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Capability Creep

That's what I call the problem that Lawrence Lessig alludes to in this great interview with Tim O'Reilly, spotted by Doc.

Capability creep is what I call it when it people become able to do things, due to technology, that they couldn't do before... and if those things aren't popular with everyone, someone might want to make them illegal.

In some cases, such as Computer Assisted Stalking, this is probably a good thing. In others, such as Digital Rights Management, it leads to the erosion of the rights of the citizen in favor of the rights of the corporation. That's not.

The problem comes when people criminalize the *tools*, rather than the behavior, simply because the tools are easier to put a finger on.

*Tough*, guys. The more corporations push this sort of thing, and the more legislators let them get away with it... the closer we'll get to the Second American Revolution... and the executives and the pols will be the first ones with their backs up against the wall.

Monday, February 19, 2001 @ 03:15 p.m. - Comment

Requiescat in Pace

Dale Earnhardt, Sr., dead at 49. Last lap. Blocking Sterling Marlin so his teammate Michael Waltrip could win his first Daytona, and his son, Dale Jr., could finish second.

Sorry, Amber.

Monday, February 19, 2001 @ 11:09 a.m. - Comment

'Jesus Lives, and fish still don't walk'

That's a bumper sticker my friend Alan recently saw. He says:

I got a kick out of it. No doubt this is one of the many rebuttals to the fish with legs symbol, which itself makes fun of the fish symbol used by many sects of Christians. (Note the capital "C")

There's just one little problem: I hate to break it to the person who wrote this bumper sticker, but fish do walk.

Most notably there is the "walking catfish", which can walk on land using specially adapted front fins.

These critters can be found marching across southern Florida by battalions, brigades, and even divisions on any given summer night. They can survive for extended periods of time away from water, and can travel for miles across dry land in search of new ponds to inhabit.

And then there's the mud skipper.

This is a little fish of the goby family which prefers to live out of water, and walks around mud flats on specially adapted fins.

And while we're at it let's not forget shellfish. Particularly crayfish.

While they do prefer to remain in the water and walk across the bottom, they will walk short distances across land when they need to seek out new pools.

And then there are land crabs.

Not only do land crabs prefer to live on dry land, but some species are so well adapted to life on land that if they are washed into the ocean they will drown.

Further, there are many species of bottom dwelling fish that use specially adapted fins to walk across the bottom.

So, fish do walk. As for the other half of that bumper sticker, that's something you'll have to figure out for yourself.

Sorry, Charlie.

Sunday, February 18, 2001 @ 02:43 p.m. - Comment

The Alchin Maneuver

Jim Alchin is Vice President of Operating Systems, or some such title, at Microsoft. Apparently, sometime this last week, he made -- on the record -- some fairly ill-considered and unsupportable remarks about Linux, and open source software in general, to the effect that... well, here; here's a quote:

"Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer," Allchin said. "I can't imagine something that could be worse than this for the software business and the intellectual-property business."

There's another great quote in a Wired story:

"I'm an American; I believe in the American way," continued Allchin. "I worry if the government encourages open source, and I don't think we've done enough education of policymakers to understand the threat."

So open source development is *UnAmerican*, eh? "Do you know, or have you ever... participated in an open source software project?" Anybody *remember* McCarthy?

More to come on this one: remember, the issue is "Can Microsoft convince *Congress* -- who are known not to have any common sense nor do they read the general press -- that open source is a Bad Thing?"

That open source is demonstrably, factually, *not* a bad thing is completely immaterial to the point at hand.

Sunday, February 18, 2001 @ 01:49 p.m. - Comment

Well here we go

Apparently, a submarine RPV has located the Kobayashi, er, um, excuse me: "Ehime" Maru. Now we get to find out why a fishing boat was knocking down 30kts that close to Pearl Harbor...

Saturday, February 17, 2001 @ 12:46 p.m. - Comment

King George the second

... has obviously rediscovered a rule his pappy made good use of: everyone loves a president during wartime.

Did anyone here see Wag The Dog?

Saturday, February 17, 2001 @ 12:41 p.m. - Comment

If there is any way

that you can arrange your affairs to as to avoid forgetting which gate at the state fairgrounds you left your car outside of, then that is almost certainly the path your life should take.

Damn, but walking is good exercise.

Oh, and special to Christina: 14 year olds aren't supposed to look like you. :-}

Saturday, February 17, 2001 @ 11:48 a.m. - Comment

Blowing the Lid Off Cellphones on Planes

Every once in a while, a big faceless corporation has a *good* reason for what appears to be a useless restriction, or worse -- a restriction that appears tuned to make them money.

Wired writer Elisa Batista ran across one of these recently, but apparently, she didn't check enough sources to find out whether the stated reasons were accurate or not.

The topic is whether cellular telephone use should be allowed while airplanes are in flight. It's not, currently, and although the FCC regs banning it apparently overlooked 1900MHz phones (and likely the 800MHz IDEN phones used by Nextel as well), those phones shouldn't be used in flight either.

The frustrating thing about the situation is that Ms. Batista was actually provided with the pertinent fact in her research -- it's because the ground based cellular network doesn't know what to do when the signal from a single phone can be heard by more than about 3 towers. It's a design limitation of the system, nothing mysterious about it.

It's bad enough (capacity wise) when a phone is tying up receivers on 2 or 3 sites. Imagine what the capacity problems would be like if *45* cell channels were being tied up by that one phone...

One reference on the topic, albeit not an especially authoritative one (but hey, it agrees with my argument :-) is this one; he phrases it a bit better than I do. You're not likely to *find* an authoritative reference on the topic in print; an interview with a system design engineer is the closest I think you'll come.

Thursday, February 15, 2001 @ 07:17 p.m. - Comment

Wi-Fi: a Rebuttal

Well, it appears the chair of the IEEE 802.11 working group doesn't feel that his development process is closed, by any means:

Recent reports in the press have described the results of certain research efforts directed towards determining the level of security achievable with the Wired Equivalent Privacy algorithm in the IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN standard. While much of the reporting has been accurate, there have been some misconceptions on this topic that are now spreading through the media. Befitting the importance of the issue, I am inclined to make a response from the Chair to clarify these issues with the following points.
I do believe he means me...

One point he makes, though, seems to merit issue:

It is not clear at all whether the payoff to the attacker after marshalling the resources to mount such an attack would necessarily justify the expense of the attack, particularly given the presence of cheaper and simpler alternative attacks on the physical security of a facility.

In a recent RISKS Digest (I think it was, or possibly a Privacy Digest), someone relates the story of how he thought to turn on his laptop, with wireless card, while riding in a cab through some large city. You *don't* want to know how many networks he ended up connecting to, whose they were, or what things were available on them.

And while I realize that that doesn't speak directly to the gentleman's issue about payoff, it certainly has some indirect applicability, I think. If people put things like that on wireless networks *without* security enabled, what will they put on networks once they've turned it on?

Things, I think, that would be worth what effort it would take to build a 'little white van'...

Thursday, February 15, 2001 @ 04:37 p.m. - Comment

Circles and Arrows

Alert reader Edward Rice and I are having a discussion concerning whether they're "glossy pictures" (as me and my MP3 file concur upon) or "glossy photographs" (as he and two lyric sites concur upon).

Now I figure that the MP3 file is actually Arlo singin' the song, and therefore likely to be a better source, but we aren't sure yet, and we'll keep lookin.

In the meantime, though, he pointed me to Alice's Usenet Flame, which will no doubt be enjoyed by Arlo fans and Unix geeks, two groups which likely have a fairly high tropism:

Well, we got there and there was a mode of 0444 and a README file next to /dev/null sayin', ``This Bit Bucket Under Development on April 1st,'' and we'd never heard of a bit bucket being under development on April 1st or any other day before, and with tears in our eyes, we surfed into the sunset lookin' for another place to put the garbage.

