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



May 2006

Unhappy Post

Mouse Arm

For the last couple of days my mousing arm has been getting sore and achy. To the point where I really want to not be sitting at the computer doing stuff, even though both at work and at home, there is lots I’d like to be doing that involves using my mouse. Last night I didn’t do anything on the computer at home (other than watch a couple of things passively) cause every time I sat down, my hand just said “no”. And my whole arm just didn’t feel right even while just lying down. Woke up this morning, thought it was all better. But after an hour or so at work it is starting to hurt again.

Hope this isn’t the start of a real RSI sort of thing. That would really suck. It has just been a couple days though, so hopefully it will go away over the long weekend. Guess I might want to plan on reading or something rather than spending the whole three days on the computer though.

That high pitched whine you hear (or not)

I loved the idea of this as a teen repellant, it was just nicely clever, but I love this idea even more. It is just such an appropriate counter reaction…

Pupils perform ‘alarming’ feat

A high-pitched alarm which cannot be heard by adults has been hijacked by schoolchildren to create ringtones so they can get away with using phones in class.

Techno-savvy pupils have adapted the Mosquito alarm, used to drive teenage gangs away from shopping centres.

The alarm, which has been praised by police, is highly effective because its ultra-high sound can be heard only by youths but not by most people over 20.

Schoolchildren have recorded the sound, which they named Teen Buzz, and spread it from phone to phone via text messages and Bluetooth technology.

Now they can receive calls and texts during lessons without teachers having the faintest idea what is going on.

(via Digg)

All Hands 2

Right now I’m sitting waiting for the quarterly all hands meeting at my company to start. This is my second one. I won’t be able to call this the ‘new job’ much longer, if at all. I am certainly now past the point where I get slack for being the ‘new guy’. Yup. I’m entrenched.

Now just need to get Brandy and Amy out here and get the house sold.

Speaking of Monkeys…

OK, OK, not monkeys, apes. Namely two specific apes, humans and chimps.

Humans, chimps may have bred after split
(Gareth Cook, Boston Globe)

The lead scientist said that this jarring conflict with the fossil record, combined with a number of other strange genetic patterns the team uncovered, led him to a startling explanation: that human ancestors evolved apart from the chimpanzees for hundreds of thousands of years, and then started breeding with them again before a final break.

”Something very unusual happened,” said David Reich, one of the report’s authors and a geneticist at the Broad and Harvard Medical School.

(via SlashDot)

Always Trust the Monkey

This is awesome.

Jim Cramer has built his reputation picking stocks and making rapid-fire analysis on his cable TV show Mad Money with Jim Cramer. But is he really that good?

At we show how you would be better picking ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ at random, which is pretty much how our monkey, Leonard, picks stocks. And Leonard is right more often then Jim. With a lot less noise.

(via a mailing list at work)

An Interview with Someone about Something

A Conversation with Werner Vogels
(ACM Queue)

Many think of Amazon as “that hugely successful online bookstore.” You would expect Amazon CTO Werner Vogels to embrace this distinction, but in fact it causes him some concern. “I think it’s important to realize that first and foremost Amazon is a technology company,” says Vogels. And he’s right. Over the past years, Vogels has helped Amazon grow from an online retailer (albeit one of the largest, with more than 55 million active customer accounts) into a platform on which more than 1 million active retail partners worldwide do business. Behind Amazon’s successful evolution from retailer to technology platform is its SOA (service-oriented architecture), which broke new technological ground and proved that SOAs can deliver on their promises.

(via Slashdot)

Ooo Shiny!

Apple introduced the iBook replacement called the MacBook yesterday. Along side the Intel chip and the new option to get it in black for $150 more, Apple made a little change to the finish of the screens. They now have a glossy finish instead of a matte one like previous Mac laptops. John Siracusa examines this choice in detail in the article below.

And we all shine on
(John Siracusa, Ars Technica)

Glossy displays have effectively taken over the entire laptop market. Why are they so popular? Here are three possible reasons.

1. They are better than matte-finish displays.
2. They are cheaper than matte-finish displays.
3. People are idiots.

Guess which one John thinks it is?


My new office mate was having dinner at the restaurant mentioned below as this happened last night.

U-District shooting, gunman on the loose
(Seattle PI)

The shooting occurred just before 9 a.m. at or near the entrance of Ruby Restaurant, 4241 University Way N.E., a Seattle police spokesman said, calling it “very clearly a serious injury.”

