I’m pretty sure it was a good party. Only one person stomped out mad, and most people seemed to have fun. There’s no lasting damage, and I’ll finish the cleanup this morning. Mostly that involves hauling bags of trash and recycling outside. I didn’t actually make it out of the house yesterday, since I spent most of the day sleeping after being up Way Too Late, and then managed to sleep (somewhat fitfully) from ten last night until seven this morning.
I think that’s about the only thing I’d change about the party. I had told people in the invites that it went 6pm to midnight, and the first folks arrived about seven. Not too bad. But the last folks out the door were well after midnight (four am, maybe?), and I still wanted to do some cleanup before going to sleep. Oh well.
- I guess it’s not surprising that Improvised Bombs Baffle Army. Traditional tools for finding bombs look for regular munitions, not improvised explosives. One thing I didn’t know before reading the article is that peroxide-based explosives have become popular with terrorists, instead of traditional nitrogen-based explosives. [wired]
- Wired has a profile of a convention of Lock Busters in the Netherlands, including the guy who made the noise about how to open Kryptonite locks. [wired]
- The Global Baby Bust talks about the long-term effects of the decline in birthrate worldwide. Why Longevity First? has what might be a solution. Solve the aging problem, and population decline goes back to being a good thing.
- Editor and Publisher is warning journos to Beware of the Blog, citing the case of Nick Coleman v. Powerline. Interesting that the article ends with a quote from the Strib’s ombudsman:
I have yet to find anywhere in the mainstream media anyone who really has a handle on bloggers, we are dealing with a relatively new phenomenon.Well, the Strib has Lileks on staff, and he might have some idea about this blogging thing. And it’s not like Dan Gillmor has been exactly quiet about it out in the Bay Area. And you know, there was even a conference on Blogging, Journalism & Credibility recently. Wonder if the Strib sent anyone. [instapundit]
Don’t have the luxury of sleeping late today. Stuff to do in the morning. So you at least get some typing today. And some links.
Life lately? Well, not much to say. I’m starting to worry about work, since all the possibilities I see are farther in the future than I need. I’m starting to think I might just have to go out and find a “real job”, but I have no idea what it would be. Which leads to days like yesterday, when I spent the day moping around the house, rather than doing anything to help the situation. Ugh.
- If you know what an MTHP is, you might want to know about MTHP 2005. Or maybe you just want to check out the old pictures.
- The 2005 Coffee-thon is today. Time to flush those kidneys clean with caffeine!
- This account of Vigilantes on the border makes me wonder. There aren’t a lot of things I think the federal government should be doing, but keeping the borders secure is one of them.
- Are we Weaker than we think, not because of terrorism, but because of overreaction to it? I’m a little suspicious of the article, though. One of the main sources cited says that building a nuke takes
hundreds of PhDs. It was just a few days ago that I pointed to an article showing that three PhDs could have done it back in the 60s. But even so, I’d like to see an amendment to USA-PATRIOT saying that information gathered under its provisions can’t be used in court unless it’s in connection to a terroristic act. [instapundit]
- Phil Zimmerman is saying the Microsoft flaw is serious and they need to come clean about it and fix the problem. [slashdot]
Woke up late. Nothing to say yet. Maybe later?
Ups and downs continue, as does the search for work. But it was a nice day yesterday, and that makes up for an awful lot of downs. Hit 45 here according to my thermometer, and I took the opportunity to chip away at the last of the snow and ice on my sidewalks, hoping to keep from having a skating rink as the temp gets back to more normal levels today. I avoided making my back any worse in the process, too. Yay!
Today, beyond a bit of work to be done, and the continued search for new work, it’s time to head to Cub to buy grub for the party on Saturday. I’m planning to make up some fridge-pickles for snacks for the party (though I had to very carefully craft my query to get google to find Todd’s Über-Garlic Pickle recipe), and they need two or three days of sitting in the brine to be ready, so it’s time to get them started. I’ve also got lists of party-prep to do both tomorrow and Friday, and a ham to get started on Saturday morning for snacking later that evening, so today’s a good day to take the time to shop. If I’m smart, I’ll even remember to buy the cleaning supplies I’ll need once it’s all done.
There are also a couple projects I’d like to do. Utility programming for things that I would find useful, and this seems like a darned good time to get them done. I could maybe even make some shareware money on them from the three other people in the world who need these tools. I was hoping to slap one together yesterday, but discovered that while I probably could have done so using PowerPlant, I’m trying to learn Cocoa, and I just don’t know my way around the classes well enough yet. And when I asked a mailing list if there was a handy cross-reference so I could find things more quickly, the best suggestion I got was that I should put one together, and maybe sell it as a book. Very little in my life is quite as easy as I think it should be.
- From the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists comes this story of a 1960s government experiment to see if three nuclear
innocentscould build a working atomic bomb.
- Joe Soucheray says So-called hockey lockout makes lemmings look savvy, and I think he’s right. The NHL isn’t so much losing fans, as teaching them they can live without hockey. And at something like $80/game, it isn’t too tough to find something else to do. I really wonder how many folks will be back when they start playing hockey again. [press-patch]
- John Perry Barlow recently discovered how Skype is making this an Intimate Planet, as he gets two random phone calls from Asia in a single evening. Makes getting set up on skype sound pretty attractive, except for the part of my brain that reminds me that I don’t exactly need more distractions right now. [boing boing]
- A San Francisco State student Photographer Puts Focus on Privacy Debate. Plus it sounds like he’s a hall of a photojournalist already. [holy schmoly]
- It’s not the kind of thing he usually points to, but Doc took the Which Funny Barbie Are You? and came out Exotic Dancer Barbie. Me? Let’s just say that I suspect the quiz could use some tweaking. [doc]
I had high hopes for this week. I was determined to secure some new work, and while waiting on the email exchanges, I’d spend time upgrading software on the new server I’d dropped off a while back. It’s not critical, but the longer I put it off, the more work it’s going to be, and I want to get that done.
I’m doing well with finding new work. I’ve got a couple short-term leads, and a possible longer-term one. Can’t talk about it, natch, but things are looking up on the work front, at least a little.
