Hot electrons, I guess

When I built my current home computer (what a geeky thing to be able to say), I installed a small applet that sits in the system tray, that little area on the lower right hand part of the screen near the clock. The applet does one thing and one thing alone. It monitors the temperature of my computer’s CPU.

I thought it might be a good idea because sometimes the room gets warm or cool and I wanted to make sure it didn’t suffer. Truth is, My AMD Athlon 1600+ is capable of running at much higher temperatures than what I subject it to. I also thought another cool readout on the screen would be… well… cool.

I was worried about heat, even in the design stages. I have so many fans in the case that it sounds like a Beechcraft 1900 taxiing out for departure.

Give me a sec… I’m getting to the point.

What I found was the biggest contributing factor to higher CPU temperatures was not environmental but actually how much thinking the computer was doing! That was weird., and it took a while to put 2+2 together.

If, for instance, I edit video (which is very math intensive and can take a long time) the CPU’s temperature starts creeping up. On a long session it can be 15-20 degrees warmer than what I normally see. If I’m surfing the net or typing email or working on this blog, it idles relatively cooly.

I’m not sure if this is because in high stress applications there are more electrons trying to move faster, making it a friction thing? The clock that runs the chip keeps a constant beat, so it’s not heating up because its little silicon heart is beating faster.

But, it is a puzzlement.

Here’s what brought this to mind. Tonight, The National Weather Service’s computer, which run the forecast models, had to be shut down because of heat. Since these machines run the same basic programs every night, I don’t think they’re experiencing the same kind of anomolies I see at home. It’s probably mechanical and will need a plumber or air conditioning expert rather than a computer expert. Still, it’s interesting to see that heat is the enemy of computers everywhere.

The link below connects to their statement on the computer failure.

Continue reading “Hot electrons, I guess”

NYC Blackout Photos

My friend Farrell sent me this, all the way from Singapore. It’s a retrospective of photos from the Northeast Blackout, taken in New York City.

Just click on the box below to see the pictures.

It has been pointed out that ‘photo’s’ shouldn’t have an apostrophe. I agree, but because of the format of the pictures, cannot change it.

So, I guess, spelling does count. Damn!

Best of New Haven Advocate

Ivy the dog is still in the hospital There was some improvement today, which I’ll get to later. Still, Helaine felt it was best for her to stay home… and she did.

Steffie and I took our three tickets to see The Producers, got in the car around 9:00AM, and headed into New York City. After Dunkin’ Donuts and gas (there’s a joke here somewhere), we hit the open road, convertible top down.

This was actually risky. The mostly cloudy sky turned overcast as we moved west from Bridgeport (In Connecticut, the east-west Connecticut Turnpike is labeled north-south. This makes a geographically challenged adult population even more confused). I expected to have to pull over, under an underpass, at any moment to get the top up. But, by the time we hit the Cross Bronx Expressway, the sun had returned and the air began to get steamy.

The trip to New York, though shared with lots of other cars, was never hampered by traffic.

We followed the CBE to the West Side Highway (following the Last Exit in New York signs) and headed south along the Hudson River. The view to New Jersey was a little hazy. The river itself was pretty empty.

I parked the car ($30, thank you) on West 44th Street, just west of 8th Avenue. I always put up the top when parking, even in attended parking, and that was a good thing, since it later rained.

It was near 11:00 AM and the show wasn’t until 2:00 PM, so we headed into the subway at the corner to head to Canal Street.

For some unknown reason, I thought the IRT #1 train would be the closest (it wasn’t). I mention this, because the subway stairs at 8th and 44th bring you to the 8 Avenue Line IND station with connecting corridors to the IRT (mentioning IND and IRT only helps to show I’m getting older. These labels, a throwback to the era when some subways lines were privately owned, haven’t been used in decades.) It seemed like we were walking to Canal Street as the narrow, tiled, dingy, hot tubes led up and down, left and right, until we were on the downtown platform. We took the express a few stops and then walked across the platform to take the #1 to Canal.

New Yorkers leave the city in droves during the summer, and I’m sure that’s especially true for Labor Day weekend. At the same time tourists pour in. Canal Street was jammed.

Maybe I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m sure Kate Spade, Christian Dior or Louis Vuitton (is there really a Louis Vuitton?) would clutch their collective chests and fall to the ground in cardiac arrest if they ever saw Canal Street. Everything is a knock off… but a nearly perfect knock off.

Today, I actually stopped as I bought a bottle of Poland Springs water from a vendor, thinking maybe it too wasn’t the real thing. Hey, it’s Canal Street, who knows?

I continue to look, to no avail, for a Breitling combination analog/LCD watch. Obviously, Breitling has them, but that’s a little out of my price range for a watch… maybe not for a car, but for a watch.

Steffie went bag, wallet and show shopping. Is it an obsession? Sure. There should be some 12 step program to get her back on the right track. But, at least on Canal Street you can indulge your fantasy. She bought a few things, including some shoes she had been lusting after.

I found a few computer books. One was on Perl, a computer language (which will not make my spell checker happy) used on websites like this one, that I want to learn. The second had to do with Cascading Style Sheets. Again, it’s a concept used on this website and something I had heard about for years without understanding. Like Perl, if I’m going to administer this site, I need to learn at least a little bit about it. Books on Canal Street go for 1/2 retail price or a little less.

A few Canal Street observations. There is a street side display ad for Tag Heuer watches. These watches are sold on Canal Street… they’re just not real. It’s an odd place for an ad like this.

Canal Street is old and tired. There hasn’t been new construction here since the 1930’s or maybe earlier. Little shops are crammed into spaces no larger than a small closet. And, my guess is, this was never an upscale neighborhood, even back in the day. That’s why it was interesting to see beautiful detail work on some of the older industrial buildings.

