November 29th, 2004

krazy koati

I said there was no other way out of here

No fresh news on the iBook. So, I went to the department's computer tech people and asked if I might borrow a computer -- preferably Mac, but anything that could read a USB key and be used for LaTeX writing. (LaTeX is a mathematics-friendly and strangely pleasurable typesetting markup language; you can read and write it with any text editor, but compile it into ready-to-publish PDFs.) They looked around and after apologizing that it wouldn't be very fast a couple-years-old but freshly repaired Windows laptop. All right ...

I took it back to my office, popped it open, and got to where it asked my user ID and password. I took it back and asked, ``How do I log in?'' -- while I've got several accounts, it can't know any of them when it's not plugged into a network, after all. Did I want a local or a network log-in? Since I'd almost certainly have to download something to compile LaTeX files I'd need a network sooner or later, and besides, has any computer since 1993 been any good without Internet access?

Two hours later came the verdict: the keyboard doesn't work. Sorry for the fuss.

On the upside, one of today's spams had the subject ``Aphid Kruschev,'' which is a great combination of syllables.

Trivia: Mariner 9 transmitted 7,329 TV pictures of Mars, Phobos, and Deimos, returning 54 billion bits of data, 27 times the total amount of data returned by all previous U.S. missions to Mars. Its twin Mariner 8 crashed into the Atlantic when its Centaur rocket stage began tumbling 265 seconds after launch. Source: On Mars: Exploration of the Red Planet, 1958-1978, Edward Clinton Ezell and Linda Neuman Ezell. NASA SP-4212.

Currently Reading: Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City, Nelson Johnson.