On the server front, I discovered that I couldn’t ssh in to the new server. So I make a call to the ISP, asking them to reboot it. Hmm. That doesn’t work, either. I made the trip in, and discovered that the day after I’d dropped it off, it had panicked and Bill had rebooted it. As far as we can tell, it never came up again. We tried some basic diagnostics, and the results were pretty depressing. I wasn’t sure when I’d bought the box, but I was pretty sure it was more than a year ago, meaning the warranty was done. Damn.
So I returned home. Dug though the books, and found that I paid for the server in April 2004. It’s less than a year old! Back to the ISP, pick up the server, and off to General Nanosystems, where I bought it.
The tech at General Nano ran through the same diagnostics we did, plus the things we’d planned to try next. Eventually the verdict: the motherboard is fried. Nope, don’t have any in stock. It’ll be four days, probably. Oh well, so I won’t get that done this week, and probably when the box is back, I’ll be too busy to get to it anytime soon. I definitely won’t have time this weekend, what with the party and all.
At least it was nice of life to provide me with a clue on Monday how the week was going to go. I won’t have to slog through each day wondering whether it’ll be a good day or not. From here it looks like a pretty balanced week. For every success, there will be something going wrong to set me back. But on the other side, for everything that goes wrong, it looks like there’ll be something good to keep me from getting too down.
- After reading an article by Dan Gillmor, Cory asks Why do newspapers charge for yesterday’s news? I dunno, but I keep hoping to find some news source that can be my “paper of record”, complete with links that won’t go poof after a couple weeks. [boing boing]
- Meanwhile, over at Flutterby, Dan’s suffering from Apple overload and thought that when I mentioned ibuprofen on Sunday, I was talking about a new Apple product. It made me snort Mountain Dew into my keyboard. [flutterby]
- Kim has a story about Hunting In The Home, sent in by one of his readers:
I’ll let you read the rest of the story, but will mention that at one point our hero compares himself to Bill Murray stalking a gopher. [kim]
I called the [Humane] Society and was told that they could come out but it would cost me $80 per hour with no guarantee. After my seizure, I asked if they were kidding me. I then told them that the cost of a .22 round was about 7 cents. They hung up on me.
- Wired says Users Confuse Search Results, Ads, and only 18% of
Internet Searcherscan even tell the difference between a paid result and an actual search result. I’m reminded again of how old-timers got cranky about the September that never ended (which is now more than eleven years ago). [wired]
- So there are all these bloggers talking about Nofollow, and now Shelley says she Broke Nofollow. Me, I don’t see the point. Then again, I still don’t have comments around here, and any submisstions to the blog get edited up by me which means that the spam or two per day I see never makes it here for you to see. I guess I’ll need to ponder it if and when I do get around to having comments around here, but I’m thinking that nofollow isn’t the answer. Nor is using google’s redirect. I’m not sure what the solution to comment-spam is, but I just don’t like any of the solutions people have suggested so far. Actually, I suspect that the more solutions there are, the better. More different solutions will make it tougher for the idiots doing comment-spamming to find ways around the solution(s).
- Twenty-one years. Happy birthday, Macintosh! Be sure to watch the movie at some point. Pretty rare footage from Steve rolling the Mac out to Apple employees in Cupertino. [scottk]
- Out on Nicollet Island, DeLaSalle High wants home-field edge, and hopes to build some bleachers and make a decent field for sports. Residents of the island oppose the plan. I think a field that could be used for multiple sports would be a lot better than the tennis courts that’ll be displaced. [strib]
- In Heather Has (N, where N is a positive integer) Mommies, Evan points out that Canadian decisions to allow gay marriage may be opening the door for polygamous marriages. Not surprisingly, Cosh has more on the subject. [101-280 and colby cosh]
- The White House cuts Hubble fix-up funds , but it might just a political ploy so they can blame Congress when money is added back to the budget to repair the space telescope. [fark!]
- Sounds as though the Bikes Against Bush Case Closed (for now). At Josh’s website it’s clarified that he really got a Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal, which isn’t quite the same thing. [kottke]
- You know you want a Portable Rotary Cellular Phone, don’t you? Well, perhaps not. But I do. [jwz]
- Speaking of cordless, a UK company, called Splashpower has a Universal wireless charging solution. Recharge portable devices without having to plug them in. [slashdot]
Not really much to ramble about today. Yesterday went as planned, with lots of time spent nearly horizontal with a belly full of ibuprofen. My back feels better this morning, but I’m going to wait until at least tomorrow afternoon before going to go attack the wall of snow across the end of my sidewalk from the snowplows. And then I might just pile it on top of the car whose owner seems to think that their correct parking spot is with blocking my sidewalk, in spite of there being no other cars on the entire street, and not parking so the passenger door is even lined up so a passenger could use my sidewalk.
Friday was kinda fun. Lots of snow, and I didn’t need to go anywhere. I cooked a pork-roast in my crock-pot during the day, and put up the window film in the bedroom while watching the snow come down. Invited Jim over for dinner, since it seemed a shame to eat a four-pound roast all by myself, and we had a few beers to wash down the (overcooked - I’m still learning the details of crock-pot cooking) pig. Then we shovelled the area in front of my garage before heading to the Sportsman (so it wouldn’t get packed down by traffic and I wouldn’t have to do as much in the morning). A fun, though unremarkable, evening, and I stayed up later than I should have.
Saturday. The snow is done falling, it’s a beautiful blue morning, with bright sunshine shining down from the sky and lasering off the pristine snow into my pounding head. There was a fair amount of snow to be shovelled, even with the help of the neighbor who had come by with his snowthrower to get some of it out of the way. Somewhere along the way, I heaved a load of snow incorrectly, probably because I was using the lazy-man’s approach (if you carry twice as big a load, you only have to make half as many trips) and wrenched my back. It was one of those moments where I not only realized that I’m getting older, but that I’m not getting smarter at the same rate as I’m getting older. D’Ohh!
The rest of Saturday was spent sleeping and laying on the couch watching TV, and wishing I had more milk on hand to wash down the ibuprofen. The positive development is that Pete, who has been thinking of splitting my Saints season tickets with me this year, has decided to go through with it. We haven’t worked out the details yet, but I’m sure it will bring some changes in my attendance at games. Hell, maybe this will be the year that I finally work out some sort of deal with the five or six couples who sit to my right to use some of the tickets they don’t, too.
