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Leap Second Alert

For the first time in about 7 years or so, the world was a little slow this year. 6:59:59 EST will be followed by 6:59:60 this year, as we insert a leap second at midnight UTC.

UPDATE: Yes, the clock at nist.time.gov did correctly reflect the leap second; I got a picture; I'll have it up as soon as I'm done being ill.

Feature Story: Return-To-Flight -- A Sigh Of Relief

STS-114 successfully re-entered and landed this morning about 5ayem, at the Big Flat Dry Lake Bed at Edwards. (Actually, I think it's a real runway now, but who cares.)

The Virtual Launch Control Centeris probably idle now, but I believe live RealVideo stream of NasaTV is still here. And courtesy of a Metafiltarian, lots of mission updates here. And, of course, Wikipedia has a page on the flight, with a bunch of good External Links, some contributed by YT, including a link to WMFE-Orlando's live coverage by NPR's official spaceman, Pat Duggins, which probably *still* hasn't been updated.

Here's the best NASA link yet: Launch Dashboard - live countdown, weather, and 3 video feeds.

Now let's see if NASA can get their feces realigned.

I'll give you one hint, honey:

you sure did put on a show. :-)

Went to the Billy Joel concert last night at the Ice Palace (... or whatever they're calling it now :-). From the first notes of Angry Young Man (played very impressively at the original tempo), all the way to the encore -- including my personal favorite Scenes from an Italian Restaurant and the closing Piano Man -- the audience was rocking and rolling, whether they were 12 and hearing most of the music for the first time, or 60 and singing along with every track.

The sound was certainly a lot better than it was the last time I was there (for Boston), but as I age, I'm tiring of the (complete lack of) quality of live concert sound reproduction: the vocals still got a bit lost in the mix. Is it really just the hall?

But from the blackout to the benediction, it was still worth every penny of $250. Good thing I don't go to too many concerts, eh?

Friday, January 13, 2006 @ 01:04 p.m. - Comment

Holy Shit

Nikon UK to discontinue all film cameras except the F6 and FM10.

Thursday, January 12, 2006 @ 03:57 p.m. - Comment

So I'm off to see the wizard

he's got a nice deep voice, right?

after it goes through all those electronic boxes, anyway.

I'm setting up those boxes, cause one of my clients wants me to do some message on hold stuff for him. I'm planning to use Ardour and JACK over SuSE Linux 9.3.

The realtime-lsm module necessary to make JACK work right without compiling is (thanks, dude), right here (and, after quite a bit of googling around, I found out that you have to rmmod capability before you'll be permitted to modprobe realtime-lsm; I had assumed the latter *depended* on the former. Silly me).

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 @ 07:20 p.m. - Comment

Don't mind the cold much?

Then enlist, and apply for PCS to Thule AFB.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 @ 07:03 p.m. - Comment

It's supposed to be impossible

to hot-wire a nuclear warhead.

is it?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 @ 05:57 p.m. - Comment

So I was in traffic last night

next to a Ford F650 crew-cab dually pickup.

Of course they have their own website.

These things would even impress an Hummer H1 driver.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 @ 03:19 p.m. - Comment


Of course, I didn't expect anything less from The West Wing.

And now, it's time for the return (finally; ghod, I hate Chriskwanzukkah) of Grey's Anatomy. I'm hearing mumbles about it's a "recap" somehow; I'm hoping everyone's out of their mind.

Sunday, January 8, 2006 @ 09:49 p.m. - Comment

Proops, on Lehrer

from 2005.

Friday, January 6, 2006 @ 10:48 p.m. - Comment

Chances Are

is a really cool song by Robert Downey Jr and Vonda Shepard (or, if you must, Bob Seger and Martina McBride) that was featured in one of the Ally McBeal eps that RDJ starred in (before he took his second crash, and got his third chance, which finally seems to be sticking).

It's completely different from its namesake, the Johnny Mathis song, which happens, as it turns out, to be the title track to a 1989 film starring Cybill Shepherd and... Robert Downey Jr.

The love theme from that movie?

In a twist which will really only be funny to my sister, it was Cher and Peter Cetera's "After All". The Seger/McBride version was, in turn, the love theme from "Hope Floats".

This was your dose of coincidence for the day.

Thursday, January 5, 2006 @ 08:30 p.m. - Comment

Here's Microsoft's bag of bullshit

about how Radio Shack was going to save oodles of money by going Win2k3 instead of Linux for their new Store Operating System.

Thursday, January 5, 2006 @ 11:19 a.m. - Comment

I managed to miss this somehow...

David v. Microsoft

Thursday, January 5, 2006 @ 10:46 a.m. - Comment

Buffy meets


What really happened at Buffy's prom that the gym burned down...

Wednesday, January 4, 2006 @ 11:08 p.m. - Comment

So my sister asked me who was bigger than


Wednesday, January 4, 2006 @ 02:39 p.m. - Comment

Spider Robinson

is becoming somewhat of a polarizing figure in speculative fiction. Some love him and won't hear anything bad about him; some think he's aging into a repetitive hack, not worth hardcover prices.

I'm on both sides of the fence. :-}

I just last week grabbed his latest novel, Very Bad Deaths, and the compliation from his Globe & Mail columns, The Crazy Years.

