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Many moons ago, I bought a PC for the express purpose of playing City of Heroes. I enjoyed the game a great deal and played incessantly, but in time I found that my mindless MMORPGing was being impaired by my bargain basement video card. Thus, I desired to upgrade, and in particular I thought that I would buy a decent nVidia card.

Enter the nVidia 6600. )

When the devil and his majordomo had a child, that child was so ugly it broke the universe. And this video card was the afterbirth. Those look like copper traces but really they are solidified hate, powered by the fires of hell itself routing elemental particles of frustration from some infinite fount into the rest of my darling computer, poisoning it from the inside. Not even liquid nitrogen could quench its burning loathing for mankind. When I rip it out of my computer, still trailing the gossamer threads with which it has infested my case, I am going to put it in its packaging and then put that into a lead box and seal it with unicorn blood and the tears of a saint and then put that into a car that I will put into a shipping container that I will put on a ship that I will sail into the Pacific, over the Mariana Trench, and then I will blow the ship up and watch in a submersible to be sure that this vile thing returns back to the center of the earth whence it came to ensure that it will afflict no other human beings.

And I defy anyone to argue that this is somehow unreasonable.

(no subject)

Jan. 3rd, 2007 02:04 am
Today's snark in mathematics reviews comes to you from Eli Rabett discussing Robert Langlands's review of Euclid's Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace; it begins This is a shallow book on deep matters, about which the author knows next to nothing, but that is not why I wished to post about it.

No, I wished to remark on the single sentence

String theory itself or, better and more broadly, the conceptual apparatus of much of modern theoretical physics, above all of relativity theory, statistical physics and quantum field theory, whether in its original form as quantum electrodynamics, or as the basis of the standard theory of weak and strong interactions, or as string theory, is mathematics, or seems to be, although often not mathematics of a kind with which those with a traditional training are very comfortable.
Finally I have found a man who likes to string sentences together even more than I do. Entertainingly, Dr. Langlands is also Canadian.

But if it's pure snark you're after, this review has it in spades. From

To isolate these five developments [Euclid's plane geometry, Decartes's coordinate system, non-Euclidian geometries, higher-dimensional geometry, general relativity], each a major moment in intellectual history, as the themes of a single essay on mathematics was brilliant; to realize the concept an enormous challenge, beyond me, beyond most readers of the Notices, and certainly far beyond the author, locked in the present, upon which for him all windows open, and dazzled by his own flippancy.
or
Mlodinow's book is short, and the space is largely taken up with material that is irrelevant or false, and often both.
or even
[Regarding Cartesian analytic geometry] He would of course have first to read Descartes, but there is no sign that Mlodinow regarded that as appropriate preparation.

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So a while back, I bought a Beseler 45 enlarger, which seems to work delightfully. I start looking around on eBay for accessories for it (first and foremost, film holders so I can print something other than 35mm on it), and notice a dichoric (color) head for it, and buy it. It comes in yesterday, I put it on the enlarger, and it doesn't work. Confused, I fiddle to no effect, and finally email the seller who disclaims all responsibility and says it worked for him.

Unthrilled by this turn of events, I take the top off and start poking around, and sure enough one of the circuit boards inside is moving around in a rather alarming fashion. I take the head halfway apart, spent about ten minutes trying to reseat the damn board, and then put the thing back together and sure enough, it works. I'm missing one entire LED on the magenta, I think, but I can probably work around that, or perhaps it's another pin disconnected or something.

My theory is that the external screw to hold the loose board in place went walkies long before the head reached the seller, and the process of shipping jarred it out of place—to support this, there were a number of bent pins that I had to straighten out.

Anyway, I'm off to buy a timer cord for it so I can use the bastard.

A rant

Aug. 17th, 2006 08:36 pm
Well, I sat on this overnight and talked to someone uninvolved and it still seems worth saying; accordingly, I write this, fully expecting the communal response to be "good riddance to bad rubbish".

I've had it with passive aggressive behavior, and I've especially had it with a group that condones it. I've had too many "conversations" with people through intermediaries, a form of communication that compares infavorably to Telephone. I've been as guilty as most in not speaking up when I see this occur in front of me.

If you have a problem with me, you can damned well talk to me to my face about it. I'm not actually an ogre and I'm very unlikely to bite your head off. The "talking shit about me behind my back while pretending that everything is fine to my face" behavior, or in one particularly egregious case the "being friendly to me only so long as I'm around, and then immediately telling people what a horrible person I am" behavior is hurtful, harmful, and not going to change anything! Semi-involved people telling me "you should do X to make people more comfortable" and then moving the goalposts whenever I try to do X is hardly any better. Being conflict avoidant is not an excuse for being an asshole! Have the decency to address the person face to face, please. It's less unpleasant for everyone involved.

I can't deal with this from people I thought were my friends. It is becoming increasingly difficult to convince myself that it's worthwhile hanging out with folks who pretend to like me, as opposed to playing City of Heroes—a totally useless endeavor that produces nothing of any value to anyone, but at least involves online friends who like me and value my presence.

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(no subject)

Dec. 5th, 2005 07:25 pm
I decry the existence of product packaging that I cannot get into safely without an industrial bandsaw. It makes me want to take a portable circular saw into an electronics store and cut all the packaging open as a public service.
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