Friday, December 1, 2006

Semi Irregular Monthly Posting from Paris, FR

We arrived midday yesterday in Paris after an uneventful if occasionally bumpy flight from JFK.

We're staying at the Westin Paris in a room with a rack rate of €1320 (that's $1741 in today's ever diminish US dollars). Luckily, we're staying on Starpoints, which have not yet been revalued, technically "for free", though really it just means we spent enough on an AXP Starwood card to earn enough points to stay here for several nights.

We walked around a bit yesterday before collapsing in jetlag heaps in the room. We ate dinner at a nearby decent-but-somewhat-touristy café and then returned to the hotel to collapse in heaps, again, due to jetlag.

I woke up early this morning and after trying to return to sleep ended up walking around the area a bit, taking photos of Notre Dame as the sun rose in the east. The photos are on flickr now, I'll add some here when I get a chance.

And totally unrelated to France, I blame David Singer for the following language quiz thingamajig:

Your Linguistic Profile:
45% General American English
25% Yankee
15% Upper Midwestern
5% Dixie
5% Midwestern

e.p.c. posted this at 09:09 GMT on 1-Dec-2006 from Paris, France.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Last posting from Paris, France for 2006

Barring an unexpected return, this will be the last posting from Paris this year.

We had a nice tour of the Les Halles area yesterday lead by a friend of Lisa G's, ending with lunch at Au Pied de Cochon. No, I did not have any pied de cochon. In fact I had french onion soup and a salad.

Lisa G's birthday dinner was at Restaurant 1728 in what was (allegedly) Lafayette's mansion. Very elegant and tasty, much vin was consumed.

Today we got up early, around 10:00, and headed to the Marais and Bastille areas for a walk around the Bastille market and back through the Marais. After a nice lunch of baguettes and ham and croissants we headed back to the hotel, walking a bit faster as it's raining and a December rain in Paris is not so much fun.

We return to the U.S. this evening, we hope (keeping an eye on the weather up the East Coast).

I've uploaded more pictures to flickr. Due to the vagaries of the network connection here I won't be reposting them here until I return to the U.S.

e.p.c. posted this at 13:14 GMT on 3-Dec-2006 from Paris, France.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Paris Fin

We arrived home around 9:30 EST tonight. The flight was uneventful other than a jerk in #3G who felt a need to demonstrate his manliness by yanking on my seatback each time he had to get up during the flight.

Sadly we arrived too late to retrieve Frisket from Monstermutt. She will have to wait until tomorrow to chew on her Eiffel Tower toy.

Here are some pictures, in no particular order or of any importance:

Perl
Perl
DSC06319
DSC06323
Happy Cow
Happy Cow
Old wheel, broken wheel
Old wheel, broken wheel
Sad, Solitary Slipper
Sad, Solitary Slipper
DSC06397
Hotel Sully
Hotel Sully
Place des Vosges
Place des Vosges

e.p.c. posted this at 05:02 GMT on 4-Dec-2006 from Brooklyn, NY.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Beyond here is L.A.

I was playing with the On NY Turf NYC Google Map mashup and scrolled a bit too far west:

Image from onNyTurf.org

e.p.c. posted this at 19:24 GMT on 6-Dec-2006 from Brooklyn, NY.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Returning to Austin

I'm heading back to Austin for the weekend to work on a project. I plan to pick on my brother a bit and take in the beautiful, sunny, 35°F weather.

Oh, and a thing I forgot: I have a spare ticket to Lou Reed's Berlin at St Ann's Warehouse next Thursday the 14th December at 8:00 p.m. Lisa is going to the second of the Coast of Utopia series that night.

So, if you are 1) someone I actually know and not just a random reader of the site and 2) are going to be in New York next Thursday drop me a note at my gmail address (it's the domain name here sans '.net' @ gmail.com, also visible over here.

Berlin was Reed's 1973 followup album to Transformer. He never performed it live. This series at St. Ann's Warehouse is (I believe) the first performance of the album in public and he's doing a limited series of concerts for it.

e.p.c. posted this at 04:16 GMT on 8-Dec-2006 from Brooklyn,NY.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Digital Cruft 2006

I have been doing some end of year digital cleanup. This was prompted by discovering my 40Gb laptop had 1Gb of free space remaining. Some of that space was Windows Update files, but I was curious how I’d filled up what I thought was 15Gb of free space.

