Wireless Power

Today, The Age is running a story (from AFP) on Intel’s recent demo of wireless power. It’s a great story, but it’s actually a year old. The original story is from June 2007 and was MIT’s demo of wireless power.

The demo involves lighting a 60W light globe across 2m, with 40% efficiency. If the technology could be improved to longer ranges, the applications are phenomenal. For example, you could distribute power throughout your home, and avoid needing batteries in any of your appliances or their remote controls. Or, you could distribute power with radio communications, so you wouldn’t need batteries in mobile phones. Or, you could distribute power across car-parks, so people who leave their lights on could still start their cars. Or, you could distribute power across an office, and people could work with with laptops anywhere, even if there were no power points. Sod that, you could distribute power into parks, where there are never going to be any power points.

The power cord is the “last cord”, as Intel says. I can’t wait til we can cut it. Safely, of course.

Google AdSense update

It has been a few months since I last wrote about the Google ads on this blog. After a couple of false starts, I’ve been tracking the main pages that have ads people click on. The idea is to see if the most popular pages are also the most profitable pages.

The most popular pages since 1st June have been, in order:

This is very similar to last time, with the investment book reviews replaced with a recipe. Apparently there are more cooks reading, than books cooking. They don’t come here for the puns, that’s for sure.

The analysis of top search terms (courtesy of Google Analytics) is also similar to last time. The top four terms are:

  • “best man speech”
  • “cheesecake recipe”
  • “baklava recipe”
  • “positive gearing”

Variants of these are repeated until position 12 which is “auction strategy”, and it is position 27 before we get to “hreview”. Unfortunately, microformats are still not particularly popular.

But the list you’ve all been waiting for is the most profitable pages (i.e. those where people click on the ads the most). These are:

So, it’s still the popular pages (and, oddly, my About page), and the four most-searched for topics are also profitable, but the order is different. It seems that the message from my advertisers is that I should write more about real estate and baking.

Be careful what you wish for.

Pre-parent retrospective

Well, given that I’m coming to the end of the pre-parent period, I might record some of the weirdness. At least, before it’s eclipsed by the upcoming weirdness of actually being a parent.

The whole process has been a reversal of the “natural order of things”, as I’ve come of think of them since I became a teenager. I guess this is part of the universe preparing me to have everything turned upside down, and rearranged in new ways when our little girl arrives.

However, I wasn’t prepared for how weird some of this stuff felt. For starters, how are you supposed to overcome the years of conditioning on contraception? Enough said on that one.

And I’ve previously commented on the whole period that follows where you lie to your closest friends for months. How strange is that?

Then there’s the sudden interest in female human biology. All those birth classes are a bit of a crash course. Ordinarily this would be a worry, wouldn’t it?

Plus getting all the baby furniture, equipment and accessories in readiness. The technology and terminology turns everyone into geeks. Normally that level of geekiness is considered rather over the top, but in this context, it’s perfectly okay.

But the strangest thing of all is knowing that there’s another organism growing inside Kate. You can see it moving under the skin. That’s the sort of thing that would feature in a horror movie. However, when we go to the doctors about it, they are just very excited for us.

Most of the time I’m excited for us, and looking forward to the future we’re going to have together. But, there are moments when it all seems completely surreal.

The Knights who say

Director Christopher Nolan is a long, long way from Monty Python. There’s hardly a laugh at all (for the audience) in the latest Batman film. And whether you think it’s a metaphor for George W Bush’s war on terror, or a vehicle for delivering the second only post-humous Oscar for an actor, it’s still a film worth seeing.

The Dark Knight

Less epic but more angsty than the previous one.

When Christian Bale burst onto the screen as the latest incarnation of the Batman franchise in Batman Begins, I was impressed. The film was awesome, moody and epic. This sequel, bringing in Heath Ledger as The Joker is actually pretty good, as sequels go.

Probably the most disappointing thing is that it tries to pack too much in. The film is a little long, or could have been two films. It probably should have been, as some scenes felt like they’d been cut a little short, but the film still comes in at 2 1/2 hours long.

Unlike the first film, which was rich in character, this one is rich in philosophy. There are moral quandries, issues of duty, principle, and the greater good. This is the sort of stuff a character like The Joker is brilliant at kicking up, and every opportunity is taken to do so. I enjoyed that, but it was at the expense of a sense of epic-ness that the first film had in spades.

My rating: 4.0 stars

Flash-back to Grade 10

I was introduced to this book back in highschool, where my English Literature teacher (who was an American) used this as one of our set texts. Despite this, I really enjoyed it, and now, near 20 years later, I picked it up in some second hand book shop for $1.50 and got engrossed in it all over again.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Both a wry observation of 19th century America and a classic adventure tale.

Mark Twain (not his real name) sailed the Mississippi river as a riverboat pilot early in his career, and the truth of his depiction of people and way of life in this novel shines through, despite the fanciful nature of the adventure. I couldn’t help but get caught up in the crazy tale of Huck Finn, hopeless trouble-magnet that he is, as he struggles to get free of his troubles with the less-than-helpful assistance of a large cast of characters.

The language is a joy to read. The characters are fun to follow. And although the plot isn’t the most complex, the characters themselves do a fabulous job of making the simple into convoluted mayhem. Several times I had to laugh out loud at the absurdity.

Even though I picked this book up cheap, it’s well worth hanging onto. I can easily see myself re-reading this again – hopefully before another 20 years pass!

My rating: 4.5 stars