Monday, December 27, 2004
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
- while the satellite moves into position
- the server is powered by a lemon and two electrodes
- while a large vendor in Seattle takes over the world
- a few bits tried to escape but we caught them
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Friday, December 17, 2004
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
- If you type in a word into Firefox's address bar (or a domain name it can't find, it does a google search and redirects to the first result.
- The first result for "http" is Microsoft's web site. Try it here
Monday, December 13, 2004
If you nest them, you have blinking text in a scrolling marquee. (I think it's worth noting that I am deliberately not demonstrating this here so that I don't lose readers.)
Friday, December 10, 2004
I have the mindset that likes to learn programming languages in order to learn new ways of approaching problems, unfortunately, I'm also of the lifestyle that doesn't afford much time to do this. I'll add this to my long list of things to do in the vague "someday".
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Friday, December 03, 2004
Maybe it's not good form to start "Geeky Friday" with a six year old article. Nonetheless, here's an article by Frank Stajano discussing a information retrieval system implemented using SMS. Stajano also discusses why he chose to use Python despite his previous experience with tcl and [incr tcl]. The bottom line "I prefer Python because its standard library is a gold mine."
Six years later, I believe this is still true. I'm much more familiar with tcl, but when I compare the list of modules in the tcl standard library and those in python's standard library I begin to understand why Stajano feels this way.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Friday, November 19, 2004
"By 2007 or 2010, we are going to have an ungodly amount of logic on a chip," Agarwal said. That's roughly 1,000 times the computing power a chip had in 1990.From a Washington Post article demonstrating the precise arithmetic used by the Post's technology reporters.
Friday, November 12, 2004
http://dir.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Programming_and_Development/the diggler menu will have options for:
http://dir.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/ http://dir.yahoo.com/Clicking on these will take your browser immediately to the new location.1 Another way to get a sense of what this extension does it by looking at a screenshot.
Now, what if you're looking at http://dir.yahoo.com or http://us.f604.mail.yahoo.com/ym/login?.rand=38fssok and you want to go to http://www.yahoo.com? Diggler's menu doesn't offer this as an option. But, diggler is customizable in a way that geeks will appreciate. The rest of you can tune out now. Using regular expressions, you can do pattern substitution to add this usage.2
Adding a "www" option to Diggler1I use Yahoo as an example because its directory's URLs are nicely hierarchical -- Yahoo also happens to provide clear links to go to each of these higher levels. Not every site is so friendly.
Open the options for Diggler, add a new user defined tool. For the regular expression, enter:^http://([a-zA-Z0-9-]+\.)+([a-zA-Z0-9-]+\.[a-zA-Z]+)(/.*)*$for the action, enterhttp://www.$2/
2This won't work as expected with domains that have three significant chunks, e.g. with news.bbc.co.uk, you won't get www.bbc.co.uk, you'll get www.co.uk. Adding an additional tool to handle such URLs is left as an exercise for the reader
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
And they're right. The U.S. Constitution does not say that individuals have the right to any say in the Presidential election. The scary scenario painted here is that the vote in some swing states gets so muddled that the state legislatures step in and just say "it's too complicated to sort out, just let us decide." -- and they have the right to do so.
Monday, November 01, 2004
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Amen, brother Eichorn.
Friday, October 22, 2004
- from this week's email newsletter from A Prairie Home Companion .
I rarely get around to actually listening to the show, but I subscribe to the newsletter for the "Pretty Good Jokes" included each week.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. ... Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes.And if you want to write as a weblog, check out Blogging Your Novel, Part One.
I don't think I'll have the time to commit to writing a novel this November, maybe next year.
Friday, October 15, 2004
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Friday, October 01, 2004
You'll see is a group of people, some in black shirts, some in white shirts. The white team is passing a ball between them, the black team is passing a second ball. Your task is to count how many times the white team passed the ball.When you've watch the video and have a count, you can read about what you just did in this New Scientist article or go to the full list of winners.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
With the November elections approaching, Republican leaders in the House have scheduled a series of votes on hot-button social issues that they hope will force Democrats into a difficult position at the polls, particularly in areas where support for gun rights is strong. On Thursday, lawmakers are expected to take up a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage; last week, they passed a bill that would prohibit the federal courts from hearing challenges to the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.1Registration required, or borrow one from BugMeNot or see the article from Yahoo which doesn't require registration.
