I've mentioned MythTV before
You've dealt with a security measure that didn't make much sense, haven't you? Didn't it steam you up a bit? Make you remember that Franklin quote about how "those who would give up essential liberty for a little temporary security deserve neither?" Well, if it makes you feel any better... you're not alone. I'm trying to come up with a good award name that ends in a "y" (as all awards must, except for Oscar), but nothing jumps to mind. The Dummies, maybe?
Friday, May 9th, 2003 @ 12:04
a.m. - Comment
and, in doing some research for one of the actual *coders* (who's taking closed captioning and other vertical blanking-y things as his raison d'etre), I ran across an entire website full of really cool information about closed captioning and related stuff.
[ And, one notch *futher* down the weirdness that is my mind, here's a link to the Florida Association of Broadcasters Emergency Alert System Plan. If this had been a *actual* link, you would have been instructed where to click in your area for news and official information. This was only a test. Amd I the only one who can still quote that *verbatim*...? ]
Sunday, May 11, 2003 @ 11:36 p.m. - Comment
for Nextel's ass.
Like democracy, Nextel is the worst possible wide-area consumer digital trunking system, except for everyone else's. Hope the competition gets them off their ass.
Crappy avail, loose cell map, and daytime-only customer service, indeed...
Wednesday, May 7, 2003 @ 12:56 a.m. - Comment
No, Comedy Central hasn't climbed on board quite yet, but C-SPAN has. That page has links to all the currently posted candidate websites.
I'm leaning towards Howard Dean (D-NH) (cause I'm a realist, and I don't think a Libertarian is going to get elected *this* time around either; ok, I'm a bandwagon jumper... :-); more as I read on.
[ UPDATE: Dean has a weblog. Well, actually, it looks like his campaign staff are writing it, but what the hell. Not too bad. Can't evaluate the looks; just got RedHat 9 on my new server (Dell PowerEdge 4300) and I think I've inadvertantly botched the default font setting. He does need a copyeditor on his website, though. Perhaps I'll volunteer for that; I can do that from here... ]
Monday, May 5, 2003 @ 09:51 p.m. - Comment
but not much brains.
That's how you'd have to describe this letter sent by a Colorado Springs frosh to the Air Force Chief of Staff over the removal of the Air Force Academy leadership team.
You just have to ask yourself, as you sit up there atop the booster rocket, "do I really want to go into space on a vehicle with 400,000 parts, all supplied by the lowest bidder?"
I guess that cadet is neither fast, neat, nor average.
Saturday, May 3, 2003 @ 02:37 p.m. - Comment
Sounds ugly, doesn't it?
It's just that funky butt-love.
But it's illegal in Georgia and Rep. Rick Santorum thinks that's a good thing.
An excellent discussion on this and it's ramifications is here, courtesy of Fiona.
[ update: perhaps I should make it clear... I'm not, personally, much for that funky butt-love, but I don't see any reason that this distaste of mine ought to be a law. ]
Wednesday, April 30, 2003 @ 08:57 p.m. - Comment
I've got it
I figured out, last night whilst chatting with Fiona (hi, hon :-) how to phrase something I've thought for some time:
Winning isn't transitive.
You'll remember that the transitive property in mathematics is the rule that says that 1 * 6 = 6 * 1. It applies to addition and multiplication, but not subtraction or division.
It likewise does not apply to winning: 6 little "size one" wins are better for you than one big "size 6" one.
Tuesday, April 29, 2003 @ 04:20 p.m. - Comment
is one of my hobbies, as careful readers will know (careful, since I don't post much of it here). I don't *post* much of it because Pitas doesn't make that convenient, and I haven't had anywhere else to put it.
That's about to change, and hopefully the results will be salutary. The company for which I do much subcontract work is moving into new digs, and I'm renting space next door. We've already got the RoadRunner line in, and I'll be building A Webserver Of My Own later this week. More When I Know More.
Saturday, April 26, 2003 @ 07:14 p.m. - Comment
Attend MIT for FREE!!!
Well, ok, not really.
But if you're a good self directed student, and you're not concerned with the sheepskin, you can same yourself something akin to $100,000 by going to the MIT Open Courseware site, and poking through the goodies.
I'm going to...
Saturday, April 26, 2003 @ 07:08 p.m. - Comment
Why you shouldn't use Microsoft tools, part 347:
Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80004005'
[Microsoft][ODBC Microsoft Access Driver]General error Unable
to open registry key 'Temporary (volatile) Jet DSN for
process 0x724 Thread 0xcac DBC 0x9ce7024 Jet'.
