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Looking for a Christmas present for the person who has everything?

The entire town of Bridgeville (or what's left of it, anyway) is for sale on eBay.

My sister wants to know: "How much is shipping?"

Wednesday, December 25, 2002 @ 05:26 p.m. - Comment


And my clients ask me...

Why I don't like Microsoft...

Tuesday, December 24, 2002 @ 05:45 p.m. - Comment


By request...

A classic from years past. The Physics of Santa -- with a rebuttal.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002 @ 04:25 p.m. - Comment


Cause I want them to look beautiful...

when NORAD tracks Santa, tonight...

Tuesday, December 24, 2002 @ 02:05 p.m. - Comment


Yes, Jessica...

it *is* a very nice rack.

:-)

Tuesday, December 24, 2002 @ 02:03 p.m. - Comment


You guys aren't horny enough out there...

A recent study, reported by Reuters, among other people, says that boobs are out, at least in Playboy's centerfold.

I can tell you, though, from looking at other sources, that this isn't nearly a problem in the general population...

Monday, December 23, 2002 @ 11:54 a.m. - Comment


UniXmas

For my Unix and Linux fans:


better !pout; better !cry
better watchout
lpr why
santaclaus <northpole >town

cat /etc/passwd >list
for ( i=0; i<2; i++ ) { ncheck list }
grep naughty list >nogiftlist
grep nice list >giftlist
santaclaus <northpole >town

who | grep sleeping
who | grep awake
who | egrep 'bad|good'
for ( goodness sake ) { be good }

better !pout; better !cry
better watchout
lpr why
santaclaus <northpole >town

If you don't understand exactly why that's so funny, print it out and show it to your local geek.

Monday, December 23, 2002 @ 11:07 a.m. - Comment


The Twelve Days of Christmas...

DOD style.

Subject: DoD's Twelve Days of Christmas

The President has authorized the Department of Defense to assist Santa with the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Status of acquisitions follows:

Day 1- Partridge in a pear tree: The Army and Air Force are in the process of deciding whose area of responsibility Day 1 falls under. Since the partridge is a bird, the Air Force believes it should have the lead. The Army, however, feels trees are part of the land component command's area of responsibility. After three months of discussion and repeated OpsDepsTank sessions, a M study has been commissioned to decide who should lead this joint program.

Day 2 - Two turtle doves: Since doves are birds, the Air Force claims responsibility. However, turtles are amphibious, so the Navy-Marine Corps team feels it should take the lead. Initial studies have shown that turtles and doves may have interoperability problems. Terms of reference are being coordinated for a four-year, M DARPA study.

Day 3 - Three French Hens: At State Department instigation, the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs has blocked offshore purchase of hens, from the French or anyone else. A M program is being developed to find an acceptable domestic alternative.

Day 4 - Four Calling Birds: Source selection has been completed, with the contract awarded to AT&T. However, the award is being challenged by a small disadvantaged business.

Day 5 - Five Golden Rings: No available rings meet MILSPEC for gold plating. A three-year, M accelerated development program has been initiated.

Day 6 - Six Geese a-Laying: The six geese have been acquired. However, the shells of their eggs seem to be very fragile. It might have been a mistake to build the production facility on a nuclear waste dump at former Air Force base that was closed under BRAC.

Day 7 - Seven Swans a-Swimming: Fourteen swans have been killed trying to get through the Navy SEAL training program. The program has been put on hold while the training procedures are reviewed to determine why the washout rate is so high.

Day 8 - Eight Maids a-Milking: The entire class of maids a milking training program at Aberdeen is involved in a sexual harassment suit against the Army. The program has been put on hold pending resolution of the lawsuit.

Day 9 - Nine Ladies Dancing: Recruitment of the ladies dancing has been halted by a lawsuit from the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Association." Members claim they have a right to dance and wear women's clothing as long as they're off duty.

Day 10 - Ten Lords a-Leaping: The ten lords have been abducted by terrorists. Congress has approved M in funding to conduct a rescue operation. Army Special Forces and a USMC MEU(SOC) are conducting a "NEO-off" competition for the right to rescue.