We didn't find one 'til we came to, and off the side of was a sixteen gigabyte disk, and in the middle of the disk was another heap of /lost+found files. And we decided that one big heap was better than two little heaps, and rather than MGET their files, we decided to MPUT ours. That's what we did.

Logged off of, had a Thai dinner that couldn't be beat, went to sleep(1), and didn't get up until the next clock tick, when we got a talk request from He said, ``Kid, we found your UID on a file at the bottom of five hunnert megs of garbage and I just wanted to know if you had any information about it.''

UPDATE: I've grabbed a couple more MP3 versions, and they seem to agree. Alert reader Brennan O'Keefe also pointed me to this parody, which is even more specialized than the other one, and will probably only be funny to people who read the Jargon File for entertainment.

Thanks, Bren.

Further update: after finishing the second one, I'm pretty sure the first one actually lifted most of it's structure therefrom. Bummer.

Thursday, February 15, 2001 @ 01:04 p.m. - Comment

Extra: Wi-Fi

I inadvertantly failed to include the link to the website of the team at Berkeley CS who did that work on the Wi-Fi crack. Apologies.

Also, alert reader Chris McKillop points out that the IEEE standards process isn't quite as closed as I might have implied... but do you really think a CS student, even from Berkeley, is going to trump a Lucent engineer in an IEEE standards meeting? Perhaps I don't understand the milieu well enough, but I'd be surprised.

And, in any event, there's a difference between the couple dozen or a hundred people in an IEEE working group, and the tens of thousands (if not more) on the Internet...

Update: The IEEE walk-through on their standardizing process is here, and, apparently, membership isn't even as expensive as Chris had thought. Hmmmm....

Thursday, February 15, 2001 @ 11:43 a.m. - Comment

I see in this week's letter

that Alan Cox correctly notes that turning off Javascript to avoid the dangers of "Web Bugs 2", the Javascript in email exploit that allows Bad Guys to read your mail, will *not* protect you from the original type of Web Bugs, which use an inline image tag to say that you've *read* your mail -- we knew that, Alan. :-)

The only way to avoid *that* is to use a non-HTML-mail capable mail reader. Unix users, of course, have no problems with this, but ought anyway to check out Mutt. Windows users, OTOH, can switch to The Bat, from Stefan Turnikov's RIT Labs; unlike OE and Netscape Messenger, it has a *switch* to turn off HTML email interpretation. You do have to *flip* that switch, but at least the switch is there. The Bat is much better about dealing with nasty attachments, too; it is, so far, the best Windows email client I've seen.

Thursday, February 15, 2001 @ 10:51 a.m. - Comment

New Epinion

John Grisham's new book, A Painted House, isn't his usual fare, but it's very well done for all of that. I liked it. You might too, if you enjoy character studies. Appalachia, 1952.

Wednesday, February 14, 2001 @ 12:54 p.m. - Comment

Booth Bunnies

Courtesy of Doc, a delightful article on 'booth bunnies', those gorgeous women at trade shows who collect more phone numbers than they give out tchotchkes.

Doc is an editor at Linux Journal, amongst other gigs, and told me once that he likes my stuff. Thanks, Doc. (I figure, if I kiss his ass just right, maybe he'll let me write for him. :-)

Wednesday, February 14, 2001 @ 12:51 p.m. - Comment

Um, "Oops".

USS Greenville, a PacFlt fast-attack had a little problem the other day. Somehow, they did an emergency blow... right into the bottom of a 185ft Japanese fishing boat.


No, that's an "oh, shit".

Wednesday, February 14, 2001 @ 12:08 p.m. - Comment

Happy VD

Well, it's that time of year again. Time to scurry out for a card and some chocolate that you forgot to buy... all year. :-)

My love to the couple of people in my life who deserve it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2001 @ 09:29 a.m. - Comment

Even smiling makes my face ache...

There's one more 25th anniversary left.

The Rocky Horror Picture passes a quarter of a century this year... It's, like, #52 on the all-time money list, to the shock of those who haven't been paying attention, and VH-1 has a *very* nice Behind The Music that's running right now (it just got over; I presume they'll show it again this month).

The movie was re-released to midnights on April Fool's Day, 1976... 25 years ago next't month.

So you've got one more chance to go see it live, and be it, instead of dreaming it. I'd link you here to the webpage of the Pinellas County cast that I stage managed for almost 3 years.. but their webmaster has apparently discovered ILAYERS... which Netscape 4.7 won't render.

Sorry, Jannie.

Tuesday, February 13, 2001 @ 08:56 p.m. - Comment

Pete Sampras

... on an old Dennis Miller show, on being him:

"It's fucking awesome..."


Monday, February 12, 2001 @ 11:16 p.m. - Comment


The Dejanews archive has been taken over by Google.

My open letter to Google:

Note that Usenet is a *fixed pitch* environment; many postings assume this, and your reader probably should too -- *at the very least* in signatures.

Glad to see you got the stuff; hope you plan to reactivate the old archives -- you folks (as someone noted in the Metafilter thread which someone over there should really read) have the mojo to get holders of other old archives to donate them to you.

Don't screw this one up, 'k? We love you, we want to keep loving you.

Making a decision on, and public announcement about several items, including whether sponsor announcements and mini-ads will be allowed on pages, whether web/usenet combined searching will be automatic or an option, what you'll be doing about X-No-Archive, and finally and most importantly, what will happen to the archive if you decide to turn it loose, would all be Very Good Things.

You have no marketing on your front page. We Expect Much.

Don't Let Us Down.

Monday, February 12, 2001 @ 10:20 p.m. - Comment

I've found the ambiguity

"I've never been so certain;

I've never been so sure...

we're on the side of angels

if we believe this love is pure"

So... does that mean she's positive... or that she has no idea?

Isn't English marvellous? :-)

Sunday, February 11, 2001 @ 10:10 p.m. - Comment

Hats Off to Tim Caddell

Pinellas Park's new executive director of fun.

Sunday, February 11, 2001 @ 11:46 a.m. - Comment

And you thought *you* had junkmail trouble...

A couple in St Pete got 900 catalogs last year.

49 catalogs from Talbots? Shit; that's one a week. What's up with that?

Sunday, February 11, 2001 @ 11:43 a.m. - Comment

If you don't give your immune system something to chew on...

... it will chew on you...

Sunday, February 11, 2001 @ 11:20 a.m. - Comment

Y'all ain't friggin payin attention...

About 60% of the hits I get here lately, almost 200 in the last two days, are searches for Miriam Gonzales.

Down below somewhere, where you'da found it if you'd looked for 30 seconds, is a link to her Playmate of the Month pictorial teaser.

But you can't *read*, so only 15 of you have actually gone to look.


Your loss.

What should I *expect*, I suppose, from people who'd use a browser written in Seattle...

Sunday, February 11, 2001 @ 03:48 a.m. - Comment

Ah, Sanity!

In the teenage nudie pic scandal I mentioned a couple of days ago, it seems some sanity has broken out:

"No. 1, (parents) shouldn't be surprised," said Dr. Denis Donovan, a child and adolescent psychiatrist. "If parents think that these things aren't going on fairly often just in the teenaged world, they've spent too long at the golf course. You know darn well that many kids go into their early teens with personal sexual knowledge."

Except that we all know damned well that he said "damn well". :-) State Attorney Bernie McCabe apparently has a clue too; he's backpedaling as far as his office will allow him to in public; he's not gonna charge these kids.

