31. August, 2003 - end of month, season
- Talked to Jody Friedman before last night’s game, and his injury yesterday was a twisted knee. He’s walking on it, but a bum knee isn’t the kind of thing you want to take into the post-season. Ouch.
Saturday night’s game was fun. The Saints took the lead early on an Aaron Fera dinger, and never relinquished the lead. Also during the game, Tony Oliva was the contestant against the Sieve. The Sieve was completely in awe, and Tony got a lot of goals. The post-game fireworks were as spiffy as ever, and Art & Emily stopped out to watch them from the lot with us. They’re one of the many couples who share the seats to my right, and one of the most reliable about showing up, and I tried to talk them into coming to one of the playoff games. The season’s winding down, and I’ve had to say goodbyes to a few folks already. It’s rough knowing that I’m not going to see a lot of these people until next May. They’re great friends during the season, but there’s not much we have in common during the off-season.
Today is the last game of the regular season for the Saints. In previous years, they’ve finished the season on Labor Day, but this year we’re getting done a day early. I think I like it, as it means I’ll have the holiday tomorrow to try and catch up on things around home.
- The playoffs start on Tuesday against the Winnipeg Goldeyes, and the Saints have been looking better in the past couple games. Admittedly, they’ve been playing Gary, who will finish the second half dead-last, and last for the entire season, as well. But as the Saints proved earlier in August, it’s possible to lose even to a bad team, and it’s encouraging to see them playing a little better for these last few regular-season games.
30. August, 2003 - now that’s more like it
- It looked glum for a whle last night, but eventually the Saints rallied, scoring three runs with two out in the ninth to win the game 7-6. There were a bunch of errors made by the Saints, both defensively and on the base-paths, but they didn’t roll over and managed to pull out the win. Good work, boys. Hopefully Justin Hall & Jody Friedman’s injuries are minor and they’ll be healthy again for the playoffs, which begin on Tuesday.
- More than once I’ve wondered about blogging a complete game while sitting at Midway Stadium. But I’ve decided that taking a laptop would leave me more worried about the computer than the game. What I really want (and have wanted for some other situations) is a small, unobtrusive device (something Palm-sized or smaller) with a separate one-handed keyboard (probably a chording keyboard, so I’d also have the learning curve on that to worry about) so I can take notes one-handed, have a clear view of everything that’s going on, and still have a hand free for the beer. And then there would need to be an easy way to get the data from the device to the website. Hmm. Any suggestions? Or should I just use a pen and paper?
- Turn Back the Spam of Time. So apparently the time-travel spammer actually believes the bizarre story in his spam, and has even paid people for crap they sent him that they claimed would help get him back to the future. But he’s also sent out millions of commercial spams too, so don’t feel too sorry for the guy. [fark!]
- Here’s a swell article on Containing Floats. I generally kludge around the problems I have with floating images here, and maybe this is going to be the right long-term solution. I dunno. At least it’s another technique I can try. [zeldman]
- W3C Markup Validator 0.6.5 Beta #1—“Zeldman Made Us Do It!”—Is Released! You can now get customized explanations of the error messages (and submit new explanations if the one that’s there isn’t good enough) and turn on
fussy parsing mode, which will catch more errors. It’s at http://validator.w3.org:8001/ if you’re interested. Thanks to the w3c guys for implementing it and to Zeldman for pointing out what needed doing. [zeldman]
29. August, 2003 - wrapping up the season
- This weekend is the final home-stand for The Saints. They’re going to be facing Winnipeg in the playoffs next week, but this is it for the regular season. I’m not especially happy that they’re going to have to win all three games against Gary this weekend just to finish the second half of the the season above .500, but hey, let’s see how the boys look this weekend. This is the chance to tune everything up before the playoffs, and I hope they use it wisely.
- There’s been a lot of news about Johnny Cash lately. He was too ill to attend the MTV Video Awards where he was up for six nominations for a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt. The video is amazing–you should watch it online if you haven’t seen it. [jim]
- While we’re talking about music, the buzz is that Warren Zevon produced a pretty darned good album with The Wind. I haven’t bought my copy yet, but I’m prepared to believe that it’s good, and I’ll buy it one of these days.
- Hey, sometime when I wasn’t looking, Andy Ihnatko started typing his YellowText again. There’s some good reading there. [accordionguy]
- Spy gadget leaves nowhere to hide. It’s a matchbox-sized GPS and cell phone combination that will periodically transmit an SMS text-message over the cell network to tell you where it is. Only works with the European GSM nets at this point, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a US model soon. [gizmodo]
28. August, 2003 - Where’s my two dollars?
- I’ve been having what might sarcastically be called
fun with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue this year. See, I’ve got an employee who lives in Wisconsin and works from his home, which is only about 40 miles from here. Back around the first of the year, I decided that it would be nice for everyone involved to set up my payroll service so that they would withhold Wisconsin payroll tax from his checks, and then he wouldn’t have to file for a refund here in Minnesota, and send estimated payments to Wisconsin.
And that started the problems. First it took over a month to get the Wisconsin Tax ID, nevermind that I already have tax IDs for my business at the federal and state (Minnesota) level. Each state wants to issue their own numbers and they never have a simple way of requesting a number. Then once I got the ID, I had to give it to the payroll service. Now we’re in March, and it’ll go into effect beginning April. Not ideal, but we’re at least on the right track, right?
Come July, I find out that my payroll service has been paying Wisconsin the withheld money quarterly (which means that the April-June payments still haven’t been made), and Wisconsin thinks I should be paying monthly, so they’ve hit me with a bill for $1500 for back taxes. A few phone calls, some mail back and forth, a $375 penalty, and a few more phone calls later, the taxes are paid up, and the penalty has been dropped. Now we’re in August.
But wait! My business hasn’t been paying Wisconsin unemployment insurance for this employee. Instead, it’s been paid to Minnesota. And to pay that, I need yet another number from a different department within the Wisconsin state government. Today I’m sending off the form to get that number, and my fervent hope is that I can get that issue dealt with before 2003 is over. Wish me luck.
