Archives: July 2003

Thu 31 Jul 2003

Almost Forgot!

I almost forgot to submit anything today. It has been very busy. Some work stuff, but mostly getting ready for closing on the new house and related things. About 24 hours ago I got the call from Brandy that the final Mortgage Commitment (no longer contingent on anything) had come through. That was the last real obsticle. Absent something completely and totally unexpected, I should be closing on the new place a week from Monday.

Today I finished paying off my current bills so I would know exactly how much I had left and would know how much more of my savings I would have to liquidate for closing. I finished all that over lunch. I determined what I needed to sell. I sold almost all the rest of one mutual fund I had been putting $100 a month into for the last several years, just leaving a little bit there. And I went ahead and did a "cashless sale" on 338 of 438 stock options in my company, leaving 100 for some other day. All these transactions should clear by next Wednesday, after which I need to transfer all the cash to my checking account for Thursday, and get myself a nice fat cashier's check for Friday to be ready for closing.

I'll have the check and amount in my checking for a decent bit more than what I expect to actually need at closing. First as a "just in case" something unexpected comes up at closing, the rest for things I know I will need to buy for the house right after I move. Closing on the 11th. Moving furniture on the 12th. Moving most of the rest of my stuff slowy over the next week (maybe two) after that. Out of my apartment by the 30th when I leave for the Idaho vacation.

Wow! It is coming up fast!

In the mean time though, I am in a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike as I type. I am heading down to DC to install the second DirecTV receiver for my dad and get that all set up, and grab the new dish to take home and set up. I've been without new TV for over four days! (Although this has allowed me to catch up somewhat on things the Tivo already had.)

Anyway, I think I'm going to run in and get a softdrink, then get back on the road. I need to get to DC before my dad goes to bed, and then finish up what I need to do and head back in time to still get an hour or two of sleep before my morning meetings back in New Jersey for work.

So that's it for now...

Abulsme - Thu, 31 Jul 2003, 15:43:52 PDT
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Wed 30 Jul 2003

Osama Update and History

This is a nice recap of the search for Bin Laden over the last few years (going back to the Clinton years). A reminder that despite the recent obsession over Iraq, this is still around.

The Search for Osama by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker

"He's sending tapes and messages to his followers all the time, with instructions that could not have come from anyone else," Yossef Bodansky, the director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, told me recently. "They're things like condolences to families of Islamic luminaries who have died," he said. "People from the Philippines to Indonesia to South America ask bin Laden questions, and they get answers from him." Bodansky was struck by the meditative tone of the letters. "They are written with a tremendous amount of peace of mind. There are no mistakes. He is not a guy on the run."

(found via CounterSpin)

There isn't too much brand new here that we have not heard before, but it is a good compilation. Sooner or later, our distraction with Iraq is going to cause us more problems.

Abulsme - Wed, 30 Jul 2003, 14:54:41 PDT
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Giving Up on Enterprise-Wide Integration? Good!!

Giving Up on Enterprise-Wide Integration by Erika Morphy of via Yahoo News

"Point-to-point integration is an excuse many companies use for their broader IT strategies," he added. "Companies need to wake up and smell the EAI coffee; all those hand-built connectors cannot ever scale, over time, the way an application layer can."

That from Lois Columbus at AMR research.

I used to be a big fan of fully thought out integrated solutions. They make "more sense" from a logical point of view, they are more scalable. They are more flexible. All those sorts of wonderful things. But after spending seven years at a company in the top 50 largest in the contry, more than ever I am convinced this is a counterproductive approach except in unusual situations.

The thing about integrated approaches is that to pay off you need time and money to do them right, and then they need time to grow and take root and start to bear fruit. This almost never happens.

By the time an integrated approach can be planned and implemented, the needs and priorities of the organization often have morphed unrecognizably. In the process of being built the integrated solution will have been compromized in order to meet time and budget goals. It will not be flexible enough to change to the new environment. Not to mention the fact that technology will have moved forward, already making the solution obsolete.

