This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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October 2003
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2 Days with Panther

OK. Been running panther for a couple days now. Love it! Use Expose all the time. Once I had the external drive to get around the failure of the internal CD drive, all went smoothly. I like the new look too. I made myself some extra users just to try fast user switching, even though I’m the only user. On my older machine it doesn’t do the nice animation. I’ll probably turn it off since it uses a lot of space on the menu bar. I wish I could set it to just show my picture instead of the full name.

The new mail is nice too. I have it set to do spam the default way again for a bit, but that will probably change before too long. As is, if I take spam out of the spam folder to file it (rather than delete it) it gets marked as not spam and screws up the spam identifying heuristics. I know I am screwed up for actually saving every single spam I get, but hey, I do. Before I had gotten around of this by setting up a seperate spam folder governed by my own custom rules. I may do that again.

Things do feel a little faster. I still need a whole new computer soon though. Hopefully Q1 next year. I should start counting the pennies. :-)

Panther is awesome though. Everyone needs to upgrade right away! :-)

External Drive

The external drive arrived FedEx this morning. I am now at work, set up the drive and everything, and fired it up. The scratched Panther disk booted just fine. The install process started up. I had to wait like ten minutes for some reason for it to give me the continue button on the first screen, but then I was able to go through the options for the install and start it.

I picked just a regular “Upgrade”. I know an Archive and Install works better and is “cleaner” but from past experience it is a pain, because there are a handful of things I need which are in the world outside my own user folder, that I have to hunt down and move over one my one. So I’ll do an upgrade install first. If I run into any issues, I’ll go back and do an Archive and install.

I also went into the customize and made sure I was getting ALL the language packs and other such things. I hate it when I go to some foreign website and I don’t see the characters properly, even if I can’t read them anyway. :-)

So, it is chugging along installing right now. This will take awhile I imagine. I’ll go get myself some microwave popcorn or something. It is lunchtime after all.

Noiw I’ll finally get to get going on Panther! Several days later than I should have, but hey, at least it is working!

Abulsme.com Localfeeds

Just checking recent logs and saw a few incoming from the Philly LocalFeeds and started playing around on there. Found out I could center it on me. The GeoURL site shows websites near me, but this is much more fun, because it shows recent blog entries from other blogs within 20 miles of me (I could change the distance, but that is just fine).

LocalFeeds centered on Abulsme.com

It shows the last 50 posts people have made from that 20 mile radius around me.

As of right now the breakdown of posts in that last 50 are:

13 posts from Judith Meskill’s Knowledge Notes
12 posts from Mike Zornek
9 posts from Abulsme.com
7 posts from Coplan’s Nonsense
5 posts from Lascivious.org
4 posts from AnthonyTrumbo.com

So I’m not doing too bad. 3rd most prolific blogger of 6 active bloggers in my area. Cool. (Well, of people that have their location properly geocoded.) I think I’ll probably start following these local feeds in addition to the other places I check regularly. Some of this looks potentially interesting.

Judith Meskill’s specialty appears to be knowledge management, which is closely related to some of the content management stuff I’ve been doing the past few years. Looks good. And sounds like Mike Zornek is doing some Mac stuff, also good. And the others look like they have some occationally interesting stuff too. I’ll be checking in regularly to them, and any others that show up within 20 miles of me. :-)

The Optimistic View

I am not an optimist. I tend to expect the worst, then let myself be pleasantly surprised if it turns out better than that. The article below supplies the alternative rose colored glasses we can do no wrong view. It is an interesting read. My view when reading something like this is “Well, that would certainly be nice if it worked out that way…” but I just don’t think it really will. If it does though, I’ll be happy that I was wrong.

(As an example, at the time I thought the Reagan defence buildup and especially the “Star Wars” project were completely insane, however, in the decades following, when various former Soviet leaders talked about what had happened many of them mentioned that the USSR’s inability to keep up with the US on those fronts, especially when they thought they might have to expand even more to counter “Star Wars” was a direct and significant contributor to the changes in policy that led to the end of the Cold War… it may not have been exactly the way Reagan and his buddies thought things would happen… it almost definately was not… but in the rear view mirror, it seems to have been a good course after all… or at least we got very lucky.)

We’ll see if we get lucky again.

The Event of the Age
(Victor Hanson, National Review)

Yet here we stand, a little more than six months later, with a country that was the worst in the Middle East evolving into the best. We are witnessing nothing less than the revolutionary and great moral event of the age, and when it comes to pass, a reborn democratic Iraq will overturn almost all the conventional wisdom, here and abroad, about the Middle East, the nature and purpose of war in our age, the moral differences between Europe and America — and the place in history of George W. Bush.

