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Feature Story: The Weimar Republic: 60 years on

Do I have your attention now?

It's starting to seem, given the HR418 news below, the drive to re-up the USA PATRIOT (heh) act, and the confirmation of the first AG to be on record endorsing torture and the disregard of the Geneva Convention, like it would be a good time to re-link to ESR's little essay Why I Am An Anarchist, a reasonably short recap of how the Weimar Republic in Germany got exactly what it asked for: Adolf Hitler, Goering, Goebbels, and the rest.

You have

2 cows...

Saturday, April 23, 2005 @ 11:19 a.m. - Comment

Declan McCullough (sp? :-)

on why we didn't get flying cars.

Thursday, April 21, 2005 @ 04:02 p.m. - Comment


this guy really has his towel on straight.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 @ 02:47 p.m. - Comment


is gonna git you through the times with no money better'n
money gonna git you through the times with no groove.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005 @ 07:27 p.m. - Comment

I was laying in bed, last night

reading "Fletch and The Man Who", one of Gregory McDonald's later Fletch novels, and thinking that that one was the one that would make a great movie.

Then I was thinking to myself "well, who would you case? Chevy's a bit... old these days. I know! Zach Braff".

Then, today in work, I got to this page.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005 @ 06:01 p.m. - Comment


the part you didn't see...

Tuesday, April 19, 2005 @ 05:27 p.m. - Comment

This time, it's Schoolhouse Rock meets...

The Filibuster.

Excuse me: that's Phil A. Buster.

Go help save him...

Tuesday, April 19, 2005 @ 05:13 p.m. - Comment

And *speaking* of stupidity...

Didja ever wonder what *happens* if you respond to Miriam Abacha's earnest entreaty to help her get that $100M out of Nigeria?

This guy did.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005 @ 02:47 p.m. - Comment

Three MIT Students major in

Artificial Stupidity.

`We decided to test the limits,'' said Jeremy Stribling, a graduate student at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab in Cambridge.

Stribling, 25, along with fellow Massachusetts Institute of Technology grad students Daniel Aguayo, 25, and Maxwell Krohn, 27, worked on their ``context-free grammar'' software program for weeks.

The program randomly selects and assembles sentences, then drops in fancy-sounding verbs and nouns while also producing exquisitely inane charts and graphics.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005 @ 01:55 p.m. - Comment



The papacy now rests in the hands of it's first German inhabitant, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in line with the predictions of the oddsmakers.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005 @ 12:37 p.m. - Comment

So we were watching Grey's Anatomy

No, silly; not the textbook.

And I noticed that the voiceover pattern seemed familiar; coming as they do mostly at each end of the show. "Hey", says I, "that reminds me of..." (much windmilling of hands) "'An American Diplomat in London'."

"'American Embassy'", says sis.

She was right.

I particularly liked this graf, cause it's one of my hobby horses:

There are no token blacks on "Grey's Anatomy." The three top surgeons who rule the interns with princely authority are all African-Americans, and that sign of social advancement is presented as a given, without fanfare or comment. Similarly, female doctors seem to outnumber the men, and nobody on the show finds that remarkable.

Yep. That's nice. Hope they're smart enough not to blow it.

Monday, April 18, 2005 @ 06:58 p.m. - Comment

Ok, now, so this

is why I like science-fiction fans so much:

42, explained.

Sunday, April 17, 2005 @ 12:29 a.m. - Comment

Free audio editing software

with Audacity.

Love that name.

Friday, April 15, 2005 @ 05:14 p.m. - Comment

And if you thought all that new Google/Keyhole stuff was cool...

Check out NASA's World Wind. I haven't downloaded this thing yet, but just from looking at the web page, it's gotta be too cool for school.

Friday, April 15, 2005 @ 11:34 a.m. - Comment

It's April 15th...

and that means it's a very special day.

That's right:

McDonald's 50th Anniversary!

Friday, April 15, 2005 @ 10:24 a.m. - Comment

And speaking of depressing...

About the only "real" radio station left in the market, Thunder 103.5...

has gone country.

Now, I like country as much as the next guy. No, probably more than the next guy.

But I already had lots of places to listen to it.

Thursday, April 14, 2005 @ 01:11 p.m. - Comment



(Sorry, Pam. :-)

What is it, really?

Here's an excellent, if somewhat depressing, explanation.