Some years ago my boss at IBM and I killed an hour of an afternoon figuring out how much storage was “under management” by the MVS system we were using. I recall it being something like 1.5Tb and that we were both a bit floored (this wasn’t just DASD, er, disk, but also some tape storage, but mostly disk).

I’m sitting here now at my desk epc's desk on flickr and am staring at…lessee, maybe 1.2Tb of disks attached to three systems. And while a lot of that disk space is filled with media files (something like 15,000 mp3s, and maybe 100 videos offloaded from the Tivoim), a lot of the space is filled with backups and digital cruft.

The cruft has built up over the years, and this is likely not my first post about it. I have email dating back to the early 1990s (but sadly lost my earliest email archives from CMU due to poor magnetic media planning). I have digital photos dating back to 1996 (with a single weird outlier from maybe 1993). I have multiple copies of programs, articles I’ve written, backups of websites I’ve developed or had a hand in.

But back to the laptop, I started looking into what the current crop of cruft contains and found a bookmarks.html file I’d saved (for some reason) from 2004.

That does not seem that long ago, however it represents the end of an era for me. From maybe 1995-1996 I maintained some sort of bookmark file, independent of the browser I was using, which I’d sort of categorized and would zip through on a near daily basis to “keep up” with the web. This bookmark file seems to have the remnants of that daily bookmark file as it even has links to IBM internal sites which I’m sure had fallen silent by 2004 (I’d left IBM in 2001 so can’t verify).

By 2004 I was using Bloglines to follow weblogs, but other sites I still had to manually go and look at the damn site to see what was new. Some sites offered RSS headlines but no excerpts or copy.

Looking at this file I see that JoDI has fallen off my radar. It’s a peer-reviewed electronic journal for digital information studies. In 2004 it was located at http://jodi.ecs.soton.ac.uk/. Since then it has moved twice, once to http://jodi.tamu.edu/ and is currently at http://journals.tdl.org/jodi. Sadly it still does not provide a web feed (I’m ecumenical, I’ll take either Atom or RSS) so it’s fallen off my radar.

A problem with using hosted services for your blog becomes evident: they don’t provide for the day you decide to stop using the service, so Black Belt Jones’ “Flyingcarpet” blog from 2004 404’s today (the correct URL is now http://www.blackbeltjones.com/work/). A simple redirect service from TypePad would keep them in the graces of their ex-customers (I ran into something similar when I dropped my Radio Userland site, which years later still shows up in Google results on “Ed Costello” though it is content-free).

I’d say, based entirely on informed guessing, that half of the blog sites I was following in 2004 have either shut down entirely or drastically changed focus.

Apparently in 2004 I was interested in politics and urban issues. I can’t tell why I bookmarked a number of the sites I did. One site I just checked is obviously a blog, but has no name (not even on the “About” page) and the writing, while good, isn’t of any interest to me today.

It’s depressing to see how many sites, which must have had some interesting thing in 2004, have become junk search portal pages (you know these, they have some generic bland design and the headline is “Resources about goshIGotADomainName.com”). Even Gene Kranz’s web site has become a SEO gateway page.

It was interesting to come across Jet Lag: How Boeing Blew It in light of this week’s NY Times article: A Humbled Airbus Learns Hard Lessons. Net: 2003’s loser is 2006’s winner.

Another surprising observation: how many professionally run sites (either by bozoes like myself who should know by now how to run a web site, or commercial sites) don’t use redirects when they redesign or restructure. The content is still on the site, but the old bookmark just results in a 404 – file not found error, instead of a redirect (or a gateway page saying “Hey, we’ve restructured and don’t have a clue how to redirect you”). R.E.M. apparently had a MySpace page at http://myspace.com/rem/ in 2004. Since 2004 MySpace has apparently changed something because that URL responds with a generic Microsoft IIS 404 page, while stripping the trailing “/” off yields the current R.E.M. page. Perfectly valid thing to do, but if you’ve structured the site one way and restructure it later, at least trap the older URL and issue a redirect, or something.

Digging deeper I found a number of links from my IBM.com days, both to IBM sites (apologies about knocking on the ibm.com staging site’s door there, who would have thought the URL wouldn’t change in 6 years!) and sites I apparently was interested in in 1997-1999.