Now, perhaps some of this perception is specific to where I work and to my specific experiences over the past few years. Probably. Many people would probably tell me I am dead wrong and their experiences are completely opposite. OK. But I suspect that many of the underlying factors are widespread. There are certainly cases where large scale enterprise wide technical solutions are needed, and there is no other choice. In many more cases I'm convinced that need is just a phantom need. It sells software for the big vendors of integrated systems. Nothing more.

Yes, the spaghetti-like nature of just patching together systems as needed and making short term tactical projects to meet the immediate need done does not usually scale well, or provide a long lasting foundation that you can build on for decades.

But guess what? In most cases, it DOES NOT NEED TO. You solve the specific problem at hand, and move on. Yes, some of these "temporary" solutions end up living forever, but if they work, who cares? In most cases, the whole system will end up being revamped in favor of new technologies within a few years anyway, and/or the business needs for even the existance of the project at all will evaoporate.

So while the "Enterprise" quality solution would still be poking along trying to be planned and built, with ruggedness to survive for longer than it will ever be useful, the "quick and dirty" solution could already be operational and providing results now.

So yes... if you have a very stable organization, working on very stable systems and processes, and have a very long time horizon, and expect what is being built to last a very long time, and won't mind operating on obsolete technology five years on, and have lots of time and money to burn... go ahead with the big fully integrated solutions.

But if, like most of us, you need to get results quickly, and live in a world where business needs and priorities change at least once a year, if not more frequently, then beware of the big solutions. They will suck time and money and effort and most likely result in less than what you wanted. If you can get a quick and dirty that isn't TOO dirty, then go for it. You'll get the results you need faster.

And yes, EXPECT to replace it every couple of years with something new and EXPECT to spend some time troubleshooting and figuring out the spaghetti later. But guess what, you'll probably still end up spending less than the fully integrated mega-solutions.

The area where I've seen this the most is in content management, which has been my area for the last seven years or so. Perhaps I'll have some thoughts specific to that area later.

Abulsme - Wed, 30 Jul 2003, 10:46:06 PDT
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My Tivo caught a bunch of episodes last month of the TechTV show "Call for Help" because they were having a series on Photoshop Tricks which was caught by my "Photo*" season pass. Anyway, the cohost is Cat Schwartz who is lots of fun. The show is good, and Leo gives good information, but Cat is who makes the show interesting. I tried to bring up her blog at the time, but it was down and I forgot about it.

But yesterday on Fark they linked to one of those voting contests with her and some other woman, and that link (forget where it was now) mentioned that she had accidentally posted topless pics of herself to her blog. Woops. They are gone now (although they can be found googling elsewhere), but her reactions to it are funny and well tempered. So here is a link to her blog. Cat is cool. :-)

Cat Schwartz's Blog

I'll write more later and give ya another pic. One with my shirt on.

Sounds good. I'll have to check in more often. And perhaps add a wishlist for the show itself, so I get it times when they aren't doing something on Photos as well.

Now, if only Stephanie Birkitt, one of Dave Letterman's assistants on the Late Show would get her own blog too. That would be cool. Both of these women deserve their own shows. :-)

And I will try to avoid accidentally post revealing pictures of myself here as well. Not that anybody would want to see that. :-)

Abulsme - Wed, 30 Jul 2003, 08:45:10 PDT
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Tue 29 Jul 2003


So I'm sitting here at work reading a 50 page document I was emailed to review. Making good progress. Then my sleeve gets caught on my chair... Riiiiipppppp.... The whole right sleeve gets ripped in half Incredible Hulk style. Except I am not suddenly turning green and muscular. This really won't do. I'll have to run home real quick for another shirt I think.

Only two weeks left of being only 5 minutes from home and able to make quick runs back to my place like this. Probably the only negative about the move. OK, Gotta run there and back before my next meeting. Finishing this document will have to wait slightly.

Abulsme - Tue, 29 Jul 2003, 10:22:35 PDT
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The F Word

Found this several different places today, ignored it the first few times, then finally read it through. The Public Defender was clearly having a lot of fun with this.

F Word Motion (The Smoking Gun)

The District Court document is an amusing and profane look at the world's favorite four-letter word, from its origins in 1500 to today's frequent use of the term by Eminem, Chris Rock, and Lenny Kravitz.

