I overslept this morning and won't have an update today. Sorry. Seeya tomorrow.
We’re supposed to get our first thunderstorm of the year later today. Yeah, it’ll bring some cold weather again, but it’s definitely feeling like spring around here. The warm temps the past couple days have just about finished off the pile of snow, and I’m starting to feel like it’s time to play with the lawn. So I’m actually looking forward to a few days of colder weather again. I’ve got too many things I need to get done inside before I start working on the outside.
|Tiffany & Giselle|
And there are more signs. The grackles have returned for the spring, and are now monopolizing the bird-feeders. Except for the pair of cardinals. The male cardinal’s color has brightened up for the spring, too. And there are robins around. But the best sign of spring the past few days has been all the pretty gals who’ve put away their parkas and you can actually tell that they’re the curvier gender again. Warms my cockles, it does.
Speaking of pretty gals, there were a couple in the bar yesterday who needed a picture taken.
Biggest lap-dog ever was one possible caption, but I figure I’ll make it easier to google this way.
- DrunkenBlog goes Behind the Red Shed, with Jonathan ‘The Wolf’ Rentzsch. Hmm. I’m trying to think how long I’ve known Wolf, and I think it’s been more than ten years. He’s gotten smarter since then, and it’s a darned good interview with a Mac developer who knows his stuff.
- A Distributed Networking Attack, or DNA Key to Decoding Human Factor in cracking passwords used for encryption on computers seized for evidence. Basically they’ll go through whatever plain text is available, including pages from your browser cache to find what your interests are, and then use that to build a custom dictionary to attempt to crack your passwords. It works pretty darned often. [slashdot]
- It’s not really news that Amazon Knows Who You Are, but so far they’ve been unwilling to share that information. But now that they’ve launched a9, which remembers everything you’ve ever searched for, and which can share that information with the business side of amazon, they’ve got even more pieces to put together. It’s neat when amazon will recommend something I actually do want to buy, but it makes me worry a bit, too. [wired]
- Speaking of Amazon.com, they’ve started taking orders for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. Hmm. Soon. I don’t expect it to fix all my woes, but there are a few things in 10.3 that bug me regularly that should be gone after I upgrade. [vowe]
That was yesterday. The weather was great, and I ventured out for a walk without a jacket for the first time in 2005. I also did things like get my flat tire fixed (which meant buying two new tires since the other front tire was pretty worn, too), rake up the accumulated sunflower shells from feeding the birds all winter (about 60lbs of empty shells), and clean out the back of my truck so I can move the tailgating supplies in there so I can tackle cleaning the garage. One of these days I’ll be able to get my trike out and start riding that around. Generally a pretty good day.
Inside, things were different. I got some work done, but nowhere near as much as I’d hoped (the time spent outside and at the service station cut into the work), and got a call from my accountant. Seems we somehow grossly miscalculated my taxes for 2004, and rather than being near even, as planned, I owe thousands of dollars. Neither of us has gone through all the numbers to figure out what went wrong back in December when we were estimating, and there’s realy not much to be done about it now but try to figure out where the money’s going to come from. More work will eventually help, but won’t solve my problem for April 15th, since my clients all pay net-30 — even a phenomenal burst of productivity wouldn’t get me any additional money until the end of April. In short: Ugh.
- Evan’s Leap Week Marks Abrupt Change In Fortunes touches not only on the fact that money can buy happiness (
Anyone who asserts that money doesn’t buy happiness simply isn’t controlling for the other variables), and also on the goofiness imposed on schedules by the fact that daylight savings time changes on different weeks in different parts of the world. [101-280]
- The 2005 Libertarian Party Of Minnesota Convention is April 9th. But at $65 for some lecturing and an institutional dinner, I’m pretty sure I’ll be staying home, even though there will probably be some people there who wouldn’t think I’m insane. Which of course means that they probably are.
- There is Tension before the smoking bans begin, especially in bars near city and county boundaries. The quick version: Fridley and the rest of Anoka County allow smoking. Hennepin County does not, and Golden Valley bans smoking even on outdoor patios. Ramsey County allows smoking only in bars that make more than half their money from booze and have applied for an exemption. The closest bar to me that will still allow smoking on Thursday is the American, which is just over the border in St. Paul. [strib]
- Looking for a way to find new music? David Byrne launches internet radio station to help you do just that. It’s basically what he’s listening to, updated every couple weeks. While it was more expensive to handle the royalties than most of us would pay,
the fees weren’t too prohibitivefor Byrne. Cool. It’s at DavidByrne Radio. With any luck you won’t have to listen to bagpipes. I think this is a pretty cool idea. I’m sure there’s new music out there that I’d like to hear, but I don’t have any good way of finding it. The rare times I do listen to the radio and hear something I like, the DJ never back-announces it. [boing boing]
The weekend wrap up: Friday, a reasonably productive morning — not great, but pretty good. Then lunch with a friend. Tried to stop at Kramarczuk’s on the way home, but the place was completely jammed with people picking up their Easter Hams, so I went just left. Stopped by Let’s Cook for a pizza cutter while waiting on the bus. Then complete apathy all afternoon.
Saturday, a trip to mom’s, which was capped off by a flat tire on the way home (caused perhaps by a monster pothole), then cleaning up around the house for the evening’s poker game. It was fun, but one of the guys may not be back, as he’s moved out of town, and just recently quit working for the Twin Cities company that would fly him back periodically.
