Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Microsoft OS X aka Windows Vista

Windows Vista, Microsoft's long overdue new operating system has hit the stores in Belgian. In the old days a new Windows was a big event for me. I still fondly remember the 3.1 -> Win95 and the Win98 -> XP transitions. But this time it's seems hard to be enthousiastic. After reading or hearing several reviews they all seem to offer the same conclusion : for windows users it will introduce a good operating system, but there's nothing there for a mac user that OS X doesn't already offer. The most hilarious review came from the news program Terzake, where the reviewer was showing us the new functions of Vista. While he had to admit they were handy and nice, he almost always had to add "this is something Mac OS X offers for quite a while".

So will I be getting Vista? I'm running a OS X/XP dual boot on my Macbook Pro but I don't think I'll be getting Vista unless some application absolutely forces me. The main reason for having XP is running games anyway, all serious work is done on the Mac side of things ;-)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Little bump = Higgs?

Sigh. I'm out of the blogosphere for a week or so and what happens? The Tevatron finds an anomalous signal that might be the higgs! Cosmic Variance has an new blogger, John Conway, who works at Fermilab so he's the right person to explain to us what might be going on.

A new blog in town, Resonaances, is being started up by someone at CERN. It's something I'll be keeping a close watch on. CERN is going to be the place to be for particle physics once the LHC starts running...

Speaking of CERN, String School @ CERN took place a week or two ago. You'd think that it would be just the thing for me, right? We'll I'd agree with you, but due to some oversight I had no idea it was coming, so I wasn't able to go. A real shame, because CERN is great place to be. The video lectures have been put online so at least I can see what's been said.

If you're wondering who I work with, last year's edition featured a few lectures by Ben Craps on String Big Bang models. He's a great guy, I TA'd his EM and QM course this semester and he was very nice to work with. Speaking of which, I need to be going. The QM final is today so I need to go and keep an eye on those pesky undergrads taking it ;-)



Saturday, January 13, 2007

Warped passages

I've just picked up Warped Passages by Lisa Randall. I've always meant to since seeing her at a panel discussion at last year's Solvay Conference, but you know how these things go. Anyway, I've got it now and I will be able to tell you what I think of it after a few bustrips (1h commute to the university...).

The nice thing about it at first glance is that she looks at extra dimensions from a very different perspective. She distinguishes between the string theorists, who are interested in it because their favourite theory demands them, and model builders like herself who just wonder how (any number of) extra dimensions can solve problems in particle physics.

And with that short notice, the weekend begins...