If you do this, too, make sure to read the novel first. It's much more fun -- if that's the proper word -- to discover how autobiographical the lead character in VBD is *after* you're done with the novel.

Alexei Panshin said once, in a book about Robert Heinlein, that "all his lead characters are him", in a passage Robinson delights in ripping apart in one of his books. Alas, it can be said of Robinson himself these days, all too frequently. Perhaps I've spent too much time reading older Clancy, Grisham, Coonts, and other writers in disciplines where long complicated books are actually salable... but I'm starting to have a feeling of not-enough-to-chew-on in Spider's more recent work.

I do wish he could get someone to publish the third Lady Sally book...

The Crazy Years: A- (where in the hell was the best part of The Fall Guy Shortage?)

Very Bad Deaths: B- (a bit too predictable for pider fans; reuses too much material almost verbatim from other books)

Wednesday, January 4, 2006 @ 01:50 p.m. - Comment

I don't think I'll be recommending

Dell, anymore.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006 @ 04:37 p.m. - Comment

Ben's right...

I think this may end up being the coolest gadget of the year

Tuesday, January 3, 2006 @ 01:28 p.m. - Comment

Submitted for your approval

If people will spend all night watching all three LoTR movies...

would they spend all day watching all 6 Star Wars movies? You know they would. I expect it to happen sometime late this year. You heard it here first.

Monday, January 2, 2006 @ 06:22 p.m. - Comment

I'd just like to start the new year off

by reminding everyone that WAP sucks.

NOAA NHC has a WAP page for hurricane information now, but since Nextel can't make any *money* off letting me see it, my browser doesn't display the map graphics.

Sunday, January 1, 2006 @ 05:15 p.m. - Comment

This is a test.

This is only a test.

Saturday, December 31, 2005 @ 10:42 p.m. - Comment

I'm not really a big baseball fan

but even *I* think it's tacky that the US Government is refusing to let Cuba come play in the World Baseball Classic.

It's just *petty*.

But then, I guess America *is* petty these days.

Sorry, everybody.

Saturday, December 31, 2005 @ 07:10 p.m. - Comment

You Might Be A Geek If

The Onion wrote a parody article dissing the Wikipedia entry on Weird Al.

Here's the response.

Saturday, December 31, 2005 @ 06:10 p.m. - Comment

Some people are Weird...

The Not Al Page = a semi-complete list of parody songs on the file-sharing networks... and who they're *really* by,

Saturday, December 31, 2005 @ 05:54 p.m. - Comment

Look: It's the

Space Precautionary Act.

Friday, December 30, 2005 @ 08:31 p.m. - Comment


Just waaaah!

Friday, December 30, 2005 @ 07:04 p.m. - Comment

And, on the other...


Friday, December 30, 2005 @ 06:16 p.m. - Comment

I suspect that the 2 or 3 of you

who read me regularly aren't members of the Immoral Minority.

Just to make sure you continue to understand what you're up against, read this.

Conservatives preach this sort of unsupported, mischaracterized mahooha... and they believe it, too.

Friday, December 30, 2005 @ 06:09 p.m. - Comment

How long is too long?

No, silly; not that: domain names.

I am, after all, a published expert on this matter. (And, aw... I've been cited. And quoted!)

and the answer is... oh, about 14 characters or so.

Thursday, December 29, 2005 @ 10:08 p.m. - Comment

Listening to some classic rock stream

from Shoutcast, and they decided to play Layla just as I was getting ready to leave. Damn. :-)

Thursday, December 29, 2005 @ 07:41 p.m. - Comment

And while we're working on Briticisms

(and while I need something to improve my miserable mood) let's look into the furlong-firkin-fortnight system of measure, and other weird units of measurement.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005 @ 07:00 p.m. - Comment



Wednesday, December 28, 2005 @ 05:24 p.m. - Comment

Well, I'm chuffed

that I've finally located the English to American Dictionary.

I'm dischuffed, though, that Jessicca is going on about how she and I are so incompatible. Bit difficult to assert that about someone *you know almost nothing about*, isn't it?

And who the hell has never heard of Billy Joel?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005 @ 04:36 p.m. - Comment

My name is Andrew Shepard

and I am the President.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 @ 07:23 p.m. - Comment

Is anyone actually using


We're about to beta it for a customer project here at work, but it seems to have no community at all. No reviews from the real world, no examples of real projects implemented in it...


It is smoke? Will I be able to see myself in it?

And what about Naomi?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 @ 06:25 p.m. - Comment

If Santa wasn't good to you this year...

perhaps This story from Forbes will explain why. It may not be your fault, you know.

Monday, December 26, 2005 @ 06:49 p.m. - Comment

What a world it is we live in...

when women will... well:

Police are warning all men who frequent clubs, parties, and local pubs to stay alert and cautious when offered a drink from any woman. Many females use a date rape drug on the market called "Beer". The drug is found in liquid form and available anywhere. It comes in bottles, cans, from taps, and in large containers called "kegs". Beer is used by female sexual predators at parties and bars to persuade their male victims to go home and have sex with them. A woman needs only to induce a male to consume Beer, then, invite him home for no-strings attached sex. Men are virtually helpless against this approach. After several Beers, men will often succumb to sexual acts on horrific looking women. They awaken with hazy memories of exactly what happened to them the night before, often with just a vague feeling that "something bad" occurred.

