Friday, May 30, 2008

More spheres

Uh oh, someone mentioned math. The guy who came up with this also happens to have an abiding interest in the problem. He wrote a good summary of the then-current state (2002) of the n-dimensional sphere packing problem (from 2 to 128 dimensions) here. How many integer sequences did you discover today? (for fun, try the web cam...).

Why I will never get an iPhone

Too much information. One problem with "persistent" memory like flash is it's sometimes not obvious whether or not it's really gone away.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


So when you are bored at work, you end up in weird places. (I know, you are nervous about clicking that link.)

I never appreciated the scale difference between low earth orbit satellites and geostationary ones. I noticed that it seems sort of crowded out there. "How many satellites can actually fit in geostationary orbit?" Well, figuring out that problem seemed much more interesting than examining a huge database of misclassified Accounts Payable.

Here's what I came up with from my searching, rough back of the envelope:

geosynch orbit = 35,600 km
earth width = 12,800 km
circum @ orbit = 263,900 km
+- latitude = 10 dg
+- latitude (tan 10 dg) = 7,400 km
+- altitude = 200 km (higher than that is where sats go to die)
+- positioning of sats = 35 km (margin of error)
min distance between sats = 10 km (made that up)
passing lane east = 35,600 + 35 + 10 + 5 = 35,650-35,800 km
passing lane west = 35,600 - 35 - 10 - 5 = 35,400-35,550 km
# of belts of satellites = 2 (also made up)

Total # of satellite slots @ geostationary orbit = (7400*2/45)*(263,900/45)*2 = 3.86MM.

I'm sure there are more limitations--like it is too expensive to keep satellites in a precise orbit, so most wobble in altitude and latitude. Also, if 70% of the earth is water, you have a lot of coverage where you don't need it. The point is, we can fit a lot more.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Shigeru Miyamoto is pretty much where I would like to be, when I'm 55.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Why I cancelled Netflix

Edit: This content is actually from, go there instead for better selection and total avoidal of Comcast.

Remington Steele? Check. 30 Rock? Check. Airwolf? Check. Arrested Development? Check. I'm violently anti-Comcast, but they've got something good going (good like I pay 0 dollars per month instead of 60 dollars per month):

Hypnotizingly beautiful Alice in Wonderland techno. Yes hypnotizingly is a word.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fractal Furniture

Thursday, May 08, 2008



I knew it.

Friday, May 02, 2008

HD Division

So I made the plunge and bought a the middle of the road Mac Book (first blog post from the new putar).  I am going to install Vista on the drive (am I hearing boos and hisses?) but I am wondering about how much disk space to put on each partition.  It all hinges on a fairly n00b question that I can't find the answer to--I know they use different file systems, but is the data from OS X available for Windows to read?  For example, do I need two copies of my music?  How do you guys have your Macs divided?  Do you even boot it up into OS X ever?  I am considering giving OS X a try, to see if I like it better than windows. (more boos and hisses?)

Also, lol for reading this article at Teh Consumerist.  Sure enough, he pitched all that crap, and I turned down the hard sell.  Then he got crafty.  In the end we worked out a bargain where he sold me Apple Care for $66 off the $250 price ($183) in exchange for him giving me the student discount ($100 off my $1300 laptop).  Then we agreed that I would return the Apple Care for a refund at a different store.  I guess I would drive 20 minutes for $100.  

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Music, anyone?

I came across this the other day and just started playing with it now. Record songs from (online) radio and automatically archive them for future listening:

I've been particularly enjoying the ability to find and listen to music that isn't normally accessible to me, such as songs in French and Swedish.

(And no, I was not only attracted to it because it's from Sweden...)