This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Posts here are rare these days. For current stuff, follow me on Mastodon



January 2010

Still I Wait

Oh yeah, I still haven’t ordered a computer yet. I’m watching the saga of the yellowed iMac screens over at Gizmodo. I think I’ll probably be waiting until they give the all clear to push the big red button. But my trigger finger is itchy!

Enjoying a Good Book

Now something about Tablets

Yeah, of course I am going to want an iPad. It is shiny. It is new. It is cool. Does it REALLY do much more than an iPhone, or be enough of a laptop replacement to use instead of one of those? Dunno. It will be good to start hearing reports from folks once they actually have these in their hands in a couple of months. Does that middle ground actually add value? Are there a lot of situations where the iPhone isn’t enough, but you really don’t need an actual MacBook or whatnot? I suspect the answer is yes, and that for a lot of use cases, this will fit nicely in that space.

Like the iPhone, I may end up being waiting for the next generation rather than going for the first one, but this does look pretty darn nice. Brandy is pretty underwhelmed, on the “it is just a big iPhone” side of the fence. I see a lot of potential though for this though. It may not live up to all of that potential on day one, but I can definitely see a case for a device like this doing 95% (or more) of what a really large group of users need a computer for.

Dunno though, I am 100% still in the Jobs Reality Distortion Field. And I know that often wears off. I will most certainly be looking for what the reviews start looking like once real people have these in the wild and once they have been using it for a few weeks. And maybe after I’ve been able to actually play with one in an Apple Store.

But, first impressions… this looks like a really nice device, and geek lust is in play.

Oh, but this is also a green light moment for me. We delayed my regularly scheduled computer replacement from 2009 to 2010 due to the whole having a baby instead thing. As of a couple weeks ago I could have gone ahead and ordered a replacement, but I held off. Nobody expected anything today that would affect Apple’s desktop line, but I know how mad I would have been if I’d ordered something and then a week later Apple released a new version… so I waited. It was just a couple of weeks. But with this major event done, it is clear that nothing was announced that would fundamentally change my calculus for what I need to buy to replace my old computer. The iPad would not be a desktop replacement for me. I have access to a work laptop, so a personal laptop would not gain me much, and I am not feeling the Mac Pro vibe, so it will be an iMac for me. And the MacRumors Buyer’s Guide has iMacs at mid-cycle. (It has been 99 days since the last iMac update, and they have averaged about 221 days between updates.)

If I hadn’t already put off the computer replacement I’d love to wait for the NEXT update anyway, which will probably be in another three or four months, but using my old iMac is now painful and frustrating… I am constantly fighting it and swearing as it can’t keep up with what I want it to do… so there will probably be an order for a nice shiny top of the line iMac happening in my very near future… like later today near future most likely.

In the meantime though, I’ve got to go crush through some stuff I have to have done for work by tomorrow, and some more stuff that I need to have done for Friday… this morning I had to watch the baby while Brandy had a fun root canal anyway. Now that is over, and so is the Apple event, and snacks at a coffee shop served as lunch… so time to get to work.

Nothing at all about Tablets

In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner…

Sam talks about:

  • Corporate Political Speech
  • Stoopid Democrats

Just click to listen now:

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”Recorded 26 Jan 2010″]


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Visiting Ikea

I just realized it has been something like two weeks since I’ve posted pictures of Alex. Way too long. :-)

Alex’s First Email

After having recently learned how fun banging things with his hands is, I of course put Alex in front of a keyboard. Here is the result:

From: Samuel Minter <>
Date: 23 January 2010 01:38:33 GMT
To: (various family members)
Subject: From Alex

/ b nj9uyt÷≥fc98uAZ8mioi8i x7ggtgggggggvvfgd33hn cgnc frrccfdv c vvvvjj b.l.;l/Ωzn bg

/”[;liu7ytgcxz555 v e3xy7tej 6fv6 byv cccc

Presumably there will be many more in the future.

No, No, No and Again NO!

Unlike my friend Reb, Torchwood is not dead to me. I actually kinda liked the last mini-series, even the ending. It was disturbing, but sometimes it is worth exploring the balance between the well being of those close to you and the greater good as it were. Like other RTD stuff, it can be pretty uneven, but overall it is fun. I will be watching when it comes back. But this idea here just has to die:

Fox developing U.S. version of ‘Torchwood’
(James Hibberd, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Jan 2010)

Huge news for sci-fi fans: Fox is developing a stateside version of the U.K. hit series “Torchwood.”

The project is from BBC Worldwide Prods., with original series creator Russell Davies writing the script.

