Monday, November 09, 2009

Monday Minis

- Overheard in the hallway: "I get mad when stuff isn't online. I mean, my Mom still mails stuff. What's that?"

- Best tech idea I've heard in a while: a laptop with a built-in printer. It could hold maybe 10-20 sheets, and would spit out printed pages through a slot in front, right below the user's wrists. It's basically the old Polaroid camera technique applied to a laptop. If the hinge holding the screen were external, the paper could slide all the way up. It'd be great for printing out directions from google maps, or for simple lists, or for anything relatively short that you'd like to edit on paper. You could get about three-quarters of the utility of a printer, plus mobility.

- Much of my office art is by prolific local artists, by which I mean The Boy and The Girl. They're getting more prolific, so this is starting to get awkward. I'm thinking of moving to a 'picture of the week' system. It matters because when they come to visit, they actually check.

- The H1N1 virus is hitting in weirdly concentrated patches. Some of the local school districts have had catastrophic absence rates; others have barely been affected. Luckily, so far, TB and TG's school has been mostly spared, but I'm at a loss to explain how the next district over, with pretty much identical demographics, has been knocked flat. A similar pattern is holding with local colleges. I would have expected a more even spread, given how much interaction there is across borders, but so far, not.

- Tenured Radical has a great piece up (and a refreshingly thoughtful set of comments) about the University of California's call for instructors to teach their freshman seminars for free. It's one of those moments (by the University) that's horrifically tone-deaf, but if you really dig into it, not as absurd as it looks at first glance. Apparently, these are one-credit classes taught primarily to improve the U's standing in US News. If I knew more about it, I'd do a post on it. Since I don't, and it strikes me as the kind of thing you'd need to know the details of to judge well, I'll just recommend dropping by TR's place and checking it out.

- The Girl announced that she heard "the f-word" in school last week. I asked her what the f-word was. Beaming, she replied "phonics!"