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1 August 2006
And to think, Texas was hotter than this.
Styles are back, now in the footer:
I read Murder on the Orient Express on a trip to Montreal a few years ago.
I quite enjoyed it.
I did not figure out who did it until Mr. Poirot explained it all to me.
For StationK (who has been suffering on Dreamhost these past three weeks), An Anatomy of an ongoing Disaster
Good reading. Better pictures.
Note that I still haven’t digitized any of those tapes. Sigh…
If you haven’t been reading Megatoko or Applegeeks, you might want to give them a look.
2 August 2006
27B Stroke 6 — Yearly Database Exam.
In case you were worried about Trip’s thing with brooms,
he’s over it now.
Zooomr, we have to talk.
See, I want to like you. I really do. You were nice to me at first, what with the Pro account, and the nifty geotagging, and did I mention the Pro account?
But is that any reason to not let me modify the privacy settings on a photo?
And what did I do to you that you decided to show me this screen for thirty or forty minutes?
I bet you would have kept me waiting had I not given up.
I want to love you: but you don’t make it easy.
(Hey. Call me?)
Someone must be listening to me.
Shortly after the previous post, Zooomr started working again. Fickle, I tell you!
(Edited previous post to add irony.)
Hoopty Rides: Can-Am Eraser Racers.
4 August 2006
I think my little spat with Zooomr is over. She’s behaving nicely again and we’re uploading sweet, sweet photos again.
I have some complaints, of course.
- Geotagging is ardous. I type in an address into the “jump to” box and it doesn’t work. This may be Safari’s fault, but still; this isn’t 2000 and we’re fighting to get sites to work with Mozilla.
- Also, whenever I click on a point on the geotagging map (to center, and then manually zoom), it asks if that’s where I want to tag it. No, I want to center! Cancel! Cancel! Sigh. Geotagging is cool (mostly because of the photos nearby) but it’s a pain in the ass with the current interface.
- It occurs to me that there could be tools within the LightMap that would make this easier. If they’re there, I’ve missed them, which means the UI is not so good. There are a lot of elements of the UI that are so minimalist I have trouble with it, like all the little icons that appear when you hover over photos. A guide would help.
- Changing privacy settings once a photo is uploaded. I like changing my mind. I like uploading a batch and choosing the public ones later. I like being able to see the privacy status of each photo. These are simple things.
- Some of the AJAX is wonky, especially in the photo view. Does AJAX work differently across different browsers? I have no clue.
- Two words: Desktop. uploader. Please.
At the same time, I think I’m starting to like Zooomr. Maybe even better than Flickr… I certainly like the more open terms and conditions better.
I’ve resurrected the /photos page. Enjoy!
5 August 2006
Flotsam: little boy.
Mail.app did a bad, bad thing last night.
It lost mail. Everything from 26 July to 2 August.
Mail.app, don’t you know I’m vindictive and petty when it comes to software? That I might like your pretty interface, but if you fuck up the core thing you’re supposed to do, it won’t save you.
I have a pipe wrench, and so help me, if you don’t give me back my last week of email, I’m going to use it on your GUI. You won’t be so pretty after I’m done with you.
(Off to check my backups tomorrow. So. Pissed. Why did I stop using Pine?)
Don’t ever do that again. I’m actually becoming fond of you, and the thought of switching again made me use language I’d normally avoid. I’m sorry, and thank you for returning my mail.
Still: NOT FUNNY.
6 August 2006
It’s not the features.
It’s not the look.
It’s one single screen.
And here is is on Zooomr.
Isn’t that interesting?
7 August 2006
iPod Playlist: 2006-08-06 Shuffle.
9 August 2006
10 August 2006
Idle Words: Dirty Old Town
The best way I can describe the pollution in Beijing is to tell you that I have been here almost exactly three months and only saw the mountains yesterday. They are called the Fragrant Mountains; they stand right outside of town, in three beautiful sawtooth condignations. People say they are a lovely place to visit in the autumn, when the colors turn, but I am skeptical. The notion that any kind of leafy plants could thrive here is hard to credit. What would they eat? The Fragrant Mountains butt up right against the city, the same way they do in Phoenix, Arizona, and yet it took three months and a freak windstorm for them to become visible.
