Monday, March 1, 2004

Comment spam...closing comments

Since I have now joined the rest of the web world in getting comment spam, I'm shutting down comments on articles over a certain age on my various blogs. This article: Ramblings of a Code Monkey: Comment Spam Solution has some useful SQL code I'm going to use to close off comments on articles older than a month.

e.p.c. posted this at 12:31 GMT on 1-Mar-2004 .

Tuesday, March 2, 2004

New US $20 bills contain RFID chips

This may be urban legend, I don't have a spare $20 lying around to try this with, but allegedly RFID Tags in New US Notes Explode When You Try to Microwave Them: So we chose to 'microwave' our cash, over $1000 in twenties in a stack, not spread out on a carasoul. Do you know what exploded on American money?? The right eye of Andrew Jackson on the new twenty, every bill was uniform in it's burning... Isnt that interesting?

e.p.c. posted this at 07:19 GMT on 2-Mar-2004 .

Thursday, March 4, 2004

Offline and travelling

Lisa is flying out here (Illinois) tomorrow. We'll drive down to Champaign-Urbana for her class and then meander our way back to NYC via Denham, IN and Erie, PA. We expect to hit Brooklyn just in time for Monday's evening rush hour.

I'm not near finished with what I need to do here at the house but I need a break and it's going to be another couple of weeks before I can take care of the legal and financial issues. Will probably return here at the end of March or early April with the goal of finishing up and putting the house on the market.

e.p.c. posted this at 17:22 GMT on 4-Mar-2004 .

Friday, March 5, 2004

DG to NYC via Champaign, Denham, Erie, and other points

We're on the road back to NYC, drove today from Downers Grove to Champaign. Lisa will spend most of tomorrow in class, we'll then leave for my grandmother's farm in Denham, IN. Frisket has been very good on the drive so far, I think she senses we're on the way back home.

e.p.c. posted this at 23:20 GMT on 5-Mar-2004 .

Sunday, March 7, 2004

Arrived in Erie

Made it to Erie, PA around 4:45 p.m. today. Catching dinner with Deb and Art and the munchkins.

e.p.c. posted this at 16:45 GMT on 7-Mar-2004 .

Monday, March 8, 2004

Home, home, home

Back home in Brooklyn, NY, 2,995 miles later. Arrived around 2:00 p.m. after a relatively easy drive from Erie, PA. There was some snow in the west and in the hills on I76 but nothing bad. We left really early, around 4:30 a.m. because neither of us could sleep in the Erie Red Roof Inn.

e.p.c. posted this at 14:20 GMT on 8-Mar-2004 .

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Visualizing social networks in Antony and Cleopatra

Someone has taken IRC, bots, and Shakespeare and mushed it all together to present Shakespeare Social Networks. Kind of neat, I have no idea how valid the connections are between people. Would be interesting if you fed Titus Andronicus in and added an indicator of the relationship between two characters (eg: X kills Y. Z kills X. Ok, it'd be pretty easy to hardcode that for Titus).

e.p.c. posted this at 12:06 GMT on 11-Mar-2004 .

Friday, March 12, 2004

For anyone using MovableType: mt-medic

I found this little add-on today: MT Extensions: MT-Medic 1.34. It's a perl CGI which you drop into your MovableType directory to do administratrive things outside of MT like resetting passwords. It seems to be the kind of thing you might want to install and activate as you need to use it, not leave open at all times.

e.p.c. posted this at 11:54 GMT on 12-Mar-2004 .

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Safari css bugs bug me

Safari is Apple's browser for Mac OS X. For the most part I like it, however I'm finding it's interpretation of CSS colors to be quite annoying. CSS defines system colors like InfoText and InfoBackground so that inept designers like myself can piggy-back on the UI colors which the user or system has chosen. This has worked ok for me on MSIE, Opera, Netscape, and Fire{bird,fox,etc} on Windows. However it's been a mixed bag on Safari on OS X, with the immediate result that InfoText and InfoBackground are the same color (with 1.0.2 on 10.2).

What this means is that after creating a careful, non-denominational, ecumenical stylesheet that should work across all browsers, I've had to retrofit a bunch of ugly hacks into a Safari-specific stylesheet. I've reported it as a bug a couple of times but have seen nor heard of any response or fix. I'm hoping it's fixed for 10.3 which I'll upgrade to in the next month.

e.p.c. posted this at 15:13 GMT on 14-Mar-2004 .

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Spring 2004

Lisa and I walked Frisket to Monster Mutt this morning and then headed into Man­hattan for the day. While Lisa worked out at her gym, I wandered around Washington Square and did a little shopping (not in Washington Square).

I picked up some more Moleskine notebooks (which have become my new fave target of sloppy penmanship) at The Art Store where they were on sale (buy one, get a second at ½ price).

We brunched at Noho Star and then proceeded to return to The Art Store for Lisa to pick up various notebooks (since it's all notebooks & journals on sale).

