Thursday, June 26, 2008

Spacetime, delivery dudes, and gay cables

Since 8:30 in the am I've hd one ear turned toward the frondoor, doggedly listening for the bell. Against all odds, by 11:41 it still hasn't rung, and I'm conscious of experiencing genuine Einsteinian time dilation. Time is definitely slowing down -- but Einstein got it wrong: you don't have to travel at high velocity in a direction at right angles to the 'arrow' of time (this is what you get for reading Brian Green late at night). All you have to do is sit tight, try to get some work done and listen for the bloody-damned doorbell --

Needless to say, I'm expecting a truck, delivering a 7kg box, containing my new monitor screen. I just ordered up a 22" LCD flat panel, to go with the Dell desktop which will be giving this overworked old laptopa break, as soon as the monitor arrives. (I have weird eyes, and can't look at a 'normal' monitor screen. They cycle at 25 frames per second, and I can actually see the flutter with one eye, but not the other one ... which means my vision wil split while you cound three, two one, and the next thing I know, I'm taking migraine pills. Big fun.)

(Off topic: I think they found the cure for migraine. At least down here, *some* doctors are prescribing beta blockers to inhibit them, and they work. Low doses of beta blockers don't seem to have any dire side effects, and I haven't had a full-blown migraine in about 18 months, since taking the first pill. Now, there's a thought to conjure with, if you're a sufferer.)

Time definitely slows down when you're waiting, which I don't think Einstein ever noticed; or if he did, it was not germaine to his theorem way back when. Of course, Einstein lived in an earlier age, and most of his groundbreaking work was done in a decade which still moved largely at the speed of the horse.Their horses were therefore overworked, slowed down, and the pace of time slowed down with them -- with intricate relativity to the animals' workload. If Einstein had lived in our modern age, he would have had the same insatiable thirst for instant gratification we all suffer: I wannit, and I wannit NOW! (Well, you can't have it now, Keegan, because it's still on a truck, probably still halfway down the Princess Highway, so just shut up and get some work done.)

And that's another point Einstein would have gotten to grips with, had he lived in our era: the inverse angular square law of the propogation of worklesness during time dilation caused by waiting.

I realize that's an inexcusably technical term for a blog intended for the consumption of normal people, so let me put it into layman's terms: The longer you have to wait for something, the slower time runs, and (which is the counter-intuitive part) the less you get done. For example, I've waited at least three weeks for this monitor, since 8:30 this morning. In the real world, only about three hours have passed by. In my world, it's been fifteen working days (we won't count weekends; delivery dudes take weekends off). But have I ripped through three weeks' worth of work? Have I slogged through three HOURS' worth of work?!

I think I've done about an hour's worth, and --

Got to go listen for the doorbell, hold on.

Back. Damn. All my imagination.

Soon as the thing gets here, we can have a look at the connections and figure out what kind of cable it needs. And this is where the process gets fascinating, because cables (in case you're unaware of this) are gendered. There are male plugs and female plugs. Monitors also are gendered, mostly with female sockets requireing male plugs. The other end of the cable fits the back of the PC's brainbox, which is also a female socket.

I guess I need a male/male cable. And I fully intend to walk right into IT Warehouse or OfficeWorks (same as OfficeMax in the States), accost the first unsuspecting little assistant and ask where they keep the gay cables. Lesbian cables won't do for this job; and bi cables are out of the question. It's a gay cable, or forget it, I have to find another store. I'm dying to see the look on the assistant's face.

Seriously, I do need a new computer, and this laptop needs a break. It'll probably be reformatted, after I've transferred everything off it and got the new system up on its feet. This laptop is a Compaq Presario, but it's getting along in years; the incoming desktop is a Dell build-up, much faster in every way, though still far from the top of the line systems.

Speaking of cutting-edge computers and interfaces, one of the elements in IRON MAN that I enjoyed the most was Tony Stark's computer system, with the holo display. About six months ago I saw part of a show (on SBS, I think ... but I could de dead wrong) hosted by Michio Kako, in which they depicted these interfaces and set the date of 2040 - 2050. What you're seeing in IRON MAN is a special effects preview of what we can fully expect to be using in bout 30 years' time.

Thinking of IRON MAN also drags my protesting brain back onto the subject of the NARC riot armor, and reminds me ... I have an appointment with destiny. A half dozen new helmet designs are waiting for me to look at, and I acknowledge the fact that, yes, sooner or later I'll have to make a decision and say, "THIS is what the NARC armor looks like." Trying to get this thing right is a fracas almost like the scenes you see in those 'Making of STAR WARS'-type documentaries, where someone like George Lucas is stuffing his designers around for the tenth time, saying words along the lines of 'I'll know what I want when I see it.'

Hold on --

Is that the doorbell??

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