Category Archives: Technology

For those who find sprinkling undercomplex

Do you want to have a lawn so green, it glows green in the dark? But do you find the simple challenge of turning on a faucet to water the lawn insufficiently challenging?

Then get the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller! Which apparently supports up to eight zones, since one or six are not enough, and is Wi-Fi compatible. Not available for drought-stricken California, which has other priorities.

Rachio smart sprinkler controller

Yes, you can now use your iPhone to turn your sprinkler on and off. Apparently, you can even have eight zones of sprinklerdom. Available in French, too, but probably not California

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FOSE was gunning for business

FOSE is the largest computer conference and exhibition in the Washington, DC, metropolitan region. At one time, it had days of meetings, classes, speeches, and other educational events, plus miles and miles of aisles filled with the latest computer hardware and software. Every single hardware and software company of any note was there, either with their own branded booth or with a Beltway partner acting as a proxy.

This year, FOSE probably had more guns than computers. For a show that began life as the Federal Office System Expo, it was a bit alarming to see racks of shotguns, automatic pistols, machine guns, assault guns, silencers, ammunition clips, ammunition belts, special holsters, special transport containers for weapons and ammunition, body armor, and all manner of things not normally found at a computer show or an office. Unless you were planning on shooting a computer, it is unlikely this weaponry would make computers any more secure.

These assault rifles, manufactured by Heckler & Koch, a German arms manufacturer, were on display at FOSE, the largest computer show in the Washington, DC, region.

These assault rifles, manufactured by Heckler & Koch, a German arms manufacturer, were on display at FOSE, the largest computer show in the Washington, DC, region. The sales representative sported a US flag, with no sense of irony.

Early version of Google

This was the early version of Google. Using these humble wooden drawers, generations of scholars and researchers, desperate students and cunning spies, despairing parents and fanatical bibliophiles, and every other shape and size of reader delved into the depth and breadth of human understanding.

Something worth considering: Google contains only a fraction of the knowledge once cataloged by card catalogs. Technology has digitized and indexed only that which is easy to digitize and index; most journal articles, newspaper articles, books, scientific papers, notebooks and other written material are still confined to physical forms, and unknown to Internet search engines.

How I miss card catalogs.

The humble card catalog was the early version of Google. These wooden drawers held the wonder's of the world's past and the future of the universe.

The humble card catalog was the early version of Google. These wooden drawers held the wonder’s of the world’s past and the future of the universe.

Seriously glorious feat of engineering

No, this is not another Internet posting of a food photo. Instead, it is a posting about art and craft and workmanship.

Who cares what it is, or what it tastes like: this is a seriously impressive piece of engineering.

They say this was shrimp tempura, and yes, it did taste like excellent shrimp tempura, but the design and engineering were truly stellar.

They say this was shrimp tempura, and yes, it did taste like excellent shrimp tempura, but the design and engineering were truly stellar.

Ducks!

Some of the 257 (and counting) rubber duckies surrounding one coworker’s cubicle. Each one is unique:

One of 257 rubber duckies surrounding one coworker's cubicle.

One of 257 rubber duckies surrounding one coworker’s cubicle. Each one is unique.

There is nothing more to be said, other than to note that the person in question is a computer techie.

Alien artifact

Google has been successful selling Android phones in spite of their rather frightening commercials that suggests an Android phone will turn you into a cyborg. Since Android phones are ridiculously easy to compromise with malware, turning them into pieces of a robot army controlled by sinister forces (no, I’m not making that up), maybe the ads should be considered truth in advertising?

Even so, humans tend to be somewhat leery of robots, androids, and aliens from outer space. Yet this alien artifact was recently spot in a food court of a shopping mall:

Alien artifact found in the food court of a shopping mall.

Alien artifact found in the food court of a shopping mall.

After cautiously approaching the blue glowing monolith, it appeared to be disguised as a charging station for mobile phones. But there were no mobile phones anywhere near it, just snaking cables reaching greedily for passersby.

Why I didn’t become a graphic artist

I spent most of my grade school years drawing pictures instead of doing classwork. Classwork was easy, so I did that quickly and then “illuminated” my work with fanciful spacecraft, mythic maps, and lots of lizards and horses. My maps were quite good, my spacecraft were probably not flyable, and everything else was quite poor.

But now, thanks to powerful computer hardware and clever software, I can make cartoons based on nothing more than photographs that I’ve taken and odd comments. Such as this:

Cartoon showing two stacks of CD-ROMs mulling over their fate.

Combine powerful computers and software, a decent photo or three and some brief text, and you have cartoons!

You can find more such efforts at KLJC Computing Cartoons.