### 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…

### 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…

### The Long Con

Hiding in Plain Sight

ESPN has a series of sports documentaries called 30 For 30. One of my favorites is called Broke which is about how professional athletes often make tens of millions of dollars in their careers yet retire with nothing. One of the major "leaks" turns out to be con artists, who lure athletes into elaborate real estate schemes or business ventures. This naturally raises the question: In a tightly-knit social structure that is a sports team, how can con artists operate so effectively and extensively? The answer is quite simple: very few people taken in by con artists ever tell anyone what happened. Thus, con artists can operate out in the open with little fear of consequences because they are shielded by the collective silence of their victims.
I can empathize with this. I've lost money in two different con schemes. One was when I was in college, and I received a phone call that I had won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas. All I needed to do was p…