Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Of laptops and bricks

Well, I did it. I finally bought a bright shiny new MacBook Pro. It's very, very nice. And fast. I'd say it's cool, but the Intel Core Duo cpu actually runs rather hot. Apple really calls this a portable, not a laptop. Feeling the bottom of it I know why - it would be rather uncomfortable on your lap. Anyway, me like.

Setting up the laptop portable led me to crawl under my desk at work in order to connect/disconnect various power cords etc. As I tangled with the maze of wires under there it occurred to me that every device has a power brick nowadays. Here's what is currently residing under my desk - power bricks for:

  • USB hub
  • External hard drive used for backups (I'm such a good little nerd)
  • Inkjet printer
  • Powered computer speaker system (I like my iTunes)
  • Cordless phone
  • Voice over internet phone converter*
  • Answering machine
  • Charger for my PDA (nerd, nerd, nerdy, nerdy, nerd)

Just imagine the heat these put out! I guess my feet won't be getting cold in the winter... And it was worse - I disconnected an external CD burner, with associated power brick, this morning because I don't use it much now.

I think there's a fortune to be made here. If someone could invent a universal power brick that you could plug several devices into simultaneously, I would buy it.

* This sounds cooler than it really is. Voice over internet phone (VOIP) service is okay, but not wonderful. We didn't have a choice. The University, in it's wisdom, decided that the new building we're in had to be all VOIP. Of course that causes a few issues with things like fax machines (which don't work with VOIP) and emergencies with power outages (how do we call for help?). Minor issues according to the University hierarchy...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Irony defined


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Enough said.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Pondering an Imponderable

How did I get here?

Not how did I get here. After three children, and having witnessed all three births, I think I have a handle on that one.

Rather, how did I get here? Here, in this place, typing this.

Ever wonder about that? How you ended up where you are, doing what you are?

So, how did I end up in this country with a beautiful, wonderful wife and three incredible children? How did I end up at this university working as a professor studying protein folding? How did all this happen?

Buggered if I know.

Every now and then I find myself asking this. Out of the blue.

I distinctly remember when I was postdoc in Pennsylvania. One winter night, sometime after midnight, I was walking back to my apartment after a party or something. I was stopped in the middle of the road by this overwhelming thought. "How the hell did I get here? Right here. Right now. How?"

I didn't know then.

Still don't.

I don't suppose it really matters.