Resuming life. 02 April 2007.
Some people find fractal pictures fascinating because they are stunningly intricate, as defined by their very nature. Yet, sometimes I like them because of the opposite: the unexpected simplicity and softness of their hidden contours make me feel at ease with infinity. You can look at them for hours trying to bestow some attribute that, according to you, will reveal a message. But while we wonder how encompassing or universal that idea might be, it never leaves the subjective dimension of interpretation. We also come by a dual treat in here because as we work with a fractal generator to render a picture of a fractal, we commit our imagination to render its meaning as well. As such, a fractal picture is never finished, because after the first rendition, it rests upon each viewer to extend some sense to it. So in case you want to experience these two dimensions of this muntidimensional realm by yourself, I have updated the Software section, to which I have added several generators —for both PC and Mac— to keep you busy for a long while. - JL
D I O S A . G U Z M A N . R O D R I G U E Z
Succumbed to temptation. 19 October 2006.
Well, the inevitable has come to pass: I have succumbed to temptation and got a new Mac. Actually, I spent several days trying to come up with a convincing excuse to buy a MacPro workstation, but since I couldn't find the moral “spark” to justify the toll (not even to myself), and not liking the iMac concept, I settled down to a Mac Mini instead. It is the top of the Mini branch. Compare to my mid-tower PC, its ultracompact design looks like an overall improvement. True, there's almost nothing upgradable inside of it (except for RAM, and even that is hard to do, as I have read), but for what I'll be doing with it and considering that I'll probably get another machine in the next 18 months (if I'm still counting days by then), it is enough. Now, the search for the best freeware fractal generator for the Mac is on. Don't forget to visit the Software section to find out which ones are already on the run.- JL
Inheritance. 17 September 2006.
I always wanted a Mac, not because it's better than any Windows PC (or so the claim), but because it runs a different operating system: MacOS. I confess I'm an OS freak: I'm the one who has a working copy of Win 98 SE, BeOS, Debian Linux, Mandriva, and SuSE Linux 9.1 running in a single machine, and another one with WinXP and Ubuntu Linux, and yet another one with Win 98 and PCLinuxOS. For what purpose? I don't know; to test them all, and to use them as the mood demands??? I even regret not having a computer old enough to run Win 3.x (I'm keeping the original setup diskettes just in case), and another not-so-old to intall FreeBSD. Until a couple of weeks ago I had an ancient laptop with Win95, but the LCD screen broke out, and so it died. Having a fourth computer running MacOS is simply a pleasure.
So far, I have resisted temptation, and have refrained from buying a Mac to add to the “collection”. But two days ago, a friend of mine decided it was time to get rid of an old iMac she recently replaced by one of those flat and good-looking Intel based models many are “killing” for. —Do you know anyone who could use it?—, she asked me. —(What did I hear?) Eh, hum, uh?—, I went mute. —It's an old Mac, so I don't think there's much use to it now—, she went on. —Well...—, was my only remark. —Just take it, recycle it, or do whatever you want with it; it's just occupying some space, and as such it's pretty useless anyway —, she finished. —Ok, I'll see what I can do—. The truth is it's quite old indeed, being a G3 running MacOS 9.1, but it still works pretty fine. The only two things missing were a keyboard and a mouse. Though it's showing no hardware problems, which is good, it was relatively hard to find a compatible keyboard and mouse (meaning I had to look through several shelves before finding them) in a well sorted computer store. That, more than anything else, is a sign of “old age” . A quick Internet search proved likewise in terms of software, since there's nothing new for it anymore (except for iCap). There's even a version of Mozilla Firefox for Win98, but there's none for MacOS 9. But there are some old fractal generators I haven't tested yet, and there's where the egg-like thing comes in handy. So in the coming days, I'll be finally adding Mac compatible generators to the software list. Isn't that good news?- JL
Orbit Traps . 20 August 2006.
There's a new blog on the block: Orbit Trap. Created by Terry Wright (the Cruel Animal from Rooms with a View) and Tim Hodkinson (the Ambaka guy from the Fractal Beanstalk), it reunites a diverse group of fractal artists and programmers from all over the Internet to discuss every topic imaginable about fractals and whatever else they have in mind. The list of contributors includes yours truly among them, though I haven't had the chance to write some words yet ("Hurry up, you... !"). I invite all of you to check it out and join in the discussions. We'll be trying to have some fun. - JL
Mother Earth and Microsoft. 28 July 2006.
After doing the “transplant”, it was time to test if everything went the right way (I have never built a computer before, so it was an adventurous endeavor with a dual purpose). I turned the computer on, entered the BIOS setup, did the necessary tweaking, and continued the startup process. Once it got to the users part (I'm talking about the WinXP machine), and pick up my username, it said that in order to log on I must validate my Win XP copy first (or something like that). That was new, and I wasn't expecting it. “This is my WinXP copy, you beach” (substitute that word for the correct one), I voiced out loud. —You can do it the Internet way or the telephone way— it said. I tried the Internet way, but since the new drivers weren't installed yet, it didn't work. —Use the phone, then, and give the customers representative the following numbers— it told me. It was a long sequence of nine groups of six numbers each which I'd have to repeat over the phone to another computer (the new era representative). I did as “instructed” but in the end, the flocking (substitute once more) computer hung me down without validating my Win XP. —That isn't a valid sequence anymore, bye— was the only reply I got. “What the hell!?!?!”
Have you been treated like a thief by a circuitry box before? Have you been taken by a criminal by Microsoft for paying the mischievous lord of the Redmond Empire for something that is never yours? Are you aware that under the MS law you're no longer innocent until proven guilty, but just the opposite? That once you load Windows on YOUR computer for the first time you're giving its soul (and everything else) to the MS reign?
I did that same process over five times without success. Then, I decided to try a reinstall using the Restore option as a last resort. But surprise!!! Once it finished the Validate your copy of Win XP before logging in greeted me bitterly, while a new feature appeared: I noticed a buttom offering the option to generate a new validation sequence ID. I clicked on it, got my new number, and call MS again. I gave the ID to the Blade Runner lady over the phone, and this last time it didn't know what to do. I was transferred to a human representative with an Argentinian accent, who finally gave me what I needed. In about three minutes everything was over, and I had my computer working as it used to. End of the story.
Wouldn't have this story been shorter if I were connected with a human being on my first try?- JL
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