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When you hear anything

ask yourself: "What are this person's motives?"

Sometimes, you might think they're obvious. Sometimes you might be pretty certain their motives are the obvious ones.

It used to be that you could, at least, trust journalists, at least most of the time... AOL is about to buy Time Warner... which, by the way, means that Steve Case will be running CNN.

I'm not entirely comfortable about that idea, myself.

[ Link omitted because a) I'm too worked up right now to hunt, and b) most of you reading at the moment have, no doubt, already read about it... ]

Tuesday, January 11, 2000 @ 04:08 p.m. by jra

Rant: This World Would Be So Nice...

if it weren't for all the damned people.

Get the impression I'm in a foul mood? You're right.

Story to come, but it's just another example of something I've had to say way too often to service industry employees lately: I don't pay you to win arguments with me.

Threw me off for my whole afternoon.

Once I've settled down, I'll recount the facts, and you can make your own decision.

Tuesday, January 11, 2000 @ 04:06 p.m. by jra

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday

Well, it's almost 80 degrees, so... :-)

It would appear I have a couple of regular readers. I appreciate that, and I'll try to tweak the HTML so you don't go blind, here in a day or so.

I'm also about to roll the first page over into the archive, and I suspect the PITAS engine won't deal with link breakage well there; we'll see how that goes. A table of contents of the archive will probably appear if so.

More when I know more<tm>

Sunday, January 9, 2000 @ 03:28 p.m. by jra

Rant: John McCain's Ethics

Well, here we go with politics again...

It seems that a major fuss is being made about the ethics of "outsider" candidate John McCain.

So far, although I've not done my in-depth research (we call that 'due diligence' in the biz biz :-), I like what I'm hearing about John McCain. I'm a card-carrying Libertarian, but I'm also a realist, and I don't know that Harry Browne has a chance to win this time either. I'm sure I'll have made a decision by October, and I haven't decided whether I'll post it or not.

In any event, though, if I think the general press is being stupid in covering the facts, I'll certainly comment on that here, and this is one such instance.

Apparently, McCain sent a bunch of letters, in his capacity as a congressman, to various government agencies. In the particular case of the letter he sent to the FCC, while the topic was in fact an application made by one of his campaign contributors, the letter he sent did not tell the FCC to do something specific, merely to do something.

I can't see how that could be out of line, myself.

For more on McCain:

Sunday, January 9, 2000 @ 02:54 p.m. by jra

We can be quick-witted or very intelligent, but not both

The quote comes from a man voted "one of the 10 sexiest men on the planet."

That's right... Steven Hawking.

The interview is interesting, although, as several posters in the inevitable Slashdot thread note, the interviewer's approach is somewhat self-indulgent, and takes maybe a tiny bit too much notice of the mechanics. Still, as some other posters point out, you don't get much of that in other Hawking pieces, and perhaps it's a nice counterpoint.


For more on Hawking:

Friday, January 7, 2000 @ 09:57 a.m. by jra

You asked for it, you got it; Toyota...

My friend Christina, in her copious free time, is on a mission. [ and was silly enough to ask me to publicize it ]

She wants to improve the sex lives of the known world.

She told me so, on AIM, just now. :-)

Her approach to this involves batteries. Was this enough of a hint?

Sex positivism is still not especially a popular topic in America, the American Puritan Ethic is still strong in us... to our detriment, I think.

[ There's a link to an Allan Sherman book that ought to go there, but I'm on the list of people who think that the Amazon One-Click Ordering patent is ridiculous, and I won't link to them. Oh, wait. This is an eBay story...]

Sherman's book is the best exposition I have yet come across of my observation that "the sexual revolution is over: we lost". At least, when we had rules to break... we knew when we were breaking them. Now, you're never sure...

Myself, I'm a heterosexual adult male, with a normal endocrine balance, and I got over being embarassed about it years ago. As a friend points out (in a paean to our Rocky Horror days): "my lust is so sincere".

[ note, as evidence, the last lines of the Meat Loaf and VP's BBQ stories. :-) ]

Thursday, January 6, 2000 @ 06:59 p.m. by jra

Memetic evolution, indeed...

One of my favorite reads is Jon Udell's column for Byte Magazine, "Tangled in the Threads".