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Ultimately, most users seem to wind up using CVS in the most simple-minded way: as a hub via which multiple programmers can all hack on a single tree. They don't get much more out of it than that. That's fine, but that's like 10% of the version control problem. That people are using CVS that way suggests that the shortcomings of the tool are limiting how programmers organize their projects.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Monday, September 20, 2004
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Thursday, September 09, 2004
It's ok, but I'm not terribly impressed. I had to add the title of this post after the fact. Additionally, while I can save drafts on my handheld, it doesn't allow me to post them to blogger as drafts -- I often rework my posts a few times before I actually make it public. I've got two or three in the queue now.
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
So a good social interface designer might say, let's not display an error message. Let's just pretend that the post about Viagra was accepted. Show it to the original poster, so he feels smug and moves on to the next inappropriate discussion group. But don't show it to anyone else.This is similar to an idea Philip Greenspun had about how to handle troublesome users. If you simply ban them, they just re-register with a different name. Better, he suggested, was to throw some intentional delays into any request made by them. In the end, the user thinks there's a problem with the site because it's so slow and doesn't catch on that the mediocre performance is custom tailored. (I would give a reference to this, but I heard him describe it in a talk and it doesn't seem to be in written form on his site.)
Thursday, August 26, 2004
If some woman, walking down the street and singing to herself with a big grin on her face, reached into her purse and handed over an open soft drink, this bloggerette would definitely not drink it.Posted by Judi Smith, Dave Barry's Research Department, on Dave Barry's Blog
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Things have changed and I now use a laptop almost exclusively and I started looking again. The price for the Oyster hasn't dropped significantly, so I started surfing around. I found a reasonable substitute for AUS$35, but no American distributors. Finally, I found some wise person who pointed out that a quality book holder would probably do the job.
For around US$13, I got a copyholder, connected my external keyboard and mouse and voila!
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
For those of you who are still using Internet Explorer, please take a little time to read more about what Firefox has to offer and read how the U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team recommends using an alternate browser to reduce exposure to IE vulnerabilities.
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
I started thinking about this again recently with TiVo's announcement that they'll more easily support network connectivity. This is kind of nice in that I could stream music from PCs and do remote programming... but, I've also considered the DirecTV option which doesn't do the network stuff, but it's all in one convenient box. On the other hand, if I drop my current cable provider for the TV feed, I'll have to pay an extra $10/mo. for the cable modem.
I've started to explore these options by scanning the boards over at tivocommunity.com, but, like most very active forum sites, it's a little overwhelming for the casual reader
So, my TiVo-enabled friends, if you were to start today, what would you do? Standalone series 2 TiVo? DirecTiVo? Second-hand TiVo?
Monday, July 05, 2004
Monday, June 28, 2004
Monday, June 21, 2004
I don't think really, really huge trucks are so exciting, but this introduction made me laugh out loud.
Monday, June 14, 2004
Down at the bottom of the main window it says: "1326 songs, 3.4 days, 4.36 GB" and yes, I own the CDs for all of these (or at least 1300 of them).
There's a "Party Shuffle" option. I've done no extra configuration on this, so it's shuffling through all my music. This produces interesting musical transitions such as this sequence:
- A track from Mozart's Don Giovanni
- "Born Under Punches" from the Talking Heads' Remain in Light
- "Black and Blue" from Lyle Lovett's Pontiac
- The opening number from Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods
- "Roxanne'97-Puff Daddy Remix" from Sting's album 1997 - The Best Of Sting & The Police
- "Purple Toupee" from They Might Be Giants' Lincoln (what kind of geek would I be without TMBG in my library?)
- Variation 9 from Glenn Gould's recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations
I don't use the iTunes music store and I don't have an iPod to sync this with. It's just a nice way to play music through my computer (and through my new noise-cancelling headphones).
Sunday, June 13, 2004
While I'd like to say it was something noble or a bit more interesting, I found it by searching on google for "gmail invitation." Your website was buried on page 39 I believe but I clicked on a lot of the links. I know it sounds like "he's only interested in gmail" and while I'm tempted to say "I'm an avid fan of your blog and just saw the post!" I'll be honest and just say I found it while scouring google for gmail invitations.In order to get more information, I've since signed up for a free web stats account with statcounter.com. Now I know that Cognitive Overflow has been found via searches for "lord's prayer in l33t speak slashdot", "kyte database independence", "i need a lot of money how", and, of course, many for "gmail", "gmail invitation" and the like.
Finally, check out this article at wired.com to read about VisitorVille, a service which displays traffic information in a SimCity-like way. Pages are portrayed as buildings, with the more popular pages being larger buildings. Visitors are shown as people and those who are referred by Google are shown arriving via the Google bus.
