Sunday, March 2, 2003

892.5 miles, 19 hours driving, four tanks-o-gas

"Frisket" and I are now in Downers Grove, IL. Will be here for a few days, then after Lisa arrives we’ all drive down to Champaign, IL. Then Frisket has demanded that she be driven back to Brooklyn, via Pittsburgh.

e.p.c. posted this at 22:00 GMT on 2-Mar-2003 .

Oh, and a very belated

Oh, and a very belated thanks to Lisa’s mom for the iPod...definitely made the drive easier.

e.p.c. posted this at 22:11 GMT on 2-Mar-2003 .

Wednesday, March 5, 2003

How To Write Unmaintainable Code

How To Write Unmaintainable Code > Program Design: The cardinal rule of writing unmaintainable code is to specify each fact in as many places as possible and in as many ways as possible.

e.p.c. posted this at 22:05 GMT on 5-Mar-2003 .

Friday, March 7, 2003

In Champaign, IL for the

In Champaign, IL for the evening. Driving to Pittsburgh, PA tomorrow (3/8/03).

e.p.c. posted this at 20:36 GMT on 7-Mar-2003 .

The NY Times has started

The NY Times has started using some sort of interstitial ad which, at least on my generic WinXP system, is totally hosed. The symptoms are: I click on a link to go to a story, nothing appears to happen though you see the "Loading..." message in the status bar. After 20-30 seconds you get an annoying Microsoft interstitial ad. After that you can click around to skip the ad. Unfortunately for the Times, I'm not that patient.

e.p.c. posted this at 20:40 GMT on 7-Mar-2003 .

I am on the very

I am on the very wrong end of dialup for the first time in many, many moons and it is very painful.

e.p.c. posted this at 20:59 GMT on 7-Mar-2003 .

Ugh...Columbus

I have to drive through Columbus, OH on my way back to Brooklyn.

e.p.c. posted this at 23:19 GMT on 7-Mar-2003 .

Sunday, March 9, 2003

After 2095 miles, "Frisket" and

After 2095 miles, "Frisket" and I arrived back in Brooklyn around 4:30 p.m. Sunday. She behaved quite well on the drive, sitting so quietly that I felt the need to nudge her occasionally. No oddities or anything else interesting to report from the drive. I took I74 from Champaign to Indianapolis, then I-70 to Pittsburgh. We spent the night at a La Quinta Inn and then left this morning around 9:00 a.m.

e.p.c. posted this at 22:57 GMT on 9-Mar-2003 .

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Bush v. Bush

Salon has a great article up today comparing and contrasting Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. and their approaches to war with Iraq.
The debate over whether we need to get "them" or "him" separates warring factions of Republican foreign policy makers, and it represents George W. Bush's break from the faction of his father. The elder Bush believed in multilateralism and international cooperation and containment. He spent generations fending off the more unilateral, preemptive beliefs of those who now run his son's foreign policy. An ambassador to the United Nations, he believed strongly in that body's importance.
Read the article at Salon.

e.p.c. posted this at 08:07 GMT on 11-Mar-2003 .

NASA earth map

NASA earth map

e.p.c. posted this at 12:53 GMT on 11-Mar-2003 .

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

From the BBC: Koran to

From the BBC: Koran to be translated into Irish:

Plans have been announced in the Irish Republic to translate the Koran, Islam's most sacred text, into Irish.

The ambitious project aims to bring Ireland's Gaelic-speakers and Muslim communities closer together, Leslie Carter of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Dublin said.

e.p.c. posted this at 08:22 GMT on 12-Mar-2003 .

Thursday, March 13, 2003

I don’t agree with this article but it was interesting: Why Open Source Stifles Innovation: What began as a grass-roots programmer rebellion against commercial software is rapidly evolving into a political struggle that could retard innovation and balkanize the software market.
The “viral” quality of GPL software is intentional: Proponents happily acknowledge that the goal is to undermine incentives to create software that carries a price tag. But for those of us without ideological qualms about software as private property, the wall that GPL erects between open source and proprietary software seems unfortunate.
It is especially unfortunate when government builds the walls. The U.S. government has long been a font of research in software that has made the leap to commercial products. But in the absence of a formal policy, some federal software is being released under the GPL. In fact, NASA, the Sandia National Laboratories, and the U.S. Department of Defense have all distributed code with GPL restrictions.

e.p.c. posted this at 08:41 GMT on 13-Mar-2003 .

