Saturday, December 1, 2007

Who put the camera down?

Hanging with the dogs

e.p.c. posted this at 04:01 GMT on 1-Dec-2007 from Brooklyn, NY. Source,

Sunday, December 2, 2007

First snow!


Originally uploaded by epc

Frisket: Oh god, he's got the camera out again.

Sailor: I think I smell a rat over there…

flickr posted this at 16:29 GMT on 2-Dec-2007 . , Comments [1]

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

On server farms and their impact


Are we saying that the planet may soon become unrecognizable, even uninhabitable, because of runaway climate change, and yet at least it'll have lots of really great archives...? Is this the long-term historical irony of humanism – with its museums and libraries, its institutionalized nostalgia – that all these air conditioned warehouses and rural server farms don't represent the indefinite continuation of the humanist project but, rather, that project's future ecological demise?

Server farms use a tremendous amount of electricity, it's posited that the U.S. will require 12 new power plants just to account for the growth in electric consumption for computer systems and peripheral electronics. Electric is used not only to power the servers (and generate heat) but also to cool them off (since they perform better when not melting down). It seems perverse that we either cannot capture the resulting heat and use it for some beneficial purpose, or get systems to run cooler (or perform more efficiently when running hot). It reminds me of people who drive 10-20 miles out of their way to save a couple of cents per gallon on gas, sure they "saved" money on the gas, but whatever savings they achieved were canceled out by the time spent driving and use of gas on the drive.

e.p.c. posted this at 16:26 GMT on 4-Dec-2007 from Brooklyn, NY. Source, , Comments [0]

Anyone using for anything interesting?

I've been on for awhile, possibly since 2005. I suppose I could look it up. Anyway, lest this turn into some sort of egocentric wistful post of, ahem. Anyway: Does anyone actually use I don't listen to my "radio", I have 15,000+ tracks in iTunes (aside to RIAA interlopers: they're almost all legal) and prefer to listen either via iTunes or one of my iPods. p. Around this time last year I took one of the "top 20" lists and manually converted it to an iTunes playlist. I had about half of the tracks and bought the other half through iTunes. I'm now contemplating a long (really freaking long) drive to South Beach in two weeks and would like to dumpster dive through to either create some interesting playlists out of my existing collection, or a mix of what I own and what I could buy through iTunes. There's something called mobster but it seems to be Windows only and all of my music (and reliable computing power) is on the Mac. And I'm not really looking to write a lot of crap, which I probably could do but by now someone, somewhere has had to have figured out how to mine for potential iTunes playlists, right?

If you're using my userid is epcostello.

I really need to learn how to write HTML some day.

e.p.c. posted this at 23:45 GMT on 4-Dec-2007 from Brooklyn, NY.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Dear Google: Please Update Your Map for I355

We're going to Chicago in a week so I can cram a year's visiting into five days. Some­where deep in the recesses of my mind I recalled the Tribune covering the opening of the I-355 extension from Lemont to I-80. I took a look at Google Maps and was surprised to find:

According to the Illinois Tollway I-355 South Extension web site, the map should look something like:

I appreciate that Google gets its map data from Chicago-based Navteq, but they have managed other updates (I guess mainly satellite?) quickly. I mean, it's not like the highway suddenly sprung up overnight, it's been under construction for several years.

If Google or Navteq would like a higher resolution image of my little map, just drop me a note, though they may wish to reference the Tollway's map


Live version

View Larger Map

e.p.c. posted this at 04:35 GMT on 5-Dec-2007 from Brooklyn, NY. , Comments [0]