Abulsme - Tue, 29 Jul 2003, 08:36:41 PDT
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Mon 28 Jul 2003


Left my lights on when I came into work this morning. Yup. Battery is dead now as of around noon. I'll have to get someone to jump me. I suck! The worst thing is the little key fob things will need to be reset probably. Grrrrr!

On the bright side though, just arranged and paid for my condo insurance. One thing less left to worry about befor closing...

Abulsme - Mon, 28 Jul 2003, 08:41:54 PDT
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Sun 27 Jul 2003

Dinner in DC

I don't want to have a day with no entries yet, although I will eventually. So after having dinner with Rebecca and Chris when I got back to my car, instead of just leaving right away, I broke out the laptop and the cellphone and connected at the really slow speed that allows, and am making a quick entry. :-)

Dinner was good. It is always good to see Rebecca and Chris. :-)

Now it is time for me to head home. Want to get home before it is too late so I can call Marilyn and we can buy our tickets for Idaho at the same time to be sure we get adjacent seats on the Minneapolis to Boise leg of the trip.

OK. Time to get underway before someone calls the cops on some suspicious guy in a Saturn with a bunch of electronics sitting outside their house. :-)

Abulsme - Sun, 27 Jul 2003, 15:21:55 PDT
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Sat 26 Jul 2003

DirecTV for Dad (Sorta)

Well, finally have DirecTV (with Tivo!) installed for my dad. On the roof. It went really well. Except for two things.

One, the dish did not arrive in time. So I brought my dish from New Jersey. My dish is now on my dad's roof. Which means I have no dish for myself. Now, as soon as my dad's dish arrives, I will take it back to MY place, but it probably won't arrive before I leave here Sunday. Which means I have to make a trip back just to get it, not to mention I'll have to assemble it.

Two, one of the two DirecTivo recievers arrived non-functional. You can hear the drive try to spin up when you plug it in, but it never actually starts up. So we'll have to return it and get them to send another. :-( Again, another trip down.

So, a partial success. The TV on the first floor is now completely satellite tivo enabled. The second floor is still a no go though, and that is the one my dad and step-mom will use most. :-( So I have to get that up and running soon. Hopefully before this coming weekend. I think I'll probably make a special up and down in the same night trip to get the dish and set up the replacement reciever.

But in the meantime, I'll be without television at home! Woe is me!!

Abulsme - Sat, 26 Jul 2003, 13:14:16 PDT
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Fri 25 Jul 2003

I forgot my Stripes

Three hours from now I am supposed to be the Ref in a game of volleyball. I have not played or paid any attention to volleyball since I was in middle school and they made us play in gym. I did not understand then, I do not understand now. I have three hours to read the rulebook below and try not to make too much of a fool of myself. I'm sure I will though. I just don't understand these sorts of things. Oh well, I shall try!

Rules of the Game of Volleyball (Outdoor, Sand or Grass) (PDF)

Official United States Beach Volleyball Rules USAV Rulebook covers both Indoor and Outdoor Rules "2001 USA Volleyball Rulebook" is now available...

Abulsme - Fri, 25 Jul 2003, 10:07:52 PDT
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Thu 24 Jul 2003

New GPS... Drool... I must have it!

Garmin just announced this a few days ago. With the house and everything else I don't think I'll be pulling one of these off this year... but next year... yes... next year it will be mine!

Garmin: StreetPilot 2610/2650

Garmin has raised the bar for portable automotive navigation with two new products: the StreetPilot 2610 and 2650.

Just choose your destination using StreetPilot's touch screen or remote control to be automatically guided with turn-by-turn directions and voice prompts. Both the 2610 and 2650 feature color displays, built-in maps, and everything needed to download additional map detail and look up points of interest and addresses in seconds. Select maps and transfer data directly to the unit through a USB connection and onto a standard CompactFlash® memory card. These products are powered using the external speaker with 12/24-volt adapter cable or A/C power adapter (both are included in the purchase).

