31 December 2005

Trip to the Palisades

Originally uploaded by djboorstein.
So, yesterday we went to the Palisades, where I took this picture of my brother. We went for a walk with my grandmother, my father, and my mother. It was a nice walk, a bit cold, but still pleasant.

28 December 2005

Harry Potter and Emergency Room Visits

Harry Potter releases caused a drop-off in visits to a hospital emergency room in Britain. In John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, (in the UK) doctors noticed that there were significantly less visits by children for musculoskeletal injuries on the weekends that Harry Potter was released. It's a short article, worth reading. It is also worth viewing the text below the heading "contributors," the writers apparently had a sense of humour.

To New York City

Yesterday I went into New York City, and saw a New York Historical Society exhibit on slavery in NYC. It was ok. I had actually learned something about slavery in my History of the City of New York class in college, so I already knew something about it. We took the train in, and the subway around. The subway had $1.00 fares because of the holiday special, which was nice. Lunch in Chinatown, and I got sweet Sennheiser headphones from B and H for my iPod. They're nice because although they are not noise-cancelling, they still seal out a lot of noise so I don't have to turn the music up quite so loud.

23 December 2005

My rather smart cat

Recently, my cat has taken to using her paw to take food from her food bowl and put it into her water dish. She then eats it after it has been dunked in water. I guess she must like the food softer. However, I think it is pretty smart that she has ascertained that water will tend to make food softer. I'm pretty impressed.

22 December 2005

More about Boston, Something about Waterbury

For those of you who know Boston and are curious as to where I went, I took the T to Haymarket, and got off the train and walked from there through the North End to Old North Church, and then across the Charles and along the Freedom Trail to see the U.S.S. Constitution. I then walked back, and had lunch in an italian restaurant -- La Famiglia Giorgio in the North End. I though the North End was a neat neighborhood. I could see that it had not changed that much in years.
Jane Jacobs wrote about how the North End was a good neighborhood in her book, the Death and Life of Great American Cities. Even though the book is old now, a lot of the neighborhoods she talks about are still there, and if you have ever been to the neighborhood, it is neat to see her analysis in action.
It was also nice to be in a place where the subway only cost $1.25 (as opposed to the $2.00 that it costs in New York City)
Waterbury, where I went the next day, was nowhere near as interesting as Boston. It is an old mill town, they used to have brass manufacturing and clocks there, but now there doesn't seem to be much of anything going on, it seemed a bit depressed. I didn't like the hills there, with the manual transmission car I was driving, it was difficult to get the car started on the hills. There was a nice museum there, but once I had walked around the town once and seen the museum, there really was not much else to do in town.
They apparently took lessons from Carlisle on snow-plowing though, a lot of the streets did not have all the snow removed, so that I had to park the car on top of a snow bank.

20 December 2005

In Boston

Originally uploaded by djboorstein.
I went to Boston today and yesterday. It was nice to walk around and see some of the different sites. Although I did not get to go aboard the U.S.S. Constitution (it was closed), I did visit a museum next door (which was free), but good, and told about a battle the U.S.S. Constitution was involved in at Tripoli. There are more pictures if you go here.

My two cents about Gmail's Recent Upgrades

So, I'm going to post my comments about Gmail's upgrades.
I like how they allow you to have group lists in Gmail. This will come in handy for when I need to send groups of people email but don't have them set up as a Google Group.
Sending an automated vacation message is also neat.
Although I like the idea of the RSS feeds in Gmail, I don't like how they implement ads with it. I am fine with the ads while reading the email, they are always off to the right and I can ignore them if I want to. However, I end up reading the ads when I am looking to see what RSS feed Gmail is offering me.
Instead, I have set up NPR and the BBC as live bookmarks on Mozilla Firefox. Just as nice, and no ads. Yet another reason why I think downloading Firefox is a good idea.
The virus scanning that they just set up is obviously good.

15 December 2005

Cleaning the apartment

So, I finally stopped stalling and cleaned the apartment. Mind you, it is not spotless, but it doesn't look like quite the disaster area it did earlier. I'd like to do some more cleaning before I go home for winter break. The apartment tends to get away from me during finals, so I'm glad that I made it look somewhat nicer.

10 December 2005

Done with Finals

So, I'm done with finals for this semester. It's nice. Now, I have time to do some free reading, which is something I don't really have time to do during the school year. I love just going to the library and perusing through the shelves and picking some book that seems interesting to me to read. Right now, I'm reading True Grizz (and I don't have the author in front of me). It's about grizzly bears, and so far seems good. Anyone else have any suggestions for books to read? Anything law-related is probably out, unless it's really good...but I'm open otherwise (fiction/non-fiction, etc.)

08 December 2005

Added an Add to Google Button

Those of you who are observant may have noticed that I added an "Add to Google" button to my blog. This will enable you, if you are signed up for Google Reader/Google's Personalized Home Page, to add my site to it, so that you can view it more easily. I like Google Reader quite a bit, it has a pretty slick interface, and lets me view a lot of blogs in a quick manner, and also is independent of what computer I am using.

02 December 2005

Retro-Computing on an NEC Powermate 2

So, , while I was at home I turned on my NEC Powermate 2+ (which was purchased in 1987 and has an Intel 80286 processor running at 10 Mhz) It runs WordPerfect 5.1, and used to be able to run Windows 3.1 The reason I say "used to" is because of a fire inside the computer which killed the extended memory card.
The story is:
I was looking up the stairs in my house, and noticed my cat staring upstairs into my room, which was unusual. I decided it might be worth investigating, and walked upstairs to discover a cloud of smoke coming from the computer, along with a strong smell of burnt electronics. The extended memory card had shorted and caught fire. That was the end of the extended memory card, and the end of Windows 3.1 on that computer (which requires extended memory to run). Now it runs DOS 5.0.
Anyway, I played some retro games on the computer, including Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego, and a game called Intel Memory Hog Hunter. Intel Memory Hog Hunter is essentially like Pac-Man, only Pac-Man is an Intel circuit board, and the ghosts are hogs. The object is to try to catch the hogs and keep them away from the memory chips, you "win" software, it's neat to see the ancient designs for Software (Windows 286, WordPerfect, Lotus 123, etc.) Eventually the game starts to get very slooowwww because it can't handle moving all the hogs around.

Unintentional work of art

Old West Hall on Dickinson College's campus has what I think is an unintentional work of art. As you walk to Old West at night from High Street, you can see in almost all of the windows (and there are probably between ten and twenty of these) three candles lit for the holidays. In one, though, there is a menorah. It would actually make for a nice picture if I could somehow take a detailed enough photograph at night.

01 December 2005

Berenstain Bears Author Dies

Stan Berenstain, the author of the Berenstain Bears books, died on 24 November. NPR had an interview with this bookstore owner, Peter Glassman. Mr. Glassman criticized the Berenstains for rushing out their books, and said that the books had forced morals and were therefore not as good. Honestly, I think many children's books have morals in them. I really enjoyed the Berenstain Bear books as I was growing up, even if they did have morals in them.
My favorite books growing up, though, were probably Robert McCloskey's books, not Make Way for Ducklings, but Blueberries for Sal, One Morning in Maine, and Time of Wonder. I used to go on vacation near the locale of these books when I was younger, and it was fun to read about places that I actually was (or could go visit) in the books. There actually really is a Condon's Garage (If you read One Morning in Maine, you'll know what I mean)