Jon's topic is groupware, and he's recently had a book published on the topic, by O'Reilly -- with a very few exceptions, one of the most highly respected technical publishers on the topics of Unix and the Internet.

This issue's column contains, as he puts it, 'philosophical musings' on mind transplants and other such post-millenarian topics.

The thing that I most enjoyed, though, was on the second page of the column, where he delves into the social aspects of advancing technology. Unlike many of the notes in RISKS Digest or the Privacy Forum, his looks are optimistic, and I think we need some of each; it's easy to get mired in the negative possibilites of the future, and allow dystopia to darken our days.

We shouldn't ignore the negatives, but we need to balance them with the positives; intelligently, informedly... and thoughtfully.

That's what I think; how do you feel?

Thursday, January 6, 2000 @ 04:46 p.m. by jra

Remote Rant: Trademarks & Patents

One of the nice things about logging: very often, someone said it better than you, so you can just let them say it.

Spotted in Dinah's Metagrrrl [link at left].

Thursday, January 6, 2000 @ 03:46 p.m. by jra

Did I say "no one's too small"?

Here's a Dan Gillmor piece concerning the current furor about the breaking of DVD copy protection. ESR, predictably, also had something to say about it.

Thursday, January 6, 2000 @ 02:47 p.m. by jra

The load limit on my ass is 6 people...

Computerworld had another flash: OSHA screwed up.

It seems the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had decided if you did any work at home, your employer was responsible for the safety of your house. That was just as popular sounding to people as you think it might have been, and the uproar was, apparently, noticed.

Governments are companies are slowly starting to realize that in the age of the Internet, there are no 'small, isolated "customers" '. There just aren't. You can't afford to be The Phone Company, anymore.

No matter how big you are.

Thursday, January 6, 2000 @ 01:57 p.m. by jra

FAA does it again...

Computerworld notes that Leesburg Center decided to follow Nashua down the drain.

Thursday, January 6, 2000 @ 01:45 p.m. by jra

Didja ever wonder about...

Stuff the warning label said not to do.

Note: if you do any of this stuff [and hurt yourself], you're even stupider than they said you were. So there. :-P

Thursday, January 6, 2000 @ 01:18 p.m. by jra

A quick hello

Those of you who listen to country music ("My name is Jay A., and I'm a country music fan...") may not have found the Sarasota station, 106.5 WCTQ yet. They're playing a mix that is quite a bit 'fresher', to my ears, than Q105, and I've pretty much switched over.

The fact that I get more of their airtime than any other three civilians in four counties had nothing to do with it at all; no... :-)

They've recently spiffed up their website, and they actually answer their email(!).

And they've even got a reasonable domain name. I'm very impressed.

But I still think it's Dad decision whether to subscribe the 14 year old to Playboy or not, Mav.

Thursday, January 6, 2000 @ 11:06 a.m. by jra

Rant: Computers & Training

I make a living working on other people's computers.

Sometimes it's great; sometimes, as you might expect, it's not so good. This morning is one of the not-so-goods.

Not a big thing, frankly, more of an irritation; but those are what justify the rants. :-)

The problem is this: a workstation hard drive at a client's died. We're sitting there trying to make the decision: do I need to attempt a recovery, or can I just install a new drive and start fresh?

The problem is that, due to (IMHO) inadequate training on and explanation of the system, it's not possible to get a straight answer to the question: "do you have any 'local' work on this hard drive that we need to preserve?"

"Local? What do you mean?"


People tend to want to learn, in large part, exactly as much as they need to do the work at their feet, and not one bit more... no matter how much easier it might make their work, no matter how much money it might save their company (and therefore be available to pay their bonus :-)...

And I hate charging people for work they shouldn't have needed done. Oh, well; I guess that's the price people pay for not knowing, isn't it.

I'm just grumpy from too little sleep, I guess. Hi, Chel. :-)

Thursday, January 6, 2000 @ 10:28 a.m. by jra

Keeping in practice

Well, Meat Loaf is playing another show tonight, but I don't have tickets to this one. So I'm going out, as I (too) often do, to Mugs & Jugs in Clearwater, to look at the the Jugs, and drink from the Mugs -- or do I have that backwards? -- and sing the rest of the song. :-} (Hi, Rebecca!)