/default.asp, line 12
Helluva a home page there, guys...]
[ update: it's working now, and while it's not quite as spiffy as someone suggested, it's a pretty cool idea nonetheless. Think I got this from Wed, or Doc, or someone. ]
Saturday, April 26, 2003 @ 05:34 p.m. - Comment
The Inboxer Rebellion
That's the witty (if only to people bright enough to get the joke -- my personal favorite sort of humor, since I'm usually on the distribution list :-) title of the section of the website of the San Fernando Valley Folklore Society, snopes.com, which deals with the Things You Get In Your Inbox.
This month's chestnut is apparently the 'Credit Bureaux can give out your information to anyone after $DATE unless you tell them not to' letter.
It's bullshit, folks.
But whether any *particular* item is bullshit doesn't really address whether you should *EVER* forward that sort of stuff around...
Saturday, April 26, 2003 @ 05:28 p.m. - Comment
is breaking out in the federal judiciary.
This piece (spotted by Doc), reports on the decision of LA federal circuit judge Stephen Wilson, who holds, in a case against Grokster and Morpheus' parent company, that the doctrine of "contributory infringement" that the RIAA and MPAA have been trying to push so that they'll have some deep pockets to sue is, as the rest of us have known for some time, crap.
He notes that the parallel Universal v. Sony (the "Betamax case") which held that the *possibility* that a device could be used to break a law wasn't enough reason to ban it: it had to be *only* capable of being used to break a law: like a pipe bomb.
Saturday, April 26, 2003 @ 03:40 p.m. - Comment
Mini-DMCA Laws, Pt. 2
Here's an excellent letter which explains the results of some of the "mini-DMCA" laws about which I posted earlier this month.
Section 1 makes it a crime to access or help someone access something that costs money to access, without paying for it. For example, putting a child on your shoulders if it happened to help him look thru a window where a cable program was being shown on the TV inside.
Yes, it's *this* stupid, folks. Lawmakers don't know how to *read*, apparently, much less think.
Wednesday, April 23, 2003 @ 05:16 p.m. - Comment
Never photograph your children again.
You never know what some photo lab employee will think is kiddie porn.
Their most pressing problem was the breast-feeding picture, which the indictment characterized as sexual, "to wit; actual lewd exhibition of...a portion of the female breast below the top of the areola, and the said defendant did and then employ, authorize and induce Rodrigo Fernandez, a child younger than 18 years of age, to engage in said sexual conduct and sexual performance." In other words, says Chatham, the act of simulated breast-feeding, captured on film, was being portrayed as a sex act. "They're saying the guy who took the picture is a sicko and wanted a photo of this to satisfy his sexual desire."
Is anyone here familiar with the psychological term "projection"?
[ Thanks to Flutterby. ]
Monday, April 21, 2003 @ 10:53 p.m. - Comment
About once every decade, my all time favorite rock band BOSTON comes to town... and they're not solely my favorite town because I grew up there (yes, I'm a Masshole)...
No, there are other reasons... most of which are better enumerated in this Ken Emerson piece (from Rolling Stone via KHITS radio). It's about Don't Look Back, their second album, but most of the stuff applies equally well to Third Stage and Walk On, and likely to the proximate cause for their new tour (coming to the St Pete Times Ice Forum Palace on 24 June):
THEIR NEW ALBUM!!!
Yeah, that's right, Boston finally cut a new album. Only their 5th in 30 years, Corporate America sounds like a serious changeup:
Another first for BOSTON is the title track, Corporate America. This "in your face" indictment of big business and what it is doing to our world, was a big step for Scholz who was determined to get his feeling across in a BOSTON song…loudly!
Scholz says, "Using music as a medium to make a statement was difficult for me. The song Corporate America was rewritten numerous times over a period of four years. It was a major challenge, but I decided I would not take 'no' for an answer; I had to express my feelings about what mega-corporations are doing to our world."
He had no idea the CD title would so succinctly express today's business climate. "People who never thought about what happens at the corporate level in this country are now standing up and paying attention. They've been robbed of their futures and their money has been taken, but unfortunately the losses go much deeper than that; lives have been taken.
"One of the pitfalls of an unrestrained capitalistic system is that a handful of very powerful businessmen, whose only objectives are money and power, are allowed to gain their profits with no regard for the earth or it's inhabitants. The ramifications are so far-reaching that sooner or later we will have to get a handle on what is wrong with our system in order to begin to enjoy its benefits."
