computers

Some links...

Here are some links to some stories I’ve read in the past week:

Apparently, someone actually decided to write a story about
Rape in Darfur. Femicide is alive and well all over the world. It’s nice to see cnn.com actually making this article a headline (for a couple hours, anyway). Wouldn’t it be even better if a presidential candidate “took a position” on rape and sexual assault in the world? Talk about a great way to shore up the female vote...

Okay, now this one is messed up.
17 girls, all under the age of 16, ended up pregnant in Massachusettes because they made a pregnancy pact. What? Good lord...I saw this on the news this morning. Still can’t quite believe it. Sounds like this school has some issues to deal with in this regard.

If anyone is curious about
why I work in slave archaeology, here is an article that might help you get an idea. The final bit, where a Philadelphia woman makes a connection to a part of her city’s history that she didn’t know, and it caused her to “take a class”...that’s important. Go Archaeology!

Clearly, Mike Bauman has been
reading my blog, since his article this morning says the same thing: Cubs can make it without Soriano, but not Zambrano. As if to respond with an affirmative, the Cubs got swept for the first time this season, losing their third straight to the Rays. At least the Rays are a team worth losing to this year.

Get Fuzzy makes a fantastically subtle comment about immigration, ethnicity, and possibly even, agism. As a bonus, you get a pun and talking domestic pets:
getfuzzy2008024452620

Edwards is apparently on Obama’s short list. No complaints here.

Interesting discussion of Apple’s new MobileMe, and the transition from .mac, brought to you by Lonely Sandwich. Worth reading if only for the phrase “gramatically-questionable productivity tool Minesweeper”. Trust me, makes sense when you read it.
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iPhone

Yesterday, Apple introduced the G3 iPhone at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. The new phone is lighter, faster, and cheaper. Much cheaper. It is now only $199 for the 8GB model, a couple hundred less then its predecessor. Unfortunately, the phone still requires you to be an AT&T subscriber, leaving us who work at MSU out of the loop...there is still not adequate coverage on campus to make an iPhone worthwhile.
features

That being said, there are still a variety of features that would make my life significantly easier. The addition of MobileMe, a replacement of .mac, Apple’s online file/mail/picture/webpage storage center, will allow for direct syncing with your mac, iPhone, and Windows machine. For those of us who need to use Windows at work, this is a very useful tool. Also, it means that your contacts will be automatically stored online the minute you put them into your phone, and then also stored on your computers. No real thought needed there.

Additionally, one of my favorite programs, called OmniFocus, just announced that they have developed a iPhone application. OmniFocus is a project organizing, to do list application that follows the GTD (Getting Things Done) Model of productivity management. The software has helped me greatly in getting my projects in order and keeping me on task (that’s not to say I’m great at it, but I’m getting better, and this program has helped). Now, the software will be available on the iPhone, which would allow my projects to be with me and viewable at all times. This negates the need for syncing to dos with iCal, which has been a pain. It even takes advantage of the G3 GPS capabilities, allowing you to look for a nearby grocery store to do the grocery shopping that is next on your to do list. See the description at the OmniFocus blog or at 43 Folders, a blog devoted to GTD.

So, fingers crossed that AT&T comes through soon. I am getting a gadget itch...

UPDATE: OmniFocus for the iPhone just won an Apple Design Award. I continue to salivate.
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Sketch Up

As promised, I wanted to write a little bit about the application of Google Sketch Up to archaeological research, and a little bit about how I am planning on using it. Over the last couple days, I have been playing around with Sketch Up, to see what was possible. SketchUp is free 3D drawing software developed by Google, and is available for Mac and Windows.
2-pen fireplace


Archaeologically, this software can be very helpful when recreating what a structure might look like based on the evidence gathered through historical and archaeological research. The image I have included here is the double-pen slave quarter that is the focus of my dissertation research. By using the archaeological sketches of the central chimney stack, I was able to recreate the hearth to scale. Additionally, I will be able to add the windows, doors, joists, and the root cellar. More importantly, I can recreat aspects of the structure that did not exist at the time that the quarter was relocated in 1993, such as the partition dividing the two rooms. My next goal is to complete a similar sketch for the single pen quarter. I will be able to eventually bring in the elevations of the landscape, the river, and the ravine into the sketch, to give a full representation of the entire landscape.

Additionally, one could recreate the actual excavation space by drawing in the walls and floors of excavation pits. Since SketchUp works in multiple dimensions, sub-floor excavation pits could be drawn in. From a presentation standpoint, one could show how the archaeology led to the recreation of the structure, by showing both the excavation units and the recreated structure on top of them.

Analytically, I will be able to examine these buildings in their actual landscape at a variety of time periods in three dimensional space - a space that they now do not occupy. Additionally, such recreation is very helpful for the public display of the research. Since HSMC has chosen to recreate the 17th century landscape instead of the 19th century landscape, the use of programs such as Sketch Up will allow a digital recreation of the space to exist. Doing so allows visitors to understand the way in which the space of St. Mary’s City has changed over time, which is precisely the goal of archaeology in the first place: to understand how human behavio develops and changes over time through their material culture.



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Something geeky...

apple-logo1
On an exceptionally geeky note, I’ve upgraded my MacBook’s hard drive today, all the way from an 80 GB to a 320 GB machine. I also added some RAM, although one of the chips I ordered appears to be faulty. So I’m now running at 1.5 ghz, soon to be 2 when I get the bit replaced. The entire process was relatively painless, as I followed a nice tutorial I found on the web. In fact, the MacBook is definitely designed in such a way that makes such an upgrade almost expected. Even better, it was a pretty inexpensive venture: 1 GB of RAM and a 320 GB hard drive didn’t even cost me $200. My machine is running much faster, and I am excited about all this extra space I have on my computer. I get terrified when I get too low (I’ve been running with only 2 GB of space available, and that’s not much), but I also hate to clean things off the computer.

The extra speed and space will come in handy when I start doing GIS and GPS work, and using large files for mapping. I’ve also been wanting to get into Google Sketch Up, since its application for archaeology could be very, very interesting. I might have more to report on that later. I know that HSMC has been using it to do recreations of some of the buildings here, but I think it might be interesting to integrate the 3D recreation along with the maps of the excavation pits...I haven’t had a chance to dabble, yet, since my computer hasn’t been up to speed.
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