As for the new show’s plot, the U.S. version will contain a global story line compared to the more localized sensibility of the first two BBC seasons.

(via Gallifreyan Embassy)

OK, I don’t care if they have RTD and even Barrowman. When they “Americanize” British shows it almost always pulls out the best parts of them and leaves them just completely blah, if they don’t just kill it completely and make it unwatchable. There are of course exceptions, but in general it is just bad bad bad. Please don’t. Just please don’t.

And don’t even get me started on how this article ended:

Tranter might try to reboot “Doctor Who” for U.S. audiences while departing “Doctor Who” star David Tennant stars in NBC’s pilot “Rex Is Not Your Lawyer.”


Out in Time!

In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner…

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • No Space
  • Haiti Earthquake
  • Google China
  • Massachusetts Senate
  • Conan/Leno

Just click to listen now:

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”Recorded 18 Jan 2010″]


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Anderson, dude!

Anderson in the midst of looting chaos
(Anderson Cooper, CNN, 18 Jan 2009)

As things got really out of control, I saw a looter on the roof of the store they’d broken into throw what I think was part of a concrete block into the crowd. It hit a small boy in the head. I saw him collapse. More chunks of concrete were being thrown at the looters on the roof. The injured boy couldn’t get up. He’d try and then collapse again. Blood was pouring from his head. He was conscious but had no control over his body. I was afraid someone on the roof would see him lying there and throw another cinderblock piece onto him. I was afraid he’d get killed. No one seemed to be helping him. I ran to where he was struggling, and picked him up off the ground. I brought him to a spot about a hundred feet away. I could feel his warm blood on my arms. I stood him up, but he was clearly unable to walk. He wiped his bloody face, and I tried to reassure him. He had no idea where he was, and he clearly couldn’t walk, so I picked him up again and handed him over to someone behind that makeshift barricade. Tony, the American businessman, gave the boy a wet towel. He was then taken away by someone else. We don’t know what happened to him.

(via Huffington Post)

Entropic Gravity?

Saw this a few days ago. I actually read the paper itself rather than just the summaries on various blogs. That is the first time I’ve done that with a physics paper in a long long time. If this pans out, and who knows if it will, but… it could be one of the biggest flips in terms of how we look at the universe and “fundamental” forces in quite awhile. Basically, it describes gravity as an emergent phenomena which rises naturally out of thermodynamic entropy effects rather than as a fundamental force of its own. This is the kind of thing that makes you go “wow” and think about things from a whole new direction. The holographic principle, which is mind blowing in its own right, is also heavily involved in the reasoning.

On the Origin of Gravity and the Laws of Newton (pdf)
(Erik Verlinde,, 6 Jan 2010)

Starting from п¬Ѓrst principles and general assumptions Newton’s law of gravitation is shown to arise naturally and unavoidably in a theory in which space is emergent through a holographic scenario. Gravity is explained as an entropic force caused by changes in the information associated with the positions of material bodies. A relativistic generalization of the presented arguments directly leads to the Einstein equations. When space is emergent even Newton’s law of inertia needs to be explained. The equivalence principle leads us to conclude that it is actually this law of inertia whose origin is entropic.

Does this view of gravity lead to predictions? The statistical average should give the usual laws, hence one has to study the fluctuations in the gravitational force. Their size depends on the effective temperature, which may not be universal and depends on the effective value of ℏ. An interesting thought is that fluctuations may turn out to be more pronounced for weak gravitational fields between small bodies of matter. But clearly, we need a better understanding of the theory to turn this in to a prediction.

It is well known that Newton was criticized by his contemporaries, especially by Hooke, that his law of gravity acts at a distance and has no direct mechanical cause like the elastic force. Ironically, this is precisely the reason why Hooke’s elastic force is nowadays not seen as fundamental, while Newton’s gravitational force has maintained that status for more than three centuries. What Newton did not know, and certainly Hooke didn’t, is that the universe is holographic. Holography is also an hypothesis, of course, and may appear just as absurd as an action at a distance.

One of the main points of this paper is that the holographic hypothesis provides a natural mechanism for gravity to emerge. It allows direct ”contact” interactions between degrees of freedom associated with one material body and another, since all bodies inside a volume can be mapped on the same holographic screen. Once this is done, the mechanisms for Newton’s gravity and Hooke’s elasticity are surprisingly similar. We suspect that neither of these rivals would have been happy with this conclusion.

(via Slashdot)

I’ll add that not only is gravity emergent… but so is space time itself. Uh, wow?

Good stuff.