Some men are swindled out of their life's savings, in a common scam known as "a relationship." In extreme cases, the female may shrewdly entrap the unsuspecting male into a longer term of servitude referred to as "marriage." Men are much more susceptible to this scam after Beer is administered and sex is offered by the predatory females.

If you are a victim of Beer and the women administering it, there are support groups where you can discuss the details of your shocking encounter with other victims.

For the support group nearest you, look in the Yellow Pages under "Golf Courses, Bowling Alleys, Pool Halls or Place of Employment."

[ Pam noted that apparently *I* had had too much beer: duplication deleted ]

Monday, December 26, 2005 @ 03:01 p.m. - Comment

Our plans for World Domination...

have come to fruition. Well, mostly.

They're certainly not just plans anymore. :-)

Shame I didn't make millions on being right.

Monday, December 26, 2005 @ 11:12 a.m. - Comment

So I don't lose this

Why not wye? -- why you shouldn't collapse a stereo audio line output using a simple wye cable.

Sunday, December 25, 2005 @ 05:47 p.m. - Comment

So I've got this gedankenexperiment

running through my mind: design a retrofit direct electric propulsion system for my BMW 635CSi.

I forsee dual direct ethanol fuel cells under the hood, with the controllers and the like, and hub motors.

Something like this.

Hopefully, I will get Alan's attention enough to get him interested in helping me with the design.

Sunday, December 25, 2005 @ 04:57 p.m. - Comment

The Rocky Horror...

What the Hell?

Fanfiction.net is a really fun place to go spelunking. I usually set the filters to ">10,000 words"; you find better material that way.

Sunday, December 25, 2005 @ 12:08 p.m. - Comment

When Worlds...


[ also: Why Can't Life Be Like The Movies, which looks even better. ]

[ UPDATE: neither holds a candle to this one, which appears to be by someone who can actually write. ]

Saturday, December 24, 2005 @ 04:50 p.m. - Comment

North American Airospace Defence Command

It is, after all, Christmas time, and thoughts in military tracking centers turn inexorably to large fat bearded men in red and white clothing, with reindeer-powered aerial transport.

I much preferred their old website's URL, which I think was http://www.peterson.af.mil/norad/santa.html... but at least the new site is in the proper top-level domain.

Or, their :60 promo video tells, you can dial 877-HiNORAD.

Classic. Just classic.

I wonder which pilots get tapped to fly SanCAP.

Saturday, December 24, 2005 @ 02:34 p.m. - Comment


Is it the best thing since sliced bread?

Or is it the best thing since moldy bread?

Here's a Register story on the controversy. My favorite quote:

Many Wikipedia defenders have no sympathy for readers who complain about unreliable, or badly written information, and can only cognize a world mocking their careful handiwork, what one critic calls a "defective data device" with "-pedia" in the name.

(One Australian doctor wrote to describe how he'd made just one Wikipedia edit in his life, to correct an entry about a medical procedure, which if carried out, would result in death. Heck, this is an information revolution, and every revolution is going to have casualties!)

So perhaps it isn't such a mystery. Open projects are by nature idealistic, a little gift to the world. When this gift is spurned, the rejection must feel terrible.

Love that parenthetical.

(And no, I don't know where Elipsis Addiction -- and their opening act Parenthetically Inclined -- are playing on New Year's Eve.)

Saturday, December 24, 2005 @ 02:03 p.m. - Comment

Is it really a

Fair Tax?


Friday, December 23, 2005 @ 02:44 p.m. - Comment

Wiretapping, and stuff

A FOAF was kind enough to unlock his partway-behind-the-scenes posting about the whole NSA Bushit that's going on right now...

Thursday, December 22, 2005 @ 09:45 p.m. - Comment




Thursday, December 22, 2005 @ 07:37 p.m. - Comment

Even More YMBAGI

The laser show at the Grand Coulee Dam. Definitely a stop to fit in on your Route 66 trip.

Thursday, December 22, 2005 @ 06:37 p.m. - Comment

Non-American Chocolate

(a different issue from un-american chocolate :-) sure has a different sensibility from the 'Murrican stuff...

Our landlord, who is $EASTERN_EUROPEAN, brought us some Gordo chocolates as a $WINTER_HOLIDAY gift. They're all wrapped in foil; they taste different from the local stuff, etc.

Thursday, December 22, 2005 @ 02:54 p.m. - Comment

You Might Be A Geek If

Another in an ongoing series: high dynamic range image storage formats. And an interesting side trip: Merging exposure-brackets to HDR images in Photoshop CS2.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 @ 06:37 p.m. - Comment

Ooooh, ooooh

It *is* getting on towards Christmas time... :-)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 @ 07:35 p.m. - Comment

My sweet lord...

Congress is stupid. Trying, on behalf of the media corporations by whom they are owned and operated, to extend copyright into perpetuity (and into our living rooms), they may not have the effect they expect.

Monday, December 19, 2005 @ 04:13 p.m. - Comment

Physics grad student

reinvents the pinhole camera.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 @ 11:35 p.m. - Comment

Here we friggin' go again...

Those legislators owned and operated by Hollywood are at it again.

