Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Provincetown 2006 Days 3-4

It's hot. It is really hot here. Not quite as hot as in New York City, allegedly, but still there are reports that it has unofficially hit 100°F in "downtown" Provincetown. Apart from some morning swims we have kept Frisket inside most of the day, much to her chagrin.

Tonight we plan to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest at the Wellfleet Drivein, keeping up our tradition of seeing a Johnny Depp movie at the drive in (last year was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

I finished Ender's Game and zipped through The Talmud and the Internet: A Journey between Worlds. I thought I'd read it before, but hadn't, now that I have, it's not what I thought it was. It's more of a meditation on the talmud with occasional correlations drawn to the 1990s internet, but it's not the in-depth study I thought it was (apologies to Alex).

I think a follow-up book should be written: The Talmud and the Wikipedia.

After an argument with my late mother, I stopped posting and writing about politics here. I'm going to break with that and call everyone's attention to a mid-summer move by Senator Arlen Spector to bless the administration's spying on U.S. citizens. More details are here at the Electronic Freedom Foundation site. The argument that the only people who need to fear are those who are doing something wrong is facetious: another bill pending in the Congress pretty much authorizes the President to designate anyone as an enemy combatant and strip that person of all civil rights: no courtroom, no prosecution, no judge, no jury, no defense. To those who would retort back: Again, the only ones who need to be concerned are those who mean us ill, and we trust the President to determine that, I retort would you trust President Clinton (either past or future) to make that determination? I suspect not.

e.p.c. posted this at 21:58 GMT on 2-Aug-2006 from Provincetown, MA. Source,

Pictures from Provincetown 2006 Days 3-4

More additions to the Provincetown 2006 flickr set:

Need my treat now! on flickr

Need my treat now!

Please, please, please may I have a treat?

Please, please, please may I have a treat?

e.p.c. posted this at 22:31 GMT on 2-Aug-2006 .

Frisket Frolicking in the Water

A movie clip shot by Lisa of Frisket retrieving (yes, she does honestly retrieve once in a while).

Placeholder for movie clip

e.p.c. posted this at 23:00 GMT on 2-Aug-2006 from Provincetown, MA.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Arnott's Biscuits in the U.S. (a/k/a Tim Tams)

Tim Tams are now available in the U.S. at Cost Plus World Market. This is either a very good thing, or a sign of the impending apocalypse. Unfortunately they don't appear to sell them on their website.

What? You don't know what Tim Tams are? They are only the bestest, most yummy-yummy cookies (er, "biscuits") I have ever had, and they're from Australia. They are the reason why I went to Australia all svelte, and returned as a pudgy thirty-something (that plus, perhaps, the 50% discount at McDonalds, and possibly I'm lying about the svelte bit).

Via A Whole Lotta Nothing

e.p.c. posted this at 12:40 GMT on 3-Aug-2006 from Provincetown, MA. Source,

Technical: update your feed (again)

I promise this will be the last change for awhile.

If you are following this site using a feedreader, please update to this new feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/epcostello.

I have been playing with Feedburner with a couple of other sites and generally like it. It offloads a lot of traffic from the site and gives me some tools to manage the feed. I had been redirecting this feed through the Panther CDN which helped offload bandwidth, but you lose measurement data (because I really, really need to know whether I have 8 subscribers or 10!).

Anyway, change if you can, though in theory I have redirected all of the 10,000 variations I've used for feed names to the new feed address.

And if you have no idea what I'm writing about, then just ignore this little blurb.

e.p.c. posted this at 16:15 GMT on 3-Aug-2006 from Provincetown, MA.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Weekend update 2006-08-13

We spent the weekend in Amagansett, here are some pictures from this morning's adventure on the beach (with special guest dogs Max and Gracie). Pictures are from a new Sony α-100 DSLR.