- Zeldman got the contract to rework the Apple website. Here’s hoping they’ll let him do enough so it actually works correctly with their own browser (the developer documentation is in frames, and Safari doesn’t let you search within a framed document without first clicking, which gets annoying about the three-hundredth time you have to do it) and generally makes both Apple and the rest of us happy he got the job. Congrats, Zeldman.
- So, Just Where Is That CD Settlement Money You Were Promised? Well, they say it’s still coming. One of these days. After the lawyers fart around some more. But you’ll definitely get that twenty dollars to make up for each of the six-hundred or so CDs you bought between 1995 and 2000 that were overpriced by at least a dollar each. [fark!]
27. August, 2003 - light linkage
- U student pleads guilty in April hockey riot. Another felon convicted for last April’s riot.
- Yahoo! News RSS is available. It’s a big deal to those of us who use RSS readers, I guess. [scripting]
- I watched some movies earlier in the month: Who Framed Roger Rabbit is still very enjoyable, and the extra features in the two DVD set show quite a bit about how it was made. I’m still impressed by the blending of toons and actors. The Jackie Chan movies The Accidental Spy and The Tuxedo were both fun, but I wouldn’t call either of them great movies. Nice summertime mind-candy, though.
- In other news, I’ve been listening to some of The Crops outtakes that Scott’s been working on in his copious free time. There were a few songs I had completely forgotten, even. I’m not sure when the ultra-deluxe box set is going to come out, but from the bits I’ve heard so far, it’ll be worth the wait for the teeming legions of Crops fans out there.
- Hey, there’s a new development in the battle between the Insane Cultists and their Monuments and the Alabama Supreme Court. See the followup too. [reed]
26. August, 2003 - talk about talk
- September 13th is the grand opening of the Mill City Museum here in Minneapolis. Sounds like an event to pencil in on the calendar.
- Hmm. Seems indymedia is censoring posts that don’t agree with the moderators views. Not surprising, but it’s nice to have someone remind me of it now and again.
- I found an interesting site that has The Lord’s prayer in 1221 languages. Many of them are fun to look at, but I was particularly impressed with the Ebonics version [jim]
- The Devil’s Dictionary (2.0) is adding to the lexicon. See the archive for the full listing. There aren’t a ton of words there yet, but it’s growing. [accordionguy]
- The New X-Men talks about XP (eXtreme Programming) and how it’s working for some folks. I keep thinking about trying XP, but it’s tough when you’re working for companies that don’t think much of those ideas. I suppose I could go off and try it all by myself, but that would miss the pair-programming part which people say is one of the most valuable bits of XP. I'm hoping that The Career Programmer: Guerilla Tactics for an Imperfect World ISBN:1590590082 will maybe point out a solution.
25. August, 2003 - hay fever
- I drove up to visit mom yesterday. It was my birthday dinner from her, and it’s nice to see mom actually cooking a meal, as that’s something she hasn’t done for a while. Her timing’s still a bit off on things, but it was a tasty meal nonetheless. On the way there, I spotted this straw bale along the side of the road, and had to stop and take a picture. But the day was marred by allergies. All the pollens floating around in the air are bad enough, but mom has three cats and a dog (the other dog had to be put to sleep a week and a half ago) and I’m allergic to them all. I had to get out of there early and when I did get home, even changing clothes and taking a shower didn’t help. I spent the remainder of yesterday laying around trying to summon enough mental energy to be able to watch TV and see more than pretty patterns of moving dots. Blegh. Have I mentioned I don’t like this time of year much? Anyway, that’s the long-winded explanation if you’re trying to figure out how the linkage for the day fits together—it probably doesn’t, but it’s the best I could do today.
- Cosh talks baseball stats a bit, and gives himself a headache. But it’s still good reading if you like to think about how to rate players in the game. [colby cosh]
- freshmeat.net: Category Reviews - Spam Filters. SpamAssassin (which I’m using) comes out looking pretty good even with its Bayesian filter turned off. I wish they’d compared it with that turned on in SA, since that’s probably how most people are going to use it.
- Here’s An interview with Dave Shea, the CSS Zen Gardener. Interesting stuff, if you’re a geek like me. [zeldman]
- Wanna know how geeks spin pens around in their hands and make it look effortless? Go check out The Art of Pen Spinning and practice, practice, practice.
24. August, 2003 - toys
- Last winter I bought a couple Ionic Breeze Air Fresheners and have been relatively happy with them. But while I was at MacHack and WWDC, the little one in the bathroom crapped out. Don’t know if it was a thunderstorm that got it, or whether it just died, but I called up the Sharper Image and told ’em it had pooped out. They sent a new one, no questions asked, and it arrived a few weeks later. That’s pretty good customer service, I guess.
- I wonder if I’m going to need a Hot & Cold Mini Fridge for next year’s Saints season. It seems like a pretty good addition to the tailgating arsenal, but I worry about what it’ll do to the battery in my car. Anyone know how much power these things suck? And what about the heat from ’em? It would probably end up in the hatchback of my Camaro, and I’d hate to have it set the carpet on fire or melt the plastic around the hatch or something dumb like that.
- A couple weeks ago, I made my second warranty call to Danby about my Danby Countertop Dishwasher. The connector that you hook to the sink busted when I first got it, and this time, the power-switch broke. They happily shipped me out a new switch and a service manual, and after about an hour, I had the new switch installed, and it was working good again. I’m a little disappointed the switch gave out so soon, but the service was good, and they actually let me fix it myself, rather than hauling it to some appliance service place that would have wanted me to make a couple trips and leave my dishwasher with ’em. And lest you think their service was slow, it took me many more days to write this than it did for them to send me the replacement part.
- My birthday present for myself was a CRKT Apache model 7003. It’s a nice folding knife, and is made with ATS-34 steel, which sounds like pretty much the best choice. Made in Taiwan, but it seems like pretty good quality. I’ve been half-wanting a good pocket knife for a while, and decided this was the time to get one.
- In a non-toy-related note: Layne figured she’s written half a million words since September 2001 on her website. Well, I didn’t have a big conversion to go through to help me count the words I’ve written here, but I was curious. So I tried a few things and came up with
find -X . -iname \*html -print0 | xargs -0 wc in the base of the website. It tells me 75799 lines, 664311 words, 8006399 characters. Now some of those files are auto-generated (like the full sitemap, which is over 10000 words), and there’s HTML markup (though less than you’d think) counted in there, but I’d say it’s around a quarter that I didn’t directly write between November 1997 and now. So it would be a close thing if it were a contest (it’s not, but figuring out how much I had typed helped me guage the numbers), but I had a nearly four-year head-start. Dang. That girl types a lot.