Day 11 - Eleven Pipers Piping: The pipe contractor delivered the pipes on time. However, he thought DoD wanted smoking pipes. DoD lost the claim due to defective specifications. A M dollar retrofit program is in process to bring the pipes into spec.

Day 12 - Twelve Drummers Drumming: Due to cutbacks only six billets are available for drumming drummers. DoD is in the process of coordinating an RFP to obtain the six additional drummers by outsourcing; however, funds will not be available until FY 05.

As a result of the above-mentioned programmatic delays, and due to a High OPTEMPO that requires diversion of modernization funds to support current readiness, Christmas is hereby postponed until further notice.

[ from Dave Colton via Jerry Pournelle. Why is it in the wrong order? Close enough for government work, I guess... ]

Friday, December 20, 2002 @ 08:23 p.m. - Comment


Ghod, I love the Net

If you didn't quite *get* all that powers of 10 stuff in school, check out this page from FSU, courtesy of Jerry Pournelle.

Friday, December 20, 2002 @ 08:14 p.m. - Comment


Student hacks school grades computer...

gets an A.

Can you say Man Bites Dog?

Friday, December 20, 2002 @ 11:45 a.m. - Comment


Some excellent material

on electronic voting and fraud is here, courtesy of Advogato; pay specific attention to tgw's exceptionally well researched rebuttal about halfway down the page.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002 @ 06:54 p.m. - Comment


Incest is Best

Put your TV to the test....

Michael Rapaport (Boston Public's Danny) to another character on Friends (where he was guesting -- you know, *right before* BP): "I'm sure that Sipowicz is gonna be ok; I hear that kid from Silver Spoons is really good."

Yeah, I think that one takes the record.

Monday, December 16, 2002 @ 07:20 p.m. - Comment


What the Illuminati

are going to do.

Sit back and tell me you don't care.

Sunday, December 1, 2002 @ 12:50 a.m. - Comment


Oh, this is cool

The firmware for the phone is probably written in Java -- so why not give the potential customers to play with to see if they like it?

[ Note: this blasted thing doesn't seem to work right in Netscape 7, which is what I use; I'm afraid you'll have to go over to the Dark Side to try it out... ]

Wednesday, November 27, 2002 @ 04:09 p.m. - Comment


Who'da thunk it?

The Firesign Theatre were right:

Illuminati take over the US Government.

I can't begin to tell you how afraid to be.

Friday, November 22, 2002 @ 11:08 p.m. - Comment


Think before you Speak

We do have free speech in these United States... but it's a good idea to consider how you want to *use* it.

I find it a bit amusing that less than 48 hours after I hear an All Thing Considered piece on Saudi Arabia being concerned that it's clergy are inciting hate against the US, that CNN runs a piece on almost the same topic...

'cept the people being inciteful are Americans.

Thought provoking...

Thursday, November 21, 2002 @ 11:19 a.m. - Comment


Nerf!

Not the ball. The Herder(s).

I was exceptionally cranky that I got stuck directing a TV show tonight too late to actually *hear* their set... but Parry, Steve, Dave and Ben were gracious enough, at the behest of their tour manager, Justin to autograph my first-season Buffy DVD set.

They did play the track tonight, too, Parry tells me. They don't, always, apparently. I gather they're not buying a house on the profits, though.

Nice bunch of guys, nonetheless.

I chatted with Parry a bit, after the show, and found ou a few interesting tidbits. Seems they got that gig (the Buffy theme, I mean, not Punk-O-Rama :-) because someone at Mutant Enemy -- Joss Whedon's production company -- had a Nerf Herder CD in their walkman that week, and when none of Joss' scorers could come up with a main title he liked, he called them. The result, says Parry, was "just something we had lying around". Apparently, "just something they had lying around" meshed pretty well with the already edited show open, in style and tempo, and they didn't have to change it much.

