This is just a cool story. Mary Masterman is 17 years old and wins the Intel Science Talent Search for building an inexpensive spectrograph, which is a fairly sophisticated piece of equipment. For beating out 1700 other high school seniors in the 66th annual event, she wins a $100,000 scholarship. The design is pretty cool, and you can read more at cnn.com.
You may have recently noticed a couple of blog entries that looked a bit different then usual. I was testing a web tool called Clipper, which allows me to clip parts of another website or blog post that I find interesting and then post those clips, here. The few times I had tested it, I got an error message stating that the post had failed, but I never got around to following up on the tests. Well, last night I was asked about an entry that I thought had not been made, but it was in fact sitting in the blog!
“Cool,” I thought (at first).
So I tried another entry. That produced the same error message, but something was still posted. This process is a pain, but there was enough benefit that I thought I could work with it. Well, not so much. The entries weren’t formatted right, and when I tried to change them, the system crashed, and blah, blah, blah (insert technobabble). So, I deleted those entries and will shortly repost them in my usual (more time intensive) format.
I generally track over 150 blogs (not as intense as it sounds, and real blog-hounds track quite a bit more). A lot of the postings catch my interest, and I’d like to note those that fit my eclectic interests and dilettante lifestyle. I’ll still be making manual posts about those items and providing links to the information source. Those kinds posts serve as an annotated reference/bookmark tool which I can organize by tags.
One of the (many) odd things Harriet and I do just about every year is attend MacWorld. Yes, the San Fancisco based, love fest of i-addicts and their i-addiction suppliers (all with that bitten-apple logo). I’m not a Mac user, but I am addicted to my iPod and I find Apple products to be particularly well designed, so I attend this event partly for Harriet and partly for the illicit thrill of being a Windows user in ‘enemy’ territory.
Of course, this year the big news was the iPhone. And let me say, right off the bat, Harriet and I were very impressed. We both want one, although I’m more willing to try out the initial release than she is. We sat through a demonstration and were just amazed at how lovely and well designed it is. The user interface looked very easy, and I mean Tivo easy – the kind of easy where Harriet is confident she can use it. And it’s gorgeous. The large, color video screen allows them to do some beautiful screens, icons, and animated displays. I won’t do a review here since there are plenty of other sites that review the iPhone (CNet, ZDNet, and Engadget to name a few) and give opinions on its merits.
The only real hesitation I have right now is that we couldn’t actually touch the thing. There were a couple being used by the demonstrators, and there were two on the exhibition floor, but they were behind Plexiglas cylinders. There was always a crowd around them, as shown in the first picture. In this one, I’m just another member of the craning neck crowd.
Of course, there were other things of interest at MacWorld. This guy is Russel Brown, a very well liked demonstrator of the Photoshop program. Harriet had a chance to sit in on one of his demonstrations which she tries to do every year. I’m assuming the wig was a new feature in his presentations.
I also checked out the new AppleTV, and was somewhat underwhelmed. It basically turns an HDTV display into a very large video iPod, which is cool but not a killer app in my book. You can check out the features list at the Apple website.
There were other things that would appeal to Mac users. There’s some new flavor of System X – Civet, or Aardvark, or some such nonsense (and by the way, System X always makes me think of some X-Men super villian). iLife has added even more i-Organs, and loads of people were disappointed by various unfulfilled i-Rumors. But despite all of the Mac-Smack, this li’l ol’ Windows user is enough of a gadget geek to have found a lot of things that kept my interest.
And overall, I’m always impressed with how cool most things look at MacWorld. It’s clear that the Apple products appeal to designers, and good design is a big part of the Mac culture.