Friday, March 14, 2003

In The U.S. Needs to

In The U.S. Needs to Open Up to the World, musician Brian Eno writes: Europeans have always looked at America with a mixture of fascination and puzzlement, and now, increasingly, disbelief. How is it that a country that prides itself on its economic success could have so many very poor people? How is it that a country so insistent on the rule of law should seek to exempt itself from international agreements? And how is it that the world's beacon of democracy can have elections dominated by wealthy special interest groups? For me, the question has become: "How can a country that has produced so much cultural and economic wealth act so dumb?"

e.p.c. posted this at 11:11 GMT on 14-Mar-2003 .

I got a new toy

I got a new toy today...ok, it's not really a toy, it's meant to be my business phone at home. It's a Cisco ATA for use with the Vonage phone-over-broadband service. For US$39.99 per month I get unlimited local usage and 1500 minutes of US/CA long distance. There's a bunch of other added features as well like voicemail. What I like about the service is this: it's not tied to our physical line. Should I luck out and set up an office somewhere, or work remotely for a week, I can plug it into any 10Mbs ethernet jack and receive phone service. The only downside is that this really pushes the need for solving our phone problems at the house since the Siemens handsets are dying.

e.p.c. posted this at 16:00 GMT on 14-Mar-2003 .

I'm in the process of

I'm in the process of consolidating my sites into one hosting service so this is forewarning that things may break over the coming week or more. For future reference...my weblog/journal/whatever this site is can always be reached by using http://my-weblog.com/epc. My business (Artific Consulting) site is http://artific.com. I expect that home.earthlink.net/~epcostello and gothic-egg.com will be gone after this (Frisket's web site, http://frisket.org will finally get its own space).

e.p.c. posted this at 16:10 GMT on 14-Mar-2003 .

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Alex is taking refuge, a

Alex is taking refuge, a step on the path of Buddhism.

e.p.c. posted this at 21:08 GMT on 15-Mar-2003 .

Monday, March 17, 2003

So...I think we are about

So...I think we are about to make a colossal mistake. I felt the same about the 1991 war (though written somewhat incoherently). You can't argue for the rule of law and then make exceptions when it suits you.

e.p.c. posted this at 08:55 GMT on 17-Mar-2003 .

Protesters target Opera House: Police

Protesters target Opera House: Police today arrested two protesters who scaled to the top of the Opera House's tallest sail and painted "No War" in huge blood red letters .

e.p.c. posted this at 21:44 GMT on 17-Mar-2003 .

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Today's entertainment: watching people attempt

Today's entertainment: watching people attempt to park 24' SUVs in the 22' spot in front of the house.

e.p.c. posted this at 12:01 GMT on 18-Mar-2003 .

Antarctica Systems

Antarctica Systems

e.p.c. posted this at 16:08 GMT on 18-Mar-2003 .

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Was 'mystery object' a shuttle

Was 'mystery object' a shuttle clue?: THIS CLUE is the small “mystery object” that apparently detached itself from the shuttle after about 24 hours in space, on Jan. 17. It slowly drifted away, fell into a lower orbit, pulled ahead of the shuttle and burned up in the atmosphere over the South Pacific three days later.

e.p.c. posted this at 08:48 GMT on 19-Mar-2003 .

Columbia data recorder found, could

Columbia data recorder found, could hold valuable clues

e.p.c. posted this at 23:31 GMT on 19-Mar-2003 .

BBC reporters are running a

BBC reporters are running a pseudo weblog with observations from Baghdad, Amman, and other bylines.

e.p.c. posted this at 23:39 GMT on 19-Mar-2003 .

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Hashirigaki

We caught Hashirigaki at BAM tonight. I'm not quite sure what I was thinking when I convinced Lisa to see it, except perhaps that I read the summary for a completely different play and somehow attached it to Hashirigaki. On the plus side, the lighting was amazing. It was also the only time I've seen a Theremin in actual use on a stage. I'm not saying "Don't go", but it definitely was not what I expected, nor was it what I was looking for in entertainment tonight. The Guardian (UK) wrote a review of the performance at the 2001 Edinburgh Festival. It's produced by Heiner Goebbels. It runs at BAM through 23 March.

e.p.c. posted this at 22:27 GMT on 20-Mar-2003 .

Monday, March 24, 2003

A reminder to my IBM

A reminder to my IBM friends...when someone asks you to solve a problem for you, write the invention disclosure before you give them the solution.

e.p.c. posted this at 21:00 GMT on 24-Mar-2003 .

China, having learned a harsh

China, having learned a harsh lesson from the last time the US bombed another country, has given the US the street address of its embassy in Baghdad.

e.p.c. posted this at 21:48 GMT on 24-Mar-2003 .

