Category Archives: Gadgetry

Adventures with Infrared

I have a thermal imaging camera made by FLIR Systems. These cameras are really interesting devices; they pick up long-wavelength infrared radiation (wavelengths of 8-12μm, versus 380-750nm for visible light). We’ve all seen objects heated until they’re hot enough to glow visibly, but it takes a lot less heat to glow in the infrared spectrum!


Why, you might ask, do I have a thermal camera? Because. That’s why. Actually, there is a reason.

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Storage and Scale

As everyone knows, things change quickly in the technology industry. Storage and processor speed in particular have grown enormously over the years.

My first computer had a 2-MHz eight-bit processor (the Z80) and an amazing 48K of memory. I’m writing this post on a machine with eight 3-GHz processors with 9G of memory. When adjusted for inflation, I think both machines cost about the same amount.

It’s the growth in mass storage, though, that amazes me most.

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CES 2008

January 7-10 was the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. A few thoughts…

As always, CES was an interesting event to attend. The scale of the show is pretty hard to imagine if you haven’t been there before; it’s just huge. I don’t think attendance figures have been released yet, but projections were in the 140,000-person range. Exhibit space was something like 1.8 million square feet.

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[HD] Theatre of the Absurd

I was talking with a couple of friends recently about high-definition television, and they were a little surprised to learn that I really haven’t done anything of substance with HDTV. I’m an early adopter of technology, but I still haven’t made the move to high-definition television.

Yes, I have one high-definition set at home, but it’s only there because its predecessor spewed actual flames and then refused to power up. But even this lone HD set operates in standard-definition mode 99+% of the time.

Here’s why this early adopter is still on the sidelines.

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Installing Windows XP Professional on the Sony Vaio TR2A Laptop


I recently acquired a Sony TR2A laptop system. This machine, a capable subnotebook system, comes with a copy of Windows XP Home Edition. It’s possible to order the machine as the TR2AP, which comes with Windows XP Professional Edition pre-installed, but I already own the requisite XP Pro licence and didn’t want to pay for a second copy. Even if I had gotten the TR2AP, I’d have likely wound up reinstalling, since the disk comes weirdly partitioned and with more than ten percent of its usable space reserved as a “recovery partition.”

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