Not if he wants to get elected again.

Saturday, February 10, 2001 @ 01:34 p.m. - Comment

Can I go home now?

Earthlink bought out MindSpring awhile back, to my screeching dismay. MindSpring was the only decent ISP on the planet of any size. I don't know what they're like anymore, but they're not running their own POPs anymore, so...

But apparently money is the only thing these days: EarthLink may sell out to the AntiChrist.

Doesn't *ANYONE* realize that these mergers serve no one but the Golden Parachute executives? They don't serve the shareholders, and they *sure* don't friggin serve the customers...

Friday, February 9, 2001 @ 11:17 p.m. - Comment

Special to Deborah Branscum

The space goes *after* the </a>...

and you just *can't* write your stuff in Word and paste it in. If you don't understand why, either look at your site in Netscape (and understand that the reason it looks ok in Internet Exploiter is because *it* doesn't follow the standards either), or Google for Demoronizer.

Really. It's incredibly tedious to wade through those screwed up quotes and stuff.

Nice stuff otherwise, or I wouldn't bother to complain.

Friday, February 9, 2001 @ 09:22 p.m. - Comment

What if Linus gets hit by a bus?

I believe that the canonical version actually refers to Python creator Guido (not Sarducci) Van Rossum, but this sort of ties into the thread involving Doc Searls and Craig Burton a couple days ago.

It seems the question has already been asked and answered.

Friday, February 9, 2001 @ 05:28 p.m. - Comment

And, just when you think the world isn't worth keeping...

someone changes your mind.

<hand salute>


Friday, February 9, 2001 @ 05:01 p.m. - Comment

Well, here we go again

Apparently, some Boca Ciega High students are going to have their lives unilaterally ruined by Eckerd Drugs and the Pinellas County Sherriff's Office.

So, what I want to know is this: are Jack Eckerd and Everett Rice going to pay the bills for the psychiatrists these kids are probably going to now need in a few years, that they wouldn't if these excuse me but motherfuckers hadn't decided to meddle in business that is properly that of the parents involved, and not the law?

And people wonder why kids maked fucked up decisions about sex.

They do it because we teach them to, because we're so screwed up ourselves.

Friday, February 9, 2001 @ 04:36 p.m. - Comment

Why have you left the one

... you left me for?

That's my question, Amber.

Thursday, February 8, 2001 @ 11:04 p.m. - Comment

I'm sorry sir...

... but I'm afraid you'll have to reinstall Windows."
-- Unnamed Microsoft technical support employee.

Ever hear *those* words before?

Of course you have. And, while it was a nuisance -- ok, an annoying screaming crawling horror -- at least you didn't have to call them to get permission.

When activating the software, the Product Activation utility examines the PC's hardware and generates a "hash," like an electronic fingerprint, based on all of the different pieces in the system. When the software is activated, Microsoft stores both the activation key and the hash. That way, if a user has to reinstall the software, Microsoft's server will recognize the hardware configuration.

One or two peripherals can be swapped out of a system and the hash would be preserved, but a major overhaul or new system would require the user to call Microsoft to confirm that they have rights to the software to get it activated. If the software isn't registered, the Microsoft operator can see how many times the software has been activated and decide based on the number of activations and the story the user tells.

Microsoft insists honest users have nothing to fear. "If it's an honest customer, then they know what they did, they don't have to remember a bunch of lies," said Nieman. "If you're pirating the product, you have to remember a bunch of lies."

Software consultant David Moskowitz, president of Productivity Solutions, warned that requiring users to make phone calls before reinstalling software could result in irate customers.

"If it gets to be a pain in the butt or starts causing people grief when they discover they have to call Microsoft to get permission to install the software, it won't fly," he said. "That could hamper upgrades if people perceive it is creating a nuisance for themselves."

So ask yourself, if you run a business -- even out of your home -- this question: when you have a million dollar project due in 12 hours, and it's 1:30am PDT, and your machine blows its brains out and you need to reinstall...

do you really want to have to get Microsoft's permission?

If you work in a computerized office, but you're not the geek, print out this and the linked story and take them in to him or her. (Or, of course, you could just point the site out to them; they should be reading it anyway. :-)

Thursday, February 8, 2001 @ 07:58 p.m. - Comment

FLASH: Miriam Gonzales PMOM

Thanks to alert reader ATAce, who pointed out that Miriam Gonzales, the beautiful naked woman you're all looking for (:-), is next months' Playmate of the Month. Our hat is off to her fiance Mike for sending her pics in in the first place.

If your memory serves you well, you'll recognize Miriam Gonzalez.

Special to Playboy's stylists: back the hell off. No, we won't recognize her at all; now she just looks like every other Playmate. Morons. The point wasn't that she has large, pretty breasts (:-) to Charlotte), it was that she had a beautiful face. Which now looks nothing like her. Really. Even the NSS pics were sufficiently different from the bus tour stuff to be annoying.

Special to's copy editors: learn how to spell her name.

Thursday, February 8, 2001 @ 02:05 p.m. - Comment

The Shoulders on Which We Stand

In our quest for Linux World Domination, we occasionally forget What Has Gone Before.

Well, not all of us do...

Excellent family tree of how Unix came from a PDP-7 to where it is today (which, of course, is "everywhere else").

What Kind Of Hardware Do You Want To Run On Today?

Wednesday, February 7, 2001 @ 12:32 p.m. - Comment

<sigh volume='loud' tone='exasperated'>

Why is it that I spend so much of my life saying, to the collective population of the Internet "Yeah, no shit; we've been saying that for months now, and my customers aren't affected by this, because they use the right clients, and I configure them the right way"?

The latest thing the New York Times has seen fit to blow the lid off is JavaScript email bugs.

If that doesn't tell you the whole story, here's a little background, leavened with a little preaching. Eddie? A little bullshitting music, please...

In the beginning was electronic mail. And it was plain text. And everyone saw that it was good.

Come along Netscape Messenger, the mail client included in Netscape's browser package. The good engineers at Netscape decided that their email client ought to understand how to interpret HTML code inside email message bodies. There was no *standard* for that, of course, the standard that did exist specified plain text. "Oh, but obviously they couldn't have thought of this"...

This was a Bad Idea, being, as it was, mostly motivated by the fact that it would make e-junk-mail prettier. But they did it anyway, and, of course, users, not realizing what the long term implications might be (and, ahem blowing off the people giving them good advice) got accustomed to being able to set the fonts and colors in their email, and include pictures.

Well, along came 'web bugs I': since those messages can be HTML, it occured to some marketer that if they included an 'inline image' tag in the spam mail they sent out to people, that they could tell which of those messages were actually *read* by people (using HTML capable mailers -- in our 95% Windows, 90% browser-mailreader environment, that's a walk on), by the fairly simple expedient of making that image tag retrieve a transparent 1-pixel image, and tagging its name so they could tell *which* person read the mail.

This acquired the popular name 'web bug', and was widely viewed as Not A Good Thing, privacy-wise... by the 350 people who were paying any attention at all.

But, in the final analysis, that one didn't raise a major ruckus because all it really denied you was the ability to lie about whether you'd read a piece of mail (and by extension, whether your email address really existed at all). Just like the lovebug virus... which wasn't really very dangerous.

But before we leave that, let's take a quick side trip: web bugs did their dirty deed even if all you did was read the mail. Unlike viruses, you didn't even need to do something ill-advised to get bit. Worse: you couldn't even switch the problem off: neither Netscape nor (as far as I know) Explorer/Outlook allow you to *disable* HTML interpretation in email.