They're trying to "close the analog hole", which you can construe as "trying to take your legal rights away".

Second American Revolution; hammer's gonna fall.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 @ 09:25 p.m. - Comment

The streets of heaven are too crowded

with angels tonight.

Set your irony deflectors on high: in an as yet unaired episode of John Spencer's The West Wing, character Leo McGarry notes, in a speech, that he survived a heart attack because of America's great health care system.

Requiescat in Pace.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 @ 04:45 p.m. - Comment

Sacrificing a goat to your SCSI chain

Another in a series of "if you enjoy this, you're a geek"...

my web browser thinks the URL is mispelt. :-)

Sunday, December 18, 2005 @ 01:38 p.m. - Comment

Ah, phuque

I can't find my camera.

I'm retracing yesterday's steps. I know I didn't bring it into the studio last night, I know I didn't bring it into dinner, and it doesn't seem to be in the office. Have to check the place I ate lunch, cause I'm pretty sure I *did* take it into my first client's yesterday, and it ain't there either.

[ Update: I found it. I'd left it at Victor's Kitchen near my office; the best hole-in-the-wall restaurant you're not eating at. ]

Friday, December 16, 2005 @ 10:32 a.m. - Comment

I got an interesting spam today.

It wants me to date sexually explicit women.

I wonder what, exactly, that means...

Thursday, December 15, 2005 @ 10:41 p.m. - Comment


that pass in the night.

So, there's this girl...

and she's pretty, and has a great smile, and a very nice figure, and absolutely unrealistic hair (she's even got noticeably perfect posture), and laughs at some of my jokes that *I* didn't even think were that funny.

And she's engaged.

And she's from another state.

At least she's not gay. :-)

(Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

[ UPDATE: And she *plays*. Waaaah. :-} ]

Sunday, December 11, 2005 @ 02:14 a.m. - Comment

Open Drive Surgery

Yepper, that's right.

I wasn't paying enough attention, and I let a hard drive get toasted. Maybe I'll fix it this way.

I'm brave. And desperate: On-Track (no, no link :-) wants $1700 to recover it. Base price. Could go up to $6300.


Monday, December 12, 2005 @ 08:31 p.m. - Comment

Need some bullshit?

This web page will generate it for you. :-)

Monday, December 12, 2005 @ 06:04 p.m. - Comment

People who live in houses they don't own

shouldn't throw stones.

Sunday, December 11, 2005 @ 06:32 p.m. - Comment

Now, I'm a big Aaron Sorkin fan, anyway...

but I gotta say...

The American President had got to be one of the top 5 date movies of all time...

Now all I need is a date.

Friday, December 9, 2005 @ 11:13 p.m. - Comment

I think someone should do first-responder courses

for people who play doctors on TV.

I mean, really; if you were Derek Shepard, for example (well, ok, Patrick Dempsey), and you were on a plane and someone collapsed... :-)

Friday, December 9, 2005 @ 08:36 p.m. - Comment

TAL has a new book

It explains, among other things, how to avoid the ever-growing to-do list of Doom [PDF].

Friday, December 9, 2005 @ 03:23 p.m. - Comment

Several situations have come up

in the last week or so that are all parallel to one big civil rights/liberties one that's going on in the Real World.

The question is torture.

If we capture the terrorist who planted the nuke in Manhattan that scheduled to go off in 8 hours, do we torture him to find out where he put it?

Lots of people say yes, in general, torture is not something we should rule out as an information gathering technique. Lots of others, including the Bush/Cheney Axis (of Evil?), as near as I can figure, think that, but haven't the balls to actually say it in public.

Lots of other people think that we should never do it, ever; it's against everything we stand for, etc, etc, yada yada yada.

My personal outlook, which applies to all the analogous situations as well, is this: yes, it *is* against everything we stand for, and no, as a policy, we should not permit our agents to utilize torture to get information.

That said, when the nuke is in Manhattan, we may have to, and it likely will be the call of the Guy On The Scene. If he's personally willing to take the fall, then he should have that judgement call to make. Army captain or above in equivalent rank, please. And none of this "ordering others to do it" crap.

That's what I think.

How do you feel?

Friday, December 9, 2005 @ 11:15 a.m. - Comment

What happens when

companies lose their founders.

Southerner or not, I can't imagine Sam Walton would have failed to blow his top and get on a jet after something like this.

Monday, December 5, 2005 @ 10:44 p.m. - Comment

Um, why is everyone searching for

Reggie Roundtree all of a sudden?

He ok?

Monday, December 5, 2005 @ 10:40 p.m. - Comment

Oh. My.


Someone in St Pete did this last year, but I don't think they did as good a job.

Monday, December 5, 2005 @ 07:57 p.m. - Comment

Indium Nitride's band gap is 0.7V, not 2V

Alan will understand that, but for everyone else here's the article.

Sunday, December 4, 2005 @ 09:54 p.m. - Comment

Mayor Ray Nagin is in a pickle

He pretty much has to throw himself on his sword.

He's making a field trip, telling large communities of his diasporan citizens that it's time to start coming home, even though there's not much of a place for them to come back *to* yet.

And he's got to; he really has no choice.

But he's goin' down for it.