They did, however, re-record it, after the second season. Parry thinks, though, and I concur, that the original track is better. We like it, basically, for all the reasons that the network (you *know* it was the network) didn't.

I was curious how many of the crowd -- it was a slightly older crowd than usual for a punk show at The State -- recognized the tune. Didn't get to find out -- they frontsold the song. Guess I can't blame them...

Tuesday, November 19, 2002 @ 11:06 p.m. - Comment


Maybe the Court has hope after all

We live in a land where the phrase "Rule Of Law" means something. Well, it always had, until the Supreme Court handed the 2000 Presidential Election to George Bush, with no regard for what the *voters* actually wanted...

But perhaps there's hope for the Supremes, after all.

Larry Lessig got to argue a copyright term extension law case in front of them recently, and he thinks they Get It.

Amongst the other people who Get It are many of the people in the comments for this entry -- I do *so* enjoy the framing of many of their comments...

Monday, November 18, 2002 @ 02:25 p.m. - Comment


Harry Potter and the

Logistical Nightmare.

:-)

Monday, November 18, 2002 @ 01:16 p.m. - Comment


Ghod, I love Linus...

Herewith, his explanation of How To And Not To Get Things Included in his kernel tree, and why you probably shouldn't care anyway...

Great stuff...

Thursday, November 14, 2002 @ 02:53 p.m. - Comment


Just so's I don't lose this...

Did Ken Thompson really Trojan the Unix C compiler?

Tuesday, November 12, 2002 @ 11:06 p.m. - Comment


So, why'd I leave it up?

Well, at least *one* of my non-Republican candidates won.

Not bad, but I think next week is going to be even better.

Sam, buddy; we hardly knew ye...

Wednesday, November 6, 2002 @ 10:03 p.m. - Comment


All Hallows' Eve

That day, each year, when we celebrate the inculcation of rampant materialism among the nation's youth.

Thursday, October 31, 2002 @ 06:49 p.m. - Comment


Game

the fuck on!

And they did the debate segments in video, too.

Outstanding. Probably the best episode of the season so far.

Why aren't you watching this show?

Wednesday, October 30, 2002 @ 09:58 p.m. - Comment


The flapping of a butterfly's wings on the other side of the world

could... knock down the World Trade Center?

Ok, it's just gonna get Microsoft in trouble, but it *was* in Midtown.

We're not thrilled.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002 @ 08:49 p.m. - Comment


Every once in a while

I get more opinionated than usual. There's another chance for Florida to fuck up election coming up. There are a lot of proposed Constitutional amendments on it.

This Is, in general, Bad.

Constitutions aren't intended to be easy to amend -- and they did that on purpose; it's just that, as you'd expect from watching us become a third-world state in the last couple elections, we didn't do it as well as some.

Amendment 1 - Capital Punishment

Times says No.

I like this one, actually, and most especially the part that says that any ex-post-facto decision that a specific *method* of execution is unlawful shall not automagically commute a sentence of death -- a sentence, let us remember, imposed by a jury.

Yes.

Amendment 2 - Amendment Price Tags

Times says No.

I disagree. There are already ways to find out this information when the amendment is one proposed by the Legislature -- *their* work product is public, unlike that of citizen committees and coalitions. I recommend a Yes on 2.

Amendment 3 - Miami-Dade Home Rule

Times says Yes.

I say: who cares? Sure, vote yes...

Amendment 4 - Government in the Sunshine, Damnit!

Times says Yes, and I strongly agree.

This amendment would require a supermajority vote of the Legislature to pass a bill making an exemption to the laws requiring government records to be publicly accessible.

Amendment 5 - There Is No Amendment Number 5

No, I'm not kidding.

Amendment 6 - Smoking in Restaurants

Times says Yes, and I strongly disagree.

Times also says:

"We think it should be a restaurant owner's right to determine if he or she wants to make a restaurant smoke-free," said Warren Husband, the association's general counsel. Under current law, a restaurant can reserve up to 35 percent of its space for smokers.

