Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Flickr b/w probs, needs rolling utilization period

I started using Flickr in November and almost immediately upgraded to the "pro" account. So far, no complaints, though it has been slow uploading as described here, but I've written much of that off to being in Sydney.

One solution to their problems is to gate bandwidth upload on a rolling period (28 days?) instead of on a calendar month period. Would even out the spikes they apparently get at the start of a new month.

Ooh, and I just thought of another thing, on Windows at least they should try piggy backing on the BITS service which I've been playing with for Azaleos. Would slow down uploads a tad but even them out and allow it to occur in the background.

e.p.c. posted this at 08:04 GMT on 4-Jan-2005 .

Sunday, January 9, 2005

Telemarketing counterscript

Ever get frustrated with telemarketers and wanted a non-violent way to counter their scripted attack on your dinner time? See the anti-telemarketing EGBG counterscript.

e.p.c. posted this at 14:54 GMT on 9-Jan-2005 .

Monday, January 10, 2005

1 + 1 + 1 = 1: The new math of mashups

The New Yorker: 1 + 1 + 1 = 1: The new math of mashups: One of the thrills of the mashup is identifying two well-known artists unwittingly complementing each other’s strengths and limitations: bacchanalian rapper Missy Elliott combined with morose English rock band Joy Division, ecstatic Madonna working with furious Sex Pistols. The most celebrated mashups are melodically tuned, positing a harmonic relationship between, say, Madonna’s voice and the Sex Pistols’ guitars.
Mashups find new uses for current digital technology, a new iteration of the cause-and-effect relationship behind almost every change in pop-music aesthetics: the gear changes, and then the music does. [...]

e.p.c. posted this at 10:05 GMT on 10-Jan-2005 .

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Glacier dead ahead

An iceberg the size of Long Island is about to plow into a glacier off Antarctica: NASA - Get Ready for the Largest Demolition Derby on the Planet
Scientists say Slow-Motion Collision Near Antarctic Research Station Imminent

e.p.c. posted this at 09:45 GMT on 11-Jan-2005 .

The New Yorker: Battle Lessons

The upcoming print issue of The New Yorker has an interesting article titled Battle Lessons by Dan Baum. In it, Baum writes about the role of informal dialogues and communications in educating military officers...that there's only so much that they can learn in the various courses and training exercises, and that the formal education tends to strip out the valuable informal bits of knowledge that accumulate. Furthermore, the formal education tends to lag behind current events by years and is generally useless in the field where officers need to make on-the-spot decisions.

[...] shortly before the Americans invaded Iraq, the Army had concluded that its officers lacked the ability to do precisely what he did: innovate and think creatively. In 2000, the new Army Chief of Staff, General Eric Shinseki, was determined to shake up the Army and suspected that about half of a soldier’s training was meaningless and “non-essential.” [...] Wong found that the problem was not “bogus” training exercises but worthwhile training being handled in such a way as to stifle fresh thinking. The Army had so loaded training schedules with doctrinaire requirements and standardized procedures that unit commanders had no time — or need — to think for themselves. The service was encouraging “reactive instead of proactive thought, compliance instead of creativity, and adherence instead of audacity,” Wong wrote in his report. As one captain put it to him, “They’re giving me the egg and telling me how to suck it.”

The article goes on to tell about how two majors started up websites geared to platoon and company leaders...sort of Slashdot for military officers, to close the loop on informal lessons, and how it's actively being used on the ground in Iraq today.

The author also touches on how the officers on the ground in Iraq come from a different generation than those higher up, the on-the-ground officers tend to be Gen-X, more self-sufficient (because they had to be growing up) and more adept at using tools like web sites and bulletin boards to communicate and share information, and to research and learn.

Regardless of your position on the war in Iraq, it's an interesting article and lesson on how people find ways to communicate outside the formal channels, and how those informal lines of communication tend to have more immediate value than the formalized, rigid, and likely stale lessons of the past. Informal channels can't entirely replace the lessons of the past (you have to start somewhere with a common background, even if it's proven wrong for the immediate problem at hand) but can certainly serve as a valuable supplement.

Note: Of course, as soon as I posted this, I did a search for related articles and found several: Soldiers Record Lessons From Iraq, Gatineau seminar on weblogs .

e.p.c. posted this at 13:47 GMT on 11-Jan-2005 .

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Massive Privacy Breach at t-mobile: Hacker penetrates T-Mobile systems

Article about a guy who penetrated t-mobile's systems and offered to sell a variety of personal data to others including Secret Service documents: SecurityFocus HOME News: Hacker penetrates T-Mobile systems. Now, personally, the US Secret Service has some answering to do if it's allowing agents to use unsecured third-party servers for apparently confidential information, I mean, that's just dumb.

e.p.c. posted this at 03:56 GMT on 12-Jan-2005 .

MSDN disappointment

Suppose you're in a mad dash to finish up some work on Microsoft Windows Servers and realize you need additional resources from the MSDN site to complete the work. You don''t have an MSDN account, and the person who does have the account is somewhere between here and not-here. So, you bite the bullet and sign up for MSDN at the lowest level that meets your needs, assuming you'll be able to complete the transaction online.

