Monthly Archives: August 2010

Google operates on geological time

They consider a decade to be a short downtime.  On the bright side, we’re over half-way through it.

On January 1, 2005, AdWords system will be unavailable from approximately 3:00 AM to January 1, 2015 3:00 AM Eastern Time due to system maintenance. Please note that your campaigns will continue to run normally during this short downtime. We apologize for any inconvenience.

I also have to commend them on their pinpoint accuracy.  I don’t recall if they actually went down at 3:00am on 1/1/05, but you can bet I’ll be right there banging on the server come 3:00am on 1/1/15.

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Seeing the Milky Way in 3D

We just got back from Hilton Head Island, where we had four days and nights of awesome weather.  We left about 12 hours too late (and drove home through torrential storms).  But while we were there, we enjoyed some of the darkest black skies I ever remember seeing on the continental United States.  The moon was a beautiful sliver for a couple of hours and then had the generosity to set, leaving us with an amazing array of stars.  It was extraordinary.

The Milky Way was very prominent, including the dark areas, which really brought home just how real it was.  It was as if I could envision the entire three-dimensional spiral galaxy being viewed edge-on.  It was even evident that the individual stars I could see were nearby stars, as opposed to the glow of the hundreds of billions of distant stars in the background.

We saw dozens of meteors (most of which seemed to be traveling north to south for some reason I’m unclear on).  Some of them left a sparkling trail while others were simple streaks.  I even saw one that broke into two pieces creating parallel paths.  (As it turns out, we lucked into the Perseid meteor shower!)

Jupiter was quite bright and impressive, as well.

But there was something unusually eye-opening about recognizing the reality of the entire Milky Way Galaxy stretching across the sky.  It gave me a perspective that I had never experienced before.  And it wasn’t about feeling small and insignificant, at all.  But it was like experiencing a “You are here” moment on a galactic scale.

Mac leaves the top off the toothpaste

I ‘m one of those Windows-to-Mac guys.  The transition was pretty painless, for the most part, since I’m a geek.  And, for the most part, I’m happy with my MacBook Pro.  But it’s got these irritating habits that I think are the technological equivalent of leaving the cap off the toothpaste tube.

  • No Home, End, PgUp, or PgDn keys.  And even if you use a keyboard with those keys, you can’t always count on them working.  Except in Microsoft Office.  (OMG, did I just say something positive about Microsoft???)
  • No Delete key.  Fn-Backspace?  Really?  (Is Apple saving money on keys?  Or is it just prettier with less keys?)
  • Why does Mac OS not let you resize a window from any corner or edge???
  • One click to focus the app, and another click to actually click on what you already clicked on.  Every time I have to do this, it hurts me inside.  Why doesn’t my click on a control on an unfocused window actually reach the control?  If I can see it, my click ought to count!

I’m sure there are more, but these are the primary ones that make me wonder whether I can live with her long-term.  Maybe I’m petty.  Nobody’s perfect.  I’m sure I irritate her with my own flaws and bad habits.  (The burping and scratching, for example.)  But why can’t she see how annoying these little inflexibilities are?

Seriously, in my opinion, these aren’t benefits or merely alternative ways of doing things?  They’re shortcomings.  Why is Apple being obstinate about them?