M-Cokebottle bring you to the console.   (They call the cokebottle key the Neighborhood key; I identify it as the cokebottle key because the icon on the key looks like the bottom of an old-fashioned coke bottle).

My initial impression of the OLPC is that it's a really nice piece of engineering.   A lot of hard work went into this thing.   People complain about the keyboard, and it's true that you're not going to be able to touch type on it if you don't have very delicate hands, but I can type pretty quickly and accurately on it - it's by no means unusable. 

The GUI isn't very quick; one could excuse this on the basis that there's a lot going on and not much CPU to do it, but in fact I think the main problem is that a lot of the basic software in the machine was written on fast machines, and the authors simply didn't realize that they were writing slow code.   I suspect that if someone has time to go in and really trim out the fat, this machine could perform quite nicely - it's certainly quite a bit faster than anything I had up until about five years ago.

The Sugar GUI itself is very useable, and took me about an hour to really get - the people who are complaining that it's obscure are probably not expecting to have to learn a new GUI at all, which is fine for them, but this is a machine for kids.   The new GUI will not be a barrier for kids.   The GUI could use a little flow analysis - it doesn't take enough advantage of edges, and sometimes the guide tags get in the way of navigation, but these problems are definitely fixable.   I wonder if the trackpad can be tweaked to do two-finger scrolling.   I'm eager to get in and play with the hardware a bit.

We're out in Bowie today.   We've been trying to get started on some pre-house projects, but I got a bit sidetracked in Tucson because some friends were visiting, and I wanted to hang out with them - we usually only see them when things are really busy out here.   So today I cleared a path for the Kubota (you don't want to just drive it over cacti, because the tires are expensive and not puncture-proof), so that tomorrow I can start digging the trench for our water line.   The seriously handy folks here think that the Kubota isn't powerful enough to do anything efficiently in the rocky soil here; I'm hoping to prove them wrong, although I'm by no means certain I'll succeed.   It's a long trench.

Andrea bought a new game for the Wii yesterday: Tiger Woods Golf 2008.   Weirdly, this scratches the same itch that the Matrix Online used to, although without the stupid pizza delivery missions that you have to run to get to higher levels (I wasted a lot of time on MxO because of the leveling problem).   Basically, it's relatively mindless compared to programming, but requires a certain amount of thought and concentration to do well in.   There are lots of different golf courses, and the problems at each one vary depending on the wind.   So like MxO, the scenery changes a lot, you have something to do, and it's a nice break.

I wonder if there's an advanced Wii tennis game...

Weirdly, golf and tennis are not sports I'd be likely to play in real life.   I now see the attraction of golf, but still have trouble reconciling the tremendous waste of water and destruction of habitat and (particularly in Asia) wetlands.   Tennis is fun, but kind of hard on the joints.   Although I am tempted to pick up a racquet again now that I've been playing Wii tennis a bit - what's really stopped me from actually doing it so far is simply my fear of stumbling and having to catch myself with my recently-broken wrist.   Plus of course the fact that the sun in Arizona is completely merciless.

It seems that my policy of trying to avoid the news was effective this week - Perry chatted me up and was surprised to hear that I didn't know Bear Stearns had collapsed.   Sigh.   The Tibetan situation has been somewhat unescapable, for bizarre karmic reasons I can't entirely explain.   These are both news stories that I feel completely powerless to affect.   It feels wrong to just say that I needn't have heard of them at all, and yet what good did hearing about them do me or the people who are actually suffering?   All I can do is hope that the current Chinese government is more forgiving than previous governments have been.


Blogger Jym said...

=v= Wii Video Games Blamed For Rise In Effeminate Violence. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Friday, March 21, 2008 2:08:00 AM  

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