23. August, 2003 - freedom to drink filtered packets
Yeah, I know I’m kinda all over the map today, but it made sense when I was pulling the links together…
- Patriot Act II Resurrected? Geez. This time Orrin Hatch is trying to resurrect Patriot II, throw in some language linking the war on drugs (how’s that going, anyhow?) with the war on terror, outlaws hawalas, and legalizes government thugs coming into your home and kicking your puppy. Well, okay. That last is a bit of hyperbole, I think. [scott mcgerik]
- Liquor license limits near U? There will be if Paul Zerby has his way. I wrote a letter to him, but his idea of letting there be no more on-sale liquor licenses between 35W and St. Paul, between the River and Hennepin Avenue seems one of the most misguided I’ve ever heard. His reasoning is that he wants to prevent a recurrence of the hockey riot that happened last spring, but the felons involved in that weren’t of legal drinking age in the first place, so not having more bars isn’t going to help the problem. But hey, prohibition worked so well last time around, and it’s doing a bang-up job in the war on drugs, so what the heck, let’s try it again!
- Speaking of bars, I’ve been having trouble deciding what to do with my evenings lately. I’ve been in the habit over the years of going out to various bars on Friday and Saturday evenings, but lately that hasn’t been as much fun. See, most of the bars near me now have some sort of live music on weekday evenings (or seven days a week in a few cases) and while I like listening to music, much of what they’re offering doesn’t appeal. Last Tuesday, after the Neighborhood Association meeting, I stopped by Dub’s, and got chased out by open-mike night. The alternative was getting on-stage myself to perform John Cage’s 4′33″ and for some reason I didn’t think that would go over with the crowd (but if someone has a score I could copy, I wouldn’t mind having it on hand, just in case). But listening to some girl drone on about something or other with a chorus of
It sucks, it really sucks, it fucking sucks. (the audience was supposed to join in) isn’t my idea of fun, either. That’s why I ended up at Whitey’s on my birthday. There were a bunch of other places I’d thought of going, but they all had music scheduled, and I wanted to sit and talk with a few friends. Maybe that makes me a crusty old fart, but I’m starting to think it’s time to find new watering holes. Or, like the Friday evening when I’m writing this, just sit at home and write something that needs writing.
- Marketers Say They Intend to Join Effort to Fight Spam. And why are they doing such a thing? Well, so they will be able to email you crap about their products in the future. Yeah, I’m betting they’ll be putting together some real effective proposals.
- Hey, cool. There’s OS Fingerprinting in OpenBSD’s PF Firewall as of 3.4-current (which is available now, though the 3.4 release isn’t quite done yet. It allows the firewall to detect which OS is talking to (and through) it, so you can do things like redirect users of an old version of windows to a page telling them to get the latest service pack, rather than staying vulnerable to viruses. Handy, eh? And since it uses Passive Fingerprinting, you don’t have to send anything to the remote machine, just look at the packets it’s sending you. [openbsd]
22. August, 2003 - back to it
- It was a pretty good birthday on Wednesday. I didn’t make it to the museum during the day, choosing to nap instead. In the evening, I went out to Whitey’s World Famous Saloon with a couple friends and everything went pretty well except for the part where there were a few more birthday whiskeys bought for me than I really needed, leading to spending most of yesterday trying to feel human again.
- Mark your calendarrrr: Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19 is less than a month away.
- Why did we have to attack Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein? Well, the Sword of honour demanded it. Makes sense that there are folks who thought Preserving the Honor of the U.S. required an invasion. [WVSR]
- U.S. May Fine Some Who Shielded Iraq Sites. Why? Because spending money in Iraq (which most of the human shields did) was illegal under the embargo.
- Papa Scott has a handy tip for Running ‘make installworld’ from CD. Bill, take note of this one. It’s useful.
- Ashcroft Blasts Efforts to Weaken Terrorism Law, saying that to weaken the USA-PATRIOT Act
would senselessly imperil American lives and American liberty, and it would ignore the lessons of Sept. 11. But to keep that law on the books ignores the lessons of 1773-1789.
- Ashcroft Touts Patriot Act, saying it’s very useful and completely Constitutional. Schyeah, and I’ve got monkeys flying out of my butt. Maybe it’s time to consider some Bill of Rights Enforcement.
21. August, 2003 - not dead yet
Just a quick note so you’ll know I’m not dead. I seem to have had a bit to drink last night and slept a tad late.
20. August, 2003 - Happy Birthday to Me
- World wakes up to another virus, which seems to go through people’s address books and use random addresses for the from line of mail it sends. I’m getting a ton of bounces from the navy because (I suspect) someone at WAM!NET got infected and has my email address and a bunch of folks in the Navy (’cause of that contract they got). Blegh. [scripting]
- Cell phone companies are now charging fees fees to cover cell number switching (the number portability that’s required by November). But the fees are much larger than their actual costs. As if we didn’t expect to get screwed by the cell-phone companies, just like we do by the companies providing landline service. [boing boing]
- Fax rules facing fight as the fax-spammers are facing a law that actually has some teeth, and they don’t like it. Under the new law, if they don’t have your written permission to fax you, they’re not allowed to, and you can collect between $500 and $11000 per fax. They won on the do not call list (a similar provision was planned, but dropped), but let’s keep this victory on the fax front. With any luck, it’ll finally put an end to the fax.com asshats.
- If you’re looking for other blogs to read, here’s a few: Shot In The Dark covers Politics and Current Events in Minnesota and Beyond.
- Jeff recommends That Ain’t Normal. It a new blog, and seems to have some potential. Just in case you didn’t already have enough things to waste your time. [WVSR]
- Dr. Frank’s What’s-it talks a lot about music, both making an album and also some theory stuff.
- Hey, if you’re interested in that other baseball team in the Twin Cities, go check out the Twins Geek.
- As for my actual plans to celebrate my birthday today, I haven’t figured them out yet. I may head down to the The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, since I’ve never been there. There’ll probably be some drinking with a few friends this evening. But I don’t have anything really special planned.
