Getting Back on the Bicycle

It looks like I’m going to have to buy a new laptop: the warranty doesn’t cover the current problem. Hopefully I’ll be able to do that soon, and then a more-normal posting schedule will resume.

Laptop and Car

My laptop broke again today, so posting will continue to be light. (This time, it’s the monitor.) Also, my car broke. Next, after I post this, a meteor will probably flatten my house.


I was out of town for a couple of days. Regular posting should resume. (I was going to post beforehand to let you all know that I was going out of town, but then I thought “Who are you? My mom?”)

Laptop Returns

My laptop is back from the dealer. They replaced the motherboard, which is the best outcome I could hope for. (The alternative — which I have experienced — is that you have to send it back three times before they accept they have to replace the motherboard.) I don’t think anything breaks on laptops other than motherboards. On my previous laptop, the ‘N’ key broke. When I took it into a shop to get it fixed, they told me they’d have to replace the motherboard.

Now I’m working my way through my RSS feeds. Every single weblog I have subscribed was updated, so it’ll be awhile.

Temporary Laptop

My laptop was still under warranty, so I took it back to the store to get it fixed. They originally told me it would be “a few days”, but then they decided to send it back to the manufacturer to repair. And it’ll take four weeks! Mercifully, my warranty includes a loaner, so I have a temporary laptop. It’s a newer laptop, which would make me sad that it’s so much faster than my old laptop, but fortunately it runs Vista so that’s not a problem. Vista’s main features seem to be a) translucent windows, and b) if you let IE run for a couple of hours right-clicking stops working entirely.

With any luck, some sort of normal posting schedule will resume.

Open Thread

My computer has met a horrible fate, which is making it hard to update the site. I’m creating this open thread for anyone who has anything on their mind while I find an alternative. Michael Costantini asked in this old thread if anyone was interested in talking about Serge Lang. Michael knew him back in the 70s.

(My computer was a laptop. Every laptop I’ve ever owned breaks in the same way — the power supply stops working. Does this happen to anyone else? Do I generate my own magnetic field, like Magneto, and that’s why my laptops break? How does Magneto websurf? I guess he has no other outlet for his energies than supervillainy.)

WordPress Update

The mysterious figure known only as “Robbie” upgraded our WordPress installation. Let us know if anything has broken. The only noncosmetic difference is that we are experimenting with captchas. Now, I hate captchas with the white hot fury of a thousand suns, but the amount of spam that was getting through the Akismet filter and requiring manual deletion was making me yearn for death, so I’ll leave captchas enabled to see how they work out.

Internet Gettier Problem

Our internet service (cable) was down all day today. It was fixed when the cable guy brought a new modem (plus hours of fiddling by us to get it to work right). Megan is convinced that the cable guy was an idiot, and he accidentally hit on the right solution. We started discussing whether he could be said to have “known” and I started wondering if this was a rare real-world example of a Gettier problem. (I’m not really clear on what it means for a belief to be “justified” so I’m not sure.)

In other internet news, my e-mail provider has started dropping mail sent to my Ars Math address. I apologize if you sent me a mail and I did not get it. I’ll be switching providers shortly.

Open Threads?

Just a quick survey question. Now that comment registration has been turned off, is there any interest in open threads?

Comment Registration Requirement Disabled

I’ve gotten complaints recently about Ars Math’s comment registration system, so as an experiment, I’ve enabled users to post comments without registering. Here’s hoping that I get to spent part of the next 24 hours not deleting spam…