The StreetPilot 2650 also has dead reckoning capabilities, so you'll continue to get navigation guidance even if you lose GPS reception, such as in intense urban environments with tall buildings and tunnels. To achieve dead reckoning, the 2650 features an internal angular rate sensor, an external speed sensor input, and an external reverse light sensor input. (Please note: The StreetPilot 2650 can only be purchased through auhorized installation dealers because the product requires a connection to a vehicle's speedometer and backup lights. Customers will not be able to buy this product over the counter or install it themselves.)

Abulsme - Thu, 24 Jul 2003, 07:08:10 PDT
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Wed 23 Jul 2003

Tony Blair for President

Someone else had the same thought I did after hearing Blair's speech the other day. But unlike me, they made a cool little website...

Between the babbling of George W. Bush on the right, the blathering of the anti-war left, and the cluck-clucking of media hens everywhere, stands Tony Blair, articulate and principled.

Many Americans understand and support Iraqi Freedom because of the leadership provided by Mr. Blair, and many of us would feel much safer if Mr. Blair occupied the White House.

Tony Blair took a considerable political risk in supporting Iraqi Freedom, and for that we would like to thank him and promote him to chief executive in charge of the world's greatest super power, President of the United States of America.

I didn't actually agree with Blair ont he war, but I do think he would make a much better President than W. Citizenship? Pshaw! I'd vote for him! :-)

(via Samizdata)

Abulsme - Wed, 23 Jul 2003, 08:34:33 PDT
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Chess Game

He had me all blocked into a corner and in what looked like a hopeless situation to me, and I was down to 10 seconds on the clock... but I managed to slither away and then get some material, and then get more material, and work on my advantage until I won. Yea!

[Event "ICC 2 12"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2003.07.22"]
[Round "-"]
[White "Abulsme"]
[Black "K2Q"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ICCResult "Black resigns"]
[WhiteElo "1089"]
[BlackElo "1010"]
[Opening "Philidor's defense"]
[ECO "C41"]
[NIC "KP.10"]
[Time "00:10:27"]
[TimeControl "120+12"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bd3 Bg4 4. O-O Nc6 5. b3 Nd4 6. Be2 Nxe2+ 7. Qxe2 Qf6
8. Qe3 h5 9. Bb2 h4 10. h3 Qg6 11. Nxh4 Rxh4 12. hxg4 Qxg4 13. f3 Qg3 14.
Nc3 Nf6 15. Ne2 Qh2+ 16. Kf2 Rh3 17. Rg1 Nh5 18. Qg5 Be7 19. Qg4 Bh4+ 20.
Ke3 Nf4 21. Qxg7 Nxg2+ 22. Qxg2 Rxf3+ 23. Qxf3 O-O-O 24. Qg4+ Kb8 25. Ng3 d5
26. Nf5 d4+ 27. Kd3 a6 28. Qxh4 Qf2 29. Qxf2 b5 30. c3 c5 31. cxd4 cxd4 32.
Ne7 Re8 33. Nc6+ Kb7 34. Na5+ Kb6 35. Qxf7 Rc8 36. Qb7+ Kxa5 37. Qxc8
{Black resigns}

Of course, I didn't post the earlier game from last week when I lost after like 12 moves when I failed to notice a simple checkmate that I could easily have blocked. Oh well! Hey, I'm not a GOOD player, I just have fun. :-)

Abulsme - Wed, 23 Jul 2003, 05:23:37 PDT
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Tue 22 Jul 2003


Just sent this to Rebecca. Thought I would share here too.

Initial estimate is $1000, although they will visit in person and give a better estimate Friday. That is more than I really wanted to pay.

I am going to ask how much less it would be if they don't do the storage space too, or if they ONLY do the furniture.

Cause I have three weeks to move. I can do all the boxes and loose stuff myself no problem, even if I had no help from any friends, which I know I will have at least some of. Maybe ten trips with my Saturn fully loaded would get all of my stuff over there. Maybe even less.

