Tuesday, April 1, 2003

I think I found a

I think I found a near legitimate reason to use Limewire. "Frisket" woke me up this morning for her walk at the ungodly hour of 5:55 a.m. While walking around the block, "City of New Orleans" came into my head for no obvious reason. This is a song about the train from Chicago to New Orleans, written by Steve Goodman and covered by Arlo Guthrie in the early 1970's. Now, I haven't heard it played in years, and while I'd expect the Arlo Guthrie version to be available on CD, I'm not so certain about the Goodman version, or the song it segued into "Lincoln Park Pirates". So, I'm going to try to find them on Limewire...suspect I'll be lucky if I find a P. Diddy sample of one of them. (Now, why either of these came into my head while walking F around the block is another question which I'm not awake enough to contemplate).

e.p.c. posted this at 05:49 GMT on 1-Apr-2003 .

So, Geraldo Rivera has been

So, Geraldo Rivera has been kicked out of Iraq. See, he was an "embedded" reporter with the 101st Airborne. Believing in the Fox News mantra of allegedly "Fair, Balanced Reporting", he drew a map in the sand showing the relative locations of Bagdhad and his unit, since it's only fair for the Iraqis to get a balanced view of the US war plans. Obviously, the military doesn't understand the Fox quest for "fair, balanced" reporting and kicked him out. Read more at CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, the New York Post, New York Newsday and the Washington Post. One place you won't read anything about Geraldo or this little story is Fox News. Fair? Balanced? You decide.

e.p.c. posted this at 12:06 GMT on 1-Apr-2003 .

Language inspired by Orwell set

Language inspired by Orwell set to fool hackers: A new programming language from a group of Auckland-based computer-language experts is making waves in the software development world. Dubbed NewCode, the language promises to revolutionise software development, as the language makes it impossible to express a security vulnerability in a program's source code. ... "The compiler is itself programmed in NewCode," says Jones. "It made it difficult to explain to the compiler itself exactly what a security vulnerability was."

e.p.c. posted this at 14:47 GMT on 1-Apr-2003 .

Wednesday, April 2, 2003

ReadyMade: instructions for everyday life.

ReadyMade: instructions for everyday life.

e.p.c. posted this at 15:01 GMT on 2-Apr-2003 .

Friday, April 4, 2003

Giant virus discovered in water

Giant virus discovered in water tower :
A massive virus has been found lurking in a British water cooling tower. The virus lives in single-celled organisms called amoebae and may be able to infect humans.

The virus is so large that at first researchers mistook it for bacteria. Most viruses can only be seen with electron microscopes but this one was spotted through a high quality optical microscope.

e.p.c. posted this at 10:15 GMT on 4-Apr-2003 .

USB Floppy Disk Drive RAID

USB Floppy Disk Drive RAID

e.p.c. posted this at 10:16 GMT on 4-Apr-2003 .

Scans of various maps for

Scans of various maps for the Middle East

e.p.c. posted this at 10:55 GMT on 4-Apr-2003 .

Using Rendezvous at Home

Using Rendezvous at Home

e.p.c. posted this at 15:41 GMT on 4-Apr-2003 .

Saturday, April 5, 2003

Fox News through history (note

Fox News through history (note not for those without a sense of humor, or who like FoxNews).

e.p.c. posted this at 12:05 GMT on 5-Apr-2003 .

Bend it like Beckham

Saw Bend it like Beckham tonight. Great movie, see it, see it, see it. Links: official site and IMDB.

e.p.c. posted this at 21:21 GMT on 5-Apr-2003 .

Monday, April 7, 2003

It’s snowing here in Brooklyn...quite a bit.

e.p.c. posted this at 10:36 GMT on 7-Apr-2003 .

Had a great dinner last

Had a great dinner last night at Mercer Kitchen (or Citysearch). It’s the only place in NYC we’ve had a Pavlova. Last night though I had the asparagus appetizer, roast chicken dinner, and the Valrhona Chocolate dessert.

e.p.c. posted this at 10:41 GMT on 7-Apr-2003 .

I couldn’t sleep well last night so I watched CNN until 1ish. I thought it surreal to watch Anderson Cooper chair the coverage of a live (or near-live) battle along some canal in Baghdad. I half expected John Madden to call in and offer to call play-by-play complete with X's and O's identifying the US and Iraqi forces.

e.p.c. posted this at 10:44 GMT on 7-Apr-2003 .

Ever notice that when it

Ever notice that when it snows slush, no one walks up to offer to shovel your sidewalk? Only when it's light, fluffy stuff that's easy to shovel do you get people offering to shovel.

e.p.c. posted this at 17:49 GMT on 7-Apr-2003 .