We meandered around a bit and then attempted to return to Brooklyn. Turns out the F isn't running today (well, not the stretch we needed). So we slugged the now-we-think-we-bought-too-many notebooks through SoHo as we attempted to find a taxi. This became one of those afternoons where I think adding another 10,000 medallions to the taxi pool might not be a bad idea. All the taxis were returning to their garages. This is doubly frustrating because they won't stop, and we know we're on the way to several garages in Brooklyn. Eventually we managed to hail a cab and talked him into dropping us off on the way to his garage.

We're going to Midsummer Night's Dream at BAM tonight. Kind of curious to see it on the first day of Spring I guess.

e.p.c. posted this at 16:51 GMT on 20-Mar-2004 .

Friday, March 26, 2004

Out in the desert surreal

Lisa and I flew out to Las Vegas last night on JetBlue. We're here for a brief getaway weekend, meeting up with friends Alex and Jennifer.

e.p.c. posted this at 15:41 GMT on 26-Mar-2004 .

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Back in Brooklyn

Lisa and I returned to Brooklyn Monday morning via JetBlue. The flight was packed and served as yet another reminder of why I stopped flying for two years. There was nothing wrong with the flight, or JetBlue, it was just crowded, and long, and a red-eye. We had a cluster of Beavises and Buttheads in the row in front of us who absolute had to watch all four ESPN channels and comment on the games and matches in VERY LOUD VOICES because they were flying on a JET AEROPLANE, which, dude, you know is loud.

Behind us we had two older gentlemen who had to remark on everything. Oh, look, that person is grabbing a pillow, and Interesting, you can see the strip from here. The running commentary was punctuated by whacks to the backs of our seats, no matter how many times I turned around with mad-passenger-glare.

Needless to say, sleep didn't come easy on the flight. I used to be able to sleep pretty soundly on planes, no matter where I was sitting or the duration of the flight. When I was flying to Europe or Australia regularly, I'd frequently fall asleep while the plane was on the ground at the gate, and then wake up with a start when the plane actually managed to take off.

I spent the remainder of the day Monday dozing, except for a break to retrieve Frisket from Monstermutt where she'd spent the past four days and nights. Last night we dined at Coco Pazzo with Lisa's family in celebration of her grandmother's birthday.

e.p.c. posted this at 16:55 GMT on 30-Mar-2004 .

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Apache Gump

Apache Gump: Gump is a social experiment. The primary goal of Gump is to get diverse projects to communicate early and often about integration, dependencies, and versioning management. One way to think about it is that some of the concepts of Extreme programming applied to Continuous Integration on an unprecedented scale.

e.p.c. posted this at 01:05 GMT on 31-Mar-2004 .

Blogdex

blogdex - about blogdex: Blogdex is a research project of the MIT Media Laboratory tracking the diffusion of information through the weblog community. Ideas can have very similar properties to a disease, spreading through the population like wildfire. The goal of Blogdex is to explore what it is about information, people, and their relationships that allows for this contagious media.

e.p.c. posted this at 01:06 GMT on 31-Mar-2004 .

social circles: mailing list social visualization

social circles - marcos weskamp:Social Circles intends to partially reveal the social networks that emerge in mailing lists. The idea was to visualize in near real-time the social hierarchies and the main subjects they address. When subscribing to a mailing you never know who the principals are, how many people are listening or what subjects they are talking about. It's like entering a meeting room with plenty of people in the darkness and then having to learn who is who by just listening to their voices.

e.p.c. posted this at 01:09 GMT on 31-Mar-2004 .

Weekend in beantown

We're driving to Boston for the weekend Thursday night to visit with Alister, Abigail and Harriet. Depending on the condition of I95, we may or may not arrive in Boston by the time we need to leave to get back to NYC.

e.p.c. posted this at 10:33 GMT on 31-Mar-2004 .

Pepper and pastries don't mix

My morning routine is to walk Frisket about four blocks to a local coffee, pastry, and sandwich shop. I typically pick up a coffee for Lisa, and something for me. For better or worse, I usually grab an oatmeal and raisin cookie or two. I buy the "it cuts down on cholesterol" line. Anyway...this morning's batch of cookies had the ever so faint yet present taste of....pepper.

Ugh.

Now I have this faint pepper taste in my mouth (I ended up eating them as a post-lunch snack).

Ugh.

e.p.c. posted this at 15:53 GMT on 31-Mar-2004 .

Ad-hoc vs Managed software development

Alex writes about our shared experiences at IBM.com in the 1995-1997 era while commenting on an essay by Clay Shirky. I'd add that one downside to the ad-hoc, small group developed software is that it didn't always scale on a variety of axes (sometimes traffic, sometimes amount of data, sometimes maintenance). Too often the executive overlords would see how cheaply some solution had been developed and then extrapolate unreasonably that no futher investments of time, people, or other resources would be necessary. When the I/T BT/CTIO octupi struck, they struck at the weak parts of the system (security, reliability, scalability) even though frequently the "formal" organizations were no better at these aspects than the informal groups.

e.p.c. posted this at 19:29 GMT on 31-Mar-2004 .

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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