Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Geeking out

(1) If you run OSX and you happen to use the free version of yahoo mail you have probably noticed that there is no automated program that alerts you when you have mail. After suffering this indignity for years, I have finally done something about it. You can find instructions for making this program work for you here. Took me about two hours to write, and another hour to write the how-to. I know it isn't elegant, but it works very nicely.

(2) And more on the geek front. Since I am returning my nice laptop to Bell when I quit, I just ordered a new tablet to be my future work machine. The Lenovo x200t. Pretty sweet machine! I wimped out when I saw the price go way over 3,000$ and I decided I didn't really need the solid state drive for another 800 bucks.

(3) Final geek goodness: My friend veronique christensen has been working on a new website called obsessable.com dedicated to geek equipment. Yay for geeks!

Update (1) Yeah, I know, it sometimes doesn't work. I know what is wrong and I need to tweak it for reliability. Maybe when i have a few free hours.

Update (2) The x200t is pretty sweet. Size is always the compromise. Either it is too small to give good screen real-estate, or it is too big to carry really easily. I think the x200t is probably just a hair too big, but not bad. The handwriting recognition is extremely good and I hope to use this to take all my notes, do calculations etc. The one thing that is disappointing is vista 64 bit. Way too many things install incorrectly or not at all. I spent almost two days trying to get MikTex installed. All the geeks out there, I'm sure already know how important this program is. (Yes, i finally succeeded, but only after a whole lot of grief).
Sunday, September 21, 2008

Preparations 101

I'm told the British don't use the phrase "101" to describe an introductory course.

What I need right now is a 101 course (or whatever you want to call it) on moving to the UK. For those of you who don't already know, I've accepted a job as a Physics Prof at Oxford. But the preparations for getting myself, and my little world, across the pond are mind-boggling. And you all thought that physics was hard.

Among the things I need to do: Move my stuff, Set up new apartment, Get a new bank account, Retire from my current job, Roll over my 401K, Get a work permit for the UK, Get a physical before leaving, Get vaccinations, Sell Betty (my honda civic), Buy a new laptop (mine belongs to work), Sell my NJ apartment (which means fixing everything that is broken first)... and all of this is before I even know what (if anything) I am supposed to be teaching first semester of 2009. (Actually I think I don't have to teach my first semester.) But the whole thing seems more complicated than invading Normandy... so to speak.

And yes, being a Prof at Oxford means I get to wear the big black gown at dinner (Think Hogwarts) But no, I don't wear it while teaching.

Oh, and by the way, for those of you who might be interested, tomorrow I give the Physics department colloquium at Columbia University.