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Moving this blog

Apologies in advance dear readers, but I’ve decided to move this blog over to another location — my other blog, which is called Thinking Without A Box. I’m finding it difficult to maintain two blogs, so I’ve decided to merge the two into one.

What this means is that I’ll stop posting here effective immediately (after this post). I’ll move all the posts and comments from this blog to the other one, so you can find all the content there. I’ll probably keep this blog around as an archive or something – haven’t decided that yet.

For those of you on RSS feeds, the feed for the new blog is at this URL. If you’re subscribing via Feedburner, I’ll change the settings so that you’ll get the feed for the new blog without your having to do anything. If you don’t want to subscribe to the merged blog, I figure that you can unsubscribe easily. (I hope you won’t though.)

(Updated a little while later — I realized after hitting the Publish button that this sounds like an opt-out strategy rather than an opt-in. However, to my knowledge most people who read this blog do read the other one too, so I figure they won’t mind. So, no, this is not me being weasel-y in any way.)

I will be writing about these topics as well as others on Thinking Without a Box, so I hope that you’ll continue to enjoy reading what I write. (Unless, you’re a masochist and this is painful, which is still enjoyment I guess.)

I apologize for the inconvenience or problems I’m causing. If you’ve got any questions or concerns, please comment or write to me. Hope to see you over on the other blog.

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A few days ago I noticed that my laptop was booting up much slower than before, at least 20 seconds slower I would say. I checked if there were any programs being automatically started by Windows that might’ve slowed the computer down. Nope. No viruses on the computer either.

I then went into the BIOS setup and checked if there was some change in configuration. Then, it hit me. The bootup sequence checked the CD ROM drive as well and, in my infinite wisdom, I’d forgotten that I’d left a CD in the drive by mistake. I took it out and the laptop’s boot up speed was back to normal.

A little while earlier, I was trying to plug in my laptop into a power strip but the power wasn’t going through to my laptop. I checked the connections but everything was fine. Further checking made me realize that I’d inserted a similar looking but completely different plug into the socket. A smile and a correction later, I’m back on power.

These two examples should not be construed as reasons for my declining mental faculties. (You may make a case for that under different circumstances but that’s a whole other can of worms.) My reason for writing about these two incidents is that we sometimes tend look for complicated solutions / explanations without checking for the simplest ones.

The simplest explanations are not always the solution to a problem, but they are surprisingly the solution a great deal more often than you think*. (All I have to go on here is my experience — I don’t have any empirical studies to back this up.)

So, the next time you face a problem, resist the urge to panic and hyperventilate and check the obvious, simple explanations. Chances are you may figure out a solution without too much panicking. If the simple solution route doesn’t work, you can always check for the complicated ones later and panic to your heart’s content.

Just to reiterate: I am not saying that the simplest solution is always the correct one. I am saying that you should consider the possibility that it might be and rule it out before investigating further.

* – This is probably the reason why customer service people will ask you things like, “Is the power switch on?”

P.S.: Occam’s Razor is a term that’s you hear when people talk about looking for simple solutions.

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Rubber that remembers

I’ve heard of shape memory alloys, but I came across an interesting article in Science Daily, about shape memory rubber titled ‘Retrospective Rubber’ Remembers Its Old Identities:

Researchers at the University of Rochester have developed a shape-memory rubber that may enable applications as diverse as biomedical implants, conformal face-masks, self-sealing sutures, and “smart” labels.

The material, described in the journal Advanced Materials, forms a new class of shape-memory polymers, which are materials that can be stretched to a new shape and will stay in that form until heated, at which time they revert to their initial shape.

Via Kurzweil AI.

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Links for 16-Feb-2006

I thought of writing up some original content but when there’s so much to steal borrow from on the web, why bother? This content is borrowed from John Rhodes.

Confessions of an IT hitman

Now you start to get an idea of what users go thru when you roll out your flashy new system with all the ooh ahs everyone loved in the demos. There’s a good reason “lakjdlaksdjlaskdjlaskdj” is found in so many databases: users have to type SOMETHING to move on.

Eye candy and creativity beat web standards (And you thought people go to the Playboy website to read the blog?)

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