Today looks like another day spent laying about on a hot-pack and eating ibuprofen. My back still isn’t especially happy, and I think it’s best to try and get recovered before the work-week kicks in tomorrow and I have to spend most of the day upright in front of the computer. Luckily, I have a bunch of DVDs I’ve been meaning to watch, and should only have to leave the house to go buy a few groceries. And hey, I did get all the shovelling done yesterday, so I can feel good about that, right?
This has felt like an awfully long week. There hasn’t been any single thing making the week drag, but rather a number of different things. About the only good note is that I finally got my sleep schedule back to normal, just in time to screw it up with the weekend. Then again, there’s snow forecast for today and tomorrow, so maybe I’ll be staying home more instead of going out and staying up late.
I forgot to mention the other happening on Wednesday. Went out for dinner at Sawatdee with a group of folks. A good time was had, and I realized that I haven’t had spicy asian food for a while.
Yesterday didn’t really have much of note at all. I managed to get to Target to pick up some new cookware (I decided I need a sheet-pan and a few smaller things), and shovelled snow off the sidewalk again, and dealt with some clients, but for the most part, it felt like a lost day.
- In Dinkytown, Art marks local landmark’s rebirth as the Varsity reopened.
The weekend’s opening was not heavily advertised and was intentionally low-key.It sure was. Today was the first I heard of it. [daily]
- Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak mails out 172,000 newsletters. When I got mine in the mail, I didn’t even look that closely at it. I just assumed it was printed with city funds, and that it was part of his campaign for re-election. Yeah, I’m pretty cynical. [strib]
- Here’s a look at A Political Cyber-Coalition between libertarians and conservatives. It’s often an uneasy coalition. [vodkapundit]
- There’s been a bunch of talk about how Michael Moores’ Armed Bodyguard Arrested... in New York. One of the things I haven’t seen mentioned in connection with this is that New York is not only treating this as a gun-control issue, but (at least to me) seems to be making a states-rights argument that their law applies, in spite of federal law to the contrary. It’ll be interesting to see how it all works out, but that probably won’t get much coverage. Over at Moorewatch there’s an update and a clarification. [endwar and instapundit]
- It’s finally been reported why the exit polls in last November’s preidential election were so out of whack with reality: Exit Poll Cats describes the report (PDF) done by the pollsters who got things wrong. The problems? Inexperienced left-leaning types working the exit polls seemed to get the numbers the wrongest. [instapundit]
- And in a follow-up, there’s more on Cory’s situation that I mentioned yesterday over at Schneier’s blog. I’m starting to agree with Ann Coulter that the way to make the airlines “safe” is to abolish the Dept. of Transportation and FAA. Open up the skies, and airlines that have shoddy security will find themselves with fewer customers flying at cheaper prices. People who want to feel completely safe in the skies will be able to pay more to fly on El Al or similar high-security airline.
Well, not quite, but I’ve been light on the links lately. It’s not that I’ve been spending any less time looking around, but my searches don’t seem to have been as productive lately. Or maybe I just haven’t been in the mood to link to the sort of things I’m finding. I’m not sure how to solve the problem, either. Maybe y’all could contribute something to help out?
Yesterday I dealt with mom stuff in the morning. No trip was required, but the emotional drain was still there. I also got a website mostly ready for a client. Lunch, some shovelling, and then a brief nap. The client called, saying the last minute changes were hunky-dory, and we pulled the trigger. The redesigned Wales House, a local (Minneapolis) guest house website is now live.
Then there were things for other clients. Mostly questions that needed answering. That continued into this morning, when I discovered that yet another client had some problems with software we delievered, and had sent me an email complaining about it last week. But I never got the email, because he’d been liberal in the use of colors in the email, which meant that the spam-filters had flagged it as spam. Ugh. There needs to be a better solution. And that means that I’ll probably spend today wading through the archives of spam that’s been caught since sometime last fall, checking to see if there’s anything else in there I need to deal with, instead of working on getting my new server with the improved spam-filtering software up and running. Productive? Sure doesn’t feel like it.
- Speaking of spam, I’m curious to know whether the Brian Haberstroh mentioned in Spammed man sued by alleged spammer wants cash is the one I worked with at LaserMaster. If you know, one way or another, drop me a line.
- Over on Boing Boing, Cory asks Why is American Airlines gathering written dossiers on fliers’ friends? There doesn’t seem to be a good answer, but they are, and they’re blaming the TSA. [boing boing]
- As if I needed a reason to not make the bed: Messy bedroom could spell end for creepy crawlies. Apparently leaving the bed unmade dries out the sheets and mattress enough that it makes it harder for dust mites to survive in your bed. Yeah. That’s it. I’m keeping the dust-mite population down! [flutterby]
This has not been an especially good week. I haven’t been feeling great, and my attempt to take a walk yesterday was clobbered by the much colder than expected wind. The temps were fine, but the wind was cold enough that I ended up riding the bus for the half-mile or so I’d been planning to walk.
I’ve also been sleeping wrong. I haven’t been able to fall asleep until about 1am, and I’m still waking up around six. Since that isn’t enough sleep, I end up snoozing on the couch in the afternoon or evening to try and catch up, which further screws up my schedule. I’d say I need a vacation, but it feels more like I need a new job, which kinda sucks when you’re working for yourself…
- Here are Ten reasons… to go to McDonald’s. Makes sense to me. It may not be great food, but it’s consistent and low-hassle. [kottke]
- It’s just about that time of year again. Reds purchase contract of Saints’ Renick. Olow, Roy Smith, Christman, Holubec, Tim Mark have also all taken major league offers. I’m already looking forward to see who the Saints get to replace them. [press-patch]
- Here’s a (nother?) reason to oppose Alberto Gonzales: AG nominee supports assault weapons ban. He’s also a big fan of USA-PATRIOT. [endwar]
- In sex and the sandwich, Michelle’s asking whether men find Teri Polo attractive, especially now that the Playboy pictorial is out. I was unimpressed more because her face looks like a drag queen’s than because her ribs are sticking out, but either way she doesn’t especially wind my watch. Is that an Adam’s Apple I see? Nope. Not my type. [instapundit]
Okay. It’s not so much that the holiday yesterday was stupid as that I was. Early in the morning, I was figuring,
Okay, I’ll wait for it to warm up a bit, and then walk to the bank to deposit some checks, then to the post office to buy stamps and mail off the bills and invoices and I’ll get some sunshine along the way. I’m sure you see the problem with my planning already, but if you don’t, yesterday was a holiday, and banks and post offices were closed. Well, it took me until about 10am to figure it out, about which time I also realized that it was too cold to take a long walk around, being still below zero at noon. So I drove to the KFC up in Roseville, got the buffet and pigged out. Then a stop at the store so I’d have breakfast this morning, and home for a quick nap that turned into an all-afternoon monster, which screwed up my evening and left me unable to get to sleep until the wee hours. Ugh.
