There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Where’s the New Mac Mini?

I got home from my annual winter vacation and booted up my custom-built Shuttle Windows PC.  Normally I keep the computer on 24/7, but there had been a sudden power outage when I was away.  After the computer started up it was extremely slow.  It took about 5 minutes for Firefox to start up, and then, it wouldn’t recognize my digital camera.  Extremely annoyed at this point, I rebooted, did a Windows Update, did a virus scan, shut down some unneeded processes, but to no avail.  Windows did me dirty again.  I’m not a big Microsoft basher normally, but at this point I was just fed up.  Windows is just too unreliable and I need my PC to be rock-solid.  I had been thinking about going to a Mac for a while, but this event has definitely given me all the impetus I need.

Since I’m a bit of a cheapskate, I’ve been looking into the $599 Mac mini, the cheapest computer from Apple.  But it’s been out for a couple years, and there was a boatload of rumors of an updated mini to be announced at this week’s MacWorld Expo.  I might have paid a little more for the updated mini, or bought a used one at the new price point.  Unfortunately, there was no announcement!  What’s going on?  So now I’m stuck with my suboptimal Windows machine, waiting impatiently for a new mini.  I am not alone.

January 8, 2009   No Comments

Proving the Kevin Bacon Theory? No!

By analyzing billions of instant messages, Microsoft researchers have proven that the average number of connections it takes to get from any one person to another is about 6.6. This number is darn close to 6, as in Six Degrees of Separation, title of the well-known 1990 play by John Guare. According to Wikipedia, the idea may actually have originated from a Hungarian author named Frigyes Karinthy. But in any case, there has certainly been a lot of research done by mathematicians and computer scientists over the years trying to prove or disprove the idea that any two strangers are separated by only six relationships, and so this Microsoft study may be the first such work that is really conclusive.

Unfortunately, it appears that some major news outlets are referring to the results of this research as proof of the “Kevin Bacon Theory,” which is all wrong! There is no such thing as the Kevin Bacon theory. Rather, there is a party game called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” that was invented by some college students who thought Kevin Bacon was in a lot of movies. In the game you try to connect him to other actors through their roles in the same movies, which is sort of similar to the idea of Six Degrees of Separation. But it’s a game – it ain’t no theory!

August 2, 2008   1 Comment