25 December 2008


i just saw Bride and Prejudice recently and went a-lookin for some bollywood trailers on youtube. omg. i'd forgotten about this one.

21 December 2008

wheel of fortune

listening to the news tonight and making comments in front of Boy.

me: there's no such thing as free money.
boy: there is free money. you have to guess letters for it.

17 December 2008

my bias against academia

i think Folwer! has hit the nail on the head in explaining my own grudge against academia. i fancied i would become a professor back in my college days, getting paid to think all day and hang out on some beautiful campus. the closer i got to graduation, the more i realized that i did not want to live that life. turns out i thrive on actually accomplishing things, not just thinking about accomplishing things, though i definitely appreciate intellectual pursuits.

11 December 2008

This is why CNN fails as a news source

It's not really news that CNN is no longer a worthy news source. But then I'm not a journalist. I stopped watching/reading CNN quite some time ago, but occasionally I check it just to compare their reporting to other sources.

This is what met my eyes in the right sidebar of their main page. A poll. I'd include a link, but the content in question would disappear too quickly.

"What should the Obama Administration spend money on to revive the economy?"

This is wrong on so many levels. Talk about leading questions. The sheer amount of presupposition and framing is mind-boggling. And what scares me the most is that I know that this is the mindset of the majority of Americans. Not *whether* to jump, but how high. It makes me almost physically ill.

So I guess it'll be another year before I look at CNN again. I urge you, dear reader, (singular, I'm sure) to do likewise.

PS - There were other atrocities on their page, such as the featured video of a "live-in fembot". WTF?

07 December 2008


a dramatic reading...
(HT: Radley)

prisoner 35

my aged twin rescued a box turtle from an aquatic pen while we were at lunch friday at a great chinese place. he is currently nursing this brute back to health in order to release him into the wild to kill again.

thanks, p2l.

03 December 2008

bossman feedback

Esther Derby describes the usual failures of 360 feedback mechanisms endemic to large companies. i'm sure you know the type: ask gobs of people to fill out a Word document template and hope that at least one finds its way back.
360 Feedback Processes are an attempt to get feedback from different points of view. In my experience, these programs don't provide much actionable information. Its too easy to lob softballs or zingers, with no way for people to follow up.

I find that it's more useful to find out what's important to people and start a conversation.
my peeve with this process is that there is no conversation. from my experience, managers basically recognize responders as being reliable sources or not and simply accept or reject feedback without understanding what it even means (or if it's even true!). i have always asked those who want my feedback to give me a call and actually discuss the person being reviewed. i recommend the practice as it offers a means of asking probing questions about both positive and negative comments.

scavinger has wise words for all current and aspiring managers.
I think it could be boiled down even further...
  1. Learn to recognize when you're being a douche.
  2. Stop being a douche.
  3. Profit.

30 November 2008


typealyzer rates this blog as ESTP, while a 'real' test indicates i'm closer to ENTP.

ESTP - The Doers

The active and play-ful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

25 November 2008

regulation we can live with

Yglesias has a fairly simple idea on the proper role of regulation, one that i happen to agree with.

24 November 2008

free typemock

we've been talking about typemock around the office for a while now but never got around to trying it out. now i have the opportunity, since they are kindly offering to hand out a few free licenses.
Typemock are offering their new product for unit testing SharePoint called Isolator For SharePoint, for a special introduction price. it is the only tool that allows you to unit test SharePoint without a SharePoint server. To learn more click here.
i'll get back to you on just how awesome this thing is. i expect wonders, given how much of .NET (and SharePoint apparently) are free of interfaces and prone to static methods.

22 November 2008

agility as a key strategy

the WSJ tells a tale of superior agility in the flexible nature of Honda plants that can, in 5 minutes, switch a line over from Civics to CR-Vs.
The manufacturing dexterity of Honda's plants, now the most flexible in North America, is emerging as a key strategic advantage for the company. In an era of volatile gasoline prices, Honda can adjust production to inventory levels faster than its competitors. Earlier this year, when gasoline prices reached $4 a gallon, the company slowed production of its Ridgeline pickup truck at its Canada plant and increased output of better-selling vehicles.
responding to change over following a plan.

20 November 2008

when you're right, you're right

scavinger: The standard english-language version of the Daily Tar Heel ran a comparison today of the gubernatorial candidates, minus Munger. If these college student fuckwads are our future, we are utterly screwed.

unacoder: maybe you should write a letter to the editor

scavinger: I don't think they like being called fuckwads. And I don't think I could restrain myself.

quote of the day-or-so

Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.
Mohandas Gandhi

my head hurts

public abstract class EntityGridPageTester<T> : PageTester<T> where T : PageTester<T>

now i can have common methods on a super class from which i can return this as the subclass such that i can implement a fluent API for testing pages. makes me wish i were using ruby.

16 November 2008

quote of the day-or-so

Someone included Obama's victory speech on their mix. People seem to think that's cool. I seem to think I hate people.
Will Wilkinson

as the street turns

the screwy lady across the street is at it again. twice this week, wife and i have returned her paper to her property after she (or her proxy) has thrown it in the street. i think the next time will require a gentle reminder that she should dispose of her own trash.

wife suggested that the lady might think that, since she didn't subscribe, she may think that it's someone else's paper. but after years of living here, i would think this lady would understand by now that we all suffer.

13 November 2008

maybe we can all learn something

the following text is from a mailing i received from The Advocates. replace 'libertarian' with just about anything, but 'democratic' or 'republican' for the sake of this post.
The Toughest Prospects: Family and Friends

by Michael Cloud

"I don't know why my dad supports single-payer health care," said my friend.
"He's smart. Well-educated. He was a business leader. He understands most of
our libertarian philosophy. But he insists that single-payer health care is the
only solution to our health care problems. What can I do to change his

"How many times have you discussed health care policy with your father?" I

"Several times," she said.

"How many libertarian policy proposals, white papers, articles, and books on
the subject have you asked your father to read?" I asked.

"Maybe 10 or 20 articles and books," she answered.

"When did you start trying to convince your father about free market health
care?" I asked.

"Four or five years ago," she said.

"Is he any closer to agreement than he was when you started?" I asked.

"No, he hasn't budged an inch," she admitted.

"Since he's not buying, why are you trying to sell?" I asked.

"He's my dad. He's seen the evidence. He ought to agree," she said.

"But he doesn't agree. He's no closer to agreeing. He doesn't want to agree.
And, much as you love your father, he may never agree. If he never agrees, if
he never becomes a libertarian, will you still love him?" I asked.

"Of course. I love my father. I'll keep loving my father whether we agree or
disagree," she said.

"May I make a suggestion? Accept that your dad doesn't see health care the way
you do, that he doesn't want to change his mind, that he probably will never
change his mind. Drop the health care issue. And cherish the relationship you
have with him," I suggested.

Often, the toughest prospects for liberty are our family and friends.

If you've given your family and friends books and articles about
libertarianism, if you've have many discussions and arguments with them, and if
they are no closer to libertarianism... drop the subject.

If they're resisting, stop pushing.