So, now we have 'web bug II'. This one's much nastier. Because, you see, along the way, web browsers acquired the ability to interpret the javaScript programming language. And, unfortunately but predictably, they allowed *that* to be interpreted in email too. And javaScript, you see, allows interaction with a thing called the Document Object Model, which, very roughly, is an API into the running browser program. If you've ever been to a website that has a little checkbox to toggle whether links open new windows in your browser when you click on them, you've seen a (very clever) implementation of the DOM with javaScript.

What's truly amazing, actually, is that it's taken *this long* for some malevolent actor to realize that you could embed javaScript programs in email too, *and that those programs, through the DOM, could access the contents of the mail*.

The upshot of that realization, of course, is that it's now possible for someone to send you mail that quietly carbon copies your reply to an unseen third party... and if that message is them replied to and expands into a thread, *all* of those messages will get forwarded on to the Bad Guy.

Now, to give some credit where due, Netscape has a switch to turn off javaScript interpretation in mail and news messages while leaving it on for webpages. But, of course, in a fairly common manifestation of convenience overpowering security, the default setting of that switch is "on".

Along with AutoUpdate, "What's Related", and (these days) the Java interpreter, "Allow javaScript in mail and news" is one of the first things I shut off when installing or taking over responsibility for Netscape on a new computer.

And, as computer software vendors continue to provide new features that either a) they think we need or b) their corporate parents think will make trying to sell us things easier, and give no thought to the security of the end users, the situation will likely get worse before it gets better.

Unless users complain. If you're an MIS director, *bitch about this long and loudly*. If you're "someone's friend, the computer guy", explain this stuff to them. They really do need to understand. No, *really*.

Tuesday, February 6, 2001 @ 11:27 p.m. - Comment

The Profanisaurus

All those words you didn't know you needed. Kind of like smutty sniglets.

Bone of Contention:
A hard-on that causes an argument. e.g. one that arises when a man is watching Olympic beach volleyball on TV with his girlfriend.

Trying to draw a smile on a woman's face by twiddling both of her nipples simultaneously.

Unnecessarily time-consuming foreplay.

Millennium Domes:
The contents of a Wonderbra. i.e. extremely impressive when viewed from the outside, but there's actually fuck-all in there worth seeing.

And, to paraphrase George Carlin: screw you, I like these kinds of jokes. :-)

Tuesday, February 6, 2001 @ 07:48 p.m. - Comment

This page

intentionally left unblank.

Tuesday, February 6, 2001 @ 07:42 p.m. - Comment

Advice on visiting the Texas White House

Our new president (no, I will *not* capitalize the P) is, of course, from Texas. As with so many previous presidents, this is likely to engender lots of trips to the homestead to get away from it all, and of course, if you're going to visit, you need to know the rules.

[ Disclaimer: this was forwarded to me by a (Republican) client who apparently has a sense of humor. I didn't write it, and I've asked the moderator to clarify the mischaracterization at the website. If you know who *did* write it, please point them to me so I can post their name. ]

Tuesday, February 6, 2001 @ 06:58 p.m. - Comment


Ok, Duets is out of theatres and didn't make an especially big splash on video, so you may not get the above joke, from the Huey Lewis/Gwyneth Paltrow movie from late last year. But the fact that karaoke keeps rearing it's ugly head has to mean something -- the latest George Strait video, the new country songs by Trick Pony and Collin Raye, a couple of TV commercials... we're everwhere (moo ha ha ha ha... :-)

I live in west central Florida, and on any night of the week that I feel like going out, I can find at *least* a dozen places to sing; there are at least 2 bars in each county that have karaoke shows going 7 nights a week. And the people keep coming: bar owners aren't people especially noted for spending money on stuff that isn't making them money.

Last night's show was sort of the Varsity. No, not the Varsity *Club*, but the singers who frequent Ann's Night Out at New York New York on Monday nights are *not* the JV squad... well most of them. :-)

And, depending on where you go, you'll find a *lot* of singers who don't fit the common stereotype of drunken barflies who can't carry a tune. A few, in fact, are good enough to make it professionally -- and some have.

But some people are just doing it for the fun of the thing. Me, for example. I don't have any aspirations of making it a career, but for all of that, I do take pains to do a good job. Everyone has a style. Mine, for example, is to get as close to the original performance as I can. The best compliment I've ever received out singing was "Is there anyone you *don't* sound like?"

Certainly there are singers whom you'd rather not sit through, but not as many as you might think... and it depends a lot on where you go.

I've personally been off "the circuit" for about 6 months, and I'm sort of slowly climbing back on. If I can afford it. And tolerate the cigarette smoke.

And the rejection.

[ See earlier rant about The Gambler's Ruin ]

Tuesday, February 6, 2001 @ 12:04 p.m. - Comment

Do you have to be an idiot to be an 'Industry Analyst'?

Or does it just help?

Giga Information Group analyst Rob Enderly was asked, in a current ZDnet article [courtesy LWN] about the whole CollabNet/MozDev thing in the context of corporate development, and he trotted out the old "you can't have security in open source because everyone can *see* everything" shibboleth:

Open source hasn't lent itself to the security side of things. Too many people know how it works, so that the opportunity for somebody to know how to get around the security platform looks to be significantly enhanced."
Well, *I* sure wouldn't be paying someone who's paying that little attention much for his opinions.

I suppose, looking back, that I should mention that the rest of the piece is quite good.

[ For those who just walked in, or missed the posting below about WEP sucking as much as WAP: the people you keep out in a closed source project include most of the good cryptographers in the world, who will evaluate your friggin' product for free if you'll only *let them*. You *can't* have all the good ones on staff, even if you're No Such Agency. ]

Tuesday, February 6, 2001 @ 11:45 a.m. - Comment

Heard on HBO's 'Women of the Night' comedy special

from a deaf comedienne: "been three years since I had a date; I don't know whether it's because I can't hear the phone ring or what... masturbation is a pain though; I can only use one hand, the other one is busy moaning and screaming [ASL-like hand motions]".


Tuesday, February 6, 2001 @ 01:28 a.m. - Comment

Wireless LANs

also referred to as 802.11 and Wi-Fi, have 2 level security. The higher level is referred to as 'Wired-Equvalent Privacy', and as you might expect from such a Titanic-equivalent moniker, someone's broken it.

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) isn't. The protocol's problems is a result of misunderstanding of some cryptographic primitives and therefore combining them in insecure ways. These attacks point to the importance of inviting public review from people with expertise in cryptographic protocol design; had this been done, the problems stated here would have surely been avoided.

This isn't real surprising to those of us who pay attention to such things. The only digital, encrypted wireless system I'm currently aware of not having been broken is the CDMA (IS-136, I think) air interface used by Qualcomm/Sony PCS phones. Even GSM was cracked, though it took a lot longer than Wi-Fi did...

Tuesday, February 6, 2001 @ 12:27 a.m. - Comment

Good ghod.

Brit-Brit can act.

I wouldn't have believed it if you'd told me.

SNL's writers, OTOH, lost their touch for pastiche *years* ago. You've gotta be subtle guys... and if you're gonna go for broad camp, you've gotta be funnier than this.

Tuesday, February 6, 2001 @ 12:01 a.m. - Comment

Well, the thing is unproven again, I guess...

Are Britney's boobs fake?

Aw, crap, it was a bit. :-)

She's hosting SNL tonight on CCentral, and I guess ... aw, never mind.

Monday, February 5, 2001 @ 11:51 p.m. - Comment

'I am Linus Torvalds, and yes, I am your God.'

Bigger than Jesus Christ, eh Linus? :-)

Linux Planet writer Dennis E Powell has combed the kernel mailing list archives, and collected what he deems the wittiest and pithiest of Linus' comments in an article here.