(via Cold Fury)

No Progress on Panther for Zeus

So, during the day today, Ron took me to a local Best Buy to try to find an external CD-ROM drive. They had bunches. USB 2.0/1.1. No Firewire. My old laptop only has USB 1.1, which is dead slow. But it is what they had. I got one. Had a burner in it too. Cool enough.

Got it back to Rons place. Plugged it in. Put in the OS X Disk 1. It saw it! All the files looked like they were there. Did a disk check on it. It said it was fine! Woo! Hit the install thing, and it rebooted to start the install… and booted normally, not from the CD.

Repeated by choosing the bood drive from the Preference Pane. Same deal. After finding some hints online, repeated by booting with the option key and choosing the external CD. I hit Opt-V to get the verbose listing as it started to boot. It would start… then just keep waiting forever for data from the drive that wouldn’t come.

Read several places online that booting from a USB 1 mounted drive is like booting from floppies in the old days (takes forever) except the OS is now many hundreds of floppies in size. The drive whirred for a while, but then seemed to stop, no data transver lights flickering. The boot process just continued to report “waiting for device” every minute or so.

This was definately a no go.

Now, me by myself would have probably just thrown the drive in the basement and bought a firewire drive when I got the chance, but Ron’s wife Ursula offered to return it for me and so instead I got the full purchace price credited back to me. Thanks Ursula!

I did call the CompUSA in Pittsburgh (the closest big computer store to where Ron lives) to see if they had any firewire CD Drives in stock. They did not. So I just went to the Apple Store online and ordered one to be FedExed to me. Hopefully I’ll have it Monday morning. If not, definately Tuesday.

Now, of course I don’t know for sure if the scratched CD is useable. (Although Ron buffed out a lot of the damage with toothpaste, it is still quite visibly scratched.) When the drive arrives, I’ll find out. If it still doesn’t boot, even with a firewire drive at a decent speed, then I’ll ahve to get the disk replaces. I’ll probably start by asking Jon if I can borrow his. But eventually I will probably buy the one I had intended for my mom… or… Brandy says she will take it back to the store and see if they will replace it. Perhaps that would be more cost effective. :-)

Anyway, I’m quite annoyed at being several days delayed on trying Panther. Sigh. Oh well, guess I’ll have it up and running Monday or Tuesday probably.

Now if only Zeus can remain functional until next year too…

Oh. I also went to the gym with Ron today. Felt great. I really should do that more often. :-)

Panther Disaster / Zeus is Dying

So OK, after getting Panther at the Apple Store along with a new remote for my iPod, I started driving to Latrobe to visit my friend Ron for the weekend.

First sign of trouble, I got out the new remote, and discovered I had bought one that works with the new iPods, but NOT the old iPods like mine. Drat!

Then hours later, around 8 UTC, I get to Ron’s place. I try to check my mail, but for whatever reason the mail server at Chris’s place isn’t responding. Oh well then, enough of that. Time to install Jaguar!!!

I put the CD in the slot. It starts to suck it in.

Then there is a horrible grinding noise and the CD stops moving. The CD is stuck in there, and from the sound of it, was not doing too well. With a little proding, I manage to get the CD out. Sure enough, a couple of big scratches on it. Drat, I think, I really hope this scratch isn’t so bad it won’t work. It would really suck to have to go buy Panther AGAIN.

The CD on this machine has occationally had trouble pulling CDs in. It always worked on a second try, or perhaps with the help of a little push. No biggie. So I tried again. Or tried to try again. The CD slot was completely blocked. I hit the eject button. Some whirring noises, then some grinding, then nothing.

Uh oh.

I was subsequently unable to get any response from the CD drive. It would not open the slot. It would not suck in a CD. Nothing. Nothing at all.

I went and grabbed a screwdriver from my car and actually opened up the laptop to examine the CD drive to see if I could see anything obviously stuck. I did not see anything specifically obvious, but the mechanism was clearly jammed, and would not move. Not having the proper expertese to really diagnose, or do much about it even if I did, I put everything back together. I figure I should have at least been able to move the mechanism with my hands, but it felt like it was locked solid. I dunno. Anyway, it is busted.

I am not happy.