Sunday, December 4, 2005 @ 08:24 p.m. - Comment

Anyone remember...

these things

Sleeve City seems to be *the* place to find stuff to store CD's and other musical things. I'm eyeballing their 400CD carrying case... since I've bought over half that many karaoke CD+G's this week.

Guess I'm gonna have to go out and do a show, huh?

Sunday, December 4, 2005 @ 04:20 p.m. - Comment


A free, online television production school.

Saturday, December 3, 2005 @ 04:57 p.m. - Comment

Alan will probably also enjoy

this bit of Iraq war gun pr0n.

Saturday, December 3, 2005 @ 04:07 p.m. - Comment

Wow. Maybe there's hope for me after all...

Eric Raymond's Sex Tips for Geeks...

To be sexy, hackers need to learn how to emit fitness-to-reproduce signals. That much is easy; what's harder is to understand which signals are more or less under your control and how to amplify them.

Women have this relatively easy. Because so much of mens' mating instincts are cued to a woman's appearance, women have spent the last couple thousand years developing technologies to manipulate their appearance effectively -- everything from lipstick to corsets. Female hackers can find most of what they need to know in the pages of teens and womens' magazines. Don't scorn that stuff; it works.

Saturday, December 3, 2005 @ 12:33 p.m. - Comment

What Would Peter


For shame, kids...

Friday, December 2, 2005 @ 09:25 p.m. - Comment

It seems like time, again

to send everyone on a trip to (loud thumping walk is heard here)...

Quadruplex Park.

Friday, December 2, 2005 @ 09:01 p.m. - Comment

Christmas ain't cheap

12 drummers drumming -- $2,224.30

6 geese a-laying -- $210

2 turtledoves -- $40

Having your financial advice firm's Christmas project mentioned all over the news 21 years running -- priceless.

[ Screwing the entire thing up by a) not bothering to put a title on the home page, and b) putting the project on it's *own domain* and not linking your corporate logo back to your *own* website -- predictable. Morons. ]

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 @ 10:29 p.m. - Comment

From the National Weather Service, today

"29/0938z Quikscat satellite wind data indicate the large non-tropical low pressure system located about 730 nmi east of Bermuda has acquired enough convection near the center to be classified as tropical storm epsilon...the 26th named storm of the apparently never ending 2005 Atlantic hurricane season."


Tuesday, November 29, 2005 @ 08:09 p.m. - Comment

Why I like Linux

Try to get something like this figured out on Windows. I dare you.

[ Another in a continuing series of "if you understand why this is cool, you're a geek". :-) ]

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 @ 11:12 a.m. - Comment

A Reminder

Regardless of what Sony-BMG tries to tell you (specifically, that they put copy protection software on their music CDs to protect them from wholesale commercial piracy), it's *really* there to keep you from using the music you paid for the way you want.

I do so hope some AG decides that SonyBMG USA's exec have violated some criminal laws. Oh, hell; send the Army CID in; surely they're phoning home from some .mil sites...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 @ 10:43 a.m. - Comment

James Randi and the Amazing...

$2500 power cord.

Monday, November 28, 2005 @ 09:23 p.m. - Comment

This website asks:

"Is it logical that a naturalized American citizen can become Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, or even National Security Advisor, but cannot be elected our president?" (though, predictably, they set the text as a picture, so I had to retype it by hand...)

And all I can reply is "you people aren't *near* paranoid enough." Don't these people read *books*? I don't even mean history... I mean *fiction*. Morons.

No, a naturalized citizen may not become (or succeed to) president, and certainly it should stay that way, and I'm getting just a little pissed off with all the Republicans who aren't interested in democracy, and would rather just take over the frigging country.

I should be amazed the assassinations haven't started yet... but oh, yeah: it's the Democrats who are anti-gun.

Monday, November 28, 2005 @ 08:47 p.m. - Comment


Radio blog.

[ looks more closely ]

Well, no, I guess it's astroturf. Maybe I don't know jack.

Sunday, November 27, 2005 @ 04:55 p.m. - Comment

The man who sold

the war.

Need any *more* evidence, folks? If you were wondering why Judith Miller was the one who got tossed in gaol when it was Robert Novak who leaked the Plame Name Game story, this story gives you a pretty good indicator that the administration was trying to make it look as if she wasn't in bed with them.

Sunday, November 27, 2005 @ 03:54 p.m. - Comment

Wax on...

wax off.

"Noriyuki" Pat Morita, of Happy Days and Karate Kid fame, dead of old age, at 73.

Saturday, November 26, 2005 @ 02:19 p.m. - Comment

Happy Thanksgiving

to Jessica, and Jesy, and Alan and Liz, and Pam, and Monica and Amie, and Maddi, Kris, and the gang, and Dave, Gerry, and that gang, and the crew at the studio...

and of course to Doug and Faith, who clearly knew I was writing this, since she called me in the middle. :-)

Thursday, November 24, 2005 @ 01:15 p.m. - Comment

For all the Mad TV and House MD fans in the audience...

Glamadoxine, Glamadoxine, Glamadoxine.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005 @ 07:07 p.m. - Comment

Oh, *yummy*!

Stats.org - George Mason University statistics majors look at the numbers behind the news.

[ Spotted at the weblog of roadgeek Mike the Actuary (Does he have red tights with a big blue "A" on them?) ]

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 @ 11:57 a.m. - Comment


I think I'll paint the locker room pink!