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Friday, May 14, 2004
Monday, May 10, 2004
As I posted recent, I'm pretty excited about being able to test Gmail, Google's free webmail client. Since my friends and family have other addresses for me, I changed my preferences at eBay and Parent Center to send news and alerts to my Gmail account so that I could start getting some messages.
Because I haven't had direct human interaction via Gmail, I haven't been able to take advantage of Gmail's "conversation" interface -- which rolls up messages in a threaded discussion into individual tabs -- the screenshots look nice on the help page (see item #2 on Gmail's Learn More page).
From what little I have done, I see definite room for improvement. What is there works well, but there are some significant features missing.
Before I can start using gmail on a more regular basis, I'll need more addresses in my gmail contact list. Gmail doesn't make this easy. I can export addresses from my Yahoo address book or from other email programs, but there is no facility for importing addresses into Gmail so I'm stuck. (A email from Gmail support says that address importing is in development now.)
Gmail does save addresses from messages composed within Gmail. It'd be nice to do this for incoming mail too, Yahoo has a "Add to Address Book" link next to the "From" line. Google should do at least this, but it'd be even better to have a "save addresses" link which would identify everything that looks like an email address in the body text or in any header.
Another significant issue is that Gmail's spam filter identified all the messages I received from ParentCenter as spam! I have subsequently clicked on each and suggested to Gmail that they aren't spam and I assume that Gmail's spam filter adapts with user input. The next message I receive from ParentCenter will tell me how well this works. (Update: It didn't work well. Email from Gmail support says that if I add the sender to my list of contacts, it won't be flagged as spam. But, as I mentioned above, it's not trivial to add a sender to my contacts.)
The next annoyance is that I must click "Show External Images" every time I open a message with graphics. While having this as an option is a nice security feature, it'd be nice for Gmail to remember which messages I've already approved. Better yet would be an option such as "Always show external images from this sender". Since the main email I receive on this address now is HTML formatted newsletters and alerts, this is quite noticeable.
One final word on all of these gripes - gmail is still a beta product. I'm willing to bet that most of these missing features will eventually be implemented. Google's history has shown that they tend just do things the Right Way. Even more than that, they'll probably do something more. Gmail has shown innovative new ways of handling things like replies to replies to replies (show clickable tabs for each reply).
The Offer: Sound interesting? Want to try Gmail yourself? A new link has appeared on Gmail: Invite a friend to join Gmail. It looks like I can invite two people at this time. If you'd like to try Gmail, send email to my gmail account explaining why you should receive one of my two invitations. I don't want bribes, I want good reasons such as:
- "I'll be a great beta tester for Google."
- "I helped you solve a major problem on some project when we worked together."
- "I'm your wife and I'm going to deliver your baby in a few days."
- "If I sign up early with Gmail, I might be able to get email@example.com"
Friday, May 07, 2004
The Economist has a science article about the current brood which discusses with a model that suggests
that prime-numbered lifecycles could help cicadas avoid damaging “resonances” with the two- and three-year population fluctuations of their predators... over a 200-year period, average predator populations during hypothetical outbreaks of 14- and 15-year cicadas would be up to 2% higher than during outbreaks of 13- and 17-year cicadas. That may not sound like much, but it is enough to drive natural selection towards a prime-numbered life-cycle.
Monday, May 03, 2004
What he wasn't entirely clear about was the lingering effects over the subsequent days. He mentioned that I'd be in some pain and by Saturday I was pleasantly surprised that I felt (and still feel) no pain around the spot where the procedure was done. Some time later on Saturday, it occurred to me that since the headaches and neck aches I was experiencing weren't identical to the initial nasty headache, maybe it was related to the extraction of cerebrospinal fluid. Discussions ensued and a google search for "lumbar puncture neck pain" found this description of the procedure with these notes about side effects:
You may experience side effects caused by the removal of some of your cerebrospinal fluid. The most common side effect is a headache that persists for several hours or up to several days. Symptoms that may accompany a headache include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or tightness in the shoulders, base of the neck, or lower back.(emphasis added) A doctor in my neighborhood confirmed that this sort of headache can last four days (or more!). As of Monday morning, I can remain upright for about an hour and a half before I need to rest my neck again. I see my doctor later today. We'll see what he recommends.
Saturday, May 01, 2004
I phoned my wife and she started driving downtown to pick me up. She also called a co-worker and asked him to check in on me. He came into my office and apparently I looked lousy enough that he called an ambulance. The appearance of two building security staff, four paramedics, and a stretcher made certain that everybody in the office knew that something was going on.