Sunday: sometimes I think I should get out of the house more. I woke up and it was a beautiful day outside. Thought that it would be a good time to break the trike out for the first ride of the season, and then remembered that I have over a dozen boxes of mom’s stuff piled around it in the garage, and I need to deal with those first. That sapped my motivation, and my only trip out was to go buy some breakfast fixins for this morning (and the boxes are still in the way). But maybe sitting at home is better than walking around in public with a cosmic bullseye on my forehead anyhow. Sunday evening I watched Alien Apocalypse. As BC said,
think Spartacus with aliens. It’s not a great movie, but then I wasn’t looking for greatness this weekend.
- Pat Reusse says there’s No joy in baseball: Casey’s gone. Bob Casey, the Twins longtime P.A. announcer, died over the weekend. Those are going to be some big shoes to fill at the Metrodome. [strib]
- Secure Flight is just CAPPS by Any Other Name, and probably won’t actually make flying any safer. Plus I have no idea why we should trust the TSA anyhow. [wired]
- Am I ready for The Coming War on Blogs? Well, I’m not so sure about the campaign finance reform stuff, but I’ve generally been pretty careful about copyright and libel around here. Yeah, I could get all worked up about it, but I think a continued policy of keeping my head down is probably simplest. [instapundit]
- In a website beginning back in 2001, and wrapped up in 2003, Hank Mishkoff says Taubman Sucks!, registers the domain name for their new mall, saying it doesn’t suck, and basically wanting to post fannish pictures and raves about how cool it is without making a profit on it. So naturally, they sued him for trademark infringement. Hank documented how he fought the case and won. It’s an interesting look at how a lawyer got a ton of negative publicity for their client from someone who was wanting to promote that client, free of charge. I also found it interesting that every letter from the lawyer was threatening, and when Hank agreed to settle, the lawyers added new conditions, driving him to continue the fight. Thoroughly documented and useful. I’m betting if you found yourself in a similar situation, a day spent reading this whole site and cutting and pasting legal documents would help you resolve things quicker than Hank did. As an added bonus, you can get a bad taste in your mouth about the tactics employed by the plaintiffs attorneys. Or if you don’t have at least half a day to plow through all the documents, you could try the condensed version, or maybe watch the movie. [boing boing]
- Jeff Veen has a nice rant on State-of-the-art interactivity. There are a lot of websites I don’t go to because of the problems he cites. And I agree that not all such sites are bad. Flickr uses flash in such a way that I didn’t even notice it until I wondered how they were doing some of the things they did. And then I was amazed that they’d made a site that relied heavily on flash, and I hadn’t noticed. [kottke]
You may have noticed that I still don’t have the movable holidays hooked up in the calendar. I think this is one of those cases where I’ve gotten a “good enough” solution hooked up, so I don’t have any real desire to do all the extra work to finish the last ten percent of the problem. Oh well.
And it being Easter Weekend, there’s Minicon. I’m not planning to attend, but I know folks who are. I won’t be going to CONvergence in July, either. I’m not sure why, but it’s been a lot of years since I’ve had an urge to hang out with the geek crowd in general, rather than just seeing a few individual geeks in a less-structured environment.
Is there a point to this? I don’t think so. It’s Friday, and I’ve had a pretty full week. I’ve got a pretty full day ahead of me today, and lots for tomorrow, too. Sunday? A day of rest, I think. Maybe I'll write up a new Worth Reading entry. But I think this is enough for today. Time to get some breakfast in me, and start plowing through the to-do list for the day. Have a great weekend, and seeya on Monday.
- White Dot is asking you to help zap the ruined diners back to life! by griping about their TVs. [metafilter]
- Looking for something to watch? AmericaFree.TV has Free Internet Television with Classic Movies, Sci-Fi, Comedy, Independent Films and more, all in the public domain so you can watch them without worrying about getting sued. [metafilter]
- What’s Rock On, Rock ON? It’s the website of a guy who balances one rock on top of another. Pretty cool artwork. [fark!]
- Need a flash-disk for your computer? Want something out of the ordinary? Get yourself a Sushi Disk. It’s not especially cheap, but then good sushi seldom is. And since it’s Good Friday, you want fish anyhow, right? Or maybe you’ve got a hankering for peeps instead. [accordionguy]
- The Transparent Screens Pool are some cool photos over on Flickr. Take a picture of what’s behind your monitor, and then use it as a desktop on that computer. Spiffy. [vowe]
The response to replacing the blogroll with a Worth Reading section has mostly been good. Dirk thinks I’m “right on”, Scott likes the idea, jr won’t argue with me, and the biggest challenge I see is trying to keep to a regular schedule of updating it. I think I’ll shoot for weekly updates, which should get me through the sites I read regularly in about a year. Well, except for the ones that I read regularly that aren’t worth reading.
And I’m not sure if it’s a trend or not, but this week while I’ve been shorter on links, I’ve actually written more content for here. I think that’s a good thing, so you may see more of the same for a while. At least until home improvement and baseball season annihilates my free time this summer. And with that, I think I’m going to call this, and a few links, a morning update. Seeya tomorrow. I’m hoping for more links, especially to “fun” things, so use that suggest a pick link if you’ve got something you feel like sharing. Or just shoot me an email.