Monday, November 21, 2005 @ 05:51 p.m. - Comment

Mr. Cacciatore's...

down on Sullivan St.

Billy Joel has emerged from one of his periodic bouts of retirement, and decided to go on tour. I got to see Billy in, oh, I dunno, 1999 or so, and this show will likely be pretty much the same, same venue, same company. Though I may bring a different 16 year old this time. :-)

I didn't make it to Movin' Out when it was in town, so it'll be nice to get to this show. Course, while the tickets went on- (and likely off-) sale this morning, the concert isn't until January 12th.

But, of course, after the show, I won't have to take any shit from anyone. :-)

Saturday, November 19, 2005 @ 12:29 p.m. - Comment

A touch of sanity

from Linux Torvalds:

When you hear voices in your head that tell you to shoot the pope, do you do what they say? Same thing goes for customers and managers. They are the crazy voices in your head, and you need to set them right, not just blindly do what they ask for.

That was LWN's quote of the week, and I concur entirely. Geeks will enjoy the rest of the message it comes from. (Hint: if you do, you're a geek.)

Thursday, November 17, 2005 @ 11:24 a.m. - Comment

Ohio. Again.

Anyone need any *more* evidence that Diebold should be taken out and shot?

"Deliver the state of Ohio for the Republican Party", indeed...

Well, to paraphrase Oolon Colluphid, "I guess that about wraps it up for American Democracy." It's just so big that American's won't believe it could happen.

Well, Americans who didn't live through 1920's Chicago, I guess... "Machine Politics", indeed...

Thursday, November 17, 2005 @ 10:02 a.m. - Comment


singular production...

I went out and caught the Eight O'Clock Theatre's production of A Chorus Line, one of three shows I'll put off having a coronary to go see.

It was *excellent*; much better than I expected a little theatre production to be... although, in retrospect, I guess the *last* time I saw it, something like 15 years ago at Largo High, it was the same company (though, clearly, not the same players).

The band was tight, too. I was very impressed with the drums and brass from the 11 piece ensemble.

My personal little Tony awards, by character:

In the best tradition of Eddie's and Columbia's who are dating IRL, Al & Kristine were actually married. :-)

Overall: Bravo!

Sunday, November 13, 2005 @ 07:39 p.m. - Comment

In August 1988...

Alan Filipski invented DejaNews.

An' ah hayulpt.


Saturday, November 12, 2005 @ 08:46 p.m. - Comment


We were supposed to be finishing our 10-branch jaunt to Ft Lauderdale and points even more screwed up tomorrow. We've finished 3 stores. You do the math. I needed a vacation.

Radio coverage sucks down here, too, so my apologies to anyone who was trying to get ahold of me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 @ 09:40 p.m. - Comment


and Soccer.

The Reverend Cotton Mather, as he styles himself, is one of the best writers of readable erotica that I've ever run across; right up there with Michael K. Smith.

This particular story cycle (three entire books in length, now) chronicles the life, times, and girl-problems of high-school soccer standout Sean Porter. Inherent in that is the concept that these are teenagers we're talking about; if that squicks you... well, you probably live in a world with a sky color other than blue, but you can't (now :-) say I didn't warn you. Read it anyway, and skip most of the sex. It's pretty good. :-)

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 @ 09:29 p.m. - Comment

It's been 16 years

since the city of Kennesaw, Georgia passed a municipal ordinance *requiring* that all heads of household keep a firearm in the house.

Crime, unsurprisingly, plummeted.

Well, it's unsurprising to anyone who isn't a gun-control whackjob. It's the only really major point on which I hew Republican. Well, Libertarian.

I suppose it's the same sort of thing with Free electrons. :-)

Saturday, November 5, 2005 @ 12:12 p.m. - Comment

And, because my sister

will enjoy this one, but won't find it on her own: art, for Art's Sake (not it's original title).

Friday, November 4, 2005 @ 09:51 p.m. - Comment

John Walker

says the Internet is a slum.

Seems he writes some sf, too...

Friday, November 4, 2005 @ 09:17 p.m. - Comment

Ning -- it's the coolest idea

you can't understand. :-)

[ Link courtesy of Jim Bumgardner, whose CD+G revealed paper is the basis for many open-source karaoke players, including Kelvin Lawson's pykaraoke, which I'm working on with some other folks to build a professional karaoke hosting front end around.

Friday, November 4, 2005 @ 08:50 p.m. - Comment

I've mentioned Rivendell

the GPL'd, open source, radio automation software system from Christian broadcast network Salem Communications, before.

The package, from the California based network's Salem Radio Labs (whose name I would bet cash was bestowed by head geek Fred Gleason), is released under the GNU General Public License, which means that anyone who wants to can download and use (and more to the point, contribute to) it for free.

It also means, though this is less well known, that anyone who wants to can sell it, as is, or possibly modified -- as long as they contribute those modifications to the public.

Salem, of course, started the project to as to avoid having to pay Broadcast Engineering $30 or 40k per station to buy commercial automation software, but they were smart enough -- and gracious enough, which ought not to be surprising, given the business they're in, but often is -- to GPL it, on the theory that the help they would (and do) get was worth more than the money they'd lose.