Cute Honda (UK) ad

Cute Honda (UK) ad

e.p.c. posted this at 18:07 GMT on 7-Apr-2003 .

A parable about dissent: Thin

A parable about dissent: Thin Ice.

e.p.c. posted this at 21:40 GMT on 7-Apr-2003 .

While planning for an event

While planning for an event we're hosting next week, I had a sudden urge for the taste of a pint of VB. Unfortunately, it isn't exported to the US as far as I can tell, only Foster's Lager.

e.p.c. posted this at 22:45 GMT on 7-Apr-2003 .

Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Automat for the people

When I was a kid, my parents and I spent a week in New York City. I don't have many memories...lots of sirens at night, walking up the Statue of Liberty, getting my foot stuck in the revolving door at the Commodore Hotel, etc. One place I do remember, though vaguely, was the Automat we went to. This was a chain of cafeterias where food was served vending-machine style...you put change or tokens in a slot next to a given food item and then could open the door for that item. Magic. Anyway...apparently there's been an exhibit running at the Museum of the City of New York about the Automat, with the NYT running an article about it today: The Automat's Golden Age.

e.p.c. posted this at 09:41 GMT on 8-Apr-2003 .

What a difference...

...a new battery makes. I've had an IBM Thinkpad X21 for nearly two years and have seen no reason to upgrade (a change from when I was at IBM and regularly changed Thinkpads yearly, I think partly due to abuse). One problem I've had is that the original battery lost 50% of its capacity to hold a charge (it's rated for 40 Watt hours, was holding 18). Complicating things was that the battery indicators on the system don't really warn you that a 100% charge is 100% of whatever the current capacity is, not the original capacity. Sealing the fate of my old battery...I tried to cycle the battery as recommended by the IBM online help. This process implies that you might get more life out of the battery. The reality is that it seemed to be the last shove over the edge. I did that about a week ago and the battery dropped from holding about 90 minutes of charge to 30 minutes of charge. Again, all the while the battery gauge happily reported 100% (or 97%) charge available. I gave up and bought a new battery and am back to having nearly four-five hours of charge time.

e.p.c. posted this at 09:46 GMT on 8-Apr-2003 .

Am waiting (wasting time) for

Am waiting (wasting time) for some movers we hired to move stuff within the house. The last time we tried to move something inside the house, I aggravated the micro-fracturs in my left foot. I figured the cost for movers was less than the cost of not being able to walk without intense pain for several days. Assuming the movers actually come of course.

e.p.c. posted this at 09:49 GMT on 8-Apr-2003 .

Movers came...house is now all

Movers came...house is now all flippy-floppy (what was in the den is now in the living room and vice-versa), which is the way it was supposed to be.

e.p.c. posted this at 17:05 GMT on 8-Apr-2003 .

Wednesday, April 9, 2003


Had another excellent dinner tonight at Joya.

e.p.c. posted this at 00:30 GMT on 9-Apr-2003 .

Friday, April 11, 2003

Our furniture came today...a new

Our furniture came today...a new table for the dining room and a table for the breakfast nook area. This makes up for getting totally soaked this morning on a walk to the Post Office. The weather would be less vile if it were about ten degrees warmer.

e.p.c. posted this at 17:09 GMT on 11-Apr-2003 .

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

In Celebrated Math Problem Solved,

In Celebrated Math Problem Solved, Russian Reports the NYT reports that a Russian mathematician has solve the Poincare Conjecture and is proceeding to write up his proof:
Formulated by the French mathematician Henri Poincaré in 1904, the Poincaré Conjecture is a central question in topology, the study of the geometrical properties of objects that do not change when the object is stretched, twisted or shrunk.

The hollow shell of the surface of the earth is what topologists would call a two-dimensional sphere. It has the property that every lasso of string encircling it can be pulled tight to one spot.

On the surface of a doughnut, by contrast, a lasso passing through the hole in the center cannot be shrunk to a point without cutting through the surface.

Since the 19th century, mathematicians have known that the sphere is the only bounded two-dimensional space with this property, but what about higher dimensions?

The Poincaré Conjecture makes a corresponding statement about the three-dimensional sphere, a concept that is a stretch for the nonmathematician to visualize. It says, essentially, that the three-dimensional sphere is the only bounded three-dimensional space with no holes.

e.p.c. posted this at 09:21 GMT on 15-Apr-2003 .

nytimes.com redesign

The New York Times seems to have redesigned the article template for their website...I'm not liking it. I think I find their restricting the width of the articles to be artificially limiting. I don't have a big screen (I surf mainly on my laptop), but the Times articles only use about 75-80% of the width of a typical browser window. Also, they've moved formerly prominent links to the bottom of the article where they're more likely to be missed.

e.p.c. posted this at 09:31 GMT on 15-Apr-2003 .