- The Minnespolis Observer’s Ballot Box will be more useful as we get closer to the local elections. It’s got pretty good coverage (though in something of a gossip-column tone) of how the local political scene is shaping up.
- As I mentioned yesterday, East River Market is now open just a couple blocks from me, and I’ve given you the rundown, including the full menu and some pictures.
- The City Pages has more on the Spider John Koerner movie that opens tomorrow in Faraway, So Close. And John is playing at The Cedar with Tony Glover on April 2nd, a night with far too many things already scheduled.
The big news around here is that the deli on 15th and East Hennepin, just two short blocks from my house (I live in a part of town with “short blocks” and “long blocks”) is finally open. I saw not only the glowing neon letters saying “OPEN” yesterday but also actual people sitting in there and eating. Today, I plan to stop in for lunch to see what’s up. That this is one of the more exciting things in my life at the moment is some sort of commentary on my life, or lack thereof.
And for links today, it’s pretty slim pickings. I’m not sure why, but news stories aren’t catching my eye. But I’ve written a lot of stuff this morning, and I’m relatively satisfied with the update. Hope you are, too. If not, hey, there’s always tomorrow.
- I don’t have a lot of comment on the shooting in Red Lake except to note that further restrictions on guns would have made no difference in this case. The shooter killed his grandpa, who was a cop, and then took his service weapons, body armor, and police car to drive to the school to commit more murders.
- I’ve got an essay describing how I’m trying to solve the problem with blogrolls. I don’t think it’s a perfect answer, but it’s the result of almost a full week of letting ideas rattle around in my skull, so it’s probably the best I’m going to come up with for now. The solution is the Worth Reading thing over there on the right. I plan to update it periodically, and there’s an archive.
- Zeldman asks Should your blog have a business? I have no idea what kind of business would come out of trying to scratch an itch for my readers, but it probably wouldn’t be as cool as Jewelboxing. [zeldman]
|At the Viking Bar|
A pretty darned good Monday yesterday. Got the work I needed to get done finished relatively early in the afternoon, and then it was off to Town Hall Brewery for happy hour with Jim. Then over to the Viking Bar, where we were joined by my friend Scott, who was in town from California for the weekend, and his dad. We were planning to see Willie Murphy, but Willie’s apparently in Italy doing some shows, so John Beach and Cornbread Harris filled in on the keys. That ended up being just fine, since we got treated to a darned good jam session anyhow, and when I got home about 11, I was too wound up from the show to go to sleep. So I’m a bit tired this morning, but it’s a good tired. I’ve been out to see live music twice in the past week already, and have enjoyed myself a bunch both times. I wonder why I don’t do that more often.
Today, much like yesterday. Work to be done, and hopefully I’ll wrap things up early enough that I can do some non-work things this evening. Probably a quiet night at home, so I can get up and do it again tomorrow. This is the time of year when I usually plan to get extra-productive so I can slack off more during the summer, and I’m making a conscious effort to try to stick to that plan this year.
- John Hargrave is at it again. In The Credit Card Prank II, he finally manages to get someone to check the signature on the back of his credit card. You’ll be amazed what it took. [slashdot]
- The Saints add two, lose one, and the one they lost was Guye Senjem, who’s been sold to Brockton of the Northeast League. But looking at the news, they’re starting to put together a roster.
- Sigh. The NRA sabotages more pro-gun legislation. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, since they are the biggest gun-control organization in the country (if there were no gun cuntrol, there wouldn’t need to be the NRA), but I’m still disappointed. [claire]
Snow on Friday, Auto Body Experience show Friday evening, made it to and from the show with no problems in the snow, except for a car in the O’Gara’s parking lot that snuggled right up to the driver’s side of my truck. Saturday was single-game ticket-sales over at Midway stadium, so we stood around in the snow like a bunch of people not bright enough to come in out of the cold. Sunday, a trip to visit mom through virtually snow-free country, followed by some cleanup around the house and turning down two different opportunities to go out on Sunday evening.
That was the weekend, and it was a pretty good one. The weather’s supposed to be warmer this week, and the little bit of snow that remains from Friday will probably be gone today. Folks farther south got more, and it might take a few days longer, but spring is asserting itself. Today, time to get back to work, especially since I’ve got some friends in town from the left coast, and I’d like to hang out with them either this afternoon or evening, so I need to be productive early. That’s about it for the update. Seeya tomorrow.
- In The 91-Pound Acid Trip, Ryan Grim points out that
The numbers touted by the government in its big LSD bust just don’t add up.Okay, 91 pounds is a lot of acid. What the government actually found is a mystery, but one of the chemists testified to finding seven ounces. Sheesh. And how big was that fish you caught? It sounds pretty obvious that the guy they busted was making LSD, but I think the government ought to have to tell the truth, rather than overestimating by a factor of 200 or more. [flutterby]
- George F. Will says the GOP will rue the day it changed the rules on filibustering judicial candidates. If nothing else,
Exempting judicial nominations from filibusters will enlarge presidential power.We’ve seen a lot of expansion of presidential power in my life, and I keep wondering where it will stop. [strib]
- Hmm. The Wall Street Journal explains why people keep Yelling “Freebird!” In a Crowded Theater. Not exactly the place I would have expected to see this article, but I still liked it. [kottke]
- Speaking of music, Spider John Koerner finally gets his due with a new movie about him. The movie will play at the Oak Street Cinema beginning this coming friday. [strib]
- No cameras allowed in the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, or at least in many areas controlled by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, like bridges and tunnels. Never mind that the bridges have some great views. [boing boing]
Yesterday and Wednesday, the weather people on TV were full of dire warnings about how much snow we were going to get, and it was supposed to start sometime yesterday. A few flakes finally started to come out of the sky about 8am this morning, but I’m starting to wonder how much we’re actually going to see.
