Crashes …

I’ve had my PowerBook for over 3 months now. Saturday, for the first time, it crashed. (Early on, I had a few instances where it would power down instead of going to sleep, but I found out what was causing that.) Saturday was the first time it crashed on me while I was using it. I’ve got to hand it to those Apple guys: crashing on a Mac has a much better user interface than the Blue Screen O’ Death.

This morning, it happened again. Two crashes in four days. *sigh*. How disappointing.

Update: Again tonight. Time to figure out how to turn on crash dumps.

What is it about me?

I seem to have this knack: I pick up a new technology, and the very first thing I try to do with it goes beyond what the technology is capable of. It happens time and time again.

I’m using XSLT today. (It’s not the first time I used XSLT, but it’s the first time in a while, and I recall something similar happening the first time, too.) And I spent over an hour thinking, “There’s got to be a way to do this.

I finally went to the XSLT 2.0 Requirements document, and sure enough, what I want to do is in there … as an option that the working group may want to consider. *sigh*.

Google and fairness

I’ve seen a lot of people worrying lately about how fair, equitable, accurate, or helpful Google’s page rankings are. Dave is puzzled that he has an unreasonably high ranking when you search for “Dave”, and likewise an unreasonably low ranking when you search for “weblog”.

Come on, people. Google’s ranking system is based on heuristics, and sometimes those heuristics will give good results, sometimes bad. Google is a huge improvement on what went before, but the difference is just that their heuristics are better (and, incidentally, much more expensive to calculate).

Furthermore: it has to be that way. Given the weak semantics of HTML, the different ways of writing and structuring web pages, and the very different things that different people think are important, there’s no “one true way”; heuristic ranking is the only thing that makes sense.

Why do title sequences in movies jitter?

Of course, I watched the new Two Towers trailer today, just like every other Tolkien fan. And I really like what I saw.

But I noticed something I’ve noticed before, in trailers and in the full-length films. The title sequences jitter on the screen as though they were filmed by a guy sitting in a theater with a camcorder. (OK, maybe it’s not that bad, but it’s noticeable.)

Effects groups can do motion-controlled shots with live action, miniatures, matte paintings, and CG elements all merged on screen, moving seamlessly together. (For that matter, there was a translucent overlay at the bottom of the frame throughout the trailer, and it was rock solid.) Why can’t they generate title sequences the same way?

Bad dog! Try again.

Saturday I was sitting in a talk next to PragDave, and had to boot my PowerBook (for some reason it had shut down instead of going to sleep after my talk). I took the opportunity to show him one of my favorite silly OSX features. When you type the wrong password into the login panel, it doesn’t give you a message or anything. Instead, the login panel just shakes rapidly from side to side, as though your Mac is vehemently shaking its head at you.

Dave was most amused. :-)

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