Wednesday, April 16, 2003


NYC area journalist Christopher Allbritton started a weblog last year to distribute articles and raise money so he could return to Iraq. He's now in Tikrit, having explored Saddam's palaces today. Add Back-to-Iraq.com to your daily reading list.

e.p.c. posted this at 00:32 GMT on 16-Apr-2003 .

This site

I'm consolidating my weblog/journal/(whatever this is) to one site. It’s been mirrored at http://home.earthlink.net/~epcostello/wwwlogue and http://epc.editthispage.com (actually, the latest incarnation started there, though I’ve resurrected ancient entries from a journal I maintained at http://ibm.com/~epc/ years ago). The site you’ll see in your browser will read http://radio.weblogs.com/0109534/, however I even expect that to change. The only guaranteed URL which will work is http://my-weblog.com/epc, I’ll point that to wherever I end up storing this thing.

e.p.c. posted this at 01:00 GMT on 16-Apr-2003 .

I wonder if, now that

I wonder if, now that the nation's “threat level” has been lowered, will CNNfn return to having a right/left scroll of stock quotes? Since mid-March, CNNfn has been doing a weird roller for stock quotes, showing three at a time, each rolling somewhat independently of the others.

e.p.c. posted this at 10:25 GMT on 16-Apr-2003 .

Friday, April 18, 2003


When I was travelling a lot in 1999-2001 I wanted to display a map somewhere of where I’d been, where I was planning to go to, and where I was now. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time or brains to write up something, however someone else has: IndyJunior is an application which reads in an XML file of travel details and produces a world map (a takeoff from the map in Raiders of the Lost Ark).

e.p.c. posted this at 00:18 GMT on 18-Apr-2003 .

A chill wind is blowing in this nation

From a speech by Tim Robbins to the National Press Club this past Tuesday (4/15):
Our ability to disagree, and our inherent right to question our leaders and criticize their actions define who we are. To allow those rights to be taken away out of fear, to punish people for their beliefs, to limit access in the news media to differing opinions is to acknowledge our democracy's defeat. These are challenging times. There is a wave of hate that seeks to divide us -- right and left, pro-war and anti-war.

e.p.c. posted this at 00:53 GMT on 18-Apr-2003 .

Bush Goes AWOL

Eric Alterman writes for the May 5, 2003 issue of The Nation:
This is an eerie moment in American political history. George W. Bush was defeated in the popular vote by his more liberal opponent but rules from the most extreme wing of his party. He campaigned as a fiscal conservative but has pushed tax cuts that will create a deficit larger than any in US history. As a candidate, he articulated the need for a "humble" foreign policy but now conducts it with a degree of hubris that makes Lyndon Johnson look like the Dalai Lama. His hypocrisy, in other words, is so great as to be almost unfathomable, and yet he has somehow managed to convince the media to admire him for his "moral clarity."

Thanks to Bush & Co., America is hated the world over as never before. Deficits are exploding, unemployment remains high, the stock market is still in the tank and interest rates are poised to take off. The country is headed to hell in a handbasket from so many directions one can barely keep track. And yet the increasingly Foxified media tell a story only of heroism: of the US military, of the American people and of the President of the United States, who has so far managed to avoid service to either one.

e.p.c. posted this at 17:10 GMT on 18-Apr-2003 .

Saturday, April 19, 2003

Caught dinner and Susan Werner

Caught dinner and Susan Werner tonight at Joe’s Pub. She gets no radio airplay, and from what we could tell, self-published her latest CD. Somewhat interesting is an article at the Sydney Morning Herald about the rise in non-Pop, non-radio airplay artists: Why Norah has put Britney in a spin over album charts.

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

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Isobel (Brooklyn Heights, Tapas & French⁄Spanish food)

e.p.c. posted this at 17:36 GMT on 20-Apr-2003 .

Brunched at Isobel which is

Brunched at Isobel which is what used to be called Tinto, on Henry at Cranberry. The menu has some similar items to Tinto but emphasizes entrees over appetizers/tapas.

My big accomplishment for the day was discovering that one of the planters on the deck does indeed have a drain, tohugh it was thoroughly clogged with muck. I demucked it and it promptly drained. Now, just to get some dirt and plants in our empty planters.

e.p.c. posted this at 17:39 GMT on 20-Apr-2003 .

From the May 2003 Wired:

From the May 2003 Wired: Oh, Nooo! What If GPS Fails?:

It's not as far-fetched as it might sound. Eighteen of the 28 satellites in the GPS constellation are operating past their intended lifespan or suffering from equipment failure. There have been three launch incidents in the past five years, and the Air Force, which maintains the 20-year-old network, is overburdened with competing space priorities.