19. August, 2003 - dog days
- August has never been one of my favorite months. Even though, as Steph points out, my birthday’s in August, so are The Dog Days of Summer, plus mid-August is when my seasonal allergies kick into full-gear. So not only am I sweaty and miserable, I’m usually stuffy and miserable, too. This year is maybe a little better, as there’s generic claritin I can take, and it’s actually working pretty well so far this year, but generally from about mid-August until the first hard frost, I’m stuck in dog-days mode. To offset the improvement on the allergy front this year, I’m working on a project that I have no enthusiasm left for at all. It’s a steaming pile of dung that happens to function pretty well, but working on it always takes longer than expected, isn’t very satisfying, and we’re already about three months late. Add to that complete failure on the
finding someone who isn’t insane who might want to date me front (hopefully that’s not an empty set, but I’m starting to suspect it is), and it’s another August I won’t remember especially fondly. Anyway, I threatened lighter posting during last week’s Saints home stand. Once I’ve cleared a bit of the backlog, I may carry through on that later this week. No plans for sure yet, but there’s a very good chance I’m just going to take a few days off sometime soon, rather than keep stealing hours from work piecemeal and feeling bad about it.
- Turly’s finished writing up his walk on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage in Spain. It sounds like a nice trip, and he’s got some fun descriptions of things along the way. [turly]
- Turly says:
Go to google and enter miles per hour in furlongs per fortnight or any mathematical or conversion expression you care to think of. Cool! [turly]
- A Few Tips for Writing Useful Libraries in PHP. Twenty seems like more than a few, but what the heck. [holy schmoly]
- Here’s the story of a guy’s quest to buy a Linux license from SCO, since they’re saying he needs one. [holy schmoly]
- Some UND folks went all the way to Kansas City to have A tail of a time, learning how to tailgate. I’m not quite sure why they didn’t just come to St. Paul.
- DHTML Lemmings doesn’t quite work in Safari. I think I’ll have to report that as a bug. [holy schmoly]
- The Random Personal Picture Finder (tm) hunts down pictures on the web using the default filenames used by various digital cameras. No telling what you’re going to get at all, really. And that’s half the fun. [jwz]
18. August, 2003 - PeTA weekend wrap-up
Another day with pictures from the ballpark. I plan to get back to the more regular linky type stuff tomorrow.
It was the wrap-up of PeTA (People eating Tasty Animals) weekend in the Saints parking lot yesterday. The Sunday Gang was definitely smaller (and more tired) than the previous two nights, but we seemed to survive the sun pretty well. It was our last day to visit with Cliff and Kay Chavez, and the end of the ten-game home stand, so things were a bit subdued. In the picture, it's Lynn, Bruce, Cliff, Kay, Candy, Dave, Terry, me, and Brian, from left to right.
Jody got his first career start, which provided a break for the starting rotation. It probably wasn’t great from the standpoint of getting the bullpen some more rest, but it seems to have worked out.
Jody didn’t have a great outing, giving up five runs in his five innings, with some control problems, but the Saints rallied for 7-5 victory over Joliet, so it must have been good enough.
His first pitches, especially, looked like he was pretty excited and overthrowing, which is pretty understandable for a guy making his first start.
Post-game, we congregated in the lot again to celebrate the win and see off Cliff and Kay and the team, who had to leave on the bus at 6:30. As we were setting up for the post-game festivities, Dave walked out from the game dressed like some strange Mexican-Norwegian. Old El Paso was sponsoring the game, and there had been a sombrero giveaway for the kids. I never did find out the details of Dave’s adult-sized sombrero, but when he walked out with his blanket on his arm, it was a definite Kodak Moment.
Three of the game’s four pitchers stopped out before getting on the bus. Jody, TC, and Chris were there. Dave talked them into having a shot of apfelkorn for the long bus-ride (that’s Dave, Chris, Jody, and TC in the picture). During the game, we also met Jeb Wiseman’s parents who were in town for the weekend. They didn’t make it out to the parking lot, but they seemed like nice folks.
17. August, 2003 - End of the home stand
Last night, the Jackhammers made the most of opportunities in 8-3 win over the Saints. It was actually a pretty good game, and I still thought the Saints were in it until the end. Even though they lost, they were looking more lively in the field, and I felt a little encouraged. I’m really hoping they’ll come together today to get a win (for Jody, who’s starting), but after talking to folks the past two nights, it sounds like George is trying to get things in order for the playoffs, and some of his work is paying off in people looking a little more sharp in the field.
- It was the main PeTA night of the season, and one of the guys brought Iguana and Rabbit. They ended up on The Spooky Grill.
Iguana isn’t all that good. It’s tough, and if you don’t eat it hot, it doesn’t taste that good, but we had another kingdom represented on the grills.
But the gang was having fun, and we took up a pretty good swath of parking spots. My spam sushi went a lot more quickly than I expected, and in spite of some problems rolling sushi for the first time, I think I did okay. A few of the rolls were loose, but the flavors were right (I used raw cucumber and kosher dills for the veggies) and people seemed to enjoy it. I got a little grief from Yoshi (who makes much better sushi than I do) for using pre-packaged wasabi, but other than that and the loose rolls, it was a success, as it was gone before 6pm.
After the game, we had some folks stopping by, but with another game today, the late night crowd wasn’t all that big. I made some spam-kebabs (spam and Geisha tropical fruit salad alternated on the skewers) and Pete cooked up some spicy italian sausage. I also had pretty full selection of Nagaraya Cracker Nuts (including Adobo, Garlic and Hot & Spicy) for people to snack on, and between that and the leftover ham and turkey from earlier, it was a pretty good feed.
- There was also Pocky (set the encoding to ISO 2022-JP if it doesn’t look right) for dessert (I just had the Strawberry and Chocolate flavors), which was a big hit with a few people, and as the night wore on, more and more folks seemed to fall under the spell of this tasty treat. Mmm. Pocky-rific!
16. August, 2003 - That’s more like it
Saints bats erupt early in 14-5 romp over Joliet last night. The Saints looked like a completely different team early in the game, playing sharply, and capitalizing when they had men on base. Heck, they batted around and then some in the first inning.