If they're not buying, stop selling.

Maybe they don't like the ideas. Maybe you're pressuring them. Maybe you are
the wrong person to convince them.

Relax. Savor the moment. Enjoy your relationships.

Stop demanding that family or friends absolutely must agree with you.

Talk to people who are interested in libertarian ideas and solutions. Talk to
high-probability prospects.

Maybe someday your family and friends will come to libertarianism. Maybe they

Accept them as they are. Love them. And let them love you.

Love and let love.

It will set you free.
i think our inability to do just that is in large part the core of the state of american politics with all of its ranting and hatred.

05 November 2008

quote of the day-or-so

I just don't like presidents. Projecting so much aspiration on a single good man with power to make things happen is depressingly primate.
Will Wilkinson

02 November 2008

where's my bailout?

intrepid not for the meek

even though smart people have warned me against early adoption of anything linux, i have gone ahead with the upgrade to 8.10 (intrepid ibex). while i expected some issues, i figured i'd dig my way out as i've always done. this time, however, i think i've finally been convinced that i should just leave well enough alone.

the major problem was the video driver (surprise!). after the lengthy upgrade process, the machine finally booted to a black screen. i managed to get back in by booting back into recovery mode and 'fixing' the xorg config. seems the resolution i had selected wasn't super supported. perhaps it's because i've selected the 177 driver that i can no longer reach 1280 x 1024. i suppose i'll try 173 while i still have a day left in the weekend to recover.

this OS is truly not for the meek. now i'm looking forward to jocular junebug.

01 November 2008

ubuntu + google

google has kindly created an ubuntu repo that is home, minimally, to the linux version of picasa (3.0 is now in beta). to make it easy on those of us who don't care to tinker in config files, they have also created a script for setting it all up, including the import of their signing key.

they also have a 'testing' repo, if you're a masochist.

28 October 2008

castle dynamic proxy

on a lark, i decided to play with the castle dynamic proxy library. it was fairly easy to use it to create a simple extension method to broadcast method invocations to all elements of a list. it will even work with property setters and other extension methods, provided each is virtual. now is the (next) time i hate the fact that methods are sealed by default.

public static T Broadcast<T>(this IEnumerable<T> items) {
  return new ProxyGenerator().CreateClassProxy<T>(new BroadcastInterceptor<T>(items));

private class BroadcastInterceptor<T> : IInterceptor {
  private readonly IEnumerable<T> items;

  public BroadcastInterceptor(IEnumerable<T> items) {
    this.items = items;

  public void Intercept(IInvocation invocation) {
    foreach (var t in items) {
      invocation.Method.Invoke(t, invocation.Arguments);

var a = new TestObject();
var b = new TestObject();
List<TestObject> list = Quick.List(a, b);

19 October 2008

virtualbox no worky

i fell prey to the "spawning session" problem after the latest round of updates to ubuntu. turns out there's an easy fix for it.

18 October 2008


i have to say, i really enjoyed this post as a whole, including the comments. reminds me of when Bret and Jemaine got into a tiff and split up the band.

Ernest Madu on successes in african health care

we in the US can learn a good deal from studying those who achieve great things without having huge resources. this video is a strong statement against the mistake of Big Government thinking. imagine the access to health care we could achieve if we simply stepped back from our current unthinking debates and refactored the broken system.

(HT: Yip)

12 October 2008

neighborhood tyrants

i wish i could feel more humorous about this case, but it really just reinforces my hatred of HOAs and this strange green-at-all-costs grass fetish so prevalent in suburban USA. as Radley says, "It’s too bad the homeowner’s association had $795 to spend on attorney’s fees in the case, but couldn’t give the poor guy a couple hundred bucks to help him comply with the rule." seems he's having cash problems since his ARM went up $600/month. where's his bailout?

i'm glad i just re-seeded what little lawn i have left. here's hoping i don't have to spend too much on it to keep the lawn police away.

mmm pork pork pork

11 October 2008

cf isn't as good as they'd have you believe

even striking home mercury poisoning from the list of woes, we may simply be trading one harm for another. some doods from yale have generated a report and everything.
[M]uch of South America, Africa, the Middle East and parts of Europe, along with Alaska, California, Oregon, Idaho and several New England states, would actually increase their mercury emissions by making the switch from incandescent to fluorescent lighting. The results depend on a complex relationship between a number of factors, including how dependent a region is on coal-powered energy generation, the chemical makeup of the coal used in those plants, and existing recycling programs for CFLs.

"Compact fluorescent lighting is an area where we're really pushing this alternative and all these policies are being enacted, but we're not looking at the potential unintended consequences of what we're doing," said study author Julie Beth Zimmerman, an assistant professor in Yale's Department of Chemical Engineering and its School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

i'm glad someone's looking. we're not safe until congress bans unintended consequences.

new new deal

i always appreciate a good post about FDR's effect on government.
A reason to vote for McCain? Certainly not. But definitely a reason to treat the Depression, the New Deal and FDR as sobering history lessons and not as epic mythology — or as empty-yet-dangerous campaign rhetoric.

09 October 2008

clone wars

Boy is now watching the star wars series *again.* something like 20 times now. i guess that's a thumbs up. aside from the inane dialog and polar express creepy animation, the stories are actually viewable by adults. as with all things star wars, don't expect acting awards.

more regulation is always better

it keeps us safe. i'm pretty well tired of hearing about how we need 'more' regulation. maybe we could start by making it right. we should be focusing on regulating the bullfunk coming out of DC.

08 October 2008

quote of the day-or-so

Is there any way to pull off this "democracy" thing without using actual voters?
Radley Balko

02 October 2008


my elderly twin has been working on extending the timeout in asp.net so users don't get prompted to log in so frequently. after donking with all the silly xml config files and googling the bejeezers out of this topic, including much manual testing, he came across the magic forms authentication timeout xml attribute. so, dear reader, this nonsense wasn't caused by session timeout, but by authentication timeout. apparently, every single anything has a separate timeout setting tweakable from xml.

quote of the day-or-so

cat fights got nothing on dog humping.

23 September 2008

one man, one vote

or not. while most americans want to see 3rd party candidates in the presidential "debates," the people who apparently run our election process do their own thang, as the advocates for self-government point out.
Few Americans realize that the Commission on Presidential Debates, a private corporation which controls the debates, was actually created by the Republican and Democratic parties themselves, in order to control the debates for their own advantage.

In 1988 the Republican and Democratic National Committees took over the presidential debates from the non-partisan League of Women Voters. Both parties were angry that the League refused to operate the debates the way the parties demanded, including keeping out viable third party candidates.

Upon withdrawing, the League of Women Voters declared: "...the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. It has become clear to us that the candidates' organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions. The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public."

History has proven the League correct.

Since its founding, the Commission on Presidential Debates has been chaired by former Republican Party chair Frank Fahrenkopf and former Democratic Party
chair Paul Kirk.