My wife arrived at my office about the same time I got into the ambulance. The paramedics checked my vitals (ok) and gave me an IV (to treat apparent dehydration) and we rode the six blocks to the ER. Between the fluid injection and some prescription pain killers, I was soon feeling better, but still a little weak. I got a CAT scan on my head to make sure there wasn't any bleeding or other serious issue there and I got a spinal tap to make sure that I didn't have meningitis -- both negative, thankfully.
I checked out of the ER after about six hours with the good news that nothing serious was wrong with me and the bad news that it was still unclear just what happened. The doctor's diagnosis on the discharge form was "Headache; Atypical migraine".
Two days later and I've got prescriptions for pain and migraines but neither helps much. I feel pretty good when I'm lying down. But if I'm sitting up or standing for more than a half hour or so, my head starts aching and I get a little dizzy. The general consensus seems to be that this is stress related and that I need to find a better way to handle my stress. I don't dispute that.
Meanwhile, members of my family having been helping paint a room in our house and doing other things as we prepare for the birth of our second child in less than three weeks. Yes, my wife has been helping me through all of this while 8 1/2 months pregnant. We've had a couple friends who have heard through friends that we were in the hospital on Wednesday and naturally they've assumed that my wife had pregnancy complications or early labor! Sorry folks, it just her stressed husband getting something out of his system -- hopefully I'll be fully recovered in time to help with the new baby.
Sunday, April 25, 2004
Lastly, as an "active Blogger user", I now have a gmail account! My account is my first initial followed by my last name @gmail.com -- send me something, give me something to search, let's see what ads I get. I've just now signed up, so it'll be a bit before I have anything to report.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
It is, necessarily, dependent on reliable ID3 tags. It has a built in tag editor that works pretty well for individual files, but lacks some features for bulk editing. For example, a bunch of my albums had no track numbers in the tags (although the file names included the track number). Juk had no easy way to set the track number for all. After a little searching on alternate tag editors, I've been very happy with EasyTAG -- fortunately also available as Mandrake 10 package.
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
- Wachovia is a good name for a bank but a bad name for a cemetery.
- BP is a good name for a gas company but a bad name for a honey company.
- Nordic Track is a good name for exercise equipment but a bad name for an affirmative action program.
- Snickers is a good name for a candy bar but a bad name for a support group.
Sunday, March 14, 2004
- I can start a big nasty update in an Oracle sqlplus session shortly before I leave work, go home, reconnect to the screen session, monitor and commit from the same sqlplus session.
- If I'm on an ssh connection that is apt to disconnect because of noisy phone lines or a weak wireless connection, I can continue where I left off every time I reconnect.
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Monday, March 01, 2004
[The Bush administration and right-wing allies] are engaged in a campaign to suppress science that is arguably unmatched in the Western world since the Inquisition. Sometimes, rather than suppress good science, they simply order up their own.They're suppressing EPA reports on air quality around the World Trade Center site, replacing independent review panels with industry-selected panels and, in at least one case, let a company monitor itself:
The Bush Administration reacted to the frightening findings not by banning this dangerous chemical, as the European Union has, but by taking the studies away from EPA scientists and, in an unprecedented move, giving the chemical's manufacturer, Switzerland-based Syngenta, control over federal research. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Sherry Ford, a spokesperson for Syngenta, praised without irony the advantages of having the company monitor its own product. "This is one way we can ensure it's not presenting any risk to the environment."Read The Junk Science of George W. Bush (which I found by way of AlterNet) and if you believe that scientists and science research should not be suppressed for political purposes, please share.
Monday, February 16, 2004
Monday, February 02, 2004
Here's my image of state visits.
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Monday, January 12, 2004
Next, of the main Democratic Presidential candidates, only Howard Dean, Carole Moseley-Braun, Al Sharpton, and Dennis Kucinich are participating. This makes me wonder why the reminder post card sent by the party encourages us to "show your support for your favorite Democratic Candidate". Oh, and there's no accomodation for write-ins.
There is a bright side to all this. Apparently one candidate who is on the ballot is Vermin Supreme. His site is lots of fun and even makes Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich look mainstream. Mr. Supreme's main platform plank seems to be mandatory dental health, including "Dental commando squads or warrant less random no knock dental inspections. "
For a more serious look at what's wrong with this "vote", read an editorial from this week's Washington Post: "This Primary's a Joke. It Could've Been Great". It's so annoying that I'll probably just go and turn in a blank ballot.
Thursday, January 08, 2004
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
But today, I discovered a page on this site which tells me that my daughter turns 1,000 days old on January 23 and other such useless information.