With the exception of the operating system (which I admit is a pretty big thing) I’m not running any Microsoft software anymore. This wasn’t a ideological decision, it was something which sort of just happened gradually. It started when I couldnt’ install Office because I had a ton of update disks. I said screw it and just put OpenOffice on my computer. It has served me well for 99% of everything I use office software for. (The one thing it doesn’t do yet is save presentation slides to HTML). I’m using Firefox (browser), Thunderbird (email) and Sunbird (calendar) for my other software. All are to the point where they work flawlessly. I have an account for MSN messenger, but I use Trillian as my IM client. Unless MS comes out with something spectacular, I don’t see myself going back.
I know I’m not the only one doing this. The primary reason behind it, I think, is the ease at which I can install and get updates. I don’t need a CD. I don’t need an account. I don’t need an activation key. I just go to the URL and click. That’s it. If you haven’t tried any of these programs, give them a try. Personally, I think they work better than the MS equivalent in almost all cases.
There is a new site up that is an archive of photos taken during the Apollo missions. It reminds me of a coffee table book I own called Full Moon. Its a collection of digital copies of the original Apollo photos. Most photos are copies of copies, or even copies of copies of copies. The author, Michael Light, got access to the original photos to make digital copies. To print the book they had to create a new type of black ink that could capture the blackness of space in the photos. Someday I’d like to buy a print of a photo to hang on my wall.
Michael Light also published a similar collection of photos called “100 Suns”. He made digital copies of photos taken during above ground nuclear tests. I have, I think, 5 DVD’s of footage of atmospheric nuclear tests, including one of the greatest documentaries ever made, “Trinity and Beyond” (at least visually). The photos and footage of Atomic Bomb tests are strangely compelling. If you’ve haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It also has one of the better original scores ever done for a documenary.
To any extempers reading this, I strongly suggest you start reading this week in preperation for mini-camp.