Yes, that's right. The former heads of the two dominant parties set the rules for who gets to be in the presidential debates, who the panelists will be, and what questions are asked.


the makers of orphan feast and viva caligula now offer five minutes to kill (yourself) 2. it's tougher than you think.

environmentally clean lawn management

it may be a bit expensive for a weekly suburban lawn mowing, but i hope competition will drive prices down.

(HT: +1)

the special interest orgy has begun

the times spins a tale of curs gone wild, looking for ways to get rich off the bazillion dollar bailout of capitalist pigs that took on too much risk.

Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.

At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.

Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury’s proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions.

by pandering to special interests and jiggering with prices, there is a hope that we will all be able to get back to holding hands and singing songs by the campfire.
“The trick for the Treasury and American people is to make sure that the price exacts enough of a toll on the originators and holders of these securities, but not enough to destroy lending,” said Mr. Gross of Pimco, who has argued in recent weeks that the government must buy distressed debt to deal with a “financial tsunami.”
with Government protecting us, we need never fear.

22 September 2008

you will never convince me...

to send my kids to public school.
"The 'E' is to be recorded no lower than a 50 percent, regardless of the actual percent earned. For example, if the student earns a 20 percent on a class assignment, the grade is recorded as a 50 percent," said the memo from Jerri Lippert, the district's executive director of curriculum, instruction and professional development, and Mary VanHorn, a PFT vice president.
(HT: scavinger)

21 September 2008

quote of the day-or-so

Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
Hermann Goering

take that, immigrants! gays! rich people! home schoolers! and anyone else who doesn't believe what i do!

(HT: nin)

data that resists analytical distortion

(HT: p2l, via FlowingData)

what is a free market?

i am always baffled by the willful ignorance some people have of history. gubmint has always sought to control the flow of capital in deference to one or more special interest, and this mortgage mess is no exception. while skepticism of a pro-business utopia full of happy high-fructose-corn-syrup-swilling children should be applauded, coming down in blind favor of 'more regulation' is equally ignorant.

many have used the US health care system as a poster child of the wrongness of free markets. i'm not sure in what sense that claim is made, since it is given as a simple Truth without any backing facts. what is never really addressed in all the webs-wide diatribes are price controls. under a universal coverage scheme, there would still be limits placed on health care, perhaps different from the ones we have today, especially limited access to procedures such as those being seen in the UK. the only difference would be who gets shafted. the flaw is in the semantic packaging of health care as "insurance" when it is actually a group payment plan. by removing the consumer from the cost of the service, we are distorting consumption decisions. prices are free to rise, unchecked by the people who should care the most.

in a free market, prices are free to fluctuate as necessary, without any artificial ceilings or floors imposed by external forces, especially central planners. if pollution has a cost, why is it not reflected in the price of the polluting fuel? granted, there are great arguments to be had on how to determine and apportion these costs, but the fundamental problem remains: once a price becomes mired in political influence, decision-making necessarily becomes distorted. the same politicians who spout pro-alternative energy rhetoric are the same people that demand lower oil prices, necessarily driving people to ignore their consumption habits.

i would argue that the gubmint's role in a market is to provide non-proscriptive regulations that promote transparency and seek to prevent fraud, even including watchdog groups in the fray (since they aren't as susceptible to political influence pedling). i would consider this approach to be a breech of the levy that is the regulatory monopoly gubmint holds over the market.

i invite folks to give up on the Government Control Fairy that is the true cause of all of our current woes. free markets are not good or evil, but the embodiment of voluntary, non-coercive exchange of property between participants. gubmint does have a role in protecting people in this environment, but should recuse itself from presuming to know how to implement these exchanges.

the folly of central planning

as if Kelo-style takings weren't enough, KipEsquire points out the further absurdity of 'historic preservation' run amok. by making a blanket statement that 57 blocks and 197 additional properties are somehow collectively historic is simply assinine.
Kip’s Law: Every advocate of central planning always — always — envisions himself as the central planner.
this fits nicely into my theme around election time that people are perfectly willing to give away other people's rights, so long as their desires are acheived.

(HT: MP)

20 September 2008

a double standard

Bob Barr, that such-n-such so-n-so from Georgia, has filed suit to remove the D and R candidates from the Texas ballot. McCain missed the filing deadline and O'Bama may not have been nominated in time, according to the lawsuit. i guarantee that the facts of the case won't change the outcome. third parties are subjected to the letter of the law in an effort to keep them off the ballot so they won't interfere with the big boys.

the major parties are not subject to laws the same way we are. they control every aspect of elections, including gerrymandered districting, ballot access, debate participation, election law, registration, etc. as with any cartel, their interest is in maintaining the current power structure. until The People give a shit and actually take change for themselves, we will be stuck with the same stupid load of crap that is the american political system.

if you read the comments on all the different articles on this subject, you'll see a lot of folks don't care, provided their guy is put in a better position. in this climate, we get what we deserve: more Bush-style antics. as long as we keep putting more and more power in the hands of the few, we'll be required to fight dirty to make sure the 'right' people are entrusted with that power. that's why american politics is so much more cutthroat these days: we're all pissed at each other and want to make sure They don't get to choose for us.

16 September 2008

the sound and the fury

recently i've been pwned by my system sound, which began ignoring my requests to hear music unless it was on certain webs pages, and even that was iffy most days. i've been a-googling for days looking for config files to tweak and pestering scavinger for tips. (he doesn't know anything.) the next step in its grand plan to annoy me into purchasing a mac before its time was to screw up the volume indicator window. now my mouse controls won't alter volume and the stupid thing won't paint correctly.

on a lark, i decided to change a sound setting even though i had never altered any such settings on this installation. turns out to work again if i change the device from mixer to playback. good enough for me.
somehow, i'm betting that if i try to turn this machine into a beatbox factory, i'ma hafta revisit this.

14 September 2008

the books i've never read

since the news that DFW killed himself, i've been thinking more about reading Infinite Jest. it's been on my shelf for about a decade since one of my friends recommended it to me. i never really got past the idea that it is over 1,000 pages, which, as a slow reader, i find daunting. the other book i've been meaning to read for twenty years or so, but never had the balls to crack open, is Gödel, Escher, Bach, which is more of an intellectual bugbear. maybe i should read them before i die.

what books have been following you for years?

11 September 2008

a measure of wordliness

Erin McKean a the Boston Globe applicates good thinkery in sunderizing the conceptification of english as a static language. what has caused our language to be so widely adopted is precisely its malleability in the face of a changing world. my History of the English Language prof taught me (and i actually accepted the idea!) that no native speaker of a language speaks incorrectly; they merely speak a different version ('dialect' being a judgmental word).

i used to scoff at those who dove or even those who couldn't appreciate the correctness of the oxford comma, but i learned that the evolution of the language is far more important than my being correct (which is still very important). heck, even well-edited magazines these days are splitting infinitives. so i agree with Ms. McKean:
[T]hose same writers [who preface their use of non-standard words] are giving up one of their inalienable rights as English speakers: the right to create new words as they see fit. Part of the joy and pleasure of English is its boundless creativity: I can describe a new machine as bicyclish, I can say that I'm vitamining myself to stave off a cold, I can complain that someone is the smilingest person I've ever seen, and I can decide, out of the blue, that fetch is now the word I want to use to mean "cool." By the same token, readers and listeners can decide to adopt or ignore any of these uses or forms.
my only caveat: 'fetch' is not to be used.