So, plan is to get up a little earlier than I had planned in the morning. One of the things Ron wants is to go out and get more memory for his computer. While we are out I’ll buy an cheap external CD-ROM drive. That will at least give me a CD again. (Although I only tend to use it once every few months… this was the first time in ages). Then I will try the Jaguar Disk. Hopefully it is still readable and workable. (I think the installer checksums everything at the beginning, so if there is an issue it will be found and it won’t install garbage.) If it it not readable, I’ll have to make a second trip out to a CompUSA or something (no Apple Store in Western PA) to get another copy of Jaguar.

This is really annoying.

I hope I can get something up and running. If not I will be pretty upset.

Of course, this is also a sign that this almost 3 year old originial Titanium Powerbook I call Zeus is on its last legs. I beat the hell out of this machine, taking it with me everywhere, using it constantly, dropping it more than a handful of times. For the most part it has managed to keep going, although there have been a few issues over the years. I am due to buy myself a new one in Q1 next year. This one needs to last me at LEAST until January, but possibly longer depending on how my finances are going by then.

An external CD I can deal with. Even buying a second Jaguar CD if I have to. I was planning on buying another for my mom anyway. Just as long as the CPU and screen hold up… Hold together Zeus! Hold together! You’re a good computer! You can do it!

Anyway, I’d better catch at least an hour or two of sleep now.

Sigh.

Panther Launch

I am being geeky and posting this entry while waiting in line at the King of Prussia Apple store on Panther release day. I got here a few minutes after Panther went on sale and the line was well over 1000 feet long. An hour later, and I’ve made it half way to the front. Jon from work is here with me. I’ve got the iSight up to throw some pictures of the line on the webcam.

Oh well. Back to waiting in line. It will probably be at least another hour until we get into the store itself.

Perhaps I should have just ordered online. :-)

Slings and Arrows

Byron Scott, on Slings and Arrows, as part of a “Primate Promotion Project” has linked to me and thus promoted me on the Ecosystem from a Insignificant Microbe to a Wiggly Worm. Actually on the 19th I had TWO links into me, which is a new record for me, and ranked me even higher. (That based on my Ecosystem History.) But the other person dropped their link on the 20th it seems, and I didn’t notice in time to find who it was.

Anyway, thanks to Byron. Just thought I’d link back before I devolved back to an Insignificant Microbe again in a few days.

Primate Promotion project
(Bryon Scott, Slings and Arrows)

Sam Minter (aka Abulsme Noibatno Itramne) laments the fate of the Reform party. Sam could learn to use permanent links for his posts.

Oh. And in fact I did always have permalinks, they just were not labeled well and were hidden in the “Comment” link. I have changed the wording on the link to clearly indicate it is a Permalink too. Hope that helps. :-) Just one of the defaults on my blog program I hadn’t changed yet.

Addition: Found the other person who linked to me through my logs… John Quiggan. So here’s a link back to him as well. Thanks John!

Follow the Forger

The linked article below is a really good one on the whole debacle that represented the administration’s use (or non-use) of intelligence running up to the invasion of Iraq. It is all about how the top officials knew what they wanted to believe, and intentionally set things up to prevent themselves from hearing anything that would contradict their opinion. It is the exact same effect of sticking your fingers in your ears and saying “Na Na Na!! I can’t hear you! Na Na Na!”. What a joke. I’m not sure if any of what happened is actually criminal. Probably not. But it is certainly incompetant and dispicable. What a complete bunch of clowns. And dangerous clowns. They have caused so much damage in the last few years it is unbelieveable.

Anyway, the article is a must read. Read it.

However, I want to point out a specific part near the end. I remember when I was reading about the forged Italian papers when that thing came out screaming to the TV “Follow the forger!!!” but I don’t think I ever blogged about it. It may even have been before I started the blog. But in any case, the quick summary is that an Italian reporter got handed to her (for cash) some documents claiming to back up the Niger Yellowcake connection, just in the nick of time for some of the discussions of the Iraq threat. She did some rudimentary research and quickly determined they were fake. But not before they got handed over to the Americans, and got up to the highest levels, where they were accepted as true.

I was seeing a lot written on who the US believed these, or what the failures were that led them to be accepted, etc… but I thought this was all missing a big point…

Who forged the documents in the first place, and why????

Knowing this would tell a lot. It would either document just who was “playing” us and was so successful into manipulating us (Chalabi anyone?) or perhaps it would lead back to someone in the Administration itself, which would be even more damning. Who knows.

Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough, but I saw very little coverage of that aspect of the forged documents. But there is a decent bit about it here in this article. There is “no general consensus” on the origin of the documents, but several possibilities are cited and talked about. Other possibilities are not discussed, but are clearly possible. I quote a bit of that section below. But read the whole article, and pay special attention to that section.

Finding the true source of these documents should be SOMEONES priority right now. At worst there are serious criminal acts here. At best increadibly stupid intelligence failures. This needs to be followed up.

The FBI is looking, and is quoted in the article as saying “somebody’s hiding something, and they’re hiding it pretty well.”

The press should be all over this too. Much more so than they have been so far.

The Stovepipe
(Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker)

Who produced the fake Niger papers? There is nothing approaching a consensus on this question within the intelligence community. There has been published speculation about the intelligence services of several different countries. One theory, favored by some journalists in Rome, is that sismi produced the false documents and passed them to Panorama for publication.

Another explanation was provided by a former senior C.I.A. officer. He had begun talking to me about the Niger papers in March, when I first wrote about the forgery, and said, “Somebody deliberately let something false get in there.” He became more forthcoming in subsequent months, eventually saying that a small group of disgruntled retired C.I.A. clandestine operators had banded together in the late summer of last year and drafted the fraudulent documents themselves.

“The agency guys were so pissed at Cheney,” the former officer said. “They said, ‘O.K, we’re going to put the bite on these guys.'” My source said that he was first told of the fabrication late last year, at one of the many holiday gatherings in the Washington area of past and present C.I.A. officials. “Everyone was bragging about it—’Here’s what we did. It was cool, cool, cool.'” These retirees, he said, had superb contacts among current officers in the agency and were informed in detail of the sismi intelligence.

“They thought that, with this crowd, it was the only way to go—to nail these guys who were not practicing good tradecraft and vetting intelligence,” my source said. “They thought it’d be bought at lower levels—a big bluff.” The thinking, he said, was that the documents would be endorsed by Iraq hawks at the top of the Bush Administration, who would be unable to resist flaunting them at a press conference or an interagency government meeting. They would then look foolish when intelligence officials pointed out that they were obvious fakes. But the tactic backfired, he said, when the papers won widespread acceptance within the Administration. “It got out of control.”

(via Just One Minute)

Of course, I should have written about this back in July when I was first thinking “Follow the Forger”, but I think it was before the blog. Speculation is starting to bubble up in the Blogosphere now prompted by the New Yorker article. Lets see it hit the mainstream press in a few days… I hope. It really needs more attention. The whole intelligence mess in general, but this forger link specifically. I think it is potentially very important.

Brain’s Leg

On Sunday morning when Chris and Rebecca were visiting, Chris saw Brain (the younger of my two parakeets) on one foot. He asked what was up with that. Not thinking or really looking too hard, I just said that’s how they sleep, on one foot and all. At least a bunch of the time. I didn’t think much of it.

Later that evening though, I moved the cage into the other room to get it away from a drafty window, and noticed that Brain was having trouble staying perched. The right foot clearly had something wrong with it. It was stuck out to the side and splayed out, and Brain did not seem to be able to use it at all, and was balancing on one foot, and using his beak to help him climb and move around. It looked broken, and looked aweful. The only thing I could figure is maybe Brain got his foot stuck somewhere on the cage and then struggled and broke his foot trying to escape.

There was no emergency vet that handled birds open, so I had to wait until morning to make an appointment. Plus, I had an appointment I could not break in NYC in the middle of the day. Brandy once again became a life saver, and said she would take Brain to the bird vet she used. She had been planning on taking her bird Nicki in later in the week, but moved it up because of this.

So Brandy took Brain in for the apointment at 2 PM, just after I was finishing up in NYC. So she called me on the cell for updates and decisions as they were needed. After getting my permission, the vet took X-rays.

It was not a broken leg. It was worse. Brain has a large tumor, the vet thinks probably in the kidney. The tumor is so large it is pressing on the psyatic nerve, and causing paralysis in the leg. The tumor is too large to be operable. He gave me some steroid drops that I need to give Brain daily. But basically, it is incurable. The medicine *might* be able to reduce the tumor some, but tends not to be effective indefinately, and often is not effective at all. Sort of a 50/50 chance of it helping at all, and even if it helps, it will not cure, at best it will make Brain more comfortable.

When I got home Brandy showed me how to catch Brain and give him the drops. Doing this stresses both me and Brain out. I hope it will help. I need to learn to do it twice a day going forward. Brain’s prognosis is not good. But I will do everything I can to do whatever I can to help him out.

Sigh! :-(

Not a happy day.