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Links & observations from Steve Bogart

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22 July 1999

"That is your advice?"
"Indeed it is. Remember."
"I am not in the habit of forgetting things."
"Dream, my brother, you forget nothing you have interest in; you forget, instantly, those things you do not care to know."

-- Destruction and Dream in Sandman: Brief Lives by Neil Gaiman and Jill Thompson

Should this worry me? Because it does:

  • Big Bang machine could destroy Earth [Sunday Times, seen on Flutterby]
    ... the [nuclear accelerator], the most powerful of its kind in the world, [may have] the power to create "strangelets" - a new type of matter made up of sub-atomic particles called "strange quarks".

    ... once formed, strangelets might start an uncontrollable chain reaction that could convert anything they touched into more strange matter. The committee will also consider an alternative, although less likely, possibility that the colliding particles could achieve such a high density that they would form a mini black hole.

    RHIC [the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider], the most powerful such machine yet built, has the ability to create solitary strange quarks for the first time since the universe began.

The Brookhaven Lab has issued a statement which makes me feel a bit better, but I'm still a touch uneasy:

  • Statement from BNL Director on Consequences of Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) Operations [Brookhaven National Laboratory]
    These issues have been raised and examined by responsible scientists who have concluded that there is no chance that any phenomenon produced by RHIC will lead to disaster.

    The amount of matter involved in the RHIC collisions is exceedingly small - only a single pair of nuclei is involved in each collision. Our universe would have to be extremely unstable in order for such a small amount of energy to cause a large effect. On the contrary, the universe appears to be quite stable against releases of much larger amounts of energy that occur in astrophysical processes.

    RHIC collisions will be within the spectrum of energies encompassed by naturally occurring cosmic radiation. The earth and its companion objects in our solar system have survived billions of years of cosmic ray collisions with no evidence of the instabilities that have been the subject of speculation in connection with RHIC.

Saw An Ideal Husband last weekend. Unfortunately, my expectations had been raised to the point that I ended up a little disappointed; it wasn't quite the masterpiece I had been anticipating.

It is quite good if you appreciate Oscar Wilde. Rupert Everett's performance is the best thing about the film. 8/10.

I know it's a little late for this, but even a friend of mine who is an Adam Sandler fan (I can usually take him or leave him) says don't bother going to see Big Daddy. It lacks whatever made the other Sandler films enjoyable, apparently...

Perl's going to be updated soon, and the version numbering scheme will be changed to be more like the convention everyone else uses:

And oh yeah, the iBook was introduced yesterday. Honestly, I was hoping for something different.


  • It's heavier than the high-end PowerBook (3 kg vs. 2.68 kg)! I knew something was wrong when Jobs didn't say a word about the weight in the keynote. It makes sense in a way, though, because to get greater miniaturization would probably increase the cost out of the price range they wanted to address.
  • Mono sound. Taking it out and about and listening to MP3s while you work won't quite be the excellent experience it could have been. Carrying external speakers isn't very fun.
  • I know I'll probably sing a different tune in a year or two, but I don't particularly need the wireless capability. The special design elements for the wireless capabilities (antennas on the side of the display, etc.) add cost and (presumably) weight that I'd rather not have.
  • Orange! Gack! Any of the other iMac colors would have been better than the orange. Hopefully they'll add the other colors as they go. I would definitely go with the blue right now, but I'd rather have purple or green. Or mostly black...
  • It seems a bit bulky - the pro Powerbook has a 14.1" screen vs. the iBook's 12.1" screen, but the iBook is actually 3 inches wider than the PowerBook. When do we get a sub-notebook again?


  • The price ($1599) is $900 lower than the professional PowerBooks and somewhat lower than comparable PC notebooks. Lower is good.
  • Latchless opening, auto-on when opened, the flip-up handle, the redesigned power block and the door-less and dongle-less access to the modem, ethernet and USB ports are all excellent design elements.
  • The durable construction and rubberized portions make it a much less fragile beast than most notebooks.

All in all, I may work towards getting the higher-end PowerBook instead. If this were lighter and smaller, it would definitely be more appealing to me ... though in the end the price may be the deciding factor.

Here's an informative David Pogue article with more details that most folks haven't mentioned:

  • The iBook: What Steve Jobs Didn't Say [Macworld]
    Jobs didn't mention the traditional PowerBook features that are absent from the iBook: a PC card slot and a microphone. Few customers will miss the PC card slot, since the most popular PC-card-type features (modem and Ethernet) are built into the machine.

And finally, real-life photos of a couple of iBooks at the Expo:

I'm off to see Edward Tufte. See you next week (most likely).

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