I promptly think of a novel by Arthur C. Clarke, from (if memory serves) sometime in the 1980s, in which a major character had made his pile by inventing a way to make windows self-cleaning, thus eliminating the need for windshield wipers, window cleaners, and such.
I seem to recall it involved piezoelectric actuators and surface acoustic waves in some way.
Funny thing: just a few days ago, I was staring at a big glass building and wondering if anyone had gotten around to inventing Clarke's self-cleaning window for real.
Yeah, I saw Inception. Seems made to lead people to argue endlessly, and then to buy the DVD so they can watch it over and over, back up, skip from scene to scene, and argue all over again.
No, I'm not going to offer any major spoilers here.
I did note a sort of meta-oddity near the beginning, though. Amid the ever-so-Hollywood gasoline-rich explosions, people were firing suppressed pistols which made action-cycling noises instead of the traditional Hollywood Pfffip! Pfffip! sort of sounds. Then this turned out to be a dream... which leads to the interesting point that, if you're going to introduce suppressed firearms into a dream that you're trying to convince someone is real, you need to match them to his expectations, which means you need to know whether his expectations are based on movies or on something closer to reality. The same should apply to explosions, of course; realistic HE detonations would look totally wrong to someone who expected FX fireballs.
Yeah, there was an awful lot of gratuitous violence, and atrocious marksmanship. You'd think specialist orcs of the subconscious would have better training, but apparently not.
Oh, and before the movie there were ads. One was for an upcoming TV series called The Event. Mitchell and Webb say: Remain Indoors!
Just when more work shows up, so does my recent Amazon order: two volumes by Adam Smith, and one by Eric Hoffer.
I read The Wealth of Nations a couple of decades back, in a modern edition that omitted a large chunk of the text to make room for a lengthy introduction explaining how Smith couldn't possibly have meant what he wrote. (The freshly-arrived copy is over 1200 pages, all but a few of them Smith's own work.) I recall gaining some significant insights from that long-ago reading, and it's definitely time for a revisit.
First up, though, is The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which has been on my get-around-to list for a great long time now.
Eventually, I'll get to The True Believer.
Time and motivation permitting, there should be some bookblogging in the near future.
Update: just got an e-mail from Amazon announcing that
OnTrac attempted to deliver your package but was unable to leave the package unattended. If necessary, please contact OnTrac at 1-800-334-5000 ext. 4200 to make alternate delivery arrangements.
and describing the contents of the package that arrived earlier, while I was at home. Huh?
So here I am, using my precious weekend time to try to get caught up on a neglected aspect of a Big Project - an aspect which I should be able to get done in about one solid day's work - and a complication arises.
I have some AVR code, written in C, which I'd been running on an ATmega16, 'cause that's got a JTAG port. Compiles OK for the ATmega8, too, but in reality it'll be running on an ATmega168, just because I'm anticipating a certain amount of bloat to set in.
So now I change the Makefile to compile for the '168, and it has many errors, with sundry register names and such being undefined.
Apparently the register names got changed. Looks like some of the definitions also got changes, wherefore I am led to the belief that I'd better look carefully at the operation of the UART on the '168, just in case Atmel's gone and made it incompatible with the older models.
(I'm also having some concerns about Atmel as a business. It seems that many of their popular single-source products are on 6-month backorder, and in some cases their distributor stock check shows thousands of pieces in stock with a distributor whose own stock check comes up zero. This led me to check the financial news, which cheerfully informed me that Atmel had just had an unexpectedly good quarter. Er, guys? Boosting revenue by selling all you've got, and saving on costs by not making any more, is not a sustainable business plan. If I can't count on having the products available, I'll have to start designing in your competitors' parts instead, no matter how much of a pain they may be to code for. A device driver is a one-time annoyance; a procurement problem is forever.)