(HT: mikeh)

10 September 2008

my children are not your social experiment

Sandra Tsing Loh pops a gasket when she learns that O'Bama sends his kids to private school. rather than truly wondering why, she bites his rhetorical behind for letting so many people down. after all, it's his duty to bring up the scores of other kids by sending his own kids to mill about in their schools. she is nice enough to cite several studies, which of course does nothing to encourage people to gamble on their childrens' future. she states clearly that the schools available to the O'Bamas are horrible. yet it's his responsibility to improve them.

i have many times come across this type of person: someone so convinced that we should all throw our collective lots in with the local public schools. these are the folks who stridently support choice in other areas of life, but consider it a sin when it comes to schools. of course, rather than fixing them herself, she demands other people do it: a very common theme come novembers.

i applaud the O'Bamas choice to send their kids to a pricey private school. it is their choice, freely exercised for the betterment of their children. he has gained some respect from me for putting his children above the politics of government indoctrination centers.

09 September 2008

news organization implelents electioneering policy

i sent this note to WRAL "5 on your side." notice that i was even nice enough to use caps.
I'd like to ask your help in convincing the WRAL management that they are willfully altering the outcome of this year's gubernatorial election by improperly excluding Michael Munger from their debate.

As a citizen, I believe the proper role of the press is to present me with unbiased information on *all* the candidates that appear on the ballot. (Ballot access is an issue with a different organization altogether.) By setting an arbitrarily high limit for participation, they are obviously attempting to quash the voice of a significant minority of citizens.

WRAL is a willing pawn in the blatant manipulation of elections in its viewing area. It has shamed the heritage it claims as a presumed member of the press.
+1 sent them an email complaining about this BS exclusion. she got a response (below). we'll see if i do.
Dear +1 -

Thank you for your feedback regarding the candidates participating in our Gubernatorial Debate tonight. Our threshold for inclusion in the debate is that a candidate should have 10% support among likely voters in a WRAL News poll or another poll conducted by an independent entity. Currently, Mr. Munger, the Libertarian candidate, does not meet that threshold and therefore, will not participate in the debate. However, Mr. Munger will be invited to participate in other platforms
which will give his views and positions exposure. He currently has a candidate profile on WRAL.com and he will be invited to record an issue-message for voters to view on demand on our website. Other coverage that will be broadcast on WRAL will be afforded as we draw closer to Election Day.
this threshold is obviously bullshit, given that munger is already on the ballot and thus should be included. of course, wral is free to exclude him, but i would go so far as to call for the revocation of their press credentials, given their blatant disregard for impartiality. (at least they look more impartial than fox news.)

notice, too, the fit-for-a-dog scrap thrown to munger: a basement cubicle on their webs site. he will also "be afforded" unspecified coverage at an unspecified later date.

we shake our heads and click our tongues over stories of the poor chinese who are ruled by a single party. but people here don't blink an eye when we are ruled (perhaps not as stringently) by only two parties that repeatedly rejigger the game as it's being played in an effort to keep themselves in power, controling redistricting, ballot access, debate participation, and other schemes.

as Dennis Kucinich says: Wake Up America!

07 September 2008

more munger

the n&o has a little q&a with munger, without resorting to denigrating copy, which may be attributable to his standing at duke university. it's obviously not in great depth, but it does hit upon some great points, also without expecting him to answer too many federal level policy questions. and it ends with a great line that i find especially pertinent, one i'm sure is canned, but offers a sense of purpose.
If you hear me, you hear my message or the message of other Libertarians, and decide not to vote for us, well, we've lost a vote. If we are not on the ballot, you've lost a choice.

06 September 2008

i am invincible!

turns out i will live forever. i need not worry about any ailment, because coffee will save me.
New research has added to a growing body of evidence that coffee has substantial health benefits. Among the latest findings: Caffeine prevents the development of multiple sclerosis-like symptoms in mice; higher coffee intake is inversely related to the risk of developing liver cancer and, best of all, coffee drinkers have a lower death rate than those who abstain.

05 September 2008

grass haters

i am apparently not alone in my dislike of the green resource drain. some sample messages on my neighborhood list regarding the application of chemicals to common areas:
I am vehemently opposed to chemicals being sprayed on the lawn directly in front of my home where my child plays to control weeds. There are many more pressing issues in this neighborhood that should be focused on rather than spreading chemicals in lawns to reduce weeds.
We are opposed to the idea because of the cost. If each homeowner does not follow through by watering the new seed and tending the weeds then this measure is simply a waste of homeowner's dues. It makes no sense to the treat weeds only to have them grow back. It would be nice if we all had a perfect lawn but we don't. As long as everyone's weeds and or grass is cut and edged- we believe our homeowner's dues could be better spent!
I completely agree with this! Some of our lawns do not even grow grass or weeds as the clay was not removed and soil put down when the sod was placed! We should spend the money something more practical.
sometimes it's nice to see people have well-placed priorities.

sudo nautilus

tricky little bugger, sudo nautilus crashes if there is a blank cd in your cd writer. huh. might should fix that.
dood@astrobase:~$ sudo nautilus
[sudo] password for dood:
seahorse nautilus module initialized
Initializing nautilus-share extension
Segmentation fault

04 September 2008


i am working with my aged twin on optimizing the memory usage of a rather process that reads records out of several large files, makes sense of each record, and lobs each into a database (a very rough outline). each record has 4 ids that map to database entities. easy enough, nhibernate has an identity map (Fowler!) built in to handle duplicate references and presumably bypass unnecessary calls to the database.

turns out i'm not sure about all that. using the visual studio profiler, we noticed that an inordinate amount of time was spent in the nhibernate lookup. by simply switching to a custom dictionary (hashmap), we more than halved the lookup time. not sure how deeply i'll investergate this oddity, but if i need more performance, it may be one of the places i check first.

31 August 2008

ubuntu + white list browsing

as Boy gets older, i want to make sure i'm keeping ahead of him on the computer front. i surpassed my own father easily and could subvert any blocks he could have chosen (if he were ever inclined to do so). so i'd like to try to set up a white list of tubes that Boy can visit. i'm trying to avoid setting up a simple proxy + white list since that will be easily defeated in a few years, although i could start there if necessary.

anyone have some good hints or places to start?


i have proof that i have good ideas occasionally: apparently Michael Feathers doesn't care for the idea of overriding equals() and hashcode() in subclasses either. since equality is likely to be context-dependent for most any class, prefer creation of methods or classes that encapsulate that context. Dave and i came up with the "Equalator," a name derived from Comparator.

let's just say i have a peeve about id equality.

it's time to protect american jobs

30 August 2008

town saved from girls gone wild

a couple of kids started a road-side stand to sell their family's surplus veggies, bringing The Man down on them like a hammer. exhibit A for nanny state-ism:
"They may start out with a little card-table and selling a couple of things, but then who is to say what else they have. Is all the produce made there, do they make it themselves? Are they going to have eggs and chickens for sale next," said [douchebag Mayor] Manning.

