The laptop, Day 2: More Win [Linux FTW]

Desktop-may30So lots more win since yesterday.

Pictured here, in a screen cap of my Desktop, you can see VirtualBox OSE, running a legit copy of Win XP. In the lower-left is a network share from my desktop computer across the room. In the upper-left is some icons for a game I installed last night using WINe.

The laptop has been named on the network — I admit that I was half-tempted to name it “OMG” after so many tweets reading “OMG THE LAPTOP”, but I decided on “Escherichia”, the genus of  “Escherichia Coli” (E. Coli), a neat bacteria we used in labs at school. (This may seem strange at first, but the workgroup is named “BACTERIA” and the desktop is named “Bacillus”, a different genus of Bacteria. Mel’s HP Mini is named Posey. Different naming convention. :) )

It’s been really good so far. Here’s today’s crop of Good & Bad: Continue reading

The Laptop, Day 1: Initial Thoughts [Linux FTW]


It’s glorious. :D (Coke can for scale)

Ok — so anyone that’s been following me on Twitter or Facebook has probably seen me in a near-apopleptic frenzy waiting for my laptop. It was actually not scheduled to arrive until Monday, so I was rather excited (an understatement, if you ask Chris Hardie) when I saw that it was in Indianapolis at 5pm yesterday. Continue reading

Contextual Learning

One of my profs and I occasionally chat about his curriculum. This was his first year teaching at IU East and he’s still fine-tuning his style. The main roadblock he runs into, and I can totally understand, is that a lot of his students have a very nonchalant, sometimes completely ambivalent, attitude towards the course material.

One thing I suggested, for when he teaches Organic Chemistry next year, is to draw in real-world examples to help illustrate and provide context for the material. I call this “contextual learning” (there may be a more official title for it, but I wasn’t an education major, so I’m just going to call it that). Continue reading

From the Archives: Anatomy of a Time Walk (M:tG)

My “Day I Left Pennsylvania” led me to some archived website posts (before blogs were invented) I had written many years ago. I’m re-posting them now. Bear in mind that most of the content in this series is over 5 years old. I have left the content more or less intact. I have removed some links and added some others — but that’s it. Enjoy!

Note: This post involves some rather esoteric knowledge about the card game Magic: the Gathering. Caveat lector.

Time Walk (Beta)One of the most expensive cards, and part of the elite “Power Nine” restricted list, Time Walk is one of the more sought-after cards in the Vintage tournament environment. (At least by those who don’t already have it) [Ed. note: it currently fetches between 450 and 700 dollars, depending on condition]

But what does Time Walk really do? Taking an extra turn, at first, seems like a really big deal, but how often would this “extra turn” turn out to be simply a card draw, making it no better than a card that says: “Cycling (1U): when you cycle this card, untap all your permanents you control.” If there were ways to simulate some of the elements of a turn without investing 500.00 in this card, wouldn’t that be a good thing? To get to the root of this we have to analyze what a turn really consists of. Continue reading

DIY Gardening

One Garden Plot, early May 2009

A little over a month ago, we started to re-plant our garden.

In magnitude, our garden lies somewhere between the biggest “serious” suburban gardens in Richmond and the small casual gardens. We grow mostly conventional vegetables and herbs, although this year we have a large (40+ bulb) plot of garlic! We have a few flowers and shrubs for aesthetic charm as well.

The technique we use for our main flowerbeds is called “Square Foot Gardening” from a book by Mel Bartholomew. SFG is a terrific technique for people with a small plot of land that want to maximize their yield and minimize the maintenance. (Our land parcel in southside Richmond is just under half an acre, I think, and most of that is occupied by our house.) Continue reading