30 August 2005

New Orleans

First, I sympathize with the people of New Orleans and Biloxi, Mississippi. I was watching the News Hour on PBS tonight, and even the governor of Louisiana was at a loss for words and was nearly breaking down. It's rare that I see a politician at a loss for words or breaking down.
They also had a man describing how his wife (who has not been seen since) told him to let go of her hand during the flood and tend to their children. Very sad.
There is an interesting article which foretells this sort of thing here:
There is also an article from the Times, which struck me when I read it years ago, and now is particularly relevant. It is a back issue, so you will need access to ProQuest to find it (Penn State people can use Lias to get to it), but the article title is: Nothing's Easy for New Orleans Flood Control by Jon Nordheimer, published on April 30, 2002, page F1. (I'm not posting it here because I don't want to be sued for copyright infringement)

Google Desktop and Google Talk

I'm going to make a quick comment about Google Desktop and Google Talk.
Google Desktop is a really neat program...it indexes your whole computer, so if I am studying for my final exam and need to find something quickly in my notes, I just type in whatever I want, and in seconds it displays the file that has the information I want in it. It can do the same thing with emails. It also has a neat feature which as part of the new Sidebar which has a To-Do List. It also will keep track of RSS feeds (blogs). However, on two occasions, the To-Do-List items along with other features of the Sidebar, have crashed, and all of my To-Do-List items along with my customized blogs have been lost. So, the Sidebar feature is somewhat useless right now.
I'm honestly not sure what Google is thinking with Google Talk though. Aol Instant Messenger has such a huge market share, and Google Talk really does not offer anything new. Google Talk, for all its hype, is a very barebones instant messenger client. You can only communicate with Google Talk users (no one I know is a Google Talk user), and you can't do file transfers at all, and although you can have voice chat with your computer, a cell phone will do the same thing, and is much more convenient to use. If they can persuade AOL Instant Messenger to work with Google Talk, then I might consider using it, but until then, I think Google Talk will get nowhere, because it does not do anything new.

23 August 2005

Back in School

So, I'm back in school again, after a summer that went all too quickly. Over the last two weeks of vacation, I went on vacation with my family, including places like St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri. I had the not-too-unusual experience of watching the KC Royals get slaughtered.
I think the score was eleven to one. However, the traffic leaving the game was absolutely nothing compared to a traffic jam leaving a NYC game, and the weather was very nice.
I also got to visit Mammoth Cave National Park, which is amazing. The cave is the longest in the world, at 365 miles, but they are still trying to connect other caves up to it.
There was even a court case on a (currently unconnected to Mammoth) cave that I learned about on one of the tours.
A cave entrance was on one person's land, but the cave extended into another person's land, and that person sued for damages for trespass.
I also got to see Clinton's Library in Little Rock, and Little Rock Central High School (which is still a functioning high school). I also got to see a Harley Davidson factory (Kansas City), a Corvette Factory (Bowling Green, KY), and a Miller brewery (Memphis) (where I learned that Blue Moon "Belgian" beer is actually brewed not in Belgium but in Memphis)
I eventually plan to post pictures from this vacation, once I get them developed.