Beyond that, it was another busy day yesterday. Programming, meeting with lawyer, meeting with client, dinner, and a phone call with prospective client. Today’s agenda isn’t all that different, except for fewer meetings, and an added trip to the bank. But this evening, the Auto Body Experience are playing O’Gara’s, so there’s a reward at the end of the work. Woo!
- Time for some shopping, but you’re not sure what you really need? Take a look at The ORIGINAL Illustrated Catalog Of ACME Products. Me, I’m pondering the Acme Instant Girl.
- Via Mark: Microsoft sued the wrong guy and when they realized it, they tried to drop their suit. But he’s countersued, and he won’t drop his until he gets an apology and $40 for the cost of making copies of papers for the court. He’ll see ’em in court on March 25th.
- Hmm. Maybe the place for a vacation is Berlin. Then again, the Saints preseason will have already started by then. [jim]
- Finally, here’s a recipe for a Saucy Sirloin Steak Sammich. Yummy dinner out of some pretty mediocre steaks I bought a while back.
One of the three nights per year (the others are New Year’s Eve and Halloween) when everybody and his brother seems to think going out and getting boozed up is mandatory.
Yesterday saw more work coming my way. On top of everything else, I’ve got some website updates I need to do for a client. It’s probably just a single afternoon’s worth of work. A nice little diversion some day when I’m tired of programming. I think that’s one of the good things that’s come out of my quest for work lately. It looks like I might have a decent mix of things to work on, which is what makes me happiest. It’s nice to be able to concentrate on one job sometimes, but when you get stuck or bored with it, it’s even nicer to have something different to do for a bit so you can be productive even when you’re stuck.
- Kim’s No Irish Need Apply was fun to read this morning. Earlier this week, I had completely forgotten that St. Patrick’s Day was coming, until I was asked if I was going down to First Ave to See BiL. I’m pretty sure it’ll be a good show, but I’m equally sure that with all the stuff I have to do today, including a couple meetings, and snow that’s supposed to start falling in the afternoon, when I get home, I’m just going to curl up with some Vitamin B for a quiet evening around the house while watching the snow fall outside. [kim]
- The Unicode Consortium is working on Security Considerations in the Implementation of Unicode and Related Technology. Basically, they’re trying to sort out how to help users tell the difference between paypal.com and pаypal.com. I understand why the Unicode Consortium picked code-points they way they did, but I’ve always worried about the fact that two different glyphs may have the same representation on a page. And this one is an example of where that can be a problem. [schneier]
- Paul Graham has some ideas about What the Bubble Got Right. There’s a lot it got wrong too, but I think his list is a good one, and we’ll be feeling the effects of the changes that came from the Bubble for years. [flutterby]
- Shelley says Steve Levy, Dave Sifry, and NZ Bear: You are Hurting Us and says that blogrolls are bad. I’m inclined to agree with her on that and yanked mine this morning, but I don’t like seeing things in terms of divisions. I know I don’t link to a lot of women, but part of that is because I don’t find as many articles written by women that I want to link to. And when I do, I don’t (consciously) think about whether it’s a man or a woman who wrote the article. I think about the reaction I had to it. If the current system is broken (and I think Shelley makes a good argument that it is), I don’t think the solution is to tear it down, but rather to build another system that’s less broken.
A Good Schwag Bag
Doc says he likes schwag bags (the free bags full of crap they give you at conferences). I end up using the cheap little cloth bags a lot more than I do the elaborate backpacks or briefcases. The latter are too big for daily use, and hold way more than I want to carry. About the only time they get used is hauling things home from the conference where I get it, as much because I don’t want to throw the bag away as for any other reason. The small cloth bags are small enough that I can put things for a single task in them and just grab whichever bag I need to do that task. Why think about this today? Well, conferences are coming for me, and I’ll be lugging some of those bags home again before too much longer. Plus Doc got me thinking. Oh yeah, he’s a white male. [doc]
A Bad Scwhag Bag
Just a quick update today. A few links for you, and little beyond that. A bigger update would mean either less sleep or less work, and neither of those are good options at this point.
- You dog needs a cell phone, right? That’s what they’re hoping. [jr]
- Wow. A movie of the World’s Smartest Dog. Dunno if I’d go that far, but I’m pretty impressed. As steveo says,
Hippest dog ever.[steveo]
- Want to know How to make a webcam work in infra red? Well, follow the directions and it might just work. Me? I’m still trying to get around to hooking up the visible-light webcam for the bird-feeder. [holy schmoly]
- Good news! If you happen to overcook meat, you’re creating carcinogens. But Beer’s Well Done Benefit will actually counteract the effects of charring meat, and you’ll be okay. Have I mentioned I’m already getting antsy for baseball (and tailgating) season to start? I’m ready to start charring some flesh on the grill any day now. [boing boing]
This was the week I figured things would mostly get back to normal around here, and they have. I woke up yesterday and waded through a lot of stuff that I should have done on Sunday when I was out having a pleasant drive instead, then went to the bank and out to lunch. The afternoon was devoted to paying work, and I made a lot of progress, which felt good.
