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Lorin Thwaits A geek says what? June 2006 Entries
Today's interview on the CNet Buzz Out Loud podcast
CNet invited me to be on today's “Buzz Out Loud” show, AKA "the podcast of indeterminate length". It was lots of fun hanging out with Veronica and Tom for the brief interview. The reason for the invite was my passionate dismantling of the new Toshiba HD-A1 player. For those that want some more detail about what's under the hood of the unit, you can check out these previous posts, starting with the dissection video: Up close and personal with Toshiba's new HD DVD player (the HD-A1) More ......

Posted On Monday, June 19, 2006 10:41 AM

What place does duct tape have at Prom?
People have been doing fascinating things with duct tape for a little over 60 years. Did you know, for instance, that it can cure warts? Perhaps more interesting, each year the Duck company has a competition called “Stuck at Prom” where creative High Schoolers can land scholarship money for the most creative Prom dress or Tuxedo created from the sticky stuff. My friend Laura Turley decided to enter: This is 100% duct tape, not just tape covering a jacket or dress. If you like what you see then you ......

Posted On Monday, June 19, 2006 7:22 AM

The first music video from "Clap Your Hands Say Yeah" features my brother
My brother Kelby Thwaits is a hopeful and hard-working performer in LA. He has the distinction of being the sole actor in the first music video released by the East Coast band “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah”. Here's a quick write-up on NPR about them, and the video from when they were on Letterman. Quite a unique sound. If you're not doing anything else for the next 3 minutes, why not take a listen: (650 kbps stream. Note to all Firefox users: it probablywon't play above, but you can download ......

Posted On Friday, June 16, 2006 10:35 PM

Please welcome Microsoft's new Chief Software Architect, Ray Ozzie!
Bill has certainly placed lots of trust in Ray leading up to today's announcement, and over the next two years the transition will take place so that Bill can become the Bono of the computer industry--taking on the admirable task of battling diseases in third world countries. As one who has questioned Bill's level of generosity in the past, I welcome his contribution to the countries that can so desperately use the assistance. So what are we in for with Ray at the helm of architecture? Lots more ......

Posted On Thursday, June 15, 2006 11:23 AM

Are too many years of science fiction skewing rational thought amongst the brightest?
What is out of this world coming to? Stephen Hawking has brought us a remarkably better understanding of deep space over the years. But I feel that his recurring opinion about the necessity to populate the Moon and Mars is preposterous. He had previously proposed this same standpoint almost five years ago, just a month after the September 11th disaster. What's my big beef about all this? I can't see colonies in space easily becoming self-sustaining. It makes for good science fiction, but is incredibly ......

Posted On Wednesday, June 14, 2006 7:01 AM

Connecting to Sprint EVDO via USB
In a previous blog post about the UX50 Tom Stone made the comment: In your DigitalTrends review, you mentioned connecting with Sprint's EVDO. What additional hardware did you buy to make that happen? What plan did you buy from Sprint? Thanks for the good review! Glad you liked the review, Tom! In order to get cellular-based Internet connectivity via Sprint EVDO on a machine that doesn't have PCMCIA, you can tether via USB to one of their "PowerVision" phones and then either pay by the minute for ......

Posted On Tuesday, June 13, 2006 8:43 AM

Nucleation sites or simple displacement when sugar dissolves -- which really causes a soda geyser?
Two decades ago as a young teenager I was intrigued when I dropped a single M&M into a 2 liter of Sprite and saw it quickly overflow. After some brief thought, I figured the CO2 previously dissolved into the soda was being rapidly displaced by the sugar on the coating of the M&M, since sugar is much preferred to go into solution in water compared with CO2. These guys at are taking that same soda experiment to a new level, creating a small-scale Bellagio fountain. And they seem to think ......

Posted On Monday, June 12, 2006 6:43 PM

Cleaning the lint that collects in your laptop's navel
Did you know that a laptop can double as a vacuum cleaner? At least that's what it feels like when you go in to clean out the heatsinks around the fan(s), and find what seems like a vaccuum cleaner bag's worth of junk stuffed in there! Especially if you take your machine just about everywhere, the dust stacks up. Mine is nearly constantly on, frequently doing video compression, which spins the fan a bit faster to keep the chip cool. With all the hours of uptime, a bunch of furry lint collects on ......

Posted On Monday, June 12, 2006 11:26 AM

Fixing the "Microsoft Bus Driver" error message when installing a RealTek sound card
In my last post I talked about a great little UMPC I bought while on vacation in Japan, Sony's VGN-UX50. Once back in the states and having caught up with work again I installed XP Pro English with SP2 in a new folder, keeping the ability to dual boot back to Japanese XP Home. I was pleasantly surprised to find most of the drivers available right there on the hard drive. But when installing the driver for the sound card, I got the message “Microsoft Bus Driver should be loaded in your system before ......

Posted On Sunday, June 11, 2006 11:40 PM

Go see the brand new tiny Vaio UX50 while at TechEd!
While in Japan a week and a half ago I picked up Sony's new teeny ultramobile (UMPC), the Vaio VGN-UX50. Strongly reminiscent of the OQO, its sliding screen reveals an integrated keyboard. And although it appears from its size like it would be a wimpy machine, performance is on-par with my old Dell 1.8 GHz Centrino laptop! It's got a little 1.8" 30 gig hard drive from Toshiba, half a gig of RAM, and a jaw-dropping 4.5" screen that does 1024x600. You have to see it to believe the amazing detail it ......

Posted On Saturday, June 10, 2006 4:03 PM

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