January 2004 Archives

Nothing like starting out the day by reading that the voting machines due to be used in an upcoming election in your state are completely insecure, making election results trivial to manipulate, and by extension, completely unreliable.

Best record label name *EVER*: I Used To Fuck People Like You In Prison Records

sigh

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Anybody have any suggestion for what to do about this sort of thing? (Yes, that’s my photo, my copyright, and it’s a straight link to the file on this site, yadda yadda, silly rabbit.) Is replacing it with a goatse file mandatory, or just traditional?

Update: Okay, file replaced with a, um, slightly nastier one. That link is now non-work-safe. 8^)=

the baby

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A few more photos for the fans:

TheBaby, Jan 2004TheBaby, Jan 2004

I swear I’ve seen her namesake make the exact same expression as I captured in that second photo…

linux is everywhere

Last week, I took a day trip up to NYC for LinuxWorld. I didn’t spring for the whole package this year, just the free pass to get onto the show floor. All in all, I guess it was worth the train ride up there — there were about as many vendors as last year, the same cool projects in the ‘org’ section of the show, the same big vendors, doing much the same canned presentations… Afterwards, I wandered around Mid-town for a number of hours, and ended up buying a Zaurus in J&R Computer World. I’m pretty happy with it.

I was supposed to be teaching tonight, but thanks to the weather, my butt is parked in front of the couch, laptop is fully deployed, and I’m watching the results roll in. Yee haw, baby, yee haw.

Update at 8:24pm: MSNBC is calling it Kerry first, Dean second, but they’re not calling the split yet…

Update at 10:30pm: So, it looks like Dean is going to end up trailing Kerry by about 12 points — a “loss”, at least according to the talking heads. Based on some of the post-Iowa polling, however, he made up a lot of ground this week. All that said, what I saw of his “concession” speech was pretty awe-inspiring, and he’s still my guy in this race.

Sun to Windows-certify x86 hardware. The Dell spokesperson was apparently laughing too hard to offer a comment.

pornzilla

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Something tells me that the Flutterbarians are going to really be into this one: Pornzilla

The goal of the Pornzilla project is to make Mozilla into a great porn browser. We mostly contribute to Mozilla directly, but in cases where the requirements for a porn browser conflict with the requirements for a general-release browser, we will release modifications that aren’t included in the main Mozilla distribution.

For those of you that managed to choke down your gorge and sit throught the entire SOTU last night, the Center for American Progress has a Fact vs. Claim Analysis to help sort out truth from fiction.

Just in case there was any doubt about how those imfamous “faith-based initiatives” are being implemented, there’s some lawsuit-based light being shed:

Most inmates at Iowa’s Newton Correctional Facility live three to a cell and have no privacy, even when they use the toilet. But if they agree to immerse themselves in Bible study and “the transforming love of Jesus Christ,” according to two lawsuits filed yesterday, they are given keys to their cell doors, private bathrooms, free phone calls — even access to big-screen TVs.

It’s somewhat curious to me that Joel Spolsky, who has clearly spent a lot of time thinking about how to get the most and best effort out of his programmers, apparently doesn’t believe in professional systems administration, instead indulging in kludgey one-off band-aide fixes for his company’s problems.

There’s a rant in here about how coders think about and relate to systems administration, but I’m still getting over this viral thing, so I’m going to save it for the moment.

for later

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JWZ’s 2003 music wrapup. A few interesting sounding things, which I need to run through RIAA Radar before wish-listing them.

Interesting OS News article about various things you can do with an old Ultra5. I need to read the next parts of the series as they’re released and think about doing something different with the Ultra10 I’ve borrowed from work…

So, I took this week off from work, hoping to get some work done on the class I’ll be teaching next fall, and planning to run up to LWC in NYC for the day on either Wednesday or Thursday. And then sometime last night, I came down sick with something. Grrrr.

Seems to be viral, in that I’ve got fever, chills, achiness, and general blahness going on. And it’s not the flu, dammit.

Anyway, everybody is watching the SOTU tonight, right? The Independent (a UK newspaper) has some stats that you might want to review prior to watching.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to drag my sorry ass back upstairs and take my temp again.

Update: I must be more sick than I thought — I’ve already missed the “upbeat” SOTU address, at least according to ABC. sigh

(via Atrios…)

My butt is firmly planted in the Big Red Couch of Doom, the TV is on, and I’m bouncing around the web, hitting various political sites. (I keep returning to ValueJudgment and DailyKos…) Occasional pings to the 2004 Caucus leaderboard are showing that they don’t have any data yet.

So far, this is what I have determined: Tucker Carlson is Teh Suck, and nobody really knows much of anything at this point. More thoughts later, perhaps.

Update Christ, I wish these people would stop talking about how cold it is in Iowa. They just pointed out that it’s -1 in Des Moines (with the wind chill). I lived in Iowa for four years — -1 isn’t all that cold, okay? Geez.

Right now, about 9pm EST, results are running Kerry, Edwards, Dean, with Dean rather weaker than expected. Most of the precincts reporting appear to be on the small side, however, based on the number of precincts reporting versus the attendence.

New Hampshire is going to be interesting.

Update #2: I thought Edwards had the best post-caucus speech, despite being long on fuzzy plans and short on details. Kerry was boring, and Dean was, well, Dean was a bit scary. (Less scary on second viewing, but still not good.) Time for bed, I think — the New Hampshire fun will start tomorrow.

Groklaw has the straight dope on Microsoft and their free S4U offer:

Later, they say, Services for Unix could be integrated into Windows, because their license with SCO allows them to do that. Could be. Erm, does ‘later’ mean after they destroy all Linux competition in the server space, by any chance?