This morning I woke up to a wall of dust so thick that I could barely distinguish the shape of the residential tower across the street from mine, about two hundred meters away, and I breathed a dusty sigh of relief. Everything was back to normal.
Joel On Software: The Identity Management Method.
Presentation Zen: Steve Jobs and the Summer Keynote.
12 August 2006
jwz: Terra! Terra! Terra!
As the initial “OH SWEET MOTHER OF GOD THEY CAN BLOW US UP WITH SNAPPLE BOTTLES!!” hysteria subsides, we discover that these guys had been under surveillance, completely penetrated, by no less than three major intelligence agencies. That they were planning on cell phones, and some of them openly travelled to Pakistan (way to keep the cover, Reilly, Ace of Spies). Hell, Chertoff knew about this two weeks ago, and the only reason that some people can scream this headline:
“The London Bombers were within DAYS of trying a dry run!!!”
— was because MI-5, MI-6, and Scotland Yard let them get that close, so they could suck in the largest number of contacts (again, very spiffy police work). The fact that these wingnuts could have been rolled up, at will, at any time, seems to have competely escaped the media buzz.
13 August 2006
14 August 2006
Schneier on Security: Last Week’s Terrorism Arrests.
Banning box cutters since 9/11, or taking off our shoes since Richard Reid, has not made us any safer. And a long-term prohibition against liquid carry-ons won’t make us safer, either. It’s not just that there are ways around the rules, it’s that focusing on tactics is a losing proposition.
It’s easy to defend against what the terrorists planned last time, but it’s shortsighted. If we spend billions fielding liquid-analysis machines in airports and the terrorists use solid explosives, we’ve wasted our money. If they target shopping malls, we’ve wasted our money. Focusing on tactics simply forces the terrorists to make a minor modification in their plans. There are too many targets — stadiums, schools, theaters, churches, the long line of densely packed people before airport security — and too many ways to kill people.
Security measures that require us to guess correctly don’t work, because invariably we will guess wrong. It’s not security, it’s security theater: measures designed to make us feel safer but not actually safer.
I don’t even know where to start with this. Presentation Zen: PowerPoint printouts used for communicating battle plans?
In the book, Ricks quotes an Army Lt. General who was frustrated over getting vague PowerPoint slide sent to him instead of clear orders or plans. Said Ricks:
“That reliance on slides rather than formal written orders seemed to some military professionals to capture the essence of Rumsfeld’s amateurish approach to war planning.”
— Thomas Ricks
Reliance on slides rather than formal written documents — sound familiar? It should. Remember the findings of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board in 2003?
“The Board views the endemic use of PowerPoint briefing slides instead of technical papers as an illustration of the problematic technical communication at NASA.“
— Columbia Accident Investigation Board
Eric Meyer: Angry, Indeed.
Reminds me of another happy/vicious cycle.
Amalah: Stuff On My Kid dot Com.
15 August 2006
16 August 2006
Signal vs. Noise: Why Big Version Trains Are Always Late.
Seth Godin: Awkward.
Meet the three new dwarf planets:
2003 UB313 is also called Xena.
Here are the other candidates:
When did we get Orcus? That’s too funny.
And here’s the whole family:
(Pictures courtesy of The International Astronomical Union/Martin Kornmesser.)
Kathy Sierra: Give users a Hollywood ending.
Note the absence of a certain 1-year old in this picture.
(He was off getting more brooms.)
19 August 2006
Ugh. First day of vacation, and Trip just broke my glasses. Sweet!
So, Spotlight is (again) not indexing everything. I did the thing that fixed it the last time this happened (reboot, mdutil -E /, wait over night) and that seemed to only make it worse. Then I tried
find / -type f -print0 | xargs -0 -n 1 mdimport
and that seemed to help somewhat, but there’s still a ton of stuff missing.
Pajiba — Snakes on a Plane.