I guess the way to look at this is to figure today’s a virtual monday, and I got a head-start on the week’s work yesterday.
Ugh. Developing crisis. Mom’s power is out and things are getting cold. Today’s plans may be changing… Update 10am - the power's back on and things seem to be okay. Happened before I got out the door, so I guess that worked out okay.
- A ’Self-Defense’ Bill Introduced in House of Representatives
would specifically protect the right of law-abiding citizens to use handguns, rifles and shotguns in defending themselves, their families or their homes.But the better news is in the next paragraph:
The bill also would allow people whose self-defense rights have been violated by any government entity to bring legal action in federal court.Call your congress-critter and tell ’em to co-sponsor HR 47. Or if they’re like my congressman, maybe you can just tell him to stay out of the way. [kim]
- Networks are making sure shows start and end just off the half-hour to screw up folks with TiVos. Hell, it’s the same thing as TBS (I think that was who it was) starting everything at :05. Eventually, it’ll bite ’em in the ass. As for me, there are only two shows I’ll adjust for, and other than that, if I start missing part of a show because of a funky (and unpublished) starting or ending time, I’ll just quit watching the show. I have plenty of poorly-repressed hostility about TV already. [jwz]
On Friday, on the way home from mom’s, I swung by Midway Stadium. Someone had called, saying that there were a few free T-shirts there for me for having renewed my tickets early this year (go me!). There was a fun sign out front, too. Anyway, I got to talk to a few folks while I was there, and it was good to see the front-office staff in the time of the year when my thoughts aren’t really on baseball.
Saturday, well, I spent the day posting, napping, and then working on the invitations to the party here. They’ve gone out, and hopefully I didn’t forget too many people.
Then it was out to Scott & Kat’s for their housewarming party. Turns out I only knew one person other than the hosts when I arrived, but later in the evening a few more folks I knew showed up. I ended up having fun, but wasn’t in full-on socializing mode. On the way home I stopped off at the Sporty for another beer, and was content to hang out alone and chat up the bartenders a bit.
When I got home, it was time to prepare for Sunday. Bill, Ryan and I had decided to go shooting out in Burnsville, and I figured that it would be better to find everything before I went to bed. As it turned out, it took me quite a while. One of these days I gotta get myself organizized.
Some amount of sleep later, it was time to wake up. Then to Bill’s, a bite for lunch, and to the range. It was a busy Sunday out there, but we still spent nearly two hours making holes in paper. I didn’t shoot especially well, which I guess means I need to get out and practice more often. Darn! I was pleasantly tired afterwards and returned home for a nap and a quiet evening. It was a good tired, and ended the weekend on a pretty good note.
This morning I find myself wishing today was a holiday for me, too. It isn’t, and I need to get back to work, especially since the trips to mom’s on Monday and Friday last week cut into my hours. There’s plenty to be done, but it all falls in the category of work I’m not very excited about. For that matter, I’m not very excited about much anything at the moment. Maybe it’s just a seasonal thing. It’s supposed to cloud up later today, but maybe a walk in the morning sunshine will be the cure. I think I’ll be giving it a try.
- Still Enforcing Single-Season Seeds, Monsanto Sues Farmers who try to save seeds from one year to the next, something prohibited in their contract. But Monsanto also sues farmers who don’t have contracts with them, and I find it very hard to feel sorry for Monsanto. [fark!]
- Here’s a Simple Character Entity Reference that’s actually simple and useful. It reminds me that some day I want to switch things around here to Unicode, but there’s plenty of other work to be done first. Then again, the chart’s from almost two years ago, so I guess I don’t have to be in too much of a hurry. [zeldman]
- Claire has a story of how Bob Gets Government ID which once again, makes me feel so much safer. It also makes me wonder about the prospects of a national ID, especially since most of the 9/11 terrorists had valid ID. But hey, the government’s trying to help. [claire]
I’m not doing an especially good job of taking time off on the weekends around here. So far, I’ve taken only one of the three weekends this year off from writing.
I guess my excuse this weekend is that I had some writing I needed to do. I also need to finish putting together the invitations for my party two weeks from now and send them out. I’m planning to email them today, so if you don’t get an email inviting you to the party by Monday, and think you should have been invited, drop me a note. It’s almost certainly some sort of mistake on my part.
- I finally “finished” my essay On Social Security. Or rather, got tired of trying to fill in more details and gave up and made it public. I’m not especially proud of the writing, but it does point out some of my biggest problems with the system. You could probably just go to Thomas Sowell’s The Quest for Cosmic Justice for a better look at things.
- Beginning today, there’s Fish house art, not drawn to scale out on Medicine Lake. Art-ice-shanties. It’s a Minnesota thing. [strib]
- NASA’s Cassini-Huygens: Close Encounter with Saturn page seems to be the best place (that hasn’t gotten slashdotted) to get pictures of Titan. [fark!]
- A Texas College student accused of being one of the world’s largest spammers, fourth largest, actually. He’s being sued by the Texas Attorney General using the CAN-SPAM act. [strib]
- Here’s the story of a St. Paul businessman who is stuck on ’the list’ and is trying to get the TSA to take him off it. A new law may offer some hope. [press-patch]
- Hmm. If you decide you need to cross the US’ northern border covertly, it seems that’s really not much of a problem: Feds Find Millions Wasted On Border Camera System, including payments made for cameras that don’t exist, repairs made on those non-existent cameras, and all kinds of fraudy goodness. Of course the northern border has temperatures down by where it doesn’t matter if you’re using Celsius or Fahrenheit at the moment, which might be a bit of a deterrent. [claire]
Pretty chilly out there. And windy. Brr.
