Saturday, March 29, 2014

Arctic sea ice extent peaked for 2014 on March 20

NOAA and the National Snow & Ice Data Center haven't announced the peak for arctic sea ice extent for this year yet, but my own reading of the data is that the peak occurred on March 20, 2014. It wasn't any kind of record low, not even close. It was about one standard deviation below the 1980 to 2010 30-year average.
The estimated arc sea ice extant was 14.96031 million square kilometers.
The data:
-- Jack Krupansky

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Yikes, my Toshiba touch screen stopped working!!!

I bought a hot new Toshiba notebook computer at the end of the year, a Toshiba Satellite P50-AST3GX2, with Windows 8.1. I even paid an extra $200 to get a touch screen. The machine works great, but a couple of times a week the touch screen stops responding. Everything else about the machine still works, but I have to use the track pad and keys to navigate and make selections. I still don't know what cause the touch screen to stop working, but I do have a quick workaround. Sure, of course you can shut down and reboot the machine, but that's too inconvenient.
What's the workaround for a touch screen that is non-responsive? Simple: Just toggle the Wi-Fi mode twice. That's the F12 (or FN+F12 keys, depending on whether you have function keys enabled). In my case I modified the function key configuration so that just pressing the ley labeled with both the F12 and Wi-Fi labels is the same as the old-style F12 key, so I need to press the FN+F12 keys to toggle airplane mode. Press FN+F12 once to toggle airplane mode, wait a couple of seconds until the popup message confirms the new airplane mode, and then hit FN+F12 again to toggle airplane mode back to what you really wanted it to be. The first press of FN+F12 is what resets the touch screen and restores full touch features. If you haven't changed the function keys settings, just use the F12 key alone.
In short, in takes a couple of seconds to re-enable the touch screen by toggled FN+F12 twice, but that's hardly the biggest annoyance in my life these days.
I really like the touch screen a lot.
The one thing I don't like about this machine is that since it is a "hot" i7-based machine, it has a bigger and bulkier power adapter which is a pain for travel.
-- Jack Krupansky