Lucky for Katie and Sabrina their folks don't have lemon trees.

"Lemonade stands are technically illegal, but they don't last long enough to do anything about," said Manning.
so what if they sell eggs and chickens? and is this guy serious that he would go after lemonade stands if only he could catch them in time? it's amazing what people at any level of gubmint think is their responsibility.

avant window navigator

i'm getting closer to a mac look and feel on my ubuntu install. i found a mac-ish window theme and a terrific dock application installable from the repos. until i can afford a real mac, i'm a bit happier now.

29 August 2008

he's got my vote

now this is a convention speech i can get behind, even if it's a bit generic. i can't get any kind of enthusiasm for O'Bama.

One path before us leads to the past, and the extinction of the human race. The other path leads to the future, when we will all be dead. We must choose wisely.

We must close the book on the bleeding wounds of the old politics of division and sail our ship up a mountain of hope and plant our flag on the sunrise of a thousand tomorrows with an American promise that will never die! For this election isn’t about the past or the present, or even the pluperfect conditional. It’s about the future, and Barack Obama loves the future because that’s where all his accomplishments are.

(HT: +1)

take that, itunes

i believe i have finally found my itunes replacement: songbird. it already handles a lot of what i needed from itunes, including ipod sync, with more on the way. it is built on xulrunner, promising to be the firefox of music players.

as a result, i haven't even tried vmware. now windows is for syncing to my phone (cool ringtones, baby!). bitpim doesn't support my phone yet, but when it does, i may consider it again. now i have to see if i can sync my google calendar...

25 August 2008

more exciting machine re-build info!

i've got the latest itunes installed in my xp virtualbox vm and have re-imported all the tunes; however, the playlists didn't survive the reanimation process and xp can't see my ipods. given my recent hellahatred for windows, i think i may revisit gtkpod and the other replacement software, including rockbox. i am also wondering if i should covet apple products given the intentional lack of interoperability. (unfortunately, i've had a long chat with myself over tea and i still covet.)

music playback through virtualbox is not workable, having a stutter every couple of seconds. i can only guess that the drive passthrough can't keep up with it. i can play nearly all of the music i have in linux, especially if el tunes turns out to work. if it does, someone must be able to write a conversion utility.

on to vmware!

22 August 2008


it looks like windows cannot handle my hard drive anymore. i have to think that my video driver stunt didn't cause this mess--chkdsk won't even run. since linux gave its life that i might live (it got whacked during my attempt at reinstalling xp), i was thinking i would repay it by making it my official OS and running xp through vmware. i've already gotst the 32-bit ubuntu back up and running (the key was the copying of the xorg.conf file from my old backup).

so anyone gotst a good idea of which vm package to use? i've found vmware and virtualbox, the latter having a simple install, but the former having more press (i.e. it has a brain cell devoted to remembering that i've heard of it).

i'm also looking for someone to donate a mac to a good cause.

11 August 2008

Agile 2008

i am finally returned from agile2008, held this year in toronto, canadia. i'll try to capture some of the findings or learnings from the week, but it may come as a trickle. we'll see how well my notes hold up.

my initial response to the conference was shock and horror. the first day consisted of 'research in progress' presentations. i tend to think of myself as an academically minded person with a large spoonful of pragmatism (comments welcome), but these presentations, along with group discussions to provide feedback, were largely useless, time wasting activities, perhaps due to my not having read any preparatory material before taking my seat. in general, each presentation was too brief to impart enough facts to judge the quality or depth of the research, sampling techniques, or analysis.

by far the largest frustration was to be found in folks' heavy reliance on poorly factored powerpoint slides. several people were even so bold as to read slides to their audience. the one man to pull it off was Gregg Pollack (of RailsEnvy), who managed to weave a great narrative around a demo of RSpec.

10 August 2008

linux saves the day

i've been having a problem with windows lately wherein one of my cpus gets pegged by a process that the built-in process monitor cannot report on. i downloaded the sysinternals process explorer and it told me that the 'hardware interrupts' process was the culprit. a quick google led me to a statement that the video driver might be to blame. well, shit, i know how to do that, i thought, remembering all of my linux problems from recent history. so i grabbed the latest nvidia driver from the support tube and ran it.

turns out that was a mistake. now i can't even boot to safe mode. well, i've reinstalled windows often enough to know how to do it, including all the drivers i had to get via my linux live cd last time.

i really want a mac.

quote of the day-or-so

Patterning your life around other's opinions is nothing more than slavery.
Lawana Blackwell, The Dowry of Miss Lydia Clark, 1999

back when people on tv could parse logic...

09 August 2008

paris responds

the sad part is that i'd prolly rather vote for her than barrack or the white haired dude.
See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

31 July 2008

candians prove public transit is bad for your health

up north:

"He calmly walked up to the front (of the bus) with (the victim's) head in his hand and the knife and then dropped the head in front of us," Caton said, adding he believes the suspect later returned to the back of the bus and was seen later "taunting police with the head in his hand out the window."

Caton said the suspect appeared calm.

"What struck me, it was like he was at the beach or something," he said.

(via blacknell)

29 July 2008

what up with the scrabble?

Hasbrö, et al, have finally killed my only proper use of facebook: scrabulous. an odd move, considering their own offering is also free. theirs is, however, quite inferior. so rather than even buy scrabulous, which comes with half a bagillion users, they're going to try for a napster II and decimate what market/user base their IP enjoyed.

26 July 2008

if you liked dr. horrible...

you might not like this. but i'm going to record it anyway.
This weekend, you are invited to watch Institute for Justice President Chip Mellor and IJ Board Member Bob Levy on C-SPAN2 Book TV. Chip and Bob will discuss their new book The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom. The segment, which was filmed at a Manhattan Institute event last week, will air Saturday, July 26 at 7:30 PM, Sunday, July 27 at 10:00 AM, and Monday, July 28 at 4:45 AM, Eastern Time.

Chip and Bob explain how The Dirty Dozen cases have had a profound effect on the rule of law and the lives of ordinary Americans. While some of the cases are well known, others are often unfamiliar even to lawyers. Yet each had the effect of amending numerous provisions of the Constitution. The authors argue that judicial activism created new constitutional rights out of whole cloth and erased rights that are constitutionally protected. Unlike some who call for the judiciary to defer to legislative and executive authority, Chip and Bob call for principled and consistent judicial engagement to restore proper respect for the Constitution as it was written.

19 July 2008

free hayek

facebook has served some small purpose: free downloads of F.A. Hayek! don't all of you break the intertubes with simultaneous downloads.

The Road to Serfdom
Denationalisation of Money
Choice in Currency: A Way to Stop Inflation

i also found a download in the same tube that assembles a couple of Friedman's works.