Pretty good day yesterday. I didn’t get as much programming work done as I’d hoped, but I finished everything else on my list for the day, which felt good, since some of those things have been on the to-do list for months. Capped it off by heading to the Sportsman for a steak and some beers with Bill. Good times.
- This morning, Radio astronomers confirm Huygens entry in the atmosphere of Titan. More news to follow, I’m sure. [fark!]
- Yesterday’s Hearing on gun law’s validity punctuated by lively debate. No decision for up to ninety days, but this may settle the issue of the conceal & carry permits in Minnesota. More likely, it’ll just mean more court battles until the legislature gets the law right. [strib]
- They say Beer Losing Ground in Beverage Market, becuase it’s no longer sexy. Huh! [fark!]
- It’s official: U.S. bad for immigrants’ waistlines.
[O]besity is one of the major side effects of the success of technology and just having a life of leisure.The US makes you fat. [kottke]
- If you have someone who likes neither bright flashing colors or loud electronica, here’s the perfect flash movie to annoy that person with. Epileptics should probably avoid it. [WVSR]
- This is news? Prostitutes Using Cyberspace To Connect, Police Say. Apparently it is news in Aurora, CO. Guess the cops out there haven’t heard about those internets. Perhaps my correspondent in Colorado can add more details? [fark!]
It was pretty nice out when I woke up this morning. 20F (which isn’t bad for mid-January in Minnesota) and clear, if windy. At least it looked nice through the window. But the temperature is supposed to drop all day (it’s down to 12F as I write this about sunrise), and while the wind will let up some over the weekend, the temperature doesn’t bounce back until next week. It looks like the kind of weekend I’d prefer to spend hibernating, but that’s not going to be an option.
Yesterday was a pretty full day. I started working before posting for the day (getting a compile or two running so I could move into high-gear after breakfast), and didn’t finish up until it was time for supper. It was like having a full-time job or something.
Today looks similarly full. I’ve got two websites to update for clients, a phone call to make for another client, more Mac programming to be done, and that form to fill out for mom that I was going to get to earlier in the week. I also need to drop the new server off over at my ISP so I can get started on configuring it. That’s something I’ve been meaning to do for almost a year now. I also ought to finish writing the social-security rant I’ve been working on all week, but I suspect that will slip yet another day.
- In some over-zealous spam-fighting attempts, Verizon’s E-Mail Embargo of Europe has some people pretty upset. [wired]
- For the first time, Feds Can X-Rated Spam, shutting down six of the biggest purveyors. Funny, I can’t see any difference from here. [wired]
- EU Politicians demand fresh start for patent directive. I guess a fresh start is okay, but I’m pretty sure I’d rather just see them drop the whole thing. [slashdot]
- DRM is bad for you: Hackers Tune In to Windows Media Player, using its DRM to install viruses and other spyware on computers. [slashdot]
- News flash: Ballistic Fingerprinting Doesn’t Work. Here’s a low-res scan of the report and other versions are available. The report directly contradicts
factsset out by the Brady Campaign. Note that of the four “hits” (for 160 checked, and 32,500 registered) lauded early in the report, all were guns stolen from dealerships. The tracking system would have been able to do nothing to track down the bad guys. Further, most guns used in crimes are not the kind of guns that even get entered into the database. [kim]
- StrategyPage has some military news about Iraq. The two quotes that caught my eye:
Iraqis indicate, to anyone who will listen, that they have no intention of folding under Baath pressure, and a growing desire to come down hard on the Sunni Arabs who support the violence. The Kurds and Shia Arabs have lists of names, because Saddam’s thugs didn’t wear masks when they ran things for three decades. Guess who is going to lose? But that thought is what is driving the resistance. The Baath Party thugs know what they will have to face eventually, if they don’t regain control of Iraq.
Although the Arab media makes a big deal about how impossible it will be to run the elections, the Iraqi people don’t think so. To the average Iraqi, the elections mean the difference between a free and prosperous future, or more Baath Party tyranny.
- Apparently Snooping by satellite, or rather, bugging your car with a GPS tracker, is legal for the cops to do. I wonder if sticking that tracker on a police car is equally legal. I also find myself wondering where I buy the detector for ’em so I can make sure my car is clean? [slashdot]
- Hmm. The ‘vCJD timebomb’ fears discounted, as it turns out Britain’s death-toll from eating BSE-laden cattle is probably going to be in the hundreds, not thousands or tens of thousands, as initially projected. Seems only some people can actually get vCJD, and some more can get infected, but never show symptoms. Seems like an awful lot of cattle destroyed for very little gain at this point. Time for a celebratory Whopper! [kim]
Things seem to be back to normal around here. I’m waking up at ludicrously early hours in the morning, looking outside to see a little bit of snow that needs shovelling, and grinding out a decent set of links (at least I think they’re decent) every day. Work starts moving again today, too. After a slight hitch in the plans yesterday that ended up killing most of the day for work, I’m back to cursing CodeWarrior for its habit of just locking up periodically.
So today is going to be spent programming, mostly. There’ll also be some shovelling of snow after the sleet has fallen this afternoon (I’m hoping last night’s snow will keep the sleet from sticking to the sidewalk), and general preparations to hunker down through the next few days of pretty darned cold weather. We’re going to be fresh out of fahrenheits all the way through the weekend, it appears. Maybe there’s some beer, but it’ll have to be carefully planned so as to avoid frostbite. Nothing that can’t be dealt with, but I’m pretty sure that forgetting to bring along the hat would be a Bad Thing.
- Here are some tips for How to cope with arctic weather that we’re going to be getting once the snow is done later today. My preferred solution is just to hunker down and stay at home as much as possible, but these are still useful tips. [strib]
- Apple’s New Mac software stings Minneapolis company. Mariner software’s Mariner Write might have problems because of iWork. The story’s interesting to me because somehow I hadn’t heard of Mariner. Apparently I need to pay more attention to the Mac development community here in town.
