October 25th, 2008

krazy koati

A hydro-field cuts through my neighborhood

Incidentally part of the customer trip --- which was last week already --- involved our getting a laptop containing some software. This is the software I'm supposed to hook up to already existing databases, and the customer loaned us the laptop so we could experiment before buying a license. The company owner kept the laptop in his car promising to bring it in the next day, which, he didn't. Nor Monday. Nor Tuesday, although some of the people at the Extruded Office Product asked me how I was doing with my project and I had to admit not at all, really. That always feels awkward to admit when they seem awfully busy on the other floors.

Nevertheless, Wednesday during lunch the owner popped in and told me that he still had the laptop, but somehow it had been put in the car of ... the son-in-law of someone he knew. I suppose the transfer made sense at the time although since I wasn't there I can't say. But he promised he would bring the laptop in the next day. And Thursday the owner was back in again, explaining that while he had gotten the laptop in, he had somehow forgotten to take along the brick of power with it and therefore, well, he'd have that to me `tomorrow', which he didn't. I'm gratified to have the paychecks and the time to spend reading and prodding Usenet groups but at this level of activity I'd really rather work from home or at least start later in the morning.

Unrelated: a report in Nature reveals that not only does unwinding sticky tape in the dark produce light thanks to triboluminescence --- well, let's stop right there. Had anybody ever heard about this before? I'm sure I didn't, because if I had I would have certainly spent time in a closet unwinding tape to see it. I gave those stupid Tic-Tacs a try and I couldn't even figure how you were supposed to chew them so you could see them in a mirror. Anyway, apparently cellophane tape will do this. But the new news, on top of this one, is that they'll flash X-rays if unpeeled in a vacuum. So when you unpeel your cellophane tape in a vacuum take the appropriate precautions. I still want to know why nobody told me about the visible light before.

Trivia: Leo Baekeland, bringing his new photographic paper prepared with silver chloride emulsions to George Eastman in 1893, intended to ask for $50,000 for the invention and to not settle for less than $25,000. Eastman offered $750,000. Source: Napoleon's Buttons: 17 Molecules That Changed History, Penny Le Couteur, Jay Burreson. (I am a bit skeptical of this due to similar stories about, most immediately coming to mind, Thomas Edison offering the telegraph quadruplex for sale in the biographical and therefore perfectly accurate movie Edison, The Man.)

Currently Reading: San Francisco Is Burning: The Untold Story Of The 1906 Earthquake And Fires, Dennis Smith.