On the work front, I’m now facing what I had feared last week. I’m busy with one project that I had figured would be done by now but which keeps getting extended. All the hustling I’ve done since the first of the year trying to find new work is paying off, too. I’ve got two serious queries for long-term projects in front of me, plus a project of my own that I want to finish before the end of the month. And then there’s another project I want to get done in April before the Saints start playing baseball for 2005. I’m almost wondering if I should hire some help.
- Hmm. AFL-CIO to lay off quarter of its staff so they can concentrate on
increased spending on political and legislative activity. Seems to me as though someone should organize their workers.
- In Coyote Blog’s Negotiation Bait and Switch, Warren mentions a business lesson it took me a while to learn, too:
Sunk costs are sunk and therefore irrelevant.When a client changes the terms after you’ve put in a bid, sometimes it’s best to just walk away, and sometimes you stick with them and accept the changes, but basing that decision on the time and effort you put into making the bid isn’t good business. You have to treat the changed terms as a new bid, and decide again whether you’re looking at a good deal or not. Taking a crummy job just because you’ve put a lot of effort into the bid does not lead you down the path to happiness. [instapundit]
- Here are some info the far-ranging bus service cuts that the Met Council is proposing. Look at the proposed route changes if you want to know exactly which routes will be affected. The St. Paul paper says 70% of bus routes hit, which means about a tenth of the total runs would be cut. [strib and press-patch]
- If you didn’t catch yesterday’s Doctor Fun, you may want to go back and take a look. I’m glad I did.
Well, not a real road-trip, but yesterday was another trip up to visit mom. And because life has been somewhat stressful, I took the long way home. As I was driving along, I saw a sign for “Star-Tech Const. Inc.” and read it as “
static const int”. I’m pretty sure that was a sign that getting away from the computer for a while had been a good idea.
It was a pleasant drive. I drove through rural Wisconsin, and along the St. Croix Valley between Taylor’s Falls and Stillwater before getting on the major highways and heading home. It was a fairly relaxing drive for most of the way. Yes, I was being a Sunday Driver.
So today, the links are mostly about travelling around a bit. Seemed like the right thing to do.
- Here in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Transit fare hikes will be on the table, as well as service cutbacks. See, Metro Transit is facing revenue shortfalls because people haven’t gotten back on the buses after last year’s strike, so the clear solution is to jack up the ticket prices and run fewer buses. That’ll help bring ridership right up! [press-patch]
- Going flying? This Great Circle Mapper can give you an idea of where your plane might be going. Of course it’s not completely accurate, since flights deal with winds, restricted airspace, and similar things but it can give you a rough idea of what you might be flying over without going to the expense of getting FAA sectional charts. [metafilter]
- I didn’t know (or had forgotten — I have the nagging feeling I’ve linked to this before) the Minnesota Historical Society maintained a list of Minnesota Roadside Architecture, but now that I’ve found it, I see that they’re asking for pictures of things they don’t already have pictures of, and they’re missing a couple I remember from various road-trips (there’s a voyageur in Pine City, and the big snowman in North St. Paul, for example). I guess I need to remember to take my camera out with me and make some submissions next time I go for a drive like that. Roadside America has more, and may be what I remember linking to, but I’d like to see the MHS have a good Minnesota-specific site. [metafilter]
I noticed this morning that not only was there nothing in the news I felt like ranting about, but also that I’ve built up a fairly large collection of links for various web tools and such that I haven’t talked about yet. So today you get a dump of all the webby things I’ve been meaning to look at for a while, but haven’t gotten around to linking to until now.
Note that I don’t sound especially excited about any of these tools. That’s not necessarily because they’re not good, but more because I haven’t had a need to use any of them just yet. When I do, I’m hoping that this collection of links will help me find what I’m looking for.
- One of these days, I should probably hook up A Better Image Rotator somewhere to get used to it. It lets you have a random image from a set of images display on a web-page.
- I don’t think I need to worry about writing High Performance MySQL just yet, but one of these days, my server-load might get above a percent or so, and I’ll need to start thinking about performance issues.
- I don’t really have too much trouble keeping my bookmarks in sync when I’m around home, but on the road, or when I get a new computer, it’s always an issue. Is that enough reason to use URL Manager Pro to keep my bookmarks in sync? I don’t think so, but I might change my mind.
- Is there any point to Geotagging Web Pages and RSS Feeds? I already use the ICBM meta-tag, but there are other standards I should probably support.
The great thing about standards is there are so many to choose from!
- One of these days I’m going to finish the category system I’ve started here on Dave’s Picks, and when I do, I’ll use Technorati Tags so I can be one of the cool kids on the block. [doc]
- Here’s another one of those “cool tools” I feel like I should know, but don’t: Ruby on Rails for web-development. The only snag is that I would need to learn yet another programming language.
- Want to get some auto-generated images that include a bit of typeography? typoGenerator might be just the thing for you. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the output, but I also am probably not the best person to just graphic design thingies.
