Of course you know the idiom “can’t hit the broad side of a barn” of someone who has poor aim. That’s from 1852.
But how large is the broad side of a barn, anyway? Would you be surprised to learn that scientists have actually worked that out? And why do I know this??
Some time ago, I was trying to find a way to remember my license plate that ends with the letters “FB”. I don’t like a particular social media site so I was googling for other things that use those letters and discovered that it is also a unit of measurement used in particle physics: fb means femtobarn. I immediately chose that as my mnemonic simply because of its nerdy obscurity.
What I want to share here is its ridiculous back story: what the hell is a femtobarn?! Continue reading
“Inbox zero” means having no messages in your “IN” tray (and keeping it that way). This is not meant to be a goal in itself, but it’s a clear sign of whether you’re staying on top of things, and it lowers the general stress level. That’s remarkably easy with Outlook, even without any fancy add-on gimmicks.
Without trying very hard, I have managed to keep my email inbox at work at zero every day. It’s not because I don’t get any mail – it’s because Outlook makes it so easy to track open tasks with one or two clicks, even when the email itself is moved to a subfolder.
It’s easy enough to clear out the inbox – just dump everything into a subfolder, or just straight up archive or delete it. Gone. Done. See? Yay!
Not so fast – the real challenge is the “keeping it that way” part. Since I joined SDS last year I have enjoyed getting back to using Outlook again instead of Lotus Notes for almost two decades straight, ugh! I am frankly amazed at myself because with Outlook I have finally been able to maintain “inbox zero” all this time. I feel it’s worth sharing my method in the following. Continue reading
“Big boys have big toys,” as they say. The obvious downside is that big toys are expensive. I’d love to drive around some tricky off-road terrain in a Land Rover Defender, but solid off-road trucks cost at least one year’s worth of salary (or two, or three…). Luckily there’s a loophole here: Radio-controlled models are much cheaper and still provide lots of entertainment.
The RC hobby gives me all of the fun for a fraction of the cost. Mind you, RC models aren’t toys. They can easily cost upwards of €1000 and contain a lot of real-world mechanics that requires the same skills to use and maintain, just in a smaller scale.
So here I am: having fun driving this awesome model Defender. It’s 1:10 scale so it’s about 65cm long and nearly 25cm wide, and weighs nearly 5kg. It is so detailed that many people can’t tell it’s a model by looking at a photo. And that’s what today’s article is about: fooling people.
(click images to enlarge them)
This is a photo I took at an off-road event this April. That Pinzgauer in the background is indeed full-scale and I rode it to the event. Full-scale cars were doing what they do best and my model car did the same in between them, to cheers from the full-scale drivers. Continue reading
Greer’s Third Law: A computer program does what you tell it to do, not what you want it to do.
I’ve been around Linux long enough to know that the fabled Linux command:
rm -Rf *
is dangerous, and I have to say I’ve never lost data by using that one wrong. But there are other, more subtle ways to lose data if you’re not careful, and today I’m going to share a tale of this. Continue reading
Let me interrupt my blogging hiatus with this important public service announcement:
fasten your seat belt!
Today during my morning commute, the car in front of me hit another car and got flipped on its side. Luckily it was at low speed so it didn’t turn into a huge accident, but it could have been even less if the driver had used her seat belt.
Let me clarify: this woman was driving on the highway, in heavy traffic, and she was not wearing a seat belt. Not a smart idea!
In fact, she had stuck something into the buckle to fool the car so it wouldn’t beep while driving. I guess she rigged that up because she never wears a seat belt.