It's not as far-fetched as it might sound. Eighteen of the 28 satellites in the GPS constellation are operating past their intended lifespan or suffering from equipment failure. There have been three launch incidents in the past five years, and the Air Force, which maintains the 20-year-old network, is overburdened with competing space priorities.

e.p.c. posted this at 17:50 GMT on 20-Apr-2003 .

Monday, April 21, 2003

Another obscurity

(You should probably punt now if you have no idea what a CGI script is)

I've sent myself back to CGI school 101 and have spent the better half of the past hour writing an nph-test type script. No major hangups, I forgot two minor things:

  1. When writing a unix script on windows you need to strip off 0d0a or just convert the CRLFs to LFs, at least for the magic #! line
  2. to pull things off the ENV array you need to use foreach (keys %ENV).

This is all a very obscure way of getting to the thing I learned today: there's a bug in qx-snmp, at least a design flaw. See, while walking the paired-key array OID there's a line which changes the value of the keys of the array, while it's walking it. Ok, might not be a bug but it looks odd to me now, ~four years after I last ran it. I assume IBM has come up with better monitoring tools for www.ibm.com and the sports sites by now.

e.p.c. posted this at 19:12 GMT on 21-Apr-2003 .

Your Congress-critter at work: Bill

Your Congress-critter at work: Bill to Bar Suits Against Gun Industry Stuns Crime Victims. Apparently the US House of Representatives voted to prohibit litigation against the gun industry...not just manufacturers, but sellers. This would apparently shield the industry from suits resulting from acts of obvious negligence (like selling a weapon to someone w/o running the required background check).

e.p.c. posted this at 20:20 GMT on 21-Apr-2003 .

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Well...that was interesting, "radio userland"

Well...that was interesting, "radio userland" decided to totally hose this site. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's yet another a sign to move to some other weblog app.

e.p.c. posted this at 00:39 GMT on 22-Apr-2003 .

Internet Is Losing Ground in

Internet Is Losing Ground in Battle Against Spam

e.p.c. posted this at 01:48 GMT on 22-Apr-2003 .

I think there’s something rotten in the State of Pennsylvania. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) was interviewed by an AP Reporter on April 7th, an unedited (according to the AP) transcript is here: Sen. Rick Santorum's comments on homosexuality in an AP interview. Now, even Andrew Sullivan has come out against Santorum in Idiocy of the week: [...] what Santorum is proposing is far more radical. It is not simply that we should have public standards for morality, but that this can and should be imposed even on people in their private homes. He would not simply assert a social norm; he would enforce it with the power of the state.

e.p.c. posted this at 19:21 GMT on 22-Apr-2003 .

AsCII table

AsCII table

e.p.c. posted this at 23:46 GMT on 22-Apr-2003 .

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Apropos of nothing...I have been

Apropos of nothing...I have been playing with the Seti@Home client for FreeBSD and noticed it had a VRML option. That in turn caused me to go off and search for a VRML player for Windows XP...as far as I can tell, there is no such beast. VRML was supposed to be THE NEXT BIG THING as I was repeated told when I was at IBM. One guy at IBM was adamant that HTML was dead, and that everyone would be interacting with the web using VRML. Only problem was, VRML was a complete resource hog on the PCs of the 1995-1997 era (when it was being pushed heavily). Now that the average PC could handle VRML, it appears to have completely died off. How unfortunate.

e.p.c. posted this at 13:09 GMT on 23-Apr-2003 .

Friday, April 25, 2003

Blog software for managing non-blog sites

This is a proof-of-concept posting, both demonstrating using "Radio Userland" for managing a non-blog (but news-ish) web site, as well as verifying whether or not the publishing mechanism is working.

e.p.c. posted this at 18:41 GMT on 25-Apr-2003 .

Monday, April 28, 2003

One of CNNfn’s correspondents has died: CNNfn Senior Correspondent Steve Young died Sunday after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 61.

e.p.c. posted this at 09:52 GMT on 28-Apr-2003 .

Microsoft Web Crawler

Microsoft appears to be running a new web crawler. It identifies itself as MicrosoftPrototypeCrawler (How's my crawling? mailto:newbiecrawler@hotmail.com) and originated from Interestingly, it appeared to hit the /robots.txt file first, then request the URL / (this was for artific.com).

e.p.c. posted this at 18:28 GMT on 28-Apr-2003 .

Mosaid doing a Rambus

Mosaid doing a Rambus

e.p.c. posted this at 19:04 GMT on 28-Apr-2003 .

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Absolutely nothing of note happened

Absolutely nothing of note happened today.

e.p.c. posted this at 22:35 GMT on 30-Apr-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.