I just REALLY don't want to deal with the furniture myself or even ask my friends to do that. :-(

But if they can't get it low enough, perhaps I will canvas the local friends to see who was actually serious about helping me move. :-)

Or maybe I really will decide to just trash all the furniture and start out living on the floor and then get all new stuff. :-)

Oh, and nothing from the stressful stuff I mentioned yesterday has been resolved yet. :-( Still waiting for good phonecalls on those things. :-(

Abulsme - Tue, 22 Jul 2003, 08:26:13 PDT
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Mon 21 Jul 2003


So today, a few things on the house got glitched. Got word last week that the appraisal was done. It was supposed to arrive Friday or today, so that the official Mortgage Approval could be done. (The current one is contingient on the appraisal... if it appraises for less than my offer price, I may have to come up with the difference in cash.) But the appraisal did not arrive. So we have to do an addendum to the agreement asking the seller for a little more time to get that. Potentially the seller could back out because of this. They probably won't, but... it makes me real nervous, and will until it is all settled.

At the same time, we were supposed to have a copy of the condo agreement by now, but don't. It is supposedly in the mail. I need the agreement to know which things are not covered by the condo association, so I know what insurance I have to get. ARRGH!

Ont he other side of things: I've arranged for the time off for closing and moving. Marilyn's ticket to come the weekend after closing is bought. The guy to replace the locks is scheduled for the day after closing. I've played phone tag with a moving company to get an estimate, but have not connected yet. Etc.

My stress levels are increasing rapidly.

Abulsme - Mon, 21 Jul 2003, 16:29:14 PDT
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Sun 20 Jul 2003

June 2003's Top Ten!!

I just updated the "Mail" section with the results for June 2003's Top Ten email contest.

Top Ten for June 2003

So this month Ivan and Chad manage to claw their way back up onto the top ten, in the process shoving Cynthia and Greg off the bottom. Brandy continues to clean up with more than twice as month as the next competitor. I must admit though, some of that was related to her being my agent as I try to buy my new townhouse. Oh well. That should die down shortly after I close in August. Most of the emails were personal though, so it is legit that she counts.

Other than that though, kind of a slow month. Only two people over 100 messages for the month. Just sort of the usual from everybody. Ron drops back down from his unusually high performance in May to a more normal level. Al and Chris also quiet down a bit. I guess there were no major multi-side conversations on random subjects in June. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Abulsme - Sun, 20 Jul 2003, 16:02:28 PDT
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Brandy Comments

Got an email from Brandy this morning about her having looked at my redesigned site. I had seen her look in at the camera a variety of times, but last night I noticed her go to the front page for the first time since I redid it. At least I think it was... checking the logs real quick...

Yup, before today at 01:49 UTC, the last time Brandy had looked at the home page (at least from her home where I recognize the address) was June 24th. So this was the first time since the redesign. She might have looked another time from work or somewhere, but if so I haven't learned to recognize that as her yet.

So Brandy becomes the first one from the last year of top tens to look at the new front page and send me an email commenting on it.

But I had said I was excluding Brandy and Greg from my "who will notice first" thing, since both of them knew I was working on the blog software that day and I had recently told Brandy to look at the site to answer a question she asked.

But thought I would mention it anyway. We'll see who is next.

But right now I think I am going to get up and ready for the day, then perhaps work on counting June's Top Ten list for a bit before doing the delayed suit shopping with Kelly.

Abulsme - Sun, 20 Jul 2003, 08:30:47 PDT
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Had my first video chat with the iSight today. Emailed Ivan and told him to install and hook up his video camera. It worked very well. Quite nice. Quite impressive. Now I just need to have more people on my buddy list with Macs and cameras. Right now Ivan is the only one. Jon has audio only but no camera. And that is it. Nobody else multi-media capable yet. Hopefully that will improve over time.

The quality was great though. (Once we put on headphones to eliminate feedback.) Almost as good as a phone call... but with video.

Abulsme - Sun, 20 Jul 2003, 08:27:20 PDT
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Sat 19 Jul 2003

No Suit Today

I was going to go suit shopping with Kelly today. But by the time I got up, finished talking to Marilyn about Idaho and her visit her to help me unpack, and was putting my shoes on, I hadn't yet called my dealer about the car, and Kelly called, ready for me to come meet her for the suit shopping.

I told her about the car overheating and leaking and making lots of smoke and that I hadn't gotten to take it in yet. She suggested perhaps we could go suit shopping tomorrow instead. That worked for me. I figured I could get the car fixed today, and be all ready for suit shopping tomorrow.