18 July 2008

munger spotting

i witnessed munger give a little presentation today that actually had a few people nodding their heads in agreement. part of his success, other than his dashing good looks and charismatic bluster, is his utter lack of craziness inherent in most big-L libertarians. he made sure to distance himself from big-L-ism by prefacing some responses with "the party line is." his position as professor and department chair, along with a public sector work history, only increased his presentability.

btw, i have one or two extra bumper stickers if anyone is interested.

17 July 2008

Dr Horrible's sing-along blog

an odd, but enjoyable, musical mini show on the webs about an incapable mad scientist wannabe, his nemesis, and his dream girl from the laundromat. mit singing!

14 July 2008

Chip Mellor, friend of freedom

Chip Mellor offers some insight on economic freedom over at the economist.

he has a book coming out (that anyone could get for me if they wanted) that looks like a fine read, and that offers a fresh look at how progressives rewrote the constitution. i regret not having attended the local dog and pony show when i had the chance.

12 July 2008

involuntary servitude is our path to national salvation

wow. a super-awesome post (via Cafe Hayek), that one really must read for oneself, deconstructing and filleting the notion of compulsory volunteer work set me wondering about our complete lack of forethought on yet another issue with wide-reaching implications. not only would some require servitude from our youth, but the beneficiaries of this free labor would be chosen by our elite social overlords, none of whom share my values or, for that matter, have a clue as to what needs a-fixin' to begin with. let the special interest orgy begin!

10 July 2008

munger vid

tools are dangerous when they support ceremony

i had a conversation with a smart guy at work today who has been reading about information theory and how repetition supports the transfer of meaning. he applied this concept to a discussion about ruby, claiming that ruby was too terse to be an effective way to write systems, though accepting the fact that rails has some good features (he hasn't seen that much of it and neither have i). he likes java in eclipse because code completion and navigation make it easy to discover how the system works.

the argument definitely makes sense to some degree; i've made it myself in the past. but i think it's taking the wrong message away from the exercise: it is a smell that we need to discover the meaning in the first place through our tools. all that navigation is a necessary evil for digging our way through the cruft that builds up in a system written in java that uses IoC. there is so much ceremony that my eyes cannot find the meaningful pieces easily.

i'd rather use google to understand features of the framework or language rather than have to type them out repeatedly just to make sure i remember.

09 July 2008

what is the point of facebook?

i've been wondering for some time now just what i should be doing with social networking sites. wife got me to join facebook--against my better judgment at the time. someone else got me to join linkedin. i won't touch myspace.

once in a while, i would accept a friend request or set my status to something inane, but recently i decided i would use facebook as something of an aggregator, similar to google reader. i figured i could follow the work or goings on of interesting people. however, i wonder if that is an appropriate use of the site. i sent a friend request to a celebrity of sorts, who promptly responded with a polite 'do i know you?' (an entirely appropriate response for someone who uses facebook for private friend and life tracking).

so what is the purpose of facebook? i don't find anything particularly redeeming about it other than a way to sell ad space. what are people's expectations about the meaning of 'friend' on these sites?

04 July 2008

eat it, limeys!

a happy 4th of july to all my fellow americans. we should pause amidst all the hotdoggery and blowy-uppy to recall the purpose of today's festivities.

it is also on this magical holiday that i tend to think of my friends to the north in canadia. i think we should offer our support in overturning the iron rule of the queen. we have some experience in both overthrowing monarchies and installing democracy in foreign lands--a stellar record in both, i might add. have your people call my people and i'll set something up, eh?

30 June 2008

concentrated water

i shit you not:
Desalinated seawater from Hawaii, meanwhile, is being sold as "concentrated water" -- at $33.50 for a two-ounce bottle. Like any concentrated beverage, it is supposed to be diluted before drinking, except that in this case, that means adding water to . . . water.
(HT: wife)

29 June 2008

what qualifies as food?

Wife brought me a receipt for the items necessary to make s'mores. here's an odd statistic: graham crackers and hershey's milk chocolate bars qualify for the 2% food tax rate, but marshmallows and higher-grade dark chocolate do not. rather than focus on the disparity between the two groups, which strikes me as corporate favoritism, i'm more baffled by the fact that crackers and chocolate bars could ever be considered food.

seems food policy is at odds with health policy. wonder where i've heard that before.... well, one thing's for certain: nationalized health care would never be subjected to this kind of favoritism.

25 June 2008


i just returned a disc of Spooks to netflix. considering how long it's been since A&E stopped showing it, i had forgotten how awesome the show truly is. this latest disc (2 episodes) was practically on par with a Borne movie: suspenseful and engaging. one of the major features of the show is that no character is safe. at any moment, each could be taken out by a sniper, bomb, or knife-wielding midget, enhancing suspense to no end. (maybe that doesn't fly with a general american audience accustomed to celebrity fit club and milf island.)

highly recommended. as with every show from the beeb, wife and i also have fun trying to recall where we've seen each actor.

quote of the day-or-so

On every question of construction, let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823

23 June 2008

us constitution: get yours today!

i have an extra copy of the Cato pocket reference containing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. let me know if'n you want it. first come, first served.

22 June 2008

bad news bears ain't got nothing on me

my nigh last place softball team (14th of 15) just won two straight playoff games against 3rd seeded teams. turns out overconfidence truly is a weakness. apparently these guys had been betting all week who would win in their game, having assumed right off that we would lose immediately.

the problem here is that i had already made plans contingent on our losing the first game. what is a champion to do?

why html + javascript sucks

first, i'll start with one of the arguments that i've always disliked. well, not always, because i made it once upon a time ago.

As I look at apps like Gmail, Mobile Me, 280 Slides, Yahoo! Mail, etc etc…. I say screw it. People upgrade their computers when they want to run things faster, why can’t we ask them to upgrade their browsers.

If you have a simple content site, then it is fine to support everyone, but as you build rich apps, maybe it is time NOT to be a crutch and support these browsers.

i got better. i also got clobbered with the reality of this world that is missing in the idea above: there's no such thing as a free lunch. that and no one gives a rat's ass about your app if they can't use it on their machine, especially my grandmother, who has a dual-core Ford. just because you like to tinker on a computer doesn't mean everyone else does.

you'd think that after over 12 years of doing this web thing that i'd love html and javascript. we're tight, to be sure, but i still want to drown these guys in a tub and dump their bodies in the bay. if you haven't heard, i dislike xml and strings. while not quite xml all the time, html is still one big string, a string with all kinds of whiny, browser-specific needs.

some folks have done some pretty amazing things making browsers not suck as much, but that's just lipstick on a div. all of it is a balsawood crutch to make 'all' browsers into the same platform. well, as it turns out, some other crafty folks have done some decent work making browsers into the same platform. their work appears to me to be more like a VM inside a browser, letting me take advantage of simpler UI designs and letting the server concentrate on making non-UI things happen.

i'm pretty keen on trying Flex + Rails to get the best of both worlds, though as microsoft provides more and better support for ruby in .NET, silverlight starts to look better, especially in an internal, ms-centric environment: ruby in the client and on the server.

anyone hiring web developers? i know html and javascript and have a great can-do attitude!