We spent the weekend in

We spent the weekend in Amagansett. I avoided the TV as much as possible, spending most of the time watching "Frisket" dig holes or Frisket and Coco chase each other around the yard. What TV I did catch was limited to Univision, the Spanish language network. Amazingly, they actually reported the news, showing balance and critical analysis of the news they were covering, instead of being blatantly subjective as the English language networks are. A close second is the BBC newsfeed available on a couple of our PBS channels. I've given up on the broadcast networks entirely and only catch a bit of CNN.

e.p.c. posted this at 22:10 GMT on 24-Mar-2003 .

The Sound of Things to

The Sound of Things to Come

e.p.c. posted this at 22:57 GMT on 24-Mar-2003 .

The Sound of Things to

The Sound of Things to Come is a long form article from yesterday's NYT Magazine. It's both about a new audio technology (focussed sound) as well as the inventor behind it (Woody Norris).
Norris is demonstrating something called HyperSonic Sound (HSS). The aluminum plate is connected to a CD player and an odd amplifier -- actually, a very odd and very new amplifier -- that directs sound much as a laser beam directs light. [...] It is no exaggeration to say that HSS represents the first revolution in acoustics since the loudspeaker was invented 78 years ago -- and perhaps only the second since pilgrims used ''whispering tubes'' to convey their dour messages.

e.p.c. posted this at 23:13 GMT on 24-Mar-2003 .

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Clear Channel sponsors pro-war rallies.

Clear Channel sponsors pro-war rallies. Gee...not only do they decide what you'll listen to but but you should believe in. Clear Channel is the largest owner / operator of radio stations in the US, dominating most markets.

e.p.c. posted this at 10:19 GMT on 25-Mar-2003 .

I read two great articles

I read two great articles today on the growing power (and paranoia) of the executive branch and the continuing erosion of Civil Rights. In Bracing for Bush's War at Home, the Voice's Chisun Lee writes:
An ugly theory popped up in the nation's capital several weeks ago. The Bush administration would wait until war began, and worry gripped the homeland, to ram a staggering package of domestic security measures through a Congress silenced by fears of seeming unpatriotic. Such measures would radically expand the executive branch powers already inflated by the 2001 USA Patriot Act. [...]But a new, comprehensive review of Bush's growing presidential power hardly reveals any "holes." Rather—using court positions, internal policy changes, and secret decisions as bricks—the administration has built the executive branch into a fortress, nearly invulnerable to the checks of the judiciary and Congress. Most alarming, according to the watchdog authors of the 96-page report, "Imbalance of Powers," the complexity of this historic expansion continues to mask its true proportions.
Over at Salon, Tim Grieve writes in Shut Your Mouth:
As the United States marches toward Baghdad and braces for terrorist reprisals back home, Attorney General John Ashcroft may see in America's orange-alert fears and us-against-them attitude a target of opportunity he cannot resist. The man who pushed the USA PATRIOT Act through a terrified Congress in the days after Sept. 11, 2001, may be planning a new assault on civil liberties in the wake of the war on Iraq.

e.p.c. posted this at 17:29 GMT on 25-Mar-2003 .

On the ligher side of

On the ligher side of things, Germany's secret service is trying to improve its public image by publishing a cookbook of recipes collected by its spies from 22 countries. Read The spies who came in from the kitchen.

e.p.c. posted this at 17:38 GMT on 25-Mar-2003 .

List of RSS Channels via

List of RSS Channels via The Shifted Librarian and Chris Pirillo.

e.p.c. posted this at 17:47 GMT on 25-Mar-2003 .

Abstraction and Detail

Abstraction and Detail

e.p.c. posted this at 17:50 GMT on 25-Mar-2003 .

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Jar-Jaromir: Yousa steala precious from

Jar-Jaromir: Yousa steala precious from meesa!

e.p.c. posted this at 09:42 GMT on 27-Mar-2003 .

Take the Iraq War Quiz.

Take the Iraq War Quiz.

e.p.c. posted this at 16:25 GMT on 27-Mar-2003 .

Argh. I can't write perl.

Argh. I can't write perl. Specifically I appear to have lost the ability to parse a simple string. Of course, the problem could be that I'm trying this on Windows and not a normal system.

e.p.c. posted this at 18:54 GMT on 27-Mar-2003 .

Found a nifty Winamp plugin

Found a nifty Winamp plugin which outputs the currently playing track either to an html file or to a URL. I've currently got it writing the html file and invoking a perl script which parses the file and writes out a one line JavaScript. That script in turn is uploaded by "Radio Userland" and read by the home page template. In theory at least.

e.p.c. posted this at 19:38 GMT on 27-Mar-2003 .