My, lack of false modesty is refreshing.

My favorite:

Yeah, yeah, it's 7PM Christmas Eve over there, and you're in the middle of your Christmas dinner. You might feel that it's unreasonable of me to ask you to test out my latest crazy idea.

How selfish of you.

Get back there in front of the computer NOW. Christmas can wait.

Linus "the Grinch" Torvalds

Monday, February 5, 2001 @ 01:41 p.m. - Comment

Oh ghod...

... do I know how this feels.

I think...

Monday, February 5, 2001 @ 12:18 p.m. - Comment


Reports are conflicting. was a magazine, sort of, concerning electronic mail and related topics, and -- unlike most such endeavours -- it had the benefit of good writing and editing... including such great wordsmiths as Greg 'Winerlog when it was *good*' Knauss.

It's been in a sort of a cryogenic stasis, lately, though, and I've been led to understand that the application of some appreciative heat might thaw it back out.

So, if you haven't already, take a look over there, and if you like what you see, drop a note to their webmaster.

Monday, February 5, 2001 @ 12:08 p.m. - Comment

New RISKS Digest Out

Some good stuff this month.

If you don't read RISKS and you work with computers (and these days, who doesn't), you really should.

Sunday, February 4, 2001 @ 03:41 p.m. - Comment

Writing from the Pulpit

Robert X. Cringely (not his real name) has installed the Starband satellite internet service I mentioned here a couple of months ago.

Short version: he likes it. It's not perfect, and it's not for everyone, but it does get the job done.

Oh, and it *does* have an Ethernet connector on the external modem, and if you open it up and unplug the silly USB daughtercard, it comes back to life. More references on that when I have time to hunt them down... unless an alert reader saves me the trouble. :-)

Sunday, February 4, 2001 @ 02:20 p.m. - Comment

Craig Burton

is an infrastructure guy, according to Doc Searls. Doc's a writer, and one of the editors (I misremember which one) of Linux Journal, amongst other gigs he undertakes in his copious free time.

Doc likes him a lot, and linked to him today, so I went over to check him out too, and what did I find?

Why do I keep saying that Linus 'owns' Linux?.

This is exacly the point--regardless of how the copyright and license agreement for Linux reads; Linus Torvalds is the sole proprieter of the property covered in those agreements. Linus Torvalds is the sole proprieter of the trademark "Linux." As sole proprieter of the Linux kernel and of the Linux trademark, Linus Torvalds has tremendous--and rapidly growing--power. The more poeple adopt Linux and use the Linux, the more important it becomes. No other indivudual is the sole proprieter of the core technology and trademark of such important and popular technology.

Yeah? So what? That code wasn't all written by Linus, and there are *so many* names in just the kernel alone, all of whom have chosen to license that code for distribution under the GPL, that it really doesn't *matter*. The implications of that quote are just not the same as they might be in the 'Real World'.

I don't much like the way RMS phrases his outlook on 'GNU/Linux' as a preferred term for Linux distibutions, but the fact remains that the GPL has done for Linux exactly what he wanted for it to do: it's protected it from Big Business. You simply *can't* rope it back in; the code is out there; if Linus gets hit by a bus, or worse, inveigled by the Dark Side of the Force, we'll just fork the kernel, and move along.


Doc replied to my comments above; the salient point was

Linus himself is perceived as the owner of Linux, big time. Maybe not by everybody, but by plenty of programmers who believe that Linux grows in the directions Linus personally allows it to grow. Whether or not this is true, enough people believe it is true to make it so. I was told this, repeatedly, at LWE, and it blew my mind. Mostly it was by programmers who want stuff in the kernel they believe won't happen, or happen soon, because Linus just isn't interested in it. This is a non-trivial issue, and we need to talk about it. In fact, Craig gives us a good start with the matrix he drew during an interview in the August 2000 issue of Linux Journal. That's it, above. I believe Craig was the first to observe that we collapse two wholly different distinctions when we call "open" the opposite of "proprietary" and "closed" the opposite of "public domain." A lot of people have told me they think this is "trivial" and "doesn't really matter. But it does. Distinctions are about meaning, and if meaning doesn't matter we're in trouble. which my response is that it depends on what the meaning of "owns" is. In the sense that one "owns a problem", certainly Linus owns the kernel. And yes, at the moment, Linus is the one person with his hand on the tiller; the Chief Architect, if you will.

But That's A Feature, Not A Bug. I thought more about this this afternoon after writing the above, and I came to the realization that it is the combination of two facts that has made Linux what it is:

  • There is one hand at the tiller: Linux has exactly one person deciding what it's kernel level architecture will be, which is widely recognized as the best approach to systems design.
  • That person is not beholden to any one company -- all the distribution vendors are using the same kernel, more or less, meaning that, within reason, it doesn't matter which distribution a customer or reseller chooses; the customer isn't beholden to anyone either -- including Linus. Any customer or distribution vendor can decide to add their special feature to their kernel, or even fork the kernel, and just move on with life.
Linus can build the kernel in his best estimation of what that design ought to be, commercial interests be damned... but those same commercial interests aren't stuck with his dislike of some special thing they need, either.

So, what we're left with here, I guess is a disagreement, but I'm not sure on which point. Doc thinks that lots of people think that Linus "owns" the kernel, but he doesn't say whether he thinks those people mean it in the property sense or the control sense.

If the former, then they're right, but it doesn't, in my humble opinion, matter. If the latter, then they're just wrong. if they think the former *implies* the latter, then I still think they're wrong. But that's an easier problem to fix than the one they *think* pertains. (It's easier to clarify for people that any property ownership Linus may have in the kernel doesn't impede their plans the way it might in a more traditional milieu, than it would be to actually *change* that ownership, were it actually necessary.)

His comments on Vulture Capitalists I can't argue with, but it's not *my* fault some VC's are dumb.

Sunday, February 4, 2001 @ 01:22 a.m. - Comment

Ah, Christ.

Continental may buy Delta.

Write Delta off if that happens.

*WHY* can't companies get it that mergers don't do any good? They enrich the boards and executives and screw the employees and stockholders.

Sunday, February 4, 2001 @ 01:28 a.m. - Comment

You know...

... I'm likin' these Eva Savalot commercials for 1-800-COLLECT. I like 'em a lot better than those ones with Trapezoid-Head in them.

I like them even though I'm not especially impressed with MCI for not admitting that's who runs the service.

And though they don't know how to spell her name correctly. :-)

Sunday, February 4, 2001 @ 01:08 a.m. - Comment

New Epinion


It's been awful too damned long since I wrote one.

Sugar & Spice, the new cheerleader movie, sucks.

Persall was right, this time...

Sunday, February 4, 2001 @ 12:39 a.m. - Comment

Well, now, *here's* a new viral marketing idea...

I got some email the other day from "CrushLink", a free service designed to harvest as many valid email addresses as possible.... oh, excuse me: to "bring together people with their crushes".

Now, not withstanding the fact that I got out of highschool pretty close to 2 decades ago, I'm having *enough* trouble with mistaking people for adults as it is.

So I decline to play. If it was you, sorry.

[ Note: no link in this story. That wasn't accidental. ]

Saturday, February 3, 2001 @ 05:47 p.m. - Comment

Budweisier: The Official Beer of NASCAR

You know, maybe it's just me -- so many things are just me -- but ... the official beer of a car racing series?

Isn't there something fundamentally wrong with that?

It seems to me sort of like someone announcing that they're "the official bookie of Major League Baseball"...

Saturday, February 3, 2001 @ 11:46 a.m. - Comment

FLASH: Larry Sanders Retires

Well, I *assume* this was actually the last show.