Sunday, December 9, 2007


  • I believe more of you should blog. Or twitter. Or write. Use vox if you want to restrict who reads what you write (at least until Vox gets sold off to the Myanmar Junta).
  • Why do Google Mail, Yahoo! Mail and other services ask you to confirm you want to purge your spam folders but don't ask to confirm deletion of an individual item or a selection of a group of items?
  • Google still have not updated their map for I-355 in Illinois. Blogging is obviously a failed way to change the world.
  • I donated to the One Laptop Per Child project. I fell victim to the "Give one, Get one" promotion.
  • LK and I have both been assimilated into the Facebook culture. We both told ourselves Look, I/we need to know FB since I/we work in this space. The New York Times News Quiz has become one of two competitive "apps" we, erm, "use" on Facebook (as an aside: it would be really nice if the NYT News Quiz used <label> tags around the descriptions next to the radio buttons since labels can be clicked on to activate the control). The other "app" we "use" is the Traveler IQ Challenge. My current lead is only due to my uncanny ability to pick pixels approximately close to the intended cities in the quiz.
  • I have been using the NoScript plugin to Firefox since late November. NoScript blocks JavaScript and Flash unless you explicitly allow it for a given site or domain. I wish it were a little more granular (for example allow specific scripts only referenced from and not The experience has been eye-opening to say the least. I'm stunned, I mean, really stunned, at the number of sites which just have no fall back if their JavaScript is not loaded. I've gotten completely blank pages from sites which rely on document.write to write out the content (not load the content via XMLHTTPRequest, the content is there, in the page, but in a JavaScript blob). The Long Island Business News is completely unreadable unless you have JavaScript on. I'm not anti-JavaScript, but come on, unless you're delivering a JavaScript based web application there's no reason to display NO content. Also, relying entirely on JS to detect whether Flash is available seems to be a mistake. At a minimum people should learn to use the <noscript> tag to provide fallback content and navigation.
  • We saw The Farnsworth Invention at The Music Box Theatre last night. It's an Aaron Sorkin play about Philo T. Farnsworth, David Sarnoff and the "invention" of television. I enjoyed it, but I can understand some comments that it doesn't feel as good as other Sorkin productions. I think if you go in thinking you're going to see The West Wing or Sportsnight then you'll be disappointed. It went fast, helped partly by our showing up late due to the utter incompetence of the dispatcher at Promenade Car Service in Brooklyn, augmented by a driver who thought the best way to get to the theatre would be 45th street from 1st ave to 7th ave. We ended up speedwalking from approximately Grand Central to 7th, probably ploughing over several tourists.
  • After the show we had drinks with my friend John from Illinois. John does not have a web site to link to but is highly Googleable. Aside from being one of my oldest friends, John is also one of my oldest email correspondents. In college we wrote back and forth via USPS to figure out how to send mail from his Vax VMS system through the nascent Internet to the UUCP connected system I used at Allegheny College. The funny part is we would actually write the postal letters using the email clients, then print them out and mail them via USPS until we actually figured out how many !'s and @'s were needed (I was something like, ncoast!sir–alan!costello@uunet·uu·net).
  • This week I'm flying to Chicago to compress a year's visiting down to four days. Next week I'm driving to Florida for a week of fun on the beach with the dogs.
  • Not that I'm getting swamped by Facebook requests, but I've settled on a shibboleth for adding people to my Facebook account. I guess a series of them: you must either be a classmate or former coworker (if you claim to be a current coworker right there I know not to add you), if you're a classmate you need to be able to state which "club" I won an award from in High School, or the location of the slum I lived in in college in Meadville. If a coworker, name a tool I was responsible for from IBM's VMTOOLS or the location of my office in Armonk, or the sign I used to have over my desk when we moved to Wall Street. I reserve the right to add anyone else of course, but if you're trying to do business networking with my please use LinkedIn. And anyone who can nail either the year of or the specific flight number on the t-shirt from this photo Photo of epc which I am not going to be descriptive of since that would give away the answer to the question posed.  Sorry accessibility advocates.can get added to any network I'm on (as long as there's no cost to me!).
  • Apparently the texttile plugin will happily escape <,>, and & much to my already-escaped surprise.

e.p.c. posted this at 17:23 GMT on 9-Dec-2007 from Brooklyn, NY. , Comments [2]

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Famous Cinder Block Creche of Michigan Avenue

Taken in front of the Wrigley Building at 410 N Michigan Ave.

flickr posted this at 15:22 GMT on 14-Dec-2007 from Chicago, IL.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Not waiting for the shutter

Not waiting for the shutter

Not waiting for the shutter
Originally uploaded by epc

Frisket just couldn't sit still for another picture.
Here they are at the southern end of Miami Beach, getting ready to hit the clubs.

More pictures here: SoBe 2007.

flickr posted this at 03:53 GMT on 22-Dec-2007 from Miami Beach, FL. , Comments [0]

Thursday, December 27, 2007

On the beach

On the beach

On the beach
Originally uploaded by epc

flickr posted this at 04:12 GMT on 27-Dec-2007 .



Originally uploaded by epc

Walked with the dogs north along the beach to about 28th Street and then back to the hotel, about 2 miles. Not a very long walk but in 80F/30C+ degree heat I think I was pushing it with them. Our stay in Miami Beach is coming to a close, we're here through tomorrow and then the road trip back home starts Saturday a.m.

flickr posted this at 23:15 GMT on 27-Dec-2007 from Miami Beach, FL. , Comments [0]

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Deity Antiquity

Deity Antiquity

Deity Antiquity
Originally uploaded by epc

flickr posted this at 03:01 GMT on 30-Dec-2007 from Miami Beach, FL.

Frisket and Sailor Take Their Positions

In Savannah, GA, getting ready for the drive to Washington, DC. Almost 600 miles, took about 12 hours including 3 hours of rest breaks along the way. Sailor has adapted the space behind the passenger seat as her in-car den (in this shot the seat is all the way forward since Lisa flew back separately).

flickr posted this at 13:32 GMT on 30-Dec-2007 from Savannah, GA.

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

More about me here.