Saturday, March 26, 2005

Edinburgh Lib Dems disgrace democracy

This completely doesn't belong here, but since this is my only blog, here goes...

The Liberal Democrats in South Edinburgh play on the fact that people are fed up with Labour. With Lib Dems as second strongest party, they try and convince people they must vote Lib Dem if they don't want Labour. To emphasise the threat, they produce this bar chart in which Labour and Lib Dem bars are of equal height, and the Tory and SNP bars are about 1/3.

First point: The actual election results are, Lib Dem 10,005, Labour 9,847, Conservatives 5,180 and SNP 4,396. Hence, Tories have more than 50% of what Lib Dems have. That is, the Lib Dems' graph is a stark misrepresentation of actual election results.

Second point: Democracy in a nutshell works like this: whoever most people vote for, wins. By saying that Tories can't win, the Lib Dems are seriously perverting democracy - clearly, if everybody votes Tory, they win. In my humble opinion, one should vote for the party one most agrees with, because any party can win.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

buying RAM is cheap

Replacing my laptop's RAM with the good stuff from Micron aka Crucial (giving a total of >600MB). That should make it run more stably, and give me plenty of time to think about what computer to buy next (or wait for the prices for 2GB PC2100 CL2.5 RAM cards to come down enough that I'll want to make that jump!)

"Internet" Explorer

Why on Earth didn't they call it Web Explorer? The only part of the internet that MSIE helps explore is what is accessible by http/ftp, i.e. pretty much the World Wide Web (the web) as conceived by Tim Berners-Lee.

I wonder whether Microsoft's marketing department could be largely to blame for the confusion about the difference between the web and the internet.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

frustrations with tablet pc makers

I'd love to have a tablet iBook, but so does the rest of the world, apparently. Also look here and here. Anyway, as you may have gathered, I don't really like Windows, and prefer to double-boot with Linux. In fact, the last couple of days I have been renegotiating with myself whether I shouldn't really ditch Windows completely.

Slates appeal to me because I could get more display for the same weight (thank/curse Apple for showing the world how much nicer a large display is!), and I've recently converted back to doing things on paper and blackboard in any case, so it fits with my general line of thinking.

Now, my current laptop has a 40GB hard drive. If I were to upgrade, it would have to be to something bigger. Unfortunately, most slates (tablet PCs without inbuilt keyboard and touchpad/other mouse device) seem to be a bit short on hard drive and even more seriously, memory (256MB? you'd almost have to run Linux). More crucially, the makers don't understand that any slate needs at least 3 USB ports: one for keyboard, one for mouse, and one for some other device that you may be trying to operate and which needs mouse and keyboard. Okay, they didn't think of Linux, and I haven't tried Linux on a slate, so I don't know if a mouse wouldn't really by superfluous. If anyone in the Edinburgh area would like to volunteer their slate for a test run, I'll let it be worth a few beers.

Why laptops don't make sense

As a preamble to a post about tablet pcs that is to follow this one: in most laptops, the hard drive is underneath the keyboard. Anyone who understands anything about hard drives will instantly understand why this doesn't make sense: motion shock kills hard drives. So I always use a USB keyboard and mouse with my laptop, unless I am really travelling (I have one keyboard at home and one at work).