I had my first Shiatsu massage class today. It was just the introductory “here we all are” class, so there wasn’t much massage taught; I wasn’t expecting any, really. It should be a good class though – I have high hopes!

The physics colloquium was by a physicist working with dark matter models. He’s collaborated a lot with one of Ifni’s collaborators, so I kept an eye out for any references to her work, but alas there were none. I’d seen most of the elements of the presentation previously, but he did a nice job of putting it all together.

This evening, I spent a lot of money, in two large chunks. The first lot was on a license for Mathematica. The only legitimate version of Mathematica I’ve ever owned was version 1, back in the early 1990′s. I thought it was pretty nifty back then – I remember getting it to calculate 2^(100) and 100^(2) to show that they were different numbers, and also playing with conversions between base 10 and base 16 and base 36 (the highest base that Mathematica version 1 could handle). I can’t remember when we got it, but I remember using it in 1994. My undergraduate maths courses used Maple a bit, and so I learnt how to use that in some detail. My graduate work with general relativity has introduced a need for symbolic tensor manipulation, and I managed to get GRTensor working in Maple, and so I’ve pretty much stuck with that. I know plenty of other people who use Mathematica for all sorts of fancy things though, and there’s an undergrad course designed to teach students how to use Mathematica in physics, so I figure it’s time to learn the thing, and that requires purchasing it. Mathematica is downloading as I type

The second large purchase (and a much larger purchase it is) is a 240 gigabyte solid state drive for my new laptop. I’ve had my new laptop for about five months now, but I haven’t put everything on it; one of my housemates was telling me to hold out for Intel’s new solid state devices that were going to drop the prices a lot, coming out in February. Alas, these devices, although highly impressive, are going to be rather expensive – $579 for 240 Gb (and I want more than 120 Gb, which is the other device they’ll have). Details were only out in the past couple of days. Thus, I decided to go for slightly older technology for about two thirds the price. So, finally, I’ll have my new hard drive, and can get around to installing everything on my new laptop and using that instead of my groaning old thing (which has served me very well!).

Yes, an expensive evening.

Perhaps I should add that Cornell is a cheap university and doesn’t provide students with discounted access to Mathematica, unlike some places :0(