### On Apple Remotes and Remotely Controlling Apples

Last week Erin and I gave in and purchased Apple TV. What is Apple TV? you ask. Well, it's a little black box, about the size of a coffee shop brownie, that sits next to your TV and allows you to access YouTube and Netflix on a screen bigger than your laptop's. This doesn't sound very magical, but our family watches a lot of YouTube (as you can tell by my frequent video links), and Netflix Instant has finally matured to the point were I can browse and find videos old and new that are worth watching. Hello, David Attenborough documentaries!

There are a couple of downsides. The biggest is that Hulu isn't available through Apple TV. Boo! Erin suspects this is because Apple would prefer to charge you $2.99 per episode of popular TV shows rather than letting you get by on your$8/month Hulu Plus subscription. I guess you gotta love the player but hate the game.

The other downside was more minor, and fortunately easy to fix: the infrared remote that comes with Apple TV likes to simultaneously talk to any laptop within earshot (eyeshot?). Fortunately the interwebs provide an easy fix, which simply involves unlinking the remote from your computer. Duh, I guess.

The note of remotely controlling someone else's computer reminded me of this xkcd cartoon:

This gives one pretty good ideas about how to prank one's office mate or spouse. Others include turning on voiceover narration in Universal Access, which allows a Steven Hawking-like voice to narrate the user's every move: "Safari, Dock, Finder, search for 'turn off voice.'"

Leah Bennett said…
first, i'm jealous you got the MacTV... maybe we'll get one someday :) second... hilarious comic strip :)
Bonzer said…
Then there's my personal favorite, using mobileme to send a loud beep and message to Lindsay when she's forgotten to turn the ringer back on.

### On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

### Finding Blissful Clarity by Tuning Out

It's been a minute since I've posted here. My last post was back in April, so it has actually been something like 193,000 minutes, but I like how the kids say "it's been a minute," so I'll stick with that.
As I've said before, I use this space to work out the truths in my life. Writing is a valuable way of taking the non-linear jumble of thoughts in my head and linearizing them by putting them down on the page. In short, writing helps me figure things out. However, logical thinking is not the only way of knowing the world. Another way is to recognize, listen to, and trust one's emotions. Yes, emotions are important for figuring things out.
Back in April, when I last posted here, my emotions were largely characterized by fear, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and despair. I say largely, because this is what I was feeling on large scales; the world outside of my immediate influence. On smaller scales, where my wife, children and friends reside, I…

### The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…