- Susan has a good post about This week in space - Huygens. Friday morning it’ll touch down on Titan. She’s got all the details. [papascott]
- The iGrill is a lean, mean, fileserving machine, packed into a George Foreman grill. Cool! The site got slashdotted, so be patient if it takes a while to load. Heck, I bet you could fit a Mac mini into that case, and I happen to have a George Forman Grill I got for Christmas. [slashdot]
- Meanwhile, Evan’s doing a happy little End-Zone Dance over what he sees as the most significant bit of news about the MacMini. [101-280]
- And speaking of toys, Griffin Technology has the radioSHARK. It’s TiVo for radio. Damn. Now there’s finally a way to capture Cosmic Slop even when I’m not around, and it’s not around either anymore. Dangit. [lileks]
Well, things are back to normal, sort of. Mom’s well is working again, and I got a tutorial on not only how to fix the problem (which I could do myself if I had the tools), but also on how to prevent it from happening again in the future. Sometime in the past twenty years, I’d forgotten that the pressure tank on a well needs to be repressurized with air periodically. The well-guys say twice a year, but I’m pretty sure just doing it in the fall would suffice for freeze-prevention. Argh. A half-hour of futzing around with an air-compressor would have saved a couple hundred dollars worth of service call.
On the way home, I stopped off to have a late lunch with Pete. He’s got a spiffy new house, and is also in the thick of home improvement. Then it was home to try and rest enough that I’d feel okay today. That including watching Man of La Mancha. It’s a musical, and the critics hated it, but I was impressed by Peter O’Toole, and found myself liking the movie. It worries me a little though, since when I was done watching it, I found myself thinking how attractive insanity is, and wishing I’d find a Dulcinea, even if she is only an Aldonza.
In any case, the time spent resting seems to have helped. I’ve still got some sniffles going, but I feel ready to at least tackle all the administrivia I should have gotten to yesterday, and possibly some paying work too. I hear it’s easier to run a business when there’s money coming in.
- When I had lunch with Pete yesterday, I didn’t realize he’d moved into Minesota’s biggest development, but it makes sense. There’s an entire suburb where there used to be nothing, and it’s interesting seeing some of the additional stores are there just to sell things to people who’ve bought new houses. [press-patch]
- For those of you still using IE on Windows, the latest IE Flaw [has been] Exploited and you really should switch to a different browser if at all possible. [fark!]
- Plain old Rock Paper Scissors getting too boring for you? Try Rock-Paper-Scissors-Spock-Lizard. Of course it’s probably not so useful for deciding things like who gets shotgun on the cab ride home from the bar, because you won’t be able to remember the rules when likkered up, but that’s not the only time you need to sort things out. [accordionguy]
- Bob Lutz, GM Vice Chairman, Product Development, and Chairman, GM North America is writing the GM FastLane Blog. Interesting development. While other companies are laying off folks they find blogging, GM’s embracing it, and using it as another marketing method. Then again, he’s already proven he can write, so this makes some sense. [jr]
- You may have heard the ads about the end of late fees at blockbuster. Not so. Of course if you do their NetFlix-like deal, you don’t have late fees, but if you don’t, you get to buy the DVD when it’s a week late now. [scottk]
- I hear talk that Frist’s Bill Defines ‘Political Paranoia’ As ‘Mental Illness’, but don’t see the bill as having been introduced yet, according to GovTrack. Anybody got a pointer to the actual legislation? I should probably follow it, if for no other reason than pointing to that article almost certainly qualifies me. [endwar]
Friday, get a call from mom when I get back from getting my hair cut. Her septic tank isn’t draining right and things are backing up. Then another call. The pressure-switch on the well is frozen up too, so there’s no water. Ugh. So much for going to a friend’s place for a Friday evening gathering. I’m going to need to sleep, and Friday evening seems like the best chance I’m going to have for a while. But at least I remembered to unplug the water-meter from the phone line, so the cheeping won’t wake me up every hour.
Saturday. Drive up to mom’s. Talk to neighbor who’s helping with the well. The problem is that part of the line that leads from the pressure-tank to the pressure-switch that controls the pump (which should be air-filled) is full of water, and has frozen. But the frozen bit is below ground, and he’s having no luck heating it with a torch to get things working again. As for the septic tank, the drain-field sucks (to use the technical term) and freezes up every winter, especially when there’s no snow-cover to serve as insulation from the cold. This converts the tank into a holding-tank, and it needs to be pumped out. After making a handful of calls, I find a guy (who’s no Winston Rothschild III, but he’ll work on a Saturday, so I don’t care) who’ll come out and pump out the tank. I also run to town to pick up some bottled water and a prescription for mom.
I get back to mom's a few minutes before the big smelly truck arrives, and then a bit later, the septic tank has been pumped out. It will need “regular service” every month or two until the drain-field thaws enough that mom can limp along for a while longer. We jiggered the pump for the well so it’s running, and all we have to do is cycle it manually with the breaker out in the barn so we don’t burn out the pump when not running water.
Then it’s home for an evening of cards with some friends. I would have cancelled if I had thought I’d be able to reach everyone in time, but am glad I didn’t. It was nice relaxation, but made for an awfully long day, as I ended up being awake for nearly 24 hours.
Sunday, sleep late, out for breakfast and shopping, then home to chip the remaining ice from the sidewalks, since it’s warm enough that I have a chance for success. Succeed! Try to nap later in the afternoon, and when I finally fall asleep (in the middle of the third Thin Man movie, (yes, I watched the first two earlier in the afternoon), I’m woken by a call from a friend. That’s just as well—it was time to eat supper anyhow. Some more lounging about on the couch, accompanied by much sneezing and a head full of snot.
And that gets us to today. I see another trip up to mom’s to get the well dealt with, since we couldn’t find anyone to work on that over the weekend. Then home to try and keep the business afloat and fill out some forms for mom. Then I’ll probably collapse into sickness when the 12-hour sudafed wears off. If you don’t see me for a few days, it’s most likely because I’m busy being sick and exhausted.