Interesting who MS is in bed with on this, too — read the story.

The Astronomy Picture of the Day for today is a 360 degree panorama of the Spirit landing site.

During all the other problems you have today, remember this: we threw a robot car onto the next planet over, and we’re driving the damn thing around by remote control, based on the pictures it’s sending back to us. So when somebody hassles you, tells you that something is too difficult or impossible, look ‘em straight in the eye and say, “Dammit, if we can toss a robot car onto another friggin’ planet and drive it around, there’s nothing that’s impossible, if we just decide we want to do it.”

About Last Night… The Boyfriend was really good, and you should read it. (Warning: it is at nerve.com, which may set off work filters, but there isn’t anything terribly objectionable at that particular link — just a good story.)

The Eight Rules of Security looks like it should have something to bother both sides of a typical security debate. (At least, for the debates that occur at my ork-place, that is.)

RIAA wants to play cops; consumers selected for role of robbers. It seems like the LAPD ought to have something to say about the pseudo-police tactics…

One good thing about Bush’s get-out-the-Latino-vote plan — if they’re messing around with this sort of plan at this point in the game, they must not be confident that the rigged voting machines will let them carry the show.

(I think I just passed completely through cynicism and into whatever lies on the other side of it…)

yo seth

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(b) is geekier. by a damn sight.

/. pointed to a Bruce Sterling interview, which is worth a read. The part that really struck me comes towards the end, when Sterling says (almost as a throwaway line):

…there are certain psychological aspects to human social organization that — I wouldn’t call them timeless, but they are commonalities.

I also like to experiment with them. I like to experiment with the media. I’d like to see what people can do with the Internet that they cannot do on paper. And there are certain things one can do that are not worth doing. Like I can set up a discussion group that’s open to everybody! And that is not worth doing. It’s sort of proven that it immediately turns into a cesspool because it’s badly designed.

And I thought, hmm, that has relevance for recent discussions both at Medley (“Unfounded Communities” and “More on Communities”) and at Flutterby (“Incoherrent Comments” and “death of weblogs, film at 11”). So I’m pointing it out, because I don’t know the answers to any of the questions that Medley and Flutterby are raising, but I am interested in continuing to talk about them. (Maybe if we talk about the problem for long enough, we won’t need to find the answer anymore…)

A few more “class” links:

In a fit of hubris (i.e., not checking the command carefully before I ran it), I just deleted the contents of my MP3 directory. No great loss, as most of the stuff I snagged from Emusic was in a different directory, but damn, I really had better things to do over the next month than re-rip all the damn CDs…

Bradley endorsed Dean this morning:

“In 2000, the Supreme Court declared that George Bush had defeated Al Gore, but his Code Orange warnings continue to remind us Bush has not defeated al Qaeda. As a Democrat, I wanted him to lose against Gore, but as an American I desperately wanted him to win against al Qaeda,” Bradley said. “Sadly, he still has not.”

I quite like that first sentence…

As I think I’ve mentioned, I’m going to be teaching an {Advanced,Bio}Perl class next fall. Until I get the wiki for the class up, I’m going to be dumping URLs here…

  • Single User Subversion — doesn’t explain why I’d want to use Svn rather than CVS
  • Beginning Python for Bioinformatics — one class theme will be “use the right tool for the job”
  • Prompt magic — all about things you can do with your command line prompt. (Another class theme is going to be “hone your tools and working environment for maximum productivity”.)

I saw A Week with Fedora Core 1 and was somewhat excited to read it, because the description was “a beginner tries out various Linux distros”, and I thought it would be interesting to see what happened. Unfortunately, the “beginner” writing the article has been using RedHat since the 5.2 days, so the article really wasn’t what I expected. From the sounds of it, a true newbie wouldn’t have been able to get Fedora to install, either.

A few personal update notes (mainly because we didn’t actually get around to sending out the holiday cards, and I’m afraid of what fate will befall me if I don’t get some new pictures of TheBaby distributed to her fans…)

My parents came for a visit back in November, and brought us an heirloom quilt:

seriously old quilty goodness

Here are some pictures of TheBaby from around that time:

TheBabyTheBaby

We got some snow in December, and I got this picture looking out the front of our house into the tree in our yard:

artsy snow goodness

(I think that’s a pretty good artsy sort of picture…)

TheBaby had surgery to (hopefully!) correct a lazy eye problem. Afterwards, it looked like somebody had socked her right in the eye, but it cleared up pretty quickly. (These pictures actually don’t show the worst of it.) We’re still waiting to see the eye doc for the post-op eval, but TheBaby is pretty happy about it:

TheBabyTheBabyTheBabyTheBaby

Finally, one of our gifts to ourself was a print for our bedroom:

non-snowy arty goodness

One of my 2004 resolutions is to be better about updating all my websites, so hopefully I’ll be posting here a bit more regularly in 2004. (However, another resolution is to quit caffeine, so I might just have slipped into a nacroleptic coma by the end of the week. We’ll just have to see how things go.) It looks like I’m going to be teaching a Perl class at the Montgomery County JHU campus next fall, so I’ve got a lot of reading to do for that — which should be good blog fodder. There’s also that little election we’re going to have in November, which I think I’m finally ready to start thinking and writing about (I’ve been avoiding it up until now, because I didn’t want to burn out prematurely.) I’m hoping 2004 is going to be a more exciting year than 2003, which overall felt like a “filler” year. Hope your 2004 is what you want it to be too.