Archive for September, 2007
|Reporters Without Borders|
Triggered by an article on Boing Boing this morning British Air Blocks Boing Boing which reports that British Airways blocks offensive web sites on wi-fi at their Heathrow Terminal, I found a good discussion of technical means of avoiding such blocking at the Reporters Without Borders web site, entitled Technical ways to get around Censorship.
|Ben Mittman with the Pont Neuf sneaking a peek over his shoulder|
Ben Mittman, my dissertation advisor and mentor from Northwestern University (from whence my PhD degree) has been living half of each year in Paris since he took an early retirement, and has been chronicling the restoration of the Pont Neuf (the “new bridge”) which was completed in 1607. The Northwestern University Library has a special section on its web site that describes the bridge and the project.
Ben has created this record of the restoration process using only black & white film. A rarity these days, but one that I think is in keeping with the spirit of this 400-year-old construction. He began his project in 1994 and the restoration was completed in April 2007.
There’s a lot of history at this web site, but the photograph collection is particularly notable. And one of the most interesting parts of the restoration is the resculpting of over half of the 384 mascarons (faces or masks) that adorn the sides of the bridge.
I can’t say enough about what Ben’s support of my work and that of other students meant to us at the Vogelback Computing Center of Northwestern in the 1960s and 1970s. The luxury of having essentially unlimited computing time available – and then when I was on staff of having almost unlimited access to the supercomputer after midnight every night – was what allowed a select group of us to make progress on projects that otherwise would have never happened! Without this, Atkin, Gorlen and Slate would never have written Chess 1.0 which became the first world champion chess-playing program. And I would never have gotten Northwestern into computer-aided-instruction (otherwise known as e-learning) and computer conferencing. Thanks, Ben!
|Yosemite — “Half Dome” — July 2007|
Ah, the halcyon days of summer end in a few days (northern hemisphere) and now it’s time to chronicle all the fun we had. As I mentioned briefly in late July, we trekked about 65 miles (100+ km, with heavy packs) from Yosemite Valley down into Ansel Adams Wilderness where we spent the better part of two days, and then back over Red Peak Pass, which we had attempted unsuccessfully twice before (2003 and 2006 – bailed out because of too much snow remaining all summer long).
My neice, Merri, is down under (Australia, for a university semester) and being a suburban girl (Fairfax County VA) she is experiencing for the first time the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, uncrowded beaches and scuba diving. How many of you are city folk? My annual summer treks into the Yosemite Wilderness help keep me fit and sane, and I would think that any city folk would want to do this too.
Rather than treat you to paragraph after paragraph of text, why not just look at the photos and accompanying commentary?
|The Crew — July 2007 — That sun is really bright!
|Sky’s blog in Japanese|
It turns out that it’s easy enough these days to have a blog “automatically” translated into a reasonable number of languages. I use WordPress software to support my blog, and there’s some real choice in terms of how to get your site translated.
The plug-in that fits my needs best was initially a bit rough around the edges — it didn’t work at all at first — but I tuned it over the course of a few hours, including some PHP finagling, and it works quite well now. It’s the Google-Translate plug-in by John Pozadzies. (I’ve sent a note to John with some suggested “fixes.”) The little flags in the banner at the top of this page can be clicked if you’d like to see how it works. If you only read English, make sure you come back here when you’re done experimenting!
But I also like the N2H (Nothing2Hide) plug-in and have it on my site, and I’ll say more about that later on. (continue reading…)