But that argument ignores the rights of those who work in restaurants and customers who have no smoke-free alternatives. Those people are forced to risk their health, and that is too great a price to pay.

Oh, I get it: customer can vote with their feet to eat at non-smoking only places, but employees can't?

To quote Bill Cosby: Ri-i-i-i-i-ght!!!

Times neglects to note that this has been through the legislature several times and failed to pass.

Amendment 7 - The Old People Contruction Amendment

Times says No.

So do I.

This is the sort of thing that might make a good law -- though it requires more thought than it's obviously been given -- but sure in Hell doesn't belong in the Florida Constitution.

Amendment 8 - Pre-K

Times says Yes.

This is where it gets rough, folks.

The definition of a principle is something you stand for even when it cuts against you. I'm really not convinced that this, even if it's a good thing -- which almost everyone seems to agree it is, even me -- belongs in the Constitution.

If the people of the state of Florida think that citizen initiatives are a Good Thing -- and they clearly do -- then they need to enact *one* more amendment: one that permits citizen legislative initiatives. Until then, put this one off: No.

Amendment 9 - Class Size

Times says No.

I agree.

But not for their reasons.

Talk to most any parent and you'll hear the concern: How can my kindergartner pay attention with 26 others in the same room?
I did it. All the way through high-school. Didn't seem to hurt me none. Those other kids didn't cause much trouble... cause the teacher told them to shut up.

And they did.

Next?

Amendment 10 - Pregnant Pigs

Times says Yes.

Unh unh.

The argument that this amendment does not belong in the Florida Constitution is misguided. The same could be said of the anti-smoking amendment on this year's ballot and of the net fishing ban approved by voters several years ago. The only process citizens have to address needs that have been ignored by the Legislature is through a constitutional amendment, and lawmakers have not been responsive on this subject. Besides, who would argue that stopping animal cruelty and protecting the state from an environmental disaster are not worthy subjects?

Worthy of constitutional treatment? Me, that's who.

Their argument, above is misguided, for the reasons I myself have set out above.

Amendment 11 - Board Of Regents

Times says Yes.

This one hurts, too. I should really say no here, on principle. But there's no other way to spank the Legislature for screwing up. So I'll say No, and you go ignore me.

But whatever you do, Vote!

And don't forget to watch for real time election results on the 5th.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002 @ 06:31 p.m. - Comment


Yep...

it's official:


I screwed up.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002 @ 05:33 p.m. - Comment


Oh, my...

God...

Wednesday, October 30, 2002 @ 04:29 p.m. - Comment


Sidebar

In the publishing business, it's a story over on the side of the page that gives you more background about the topic of the main story.

On the web, it's a reall cool toy that Netscape 6 and now 7 support for keeping you connected while you surf.

If you're using NS7, go check it out.

If you're not... Go ye hence and get it, now. It's really worth it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002 @ 08:07 p.m. - Comment


No

Bass-tronaut!

Denied!

Tuesday, October 29, 2002 @ 08:02 p.m. - Comment


Looking through my logs...

I see that 10% of my traffic comes from one person -- who has an Earthlink DSL connection. Hello, TOWER, whomever you are. :-)

And I think I see old photographer buddy Margaret still checking in from Bryn Mawr; say hi, girlfriend!

Tuesday, October 29, 2002 @ 10:55 a.m. - Comment


New Show...

I'm working on -- and apparently have just been promoted to director of -- yet another new community access TV show, Next Level TV. We had a pretty free-for-all audition shoot in the studio last Saturday -- man, but it's nice to do something other than religion -- on which I was graced by 3 pretty damned fine camerapeople, a floor director who was both a) female (for best interface with the talent in their swimsuits) and b) tolerant (for best interface with the horndog crew :-) -- Thanks, Mary -- and of course my associate producer sister, who kept us from being overrun by beautiful women.

No, no; she kept them in the green room and parceled them out one at a time. :-)

My personal bets are Celeste and Jessica, but I ain't the boss -- we've got another shoot on the 16th, on our own private Idaho... excuse me, "island".

