You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.
And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.
And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.
And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly. Amen.
My view this morning
My $10 holiday, a set on Flickr.I just uploaded some pictures from my Hawaii holiday - plenty more to follow, but i’ve gotta go take them first!
Ocean view, tick!
I thought i’d post this before the ‘official’ release of iOS 5 on Wednesday, to give you all a bit of a feeling for how i’m getting on with it. As part of an Apple developer, we get access to pre-release beta- versions of the new OS to i’ve been living with iOS 5 for a while now, on both my iPad and more recently on my iPhone. I have to say, i’m pretty impressed with some of the changes.
By far the biggest and most needed change is the addition of the notification center. This revolutionises the way that notifications are handled in iOS. Prior to iOS 5, notifications were just those annoying popups that came up when a text message, facebook message, tweet, etc, arrived:
That was fine if you weren’t doing anything on your phone, and you wanted to answer each notification as soon as it arrived, but it got really really annoying if a couple of messages came in at once (you lost the first one) or you wanted to deal with the messages later (there was no way to easily see what the notification had been).
With iOS 5, notifications appear at the top of your screen when you’re in an app, and then dismiss themselves if they’re not touched within a second or two. They then go into the Notification Centre, which can be accessed at any time by dragging your finger from the top of the screen.
iOS 5 Notification Center allows you to see all your alerts in one place, and to view and clear them simply from this location. The other great thing is that the notifications all stack up on the lock screen, so if you’re not by your phone when the notifications arrive, you can still see them all in once place. Want to deal with a particular text message from the lock screen? Just drag your finger across the notification and it’ll take you straight into the app that sent the notification.
I really like the new notifications system - it’s been a long time coming, and iOS feels completely new because of this.
But this isn’t the only change in iOS 5.
The other major new addition is iCloud. iCloud is a remote syncronisation service provided by Apple that lets you share data between your iOS devices, such as photos, in-app data and backups. Perhaps my favourite feature of iCloud is the Photo Stream service - take a photo on your iPhone and it is automatically uploaded to ‘the cloud’, where your Apple TV then downloads it, ready to use it as a screensaver before you even get home. The technology is fairly basic, but the application really does give some pretty neat synchronisation options. I haven’t been able to try this out on my AppleTV, as that isn’t enrolled in the beta program, but once iOS 5 launches properly, i’ll be having a play. So far i’ve been able to use iCloud Photo Stream to send my new photos straight over to my Windows PC - it’s fast, the quality is great, and it really does work. No more plugging in my iPhone just to download one photo i’ve just taken.
The iMessage concept is based around the Blackberry Messenger (BBM) service which is really popular between teens and business people alike - free worldwide messaging (data-based) with photos and videos also transferrable. Read receipts and online status indication. I can’t say iMessage offers anything that BBM or 3rd party apps (WhatsApp) don’t already offer, and infact it’s more limited - it can only communicate from iOS 5 installed devices to other iOS 5 devices. Apple are pretty good at writing their APIs for integrating these sort of things into apps - so it’ll be interesting to see where the iMessage service moves over the next few months as apps update. I can’t help but think it’s not going to be as popuplar as WhatsApp, which is crossplatform. Ultimately, Apple aren’t ever going to open this service up, so the appeal is always going to be limited.
There are a whole set of other features in iOS 5 which i’m sure other people will make use of, but for me, the new Notification Centre alone has made me happy using my iPhone again.
I do have a couple of gripes about some of the new features - Newsstand, for example, is a new way of subscribing to publications from your iPhone/iPad. Fair enough - they’re trying to take on the Kindle market - but I have no intention of using this. Annoyingly, the new Newsstand icon can’t be removed or moved into a folder, so you’re forced to give up a valuable app icon slot to a feature you don’t want to use.
WiFi sync is a nice idea, being able to synchronise your iPhone with your PC without plugging the two in - but in practice i’ve found it to be pretty unreliable from my iTunes (which runs on my work laptop) - it certainly isn’t a foolproof system, although that could be related to some corporate setting on my laptop.
When iOS 5 comes out on Wednesday it will no doubt be hailed as a huge success, Steve Jobs’ legacy to Apple, etc, and it’s probably deserved - it’s certainly the largest upgrade to iOS since it’s launch. Bravo Apple, finally catching up with Android in many places.
Saturday bread (Taken with instagram)
The Serpantine in October?! (Taken with instagram)