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Showing posts from August, 2012

Technology vs Evolution, a.k.a. The Battle Against The Machines

I love walking aimlessly around a new neighborhood right after moving, taking in the sights and discovering the ins and outs of the place. I particularly relish those moments when I can distinctly feel two disjoint areas of my mental map connecting. Initially, a new area is just a collection of landmarks - there's the palace, and I think the station is somewhere nearby, and there's a Starbucks around here somewhere, and that big road is maybe 15-20 minutes away from that other big road. But without actually experiencing how the sections connect to each other, the map in your head is necessarily incomplete. Maybe you can start in the center and work your way out radially to each of the landmarks, but what about getting from point A to point C? And then one day, as you're leaving point A and you turn the corner, you spot point C 500m up ahead, and the map will thereafter make perfect sense to you.

Just as this feeling came over me again the other day (that's where the st…

Apple Follow-up

Interrupting my viewing of last week's Daily Show to provide a quick update on the Thunderbolt situation.

First of all, it took an exceedingly long time to figure out how to do a clean install of Lion so I could give my system to the Apple contract store here in Korea. It turns out that most of Apple's instructions are incomplete, misleading, or simply incorrect. If you ever want to do a clean install, you need to:

1) Do a complete backup with Time Machine to an external drive (this is actually a great feature of OS X, and is super simple to set up).
2) Disable FileVault and wait for your hard disk to be decrypted. External recovery disks don't work with FileVault.
3) Create an external recovery drive on a USB external drive. Make sure the drive has GUID partition scheme - otherwise, it will appear to succeed, but actually won't.
4) Boot up to the external recovery drive by holding down Option while restarting.
5) Using Disk Utility, wipe the hard disk in the computer.

Apple and the Rich Idiot Babies

Apple devices are nice - they're pretty, they're shiny, they seem to be well designed. But then something breaks, and you quickly learn that appearances can be deceiving. It's only when something goes wrong that you truly learn how a company feels about their customers.
Take Zappos, for instance. Their customer service is famously good. I've experienced it firsthand, and it left me feeling like Zappos cared about me as a customer and treated me like a respected adult.
Apple, on the other hand, takes what I like to call the "rich idiot baby" approach to their customers. The operating system is designed from the ground up with kid gloves - e.g., why would you ever need to know where on your hard drive a file is actually located? Leave that to Dad to worry about. But for the most part it's still a usable OS, and since I do some iOS development, I decided that "the real thing" was the way to go.
Inevitably, sooner or later, something goes wrong. In …

The Marathon Cheat

Man, am I the only one fascinated by this article about the "Marathon Man" dentist, Kip Litton, who cheats in marathons, but no one can figure out exactly how?

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/08/06/120806fa_fact_singer

I was extremely disappointed to get to the end of this article without learning how he did it. How does he pull off such elaborate cheating? For those who don't want to take the time to read, this guy is trying to record sub-three hour times in marathons in all fifty states. He often starts races way at the back, taking up to five minutes to make it to the start line, then mysteriously disappears from most race photographs throughout the race, showing up again only at the end, yet somehow he passes over all the chip mats in the race, often at odd times. How does he do it?

I've never taken part in a traditional road race with bibs/chips, so I'm going to make some assumptions about how they work. Those who have participated, please correct me …