20 June 2008

Milton Friedman on ending the drug war

conservationists should embrace high gas prices

as Mark Perry noted,
High gas prices are working - consumers are changing their behavior by driving less and conserving gasoline. In fact, high gas prices have probably done more to change behavior and inspire conservation of fossil fuels than all of the Earth Days, and all of the efforts of groups like the Sierra Club, combined? Consumers have "found the religion of environmentalism and conservation" through high gas prices.
high gas prices, minus gubmint intervention, will drive greater competition among energy suppliers, including wind and solar. artificially low prices prevent investment in 'green' technologies that are necessarily more expensive, lacking expansive markets.

so while i don't care for the extra cash i'm doling out to get to work (of all places), my electric car will now be coming into my price range. funny how prices communicate so much information to people without any kind of press release.

19 June 2008

jack of all rants, master of ceremony

i attended a talk by Rick DeNatale the other day. he is an engaging speaker and seems to know his business inside and out. one word he used has stuck with me : ceremony. (sorry, Rick, i have a poor memory these days.) the definition i came away with (though perhaps not intended) was basically all the cruft that i have to type (or generate!) to communicate with the compiler or framework-of-the-day rather than with the humans who read it next (should you be so lucky).

while he spoke, i started to think more about ceremony in all the work i've done throughout the yarons. one of the reasons i like ruby is its ability to cut out much of that cruft. like declared fields that duplicate what's already in the database. or differentiating between short, int, and long. 99% of the time, i just want a number with or without decimal places. don't get me wrong, i appreciate having the option to conserve memory if i have to process a billion records simultaneously, but i don't do that often.

so why are we left with the cruft? why can't the direction setters ("architects?") understand the value in all the code that doesn't have to be written? the answer seems simple to me: intellectual laziness. not the kind that refuses to see the light, but rather the kind that doesn't show up for the debate, the fingers-in-ears-humming-tom's-diner version.

not all laziness is bad; we've all heard the quip that a good programmer is lazy, meaning they are smart enough to know that automating things is good. which brings me to a key underpinning of this laziness: tool support. i came to love eclipse when i was working in java, coming from c# that had a horrible IDE. eclipse let me run circles around the code without ever leaving the keyboard, provided i could remember the magic keystrokes. i thought it was the best thing since slicedbread.com. but i got incredibly tired of all the code, the shear volume of characters that had to be typed or generated to achieve the simplest things. (i won't even go into my dislike of xml/@xml overuse in javaland.) my circles were (are) ever-growing laps around a tangled maze of IoC, if i'm lucky.

but how much cleverness do we really need to inject into daily life before we take a collective step back and admit that we're too clever by far, that this monster we've created has escaped its pen and is wreaking more havoc than is worth the credentials of bringing this corpse to life? why can't we evolve this love of tool support into something more? why can't people recognize that smaller is better? let's use a language that speaks volumes in few words, delegates as much optimization as possible to a kick-ass VM, does NOT make me type any more than necessary to convey purpose, and is cleverly extensible out of the box.

just ahead: why html + javascript sucks.

pick a name, any name

i talked with a couple of home school fathers today who introduced me to a new fact: home schools must have a name, one that appears on transcripts. i never thought about it before, but it makes sense. the discussion revolved around picking a good name that showed how serious you are as a parent about your children's education. i've been wondering throughout the day what i would name mine. what have/would you name yours?

14 June 2008

your driving sucks

mine, too, at times. the explosion of signs doesn't help either. here are some simple rules that you should learn.
  1. don't be a dick. treat everyone on the road as if they're your best friend. or in my case, someone you like. apparently, you shouldn't put bumper stickers on your car either.
  2. learn some lane discipline. be in the proper lane at all times. if someone is passing you on the right and there isn't anyone in front of you, you've violated rule 1. i include 'keep right except to pass' in this rule.
  3. pay attention. get off the phone. stop eating. wake up. otherwise, you've violated rule 1 and all those crazy people are simple reacting to your inadequacies as a driver.
udpate: no bumper stickers.

09 June 2008

munger money bomblet

more of a hand grenade really. 3 July 2008.
We aren’t interested so much in the AMOUNT you contribute. But we want a large NUMBER OF PEOPLE to join us.

08 June 2008

tipping guilt

once again, i've left an insufficient tip for a waitress. it always makes me feel guilty--to such an extent that i remember it for a long time. this time, i was a bit tipsy after a few beers, but i had to pay so i could use my credit card since i didn't have any cash. apparently, i forget my tipping rules when this happens.
  1. calculate 10%
  2. double it
  3. round up to nearest dollar
the math is generally easy and it only costs me an extra dollar or two to get me some good karma. and, of course, i've known people who have been waiters, though none that truly made their living at it.

the hitch here is that it was for three pitchers of beer. i don't usually like to tip much on alcohol since it's always overpriced at restaurants anyway. in my role as miser, i still feel i came up short. should i donate to some wait staff charity to make amends with the universe?

schools: you know the solution

it's time for a quick quiz. what is the #1 criterion for success for a graduating high school student? i'll give you some time while i think of more snark. ok, time's up, what's your answer? i don't even have to guess what you said, because your answer is an opinion. and not even a very good one if you're not the parent of a graduating high school student.

more and more, our own futures are governed by the whim of 'experts' and bureaucrats whose jobs don't really align with our desires and responsibilities as parents and citizens. and yet these people are empowered to supplant the value systems of parents all over this country with their own priorities. the people most at risk of being controlled are those that cannot afford to pull their children from a failing system.

once in a while, i get some kind of freebie from the Reason Foundation, most likely due to my huge influence across the webs (hey, you're reading this). the latest item is a dvd of a reason.tv episode, plus some extras. the episode highlights the problems of a public school system that has lost touch with the community it serves. one that places teachers ahead of students.

one day we'll have our goals straight. we may even try to use persuasion rather than coercion to achieve those goals.

07 June 2008

consider the bigger picture

Ezra Klein discusses the results of a new study that may or may not be a surprise to you regarding the carbon footprint of the food you eat.
Carnegie Mellon researchers recently broke down the carbon footprint of foods, and their findings were a bit surprising. 83 percent of emissions came from the growth and production of the food itself. Only 11 percent came from transportation, and even then, only 4 percent came from the transportation between grower and seller (which is the part that eating local helps cut). Additionally, food shipped from far off may be better for the environment than food shipped within the country -- ocean travel is much more efficient than trucking.
a lesson here is to broaden one's view of the issue at hand to include more variables. kinda similar to the idea of what costs there are to recycling, no?

06 June 2008

Megatron deemed national security threat

a man was stopped at a security checkpoint at Heathrow for wearing a transformers t-shirt.

Mr Jayakody said the first guard started joking with him about the Transformers character depicted on his French Connection T-shirt.

'"Then he explains that since Megatron is holding a gun, I'm not allowed to fly,' he said.

'It's a 40ft tall cartoon robot with a gun as an arm. There is no way this shirt is offensive in any way, and what I'm going to use the shirt to pretend I have a gun?

He was cooperative with the supervisor and took off the the 'offensive' T-shirt, replacing it with another shirt in his carry on luggage.
i wish i could make this stuff up. then i could laugh at it.