It was also the pre-PeTA night. We were originally planning today to be PeTA day, but since Jody’s parents had to leave this morning, we decided to do a (maybe smaller) gathering on Friday night, too. Not a whole lot of exotica, but a fair amount of meat was consumed by all.
It was a hot evening, though. Game-time temperature was 90F, and before the game in the parking lot, it was even hotter than that. Quite a few refreshing adult beverages were consumed, and there was the small pool for the ladies to dangle their feet in.
Terry had PeTA shirts to sell at the game, and a couple of the guys wandered the parking lot with them, making sure that anyone who wanted one could get one.
Finally, it’s coming up on my birthday, and I found myself wondering what Kevin Sullivan is up to (since we share a birthday). Turns out he spent the year playing in the Central League which is also home to the Fort Worth Cats where Twig and Marty Scott went.
- According to the weather guy, today's going to be another hot one, so I expect the real PeTA celebration tonight will include a lot of the same elements as last night. Hopefully the Saints will be hot, too.
15. August, 2003 - another ugly game
- Last night was another ugly outing for the Saints. It looked good through the 6th with Walters pitching, when suddenly the wheels fell off. A combination of missed defensive plays and an ineffective bullpen made for a six-run sixth for Winnipeg, and then a ten-run eighth. Once again, the game was closed by a catcher, as Alberto Vasquez got to pitch in the eighth and ninth. This makes three home-stands in a row that the Saints have lost, and they’re now in a near-three-way-tie with Joliet and Gary for the basement of the division. Gary’s half a game back and has to play Winnipeg today, so maybe that’ll keep the Saints out of last place for the second half, but I wouldn’t count on it. The Saints host Joliet this weekend.
- Will browser verdict snare others? Quite possibly. And it points out the problems in the software patent business. Here’s Larry Rosen’s take:
This is a fundamental problem. I think that the open-source community has to deal with patents head-on. The patent system is kind of broken for software. In many ways it’s too easy to get a patent, and too expensive to fight it.
- In their latest legal maneuver against IBM, SCO to argue General Public Licence invalid, saying that even GPLed works must be copyrighted. I dunno. Copyright law’s pretty weird, but I don’t think it’s as weird as they’re saying it is. Guess we’ll see.
- Well, QuarkXPress Comes to OS X finally. Was it worth the wait? Go read the review.
- Everybody hates getting called by telemarketers, right? Well, Skot treats them as a Captive Audience. Or at least as an audience. Go read it and laugh. I did. [izzlepfaff!]
- State moves in on Web calling service, saying that since Vonage looks like a phone company, it needs to be regulated as a phone company, and needs to provide proper 911 service, which it currently doesn’t.
- MobileTracker keeps an eye on the cellular industry. Review of new phones and stuff. More focused than Gizmodo so you can contain your lust for new toys.
14. August, 2003 - another loss
- Wednesday night’s game was a rough one. The Saints went down 4-0 in the first, rallied to take the lead, then lost it again, at which point all wind seemed to be gone from their sails. They finished the night with a record of 14-15, putting them below .500 pretty far into the second half. Von Haefen struggled for the Saints, as did the Winnpeg starter. We did get to see Graham Masur and Rich Bell pitch for Winnipeg (both have played in St. Paul before), as the Winnipeg bullpen did a pretty good job against the Saints. But once again, the spark just wasn’t there. The Saints seem to be coasting through the second half of the season, and that worries me. If the playoffs started today, I would expect the Saints to get swept. They’re showing that little energy. Jody stopped out post-game (his parents are in town and have been hanging out with us), and wasn’t a real happy camper. It’s nice to see him upset about losing (well, I’d rather see him happy about winning, but…), and it sounds like he’s not the only one. Now someone just needs to pull the team together so they start winning some games (and get back above five-hundred).
Have I mentioned that I really like Jody’s parents? Carl & Carol are just darned nice people, and it’s not hard to see how their kid turned out as good as he did. Plus they’ve been buying us beers! I’m seriously tempted to start planning a vacation in Florida for spring training just to visit them some more. They even seem to think that’s a good idea (at least they did after the game and the associated beers). Of course if I decide to do that, I’ll probably have to drive, since the Government seems to want to make flying more and more of a hassle every day.
- Get Your #@%!$ Paws Off My PDA! Geeks are suddenly getting upset and threatening not to fly (or to
put a world of hurt on TSA agents) because electronic devices are getting inspected more closely now. It took the possibility of TSA people poking around in laptops for most geeks to notice there might be a problem. So which way do you think it’ll go? Think there’s any chance of an abrupt about-face so we’ll all to be able to carry weapons on airplanes, or are they going to make us fly naked? I’m thinking it’s probably the latter, and that’s not a pretty picture.
- Thinking of trying to carry a weapon on a plane? Make sure it’s not in the FBI Guide to Concealable Weapons first.
- In local news, the City Pages did an article on Life on the Mississippi in words and pictures. Go read it. It’s good. And it’s got pretty pictures.
13. August, 2003 - some days I hate computers
- Jury Rules Against Microsoft in Patent Case ordering MS to pay $521 million to a guy holding a patent on a system allowing a user of a browser program on a computer connected to an open distributed hypermedia system to access and execute an embedded program object. It probably applies to other browsers, but the guy sued Microsoft because they have the most money. Okay, so maybe the idea of embedding a crapplet in a web-page is patentable. Maybe Doyle was even first to think of it (though some would disagree). And if he did, he probably deserves to get some money for it, but the idea of client-server applications that are distributed via the web seems to me to have been around since before 1998. Heck, Java was around in 1995, and didn’t that have provisions for an applet to talk to the server? And a buck-and-a-half for each copy of windows that’s been sold? It’s almost enough to make a guy feel sorry for Microsoft.
- Fast Spreading Worm Attacks Microsoft Windows, except it’s not really that fast-spreading, and it’s crashing machines because of bugs in the worm. More about how it affects Mac networks and why expecting people to patch their own machines doesn’t work and finally some information from CERT. If the folks writing the worm had gotten it right, there’s a good chance most people running Windows wouldn’t have even noticed it until next Saturday, when the worm started its denial of service attack on windowsupdate.com. As for the companies hit by it, there were an awful lot of them that weren’t sending email or serving up web pages the past couple days. I suspect most of them were running Microsoft servers. I wonder how a couple days of downtime compares in cost to setting up a strategy so this sort of thing doesn’t happen again. I also wonder how many places will follow through on the plans they make in the next couple days. I’d bet on it being a pretty small number.
