Archive for Technology

Colliding Galaxies – Hubble Telescope’s 18th Anniversary

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Cosmic Collisions Galore!
Astronomy textbooks typically present galaxies as staid, solitary, and majestic island worlds of glittering stars. But galaxies have a dynamical side. They have close encounters that sometimes end in grand mergers and overflowing sites of new star birth as the colliding galaxies morph into wondrous new shapes. Today, in celebration of the Hubble Space Telescope’s 18th launch anniversary, 59 views of colliding galaxies constitute the largest collection of Hubble images ever released to the public. This new Hubble atlas dramatically illustrates how galaxy collisions produce a remarkable variety of intricate structures in never-before-seen detail.

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Why I am a Mac user

An apple
Dear Blog

In this new year, to provide a bit of focus to what I write on here, I’ve decided to try writing my blog entries in the form of letters. It has worked for many in the history of literature…

I got a new computer the other day. It is a MacBook, replacing my 18 month old iBook. I know you love geeky numbers, so here goes. It is has an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU running at 2.2GHz, 4GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, a 13″ display (why do we still measure displays, like penises, in inches, I wonder…), a Superdrive (can burn CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs), built in Bluetooth and AirPort (wireless card), and a built in webcam. There are more geeky numbers, but I think we’ll move on. It’s a lovely computer, and does all I need it to. MacBooks come in two colours, but I chose white, as I see no reason to spend $200 more for a black one.

In the manner of every Mac I’ve ever had, it was a cinch to configure and set-up. I imported my old settings, documents, applications and other stuff from my old iBook via FireWire, and it was all good. Except for one non-Apple related problem – my installation of Microsoft Office stopped working, and despite many attempts at fixing it, I couldn’t make it work. So, I’ll just have to spend money to get the new version (clever plan, Microsoft!), which I assume will work just fine with Leopard (the latest version of the Mac OS).

Why am I a Mac user? I like the interface, the reliability, the way applications work together. I find it easier to make the computer work for me – I spend less time adapting to how the computer works. I also think you get more bang for your buck. Mac OSX comes with more built in applications, and the ones you do have to buy tend to be cheaper and more fully-featured than those for Windows. It plays nicely in my home network (even nicer now that we’ve retired our sole remaining Windows machine, which was causing real battles just to keep it running). Being a Mac user does have costs, however – it does limit what applications you can have (though now you can install Windows on a Mac, and use whichever operating system you need, this is less of an issue). Tech support people tend to get worries at the sight of a Mac – my new employer’s tech support people won’t even entertain working with a Mac. So I’ll just look after it myself. Swapping files is a bit trickier – it can be hard for Windows users to open a Mac file (more of a problem for Windows than for Mac OSX, but because we’re the “different” ones, we tend to be landed with finding the solution for the deficiencies of Windows!).

So, all in all, I’m happy.

C


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