The second difference is that “enterprise software” doesn’t necessarily work, although it can usually be made to work with sufficient effort. If you’re spending $50 000 on a piece of software, it seems more reasonable to spend $1000 or $10 000 to customize it to your needs before you can actually use it. In extreme cases, such as ClearCase and Oracle, a team of expensive, specialized full-time employees must be dedicated to keeping the software operational.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 @ 10:36 p.m. - Comment

Aw, crap

The Sunnydale Sock Puppet Theatre...

has been canceled.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 @ 07:52 p.m. - Comment

When I was in

7th or 8th grade, I caught a ride home from my English teacher, from some after school thing; play, I think.

We got to chat a bit, and I was exceeding proud that he was impressed by the fact that I could define the concept "concept".

From the same people who brought you "15 ways to measure a building with a barometer", here's a very short, but pretty decent bit on concepts and prototypes.

The inability of many of the people around me to generalize and infer from concepts and prototypes to the things I *need* them to get is one of my greatest annoyances in life; hopefully this will be a nice lightweight starter...

Tuesday, April 12, 2005 @ 05:49 p.m. - Comment

Well, clearly,

the December episodes of Joey have arrived in Sweden.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005 @ 05:29 p.m. - Comment

Gee... is IE really that popular after all?

Maybe not, says this blogger, who realized that most referer spam uses IE; if you knock that out of the stats, the results are velly intelesting, indeed...

Tuesday, April 12, 2005 @ 05:23 p.m. - Comment

Here's an actually well-thought out

story from eWeek about blocking outbound traffic on port TCP/25 to shutdown mail zombies and spambots on consumer PC's. The guy did his homework, clearly; he notes that there are occasionally good reasons why you'd want to do the things he advocates otherwise blocking, and that ISP's who block should have a procedure for unblocking for those who actually ask.

I'm big on the end-to-end internet, but I'm not real big on spam; I concur with what he has to say, and I'll be implementing it on the networks I manage.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005 @ 02:35 p.m. - Comment

Schoolhouse Rock meets

the SuperParamagnetic Limit.

I really can't do any better than Dan did.

Make sure your sound is on. If you're a geek (Shelby: this is a test :-), you'll get a kick out of this.

Sunday, April 10, 2005 @ 11:37 p.m. - Comment

For my sister

... The Bacula Philosophy.


Sunday, April 10, 2005 @ 11:19 p.m. - Comment


go boom.

Sunday, April 10, 2005 @ 11:08 p.m. - Comment

Well, it was a festive day


Of course, I was at a festival, which may have had something to do with it.

or it might just have been the company. :-)

Sunday, April 10, 2005 @ 08:10 p.m. - Comment

The Mpire

Strikes Back.

Sunday, April 10, 2005 @ 07:58 p.m. - Comment

My friends know that I like

to tell the old, and possibly apocryphal, story about the Taco Bell employee who refused to take a $2 bill.

Well, it appears that, in yet *another* example of life imitating a really funny story, you can get arrested for trying to pay with $2 bills.

This guy was apparently trying to settle a bill for a car stereo installation, and was already unhappy with their service, so he decided to pay *the entire bill* with deuces. Wish I was there for that...

Thursday, April 7, 2005 @ 03:33 p.m. - Comment

Most lawmakers want to

put Schiavo case behind them.

Of course they do: it makes them look foolish and power hungry, not to mention disdainful of the Constitution which, didn't they take an oath to uphold?

Don't *let* them put it behind them.

Thursday, April 7, 2005 @ 03:18 p.m. - Comment

2162 Votes

That's what it takes to win the Democratic National Convention -- at least if Matt Santos is the one running.

The Santos campaign has been the scripted screen parallel of last years Howard Dean campaign, right down to Santos' unexpected podium speech wherein he said that it wasn't his place to quit; it was up to those people who thought they were there to vote.

Which was precisely the thing that pissed me off when Dean dropped out. He *stiffed* every one of us who worked to get him there. Most of them, admittedly, worked a lot harder than me, but still...

Wednesday, April 6, 2005 @ 07:12 p.m. - Comment

Kansas voters

join 17 other states in Constitutionalizing discrimination.

The federalism train wreck is just *imminent*, here.

Did we really need this?

Wednesday, April 6, 2005 @ 01:23 p.m. - Comment

So, y'know, I knew I didn't think the whole

"Supreme Court ordering the federal courts to rehear the Terri Schiavo appeal without paying attention to the state court precedent" thing was a Pretty Neat Idea, but not being a real lawyer -- I only play one on the Internet -- I wasn't quite sure of all the many reasons why.

