Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Congratulations to Klaus and Andrea

Congrats to Klaus Rusch and his wife Andrea on the birth of Elias Kristoffer.

e.p.c. posted this at 00:19 GMT on 4-Apr-2006 .

Arthur C. Clarke has a t-shirt emblazoned with I invented the sateliteand all I got was this lousy t-shirt. which is kind of funny. Learned from this BBC article Time to end Sri Lanka time split? on changes to the official timezone for Sri Lanka.

e.p.c. posted this at 15:39 GMT on 4-Apr-2006 .

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

I have nothing witty to say

It is April 5th and it is snowing.

A brief update on me while I'm here:

  • I'm continue to work on dripldu. Really I am. No, nothing is there yet.
  • I'm also working as, I guess, the CTO for a couple of startup-y projects which I can't go into detail about yet. They involve the Internet, some HTML, and bits flying around over transit media. Beyond that you'd need to sign an NDA.
  • I read 7/10ths of Alex's book A Natural History of the Information Age and really owe it to him to finish the remaining chapters and plan to do so today, honest. It is not listed in Amazon yet, unless it's hiding as A Natural History of the Human Teeth.
  • I'm planning on trips to Boston, MA and Chicago, IL over the next few weeks but haven't set up anything specific. Chicago will likely be in May.

I had started on an April Fool's message but decided that was a bit hokey (I was going to announce that I was returning to IBM to work on "internet stuff"). I decided I couldn't really write anything interesting, and instead point you to one of my favorites, #12 on the so-called The Top 100 April Fools Day Hoaxes of All Time, the KREMVAX posting from 1984 (reposted in alt.folklore.computers in 1998).

e.p.c. posted this at 19:05 GMT on 5-Apr-2006 .

The latest from Jib-Jab

Via Lisa G, JibJab's latest: Matzah - Hip-Hop for Hebrews.

e.p.c. posted this at 20:37 GMT on 5-Apr-2006 . Source,

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Feed changes

While in the process of doing some post MT-3.2 upgrade cleanup, I managed to totally hose my RSS and Atom feeds.


What I need you to do, my eleven gentle readers...

Is this, in whatever magical thing you use to read this site's web feed, change the subscription to point to http://epcostello.net/epicrisis/feeds/entries.atom.

If you insist on using RSS, I'm maintaining an RSS feed for the indefinite future as well here: http://epcostello.net/epicrisis/feeds/entries.rss.

While I've stuck a mess of redirects in, there's no guarantee that they will work and I've learned that none of the major RSS/Feed readers "move" the feed subscription, even in response to a 301 status code from the server.

If you have no idea what I am writing about, please ignore the previous five paragraphs.

e.p.c. posted this at 01:01 GMT on 6-Apr-2006 .

Saturday, April 8, 2006

About this weather...

Could we get a single clear weekend in the 60s or 70s? Please?

Busy doing clean-up for our seder meal this Wednesday. Found a treasure trove of electronics crap which may have been useful five years ago but I see no point in keeping (various chargers for Thinkpads long gone by, a couple of chargers and related cables for Sony Clies, since cancelled and replaced by a Blackberry, cables which even I can't figure out what they were used to connect, and a dusty set of Nintendo gameboy peripherals). I'm amazed at how much cruft we manage to accumulate even with an eagle eye out for throwing stuff away. We recycle weekly yet have piles of magazines that mysteriously appear and then slither off into a corner. I found several WSJs still wrapped with a rubber band from some time in 2004 (which means they managed to hide during last year's seder clean-a-thon).

Frisket is not at all happy with the weather. First it snowed this week, but didn't accumulate so she didn't get to frolic in the snow. She got very little snow frolicking this winter. Now it's raining, and her people just really don't enjoy hanging out in the rain.

There's an interesting article in today's (or tomorrow's, it gets confusing) NY Times about the failed drug test in the UK several weeks back (perhaps February?). The backstory is that a company wanted to get its new leukemia drug tested. It is apparently easier (bell) to get testing done and approved in the UK than in the US, so the company hired a US company to perform the testing in the UK. All of the standard protocols were followed, even though this is apparently quite a non-standard drug (bell). Within minutes of injecting the first patient, he started showing a sever reaction which the people conducting the test assumed was a normal reaction to monoclonal antibodies, but it wasn't. Instead of slowing down and spacing the testing out, they injected the remaining subjects with the drug. The result was all six male test subjects ended up in the ICU and left today without an immune system.

The article is here: British Rethinking Rules After Ill-Fated Drug Trial. What interests me is the failure to grasp that the various underlying assumptions about the test were applied to what, in retrospect, is clearly a different scenario than past testing regimens. You see this happen in the technology world frequently...a test run will be done with some software to validate it, and then it is put into production in a slightly different configuration or environment, and then boom it crashes (well, software doesn't really make a sound when it crashes).

e.p.c. posted this at 19:29 GMT on 8-Apr-2006 .