Fred went on a field trip to their Seattle 5-station cluster last week: here's a virtual tour.

Friday, November 4, 2005 @ 07:11 p.m. - Comment

Television writers don't *all* suck...

But some of them do....

Wednesday, November 2, 2005 @ 03:56 p.m. - Comment

A bunch more fun from

Rick Moen.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005 @ 02:19 p.m. - Comment

Here comes that....

Broadcast Flag feeling again...

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 @ 11:51 a.m. - Comment

Who put that rootkit on my Windows box?

Sony Music, that's who.

This is getting out of hand.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 @ 11:46 a.m. - Comment


If *I* had to learn morse code, I'm not gonna let those young bastards today get away without it...

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 @ 09:49 a.m. - Comment

This afternoon's Pwess Bweifing

excuse me: Press Briefing...


in which Scott McLellan does his absolute *best* Will Bailey imitation:

Q: Let me just follow up on an aspect of this and try it again here. On October 7, 2003, you were asked about a couple of the key players here, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, as well as another administration official who has not figured in the investigation, so far as we know. And you said the following, "There are unsubstantiated accusations that are made, and that's exactly what happened in the case of these three individuals," including Rove and Libby. "They're good individuals, they're important members of our White House team, and that's why I spoke with them, so that I could come back to you and say that they were not involved." You were wrong then, weren't you?

MR. McCLELLAN: David, it's not a question of whether or not I'd like to talk more about this. I think I've indicated to you all that I'd be glad to talk about this once this process is complete, and I look forward to that opportunity. But, again, we have been directed by the White House Counsel's Office not to discuss this matter or respond to questions about it.

Q: That was a public representation that was made to the American people.

MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on. We can have this conversation, but let me respond.

Q: No, no, no, because it's such an artful dodge. Whether there's a question of legality --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I disagree with you.

Q: Whether there's a question of legality, we know for a fact that there was involvement. We know that Karl Rove, based on what he and his lawyer have said, did have a conversation about somebody who Patrick Fitzgerald said was a covert officer of the Central Intelligence Agency. We know that Scooter Libby also had conversations.

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think that's accurate.

Q: So aside from the question of legality here, you were wrong, weren't you?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, David, if I were to get into commenting from this podium while this legal proceeding continues, I might be prejudicing the opportunity for there to be a fair and impartial trial. And I'm just not going to do that. I know very --

Q: You speak for the President. Your credibility and his credibility is not on criminal trial. But it may very well be on trial with the American public, don't you agree?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm very confident in the relationship that we have in this room, and the trust that has been established between us. This relationship --

Q: See those cameras? It's not about us. It's about what the American people --

MR. McCLELLAN: This relationship is built on trust, and you know very well that I have worked hard to earn the trust of the people in this room, and I think I've earned it --

Heh. :-)

Monday, October 31, 2005 @ 06:34 p.m. - Comment

Republican Seekrit Code

"Fair Up Or Down vote"

Translation: we know we have enough votes to screw those lousy Democrats, so let's just get this over with.

See also: disingenuous.

Monday, October 31, 2005 @ 05:04 p.m. - Comment

For Alan

(who, luckily, appears to have had nasssty allergies, instead of viral encephalopathy):

An Electric Vehicle blog.

Sunday, October 30, 2005 @ 03:30 p.m. - Comment

Aha! I've found an answer to my problems!

I can take Panexa!

Sunday, October 30, 2005 @ 03:25 p.m. - Comment

Just every-damned-thing you might ever

need to know about synchronizing AC generators.

(For those following along at home, a 50MW generator is roughly the size of your house.)

Sunday, October 30, 2005 @ 01:45 p.m. - Comment


015959 EDT Sunday was followed by 010000 EST.

This has been a public service announcement.

Sunday, October 30, 2005 @ 01:14 a.m. - Comment

2000 people

have now died to protect the right of our Presidents to lie to us.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 @ 06:22 p.m. - Comment

Here's a *very* thorough

list of webcams and media streams from the South Florida area.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 @ 10:01 p.m. - Comment

Here's a link to that

"Locations of weather media personalities" map I mentioned yesterday.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 @ 07:56 p.m. - Comment

NWS Hurricane Local Statement

For Sunday PM is here.

Hurricane warnings up the coast to Sarasota county; Tropical Storm Warnings (but, apparently, no Hurricane watches) there north past Tampa Bay.

Expect a windy, rainy, Monday morning, starting around 6am. Drive safe, folks.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 @ 02:42 p.m. - Comment

We have a record

Since tropical storms started having names in 1953, we've never run out of names in a given season.

Until 44 minutes ago.

At 5pm ET, the NHC upgraded TD25 to Tropical Storm Alpha.

Saturday, October 22, 2005 @ 05:39 p.m. - Comment

FLASH: Freddie goes to Rocky!

This Wednesday, 26th October, television goes back to the well when ABC's new entry Freddie, starring Sarah Michelle's husband and Chico's son, goes to visit the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Saturday, October 22, 2005 @ 04:54 p.m. - Comment


The Friday and Saturday Rocky Horror performances at Channelside for Halloween (ie: next week; the 28th and 29th) will be at

10:00 pm

Also, the St Pete cast, Interchangeable Parts (whose name I am *still* bragging about bestowing, almost 10 years later -- the cast was originally Interchangeable Parts II; IP was the 1992-4 Hillsboro 8 cast, which I helped start) has a show on Saturday night at the Beach, which I forgot to mention earlier.