Wow. Balls. I love it.

Good stuff, Garry. Good stuff, HBO.

Saturday, February 3, 2001 @ 12:02 a.m. - Comment

Don't make me come over there...

You know, here's a funny thing. George Strait has a new song out, with the amusing title "Don't Make Me Come Over There and Love You". That's a pretty catchy premise, incredibly poorly exploited by the songwriters.

I thought it was the dumbest thing I'd ever heard him sing... until I saw the video.

It's not all that common for a video to redeem a song -- the last instance I can think of is the video for Tim McGraw's "Don't Take The Girl", where a fleeting shot at the end completely changes (and greatly lightens) the mood of the video.

The song still sucks, though... :-)

Thursday, February 1, 2001 @ 01:19 a.m. - Comment

Ah, cable is nice

I'm watching Comedy Central's 'The Daily Show' (when news breaks... we fix it) (go find the web site yourself :-) -- the result of that rare mind in comedy...

someone who realized that Weekend Update was the best part of Satruday Night Live.

Alas, the same producer hasn't realized how much fun the parody commercials were...

Monday, January 29, 2001 @ 11:02 p.m. - Comment

Microsoft has combined the strengths

... of it's three biggest operating system products.

The results are as you might expect.

Monday, January 29, 2001 @ 10:38 a.m. - Comment

I'd really appreciate it

... if anyone who knows this 'Hot or Not' girl would please give her my phone number.

I mean... damn.

That's like the third different picture of her someone's posted this week, and I'm smut. Excuse me: smitten.

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 11:31 p.m. - Comment

Ok, people...

... that's the noise, and I am *outta* here.

Damn, that's hard work.

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 10:09 p.m. - Comment

Don't forget

whip on over to vote for your favorite commercials at

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 10:03 p.m. - Comment

Quoth the Ravens

... nevermore.

The final from Tampa Bay: Ravens 34, Giants 7; and the Baltimore Ravens take the Vince Lombardi Trophy home.

Spots: McD (High awww quotient on this one); Replay of the car in a tree VW commercial; AmEx Blue (finally?) (cute); Southwest Airlines (that's low; that's *funny*!); Alltel (Faith Hill lullabye); 10 medical series promo (damn fine production on this one, actually).

Apparently, no curfew in the land of the lap dance wins championships.

Congrats to Trent Dilfer and his Ravens.

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 09:35 p.m. - Comment

You do hate to lose it by one point

Excellent point made by the CBS announcing crew; it's much less painful to lose by a bunch... than by one yard.

Ray Lewis has been selected the Most Valuable Prisoner in the game.


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 09:31 p.m. - Comment

Is it over?

2 minute warning. Spots: Another legacy smoking spots; Blockbuster finally gets in the gave, with free satellite (whyinhell would they plug the competition?); Target (rose colored glasses); JAG promo, and back for the drubbing.


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 09:26 p.m. - Comment


Challenged. The commentators think not; Giants got the challenge in *just* in time.

Here it comes: NFL meets EyeVision.

Now the booth has changed what there is of it's mind; they *do* think it was in; by a nose.

What do the officials think?

Touchdown! Ravens extra point is good, for a 31 - 7 lead.

Spots: Hmm... this looks like the Bay Area Renn Fest. Oh, Knight's Tale (hmmm); Diet Pepper (chuckle); American Legacy anit-smoking (oooooooof); CSI promo. Back to the game with a Ravens recovery; more spots:

Master Card is into free stuff this year (nice editing); Coach meets N'Sync for Budweiser (Ooh! Top 5, definitely); United Way/NFL lift the kids; and back. Better commercials this half, definitely.

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 09:03 p.m. - Comment


Spots: Bud Light (come home early; love those Japanese); I am so ready to never see another IBM commercial.


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 08:58 p.m. - Comment

End of 3; 24-7

Spots: Family Law promo; CBS sports golf; 10 News corporate masturbation; Mich light (beer macho); 10 News pop.

Ron Dixon getting an IV; these wimps. :-)

More spots: (undertaker; better); Verizon SMS (who was that rock star?); Fugitive promo; Survivor promo; I've got a bad feeling about all these promos...


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 08:49 p.m. - Comment

Touchdown, believe it or not, Ravens!

"Oh yeah? Take that", says number 84. 24 - 7, Ravens.


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 08:44 p.m. - Comment

Touchdown Giants!

Shit! 97 yard kick return! Good kick, 17-7, Ravens, 3:31 in the 3rd. Quoth the Giants... "nevermore".

See? You play good commercials, and the football players get better.


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 08:42 p.m. - Comment

Touchdown Ravens!

Looks like it might be a Ravens game; kick is good; 17-0 Ravens at 3:49 in the 3rd.

Break: VW (I just have to run faster than you) (giggle); The first *decent* Cingular spot in the show (gimp; top 5); Dumb ass "shameless" CBS Promo.

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 08:38 p.m. - Comment

It's a Stickup!

E-trade bank (another good spot); Bud (whassup ate my dog) (nice animation... as little content as you'd expect. Chuckle). 3:58 in the third... and we're back.


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 08:33 p.m. - Comment

And yet more...

Spots, and fights: Kasparov v. Hal for Pepsi (YEAH! *There's* the frigging spot I was waiting for); CSI promo; NFL United Way promo; CBS NCAA promo; and we're back.


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 08:29 p.m. - Comment

Bad field goal from 40 yards

VW (wedding) (cute); Invesco (finally; a well written spot!); Subway (that same damn-ass Jared and the bunnies spot). Bud blimp pop... And we're back. And so's Dilfer.


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 08:22 p.m. - Comment

More spots

Snickers Crunchers (yeah!); (miserably boring); Another stupid frigging Accenture commercial; and some CBS promo. Oh, and we're a copyrighted feature that may not be reproduced.

Don't forget; this year for the first time, viewers will be allowed to vote for the MVP of the game. Sorta spiffy.

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 08:14 p.m. - Comment

And the award

... for the most people on one stage performing "Walk this Way" at the same time goes to...

Aerosmith, N'Sync, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Nelly. Damned fine television; and kudos to Rocha for the Jumbotron I saw...

Break: George Forman's Grill, 60 (and maybe 90) seconds of corporate masturbation for CBS; a kinda cool spot with really crappy vocals which appears to be for the NFL (yup); blimp pop -- and oops: it's 10 - nothing. Forgot a field goal.

Another break: 60 seconds of corporate masturbation for CBS Sports; Judging Amy promo; Publix (*before* the game, guys); Ford Ranger (yawn); a weird ass spot for the Truth campaign agaist smoking; that Jeep Laredo "shake your mud all over the front yard" spot; 10 News promo.

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 08:03 p.m. - Comment

Is there anybody out there?

[ Checks log ] Yeah; guess so. :-)

Halftime; Ravens, still 7-0.

CBS comedy monday; CBS news promo; JAG promo; Dodge pickups (good editing); St Pete Times (a direct rip off of the alt Bud commercials, but very well done); Lexus (rallye) (chuckle); 10 news promo.

Well, we're up to halftime. I haven't yet seen a commercial that merited spending $2.4M on the airtime for. Hopefully, the second half will fix that.

CBS's analysis team look like they're having fun in the shadow of Jose Gaspar's boat there...

We'll see. Boring football so far this year.

Next break: Verizon SMS again (yawn, again).

And the halftime show. Have fun; watchin' this.

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 07:40 p.m. - Comment

Another Break

Pepcid Complete (chuckle). That's all?


