Category: MACHINES

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Yunchtime Goes Hexo

Well, as much as I love WordPress, I finally got tired with the updates and the response times when the shared hosting MySQL instances got bogged down. Since I’ve been moving away from CMS in general

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Unboxing a 1964 Smith Corona Sterling

It would be great if everyone was as lucky as I was today when unboxing a Fedex carton containing a used manual typewriter.   The typical horror stories of rattling loose pieces and totally broken machines could be greatly reduced in number if people were careful packers, like the “secretagent” who sold me this beautiful old typer!

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Microburst Storm Damage

Well, as much as I love WordPress, I finally got tired with the updates and the response times when the shared hosting MySQL instances got bogged down. Since I’ve been moving away from CMS in general

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Robot fetishism and the antibody syndrome

Because I never watch television or read magazines,  I am quite slow to notice emerging trends in pop culture.  That is why a had such a shock this weekend when we were driving on a highway ramp towards the airport and a gigantic billboard loomed over me, asking in texting language: “R U Bot or Not?”

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21st Century Bag of Tricks

The modern day shaman — the serial start-up entrepreneur — carries around a fascinating collection of baubles and tools. The old school shrunken heads, shark’s teeth, eagle feathers, ointm

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Another Hydra - how to install multisite Drupal

The excellent description on secure multi-site Drupal installation by Justin Hileman worked like a charm. However, for my own records, it’s a good idea to save the exact procedure that I used on my Centos 5.3 system. Hopefully it might help someone else who wants a complete rundown. So, if you dare to unleash another hydra-headed monster on your website, here you go, Nick! Scenario: using one database instance, I wanted to run multiple Drupal sites by using the same core modules and the same contributed modules. The plan was to first install Drupal core, and then to use CVS to get contributed modules, allowing for fairly simple CVS updates of new contributed modules. (Of course, you could do the same to obtain Drupal core, if you want.) Each Drupal site would live in its own folder below the webroot, while the actual core installation and multisites existed above the webroot in an area secure from casual intruders.

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Ecocities = More Bicyle, Less Car

When I am able to blank out the last thirty five years, during which I have continuously despised and fought against the automobile (even when I owned one myself…yes, I’m talking about that rattling death-trap of a 1967 Ford Falcon!), when I can forget all that, it does my heart good to hear people talking about Ecocities. Richard Register has a decent column in Foreign Policy in Focus this week, advocating for more sustainable cities built around better transit systems and less automobile traffic. His points are well taken and straightforward, building upon his books on the subject (from 2001 and 2006): Switch to a pedestrian and transit-oriented infrastructure, built around compact centers designed for pedestrians and transit; Roll back sprawl development while vigorously restoring nature and agriculture; Integrate renewable energy systems while using non-toxic materials and technologies and promoting recycling. Which he follows immediately by pointing out the major obstacles to achieving this dream: A major difficulty in moving toward ecocities is that cars have influenced urban design for 100 years. Many of us caught in this infrastructure find it extremely difficult to get around in anything but the car. The distances are just too great for bicycles, the densities just too low to allow efficient, affordable transit.

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March of the Robots in the Uncanny Valley

Although the armatures and servo-controlled eyeballs beneath the skin may be fascinating, Beware the Ides of March, and robot teachers with scary rubber lips! With all the press surrounding the schoolteacher robot named Saya (developed by Hiroshi Kobayashi), you would think that the Singularity is upon us, but upon closer examination it looks like we will be loping along in the Uncanny Valley for a long time to come. In the photo series that appeared in the Boston Globe recently, it was apparent to me that loose rubber lips do not a rose make.

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Bust Out of Energy Addiction

Isn’t it about time we moved beyond the idiotic “central heating” concept and kicked our energy habit? But how, you might ask, do we get this 100 quadrillion BTU monkey off our back? The answer, as