Tom's my hero; see previous rants on why Public Corporations Suck...
Sunday, April 20, 2003 @ 10:46 p.m. - Comment
Would you hire a Hacker?
Well, yeah, you probably should...
but most of the people writing these articles really mean: "would you hire a computer criminal", and at that point, of course, the question devolves mostly to the same set of issues as hiring any ex-con...
I do note that *some* of these editors correctly distinguish "hacker" from "criminal"; kudos to The Chronicle, CNet and BWeek.
Thursday, April 17, 2003 @ 11:12 a.m. - Comment
Your Right To Tape May Be In Danger, AGAIN
They couldn't get it done at the Federal level, so now, the MPAA is trying to do it to the states (pun entirely intentional).
Under existing law, those who have legitimately purchased communication services (e.g., cable TV, satellite, or broadband Internet services) are free to connect whatever they like to the wires they pay for, so long as they do not violate any otherwise applicable law. So, for example, you are free to connect a new TV, PC, VCR or TiVo to a cable television connection that you pay for. Similarly, you are free to connect a Wi-Fi wireless access point to your DSL line in order to share your broadband connection among several computers in your house. This freedom has encouraged technology vendors to compete and innovate in response to the demands of consumers.
The proposed super-DMCA statutes reverse this traditional rule. Under these statutes, you would not be entitled to connect anything to your cable, satellite, or DSL line without the express permission of your service provider. The model MPAA bill accomplishes this by making it a crime to possess a device to "receive … transmit, [or] re-transmit" any communication service without the "express authorization" of the communication service provider. The various pending state bills include similar language.
This provision would make you a criminal for simply connecting a TV, PC, TiVo or VCR (all of which can "receive" communication services) to the cable TV line in your living room without your cable company's permission. It could also make you a criminal for connecting a Wi-Fi wireless gateway (which can "retransmit" Internet traffic) to your DSL or cable modem line without the permission of your ISP. The shift proposed by these bills is radical: all technology that is not expressly permitted becomes forbidden. This would give communication service providers unprecedented control over the home entertainment and the technology marketplace. For example, your broadband ISP could force you to use only certain brands of computers, or force you to pay extra if you wanted to connect more than one computer to your DSL line. Cable and satellite TV services could forbid you from using a TiVo, or could charge you extra to connect a VCR to your TV.
That's from this executive summary which resides at this resource site, which also includes a list of state bills in the legislatures now.
Get off your asses people, if you want to be able to continue... well, *breathing*, actually, but certainly videotaping your favorite TV show.
I mean it.
Tuesday, April 15, 2003 @ 05:59 p.m. - Comment
Well, it was the Fourth Annual
Last Weekend of the Bay Area Renaissance Festival (or "BARF", as old timers like to call it :-) this weekend, and as Rocky (or maybe it was Buillwinkle) used to put it: "This time, for sure!".
Owner Jim Peterson finally got kicked out by the city commission, who, I guess, don't figure they *need* 90,000 extra visitors every spring or something.
He's supposedly got a new site, but reliable sources tell me things may be iffy, and that most of his vendors may be going to a new faire, same time, next year, in that-little-town-north-of-Bradenton that I can't remember the name of right now. :-)
Palmetto! That's it! Hell, it's even got a bug named after it, no less a sign welcoming you to (I am not making this up) "beautiful downtown Palmetto".
Monday, April 14, 2003 @ 01:03 a.m. - Comment
So I dropped my Visor Prism off the roof of my van last month, as I think I mentioned. Shattered many pieces of it, though it didn't die. Finally got enough time cleared yesterday(!) to try and sync the data out of it... and of course, it wouldn't cooperate. It heard me hitting the button, cause it clicked, but it just wouldn't sync.
Ok. Time to temporarily give up on that approach, and just grab my latest sync and stuff it back into the new unit I'd bought as a replacement (eBay, $ 115 [my first one had been $ 145]). Hook up cradle on sis's machine; sync-in. Have wireless router handy, so can try spandy new 802.11 springboard module (thanks, Dave Holmes-Kinsella).
Won't talk. Try CDPD radio which I know works.
Won't talk. This casts a *whole* different light over the fact that I couldn't get my OmniRemote module to train on the Prism, while it *would* try to train on the office's Deluxe.
(It clicks when it hears incoming IR...)
Aw crap; have I spent $115 on a paperweight; a unit that won't talk serial to it's Springboard slot?