Frisket and Coco, Indian Wells Beach, Amagansett, NY, (August 13, 2006)

Frisket and Coco, Indian Wells Beach, Amagansett, NY, (August 13, 2006)

Coco, Frisket & Max, Indian Wells Beach, Amagansett NY (August 13, 2006)

Coco, Frisket & Max, Indian Wells Beach, Amagansett NY (August 13, 2006)

Frisket & Gracie, Indian Wells Beach, Amagansett, NY (August 13, 2006)

Frisket & Gracie, Indian Wells Beach, Amagansett, NY (August 13, 2006)

Gracie, Indian Wells Beach, Amagansett NY (August 13, 2006)

Gracie, Indian Wells Beach, Amagansett NY (August 13, 2006)

Frisket, Indian Wells Beach, Amagansett, NY (August 13, 2006)

Frisket, Indian Wells Beach, Amagansett, NY (August 13, 2006)

Lisa starts a new job tomorrow. I am working on a couple of projects myself. At the end of the week I'm planning to head out to Illinois for 7-10 days.

e.p.c. posted this at 02:25 GMT on 14-Aug-2006 .

Feeding the feed

I discovered that some people had subscribed to a test feed I'd set up with Feedburner...I didn't think that that was public, and so made no mention of when I deleted it. I've since realized that that happened and discovered something a tad unsettling with FeedBurner, though not unexpected.

So, I'd set up http://feeds.feedburner.com/epicrisis and played with it. Once I decided to go live with feedburner, I also decided to move to http://feeds.feedburner.com/epcostello. Now, FeedBurner allows you to change the URL of your feed pretty easily. You have to confirm it, but once confirmed the new URL goes live. The old URL (in this case /epicrisis) goes dark. Users get an error in feedreaders, FeedBurner itself returns a page saying that there's an error with the feed.

There doesn't appear to be a way to redirect the "old" feed to the "new" feed, which I think is a flaw with FeedBurner.

The slightly unsettling thing is that I was able to create a new feed at the /epicrisis address, pointing to a different variation on the Atom file I serve for the preferrred feed. Now, it's possible, even probable, that FeedBurner checked to see what account is creating a feed which reuses a URL and verifies that it's the same account which had created the feed in the first place. But it's also possible that that's not happening. Now, I'm not really into testing other people's web applications for free, down that path lie litigation and frustrations and often little or no gratitude, so I don't know which scenario is at play here.

If you're one of the people who subcribed to the "epicrisis" feed, please update your subscription to the new preferred, I promise I won't change it again, feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/epcostello.

e.p.c. posted this at 23:46 GMT on 14-Aug-2006 from Brooklyn, NY.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Advice to my Sydney friends

That white stuff? There, on the ground? You might call that hail, and it may indeed be ice, but that really looks like snow from here:

3hail150806 on flickr
3hail150806 on flickr by Beatie

e.p.c. posted this at 15:58 GMT on 15-Aug-2006 from Brooklyn, NY. Source,

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Drive-a-thon 2006

In my continuing quest to prop up the various oil companies of the U.S., I will be out on the road for the next week and a half, leaving Saturday for Erie, PA where I'll catch up with my junior year roommates from Allegheny College. Sunday I'll head to Denham, IN for several days with my grandmother. Denham, population 45, is not expected to get broadband for another 3-4 decades (they only got rid of party lines in the 1990s). I do not expect to blog.

I will be in Chicago from the 23rd until about the 27th then head back to NYC.

I'm guessing about 2800 miles of driving, so about $500 in gas if I'm lucky.

e.p.c. posted this at 04:32 GMT on 17-Aug-2006 from Brooklyn, NY.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Midway of Drive-a-thon 2006

So far the trip has been uneventful. I am in Chicago, using the W Lake Shore Drive as my base. Over the weekend I stopped off in Erie, PA to visit my friends Art & Deb & Kellie (all Allegheny alumni).

Randolph Street Represent!
The 318½ Randolph Street crew. Art Martinucci, Kellie (Carlson) Anderson, Deb Bartle, Ed Costello

Kellie, Deb and I shared an apartment on Randolph Street in Meadville, PA during college. Art lived up the street, also on Randolph. I think the apartment has been turned into a parking lot since 1989.

Sunday I drove from Erie to Denham, IN and spent several days with my grandmother.

There is little to report about Denham...it is a very small town which was just on the edge of oblivion before the railroad pulled out. Over a couple of years the railroad pulled out and the US Postal Service took away the small part-time Post Office. The single store in town closed within a year of the P.O. closing.