Monday, April 10, 2006

An Atlantic Yards Haggadah

This is very specific to Brooklyn, where a developer is about to pave over a large chunk of Brownstone Brooklyn in order to build a glass city: A Very Brooklyn Passover Haggadah for an Atlantic Yardseder. The four questions:

  1. Why is it that Brownstone Brooklyn consists of unleavened low-rise buildings, but at Atlantic Yards Bruce Ratner wants to build seventeen high-rise buildings?
  2. Why is it that in all other projects the community would be happy for a real estate developer to bring them "jobs, housing and hoops," but in this project the community is so extraordinarily bitter?
  3. Why is it that in all other projects, the developer dips only into his own budget, but in the Atlantic Yards project the developer dips twice - $100 million from the state's budget and $100 million from the city's budget?
  4. Why is it that in all other projects, the buildings stand straight, but in Frank Gehry's designs for the Atlantic Yards project, the buildings recline to one side?

e.p.c. posted this at 21:00 GMT on 10-Apr-2006 . Source,

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Is a cow a motor vehicle?

Apparently, it is not enough to question whether an antelope is a document, in Ohio a lawsuit addressed the question of whether a cow is a motor vehicle (so far: no). It's from 2004 but I came across it today via Language Log.

e.p.c. posted this at 17:26 GMT on 16-Apr-2006 . Source,


According to the Chicago Tribune, Thomas Pink is now selling a tie with a hidden pocket on the back of the tie in which you can stick your iPod nano. Too bad I neither commute nor wear a tie to work these days.

e.p.c. posted this at 18:13 GMT on 16-Apr-2006 . Source,

Surprise: Problems mount from 9/11 fallout.

e.p.c. posted this at 23:40 GMT on 16-Apr-2006 . Source,

Monday, April 17, 2006

Stalkers who pose as their victims...

A Sinister Web Entraps Victims of Cyberstalkers - New York Times It is the online equivalent of scrawling "for a good time, call Jane Doe" on a bathroom wall, but the reach of the Internet has made such pranks — if they are only that — far more sinister. And the problem is only likely to grow, fueled by the availability of personal data online and the huge growth in social networking and dating sites, which are attracting investment from big companies.

e.p.c. posted this at 20:12 GMT on 17-Apr-2006 . Source,

Friday, April 21, 2006

Google's China Problem (and China's Google Problem)

Interesting essay by Clive Thompsonin this weekend's NYT Magazine: Google's China Problem (and China's Google Problem) - New York Times In China, the censorship regime is not only a political tool; it is also a competitive one — a cudgel that private firms use to beat one another with. If the Internet is bringing a revolution to China, it is experienced mostly as one of self-actualization: empowerment in a thousand tiny, everyday ways.

One observation I found interesting: the notion that search results could serve as forming or confirming a world view. If one searches on "falun dafa" and only receive results that condemn the group, what basis do you have to have any other view of the group. It's easy to condemn Google and China for censoring content, but there are calls for that every day here in the U.S. No one seems to object that Yahoo! and Google block results referencing the Nazis or fascism in France and Germany. In the U.S., the list of objectionable content we need to magically protect people (usually children) from grows every day. I don't know what the right answer is, but it seems that through history every attempt to blind a society to things foreign or objectionable to that society, eventually results in that society's downfall, not preservation.

e.p.c. posted this at 18:40 GMT on 21-Apr-2006 . Source,

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Getting the EGR valve replaced

So, we're down to driving the car about twice a month now on average. Usually it's me taking the car out to meet with a friend for lunch once a month upstate, or the occasional need to fetch her highness Frisket from Monstermutt.

Still, I take the car in regularly and try to keep it clean and in shape. And we tend to drive it more in the summer than the rest of the year. So today is the one day a quarter I spend a morning (and likely much of the afternoon) somewhere in Queens.

This turned into a much longer post than I thought it would, so the remainder is over here: Leashes and Water Coolers (or: Getting the EGR Valve Replaced).

e.p.c. posted this at 16:18 GMT on 27-Apr-2006 from Long Island City, NY. Source,

Friday, April 28, 2006

Condolences to David Singer

My condolences to David Singer, whose mother passed away early this morning in Richmond, VA.

e.p.c. posted this at 13:57 GMT on 28-Apr-2006 . Source,

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Japanese Village Votes to Dissolve

A village in Japan, dwindled to eight residents, has voted to dissolve itself, sell the property to a developer and use the proceeds to move en masse elswhere: Village Writes Its Epitaph: Victim of a Graying Japan - New York Times: Ogama's decision, though extreme, points to a larger problem besetting Japan, which has one of the world's fastest-graying societies and whose population began declining last year for the first time in its history. As rural Japan becomes increasingly depopulated, many villages and hamlets like Ogama, along with their traditions and histories, risk vanishing.

e.p.c. posted this at 18:16 GMT on 29-Apr-2006 . Source,

aa.com flight notifications...

So, Lisa's return flight from the UK has been delyaed from 6:00 until 10:00 p.m. BDT. I logged into aa.com to set up a flight status notification for her departure but can't because the service only allows you to set up notifications for flights that have not departed yet. And even though the system is smart enough to tell me the flight is massively delayed, the notification system is too dumb to understand that the flight hasn't departed yet.


e.p.c. posted this at 19:38 GMT on 29-Apr-2006 .

Popularity Overrated? :: Off the Top :: vanderwal.net: Popularity does not help filter, but it takes the fire hose of information and just focusses it.

e.p.c. posted this at 22:46 GMT on 29-Apr-2006 .

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.