So Tuesday I went and

So Tuesday I went and destroyed the fountain sitting on our deck. Said fountain was made of some sort of concrete over fiberform, poured in place. I pretty much had to do something as I was unable to pump out the water from the fountain one weekend in January and, well, ice expands. The base of the fountain dropped out (no, there was no drain in this stupid thing, so I had to siphon out water every time it rained) so it was basically 300 pounds of useless concrete or plaster. It looked like this before, this during, and this is the result. The current challenge: carrying the bags down four flights of stairs without having them break open.

e.p.c. posted this at 22:35 GMT on 27-Mar-2003 .

And in tonight’s chapter of torture the homeowner...when I went to walk "Frisket" tonight, I could not unlock the inner door to the common hallway. After much interesting panic, neither Lisa nor I could open the door. I then proceeded to attempt taking the lock apart, however it was a very crafty lock. As I prepared to thoroughly destroy the door (yes, the frustration level had increased somewhat), I remembered "Duh, I can take the pins out of the hinges." and proceeded to do so. It turns out that some idiot (me) had left keys in the lock. Apparently, this crafty lock is set in such a way that it can be locked from the inside with keys in the lock, but it cannot be unlocked.

Said crafty lock will be replaced in the morning.

e.p.c. posted this at 22:38 GMT on 27-Mar-2003 .

Friday, March 28, 2003

Dean ends polite tone among

Dean ends polite tone among Democrats.

e.p.c. posted this at 07:59 GMT on 28-Mar-2003 .

"Cakewalk":Bush administration officials and their

"Cakewalk":Bush administration officials and their hawkish supporters now say they never promised an easy war -- but the record shows otherwise..

e.p.c. posted this at 08:02 GMT on 28-Mar-2003 .

The Millenium Hilton on Church

The Millenium Hilton on Church street reopens

e.p.c. posted this at 08:04 GMT on 28-Mar-2003 .

If you get drunk in

If you get drunk in New York City, do not attempt to climb our bridges please, we’ll arrest you.

e.p.c. posted this at 10:58 GMT on 28-Mar-2003 .

Saturday, March 29, 2003

Walked down to Jacques Torres

Walked down to Jacques Torres Chocolate factory this morning and then around DUMBO for a bit. We found the dining room chandelier we've been trying to buy for four months at ABC's DUMBO warehouse store. We finished the walk with a 20 minute stint at the dog run, but "Frisket" was pretty tired by then (hadn't eaten yet and it was almost noon!) so we headed back to the house and have spent the afternoon chilling out.

e.p.c. posted this at 17:01 GMT on 29-Mar-2003 .

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Get your Swarm of Locusts

Get your Swarm of Locusts Plaguedome at Products of the Apocalypse.

e.p.c. posted this at 18:10 GMT on 30-Mar-2003 .

War Puts Radio Giant on

War Puts Radio Giant on the Defensive: Clear Channel Communications has long been the company that the music industry loves to loathe, so aggressively dominant as the nation's biggest radio broadcaster that some critics refer to it as the Microsoft of music. Now, though, Clear Channel finds itself fending off a new set of accusations: that the company is using its considerable market power to drum up support for the war in Iraq, while muzzling musicians who oppose it.

e.p.c. posted this at 20:57 GMT on 30-Mar-2003 .

Robert Cringely on Tivo: Life

Robert Cringely on Tivo: Life With TiVo Why Television Will Never Be the Same:
Commercial television will adapt or die. Maybe they’ll make commercials even more interesting than the shows themselves. Broadcasters will find ways to cope, though between now and then there will be plenty of breast-beating and tantrums. Only non-commercial broadcasters like PBS will remain unaffected and serene.

TiVo? TiVo is our friend.

e.p.c. posted this at 21:15 GMT on 30-Mar-2003 .

Edward Tufte analyzes a Boeing

Edward Tufte analyzes a Boeing Powerpoint slide presented as part of the Columbia investigation.

e.p.c. posted this at 21:34 GMT on 30-Mar-2003 .

Monday, March 31, 2003

A new RFC 3514 defines

A new RFC 3514 defines an “evil bit” for internet protocol traffic:
Firewalls [CBR03], packet filters, intrusion detection systems, and the like often have difficulty distinguishing between packets that have malicious intent and those that are merely unusual. The problem is that making such determinations is hard. To solve this problem, we define a security flag, known as the "evil" bit, in the IPv4 [RFC791] header. Benign packets have this bit set to 0; those that are used for an attack will have the bit set to 1.

e.p.c. posted this at 23:03 GMT on 31-Mar-2003 .

Slightly acerbic and eccentric dog walker who masquerades as a web developer and occasional CTO.

Spent five years running the technology side of the circus known as www.ibm.com.

More about me here.

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