Nov 302010

I’ve been driving in Ottawa for 23 years, and I’ve been annoyed for these 23 years by what used to be until recently the city’s only roundabout: a roundabout with the wrong traffic rules.

Well, apparently if you wish for something long enough, your wish sometimes does come true. According the a news report I just heard on CBC Ottawa, this odd roundabout will be fixed in the spring and will conform to the rules for traffic circles.


 Posted by at 4:12 am
Nov 262010

Now here’s an interesting concept for a realistic mission that combines a lunar project with deep space goals: why not send humans on a medium duration manned mission to the Lagrange point on the far side of the Moon?

I like it. I wish I could believe that it would actually happen.

 Posted by at 8:14 pm
Nov 242010

Adobe Corporation recently introduced the latest version of their PDF reader application, Adobe Reader X.

So I promptly downgraded my Adobe Reader 9 installation to Adobe Reader 8.

I use PDF documents very often. Apparently, the good folks at Adobe do not. Why else would they remove one of the most important productivity features, namely the ability to view several PDF files in the same application window?

Yes, I get it: for new users, it makes sense to move away from the “applications open documents” paradigm towards the “documents appear in windows” paradigm. In an ideal world, the application would be invisible; each document would exist in its own window; and we wouldn’t even care that some documents are Word files, others are PDFs, etc.

But we don’t live in an ideal world, and there are reasons to suspect that this ideal world may never come to pass. Perhaps it will. But it’s not here at present, and the fact that every PDF opens in a new window is a huge annoyance.

An annoyance that was first introduced in version 9, and is apparently being kept alive in version X. However, my patience ran out. It’s back to version 8 for me.

Oh, and I also have a license of Acrobat Pro, to produce and edit PDF files. But, it’s a license for version 6. Why? Because version 6 was the last version without DRM/Activation.

If folks from Adobe read this, well, please let me know when you have a version of Acrobat that is DRM-free and can do MDI. Then, I’ll buy. Until then, I’ll just stick to my obsolete versions.

 Posted by at 9:55 pm
Nov 212010

This sunset above an eerie landscape of orange-lit clouds looked much nicer to the naked eye than it looks in a picture:

Yes, it means that I am back home. As a matter of fact, I arrived back home some 2.5 hours early. My flight from Mexico City landed 15 minutes early in Toronto, and after dashing through the airport like crazy, I managed to make it to an earlier Ottawa flight… which had ONE (!) seat left. Talk about luck.

It was an interesting conference. Useful discussions, good people to meet. I had a chance to talk about MOG cosmology to a not altogether unfriendly audience.

Still, it’s good to be home. Sleep in my own bed and all that.

 Posted by at 6:16 am
Nov 172010

Here is a fine view of Ciudad de Mexico from my hotel window:

The building up front, housing the corporate headquarters of several multinational companies, is aptly named by the locals: they call it the “washing machine”.

I am used to seeing architecture like this in vintage futuristic shooter games, like Duke Nukem.

 Posted by at 1:16 pm
Nov 142010

This, really, is just a test, to see if WordPress works on my freshly updated Xperia X10 phone, letting me post to my blog.

OK, it works. Android 2.1 is nice, well, much nicer than 1.6. At least now I can Skype or use Acrobat to view PDFs.

One thing I need to figure out is how to stop this blessed thing from replacing every word it doesn’t recognize with a silly guess (WordPress=Sorceress?)

 Posted by at 9:22 pm
Nov 122010

Earlier tonight, we saw this in the sky:

I know, it’s not that impressive. But considering that I took the picture with a camera phone, it’s remarkable that the rectangular shape of this thing is almost discernible:

It is, of course, the International Space Station, which flew over Ottawa not long after sunset tonight. It was visible for about a minute or so, then it rapidly faded into darkness halfway across the sky, as it entered the Earth’s shadow.

 Posted by at 5:41 am