Sunday, March 30, 2014

Washing the Thumb Drive

I was going to move my wash basket when I noticed one of my thumb drives was sitting next to it. That obviously meant it had fallen out of a pants pocket. Oh no, I just washed a thumb drive.

Nice and clean after washing

With great trepidation, I tested it. The Word, Excel, and Picture files seem to be fine. (Fortunately, this was a backup drive I don’t use much.) This is not so much a tribute to modern electronics, since that would get messed up by being immersed. It’s a tribute to the more mundane sort of factories that can machine the molds for the cover to such a tiny fraction of an inch, the plastic cap makes a waterproof seal when snapped onto the rest of the drive.

While Battlestar Galactica was on the air, I thought they should have come out with a thumb drive that looked like the Galactica and call it—you guessed it—a jump drive. I tended to accidentally call these things jump drives while watching the series.

And now for a  shameless plug: this reminds of the time I went to the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle for the Battlestar Galactica exhibit. It featured the life-size vipers (fighter jets) used in the series. You can see that post here

Monday, March 24, 2014

Disney Store Closes

The Disney Store at Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood, a suburb to the north of Seattle, closed.

Dark and shuttered

The sign didn’t say they had moved. Instead, it encouraged customers to shop at their website.

I’m not sure exactly when they closed. Obviously, they would have stayed open during the Christmas season, and then a little afterwards to process any returns or exchanges. I don’t deny the internet is more efficient, but children enjoyed walking in and seeing their favorite Disney figures—including a figure of Alice from Alice in Wonderland, I think about three feet tall, in the front window. It’s kind of too bad. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Review: Midshipman’s Hope

Midshipman’s Hope (The Seafort Saga), by David Feintuch

Nick Seafort is a seventeen year-old midshipman who suddenly becomes captain of his starship.

Bound by his oath, he cannot lay aside his duty to command, though he knows he is unqualified. It would be easy to return to Earth, but he decides to go forward on this months-long trip to deliver needed supplies, though the other officers and crew cannot believe it.

But Nick is no ordinary sailor. Instead of becoming a disaster, we see him make one wise move after another. This is not because he is smarter or more skilled than his peers; far from it. Instead, he is dogged in his determination to be thorough in his duties and to maintain the respect due him as captain. By enforcing discipline and not letting up on his sworn duty, we see him become the captain he needs to be.

Midshipman's Hope is not everyone's cup of tea. Nick's command is a lonely one, and he constantly wrestles with self-doubt. This is portrayed realistically, so readers who enjoy a more ensemble approach to leadership may be put off at points, but I encourage them to keep reading. Also, discipline among the crew is enforced physically, with the old practice of caning. Readers who are offended by such a concept should force themselves to read this novel, to see what is necessary on a ship where disrespect for orders and the chain of command can spell disaster. Also, the harsh but measured use of force to try to reform a bully among the midshipmen was eye-opening for me. The methods used will either destroy a bully or reform him, but there can be no letting up.

Fans of Ender's Game should like this story. Because of Nick Seafort's age, this novel is technically a Young Adult book, but it features none of the typical teenage angst and melodrama of the category. It's unfortunate that it is currently just in e-book format, otherwise it could be casually left around among teenagers to see what they make of it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Travoltify Your Name

John Travolta somehow massacred Idina Menzel’s name by introducing her as Adele Dazeem at the Oscars. Now you can Travoltify your name here. Travolta’s name comes out as Jan Thozomas.

photo by Towpilot 

If you want to make fun of a celebrity but don’t want to get sued, this might be a way to generate an alias. Miley Cyrus becomes Molly Cozzins. Elijah Wood becomes Emily Weed. And the Travoltified version of Tom Cruise is hilarious. 


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