Returning to my Windows grad school roots

Anyone who knows me in real life, knows “I am Mac.” In all reality, I am a linux person who adores Adobe Creative Suites and lives by MS Excel. In grad school I had a Mac for graphics from my adviser, a Sparcstation for research (from my other adviser) and I owned a Fujitsu lifebook. It was a cluttered life that after the advent of OS X got translated into “I am Mac.” My original switch was the result of my laptop, then a VIAO, getting sick one too many times. My beloved VIAO with its x-windows emulator allowed me to login to a Solaris server somewhere else and do my astronomy work. I had virus protection and always surfed safe. Then I discovered there are viruses that will swim up closed ports. I got series of viruses that wiped my hard...

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Writing text with my voice

I’m playing with a bit of new technology. I’ve been doing so much typing lately that my wrists started to hurt. I love to write. I needed to find a solution, so I googled. Eventually I landed on some dictation software, MacSpeech. I’m attempting to write this blog post using that new software. I’ve been playing all day and I have to admit my friends have been very patient – More patient than I deserved. I accidentally rang up Chris on Skype, and while IMing to Fraser mass chaos ensued in a text window. Of course there is a certain irony in me talking to my Skype text message when I could just as easily ring him in Skype. And eventually we did just talk. And now I’m just talking to you. Part of me wonders if I shouldn’t...

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Worst. Tech. Week. Ever.

For every good weekend, there is an equally bad one. Last weekend rocked. This one, um, did not. Preface – My laptop is at the Apple Store being repaired. This means my computer with all my best toys is not available for use. For those who have been following my twitter whining, here is the full story. 1) Yesterday I noticed starstryder was no longer googlable (is that a word), and asked for ideas 2) The wonderful Stuart Lowe noted that if I did a view source, many naughty and pharmaceutically related words appeared. 3) I realized I’d been hacked. As had my university computer (growl). Astronomy Cast was safe. 4) I restored my theme, removing all google ads and stuff, on this site and upgraded wordpress (this site is privately hosted. 5) I upgraded...

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AAS Day 2: Google Sky, Google Earth, and the International Year of Astronomy

I have been trying to find the time to learn how to use Google Sky for astronomy outreach for the last year. My time is limited, and I have to admit that my early attempts were met with very ugly implementations, and I’ve been dieing to see what others are doing and (more importantly) to learn how they are doing it. Today, Google is sponsoring workshop in the IYA meeting-within-a-meeting at the AAS meeting. The first thing I learned is Google actually has folks assigned to nurture non-profits to help them plug in. http://www.google.com/educators/geo . They have help, tutorials, ideas and more pre-prepared to help us build our content into virtual worlds. Their latest and greatet includes: weather, sunlight skins, 3D Buildinsg/SketchUp, a Swoop feature that...

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Making the Technological iLeap

I hate Microsoft Office. It is a hate that has been slowly boiling in the background for a long long time. I can make it do anything. I get how it works at a level at a brainstem level, such that prettily formatted documents come out of my computer with ease. I still hate it. As an undergraduate, I earned my living as “Lead Monitor” of the Erickson Hall Computer Lab and Michigan State. In this role, it was my pleasure to help anyone with any computer problem. 90% of the problems were either failure to print or failure to format. All of them were related to Microsoft breaking the minds of poor innocent ungrads (and occasional grads). The lab was a mix of Macs and PCs and platform really didn’t matter. Everyone had to use MS Office, and everyone got burnt.

But there are options, and I’m going to use them.

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