And, of course New Line didn’t screen Snakes on a Plane for critics. Why? Because it motherfucking sucks. That’s why. The CGI is subpar. The plot is paper thin. The dialogue is atrocious. And the acting is downright horrendous. […]
And yet … and yet despite it all …
I haven’t had this much fun watching a movie since Ash Williams stood with a shotgun in one hand and a chainsaw in the other, beckoning: “Gimme some sugar, baby.” I shit you not, folks, Snakes on a Plane is every bit of god-awful fantastic that the hype portends. And I say this not as a movie critic, but as an enthusiast of so-bad-it’s-good. I consider the Final Destination series one of my favorite trilogies of all time; The Skulls is a minor classic, and nary anything can compare to the joy that was Cool as Ice. But Snakes on a Plane beats them all, hands down, fists balled, and middle finger to the sky. It absolutely kills. The only way I could’ve found it more entertaining is if the snake venom turned the passengers into zombies, but I suppose you gotta leave something for the sequel(s). […]
Truthfully, SoaP defies everything I ever believed about filmmakers who actually set out with the intention of making a good-bad flick; I didn’t think it could be done. And maybe without the attendant hype, it couldn’t have, because damn near half of Snakes success comes from the spectacle of 75 college kids ripped to the tits chanting “Snakes on a Plane” and tossing toy planes around the theater. Indeed, Snakes absolutely demands an audience. It’s a participatory event. And it may be the only time you can ever watch a film and not hate everyone in the theater for yelling throughout, because hell if you don’t find yourself treating the whole experience like a college basketball game, just waiting for Samuel Jackson to drain the Snakes on a Motherfucking Plane to win the game. I actually applauded. More than once. And I didn’t even shake my head in wonder when the audience gave it a standing ovation as the credits rolled.
21 August 2006
27 August 2006
Take the secret cappuccino, which you can buy in two of the leading coffee chains, Starbucks and Coffee Republic.
The sales assistants know what the drink is and they have a little button on their cash tills to ring it up. It’s cheaper than the other drinks on offer, but it doesn’t appear on the menu.
Starbucks claims that’s because they don’t have room on the menu board. Coffee Republic doesn’t even have that excuse: there’s a blank space with no price where this drink should be listed.
It’s called the “short cappuccino”, and it’s smaller, cheaper and better than the smallest size on the menu, the “tall”.
Ars Technica: Diebold voting machine failures strike again in Alaska.
Joel Spolsky: My three favorite Firefox extensions.
Bruce Schneier’s essay What the Terrorists Want is really excellent.
I’d like everyone to take a deep breath and listen for a minute.
The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics. The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.
And we’re doing exactly what the terrorists want.
We’re all a little jumpy after the recent arrest of 23 terror suspects in Great Britain. The men were reportedly plotting a liquid-explosive attack on airplanes, and both the press and politicians have been trumpeting the story ever since.
In truth, it’s doubtful that their plan would have succeeded; chemists have been debunking the idea since it became public. Certainly the suspects were a long way off from trying: None had bought airline tickets, and some didn’t even have passports.
Regardless of the threat, from the would-be bombers’ perspective, the explosives and planes were merely tactics. Their goal was to cause terror, and in that they’ve succeeded.
Imagine for a moment what would have happened if they had blown up 10 planes. There would be canceled flights, chaos at airports, bans on carry-on luggage, world leaders talking tough new security measures, political posturing and all sorts of false alarms as jittery people panicked. To a lesser degree, that’s basically what’s happening right now.
Via Boing Boing: tokyo - hectic —
Unqualified Offerings: I Win!
The internet creates the oddest situations.
I’m watching the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on TV. It’s on a time delay. Tiger is behind. There’s drama, but I’m not watching it.
Instead, I’m watching the real-time leaderboard on Yahoo! Sports. Tiger is ahead, but just dropped a shot.
Argh, my coat for an actual live video feed!
29 August 2006
Listening Post: DRM has a bad week.
If you value your time, do not, for the love of all that is good, go visit flOw. It’s strangely beautiful and compelling.
And ruthless. (Just like life.)
(Via Table of Malcontents.)
30 August 2006
Seriously. I can’t make this stuff up.
(Via this photo on Flickr.)