Friday, March 16, 2007

Lenovo battery recall: sweet

Laptop battery recalls are be pretty common these days, and my year-old laptop is no exception. Lenovo just recalled the battery. If the battery is subjected to a "strong external impact", it could go up in flames. I've got nothing to add except: Sweet! Free new battery.

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Project Euler: I am 10% genius

Project Euler is "a series of challenging mathematical/computer programming problems that will require more than just mathematical insights to solve. Although mathematics will help you arrive at elegant and efficient methods, the use of a computer and programming skills will be required to solve most problems."

I've solved 15 out of the (currently) 144 available problems, so I'm "10% genius". I've been using C++, with the help of my homebrew bignum class. It's a little ugly. I may redo my solutions in Python. Or maybe Ruby. Heck, maybe even Haskell.

Working through the puzzles seems like a good way to learn a new language. Additionally, I've been asked to solve variants of several of these problems on job interviews in the past, so this definitely keeps your mind sharp for that, too.

If you decide to participate, good luck, and have fun!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Keyboard bling.

My current keyboard is getting a little old, so I've been thinking about upgrading. Here are some of the cooler keyboards I've found:
  • Matias Tactile Pro 2.0. "Premium mechanical keyswitches", USB 2.0 Dock, "Optimizer" key. Looks a lot like my current Apple keyboard. $149, ships in April.
  • Deck Legend Ice. Every key individually backlit. "Deck™ uses a sublimated negative printing process which drives the ink into the plastic keycaps at 525°f." Way cool. $169!
  • Saitek Eclipse II Keyboard. Backlit, media keys. At $55, it's a steal.
  • IBM USB Keyboard with UltraNav. Almost the same keyboard as in my Thinkpad, down to the integrated trackpad and trackpoint. $100.
  • Kinesis Advantage USB contoured keyboard. Looks crazy... crazy awesome, that is. $299!
  • Das Keyboard. When you're just too cool for key labels. It's supposed to have unparalleled tactile response, too. $80.
  • Endurapro. No bling, just a solid keyboard. $99.
I'm still looking, so hit me up with your favorite.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Contest results (from November): 0xDECAFC0FFEEBAD

Back in November, I had a contest: what's special about the number 62710628778699693?

Both Joe and Craig answered correctly: Converted to hex, it's "0xDECAFC0FFEEBAD". The Google calculator, my default choice, only lets you convert numbers as high as 0x40000000000. (Interestingly enough, the limit really is 0x40000000000, not 0x3ffffffffff). Many downlodable or javascript base converters choke on anything bigger than 32 bits. I was curious what tools people might try.

One tool I did not test was the Windows XP calculator, which does the conversion quite easily. That's what Joe used.

Craig wrote a custom C# application to do the conversion.

I guess the moral of the story is...Microsoft tools save the day???

Congrats to both! Craig, I still have your prize--remind me next time we go for lunch.

Labels: , ,