- In a promising move, Bush Lawyers Target Gun Control’s Legal Rationale. The WSJ has its collective panties in a bunch, and fails to point out that in the 1939 case they mention, US v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939), on which most of the gun control argument is based, not only did the defendant not show up (he’d been freed, and was likely not notified), the attorney representing the U.S. probably lied to the Supreme Court, saying that sawed-off shotguns had no military use, in spite of the fact that they were used as trench brooms in World War I. [instapundit]
- Bill shares an anecdote about the Lying telemarketers trying to sell the strib. Amusing! [bill]
- There’s some useful applications among the Technorati’s Developers Contest Winners, but mostly GovTrack, which lets you track the status of legislation and your legislators. [boing boing]
- Having problems with your Palm? Run out of batteries? Try a Hipster PDA. I probably won’t, because it doesn’t play Scrabble, but other than that, it sounds pretty good. [boing boing]
- Speaking of things backing up, I had almost forgotten about German toilets when the Insta-wretch brought them up, bringing back some fearsome memories. [instapundit]
- A month of so ago, I pointed to QuirksMode, a website that tracks browser bugs. Well, the bug I mentioned here, where a first-letter selector in anchor crashes IEWin has been published there, too. Cool beans.
Usually the vast slew of electrons flying higgeldy-piggeldy through my house are good and useful servants, but there are days when technology and I don’t get along so well. Today was one of those mornings when my tools and I weren’t getting along.
It started at about oh-dark-thirty. Six-thirty, actually, but I wasn’t ready to wake up yet. There was some electronic beeping, somewhere between a phone cheeping and the smoke detector telling me it’s out of batteries. In any case, it woke me up. About an hour later, I was finally awake enough to figure it out when it happened again. Turns out either the TiVo or the water meter was trying to dial out, but had botched the phone number and gotten some recording at Wells-Fargo. Not liking the answer it was getting, it tried to hang up the line and dial again, but the recording was persistent enough that there wasn’t a dialtone yet when the retry happened. And then the (pulse) dialing made all the extensions in the house cheeple.
Maybe this explains the mornings when I’ve woken up at 4am wondering why I’m awake.
- California is a Golden State of Privacy thanks to some new legislation protecting people. This is one law that I wouldn’t mind seeing spread nationwide. [wired]
- So the House Democrats found a senator yesterday. Barbara Boxer and Democrats to force House, Senate debate on Ohio election before Congress certifies Bush win. Didn’t change anything, but they got their two hours of debate, and delayed the certification for about four hours. [flutterby]
- Davezilla’s list of Creepy things to call your lover makes me smile. Then again, I think I might like being called someone’s
delicious sex yak. [davezilla]
- Billy Beck is feeling a little cranky: Hate Them. Hate Them. Always. I can’t say as I can argue. But hey, I feel oh, so much safer now that lighters and matches are going to be banned on airplanes. Bruce Schneier points out that they’re banning some watches, too. [endwar]
Not as productive as I would have liked yesterday, but what the heck. I made it through another day, and some days that’s all you can hope for.
I sometimes forget how much I like good breakfasts. But then I’m reminded by something like yesterday’s breakfast, when I had a hefty omelette made with three eggs, nearly ¼ pound of Krakowska, and a couple slices of American cheese. I’m also pretty happy that I stopped at Karmarczuk’s on my way home on Tuesday afternoon so I could have a great breakfast Wednesday morning. In fact, if I were a condemned man, having to choose my last meal, I’m pretty sure it would be breakfast.
- Today, Congress will be certifying the Electoral College votes for president. Unless, that is, a senator joins house democrats in mounting a challenge, at which point the outcome becomes far less certain.
- A huge Storm spreads ice, snow from Rockies to New England, but nothing here but cold, and it didn’t even feel all that cold. One of these days, it would be nice to wake up and see some snow (that isn’t already frozen into a solid mass). I almost miss being able to walk outside and spend a half-hour shovelling the sidewalk, chatting with the neighbors, and being able to do it without breaking out the ice-chisel. [strib]
- Michelin is Reinventing the Wheel (and the Tire, Too) with the tweel, an airless tire and wheel package. Sounds interesting, but I’m not going to worry about getting a set anytime soon. [slashdot]
- The first Laser Wielder Faces Big Penalties, including charges under USA-PATRIOT. More from USA Today, including noting that nobody thinks he’s a terrorist. But hey, there’s this convenient law that they can use on him… [wired]
- Jim Walsh, talking about local newscasters, wants to Kill the Messengers. He’s got a point. About the only reason I watch the local TV news is for the weather. Nearly everything else they run is cynically aimed at making me feel something, and while I do feel for the hundred-thousand-odd tsunami victims, or the three people blown up in Dayton, I don’t much like it when the local news tries to make me feel the same way about both of those stories.
Got a late start this morning. Something about having been up until 1:30 after getting home from the bar and deciding I needed to start working on the invitations for the party I’ll be hosting here on the 29th.
Of course, getting home from the bar meant I had to get to the bar in the first place. Scott called just after I’d finished dinner and started the dishes and said he and Kat would like to meet up at the Sportsman. I couldn’t refuse, and ended up staying longer than I intended. Oops.
After getting home, I also remembered that today is trash-day, and spent a few minutes sorting a box of “old stuff” I had pulled out of mom’s freezer a couple months back and had just tossed in my freezer. There were a few things that still seem to be good, but there were also some things that had to go, and now they have.
Today, more work. It’s almost like I’m a productive member of society or something. Frankly, it scares me.
- This month’s Reason magazine had a list of libertarian and conservative dating sites. I took a quick look around: LibertarianPassions.com had no women close to my age in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. SingleRepublican.com won’t let you search without creating an account and I haven’t yet. ConservativeMatch.com only lets you search worldwide until you’ve made an account, so again, I can’t say what the local prospects are. The Atlasphere, full of Ayn Rand Admirers also requires a login, but only has 383 female members worldwide. That doesn’t sound especially promising. Finally, eLibertarian - Where Libertarians Meet and Trade has a dating section, but there are only seven ads, and only one from a woman. Overall, I’m not especially impressed.
- I wrote some Advice for non-CSci College Students in response to Joel’s Advice for Computer Science College Students. I’d like to think I have a worthwhile point or two in there.