31 May 2008

this is getting to be a habit

every week, i get a free city newspaper thrown on my driveway. sometimes i read a bit of it. one day after every delivery, there is another newspaper in the street in front of my house, directly opposite the driveway of the mysterious lady across the street. every time. i'm willing to wager that she decides that she doesn't want the paper and just chucks it away from her property, not caring where it ends up. i feel obliged to clean it up since there are still remains of old papers returning to dust in the street.

anyone have surveillance equipment i can borrow to catch her in the act?

26 May 2008

creating the mac experience on linux

i am yet again in search of another piece of software to make my linux machine into as macish a machine as possible. any thoughts on equivalents (perhaps too strong a word) for garage band and imovie? the stuff i've found so far either won't run, sucks, or is just way too complex to start using.

23 May 2008

how is it that Iran got it right when we didn't?

Drew Carey addresses the kidney transplant waiting list in the US. interesting soundbite: "the government could pay $90k-100k per kidney and still save money."

the Libertarian convention in one pic

19 May 2008

mac or retirement?

my sister-in-law has asked for my recommendation re: a new laptop for grad school. (yes, she's much younger.) i have given my support to a MacBook. anyone have anything solid to sway my decision? her intended uses include writing documents, using a webs browser, and listening to music.

15 May 2008

still looking for that itunes replacement

i stumbled upon jajuk while searching for nerd-config settings for ubuntu's default rhythmbox installation--just need to rip my remaining CDs to a decent quality level. (turns out that's hard to do.) jajuk has introduced perspectives (people familiar with the eclipse ide will understand what that is), which is exactly what i requested from the apple itunes team a year or two ago at least. it also appears fairly mac-ish and i'm a mac wannahaver. sounds fairly promising, eh? not so. there is no amd64 package, though i'm sure i could donk that into existence.

but it's probably not worth it. even though they bill the software as an itunes replacement, it doesn't even rip(!). i'm now on to atunes.

13 May 2008


since robin was good enough to jpimp his warez on my blog4j, i thought i'd give it a try. emusic/j is simple and does it's job without getting in my way. best of all, i can still download an entire album at once, something i couldn't do without the emusic client. and honestly, that's all i need this thing to do.
from Hagy

12 May 2008


finally checked out jamendo which i'd read about a few places while researching how to get linux to heed my will. free music, not all of which sucks. downloads seem to be way slow, but firefox does a great job of queueing all the requests and the site makes it easy to listen to tracks while you wait.

11 May 2008

emusic support

i had a touch of trouble re-installing the linux emusic client for searching and downloading tracks so i submitted a support ticket via their site. a couple hours later and i've already had multiple responses (on a sunday!) and have realized there are several options for downloading the DRM-less tracks. (turns out i can just use a normal web browser.)

i've taken itunes gift cards off my amazon wish list. if someone could sell me a single CD-RW, i'd appreciate it.

06 May 2008

your gubmint hates the earth

though not the first story of its kind, this article from the LA Times epitomizes the nightmare that is dealing with inefficient regulation. rather than re-craft regulatory schemes to aid in releasing the grip Big Oil has on each of us, our overlords are whipping us back into our holes, making sure american entrepreneurship is stifled. if we want to make some movement away from fossil fuels, we need to embiggen our search to include some trial and error.
"Our mentality is to look for the next silver bullet" to replace petroleum, Tamminen said by telephone while driving a car fueled by compressed natural gas. "But there is no silver bullet, only buckshot. We are going to need every one of these silver buckshots to be developed as best it can."

05 May 2008

done with linux

done in the sense that everything is up and running great. in a strange turn, my back and forward buttons on my mouse only started working after setting up some xbindkey stuff and rebooted. i would have thought i only had to restart X, but i guess the system has to make fresh with the events.

i also ditched gdesklets in favor of screenlets. the photo frame isn't so hot, but these babies actually work, which is more than i can say for gdesklets.

i also just recently discovered that there are a slew of free games for linux. not sure why i have a dual-boot. i really need to get cooking on the itunes conversion.

Et tu, New Zealand?

In New Zealand, not only is it illegal to sell video games with adult content to kids, but it is also illegal for parents to buy such games for their kids. Because, you know, the government knows better than parents about how to raise kids.

04 May 2008

so simple i wish i'd thought of it

in a fit of genius, Johnny Debacle over at Long or Short Capital has hit upon a world-saving technology: make mortgages out of corn.

01 May 2008

Ditch "The Man"

How can we reduce our per person energy consumption in America? We need to ditch The Man, or else our personal habits won't amount to much. At least according to this brief article on Wired. I tend to agree. Big gubmint = big waste.

28 April 2008

keep your grubby hands out my pocket

not only is the city gubmint forcing the installation of polluting street lights, my neighbors are now trying to raise my already high monthly homeowners' dues to pay for 'prettier' lights. the same folks who didn't want them are now asking me to pony up for these polished turds.

the idea that these lights are going to make us safe is preposterous. the back of every house, complete with all-glass door, is bathed in darkness, providing ample opportunity for crime. these lights are just a feel-good non-answer. get a dog or get a gun. or better yet, a gun dog.

I don't like yardwork

Anyone who has been to my compound in the woods knows this immediately.

Chris Harding has a great webcomic that sums it up:

27 April 2008

flash is working!

i can't believe i have to put an exclamation mark in there! reminds me of seinfeld! i re-installed ubuntu 7.10 amd64 and installed the flash plugin with nspluginwrapper with no hitches this time. all my firefox plugins were hosed for some reason. it is unfortunate that i could only figure out how to fix them by re-installing. i just don't know my unix that well.

i also ran into an issue while beating my head on the flash issue: a bash script i wrote insisted that it didn't recognize certain system commands (e.g. find and ls) unless i provided a full path to the file. anyone got a hint for a noob?

26 April 2008

a firm grip on spending

i always get a huge laugh when companies spend millions on logos that a child of eight could create. at least her majesty's office of government commerce only spent £14k on this one. i will reproduce the effect that truly caught my eye:
it is not inappropriate to an organisation that’s looking to have a firm grip on Government spend.

web 2.0: BS or useful BS?

an article at inside higher ed offers proof of the validity of student ratings at ratemyprofessor.com.
A new study is about to appear in the journal Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education and it will argue that there are similarities in the rankings in RateMyProfessors.com and IDEA, a student evaluation system used at about 275 colleges nationally and run by a nonprofit group affiliated with Kansas State University.
i preferred professors that could teach me, even though i was not the best student, failing to take full advantage of my professors' time and office hours (take note, young uns!).

my favorite professor doesn't even appear in the listing. maybe his rank was so high that they had to build him his own site. my least favorite (no link as he has since passed) would read the text book to us in class, providing a wonderful opportunity to catch up on crosswords and news.

Li Wei

i was forwarded a link to some far-out photography. the claim is that
His work is a mixture of performance art and photography that creates illusions of a sometimes dangerous reality. Li Wei states that these images are not computer montages and works with the help of props such as mirror, metal wires, scaffolding and acrobatics.