- Maybe there’s something to this Trustworthy Computing noise after all. After all, if it’s getting Microsoft to security audit all their code, that’s a good thing, right? Even if it is about seven years after some other folks decided that was a good idea.
- Says here that cellphone carriers are Dreading November 24th and hustling to keep customers happy. Based on my recent experiences with T-Mobile, I haven’t seen any evidence of that (though I’ve read of evidence to the contrary). Then again, after about six months of using my hiptop a lot, it’s spent most of the summer sitting at home when I go out unless I know ahead of time I’m going to need to make a phone call. I think with the next phone, I’ll go back to the smallest voice-only phone I can find that offers a decent plan. I’d probably just dump the phone entirely if it were still possible to find a payphone, but they’re disappearing as more people carry cell phones.
12. August, 2003 - not much to say
- Last night, the Saints put it all together for 7-3 win over Winnipeg. The hits came with guys on base, and the defense played pretty well, in spite of having to shake things up a bit when Leland Swenson got hit by a pitch and had to vacate the shortstop position. The only real problem is that the Saints are now out of position players on the bench. There’s a couple spare catchers, and a lot of bullpen pitchers who are anxious to play in the field, but between the accident in Lincoln which put three guys on the DL and the wear and tear of the game, we’ve got a hurtin’ team.
- Virus-like computer infection spreading on the Web. And in spite of Microsoft publishing a patch last month, and Network Associates saying it’s too early to see slowdowns because of this, I’ve already seen companies’ email servers falling off the net. [strib]
- Minnesota’s milky way: some local milk brands you may not have seen, but you may want to try. [strib]
11. August, 2003 - another series dropped
- Woodman Two-Hitter Beats Saints, 4-0. Good pitching by Woodman, but also weak bats from the Saints. I wonder whether their flurry of hits Saturday night used up the spark, or perhaps it was the celebration after Saturday’s game that was the problem. Either way, they lost their second home series of the season, and when trailing Schaumburg (who beat the Saints in this series) and Winnipeg (who come into town tonight) in the second-half race, we need to get be winning at home, not losing. Yes, I know the Saints are already in the playoffs and don’t have to win the second half, but if they don’t strt winning games more reliably, they won’t get past the first round of the playoffs.
- The Vodkapundit has a list of 50 Things To Do Before You Die. I can’t say I agree that all of them are must-do’s, but there’s still a fair number on the list that probably ought to get done someday.
- Report Finds Threat Alerts in Color Code Baffle Public. See, the worry is that people might start to ignore the changing threat level. Yeah, start.
- Tristan Louis is Uncovering a Spammer, and finds that there’s some shady business going on (shock! horror!). Specifically, the spammer is selling their list of email addresses harvested from the web to clients as an
opt-in list. I think it’s time to hold these companies’ feet to the fire. The spammers are going to keep doing shady stuff like this as long as companies pay them. [doc]
10. August, 2003 - baseball
- Friday’s Saints game was a pretty good game. They got a win, and the game went pretty smoothly. In last night’s game, the Saints got way behind (they were eleven runs back when they came to bat in the seventh), but then rallied to the point that the go-ahead run was at the plate. Of course that’s where the game ended, but they’d managed to score 7 runs in the 9th, which is a lot more fire from the team than I’ve seen since they clinched the first half of the season. While it wasn’t fun to see them lose, I think this is one of the better games offensively (at least in the bottom of the ninth), and hopefully they’ll keep this sort of fire alive and start winning a few more.
I also got to spend Friday night’s game talking to a gal-friend I haven’t seen much of for about ten years, and then last night, I was accompanied to the game by three swell gals. Dang! And nobody called them my
harem until after they’d left.
- In other Saints news, Chris Begg is now 3-1 with a buck-thirty-six ERA out in San Jose, and ex-Saint Kevin Millar makes Fenway history, hitting the ten-thousandth regular-season homer out of Fenway Park. It took ninety-one years of play in Fenway to reach that mark. Kevin was with the Saints in 1993. He’s one of five Saints alumni who’ve made it to the show.
- Hey, it says here that RFID Will Stop Terrorists, unless of course, they’re wearing their pyramid-shaped tinfoil hats.
Moldy Ramone Moldenhauer–a local punk man about town. One time singer in The Strappin’ Daddy O’s and other bands died on sunday July 27th–losing his third battle with Cancer. The memorial was yesterday afternoon.
There’s a discussion forum about Moldy–hosted by the Independent Music Foundation Forum.
Steve was also the first year champion of punk rock karaoke and truly a nice guy. [jim]
9. August, 2003 - gun sale at the church!
- Hey, the Minnesota Weapons Collectors gun show is this weekend in St. Paul. I bet I’m going to be too busy to get over there to walk around, though. Turns out I checked in some broken code on a Friday for the second week in a row, and I need to figure out a way to fix it. Plus there’s all the other normal weekend stuff to get done. Ugh.
- Whenever I think about going to a gun show, I end up hearing Gun Sale at the Church (MP3) in my brain. Maybe after this, you will too. (I hear the Beat Farmers version, but Buddy’s is pretty darned close).
- Heard about Operation Oily Immunity? Probably not. See, President Bush signed Executive Order 13303 back in May. It basically immunizes oil companies who are working Iraq from judgements in the US. Sweet deal, if you can get it.
- Huge headaches as U.S. suspends layover loophole. See, up until now, citizens of other countries could stop over in US airports without having a visa, as long as they were flying out of the country again (without leaving the airport). The government has said they need visas to do that now, which means that people will probably start using airlines where they don’t have to transfer in the US to get from, say, England to Mexico. Hey, it’s not like we’ll have to pick up the tab when the airlines lose even more money, right? [strib]
- Swollen Orders Show Spam’s Allure, as shoddy security at a spammer’s website reveals orders that would have grossed them over a half-million dollars in a month. Guess to some people, that kind of money is worth pissing off millions of people.