A cook at the restaurant said the victim ran into Ruby and said, “I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot. Help me, help me.”

“He was holding his neck with something. We brought some napkins from the table and back from the kitchen and (put) pressure” on the wound, said Alfonso De La Cruz Mata. “It was very scary. I never saw anything like this in my life.”

Nothing Wrong with Hot Tubs

An article about how people with tendancies toward libertarianism are feeling unhappy within the two parties (especially within the Republican party where they used to feel more at home) and talking about how Libs should be more active and “reclaim” their spot in the conservative coalition of the Republican party.

Hot-Tub Libertarians
(Ryan Sager, Real Clear Politics)

Perhaps the most interesting fact in the Pew survey, however, was that less than 6 in 10 libertarians voted for Bush in 2004. While few libertarians seem to have deserted the president between 2000 and 2004, they are split roughly evenly between the two parties. The Pew survey finds 50 percent of libertarians identifying as Republicans, 41 percent as Democrats.

Given that libertarians’ traditional home has been in the conservative base of the Republican Party for about five decades, as part of a strained partnership with social conservatives, their almost 50-50 split between the two parties today is big news.

(via Instapundit)

Of course, I disagree with this completely. For someone who really believes in small government, and that government has no business messing in either our personal affairs *or* our economic affairs… they they have no business being in either one of the two parties. The answer is not to try to “reform” the Republicans into a more Libertarian minded party while tolerating the religious nutjob social conservitives. Nor is it to to try to do something similiar from the Democratic side… it is to admit that the viewpoint is fundamentially different from both and organize that way.

And I’m not talking about the existing Libertarian Party. Too much baggage, and too many nutjobs. My entire presidential voting history was Ross Perot (Independant) in 1992 and then Harry Brown (Libertarian) in 1996 and 2000. Then the Libertarians nominated a wacko in 2004. Otherwise I probably would have voted for them again. But the LP does not have a grounding in reality. They are a bit too rigorous in their ideology and need a good dose of practicality. They will never on their own grow into something more meaningful.

What you need are Lib minded Republicans and Democrats who are already elected (there are not many, but there are perhaps a few.. I think… can’t think of any names off the top of my head though… which is a little sad…) having the guts to just go independant and speak out and not go along when their respective parties are doing the wrong thing. Enough of those, and perhaps there might eventually be a big enough block to then form a “third party” or whatnot. Unfortunately, the number of “mavericks” in both parties seems to be shrinking, not growing.

You also need Lib minded voters to NOT vote for people (in either party) that clearly advocate big government positons (either from the Conservative or Liberal side). Unfortunately, there are often no alternatives on the ballot that one can feel comfortable with. I still resent the Libs for not giving me anybody I felt I could vote for in 2004 and making me feel like I had no choice but to vote for Kerry. Now, given the complete disaster W has been, it is hard to imagine Kerry would not have been better, but that is a very low bar. I also can not imagine Kerry would have been good. Had Kerry been elected I’m sure I would be furious at many things he would have done in the past couple of years… just different things than W has done. Next time around, if there is nobody on the ballot I feel comfortable with, I will be doing write ins. The Kerry vote was a mistake and will not happen again. No voting for someone I can’t actually feel like I would choose willingly.

Many of the outrages in recent years have been completely bipartisan. And that is the problem. On one hand we have the biggest divide between “red and blue” than we’ve had seemingly in many many years. The “moderates” are a vanishing breed with little power. But at the same time more and more things that are just horrible get done with no oposition at all. (How many votes in congress were there against the Patriot Act? Against the DMCA? To insist on a declaration of war before going to war? Etc. )

It is unsustainable. At some point things will just break. If we could somehow manage to break apart the two existing parties (hey, do anti-trust laws apply here? :-) and instead get about four parties… then we could get a much more healthy dynamic going.

Of course, it will never happen under our current systems due to Duverger’s Law.

Oh well.

Enough ranting for now.

It just frustrates me when I see things suggesting that people who have strong tendancies, but in an “unorthadox” direction should just line up within one larger coalition or another. Sometimes for some narrow items when there is agreement it may make sense. But not in general… if you’re always tying yourself to a coilition that you only agree with a minority of the time, in the end you are alsways just going to get screwed over by it.