- Cheap WiFi in the Twin Cities? St. Paul council aims to spin citywide Web, and Minneapolis is investigating it, too. Expect it to cost under $20/month. [strib]
- Need a new billfold? Go to Moneywallet and learn how you can fold one out of twenty bills. [boing boing]
So far this year, I’ve been having trouble coming up with links in the morning. I’m not sure whether that’s just because I’m being more selective about reading the news or if I’m just tired of it all. I definitely don’t walk to talk about the mess in south Asia. I don’t have anything new to say about it, and at this point, it’s no longer news. In any case, I’ve had to dig a little more to come up with something to ramble about.
I managed to slog through most of the year-end work yesterday morning. The only big item remaining is putting together the corporate tax information for my accountant so he can have that done by the time I get all the bits I need for my personal taxes. Plus I wrote up the materials I’m going to need for a presentation later this morning. None of it felt like real work, but it all had to be done, and I managed to finish everything without too much procrastinating.
But it’s only a couple days into the new year and I’m starting to see the fallout of having kept up a busy social calendar in December. I’ve already got something planned every weekend in January, plus a handful of other days through the month. That’s a good thing in the dark, cold months in a Minnesota winter, I guess, but I find myself wondering if I’m going to feel it cutting into the working hours during a time when I normally try to huddle in my cave and grind out the billable hours. In any case, it’ll give me something to ramble about here. Trying to overcome my natural inclination to be a hermit isn’t always easy.
- Google has published the 2004 Zeitgeist. Interesting to see what people searched for last year.
- Apparently the solution to the Heathrow x-ray weapons scanner, which gives the screeners a view through your clothes is to just say no. Nobody at the airport seems to know whether the machines are safe (generally, but not always) or what the real risks are.
- Meanwhile, the FBI clears terrorists of shining laser pointers at pilots. The verdict seems to be that it was just someone pulling a prank, probably with their brand new Christmas laser.
- And even though, as I mentioned yesterday, fingerprinting foreigners isn’t working so well, the U.S. now fingerprinting foreign visitors at 50 land crossings, including those in Minnesota.
- Spirit, the first of the two Martian explorer marks first year. It was projected to last ninety days, but is still going strong. I think it’s cool when NASA has successes like this–I just wish they could do better when they’re flying humans around.
The holiday season is over today. I not only managed to survive, but had a fair amount of fun during it, and succeeded in meeting some new folks, as well as renewing ties with others I’ve known for years.
Today it’s time to get back to work. I not only have to catch up with the normal month-end stuff, but also year-end things, plus a bunch of client work that I probably should have been working on last week and wasn’t. I think the next few days will feel extra-busy, and will hopefully manage to do some creative slacking to ease that feeling.
Yesterday, I tried to clear the inch of frozen sleet and snow on the sidewalks. I succeeded on the sidewalk in front of the house, plus the area in front of the garage, which are both mostly clear, and if there’s any sunshine at all today, they should clear up nicely. But the sidewalk on the north side of the house is still covered in snow and ice, and likely to remain so. That’s the section I most wanted to replace over the summer because it’s wildly uneven, and the current coating of ice and snow levels things out and still provides a reasonable amount of traction. Perhaps I’ll be able to just shovel down to that level to clear any future snowfalls. Mark’s getting his first experience with cleaning sidewalks, too.
- So the US is fingrprinting swarthy furriners who come to the country, but because Agencies Clash on Fingerprint DB, it doesn’t actually help catch any bad guys. I feel oh so much safer now. [wired]
- Here are Several approaches to defending against sshd brute force attacks. I’ve noticed some folks trying to brute-force their way into my server with nearly 400 different usernames tried yesterday from one IP address, and guess I should look into hardening things a bit. If nothing else, I want to set my server up so it automatically bans an IP address that’s hammering on the door like that. [openbsd]
- A new paper from the same guy who found problems in the Clipper Chip has written a paper on Safecracking for the Computer Scientist. I haven’t gotten around to reading the whole thing yet, but it sounds good. [slashdot]
thing I’ve noticed is that all the birds are a pretty good indicator that’s something’s coming. Yesterday, there was this pre-snow feeding frenzy before the sleet started to fall. That’s about half as many birds as were there at the peak.
A pre-snow feeding frenzy 1469x1084(309k) 640x472(29k)
- This morning the Strib asked if you Need reason to stay home? Ice could suffice as an excuse. It’s noon, and I just got inside from trying to shovel the sidewalks. It’s a mess. About an inch of mixed ice, sleet and snow on the ground, all frozen together. I scraped some clean spots and am hoping the bright sunshine will finish the job, but I’m also going to head out to get some more salt, just in case. I figure I should at least get the front sidewalk cleared before the mailman tries to use it tomorrow morning. [strib]
- The Minnesota State Capitol marks 100 years today, with celebrations in St. Paul. I don’t think I’ll be heading over, though. There’s sidewalks to be cleared. [press-patch]
- Remember how the government was going to solve the spam problem by outlawing it? Can-Spam didn’t, survey says, and not only that, the US led countries as a source of spam.
- And because outlawing spam worked so well, California sets fines for spyware, figuring that’ll work. [slashdot]
- Haven’t had time to rip all your CDs to MP3s? RipDigital will convert your music CDs to a digital music library for about a buck per CD.
- A while back, I mentioned a windows product to capture streaming audio. There’s Audio Hijack Pro for Mac OS X for the mac, and it looks pretty spiffy.
That was fun. I spent last night at a “fancy dress” New Year’s Eve party hosted by a couple friends. Knew maybe a third of the people there, and enjoyed meeting the rest. I actually managed to tie my tie without consulting the cheat-sheet for the first time in something like twenty years, successfully wrapping it around the shirt that the sales-guy kept insisting was “pastel purple” even though I told him he could say “lavender” without offending me. And I’m pretty sure I just confessed to committing adulthood more than once there.
Heard at the party:
You can’t blame kids for believing in Santa Claus. You guys believed in John Kerry, and he doesn’t exist wasn’t real, either.
And I think that’s going to be it for the day. It’s not that I have a hangover, so much as I’m just plain tired. Two nights in a row of being awake after 3am, followed by waking up before 9am makes for a tired Dave, even with a nap or two thrown in there. And by Monday, I need to be back into the regular work-week mode, so today seems like an awfully good day to spend correcting my sleep schedule.