- Who profits from spam? Surprise , it’s the big companies who’s crap the spammers are selling. The way to stop it would be to make the big companies liable for what their affiliates are doing, but the odds of a law like that passing are about as good as those of your typical Congressman voting to shrink the size of government. [fark!]
- Hey, I’m not the only one who lives by the
If it ain’t in my email, it didn’t happen philosophy. jr’s got the Phear of Phones, too. And that’s what makes spam so annoying. It’s other crap cluttering up my list of things I have to do. [jr]
8. August, 2003 - back to the bleachers
- So due to some quirks in the Saint Paul Saints’ Schedule, today begins a ten-game home stand. I wouldn’t be surprised if posting is somewhat light at some point along the way.
- The promotion tells you to Drink big and get gas at Taco Bell. It seems to be about as well thought out as their
Runs for the Border promo that they do at Saints games. Who’s running their marketing department? [fark!]
- U.S. Backs Florida’s New Counterterrorism Database. While TIA may be shut down, the MATRIX in Florida sounds like pretty much the same thing on a state level. And it’s spreading to other states.
- Know Thy Enemy: Airline Terrorists gives you some helpful hints on what to do if you find yourself on an airplane with some terrorists.
- Hawash agrees to plea bargain. Guess Mike Hawash was guilty after all. But that still doesn’t make the fact that he was held for over five weeks without a hearing right. He’s a U.S. citizen, and whether he aided terrorists or not, he’s still got rights. The government should not ignore them like they did in his case.
7. August, 2003 - booze, blogs and software
- Fire at Ky. Whiskey Warehouse Rages On. 800,000 gallons of whiskey, up in flames. That’s almost two weeks worth of sales of Jim Beam. Sad.
- For Wines, the Paradox of Global Warming is that in most areas, warmer climate makes it easier to make good wine. But in some areas, it’s too much of a good thing, requiring vintners to change the way they make wine to accomodate the riper grapes that come from having a warmer climate.
- I read the TidBITS Talk Mailsmith 2.0 Comments thread with interest for a few reasons. The first is that I use (and my company has contributed code to) Mailsmith. But the criticisms of it in the thread are all valid, and I found myself thinking about what I’d want in a dream email package. I’m getting to the point that I think I’d really like to be able to use IMAP so I can store the mail on a server, and use different computers to read it without having to transfer my archives around. One of the reasons I went with Mailsmith was that it was one of the few programs that would let me convert my Claris Emailer archives, but now that they’re converted, I could move to something else. I’d also like to be able to deal with international text better—I don’t get a lot of email in languages that require it, but I do once in a while (mostly when corresponding with German or Polish people, where I’ll need to see a ß or a ł (that’s an sz-ligature and a slashed-l if your browser can’t display them) and I just want it to show up correctly in the email). I also want better email threading so I can follow long threads more easily.
- Here are A Few Tips for Writing Useful Libraries in PHP. I hadn’t thought about it before, but the article pointed out one of the things that’s bugged me about PHP. There aren’t good libraries out there. I mean there’s phplib, and that’s about it. But especiallly when you’re starting development, it’s helpful to have smaller snippets where you can see what’s going on, and incorporate it into your code, rather than just getting complete applications. Is it a matter of most of the people who are developing in PHP not having much experience in software engineering, or is there some larger flaw in the language that makes writing libraries so darned difficult?
- Politicians Go Online–They can run, but can they blog?
Blogging, in short, thrives on sarcasm. Politics doesn’t.
- It’s summer, and some of the people who write blogs that I read are on vacation. And there’s a
guest blogger filling in. But I don’t need to rant about it because SteveO (no, not the Jackass guy) already has: It’s a blog, not a $*@#’ing talk show. [steveo]
6. August, 2003 - Happy tenth, Bill & Patrice
- Hey Bill, check out Wedding Anniversary Gifts: first - tenth. Tin/Aluminum are the old-fashioned answers. Diamond is the new-fangled one. Luckily you remembered to send flowers, so you’re mostly covered.
- In One Foot in the Past..., Eric Meyer says:
That’s how I’ve felt lately. I’ve got a client where the other engineers say they’re all for cleaning up both their old code-base and their processes, but when push comes to shove, management isn’t willing to spend any time on modernizing their core code, and engineers are unwilling to think about new processes that might make it possible to work with the ten-year-old code we keep trying to patch together with duct-tape and bailing-wire.
And there’s the problem. The clients are not only aware of accessibility, but borderline hostile to it. How do you overcome that kind of hurdle? We can say,
It’s your job to educate the client, but at a certain point you have to stop singing to the pigs.
I’m starting to think I’m about done singing to the pigs in that case.
It’s not just a problem with forward movement of the web, Eric. It’s a problem with forward movement at all, and it happens in software as much (if not more) than it happens on the web. [zeldman]
- Over on A List Apart: Using XHTML/CSS for an Effective Search Engine Optimization Campaign. It’s just the kind of things I’ve been trying to do all along that seem to result in a fair number of hits coming through to my site. [zeldman]
- So here’s how to do Rounded corners in CSS. Cool. If you see them appearing here on Dave’s Picks, you’ll know I’ve actually had some time to play with web-stuff again, as opposed to being busy just trying to keep my head above water.
5. August, 2003 - free glider
- Since Casady & Greene has gone bankrupt, the ownership of Glider has reverted to John Calhoun, and he’s making it available for download from his website for free. It’s a cool (and addicting) game.
- I did a little looking through my logs recently (because I was getting referer-spammed by a search-engine) and noticed that the five most popular pages here over the past two weeks are Magical Macintosh Key Sequences,
The home page,
Why avoiding tables (for layout) is important,
Mead Made Easy, and
Quotes I like. They’re all pages that I’ve put extra effort into to make some enduring content, except for the front page, which turns out to be number two on the list. The thing that I find most baffling is the fact that few people click to any other page on the site after coming to one of these pages. Maybe I’m just nosier, but I almost always go looking for something about the author of a site when I get referred there.
- Phone Access Charges Scrutinized. I’ve been trying for almost ten years to not have any long distance service so I could avoid paying the local access charge on my phone bill. Still no luck. At this point, the only solution I can see would be to drop the phone line entirely, and I can’t do that just yet because I need it for my DSL line. But there are alternatives coming, and the phone companies have something like twenty years of resentment they’ll have to overcome in order to convince me to keep having a landline. Perhaps that’s why Millions cut the cord and use cellular for home phones.
