Books and Laptops and Bugs

Hey!  To anyone in the Boston area who wants to get an xkcd book signed, I’ll be doing a signing event at MIT this Thursday (the 17th).  It’s in Room 26-100 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.  Details are here.  The event is free, and there will be books for sale there.  I’ve been pretty busy signing prints for the store to keep up with the massive flood of Christmas orders, but I wanted to get in a free non-charity event for people who wanted to get books signed but couldn’t afford tickets.


Speaking of which, here are pictures of the xkcd school nearing completion in Laos:

Thanks for all suggestions for the dedication plaque thing! Here’s what we ended up going with:

“Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” – Plato.

This school is a gift from the readers of XKCD, an internet comic strip. The world is full of exciting things to discover. We hope you find some of them.

Thanks, everyone.  <3


I posted a while back about getting an x200s laptop.  A big part of my decision was based on its durability — reviews touted the roll cage and carbon-fiber composite casing.  Sadly, it doesn’t seem to hold up very well in my daily use.  The case has cracked in five or six places, and some of these breaks have warped the frame.  It also just feels flimsy.  The related computers in the line (the x301, the x200, etc) are reportedly a lot sturdier.

Long and boring story short, I decided to repair and resell it, and use the money to get a 13-inch Macbook Pro.  It’s significantly heavier than the x200s, but I have a Droid now (which I quite like) and it’s helped remove a lot of my need for an ultraportable laptop.  I’ve been using an OS X desktop (a Mac Mini) as my main desktop machine for a couple years now, and I’m tired of rebooting my laptop to Windows when traveling to get to Photoshop (Wine et. al. don’t quite cut it).  The things I use Linux for (programming and playing with random toys/projects) are, on the other hand, easily done in VMs.  So for me, an OS X laptop seems like a logical choice, and so far I’ve been largely happy with it.

I love the multitouch trackpad (I’ve installed jitouch to expand the set of available gestures), and VMs seem to run nicely.  Supposedly the battery’s lifespan is much improved from the old 250 cycles.  If not, expect a post in about a year and a half about me blowing up my apartment while attempting to replace the battery with an off-brand one.  I may die, but at least I’ll prove the TSA wrong. This laptop has the bonus of being more powerful than my old desktop, which I can now resell to another friend (making the laptop my primary computer), and actually come out ahead on this whole affair.


So long as I’m blabbing about recent gadget experience: Amazon’s support/replacement for broken Kindles is amazing (“We’ll rush-ship you a new one immediately! Just send the old one back to us whenever. So sorry!”). The Droid is proving excellent, though it seems like each day brings a hilarious new Android bugs. For example, it turns out having certain kinds of DNS records for the Jabber server for your Google Apps account for your domain can, starting last week, through a complicated series of events, cause Market downloads to freeze and keep you from updating any apps on the phone.  That was a fun bug to try to track down, but it’s trumped in sheer weirdness by the Droid’s 24.5-day Autofocus bug, which is itself the weirdest bug story since The Case of the 500-Mile Email.

169 thoughts on “Books and Laptops and Bugs

  1. Students are definitely more interested in learning when you present the material in a way that’s amusing and light hearted.

  2. Sie amk. I was so sorry to hear what you were going through since November….and seeing your Monday April 4 comic – I wonder if things are better or how you’re coping up with the illness in your family. Your comic strip has made so many, many of us laugh through the years and have a sense of humor about life through our tough times, wishing you strength during yours. vay ak.

  3. This is way cool! I am way jealous!
    I love your quote from Plato’s works.
    If you ever have the inclination to visit Columbia, South Carolina,
    you will certainly be greeted by a host of college students and professors.
    And I would really get a kick out of it.
    Also if you have any really good linux sites you wish to share: please post in reply.

    Cordially,
    Magnus F.

  4. A laptop is a portable personal computer with a clamshell form factor, suitable for mobile use. A laptop has most of the same components as a desktop computer, including a display, a keyboard, a pointing device such as a touchpad (also known as a trackpad) and/or a pointing stick, and speakers into a single unit. A laptop is powered by mains electricity via an AC adapter, and can be used away from an outlet using a rechargeable battery. Laptops are also sometimes called notebook computers or notebooks. Other terms, such as ultrabooks or netbooks, refer to specific types of laptop / notebook. Most of the modern day laptop computers also have a webcam and a mic (microphone) pre-installed.

  5. An electronic portable computer, also known as laptop, is a computer so small that can be taken by itself and used everywhere: at work, in the lab, at school and university, but also on the train, on the street , cafeteria, etc.. This article deals only with portable computers electronic mechanical, electromechanical or other, even if they are portable, not the subject of the article.

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  7. I posted a while back about getting an x200s laptop. A big part of my decision was based on its durability — reviews touted the roll cage and carbon-fiber composite casing. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to hold up very well in my daily use.

  8. This article has everything! I am building a new project with some of my colleagues and I seriously needed some information that would get the project going. Thanks to you I’ve found that information.

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