I found a link to the first phishing site I ever came across, the “IBM-AOL Rewards” scam from 1999. I don’t recall the exact details, but we came across it because people started sending email to our webmaster mail complaining that they had not received their “IBM AOL” reward. I could not believe, then, that people would believe that IBM and AOL would host a major corporate program on angelfire.com, but that didn’t trip people’s skepticism wire.

The file goes way back, covering the whole Y2K imbroglio, IBM.com’s “Bullseye” redesign, “Deep Blue”, various Olympic Games related links, various news articles. This one from ten years ago was humorous to read: Banner Ads on Internet Attract Users (December 3, 1996). I am surprised that the NYT allows access to that without the paywall popping up.

So, there’s still lots of interesting information in the file, but it is of little or no use to me today. I’ll keep it, but it’ll move into the archives on our Mac, safely off my laptop, perhaps never to be seen again. I don’t know if Google Desktop Search would help here (partly because it doesn’t even occur to me to search my own archives for stuff, I mean, why would I need to when most things I’m interested in are discoverable through Google Search of the open web).

And there’s a problem: I keep all of this stuff, this digital crap, around because at the moment I decide to keep it I think it might be useful some day. But it rarely is, and if it was useful, it doesn’t even occur to me to look in my own archives. So why do we keep all of this stuff (and sign up for even more) if we don’t have a way of managing it and discovering it?

e.p.c. posted this at 18:12 GMT on 16-Dec-2006 from Brooklyn, NY. Source,

Friday, December 22, 2006

Winter Solstice 2006

Took Frisket for a stroll on the promenade yesterday afternoon and took a bunch of photos. Still playing with exposure settings and feel like I only know about five things I can do with the Sony α-100. Here's a selection of photos, there's more on my flickr site.

Winter Solstice Sunset II
Winter Solstice Sunset II
Imploring Frisket
Imploring Frisket
DSC08009
DSC08009
Contemplative Frisket
Contemplative Frisket
DSC08023
DSC08023
Lower Manhattan 12/21/2006
Lower Manhattan 12/21/2006
Brooklyn Bridge at Dusk
Brooklyn Bridge at Dusk
Brooklyn Bridge at Dusk
Brooklyn Bridge at Dusk
Statue of Liberty & Staten Island Ferry
Statue of Liberty & Staten Island Ferry
SI Ferry Approaching I
SI Ferry Approaching I
SI Ferry Approaching III
SI Ferry Approaching III

We leave this afternoon for an extended weekend in Miami, FL. Next weekend we'll be in Boston for New Year's.

e.p.c. posted this at 15:52 GMT on 22-Dec-2006 from Brooklyn, NY.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Eve's Eve in Miami Beach

Arrived late last night at the hotel, the Delano on Miami Beach. Flight was uneventful if a bit long. It's possible that they held us at LGA due to the scheduled landing of STS-116, though it's more likely that we were delayed an hour because we were flying out of LGA. On a Friday night. THE FRIDAY NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

Ahem.

Nothing has been accomplished today other than lounging pool side at the Delano drinking Bombay Sapphire™ and Tonics relaxing with Lisa, Oliver and Linda (Kamm, Kamm and Heller Kamm).

While walking down to the beach this morning I noticed people roller blading. It's a sport that has not much appealed to me, being allergic to falling down at high speeds, but I'm wondering if I should reconsider. I can't jog/run both due to knee damage as well as, well, my weight. But I feel a need to get Frisket up and running more and feel guilty that I can't do it by jogging and wonder if blading might be an option. I realize that most of the readers of the site are various robots and spam generators, but amongst the humans if there are any roller bladers, advice would be appreciated.

Works better when I flip the right format bit.

e.p.c. posted this at 20:22 GMT on 23-Dec-2006 from Miami Beach, FL.

Friday, December 29, 2006

NYE in Boston

We're spending the weekend in Boston. One question I'm trying to find an answer for is whether or not there's a massive fireworks display along the Charles opposite Cambridge (or in other words: do I need a kevlar vest to protect me from the dog during the fireworks)?

I think we have plans booked for Sunday (spending the afternoon in Worcester with Frisket's sister Sailor) but nothing planned for Saturday night nor Monday the 1st.

e.p.c. posted this at 03:00 GMT on 29-Dec-2006 from Brooklyn,NY.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

My thoughts on the execution of Hussein

I have a bad feeling about this.

e.p.c. posted this at 13:39 GMT on 30-Dec-2006 from Brooklyn, NY.

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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