The store was the sort of place I've read about in tales of "American Gone By", it had a big porch where people would sit and chat, a side room where there seemed to be a stove and a couple of seats (perhaps for the winter chats), and a small selection of food and household necessities.

For some reason when I drive in and around Denham or North Judson, IN (the closest "real" town, about 8 miles north), I think of the old glass bottles of soda (pop). We'd walk from the house to the store in Denham and pick up a couple of bottles of Pepsi or Coke. There was something about those old, tall 16 ounce bottles that isn't captured by the plastic 16 or 20 ounce bottles in use today. The glass held the cold in just a bit longer, it felt cold in your hands.

So, after running errands for my grandmother, and running Frisket up and back from the hill on the farm, I drove into Chicago for the second half of the trip.

Ate dinner tonight with some family from the Downers Grove area. Tomorrow night I'm driving up to Crystal Lake, IL for more food (I need to be sure to walk Frisket a bit more on this trip!). Friday it's dinner with friends John and Laura. Saturday is open (so far). I plan to head back East on Sunday.

e.p.c. posted this at 06:59 GMT on 24-Aug-2006 from Chicago,IL.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Frisket of Sycamore

Drove out to Sycamore, IL to visit my friends John and Laura Mesjak. Frisket tagged along to visit Stewart (Stuart?). Frisket made a new friend in Miles the kitten:

Frisket and Friend
Frisket and Miles the kitten (it was Miles, right J&L?)

Stewart is a bit of a lap dog:

epc & Stewart
epc and Stewart

Today's plan: sift through a couple of boxes for keepsake photos, then drive out to Downers Grove to stuff theboxes back into storage and pick up laundry I dropped off to avoid the insane hotel laundry prices.

e.p.c. posted this at 18:36 GMT on 26-Aug-2006 from Chicago, IL.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Coco 2002-2006 R.I.P.

Frisket's cousin and best buddy Coco passed away suddenly tonight. Coco had had surgery earlier this week to repair a torn tendon or ligament, I don't know if that was at all related to her death.

Coco

Coco was incredibly playful and always seemed happy to see you. Her whole body shook as she wagged her tail.

Coco was only two weeks older than Frisket, they pretty much grew up together. Even though they went weeks, sometimes months, without seeing each other, when they did see each other they would scamper and play just as they did when they were eight week old puppies.

I've posted some more pictures of Coco here.

I am incredibly sad and upset that we are on the road and for once am glad Frisket does not understand.

e.p.c. posted this at 06:47 GMT on 27-Aug-2006 from Chicago, IL.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Risk Pool...New Yorker article on pensions

The Risk Pool: an interesting article by Malcom Gladwell on pensions, arguing that in the 1950s American unions wanted to spread pensions across companies, while companies (fearing the free flow of employees) pushed for company based pensions. That you can tell teh health of an economy (whether it's a country or a company) by looking at its dependency ratio: the ratio of workers to dependents in the economy.

The labor movement believed that the safest and most efficient way to provide insurance against ill health or old age was to spread the costs and risks of benefits over the biggest and most diverse group possible. Walter Reuther, as Nelson Lichtenstein argues in his definitive biography, believed that risk ought to be broadly collectivized. Charlie Wilson, on the other hand, felt the way the business leaders of Toledo did: that collectivization was a threat to the free market and to the autonomy of business owners. In his view, companies themselves ought to assume the risks of providing insurance.
In fact, a system in which companies shoulder their own benefits is ultimately a system that penalizes companies for offering any benefits at all.
For that matter, if you pooled the obligations of every employer in the country, no company would go bankrupt just because it happened to employ older people, or it happened to have been around for a while, or it happened to have made the transformation from open-hearth furnaces and ingot-making to basic oxygen furnaces and continuous casting. This is what Walter Reuther and the other union heads understood more than fifty years ago: that in the free-market system it makes little sense for the burdens of insurance to be borne by one company. If the risks of providing for health care and old-age pensions are shared by all of us, then companies can succeed or fail based on what they do and not on the number of their retirees.

e.p.c. posted this at 12:00 GMT on 28-Aug-2006 from Cranberry, PA. Source,

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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