Tuesday, July 31, 2001

Marney Update Saturday was her three month birthday and she had her three month doctor's appointment yesterday - she's now officially 10 lbs. 11 oz (plus or minus one dirty diaper), 22.5 inches long. Those values are at about the 25th percentile for baby girls (see the CDC's growth charts).

Thursday, July 26, 2001

The definitive area code guide including lists, maps, planned area code additions, list of area codes in "jeopardy". This is part of the North American Numbering Plan Administration's site. Officially, the NANPA doesn't call them "area codes", they're "Numbering Plan Area (NPA) codes"

There is no "relief plan" for DC's 202 since it is not in jeopardy. DC may be the last major city where it isn't necessary to dial 10 digits every time you want to make a local call. Or maybe, by this definition, DC is no longer a major city.

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

I'm working late tonight but I found a fun radio station on the 'net which is keeping me going, "107.7 the end. Austin's 80s Channel". I heard some Styx, Sting, Go-Gos, and a bunch of other stuff...

Monday, July 23, 2001

Marney Update She's sneaking up on sleeping through the night. Twice last week she slept for eight hours straight, but it was roughly 8 pm - 4 am both times. At that point, however, she's too well rested to go back to sleep after being fed, so she sits there looking happy, alert, and smiling. Unlike her parents.
Back at work now and I'm slowing getting back up to speed with what's going on in the office, but my mind drifts... as we walked on the beach one day last week, Karen wondered how far we could see. I found the answer here. We were standing on a dune so the height of our eyes was approximately 15 ft. giving us a 5 mile view to the horizon.

Thursday, July 19, 2001

Vacation continues, but the geek in me still goes online occasionally. I've uploaded new photos of Marney to the "Marney July 2001" album at our gallery at photos.yahoo.com.

Friday, July 13, 2001

Vacation starts now. Off to Amagansett, NY.
Not five minutes after I (finally) sent email to a bunch of friends announcing this site, Ms. LDMK writes back with the answer to my "general" question from earlier. Go to thomasregister.com and (after you register) search by brand name. Ms. LDMK is a professional researcher for a major newspaper, I'm not surprise she found this.
Posted to memepool, put your order in now for a pre-produced newspaper tribute to Pope John Paul II and others, but don't print it yet -- heed the warning "THE PAGES ARE EMBARGOED UNTIL THE POPE'S DEATH."
Sitting with a coffee cup in my hand, I notice the "Solo" brand name on the lid. One of those nice boring companies that quietly build market share. Wondering if they're public and doing well, I surf a little but google doesn't find anything for me. So, I pose the question to Ms. Brie, a nimble web searcher..
13:56:13 (me): I've got a net-search challenge for you
13:56:18 (Ms. Brie): shoot
13:56:29 (me): there's a specific and a general...
13:56:42 (Ms. Brie): okay...
13:57:04 (me): specific: what company makes Solo paper products (e.g. disposable coffee cups and lids)
13:57:15 (Ms. Brie): Gee, I would've thought they were their own company...
13:57:47 (me): general: find a site where you can enter a product name (e.g. "Crispix") and it will tell you the name of the manufacturer
13:58:10 (Ms. Brie): those are good questions. would be agreat site if there isn't one already. searching...
13:59:37 (Ms. Brie): www.alexa.com used to do things like that, but I don't think it's still around.
14:00:22 (Ms. Brie): www.hoovers.com is the best business resource.
14:02:25 (Ms. Brie): 1: http://www.solocup.com/
14:04:02 (me): well done
Less than six minutes, not bad. I'm still looking for the definitive answer to my general question.
A staff of "about 25 doctors and nurses" delivered septuplets here in Washington last night. There are six medical personnel watching each baby. Marney is now almost 11 weeks old and we're still learning to deal with her. I can't imagine meeting seven newborns. Full story at yahoo.
It's been a busy week for me due to the convergence of deadlines, vacation next week, and a sick wife (she's better now).

addall.com compares prices at 30+ online book stores. It's ArsDigita's problem set one on steroids.

Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Best email of the year so far, from an admin in my company's main office:
A week ago some books came in from Amazon.com in a box not addressed to anyone. Its a very eclectic collection of literature, with subjects ranging from fatherhood, to racecars, to pharmaceuticals, and more (there are 7 books in all). If you belong to these books, please come and pick them up at the front desk.