[Mugsy's, BTW, has a website, but I'm not going to subject you to it, it sucks. It's in the usual place, should you care. --j]

In any event, you're not likely to see anything more tonight. I'm sure, in a few days or so, I'll have decided whether anyone really gives a damn or not, and you'll probably stop getting this much detail about my life.

Until then, cope.


Wednesday, January 5, 2000 @ 06:00 p.m. by jra

Javascript is my favorite language...

You might enjoy this clock, showing the amount of time "left until the millennium".

[ Thanks to Robert Cannon on the NANOG mailing list for this one. ]

Wednesday, January 5, 2000 @ 05:50 p.m. by jra

That's what I get for posting on Slashdot

Exactly what I asked for. :-}

Apologies for not posting an anchor for the ESR piece, it's here. Note also the parody below.

Hope you'll find something else you like here, too, though.

If you follow enough of the web, you probably won't find much here; I'm trying to serve as an editor for those who don't live online...

Wednesday, January 5, 2000 @ 04:47 p.m. by jra


Dinah's MetaGrrrl highlighted this Slashdot parody from Suck, which Slashdot readers who haven't left their sense of humor in their other pants will probably enjoy.

As you've no doubt figured out by now, I have very few sacred cows, and Bill Maher is my hero. Well, one of them.


[Tests link, discovers it's an affiliate program. Well, I don't object to Dinah getting the credit if no one else does... --j]

Wednesday, January 5, 2000 @ 04:03 p.m. by jra

Branding run amuck

Well, quite a few years ago, the science of 'branding' was born when the California Raisin Advisory board made more money off of "The California Raisins" than the State of California made off of the raisins.

It's happening again.

Via The Bradlands [link at left (I think)], Doonesbury's Daily Briefing.

DISCUSSION: where, exactly, does one draw the line on this sort of thing. If you're Garry Trudeau, for example? What do you think? Hit the email link...

Wednesday, January 5, 2000 @ 03:49 p.m. by jra

Gee, those jackboots go so nicely with your outfit...

Love your country, but never trust it's government.

Several years ago, the SS, er, excuse me, the _Secret Service_ raided, and almost put out of business, a small gaming publisher named Steve Jackson. They lost, miserably, in federal court, but that apparently hasn't stopped them...

This Slashdot story covers the US Customs Service raid on Ramsey Electronics, who apparently manufacture dangerous wiretapping devices.

I'd say <snicker>, but this is too serious.

Check out the story, and Ramsey's home page, and keep your powder dry.

<sigh> I hate having to sound like a militia gun-nut.

Customs' website contains this pointer to the commissioner, no doubt you can think of something productive, and polite, to say to him.

Wednesday, January 5, 2000 @ 02:14 p.m. by jra


Nuff said. Hi, Kat.

Wednesday, January 5, 2000 @ 01:51 p.m. by jra

Well, I guess it's lunch time

I'm heading up to one of the spiffiest damned barbecue restaurants in two counties for lunch. I like the Sloppy Roger, and the sweet sauce (and saucy waitresses; Hi, Tiff!) at Sonny's, but for straight ahead barbecued pork in 5 or 6 different shapes, no one beats V.P.'s Country BBQ and Catering, on 301, about a mile north of the I-4 overpass on the right.

Chef Vasko has 20 years experience in Europe, and another 10 over here, and it shows.

And his daughter, the singer, is pretty cute, too. :-)

Wednesday, January 5, 2000 @ 12:05 p.m. by jra

Not totally off-topic

...because everything's on topic here. (Now I understand why being a talk radio host is so much fun. :-)

My sister, who was kind enough to point here gets the favor returned; if you're a Scott Bakula fan, you need to go check her site out; you'll find there a link back to here. But you're smart enough not to take it...

Wednesday, January 5, 2000 @ 11:23 a.m. by jra

The History of Contraception

Dan and Cam find some of the coolest stuff.

Flutterby points to this page on the history of contraception.

On a related topic, I think your teenagers need to visit the Center for Positive Sexuality. If you disagree with me, that's your choice. :-)

Tuesday, January 4, 2000 @ AM. by jra

All Good Things...

I've been pretty prolific tonight, no?

First day with the new toy. I'll get over it, unless you're lucky. Heading home now, to sleep in my own bed (sharing is nice, but an acquired talent -- I'm way out of practice).