Then I called the Saturn dealer. They probably couldn't get to my car until Monday. And the rental car people left at noon and wouldn't be back until Monday. So it would probably be better if I just waited to take the car in Monday.

Sigh. OK. Kelly said she could pick me up for the suit shopping. And while I probably COULD drive the car a bit without it exploding, I'd rather not. So I guess I'm staying home and/or walking or biking.

Hmmm... biking. I haven't done that in a bit. Perhaps I should. But I was thinking of walking over to the little restaurant at the golf course. I have never gone there in all the years I have been here. So I thought perhaps I would walk over there today.

I think I'll do that.

Abulsme - Sat, 19 Jul 2003, 11:19:04 PDT
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Idaho Developments

Planning for the Idaho random trip is starting to solidify. It looked like it was going to be me, Marilyn and Chad. But a couple days ago out of the blue I got an email from my cousin Seth saying he would like to join us. So it looks like it may be the four of us.

So next we are picking which dates to go. The suggestion currently on the table from Marilyn is August 30th to September 7th, so as to use the Labor Day vacation day. Sounded fine to me. Waiting for feedback from Chad and Seth. Then if we settle the dates, tickets will be bought, and it will be time to start figuring out where we will stay.

Abulsme - Sat, 19 Jul 2003, 10:50:37 PDT
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Our leaders at their best

Ah yes, this is the way it is supposed to work...

The House That Roared by Juliet Eilperin and Albert B. Crenshaw in the Washington Post

Republicans recounted indignities of their own: When Rep. Scott McInnis (R-Colo.) had told Stark to "shut up" during the committee meeting, Stark denounced him as "a little wimp. Come on, come over here and make me, I dare you. . . . You little fruitcake. You little fruitcake. I said you are a fruitcake."

Actually, while all the tensions of this situation are a bit comical, the real problem here is that we don't have a divided government right now. The whole separation of powers between the branches was designed to put checks and balances in place between the branches. In the original design, part of this was making sure the house, senate, president (and court for that matter) were all decided in different ways and served different constituancies.

  • The house was elected in small districts directly by the people, and was the representation for the PEOPLE.
  • The senate was appointed by the state legislatures and represnted the STATES.
  • The president was appointed by the electoral college and represented the NATIONAL STATE

    Unfortunately, very quickly after President Washington, the electoral college ceased to be a deliberative body as it was intended to be, and became a rubber stamp for those electing the electors, to the point today that we usually don't even know who the electors are, and only who they are "pledged" to. They weren't even supposed to be behoilden to a specific presidential candidate before the election in the way it was supposed to work!! You were supposed to choose people to be electors who had good judgement and who could make the decision to pick the president from those nominated by the electoral college when they met. Don't even get me started on how much of a corruption even HAVING primaries is... Anyway, while the way electors are proportioned between the states is slightly different than how it is done in the house, it is very close, essentially making the constituancy of both the president and the house to be almost the same. Thus weakening the differences of interest inherant in the design, and weakening the checks and balances.

    Anyway, it was further corrupted by the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, which instituted the popular election of senators, thus depriving completely the states of a voice in the federal government, and once again aligning the constituancies and interests of the senate with the house and the president. Once again weakening the checks and balances.

    And so we end up with a system that originally carefully seperated the interests of the three bodies, to ensure stong checks and balances and differences between the bodies, with one where the interests are now closely aligned. Now the ONLY time the checks and balances actually work as they were intended to work is when we have divided government, with the presidency and the congress in different hands. Because this is the only time the bodies will truely conflict with each other, resulting in the blunting of extreme actions on any side, and the forging of more reasonable compromises. (Although, I must admit, even in divided government, the congress often rolls over and does not protest at the encroachment of executive power into many areas that it should be protective of.)

    Anyway... whenever there is no division, and we have all Republican control, or we have all Democratic control as has occured previously, you get the potental for unchecked abuses by both the congress and the presidency. Given that the other factors which attempted to ensure differences in interests between the branches have eroded or failed, divided government is really needed. Hopefully at the election the Dems will be able to take either the congress, or the presidency, BUT NOT BOTH.