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 07:38 p.m. - Comment

2 minute warning

Another stupid Accenture spot; Doritos spot with the babe with the boobs (ouch!); Levi's (jean donor) (chuckle); CBS shows promo.


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 07:33 p.m. - Comment

Next Break

Swordfish (Travolta, trying to redeem himself); Bud Light (otto) (chuckle); CSI promo (making microscopes and dust brushes cool).


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 07:22 p.m. - Comment

Break 12

Cingluar (dancer guy)(yawn); Accenture (bacteria) (FIRE THE AGENCY); Youth Smoking (Philip Morris).


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 07:19 p.m. - Comment

Break 11

Pepsi (Bob Dole Viagra) (chuckle); Motel 6 (refs) (chuckle); Visa Check Card (yawn).


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 07:04 p.m. - Comment

Break 10

Bud (alt) (yawn); Verizon Wireless SMS (cute); Master Card (auction) (chuckle); Survivor 2 promo.


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 07:02 p.m. - Comment

Break 9; First Quarter.

Ravens, 7-0.

Visa (suck that man right outta my house) (cute); Pepsi (jail house) (cute); Cingular (ballet) (yawn); Raymond Promo (chuckle).


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 06:58 p.m. - Comment

Break 8

Exit Wounds (yawn); Volks GTI (car up a tree) (chuckle); Grammy's promo; Golf promo.


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 06:46 p.m. - Comment

First Blood Ravens!

Go Trent! Dilfer to Stokeley, 38 yards; 7-0 6:50 in the first.

Break 7: Hannibal (yuck); Bud ("what are you doing?"; dumb); Accenture (abandon) (what a stupid name).


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 06:33 p.m. - Comment


is CBS's new instant reply technology. Call it reply meets the Matrix.

It's not as smooth as they'd like it to be, but we've only seen it once. It *is* cool, though...

Break 6: Mummy (yawn); EDS (running with the squirrels) (cute).

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 06:27 p.m. - Comment

Looks like those players are gonna get good exercise

... jogging on and off field.

Break 5: Pepsi (dream vacation) (giggle); Dentyne Ice (billiards, yawn, seen it); E-trade (monkeys; *we* survived) (cute)

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 06:24 p.m. - Comment

Break 5

Bud Light (hair dryer) (cute); (yeah); Fedex (big springs) (chuckle); The District promo; E-trade halftime promo (chuckle)

Jay almost chokes to death (damn!)


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 06:19 p.m. - Comment

Super Cams

Some spiffy looking webcams live here; GameDay Live today is here. Check them out.


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 06:14 p.m. - Comment


To the 5, returned to the 22. We're underway.


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 06:12 p.m. - Comment

Break 4

Schwab (Investor in shining armor; 60 sec) (cute)


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 06:10 p.m. - Comment

Coin Flip

Giants win; and receive.


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 06:09 p.m. - Comment

Da Boys

did the anthem with their hands over their hearts.

Damn, but we can still do it.

Break 3: Tomb Raider movie (yawn); Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust (cleavers; clever); Staples (whose office is it anyway?) (chuckle); GMC Sierra Z3 (oooh, aaah); RCA HDTV sponsor bumper; Survivor promo (why the *hell* don't they rip off the camera crews' food); Bud blimp pop.

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 06:04 p.m. - Comment




Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 06:02 p.m. - Comment

Brother Ray

They ain't no one does it like Brother Ray. The director was having a ball too. But damn, Ray looks uncomfortable without his piano...

And he had just a little help from the good men at the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman AFB.

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 05:59 p.m. - Comment

Break 2

Acura MDX (yawn); McD New Taste Menu (alt, boring); Fujitsu (Rubik's Sphere); Snickers (Crunch the car) (good); 15 Minutes (yawn).

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 05:56 p.m. - Comment

The best in the world assemble

... only one team comes back.

Does it suck worse to lose the Super Bowl than a regular game?

CBS has the honors this year. for the first time in many years; their kickoff show came out of the gate football.

Spots: Schwab (football); Southwest Airlines (30 years); Honda CRV ("your blinker is on"); Ruffles (Vote Counters) (cute); Cingular (Human Expression) (not bad).

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 05:42 p.m. - Comment

Who Is That Guy?

The Buick guy, I mean. The voice of Buick, so far as I can tell, does no other commercials, and no one else voices Buick commercials.

Ghod, what a cushy gig.

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 05:39 p.m. - Comment

T minus 30 minutes...

... and counting

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 05:34 p.m. - Comment

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Super Bowl

... but didn't know where to surf to.

Keep it here for updates...


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 11:23 a.m. - Comment


... Sin-a-max.


Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 01:21 a.m. - Comment

Aw, crap.

I missed the CBS special on Super Bowl ads tonight, and Alan didn't get it on tape. Anyone else got a copy to trade?

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 12:05 a.m. - Comment

I'm way disconnected, I guess...

AMC's Backstory this {week,month} is about the Rocky Horror experience. Presumably, they'll be running it for a little while. I hope so; I want it on tape.

UPDATE: Crap; last of four airings. Anyone got *this*, too?

Sunday, January 28, 2001 @ 12:03 a.m. - Comment

Special to Reggie Roundtree

Yeah, being an anchor isn't always as much fun a being a reporter, but the St Pete Times thinks you're tied for first.

Saturday, January 27, 2001 @ 11:50 p.m. - Comment

You know... I love television.

Cause television lets me watch black people comedy -- which, let's be straight about it, is *different* from white people comedy -- without anyone gettin' bent about it.

You can imagine me sitting in the middle of 'Live from the Apollo', right?

Saturday, January 27, 2001 @ 11:35 p.m. - Comment

FLASH: Gaspar Invades

You didn't think that Gasparilla was the only big event going on in Tampa this weekend, did you?

Oh, no...

In a move widely regarded as the stupidest thing ever done by the City of Tampa (by bar operators -- it deprived them of a *second* big sales weekend), the hundred and somethingth invasion of Tampa by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gaspar, including a street parade attended by 750,000, of whom only 29 managed to get themselves arrested.

C'mon guys; you ain't trying out there.

Oh, and special to WFLA anchors Byron Brown and Nerissa Prest (who's very pretty, BTW): nice beads, there, guys. :-)

FLASH 2, the sequel: Apparently, someone screwed the pooch building the press pen inside RayJay; WFLA blows the lid off *that* in the linked story.

Saturday, January 27, 2001 @ 11:04 p.m. - Comment

John Stossel

has made a career with ABC News of blowing the lid off of... well, whatever was handy, and needed its lid blown off that particular week.

He's quite good at it; 19 Emmy's worth. In the process, Fox tried to lure him away, and one of the things he got ABC to pony to keep him was the luxury of being able to produce a certain number of hours of primetime every year. Since he's both garnered effusive praise, and pissed off a whole bunch of people, he must be making good use of that privilege.

Alas, alert reader Frank Clarke only told me about the show tonight, and it's *on* right now.

Tonight, he's blowing the lid off of Washington.

It looks pretty good.

Reagan and Bush the Elder on a split screen saying that the government is "too big, and spends too much". Same pacing, same cadence. Do these guys have the same scriptwriter?

If I find a link to streaming video or a transcript after the fact, I'll update this story. The Washington Times story is here

[Yes, I know, the Times is the "Moonie paper". It was still a good piece.]

Saturday, January 27, 2001 @ 10:36 p.m. - Comment

Oh, my ghod...

... he's at it again.

The "he" in question is Cledus T. Judd, country music's answer to Wierd Al Yankovic. The last hit off his latest (first?) album was the title track, "My Cellmate Thinks I'm Sexy", a take off on Kenny Chesney's already somewhat amusing "She Thinks my Tractor's Sexy" -- itself one of those songs that make manufacturer's orgasm in glee over the free advertising ("if it runs like a Deere, man, her eyes light up...") -- which actually got a fair amount of airplay, in addition to rotating on CMT.

