Judging a “tablet”(?) by its cover

Apple anounced the iPad recently.  The response of one corner of the Internet: http://i.imgur.com/oRffH.jpg.

through Apple’s iPad page makes it clear that they do not consider it a
stand-alone device like other tablets, but an adjunct to some other
system.  What other fully fledged computer has requirements listed for
other computers (http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/, “Mac system requirements” / “Windows system requirements”)?

To be sure, form factor matters, and I suspect that there’re a
bunch of people out there that’d like something like an iPhone only
larger, and now they can get one.  Except that apparently the iPad
doesn’t do voice (the 3G section of the specs says “data only”). 
*sigh*  Way to miss the boat, Apple.

It doesn’t hurt that it can run iPhone apps and there’re thousands
of iPhone app developers waiting in the wings.  It has a pre-built
developer community and approximately zero learning curve if you’re
already an experienced iPhone developer.

My basic reaction: Meh.  Sorry, Apple.  🙂  I guess I’ll stick to my Mac Pro and my iPhone.

Update 5/11/11: I got an iPad2 last month.  🙂

VirtualBox doesn’t suck

I wanted to run Linux on my Mac laptop, but didn’t want to pay $80 for VMWare Fusion if I could avoid it.  It turns out, I could!  I’m not actually done installing Linux yet, but VirtualBox seems pretty nice so far.

I wouldn’t bother, since Mac OSX is a Unix variant, but I recently got the hankering to run my Lispworks for Linux on my laptop, so that’s what this is about.
Update: Finished installing Linux with KDE.  Worked out of the box.  Currently running konsole exported to the regular Mac X11 server.
Update 2: Hit a bit of a speed-bump on VirtualBox: networking.  The default NAT networking is great: it will take packets from the guest and put them on the host’s network.  But … what if you’re currently unplugged?  Then your machine has no network, and no IP address.  Sure, your guest can’t get to the outside world, but here’s the thing: It can’t get to your host, either.
So, try bridged networking.  As near as I can tell, the network you’re bridging to has to be up and active.
Then there’s host-only networking.  The guest can talk to the host even if the host is not currently attached to a larger network … but even if it is, the guest can’t talk to said larger network.
You can switch between the two, but only if you reboot the VM.
I shall attempt to enquire at the VirtualBox forum.
Update 3: While typing in my question at the VirtualBox forum, I thought of a possible solution, which I tried and it works: Add a 2nd NIC to the guest.  One NIC is NAT’ed to the outside world, the other uses “host-only” networking to talk to the host.  Still curious if there’s a better way, though.  My VB forum question here.

The Psychopath Next Door


Not all psychopaths are criminals, some are just Grade-A Bastards. Reading these articles, I inevitably thought of people I know or used to know, and basically crossed them all off the list of “possible psychopaths”. (I’m sure you’re all pleased. 🙂 But one name did stay on the list. Happily, I don’t really “know” him, as he’s fictional: Greg House.

WiFi in “airplane mode”

On my old iPhone 1G (which I’ve replaced with a 3GS) it turns out you can enable “airplane mode” (so the phone isn’t constantly searching for a cellular signal it’ll never find) but still turn on WiFi.  Cool.

Facebook polls: same sex marriage and evolution

Well, I tried to take a couple of polls at FB, and they hung up on me (perhaps because of my paranoid cookie settings), and I tried to post this on my wall, but it was too long, so I’ll just say it here:

  • I support same-sex marriage, or if it can be shown that this unduly infringes the rights of churches (though I think this would be difficult), I support making civil unions and marriage legally indistinguishable from the point of view of government, hospitals, insurance companies, etc.
  • I believe that the theory of evolution is probably true, in the same way that I believe that the theory of gravity and the germ theory of disease are probably true. By which I mean that, like every other body of scientific thought, while it’s open to reinterpretation in ways that fit all the same facts but explain them better and predict new findings better (like what relativity and quantum mechanics did to what came before), our current idea fits the facts the best.

My favorite Internet tools

In no particular order (and for no particular reason …) :

Search engine: Google

Browser: Opera

Mail: GMail

Task lists: Remember The Milk (rmilk.com)

News (sort of): Reddit.com

Goofing off (definitely): Reddit.com (though lately Facebook (shudder) comes in a close second)

Personal axioms

I’ve thought a lot about axioms (things believed to be true without proof) in the context of personal philosophy. The only one I’ve come up with so far, for myself, personally, is “I can derive accurate information about reality via my senses.” Not necessarily perfect, and not necessarily complete, but, on the whole, over time, accurate. Call this Axiom 1.

(Actually, I also include, for completeness, “I exist”. Some philosophers get touchy about this one. Call this Axiom 0.)

What axioms do you have, if any, that do not follow from this one?

As an example, I’ve considered adding to the list “Both inductive and deductive reasoning can yield valid statements about reality”, but I haven’t, because I believe you can show empirically (by observing reality with your senses) that this is true.

Any thoughts?

Update: Wikipedia points out that “observations themselves do not establish the validity of inductive reasoning, except inductively. In other words, observations that inductive reasoning has worked in the past do not ensure that it will always work.”  In more other words, induction cannot empirically prove itself.  So maybe I do have to include induction, and possibly deduction, in an axiom.