- If you’re looking for some cute CSS and design ideas, Mandarin Design. Web and Blog Design and Development has some tips. The only problem is that Michelle does things on Windows, so there are tricks like the CSS Opacity Hover that don’t always work right in Safari (especially if you’re using the version which shall not be named).
Woke up this morning, and when I looked outside I saw that we’d gotten some of the predicted snow for the day. And as the sky lightens, I can see that big, fat, fluffy flakes are still drifting down. The temperature is such that they collapse and turn to slush when they hit the ground though, so this snowfall probably won’t stick for long.
I’m not sure how I feel about that. It’s too early in the year for it to really be spring and for things to start greening up. I don’t especially want more snow, but it makes the outside world look a heck of a lot prettier than the gray and brown we have until everything greens up. So weather-wise, we Minnesotans are stuck in an in-between place.
It’s that way with baseball, too. Spring training is going on, and I’ve been thinking about baseball for a few weeks, but it’s still almost two months before the Saints start to play. Heck, it’s still at least a month before we’ll be able to get an idea of what the roster will look like for this year.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m somewhat in between jobs, as well. I’m wrapping up some projects and have bits and pieces coming in, but haven’t found a job that’s going to carry the company through the summer yet. Yes, there are some prospects, but as time passes and I don’t hear back on them, I find myself wondering if anything is going to materialize.
Everything at my life right now seems to be in this awkward state of “in-between” and I’m tired of it. I know there are many who would say this is a time of great opportunity for me or some other similarly gung-ho philosophy, but at this point, I’d rather just find a comfortable rut to settle into for a while.
- The City Pages has a good interview with Dave Durenberger, in which he says of today’s Republican party: They talk about freedom and values, but they really don’t believe in representative government.
- Tim Bray takes a look at blogging and career advancement and says It’s Not Dangerous. You’re not likely to get fired for blogging as long as you’re doing a good job. He also wonders why stories about getting fired have been circulating recently and has a theory about it. [boing boing]
- Waxing philosophical, jr takes a look at the internets and eVolution. It scares some people, many of whom happen to make laws. [jr]
I guess I’m feeling healthier. I stayed up late programming the little “Events Today” thing at the top of the page. If you’ve got a favorite holiday or historical event you think I should add to the database, send it in. I still need to work out the “movable holiday” code, but hey, I’ve got a week and a half before I need to think about Palm Sunday. Anyway, the update will be late today. Sorry.
Okay. It’s update time, and I’ve got some stuff. Not as much as I’d like, but that’s the way mornings go when I get a late start. But I had fun programming last night, so I think it was worth it.
- Did you know the Minneapolis Fire department also has a museum? I read about it in the Northeaster a couple months ago, and keep meaning to head up there some Saturday. Sounds like an interesting bit of local history. [strib]
- Joey says there’s A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On in Apple’s Newest Powerbooks and then runs down the various applications people have written that use the accelerometer in the newest laptops. Cool stuff. In response, he got a suggestion to turn one into an Etch-a-Sketch. [accordionguy]
- The Strib has a pretty reasonable article on blogging: In new era of reporting, blogs take a seat at the media table, which explains how weblogs are adding to the coverage of news provided by the traditional media. Mitch elaborates a bit on the article. [strib and mitch]
- Here’s something that makes me feel oh! so good about flying: Gun Nuts at 30,000 Feet? The problem on the plane seems to have been the Air Marshalls, one of whom washed out of a police training program twice because they Philadelphia police department, those models of restraint, figured he was nuts. [claire]
I thought I was nearly healthy again yesterday. I felt pretty good first thing in the morning, and got some work (both administrative and paying) done. Then lunch hit, and I crashed. My sore-throat, which is usually the last step on the way to feeling good again, came back with a vengeance, and I was flat out of energy. A nap helped, in that I remembered I was supposed to be getting a completed proposal out before the day was done, and managed to send an email saying
Sorry. Sick. Maybe tomorrow. before calling it a day, but I was running at half-speed at best. That’s up from the weekend, but my immune system apparently needs some more time before declaring the foreign invaders vanquished. It’s a quagmire, I tell ya.
- Bill has some comments about the Italian Nutjob who claims she was nearly assassinated by US troops in Iraq. I think the truth of the matter is that there’s a huge difference in perception. Iraqis, with reflexes honed by years of living under Saddam Hussein, instinctively speed up when passing nearly anything official or when they hear “warning shots”. Having seen Italian driving in person, I would expect Italians think nothing of approaching a checkpoint on city streets at 50mph, and then screeching to a halt at the last possible second. Americans, on the other hand, have seen Vanishing Point and know that little good comes of running roadblocks, unless you’re Bo & Luke Duke. Besides, as Prof. Reynolds points out, if she’d been targeted for assassination, she’d be dead, especially if they were shooting at her with a tank. Or just go look at this cartoon, which sums it up rather nicely. [bill and holy schmoly]
- Connected with my various rants on H.R. 418, In the ID Wars, the Fakes Gain. College students are able to crank out fake IDs just as good as the ones issued by many states. And I don’t think Real I.D. is going to really make much difference. Hell, it might make ID forgery easier by standardizing IDs. [claire]
That article on Fake IDs reminded me of something I often forget. I live near a large University for a number of reasons, but one that I often end up taking for granted is that there are a lot of smart people around here.