I'll be spending the day in Brandon Wednesday and Thursday, at a client's site, and much of Friday, back over here, so things will be a bit thinner than this.

One final chuckle for the real Unix heads.

Comments on what depth of this sort of administrivia is really pertinent are welcome, too.

G'night, y'all.

Tuesday, January 4, 2000 @ 11:32 p.m. by jra

Rant: What the Web is for

My mind goes funny places...

I'm reading some of the ESR writings I pointed to in an earlier entry, and thinking that, 'well, here's another one I should point out'.

Then I gave it a second thought, and that one was 'no, people will dig around, and find this one without my having to point it out'... and (to coin a phrase) it was then, and only then that I realized...

that I'm probably wrong.

I'm not sure whether it's lack of curiosity, or just an insufficient understanding of how the web works, but I guess I don't think it's safe to assume that most people will, in fact, do the sort of digging around I'm talking about.

So, there's the link. Tell me what you think, though, about the primary topic of this entry. Those initials down there are a mailto: link.

Tuesday, January 4, 2000 @ 11:00 p.m. by jra

Well, here we go...

with outages that probably aren't Y2K related anyway...

Nashua Center had a disk go out on them.

Tuesday, January 4, 2000 @ 10:47 p.m. by jra

If This Goes On--

One of my favorite net writers is Eric Raymond, author of, among other things the paper that almost certainly caused Netscape to open-source the development of the 5.0 version of their browser.

He's also a Libertarian, politically. I was poking around his website tonight, and came across an essay of his that I hadn't read before.

I won't be sleeping especially well tonight.

This is why both Eric and I take the position, roughly, that gun control is being able to hit your target.

Tuesday, January 4, 2000 @ 10:26 p.m. by jra

Things we think and do not say

There's been a lot more of that sort of sentiment this year than in any previous year I can remember; perhaps it's the millennarian apocalypsist in us all.

We made it, of course, but that's no excuse not to be thinking about it, anyway. If tomorrow never came, would she know how much you loved her?

I'm trying to make sure that answer is "yes", for everyone I care about.

On that topic, one of the things I ran across a few weeks back, from either Camworld or Flutterby [links at left], was Jerry Maguire's 'mission statement', if you will. I haven't even seen the movie; this was written as sort of backstory to flesh it out, and I agree with the sentiments of whichever other logger I stole this from: it's a great idea for which to make use of the web, and I hope it happens more often.

In any case, recommended reading... and thinking.

Tuesday, January 4, 2000 @ 08:55 p.m. by jra

Friends don't let friends...

use WebTV. This is why.

(Spotted via Slashdot.)

Tuesday, January 4, 2000 @ 08:50 p.m. by jra

The whole Y-to-K thing..

No, I'm not going to subject you to that bad joke again...

One of my favorite weekly (or so) reads is the RISKS Digest; more properly the "Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers and Related Systems". It's an irregular newsletter, available on Usenet, the web, and by mail, moderated (amusingly) by Peter G. Neumann at the Stanford Computer Science Laboratory.

For over a decade. This is, of course, about three centuries, in 'Internet years'. One read will give you a good line on what territory it covers, and you'll likely hear about new issues here, because there's always something in there I feel the need to comment on.

(Commenting on things is one of the things I think I do best; that's why you're reading this...)

In any event, it seems that the New York Times had a small problem.

102 years ago.

But don't worry; it's fixed now.

Tuesday, January 4, 2000 @ 08:40 p.m. by jra

What comes after the 'nineties'...

CNN wants to know. Funny, I'd thought this topic was already settled.


Tuesday, January 4, 2000 @ 08:20 p.m. by jra

Big ol' buildings

Dan Bricklin's Log notes this piece in The Boston Globe about real estate, and who's buying.

Interesting, for a telecom geek like me. Got any old buildings in your portfolio?

[I note that the Globe, which used to be fussy about people 'deep-linking' into their stories, apparently no longer is. I'm glad to see they've gotten religion.]

Tuesday, January 4, 2000 @ 11:48 a.m. by jra

Is this funny? Hell, yeah.

Scott Kurtz draws a comic strip called Player vs. Player. A Slashdot piece this morning points to a rant he's written about User Friendly [link at left], another comic strip about technical support types.