Yeah, it looks like I have.
I'm just not having a good month...
Sunday, April 13, 2003 @ 12:44 p.m. - Comment
So, my sister is a hardcore
taper... (what did you *think* I was gonna say? :-)
I mean: she has 4 VCR's... and that's sometimes not enough. (Thanks to NBC from the bottom of our hearts for starting ER *2* minutes before the hour, and stealing those 2 minutes from Scrubs (see below) to do it.)
So, anyway, I've been looking into PVR's -- and as those who know me will be unsurprised to find out, *Linux-based* PVR's, and after some searching, I came across MythTV, and hey, I'm a Robert Aspirin fan. :-)
I actually don't think there's any connection, but this program looks like it will support the 6 tuner cards I wanna stuff on a PCI motherboard, and they're working on a way to use the on-card compression and re-compress later (cause real-timing 6 tuner cards would probably swamp any CPU's I could put in there).
Wednesday, April 9, 2003 @ 11:39 p.m. - Comment
Will it be the red pill?
Or the blue one?
A Wired piece on the underlying cinematographic magic involved in the making of the new Matrix movie, courtesy of Wes. My favorite graf:
How deep did the rabbit hole go? A cast of each actor's head was sent to a company called Arius 3D, makers of ultrahigh-resolution scanners employed in 1999 to archive the works of Michelangelo. The Arius scanner is accurate down to 25 microns - the diameter of a mold spore. To get the clothing simulations just right, ESC sent swatches of Reeves' black cassock and Weaving's jacket to a company called Surface Optics, which builds devices to measure a property of light called the bidirectional reflectance distribution function. Surface Optics happened to have one machine on hand scheduled to ship to Lockheed Martin a month later, where it was to be assigned to its usual task: evaluating the reflectivity of paint on stealth bombers.
C'mon, guys; I needed subtitles for the first one...
Wednesday, April 9, 2003 @ 05:42 p.m. - Comment
Ok, this has gotten out of hand.
Sometime between the 18th of last month and now, my laptop has walked off. I've now officially looked in all the places it could be, and it's not in any of them.
It's a Toshiba Portege 3010CT, as longtime readers know, and it's in a black ballistic nylon shoulder bag with it's power adapter, ethernet card, and a note with my cellphone number on it.
So you've gotta figure someone copped it, right?
It's running RedHat 7.3, and has passwords on everything, which *substantially* reduces the chances that it will be of use to any random civilian who absconds with it, at least...
Friday, April 4, 2003 @ 08:31 p.m. - Comment
Here's an in-depth review of
RedHat 9. It will probably decide me whether to upgrade.
I'm not done *reading* it yet, though; update when I am.
UPDATE: yeah, it was a good review; I likely *will* install 9 on the webserver I'm about to build.
Friday, April 4, 2003 @ 08:20 p.m. - Comment
Tasty Coma Wife
isn't anymore; the character played by (if I call her perky, would she be offended? :-) actress Amy Smart on Scrubs -- the best TV show enough of you are watching to keep it on the air -- has lost her husband, after he was in a coma for 2 years, in a hospital, and we only got to see him a couple weeks ago. :-)
I'd write to the actress and the production company to tell them how pleased I am with her acting and the show, respectively... but neither of them can be bothered to have an email address.
C'mon, people, time to move up into the '90s.
UPDATE: based on my referer logs, I am not the only one who's impressed by Amy...
Friday, April 4, 2003 @ 07:53 p.m. - Comment
Here's a paper
that gives the Hispanic concept of "Manaña" a whole new meaning.
Oh, and FWIW, the semi-canonical example of "hard" real-time is a robot arm that weighs 500 pounds and is supposed to swing over to 3 feet from a wall with a guy standing in front of it, but not crush him. *No* extra latency is permissible here.
Yes, such robots have occasionally killed people.
Paging Mr Asimov..
Friday, April 4, 2003 @ 06:06 p.m. - Comment
According to CNN, the American Airlines SARS scare was a false alarm; there are only 70 suspected cases in CONUS, and remember, the fatality rate is only 3.5%; this is *not* Ebola or anything, people; not time to be carrying around a facemask in your pocket *yet*...
Some real numbers from WHO. And, a bunch of hard info from CDCp.
UPDATE: 2 cases in Central Florida.
Wednesday, April 2, 2003 @ 11:07 p.m. - Comment
I cum in peace...
shoot to kill, shoot to kill, shoot to kill...