When I stop to think about it, I remember that even a large University like the U of M has admissions standards, and filters out some percentage of people. While not everyone attending the U is a rocket scientist, I like to think the bell curve is a little higher in my neighborhood, even among the folks who are more “blue collar”.
Which leads me to an amusing story. There’s a new waitress at a bar I frequent. She had zero experience in any sort of food-service or customer-service industry before starting there. She seems reasonably smart, but everything about the job is new to her. Even more debilitating than her ignorance (which is curable), is her attitude that she’s smarter than everyone else (which means maybe it’s not curable). She’s forgotten what neighborhood she’s in. One night she was giving a friend of mine a hard time about something or other. He’s a bright guy who works with computers, but he doesn’t necessarily dress or act the part when hanging out at the local watering hole. When he asked her what she thought he did for a living, she figured he was a plumber, and she obviously didn’t think sticking pipes together was a “noble” profession. When she found out he was a “professional”, she did some backpedalling, but he’s not the only customer she’s alienated, and her tips have been reflecting that.
I generally try to treat people with respect, at least until they’ve proven they don’t deserve it. You never know, you might just be dealing with someone smarter than you expect. And that leads me to one of the reasons I oppose most of the top-down solutions to perceived problems like Real I.D. That kind of solution doesn’t respect either the citizens, who are going to have to live with it, or the terrorists, who might just have a smart cookie or two capable of making a good fake. In fact, I find myself wondering whether the whole law of unintended consequences is due to such a lack of respect. That article points out the five sources of unintended consequences are: ignorance, error, ignoring unintended effects, basic values, and self-defeating predictions. I’d say that at least three of those stem from a lack of respect for the governed. We can’t stiff our legislators on their tips (they’ve seen to that), but I hope that we can at least throw a few of the more arrogant out on their, umm, ears.
A beautiful, warm (62 outside yesterday!) weekend. The snow is almost entirely gone, except for the pile from shovelling the driveway and the now-frozen lake dammed up behind it. But rather than getting out to enjoy the weather, I spent the weekend with some upper-respiratory crud that seems to be going around now, and slept a ton. I’m not positive, but I believe my duty-cycle was around forty-percent awake for the weekend. Today, and the rest of the week, it will be much colder outside, just as I’m starting to think I might be getting better sometime soon. Nice timing, eh?
It’s probably just as well, though. I’ve got a lot of work to do. Some of it paying work, and some of it work to get new work. Not surprisingly, cold weather keeps me indoors more, and I really need to stay in and get work lined up for the spring before the weather turns nice enough that I’m spending hours outside puttering in the yard or just going for long walks.
- Tyler Cowen asks Why are all movies the same price? I wonder about this sometimes, too. Not so much anymore, now that almost all of my movie viewing is done at home, watching things on DVD, but I found a perfect example on Friday. I bought The Glimmer Man, not because it’s especially good, but because I got it for four bucks, out the door. It’s worth that for watching Stephen Segal wreck shit and shutting off my brain for a few hours. [kottke]
- Over at Only Baseball Matters, there’s a lesson in Hypocrisy 101, specifically talking about Bud Selig and steroid use. If I were more interested in MLB, I’d probably spend more time ranting about this, but the level of baseball I spend my summers watching is unlikely to have much in the way of steroid use, if only because there’s no way the players could afford it on their salaries. [instapundit]
- As the Senate debates whether to make declaring bankruptcy more difficult, Credit Card Penalties, Fees Bury Debtors. As the article points out, one of the biggest problems when you find yourself in credit trouble is that if you’re late on even a single payment, your interest rate skyrockets (as high as 29.9%!? Didn’t it used to be capped around 21%?) and that makes it just that much harder to get caught up. As the article also points out, once you’ve fallen behind, the best choice is to simply stop paying, and wait for it to go to a collection agency. Yes, your credit rating will suffer, but the interest and penalties will be more reasonable since the original lender will have written off the debt, and the collection agency wants to encourage you to pay things off. Looking at the big picture, I find myself wondering why it is that the most heavily regulated industries are always the ones that seem to have the biggest problems. [instapundit]
- Michael Crichton: Aliens Cause Global Warning. A lecture on how the pseudo-science (aka wild-ass guesses) that began with SETI is influencing the debate on global warming. [claire]
- An essay saying that Telephoto Is For Cowards when shooting portraits. I guess I agree with most of what’s said, but I still prefer having a long lens available over taking pictures until people forget about me. [kottke]
Friday, at last. I’ve spent the entire week feeling like I’m swimming upstream in a river of mucilage. I don’t have a great deal of hope that next week is going to be especially better, but maybe the week after that…
On the other hand, I discovered that Gene, who formerly ran The Hunter’s Den in Hopkins now has The Gun Shop out in St. Boni. I kinda miss gabbing about guns with him, and am glad I stopped by there the other day.
So as is typical around here, it was a week with high and low points. I’ve got a couple pretty firm leads for some ongoing work, but I’m going to have to write up proposals for them. I think I’ve been struggling with a cold all week, and just recognized the symptoms for what they were last night, after spending the week thinking I was stuffed up because of moving mom’s furniture into my house. Now that I know what’s got me feeling cruddy, I think I’ll have the energy to have a pretty productive day today. Of course there is the possibility that something will go awry this morning running me off the rails, but I’m going to at least try to get a good start, after the first decent night’s sleep all week. That’s something, right?