Ed Lazarus, who writes for FindLaw, is.

The law is especially problematic because, with it, Congress did three independently troubling things at the same time. Again, it is highly debatable whether or not these three actions are lawful. But at a minimum, they push the envelope. And combining three dubious actions in a single piece of legislation is, at a minimum, extremely unwise.

Tuesday, April 5, 2005 @ 04:01 p.m. - Comment

Got my glib on

That was me, Saturday at the Rennaissance Fest in Tampa.

I'm not sure who that really was there, but he was braver than I usually am. It was probably the camera. Yeah, that's it. That's the ticket. :-)

He appears to have had better luck than I commonly do, too...

Monday, April 4, 2005 @ 08:41 p.m. - Comment

Well, it's time to look at

renewing parts of the If-You-Don't-Support-It-You-Must-Not- Be-A-True-PATRIOT ACT in the US Congress.

It is not too early to call your congressmen and let them know that if they do renew this abortion of a grandstand Weimar republic legislation, it may be the last 'service' they do for you...

Monday, April 4, 2005 @ 12:08 p.m. - Comment

One of the things I have decided

in 4 or 5 seasons of watching network television again is that the height of good dramatic series television is that which causes the viewers, watching one thread of the show, to ask "so, who are we *really* talking about here?"... preferably, without it being too obvious and heavy handed.

This week? Moot court on Joan of Arcadia.

Sunday, April 3, 2005 @ 10:21 p.m. - Comment

And now, direct from the St Pete Grand Prix

it's Tim, Tom, Ted... and Trox.

PS: if you don't follow West Central Florida politics, it's unlikely you'll get most of the jokes in this.

Sunday, April 3, 2005 @ 09:12 p.m. - Comment

Oh, and by the way...

don't forget that 0159EST was followed, this morning, by 0300EDT.

Hope you've set your clocks ahead by now... :-)

Sunday, April 3, 2005 @ 08:12 p.m. - Comment

It is not, however, an AFJ

when I note that Pope John Paul II has followed Terri Schiavo into the great beyond, so now he'll get to find out what she thinks of his edict that she not be removed from her feeding tube.

Way, way more than you wanted to know, courtesy of the St Pete Times.

Sunday, April 3, 2005 @ 07:04 p.m. - Comment

Court Scratch Fever

na, na na...

Friday, April 1, 2005 @ 05:22 p.m. - Comment

RIP Terri

Here's a good wrap up on the whole Terri Schiavo Incident, in case you managed successfully to miss it, and wanted the whole thing in one place.

In other news, the Pope is on a feeding tube, and failing fast, and no I Am Not Making Any Of This Up. It'd suck if he ended up as a vegetable, wouldn't it? The Roman Catholic Church has no protocol for that. But you'd have to say it was their God, trying to tell them something...

Friday, April 1, 2005 @ 04:56 p.m. - Comment

And, in case you missed it...

It's April Fool's Day.

Friday, April 1, 2005 @ 01:26 p.m. - Comment

FLASH - Britannica Takes Over Wikipedia

Details here.

OMG. The Humanity!

Friday, April 1, 2005 @ 12:58 p.m. - Comment


In yet another example of what will probably be reality following comedy, Google has 'released' their newest product:

GoogleGulp! Smart drinks to make your brain work better.

I'll assume someone from SoBe is reading this, or that, and knows a good marketing idea when they see it. I'd like a penny a bottle, please, for pointing out that it's an actual product idea, not just a goof, and that people would actually buy it.

In other news, a new RFC is out, on "Requirements for Morality Sections in Routing Area Drafts"; it is, of course, not *nearly* as good as mine was. Nor, bless Jon's soul, does it have as cool a number.

Friday, April 1, 2005 @ 10:21 a.m. - Comment

Does anyone know anything about

Qchat? It's apparently a Qualcomm TWoIP product that Sextel is going to use to make CDMA2000 look like iDEN. But it is singularly difficult to find anything out about it that isn't a press release, even though it was launched in 2002.

Any good pointers appreciated.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005 @ 02:46 p.m. - Comment

And for those who are wondering

*why* Microsoft will die:

Well, Novell will have something to do with it.

Monday, March 28, 2005 @ 07:16 p.m. - Comment


(It's a detective thing)

So, I'm listening to the radio commercial today, and I think " Morgan, Colling and Gilbert, yeah, right".

"... Morgan & Morgan: For The People"

"Huh?", says I.