[ thanks to, of all people, Dave Barry (!?) ]
Sunday, March 30, 2003 @ 09:16 p.m. - Comment
One of the best...
consumer level explanations of "why you need to upgrade your browser" is this one, which we found when we tried tp hit ESPN (.go.com, and what kinda ignorant shit is *that*?) with NS4/Mac.
You'll see a different sidebar, of course, depending on what you're using -- and it might actually get really confuse if you're using something new -- I'll check later.
Nice, though, nonetheless.
Oh, and Sugar? Your minute's up. :-)
Friday, March 28, 2003 @ 11:30 p.m. - Comment
[ looks in dictionary ]
Oops; that apparently is not the buck-2.98 word I was looking for.
I was googling around again, as I do occasionally, for some old friends, including one who went by the somewhat-unlikely name of Sugartits. (Hey; it's a Usenet handle...)
In looking for her, unsuccessfully, I ran across (would you believe this) *another* young lady with excellent writing skills (cause what the hell *else* do you have to go on?) who *also* goes by that handle.
2 years too old, and 2500 miles too far east to be the same person, and in fact, she's not; but she's pleasant to chat with nonetheless. And I'm not just saying this so she'll find it here. :-)
Tuesday, March 25, 2003 @ 10:31 p.m. - Comment
this phone is cheap enough, and as cool as it looks, the world may be about to change.
3com's NBX is nice, but *way* too damned pricey.
UPDATE: this stuff is worse. 1 T-1 and 15 phones and it's *$$30,000*?? Give it *up* people. If, as a dealer, I'm not getting *half* of that, I'm not interested...
And yes, Zultys, I *do*, actually, have a fairly good idea of what's necessary to do this stuff at toll-grade reliability levels. Care to give me an idea?
Monday, March 24, 2003 @ 10:40 p.m. - Comment
jwz has a thread on his Live Journal that purports to explain why the "warmongers" can't make a cogent argument.
He didn't write it; it was an email forward.
Most of it seems like strawman to me -- the writer raises points that likely *have* good answers merely so that he can make his opponent look silly -- *he* certainly has no motivation to do his opponent's research.
Well, except for looking believable.
One of his commentors linked Tony Blair's speech in Commons. I was very impressed, also, by the text and delivery of Blair's speech to the Britons at the start of the war -- any way we can naturalize this guy so we can elect him president?
Oh, and go Michael Moore -- and Adrian Brody.
Monday, March 24, 2003 @ 12:36 p.m. - Comment
A friend of mine
who shall remain nameless, is apparently embroiled in the old 'should I marry him or not' stress... and I'm not sure she has the experience to come up with the best answer to that question. (Hint: "no".)
I may not, either, but I do have some excellent backup: some kind soul posted a bunch of Merle Shain quotes. Need to find copies of her 3 or 4 books. Excellent stuff about love. And the lack thereof.
Saturday, March 22, 2003 @ 07:20 p.m. - Comment
Click and Clack
are the Tappet Brothers, those guys who host "Car Talk", on NPR (do you see a pattern beginning to form here this week?). They always, they tell us, got asked if dealers charged more for repair work than independent repair shops.
Their snap answer was much the same as yours probably is: shit yeah.
And a little research shows that they were right. Tell me you're surprised...
Saturday, March 22, 2003 @ 07:02 p.m. - Comment
What do we think?
The Gallup Organization has been the organization most associated with answering that question, for, oh, as long as I can remember, at least.
They have a page specifically dedicated, as it happens, to the results of polls about current events, too.
Saturday, March 22, 2003 @ 05:50 p.m. - Comment
The word comes from Old Norse, via Sweeedish, and it's used to describe that guy in an organization who is paid to go to bat *against it*, for you.
NPR has one, and this week, his beat is NPR's war coverage.
It's fun stuff to read, and further proof that there is a right way to do things, and that people actually care... which is something I get less and less sure of, the more the internet makes it possible for us to discover how many thoughtless people there really *are* out there.
Saturday, March 22, 2003 @ 05:29 p.m. - Comment
If you needed proof that people are stupid...
Check out this page from the French's mustard makers -- explaining that no, they've got nothing to do with France. (OK, I've mentioned "France" and "French" on the page; my hit count will stay up now... :-)
And, for the record -- yes, I do like French's mustard on my hotdogs.
[ Courtesy of the ever-amusing Dave Barry Blog. How he finds time to write his column anymore... I dunno... ]
Friday, March 21, 2003 @ 10:43 p.m. - Comment