- The legislature is considering a bill to stop power hour, that is, the hour or two between midnight on your 21st birthday and when the bars close. The law will make you wait until 8am on your birthday before you’re legal to drink. Beyond my general libertarian leanings, I get worried when legislators say
if this legislation keeps one person from losing his or her life, then it’s worth it.Yep. It’s worth changing the legal definition of when a birthday occurs to postpone someone’s opportunity to get loaded on their birthday by eight hours. [daily]
- Here in Minnesota, the Meth fight gets boost as the Senate votes to restrict access to sudafed. As I pointed out a couple weeks back, it’s probably time to stock up if you haven’t already. [press-patch]
- The Effects of last year’s bus strike linger and there’s worry that there may be another strike come July when the one-year contract expires. That’s just the sort of thing people were worrying about last spring, and I haven’t seen any changes to make another strike less likely. [press-patch]
- And in some good news, Up North, philanthrophy has a different flavor. That’s definitely true from what I’ve seen. While it’s possible to get neighbors to help out in the “big city”, it’s much more common when you get up into smaller towns. That’s one of the reasons I favor government that operates at the smallest level possible. [strib]
I took yesterday off from pretty much everything. I had plans for the day, but they fell apart when the regular preventative maintenance on my truck turned out to involve some repair work, too. Everything worked out, but it added a couple-hundred to the bill that I couldn’t really afford right now anyhow. Sigh.
Today, I’m trying to get back to a normal life involving a mix of work for existing clients, meeting with some potential new clients, and trying to get the finances sorted out a bit so I can get through the rest of the month without too many headaches.
- Hmm. Yahoo! is Announcing the Yahoo! Search Developer Network and Search Web Services. I suppose a guy should take a look at it. [jr]
- You can say Steve, Don’t Eat It! but he will anyhow. And write amusingly about it. [jwz]
- The Cedar Lake Association is making trails into the future, and the Cedar Lake Trail is now just three blocks from reaching the river. [strib]
- Jerry Craft was pretty Fly for a White Guy, being the first white to play in the West Texas Colored League, which isn’t listed as a major negro league but Cosh says it looks to be true. Cool story in any case. [colby cosh]
- Pointing to the story of ‘Bubba’, 22-pound lobster, to be saved Doug asks,
Where you involved with the bidding for Bubba? And if you were, would you have had a party, and lobster feed?Nope. I don’t like lobster that much, but I was impressed that some other group name People For Eating Tasty Animals was involved in the bidding. Update: R.I.P.
One thing that I find fairly frustrating is having to do a task twice. It’s been happening a lot lately, since I’ve been distracted by stuff like relocating mom. It means that I’ve been missing small details, that force me to go back and do a job a second time, which makes me feel more pressed for time, which leads to more dropped details. Vicious cycle.
The most recent example is the trailer I used over the weekend. When I dropped it off yesterday, I forgot to remove the locks I’d put on it, so today I need to drive sixty miles to go get the locks. But when I said I’d do that, I’d forgotten one small detail — I took my truck into the shop for its (overdue) fifty-thousand-mile service yesterday afternoon, and it might not be done until noon today, which won’t leave time to get out and back before the landscaping people are going to show up to put together an estimate for the sidewalk I’d like to get put in this summer.
Normally I’m pretty good at keeping a handful of complex tasks organized, but during these past few months, it hasn’t been working as well. I’m not sure if it’s just that I’ve had enough things added that I’m over the limit on what I can keep straight or whether I’ve just become more addle-pated, but I suspect it’s a little of each.
I’m pretty sure the solution is as simple as finding some down-time when I can just relax and not worry about day-to-day problems. A vacation sounds like a great plan. The only problem is trying to figure out when and where and all those details and I just don’t think I can handle trying to plan a vacation when I’m feeling scattered like this. Did I mention something about a vicious cycle?
- Maybe I should try to spend a couple hours with Alton Brown this Friday? Looks like a couple hundred bucks and a trip to Georgia will do the trick. Oh wait, there’s already something planned for Saturday…
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) seems to have advanced their agenda beyond discouraging heavy drinking. They now seem to be against any drinking at all, at least when you might be driving. Because GM has been a big funder of MADD, bar and liquor store owners are MADD at GM and have launched a PR campaign to counter the excesses of the Mothers. [reed]
- Ken Rockwell says that Your Camera Does Not Matter, and you should buy what makes you comfortable. I guess I agree, but I also think that there are a lot of us who buy cooler cameras than we need who help make good equipment more available. If it weren’t for people fetishizing their gear, there wouldn’t be as much good gear available. Right? [kottke]
- The American Religion Data Archive has maps showing information about how many people are religious, what religions they are, etc., all broken down by county. Interesting data there, especially when you start correlating it with how the votes broke in the 2004 presidential election.
- Olia Lialina looks at the web of the 90s in A Vernacular web and talks about many of the “design elements” that have fallen out of use since then. [kottke]
- In Hump years? Sit years? Doc asks:
If this isn’t a leap year, what kind of year is it? Is there a name for leapless years?Hmm. I do not know, but maybe some reader does. [doc]