Seems Messrs Colling and Gilbert don't like him anymore...

They say "we're happy that we get to remain friends"... but they're taking his nursing home guy, and doing the same kind of law, not all that far away. Sounds like PR firm happy to *me*...

The Orlando Sentinel, being an *actual* news organization, sounds a bit more skeptical, too.

Monday, March 28, 2005 @ 05:23 p.m. - Comment

15 ways to

measure the height of a building with a barometer.

Sunday, March 27, 2005 @ 05:19 p.m. - Comment

Yet another columnist

climbs aboard the "Is Microsoft Dying?" bandwagon with me.

Sunday, March 27, 2005 @ 03:16 p.m. - Comment

And we thought the HP commercials

were cool...

[ Update: and a flickr slideshow of transparent laptop pictures, too ]

Sunday, March 27, 2005 @ 02:48 p.m. - Comment


Some guy who worked for the CBC, that's who.

The BBC maintains that no, the leak was not on purpose.

Saturday, March 26, 2005 @ 05:50 p.m. - Comment

FBI tries to replace entire IT system

fucks up.

Film at Infoworld.

Saturday, March 26, 2005 @ 05:17 p.m. - Comment

The very, *very* latest

on what's happening with Terri Schiavo, courtesy of Wikipedia.

We love current events. :-)

[ UPDATE: someone got an interview with God, and boy, is He pissed... ]

Wednesday, March 23, 2005 @ 11:11 p.m. - Comment

Duelling Sound Bites

<embed type="audio" title="Duelling Banjos">

So the conservative sound bite on the Schiavo case seems to be "modern-day crucifiction", er, excuse me, crucifixion :-).

My friend Alan seems to have written the liberal sound bite this afternoon. "God's been trying to call Terri home for 15 years. Why won't they let her go?"

Wednesday, March 23, 2005 @ 07:53 p.m. - Comment

Selling's Legal.

Fucking's legal.

So why isn't selling fucking legal?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005 @ 12:29 p.m. - Comment

New Toy Syndrome

It's not as common a phrase as I'd expected, actually.

It refers to that silly way you act when you get (d'oh!) a New Toy. The more expensive the toy, the sillier you act. :-)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005 @ 12:08 p.m. - Comment


Ok, c'mon, what follows that?

Yeah, right, "5-3-0-9".

Ghod, I'm glad there are people with way too much time on their hands...

Amusingly, there are also some companies who do. (Check the page title)

Tuesday, March 22, 2005 @ 10:23 p.m. - Comment

I am, however, happy to be able

to relate that 7 out of 10 Americans think that the Bills of Attainder which the Florida and US Legislatures are *admitting in public* are intended specifically to apply only to Terri Schaivo are a Pretty Poor Idea.

Perhaps there's hope for Americans after all.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005 @ 05:20 p.m. - Comment

Texas AG insecure about his testes

film at 11.

Filed under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the lawsuit seeks to stop Vonage Holdings Corp. from misrepresenting the type of emergency service it offers. It also seeks to require the company to more clearly inform consumers the 911 dialing feature is not automatically activated when they sign up for the service.

He is stone cold out of his mind. I *am* a Vonage subscriber, andhave several clients who use it too; I 've *seen* the website. It's prominent, and outlined in red, where everything else is outlined in black.

Any Vonage client who can't figure it out is just stupid, and the AG is just pandering. Is he up for re-election?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005 @ 05:18 p.m. - Comment

American Foreign Policy, Bush Style:

Speak loudly... and carry a little tiny pecker^Wstick.

Monday, March 21, 2005 @ 02:35 p.m. - Comment

And *speaking* of sick adults...

Is Michael Jackson a weirdo? Undoubtedly.

Is he a child molester? It wouldn't appear that you could prove it in court.

Monday, March 21, 2005 @ 12:22 p.m. - Comment

For Adults Only

...and pretty sick adults, at that:

Computer Generated Jar-Jar Binks porn.

Monday, March 21, 2005 @ 12:00 p.m. - Comment

Here's a Flash cartoon

that is just over the top weird: Strong Bad.

Monday, March 21, 2005 @ 10:36 a.m. - Comment

Here's a little

datacenter pr0n for those who are into such things.

