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November 30, 1999
November 12th, 2008 at 5:09 pm

Apple fixes its Nano usability failure

The newest version of the iPod nano 4g firmware lets you turn off Cover Flow. That’s awesome.

I wrote in an Oct. 21 review that

An accelerometer-triggered feature that you cannot disable is Cover Flow: if you hold the iPod sideways, it will show you the covers of various albums on your music player, and you’ll be able to scroll among them. I never liked this feature in the iPod touch because there is no way to change the volume while you’re holding the iPod sideways. This is a usability failure.

November 12th, 2008 at 9:56 am

Effective protest

So here’s what I don’t totally get about the “Campaign for Students”, the current incarnation of student protesters philosophy that goes back a decade:

Do they have any idea who they’re dealing with?

This MIT administration outlasted a twelve-day hunger strike by a professor who thought he’d been unjustly denied tenure. He got nothing.

President Susan Joan Hockfield stared down graduate students who threatened to strike. Eventually their organization collapsed on its own and they got nothing.

Do these folks really think a sit-in will make a difference?

November 6th, 2008 at 10:48 pm

It’s hard to make a dozen

MIT has fourteen Institute professors, recipients of a top academic honor. But there should usually be “no more than 12 at one time”, according to the faculty’s policies. There have not been twelve of them in many years. This “Institute Professor inflation” is kind of like grade inflation.

You know what else has more than twelve members? The Class of 2011’s Ring Committee. A thirteenth member, an East Campus resident, was appointed in July after someone noticed that the first 12 members represented three fraternities, four sororities, and people from every dormitory except Bexley Hall, East Campus, Random Hall, or Senior House. Some folks were not thrilled with those demographics.

Fun fact: the class’s constitution says “The Ring Committee shall have at least eight (8) but no more than twelve (12) voting members” and “Failure by the Class Council to adhere to this proposal shall result in the freezing of all the Class assets by the Undergraduate Association Finance Board.” (See /afs/athena.mit.edu/activity/u/ua/archive/www/about/documents/ucc.txt).

It’s hard to count to twelve.

November 2nd, 2008 at 11:45 am

Physics Guy Now Richer - Whoopdie doo

It started with a vision of self-charging cell phones, Marin Soljacic explained.

Soljacic’s hope for a society that would never have to worry about forgetting to charge electronic devices led him to the development of wireless electricity, known as WiTricity, and the honor of becoming a 2008 MacArthur Fellow. The fellowship, commonly known as a “genius grant,” will provide him with $500,000 over five years for research with no strings attached.

Soljacic was in the car on his way to pick up his son from school when he received the phone call from David Socolow, MacArthur Foundation Fellows Program Director, informing him of his award. “Can you pull over?” Soljacic recalls Socolow saying. “I don’t want anything happen to you.”

November 2nd, 2008 at 1:02 am

wat wat

you know