Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Planes Trains and Automobiles

Planes, Trains and Automobiles is one of my favorite movies of all time. Because it takes place just before Thanksgiving, around this time of year I’m always particularly nostalgic about the movie.

Last year (I’ve been saving this post for that long!) I came across a great Stuck in the ‘80s article which links to a podcast devoted to the movie (direct link to a streaming MP3).

Also, check out these YouTube links:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hard Drive Technology Is Pretty Impressive…

The Tom’s Hardware “picture story” Where Do Hard Drive Heads Come From? addresses something that always amazed me: how do hard drives work so reliably on such a small scale, all while spinning at >7200 rpm?

The dimensions of the head are impressive. With a width of less than a hundred nanometers and a thickness of about ten, it flies above the platter at a speed of up to 15,000 RPM, at a height that’s the equivalent of 40 atoms. If you start multiplying these infinitesimally small numbers, you begin to get an idea of their significance.
Consider this little comparison: if the read/write head were a Boeing 747, and the hard-disk platter were the surface of the Earth:
– The head would fly at Mach 800
– At less than one centimeter from the ground
– And count every blade of grass
– Making fewer than 10 unrecoverable counting errors in an area equivalent to all of Ireland.



Tom’s Essay

Tom’s Essay is a great New York Times article by Suzanne Vega explaining her surprising claim to fame as the “Mother of the MP3.” For those of you that didn’t know, engineers at the Fraunhofer institute used her song Tom’s Diner as a benchmark for tweaking the original MP3 compression algorithms. Pretty cool…