Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Would anyone who is reading this blog please let me know (in the next two days) if you are my 18% of users still using IE 6, or my 11% of users using IE 5.01? I'm in the process of making a huge overhaul of the website, and initial testing of the new design with IE5 (for mac) and IE6 (for windows under WINE) have not been promising at all. Before I go to the trouble of putting together a stripped down style sheet and style sheet switching to accommodate Microsoft's non-standard old browsers, I'd like to know if it's really necessary.



Saturday, January 10, 2009

Big Pipe Comes Home

Some landmarks simply must be noted.

When I was in my early 20s, while I was a grad student at CSU, Fort Collins, I was working for the housing and food services department. When I approached them for a second phone line to run my modem over, they pointed out that it would be much easier to run an ethernet line up to my room, which is what we did.

You have to realize this was 1992, when most dorm rooms didn't have ethernet, and when I was used to a 9600 baud modem. Suddenly I had 10mb/s 802.3 ethernet right to the back of my pc.

Today, with one phone call and a cable modem reboot, I finally exceeded that bandwidth. Comcast is now selling me 16mb/s, faster than the wire speed of 802.3 ethernet.

It bears noting that CSU's link to the public internet in those days was probably a T1, running at 1.544mb/s, but still. The wire speed to my computer now exceeds the fastest link I ever had. Only 17 years later.

I'm sure it will feel slow eventually, but right now it's mind blowing.



Saturday, January 3, 2009

Smartpatch Technology, Revisited

One of the technologies that features prominently in both my novels thus far are smartpatches. These dispense a drug into the wearer's bloodstream at a specific dosage by measuring the concentration in the blood and dosing until a given concentration is reached. In Looking Glass, the smartpatch also listens to your vital signs for specific changes and only doses you at all when certain parameters are met, thus saving your life. Pretty neat? Well, I thought so. I did always imagine the smarts to be in the patch, not the drug molecules themselves.

So the nanoparticle smart drugs this article is talking about are, frankly, something altogether different than what I imagined, but they're doing some of the same things, and this kind of thing fascinates me. :)


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