Friday, July 06, 2001

Seen on /. and definitely in the realm of "more than I need to know", but real cool nonetheless. Check out Google Zeitgeist - a page full of stats and charts about what people are searching for on google.
My current subway reading is the current installment of Warren Buffett's annual chairman's letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders (no, I'm not a shareholder). On top of a little bit of discussion of how Berkshire's businesses did he adds a lot of general investment and management philosophy. Here's a nice quote from this year's report:
The line separating investment and speculation, which is never bright and clear, becomes blurred still further when most market participants have recently enjoyed triumphs. Nothing sedates rationality like large doses of effortless money. After a heady experience of that kind, normally sensible people drift into behavior akin to that of Cinderella at the ball. They know that overstaying the festivities - that is, continuing to speculate in companies that have gigantic valuations relative to the cash they are likely to generate in the future - will eventually bring on pumpkins and mice. But they nevertheless hate to miss a single minute of what is one helluva party. Therefore, the giddy participants all plan to leave just seconds before midnight. There’s a problem, though: They are dancing in a room in which the clocks have no hands.
Away.com sends out nice travel-related photos on a daily basis (well, almost daily, even though they call it "Your Daily Escape"). Today's image is quite nice. But since Marney was born, I've stopped using photos of anything or anyone else for my desktop background.

Thursday, July 05, 2001

Slashdot posted a story about a coffee pot with "optical feedback" ... "that results in a highly reproducible means to brew coffee at the same strength time and again." But slashdot's readers provide more interesting reading. I never appreciated how much coffee means to them until reading the comments on this article. My favorite comment comes from a person who insists that to get a cup of proper espresso, you should roast your own beans and then spend $200+ for your grinder and $250+ for your espresso machine.
I did a couple hours of coding yesterday while thousands of Washingtonians waded through Fourth of July festivities. As I was finishing up and preparing to send email to coworkers, our power went off. I eventually sent the message but it would've made an interesting picture -- me sitting at a battery operated laptop, plugged into an ordinary phone line (instead of using my wireless network), and, next to the computer, two glass oil lamps illuminating my notes.

Tuesday, July 03, 2001

Too many volume controls... The speakers have a physical dial, the OS has a master "Volume Control" panel, and most of the audio apps (RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, etc.) have a volume control. I set the volume to a nice level while listening to streaming radio, but then I visit a site with a flash movie w/o a volume control, so I need to hit either the OS master switch or the physical dial on the speakers to turn it down... then the volume level I liked for the radio is lost. Too many controls... how do you handle this?
Sunday's Washington Post travel section had an article comparing results from different map sites. Among the findings:
It was time for an easier test. Could the Big Five get us from Reagan National Airport to the White House? Surely, we thought, the Internet's biggest and best could locate the nation's most famous address. We started with MapQuest, entering "Reagan National Airport" and "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." Up popped the response: "Unable to find 1600 Pennsylvania Ave."
Mapquest.com has since fixed this bug.
Tip for shopping for a web hosting company -- be sure that "domain.com" and "www.domain.com" return the same page. For example, I wanted to see what sort of new parent classes were offered by Sibley Hospital (where we first met Marney). Somehow, I don't think that Sibley designed sibley.org.

Monday, July 02, 2001

Dueling 404 pages... Bork posted a cool one at borklog. I also like sgi's 404 page. Be sure to hit reload a bunch of times.
Yahoo!'s "Most Emailed Content" page is a good once-a-day place to visit, if only to get a sense of the demographics of the net. The popular photos are a mix of cute animals, sports stars, real news photos, bizarreness, and, from the younger males, cleavage. The popular stories usually have something fun like this one.
Bandwidth speed tests are fun, but http://tech.msn.com/internet/speedtest.asp and http://bandwidthspeedtest.com/speedtest/ give very different results -- at my desk, I got ~900 kbps and ~1,900 kbps, respectively. Mr. Shlabotnik of NYC got ~500 kbps and ~1250 kbps, respectively, on his cable modem. Bork reports 40.2 kbps from the second site on his ISDN line in rural Pennsylvania. MSN flaked out on him when he tried the first one.
Customer: "Can you copy the Internet for me on this diskette?"
-- posted to Computer Stupidities