Well, he's got a new one coming out -- it's still shooting, according to CMT's Country Beat. This one apes Toby Keith, turning his recent comeback hit into "How do you milk a cow?"

If his earlier work is any indicator, I have only two things to say:

1) don't watch this video while drinking milk, and

2) can anyone get me a date what that jailer lady?


Saturday, January 27, 2001 @ 10:17 p.m. - Comment

A reminder...

...if you got here from Google, or some other search engine, and you did *not* find what you were looking for, it's because the search engines don't deal well with sites that change as frequently as this one does... and aren't all that important.

To solve that problem, I have a search box to the left that uses Freefind to search just this site... and spiders me almost daily.

If you didn't find what you wanted, try the Freefind search; you probably will. And thanks for coming by.

Saturday, January 27, 2001 @ 10:10 p.m. - Comment

Proving that TV reporters are prescient

... this story's second paragraph, about "all the cows"... is almost identical to the way the Bay News 9 reporter phrased it Thursday night.

Print reigns supreme. :-)

Saturday, January 27, 2001 @ 11:46 a.m. - Comment

The Usual Suspects

I wrote this Monday... and accidentally deleted it. Damn, that's annoying.

The usual suspects for Super News are, of course,,, and the local media sites, including Bay News 9's, and The St Pete Times' spotlight pages, the latter of which points, among other stories today to their [cue Straussian music]...

2001: A Football Odyssey, clear proof that people who don't *read* science fiction shouldn't try to *write* science fiction. There are a couple of good jokes in there, but over all, it was written by people who didn't expect their audience to get it... which guarantees that it will give people like *me* insulin shock.

Friday, January 26, 2001 @ 03:28 p.m. - Comment


have finally discovered that their cellphones suck eggs.

Friday, January 26, 2001 @ 03:20 p.m. - Comment

Time to Partae!

At least, I *think* that's how you spell it. :-)

If you have substantially more disposable income than me, and you're a star-watcher, you might want to check out BayNews9's list of local parties.

Friday, January 26, 2001 @ 10:23 a.m. - Comment

"If you ain't George Bush

... you ain't gettin' in".

Hope you like Stake and Shake. :-)


Thursday, January 25, 2001 @ 03:22 p.m. - Comment

The Super Bowl

... is a Claritin commercial.


Thursday, January 25, 2001 @ 03:21 p.m. - Comment

AOL/Time Warner

announces plans to make AOL customer service even worse.

Damn. On the same day my Road Runner installation is scheduled.

In no way are we cutting into the muscle of the company.

Nope. They're just cutting off all the attractive parts. <sigh>

Thursday, January 25, 2001 @ 03:12 p.m. - Comment

I see people are looking

for v-twin engines.

I heard a story that someone -- reports differ as to whether it was H-D or Yamaha -- was trying to trademark the sound of a v-twin motorcycle engine.

Now, I hope I don't have to explain why that's a bad idea, but I will anyway. :-)

It hinges on the difference between a trademark and a patent. Patent can be granted on constructs, like a v-twin motorcycle engine, for example :-), and last for 17 years -- enough time, theoretically, to earn an inventor back the costs of his creativity.

Trademarks, on the other hand, are issued merely based upon proof that you *have been using* a mark in commerce and people associate it with you. Trademarks never expire, as long as they are continually being used.

Now, trademarks have been granted on sounds before, the NBC ding-ding-dong signature being one example, but, to date, all of those sound-trademarks have been on *created* noises.

The v-twin potato-potato noise, on the other hand, is a side effect of the design of that engine -- any v-twin engine is going to sound like that.

So, if a trademark was granted on that sound, it would be -- in effect -- equivalent to granting that company a patent on the engine design (since all engines constructed that way will sound like that)... in perpetuity.

Unh unh... not in my country.

I don't have an authoritative reference, but I believe the filing was rejected. Anyone know?

Wednesday, January 24, 2001 @ 07:39 p.m. - Comment

Pissed off at a big company?

Happens to me all the time, as regular readers will no doubt already realize.

But what can you do about it?

Big companies are, well, big. And you're not. But, as I like to say, "there is no customer small enough to piss off in the age of the Internet".

That's the theory behind The Hall Of Shame, a website started by an assistant Professor of Marketing at Oklahoma State University. While the site's interface leaves a little bit to be desired, it's purpose is laudable: giving David a place to vent his displeasure with Goliath in a venue where it will actually be locatable.

The Google search engine ranks returned pages by "importance", where that's defined "the page which is pointed to by the most number of other important" pages. That's a circular definition, of course, but that's the point... and that's what makes sites like important: they aggregate stories like this, increasing their importance, and making them more likely to show up in searches for the company in question... which is the whole point of the endeavour, now, isn't it?

Wednesday, January 24, 2001 @ 05:57 p.m. - Comment

Jeezus Hebrew Keerist

Ford Motor Company sues 13 year old girl for running, a website that obviously infringes on Ford's commercial rights by...

discussing endangered felines.

What was that i said the other day about the Second American Revolution?

Get on the phone and call your local Ford dealer, and tell them you won't stand for this.

Or, contact them at (800) 392-3673, and while you're on the phone with them, tell them that their website is ugly.


Wednesday, January 24, 2001 @ 04:09 p.m. - Comment

president George  . Bush

and his staff had a small problem  hen they
 alked in to get to  ork the other day.  Seems
someone had removed the   keys from all the
type riters and other keyboards in the  hite House.

 hat a shame.

Wednesday, January 24, 2001 @ 12:04 p.m. - Comment

Google Still Most Accurate

From Plastic:

"Due to a freakout in Google's page ranking system, HugeDisk, an online men's magazine, was able to accidentally cause George W. Bush's on-line campaign store to be the number-one-ranked page when users search for the words "dumb motherfucker".

I love it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2001 @ 11:46 a.m. - Comment

Ok, time to clear the decks

Lots of Super Bowl related stuff this week, leading up to the big game; and if you found me from the Google ad, keep an eye open; I hope you'll find things... interesting.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra review, for those of you still wandering by to see it, is here. Pointers to Miriam, my sister, et al, are here. And Kitti has moved to here had to pull her website down. Parents can be so troublesome sometimes... :-) But yes, she's still hot.

Tuesday, January 23, 2001 @ 09:55 a.m. - Comment

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This site is hosted by Pitas, but they have no control over what I say. If you don't like something I said, don't even *think* of suing them or I'll blow up your house. ;-)

If you're down here it's because you decided you wanted to link to me. Wow. Cool. Thanks. :-)

I use Phil Greenspun's clicktracking system to keep track of my traffic, and I like to use it on inbound links too, when possible; it's interesting to know where the traffic comes from, and theCounter isn't quite as spiffy as I'd like. If you could use the following link code to link to me, I'd appreciate it:

Link Text

just copy the link and make up a YOURTAG that's somewhat descriptive. Thanks again for your trouble...

Um, d'oh! Wes Felter points out that it would be nice if the link pointed to *me*... Fixed.

And for those people who think I'm trying to be subversive with the status line crap, it's merely functional: *I* like to be able to see the URL, too. If anyone has suggestions on the (I think insoluble) 'making the link change color if you saw it somewhere else' problem, I'd love to hear them.

No, it's not.

Google finally spidered me a while back... but it's not really up to dealing with weblogs; it doesn't check often enough. The Freefind searchbox at the top of this page spiders me almost every day; retry your search there, if you're still motivated enough. :-)