You're expected not to notice that they're in an ex-strip center mall at a big intersection. :-)

Monday, March 21, 2005 @ 10:18 a.m. - Comment

New Book

Full review to follow:

The Practice of System and Network Administration
Limoncelli and Hogan, Addison Wesley, 2001

I paid $60 for this book, after having special ordered it into my local Barnes and Noble. I could have paid a little over $20 for it from Alibris, or Amazon, used. I figured, after I'd read the first 2 chapters pretty much word for word (which I almost never do with non-fiction) that perhaps I oughtta just bite the bullet. I think it's the most expensive single book I've ever bought new/retail.

Which ought to tell you what I think about it. It really doesn't matter at *all* that it's 4 years old. It's not about Operating Systems. It's about operating systems -- the practices and procedures you need to run an SA shop; not the specific details of the procedures on a given OS.

In the course of reading, I think I came up with a total of 6 things I disagreed with, or thought the authors had missed. That's as opposed, say, to Alan Cooper's About Face, reading which I disagreed with the author approximately every 6 pages, if not more frequently.

If you manage machines and networks, or people who do, you need to read this book. Alas, neither of *my* bosses are ever gonna...

Apropos of which, I stumbled across a Marketplace retrospective feature on Y2K. I do disagree with the assertion in the third feature that '"This was really the first realization that our technology had escaped our ability to really understand it," says Michael Mandel, chief economist for Business Week. "Nobody knew the size of the potential problem. ... What's comparable today is that nobody knows quite how much of a disaster you could sort of develop if you had some sort of negative internet cascade where the internet really went down."'

Nope. Sorry. Us SA's -- you know, the people you're ignoring in the dark NOC room -- *we* know. And, clearly, I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Sunday, March 20, 2005 @ 06:33 p.m. - Comment

Cold Service

Parker is fond of cold things, these days, I guess. I suspect that comes from living in Boston. Odd, I've always thought, that I never paid any attention to his Spenser novels *while I still lived there*. Course, there were only 4, then. Now there are close to 40.

Pam caught this interview with Parker, on the occasion of his book tour for the latest novel -- those never get to Florida, damnit.

EB: For Spenser novels particularly, how do you take him to a new place and take him through a new story?

RBP: I just start out and see where it goes. In Cold Service, I thought – just because it felt so – that it was time for Hawk to have a larger part again. So I thought, 'Well, what if Hawk got hurt?' So I started with the premise that Hawk was being somebody's bodyguard and got shot. And that's all I knew. So, that's the first chapter. And the first chapter leads to the second, and the second leads to the third, and it evolves.

The current Spenser that I'm working on now, which is called Dream Girl, and will be out a year from now, I think. I'm five books ahead, so I get confused. I'm on Page 215 of that, and I don’t know who "did it."

Joan keeps saying, "You know yet?"

"No! I don't yet, stop asking!"

I love it.

He says, later

RBP: I say, "Let’s just have a new adventure and see where it goes." If I could do a wonderfully difficult and complicated case with a huge surprise ending, that’s fine, but I have yet to think of one. I don't think I have that particular kind of talent.

And I hope he's wrong. He's created the Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall characters, and made it clear that they all live in the same Boston -- Spenser and Hawk have actually crossed paths with Jesse, in Back Story -- but I forsee this grand colloquy where we hop from one to the other to the third every chapter, and they all *appear* to be working on different cases, but in the end, we find out that it's all really the same case, and they're on three different sides of it.

I really want that novel *bad*.

I hope he writes it.

Even if I have to plot it for him. :-)

Sunday, March 20, 2005 @ 12:52 p.m. - Comment

This American Life

A month or two back, I linked to a story about 2 Apple engineers who kept working on their project -- at Apple -- even after Apple cancelled the project and fired them.

That ol' Reality Distortion Field at work, clearly.

Well, to cop a phrase from my favorite reporter, "I say it here; it comes out there." Does Ira Glass read my weblog? Who knows, but the show covered the incident last week. It's Act 2, starting at 25:36. Or thereabouts.

We wanted to release a Windows version as part of Windows 98, but sadly, Microsoft has effective building security.

Next week's show is a feature on the crew of the USS John C Stennis, a supercarrier named, oddly, for a figure in the Watergate scandal. I'll link that when they put it up.

Sunday, March 20, 2005 @ 12:11 p.m. - Comment

I really like this

new design a lot. Heyyyy-o! to the guys at the Open Source Web Design organization, from whence I snarfed it.

Saturday, March 19, 2005 @ 04:00 p.m. - Comment

Did I mention...

that I've changed my mind about the digital camera I'm buying?

Saturday, March 19, 2005 @ 03:58 p.m. - Comment

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