- Do not call? They’ll pitch another way. Not a very encouraging article, but I suspect it’s right. [strib]
- I.B.M.’s Fragile Chip Business lost a lot of money last quarter. Will the G5 from Apple help buoy up Big Blue? Will there continue to be a supply of PowerPC chips for Apple? Heck, I don’t know, but I know if I were Apple, I’d be looking into alternatives.
- What time is it? Well, no one knows for sure, or rather they do, but there are three different (correct) answers. [boing boing]
- Interested in Getting a Windows Refund in California Small Claims Court because you removed it and are running Linux or one of the BSDs? This article gives you tips on what you have to do.
- Red Hat Takes Aim at Infringement Claims made by SCO, and is suing them. They’ve also pledged to set up a defense fund for companies and individuals sued by SCO.
4. August, 2003 - back to the grind
- In yesterday’s game, a Four-run ninth propels Jackhammers past Saints, 5-1. It wa a beautiful day, and while the Saints weren’t playing great ball, it didn’t look too awful until the ninth when Chris Chavez came out and had a Very Rough Outing. Two hit batsmen, two walks, two hits, and only two outs led to four runs. Jody Friedman came in and got the final out on a single pitch. Ended up losing two of three to the team that everyone else in the league has been pummelling. I sure hope things are better after the Saints get back from Lincoln.
During the game, a friend I’ve known for nearly twenty years, but haven’t seen recently stopped by, and we chatted a bit, which was nice. After the game, Jody stopped out, as did Paul (I think that’s his name) from the front office, and then Seigo. We played some Hammerschlagen and explained to people showing up late (there was a misprint in the pocket schedule) that the game had been played at 1:05 and not the 6:05 that was in the schedule. I finally got home about 7pm.
Even with a Saints loss, it was a pretty good day, capped off by sitting on the front steps for a beer with another friend who stopped by about ten or fifteen minutes after I got home. The good day almost completely erased my bad mood at the end of last week.
- The most recent Modern Drunkard Magazine is so full of linky goodness it’s hard to decide where to start. Best Bar Moves has already been mentioned, but there’s so much more.
Are You an Alcoholic answers AA’s 12 Questions.
I especially liked The Solution to all Life’s problems.
Also, I perused the archives and there’s much much more. I’ll just mention one–an old article on Absinthe including where to buy some (Far as I know, Absinthe is illegal in the US, but the article of the author says it was shipped to him). [jim]
- A female friend asks: We have to share? and for some reason doesn’t seem to think much of the idea. I can’t blame her.
- Dan Gillmor’s looking at voice over IP for his phone needs, and it sounds encouraging. [scripting]
- There’s a bit by Lawrence Lessig on Gilmore’s protest along with a reply by John Gilmore. It talks about the
suspected terrorist button that Gilmore wore and how the airlines were restricting his ability to travel.
3. August, 2003 - middle of the night
So it’s about 5 in the morning, and I’ve been wide awake for the past two and a half hours. The after-effects of being frustrated with work on Friday woke me up. I don’t really have a bunch of links today either, but I did write (and not send) an email trying to sort the mess out and explain why I blew up at a cow-orker. Now it’s time to put something on the website for the day, try and get some sleep, and then off to today’s game.
- Friday night’s game wasn’t much fun. Missed opportunities cost Saints describes it in part, but the team didn’t look very sharp at all.
- Last night’s game was much better. The bats came alive somewhat, and the hapless Jackhammers played more like they’re supposed to, giving up a couple errors, and a lot of runs. Here’s hoping today’s game is another win for the Saints. We really need to be able to take two out of three from a team like Joliet if we’re going to have any hope in the playoffs.
- As much for my edification as yours, last night I mentioned to Eric that a good line might be: “Culver’s ButterBurger, it’ll keep your coat shiny!” If you hear him use that at a Saints game, you’ll know where it came from.
- Another thing that happened at the game is that a guy named Aaron stopped by. Apparently he reads the website regularly, and he stopped by during the game to say hello. That’s kinda cool. I sometimes wonder who’s reading the site, and now I know one more person who does. Hi Aaron. Nice to meet you last night.
- In TSA adds “sarcasm” to list of aviation risks, Cory says what I was thinking about the kid who got nabbed by the TSA for putting a sarcastic note in his luggage. The neighbor lady is, of course, shocked;
I thought he was a good kid. Well, did you ever consider that maybe he is and he’s doing some real good here? [boing boing]
2. August, 2003 - mixed bag
- Savage man pleads guilty to setting car afire during U hockey riot and was sentenced to four months in the workhouse, three years of probation, and had to pay $500 to a state reparations fund. Sounds about right, I guess, but I think he should have had to pay some money to the gal whose car he set on fire, too. [strib]
- With new members, Grateful Dead look forward, not back, and they’re playing with Bob Dylan tomorrow at Float-Rite. Don’t think I’ll be going to it, but it’s good to see the boys on the road again. [strib]
- How To Understand Statistics and the questions to ask about them. [jr]
- Marriage is more complex than opponents of same-sex marriages think. The article focuses on things other than sex that are important to marriages. But the whole to-do about gay marriage would evaporate if there weren’t real economic benefits to marriage. Because the government has stacked the deck for marriage (you can bring a foreign spouse into the country a lot easier than you can bring in a friend, your spouse can get put on your health benefits, pays fewer taxes on your estate if you die, and married people pay a different tax rate), there are good reasons to get married rather than just shack up. Without those government-imposed reasons to want marriage, wouldn’t jumping over a sword together do just fine? Or am I spinning off into libertarian la-la land again? [strib]
- Here’s a handy list of the Best Bar Moves. You probably already know some of these.[some gal]
1. August, 2003 - argh
I woke up this morning to discover I’d checked some broken code in yesterday for the beta build of a project I’m working on. Gotta fix that before doing the real update here for the day. Expect a late update unless everything goes swimmingly well.
Well, I don’t think there’s going to be any linky goodness. I’ve been feeling some frustration and needed to get it out of my system.
- Last Month