Seems he doesn't think they're funny.

"Anyone in the world, can learn how to work in tech support. It's basic memorization, there is no real math or intelligence skills required", he says.

Yup; I've talked to some of those people.

I hope never to do so again. Now, admittedly, I'm biased; I do know more than many tech support people, and the first liners waste my time just the same way many non-technical people would be wasting the time of a second level engineer if those were what answered the phone.

That's another rant, check back later. But the point here is, who is the audience of strips like User Friendly? I believe Scott thinks it's the average computer user, and I think he's wrong. Rich Tennant's Fifth Wave, familiar to readers of Computerworld magazine and the low-self-esteem books, is similar material, but it's funny to a wider range of people.

And I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Any group that considers itself to be somewhat small and specific, with 'insider knowledge' will tend to create humor based on that, and share it. Either Scott doesn't realize this, or doesn't think that UF is aimed a smaller than general audience... or perhaps I merely think that, incorrectly.

His fundamental complaint, though, is that he thinks the strips aren't funny. Perhaps they're not. But Peanuts wasn't always funny, either...

One other thing: "[computer games aren't funny.] However, jokes about the people that play computer games are." doesn't jibe really well, for me, with "First and foremost, I find that tech support jokes are just plain cruel." Most jokes are cruel, to someone. Do some research on the basis of humor.

On a positive note, he also posted a link to 13 email facts you should know; excellent reading for all y'all (as a favorite phrase from an old Fidonet buddy has it).

-- jra

Tuesday, January 4, 2000 @ 10:31 a.m. by jra

Two out of three is pretty damned good

I got to sing with Meat Loaf last night, y'all!

How cool is that?


Meat Loaf was on VH1's Storytellers a while back, and, as the liner notes would have it, enjoyed himself so much that he not only bought the release rights to the show for an album, he decided to take the whole damned thing on tour.

Well, that tour hit Tampa Bay last night, and a couple of friends accompanied me to the show at Ruth Eckerd Hall. And it's a good thing they were there, or no one would believe me. :-)

"Ask any question at all", he said. So I did: "On your Storytellers album, you did "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad"... but you didn't do the bridge. What's up with that?"

"Well," he said, "if you wanna make sure you hear it tonight, why don't you sing it?"

"Oh shit", I said, approximately.

"Ok", I said aloud, and was taken down in front by the ever-lovely Kristi Storm, from Thunder 103.5.

The problem with the show, it seems, was "fuckin' television". The average ST segment is 4 and a half minutes. And we all know how many Meat Loaf songs are that short.


So, anyway, something had to go, and that something was the bridge. So he sang the song, and sure enough, about half way through the bridge, walked over and handed me the mic.

My friends say that he looked impressed; I was shaking too bad by that point to be paying any attention, but the audience seemed to like it. :-)

In any event, it was a killer show... and if the pretty girl named Keri (or something like that) who was on top during "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" is looking for a date for this weekend... call me. 'K?

-- jra

Tuesday, January 4, 2000 @ 09:19 a.m. by jra

Not every entry has a link

But then, if you spend any time reading weblogs you're used to that. :-)

Guess I gotta type my own paragraph breaks. Oh, well.

The reference columns on the left and right will be getting fleshed out a little further as I have the time to copy links in from my bookmarks.

-- jra

Monday, January 3, 2000 @ 04:42 p.m. by jra

Everybody's gotta start somewhere

I guess I'll start at my feet.

Hi. I'm Jay Ashworth. I've been an opinionated bastard on the net for about 12 years now, all the way back to my early days on Usenet, back at St Petersburg Junior College, where Larry Strickland was tolerant enough to let me invade his computer lab fairly frequently.

In the intervening years, I've spent a large amount of my time being various flavors of computer geek, including Unix (and lately, Linux) admin, database programmer, application designer, network manager, and the like; and a smaller amount of my time mixing sound, making television, and designing video and print graphics.

At some point, I'll be fleshing this weblog idea out a bit more, but for the meantime, I'll merely try to point to, and comment on, some things I run across in my travels around the net, and hopefully, you'll find it comprehensible, rather than compost.

I can't guarantee how often this page will be updated, but I do tend to live online, so we'll see.

-- jra

Monday, January 3, 2000 @ 03:14 p.m. by jra!


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