Finally, even in the midst of urban congestion, people find comfort in things growing. I found this ‘city garden’ on a fire escape. There’s no doubt it’s against fire code, but it is nice to see.

With a 2:00 PM curtain, we headed back into the subway and north to the 42 Street stop on the E train. Up the stairs and, astoundingly enough, we were a half a block from the theater. But, there was a problem. We had Helaine’s ticket!

A try outside the theater yielded nothing. It didn’t seem like the right place to sell it. So, we headed to the TKTS booth in Duffy Square. This is where you’d likely find people looking for tickets, and Producers tickets were always tough to come by.

I walked parallel to the line at TKTS. “Single ticket to The Producers.” Once, twice, three times… and then as I was about to try one more time, Steffie turned me to a woman in line who was interested. She asked how much? I hadn’t thought about it, so asked her to make me an offer. She said half, and the deal was done.

As it turned out, she was Japanese, in New York by herself (though she said she had friends there) and had only come in earlier in the day. She was about to sit dead center in the 6th row, and I was subsidizing 50% of the cost.

The Producers was excellent. It is everything the movie was, though the story has been adapted and simplified for the stage. The current cast is considered “B” next to Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane. Even then, like most New Yorkers, some of the biggest players were out-of-town, replaced by stand-ins. Lewis J. Stadlen, the lead, was replaced by John Treacy Egan, which meant Egan was also covered by an understudy.

I would very much like to see the show again, with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. As the originators of Bialystock and Blum, and with the theatrical clout to be a little ‘over the top’, my guess is they bring the show up a few notches.

The dialog and sensibility of the show was pure Mel Brooks. You could hear his voice in nearly every line. And, in fact, his voice was heard (lip sync’ed by an actor) during Springtime for Hitler; “Don’t be stupid, be a Smarty – sign up with the Nazi Party!” I believe he did this line in the film as well.

Brad Musgrove as the astoundingly gay Carmen Ghia was a hoot. He got the biggest ovation of the non-principals.

After the play broke, we headed away from the car, and back toward Times Square. Steffie wanted a henna tattoo, which we never found.

We did see a few things in Times Square that you only see in Times Square. The most notable is the “naked cowboy.” It is, stripped to its essence, a man wearing a cowboy hat, boots and underwear. That’s it. He charges to pose for photos, and does a pretty brisk business.

For the cowboy challenged, there was also Spiderman, available for a price. In the spirit on New York, I doubt any of his take goes to the copyright owner.

What we did find was rain! What had been a sprinkle as we left the theater turned into a downpour. We were near 42nd Street by this point, so we headed to the ESPN Zone. With a 30 minute wait, we turned back up Broadway and ended up at Planet Hollywood.

When in Times Square, Steffie and I eat at Planet Hollywood more often than not. The food was fine, but more importantly, the restaurant was dry. We were soaked when we got in. Luckily, the camera, books, bags, shoes and the like were in plastic bags. Steffie’s purse had been outside, but tonight, it seemed none the worse for water.

We headed back to the car, only to run into the New York City Fire Department. Something was going on above West 44th Street. Four or five pieces of fire rolling stock and at least a dozen, firefighters (each wearing oxygen packs) stood around chatting as a ladder was extended from a truck and two firefighters climbed to the roof of the theater adjacent to the St. James (where The Producers plays).

If there was cause for alarm, it was well hidden. No one was breaknig a sweat. Steffie wanted to stay and watch, which we did for a few minutes. But, as time went on, it became clear that whatever was going on, was going on out of sight… and wasn’t all that dramatic.

By 6:00 we were in the car, turned north on 8th Avenue, and headed home… with the top down.

Proofreading is my lfie


From today’s New York Times:

August 25, 2003

Evite’s Day of Atonement

Evite, an operator of a free Web-based event planning and invitation service, and a unit of InterActiveCorp, sent the following e-mail message on Friday to recipients of its monthly newsletter:

Dear Evite Newsletter Subscriber,

Yesterday we mailed a newsletter to our subscribers with incorrect dates for three important holidays. Please accept our sincerest apologies for these errors and note the following corrections:

Labor Day, September 1st

Rosh Hashana, September 27th

Yom Kippur, October 6th

In addition, we also wish to apologize for having listed Yom Kippur as one of our “Reasons To Party.” We understand and respect that Yom Kippur is a Day of Atonement, a day to be taken seriously to reflect and fast, and as such, one of the most important Jewish holidays in the year.

Again we deeply apologize for the error and thank you for allowing us to make this correction.

Very Best,

The Evite Team

So… any money left?

Nearly two weeks of online poker is now behind us, with Helaine and me playing a few times a day (I originally had I but I think it should be me).

Tonight, I played 3 – $11- 2 table tournaments. Two losses, including one incredibly quick flameout, and one third place. That’s $36 minus $33 for a $3 net tonight!

All right… Amarillo Slim.

All together, we’re down a bit over $50.

It continues to be fascinating. However, tonight I was chatting with my friend Bob, who was watching me play from Florida, and I realized how easily you could cheat. Except for the really huge tournaments (and we’ve never placed in the money in any of those) you pretty much select your own table.

But, these $11 tournaments take so long for someone to take home $72… would anyone find that worthwhile?

My frustration with this site

I am desperately trying to enable some good weather info on this site. I have Hamweather installed, and it works. But, I can’t integrate it to my look.

I have tried NOAHweather, but am having no luck. Looking at some of the code makes it seem like there are hard coded paths that don’t apply on my system.

I will try again, but it’s driving me a little crazy.

In better computer news, I installed a wireless router and pci card for my friend Steve. Now, no more wires between rooms.

Though it didn’t go 100% smoothly, it was pretty good. Belkin did an excellent job on the software and manual, making them nearly foolproof.