You'll be unfortunately enlightened as to the inability of Microsoft's systems to do real-time or even near-real-time updates. Apparently it takes 24-72 hours for MSFT's online fullfilment system to talk to the entitlement system to authorize you to access MSDN.

So, you'd be hosed, as I am right now.

e.p.c. posted this at 13:27 GMT on 12-Jan-2005 .

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Bond St Gets Repaved

There are several streets in the NoHo area around The NoHo Star which still have their 19th century paving stones. Well, some stones. Kind of patchy. But it's the tail end of Bleecker, Bond Street, and Great Jones Street (I don't know why but I've always wanted to have an address on Great Jones Street. Not an actual office or residence, just the address). Anyway, Bond Street is about to get repaved with traditional paving stones, replacing the patchwork of asphalt (macadam), paving stones, and whatever else the city has used: Restoring Elegance Underfoot on a Street Long Past Its Prime How fashionable was [Bond Street]? Put it this way: The arrival of Brooks Brothers in 1874 was part of the neighborhood's downward slide.

e.p.c. posted this at 21:58 GMT on 15-Jan-2005 .

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

more gmail invites

I have a bunch of gmail invites. If you 1) are someone I know (even vaguely, a friend of Frisket's friend Boo will suffice, unless it's that silly Golden Retriever who tried to take on Boo) and/or can 2) tell me either my favorite color, favorite vacation spot, or some other shred of information to indicate that you, unlike someone in the previous set of invitees, will not add me to multiple spam lists, then you too can receive a gmail invite.

Either add a comment or click contact to send me your email.

This offer closes at the stroke of midnight GMT on 31 January 2005 or whenever the invites run out, or due to my own personal peculiar whims.

e.p.c. posted this at 15:37 GMT on 19-Jan-2005 . , Comments [1]

Friday, January 21, 2005

Frisket of Hicks St

Frisket of Hicks St
Originally uploaded by epc.
A shot of Frisket pausing from watching Hicks Street from her perch.

flickr posted this at 23:57 GMT on 21-Jan-2005 from Brooklyn, NY.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Oops...watch short_open_tag

I noticed that my contact page wasn't working...at some point last year I'd set short_open_tag to off for all of my sites. This means that any PHP code must start with <?php which I was pretty good about doing, except apparently around the form submit buttons on the contact page which had <?.


e.p.c. posted this at 02:06 GMT on 23-Jan-2005 .

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Travellers And Magicians

We saw Travellers And Musicians at the Clearview Chelsea West cinemas. It's a fantastic movie set in Bhutan, directed by Khyentse Norbu (director of The Cup). The plot revolves around two tales, the outer tale of a westernized man who is determined to leave his town in Bhutan for the U.S.; the inner tale is about a boy who attempts to take something he shouldn't and the consequences, if any, of that act.

Khyentse Norbu was at the screening and took questions afterwards. It was a decidedly odd audience, a mix of film students who wanted to pepper him with all sorts of film related questions (What was it like to film in Bhutan?, What were the birds in the soundtrack? They didn't sound Bhutanese.) and questions relating to his alternate identity, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, one of the highest incarnate lamas in the Tibetan Kagyu lineage (hat-tip Alex). Many in the audience wanted to know the deeper meaning of the stories in the film, the religious significance if any. Khyentse kept coming back to the line that it was a Bhutanese story and had no specific religious meaning, that though one could certainly read into the movie he had no specific teaching intent when making the movie.

Some of his answers on the film were enlightening and entertaining: at one point the camera was dropped during filming, though they checked it out onsite they had no way of knowing whether it was working correctly or not until they returned for post-production in Sydney; that the birds questioned above were likely samples of birds in the Sydney area; that he had to improvise a change in the story line because one of the actors (the old man) simply disappeard during filming; that this was the first time he's been able to walk and interact with the people of Bhutan as "just another guy", specifically not the Rinpoche.

Several of the actors in the film were also in attendance at the screening. Lisa went on to a reception at the Rudin Museum, I returned home to take Ms. Frisket out for her nightly perambulation.

It's a great movie...Khyentse Norbu apologized for the length and lack of car chases but as someone who is unfortunately known for falling asleep at movies and concerts, I found it quite entertaining and managed not to doze off at all (that really is meant to be a complement). Go for the story and scenery, especially if you saw Himalaya (IMDB) in 2000-2001.

e.p.c. posted this at 22:39 GMT on 26-Jan-2005 .

Friday, January 28, 2005

Detailed analysis of Social Security Reform

Since the Bush adminstration has refused to show a plan for Social Security reform, Fafnir at Fafblog has written an excellent, scholarly dissection of the problem and the best solution available: SOCIAL SECURITY CRISIS!: The FAQ!.

e.p.c. posted this at 11:48 GMT on 28-Jan-2005 .

(WSJ) Sale of IBM Unit To Chinese Firm Faces U.S. Review

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. is to investigate the purchase of IBM's PC division by Lenovo of China, driven by the Chinese government's stake in Lenovo. More details in: Sale of IBM Unit To Chinese Firm Faces U.S. Review

e.p.c. posted this at 12:13 GMT on 28-Jan-2005 .

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.