We'll see how much trouble I can get myself into there. ;-)

Tuesday, October 29, 2002 @ 09:58 a.m. - Comment


Someone asked me recently...

for examples of how Windows XP's license agreement might cause users to violate the law. My apologies for the delay in getting back to this; here are two pieces: the original, which turns out not to be from RISKS Digest, after all, and a more recent one, from Mac Observer, which I found from a GoogleNews hit.

Thursday, October 24, 2002 @ 10:19 p.m. - Comment


Oh, cool

Nuestra Senora de Atocha.

The Spanish galleon recovered by Mel Fisher in the 80's was -- in addition to being a, well, treasure chest -- an archeological treasure trove.

Except that the archeologists saved their data on a couple of storage formats that aren't readable anymore.

Enter Sellam Ismail. He runs, you see, a vintage computer museum and consultancy out in California, and *he* had a VHS-videotape based data backup drive, and all the pieces to make it work. He's flying out to convert their data and -- more importantly -- set them up with an archive migration plan, to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Oh... the most reliable long-term archival storage for television programs?

Color-separated black and white 35mm film at 30fps, with the color primaries noted on a frame at the head and tail of the transfer.

Videotape.

Bah.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 @ 04:56 p.m. - Comment


No, Pam...

you usually don't survive walking into the tail rotor.

More reason that medevac should be getting done in NOTAR helo's.

But the proper solution is to answer Avery Brooks' question: "Where are the flying cars? I was promised flying cars!"

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 @ 01:23 p.m. - Comment


And, in this current

topical mood about security, remember:


Practice safe sectors, and always wear your write-protect tab...

[ Thanks to My Two Larry's ]

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 @ 12:03 p.m. - Comment


Folo: what to do if you get attacked

Well, the language is a little weird. This SANS paper describes what to do if you discover that your machine has been 'rootkitted' to be used as a DDoS attacker. Course, it only applies to Unixy people, so... :-}

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 @ 11:46 a.m. - Comment


It was bound to happen...

Late Monday night, according to the Washington Post, a Distributed Denial of Service attack was conducted by, obviously, parties unknown, against all 13 root nameservers.

DDoS attacks are particularly miserable to defend against because they can't conveniently be filtered out -- instead of a lot of swamping traffic coming from one compromised machine somewhere, you have, oh, a packet every ten seconds... coming from a million machines. (And ingress filtering isn't much help either, since DDoS machines needn't forge their source addresses.)

So, how'd those machines get that way?

In a word: Microsoft.

It's *long* been possible to architect and engineer operating systems in such a fashion as to make the deployment of the 'bots' that DDoS attackers use impractical, Micros~1 simply can't be bothered.

And guess what, folks?

The Internet hasn't been a nice, but ultimately unimportant, toy for at least 5 years now. If it goes down, you're going to feel it, and pretty quickly.

This is the dark side of Metcalfe's Law ("The value of a network increases as the square of the number of connected machines.") The value to a cracker increases, too.

[ A pretty decent webliography (yes, that's original {checks Google. Says 'Oops. :-)'}) on DDoS is here. ]

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 @ 11:15 a.m. - Comment


Oops

I had a sleeping-sickness weekend, apparently, and I didn't get to Jazz but Thursday. <pout>

Feeling Less Miserable(s) now.

Monday, October 21, 2002 @ 11:38 a.m. - Comment


It's Jazz Time

Didn't bring the laptop in; I'll file the opening-night story a bit later today.

Short version: Great lineup, slightly better than usual website, good merch, great sound.

Friday, October 18, 2002 @ 12:36 p.m. - Comment


A Chance Encounter

said my fortune cookie, "will lead to friendship and romance". Given the calibre of the young lady I worked with later that night on a TV show -- and the omen-y coincidence that her cell phone number ends in -UNIX -- let us hope that the Ancient Chinese in question are right.

Friday, October 18, 2002 @ 12:33 p.m. - Comment


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