Saturday, October 22, 2005 @ 02:07 p.m. - Comment

Get bit!

I have seen the future of tropical weather coverage, and it is SkeetoBite.


These folks have a nice selection of product (including the soon to be a classic "Locations of Weather Personalities" map :-) and *pretty graphics*. Nice to know someone other than AssuWeather and The Weather Channel get that. We'll see how they feel about deep-linking.

Saturday, October 22, 2005 @ 12:47 p.m. - Comment

When you hear hoofbeats...

Should you think horses? Or Zebras? A regular on one of my mailing lists says the common form of the quote isn't quite what the coiner intended:

The man who popularized and most likely coined the phrase regarding hoofbeats being horses and not zebras was Dr. Ted Woodward, an infectious disease specialist, Chairman of Medicine, and professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (my former home base) up until his death this past July. A master diagnostician, Dr. Woodward's real passion was for teaching both medical students and residents, which he began doing in 1938 and continued until 2005.

He did say something about zebras, horses, and hoofbeats, but his quote has been bastardized so much by the general and misinformed medical public that the version most are familiar with - that which is being discussed on this list - is the opposite of what Dr. Woodward said.

While teaching at UM Medical Center in the 1940's, Dr. Woodward cautioned his students that "when [you]hear hoofbeats, [you] don't expect to see a zebra behind you on Greene Street...but a zebra it may well be." He wasn't saying that young doctors-in-training should assume that common symptoms indicate a common illness; rather, they should be open to any possibility and not jump the gun on their diagnosis.

Medical education is not a static thing. There have been periods of time when students have been told not to expect the unexpected. A smart student will realize this is bull and run far and fast from that medical program.

Friday, October 21, 2005 @ 04:52 p.m. - Comment

First time I actually get invited out on

something resembling a date in something resembling 10 years... and my fucking glasses fall on the ground and the frame snaps. On the side where I didn't need a new script.

<inarticulate shriek of frustration>

Thursday, October 20, 2005 @ 07:36 p.m. - Comment

Wind Band Map

(graphic courtesy of BoatUS)

Looks like Wilma picked up golf from Fred. BoatUS and NOAA currently agree on the track, as does 70% of the spaghetti crowd, so absent some nastiness in the next 36 hours, my tropical storm probability prediction for Tampa Bay is about 20%, with an 80% confidence factor. No, Jessicca, I don't think you need to dig up your tombstones.

[ UPDATE: I see that track has drifted; change those numbers to 30% and 70%, resp. ]

Thursday, October 20, 2005 @ 05:06 p.m. - Comment

Two excellent new weather sites

One is a rollup of lots of other people's graphics, mostly, though very nicely laid out: Mike's Weather Page.

On the other hand, thanks to Mike, I've located the source of that spiffy new pasta plot I posted yesterday: it comes from Jonathan Vigh's Tropical Guidance page. Mr. Vigh is a grad student at Colorado State in their Department of Atmospheric Science. Note his disclaimers and please don't sue him. :-)

Thursday, October 20, 2005 @ 02:37 p.m. - Comment

Perhaps MSNBC

aren't as idiotic as their association with Microsoft would lead you to believe: here's their explanation why their online survey/polls aren't scientific.

Not bad at all..

Thursday, October 20, 2005 @ 02:09 p.m. - Comment

A new Spaghetti Model

(courtesy Steve Gregory at Weather Underground)

I have no idea what generated that; I'm going to try to find out... It's rescaled; View Image to see it full size. Note also that Steve's blog at Wunderground is my new WXBlog 1 on the Weatherbar, above.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005 @ 11:02 a.m. - Comment

Internet Pr0n reduces crime


Tuesday, October 18, 2005 @ 05:24 p.m. - Comment

Lemme tell y'all a story

'bout a municipal IT director probably not named Jed.

Beverly Hills pulls its city management out of the dark ages...

Monday, October 17, 2005 @ 12:29 p.m. - Comment

GM Donates 72 Hummers to American Red Cross

Unsurprisingly, only 4 will be H1's. Grandstanders...

Press release here.

Monday, October 17, 2005 @ 11:32 a.m. - Comment

Here's one site's

list of free wifi hotspots in Florida. There are, of course, many more...

Monday, October 10, 2005 @ 05:34 p.m. - Comment

The Goodyear Blimp turns 80

Still alive, though one had a bad time in last year's storms.

The official Goodyear Airship Operations website(now *there's* a cool baseball cap to have...) has lots of cool information, as well as commemorative screensavers and stuff. They aren't the only ones with advertising blimps, these days, of course; Fuji has a few, and Snoopy One can sometimes be heard on aviation radios, repping for Met Life... but Goodyear still gets their props; they started the whole thing.

300 blimps they manufactured over the years....

Monday, October 10, 2005 @ 12:48 p.m. - Comment


(original rendering from alt.binaries.3d.bryce)

Nice work. Now I have an excuse to get my NovaJet 50 printer working... (and my apologies for the earlier, incorrect attribution; name when I get one.)

Monday, October 10, 2005 @ 12:19 p.m. - Comment

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