MER Status Page

I was reminded earlier this week about the status pages for the Mars Rover, for Spirit and for Opportunity. Spirit just finished its drive to its winter location, tilted to its optimal position relative to the sun so it can get the most solar energy that it can.

In honor of reaching that position, Geoff Landis, one of the drivers, posted a sonnet:

We cannot pause to follow up:
we move or die. We cannot stop.

lowercase L

The lowercase L blog makes me laugh.

Ever notice hand-written signs with letters in all-caps, except for the letter L? It looks like an uppercase i … WHY DO PEOPlE WRITE lIKE THIS?

Library of Congress and Microsoft

Casey Durfee, who works over at LibraryThing, posted about the Library of Congress’ new agreement with Microsoft. He makes several good points about vendor lock-in, and the availability of publicly-funded data.

Most disturbingly, users are locked in, too: anybody using an iPhone, an old version of Windows, any version of Linux, or any other operating system or device not supported by Silverlight will be unable to use the Library of Congress’ new website. How is that compatible with the principles of democracy or librarianship? It’s taxation without web presentation. And how exactly is that a quantum leap forward? (If the LOC really wanted to make a quantum leap, it would open up its data.)

No kidding! There are plenty of ways to add whiz-bang to websites, without sacrificing accessibility (in both the OS and the disabilities sense). Silverlight won’t run on Linux, simple as that, no matter how much Microsoft touts it as a “cross-platform” plug-in. Shame on the LIbrary of Congress.

Victim of Circumstances

I fully understand how this mortgage crisis in the US is affecting a broad swath of the population. And people are getting hurt financially through no fault of their own. But when you see stories like this in the NY Times where they say

But borrowers like Mr. Doyle, the engineer in Northern California, say they are victims of their circumstances — housing prices collapsed and lending standards tightened just as they needed to sell or refinance.

And then find out in the next to last paragraph that

The Doyles took advantage of the housing boom by refinancing their home nearly every year since they bought it in 1995 for $275,000. Until their most recent loan they never had a problem making their payments. They invested much of the money in shares of companies that subsequently went bankrupt.

Subsequently went bankrupt? That’s not circumstances, dummy, that’s stupid investing. That guy is reaping the benefits of bad financial decisions. Pure and simple…

New Pastor for Christ Church

With the hope of God’s blessing, my church, Christ Church of Pasadena, voted last week to extend a call to Chuck Ryor as our Senior Pastor. Chuck has accepted, and as we hope and pray that his call is approved by our Presbytery, he will be coming out to California this summer.

Chuck’s also got a blog, where
he posted about his family’s decision to move. I know how tough it is for a church to suddenly know their pastor won’t be with them much longer, so I do pray for Centerpoint. I’m pretty excited, too.

Tellico for Serbians

Aleksandar Urosevic emailed me to let me know that he has a review of Tellico published in a popular Serbian IT magazine, Svet kompjutera. It’s also just been published online. Thought I can’t read more than two words of it, it looks pretty great!

Najbolje od svega je to što ćete imati brzo dostupne sve potrebne informacije o svojoj kolekciji u trenutku kada vam zatrebaju. Tellico nudi još neke korisne opcije, ali ćemo se na ovome zaustaviti i pustiti vas da ga isprobate i sami otkrijete sve čari koje ovaj sjajni program pruža.

STS-122 Launch

Atlantis got off the ground yesterday, without any problems.
Adrian Warnock was there, even, and took some fun photos. Adrian’s a Brit, doing the Orlando tourist bit.

What can I say about a day that truly was unique? Experiencing the stimulator version of a Shuttle Launch in the Shuttle Experience, then climbing inside one, then learning about the International Space station in a 3D IMAX movie, all before seeing a real launch live….. Not many people get to do that.

Be Happy, Martian

As seen on the Planetary Society’s blog, Mars wishes you a nice day.

This picture of a crater resembling a “happy face” was acquired by the Context Camera (CTX) on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on January 28, 2008. The unnamed crater is about 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) across. It is located among the Nereidum Montes, north of the Argyre basin, near 45.1°S, 55.0°W. North is toward the right and sunlight illuminates the scene from the upper right. Credit: NASA / JPL / MSSS