    Abulsme - Sat, 19 Jul 2003, 06:09:40 PDT
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  • Fri 18 Jul 2003

    Those Kids and their Music!

    OK, so I am buying a house. I am about to leave this apartment. I have been in this apartment for almost seven years. But in the last two weeks something has happened that has never happened before here.

    I had a new set of neighbors move into the apartment directly below me about a week ago. And they are loud. Almost every night they are playing really loud music, with a big thumping bass line. I can feel the vibrations with every beat. And it sounds like for the second time since they have been here they are having a party or something. I hear lots and lots of loud voices from below. Muffled, but loud. And occationally loud TV noises too.

    These people must be deaf or going deaf. None of my other neighbors have ever played their stuff this loud or made so much damn noise. I am trying to just watch a little TV here, and maybe sleep, but it is loud enough to be distracting.

    This sucks.

    I am glad I am moving in... 24 days... Woo!

    Abulsme - Fri, 18 Jul 2003, 19:45:48 PDT
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    So, I was supposed to meet Brandy after work to review more papers on the house. But the papers were not ready. But she called and was all saying she'd had a rough week and how about a drink. I was very tired, but got talked into it. We met near my new house. At which point it was noticed that smoke was pouring out of the front of my car and coolant was spurting out and leaking all over the ground. Oh good.

    So we bought some new coolant at the nearby grocery store, went to Pizzaria Uno and had a drink while the stupid thing cooled down, then I filled up the coolant and drove home without it overheating again.

    But this means in the morning I have to take it in to the dealer to have them fix the leak. Which means I have to get up way early since in the afternoon I am meeting Kelly to help me pick out and buy a new suit. I ruined my old suit by washing it by mistake, and I have a wedding to go to in a couple of weeks.

    Anyway, I'll have to deal with the car in the morning before that. Poo.

    Abulsme - Fri, 18 Jul 2003, 19:40:06 PDT
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    He'll be crushed!

    Kasp is ready to try again against another computer. I wonder if I'll be able to get tickets again! These are fun to watch. And I always love rooting for the computer. They shouldn't let the computer accept draws though!

    Machine vs. Man: Checkmate (Steven Levy of Newsweek on

    Still, Kasparov is preparing to throw himself into the breach once more. In November he will play his third computer opponent in a highly touted match. The first, of course, was IBM's Deep Blue, which in 1997 beat him in a battle that he insists to this day was unfairly stacked against him. Then, earlier this year, he fought to an unsatisfying draw against Deep Junior, programmed by two Israelis. Next up will be X3d Fritz...

    (via ChessWatch)

    Abulsme - Fri, 18 Jul 2003, 15:42:57 PDT
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    OK, I know I am not going to be able to resist this. There is a wall in the loft of the new place that I think would be perfect to turn into a television. But I probably really should wait until after closing to buy it and a mounting bracket for it (so I can hang it from the ceiling). I am resisting the temptation to hit the "buy" button now. At under a grand now, these things are looking much better than they did when they cost five times that much...

    InFocus X1: Another Price/Performance Breakthrough (Evan Powell on

    The simple economics of the situation will stimulate consumers who have never considered anything other than a television to think twice. Time was when projectors were for the rich, and the typical consumer had to stay with television. With the X1, the question will be "can you afford not to go front projection?"

    Abulsme - Fri, 18 Jul 2003, 08:49:36 PDT
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    Thu 17 Jul 2003


    Noticed yesterday that Randy registered for this site. Cool. Thanks Randy. Of course, I don't think that actually achieves anything at this point. Originally I had it set up so you could only post comments if you were registered. But I turned that off after the second day. I think right now, the only thing you get if you register is the ability to see the other registered people.

    I could make it so other registered people could actually add new entries (a "group blog") but I don't think I want to do that.

    I suppose I could do something like email all the registered people whenever I do an update too. But I'm not sure about that whole thing.

    I also discovered that with the free version of this software the mail features (like, send Sam an email whenever anyone leaves a comment) only work if you have an SMTP server running on the webserver, which I don't right now. The Pro version lets you use an external SMTP server, and has a couple other interesting features. I may have to upgrade sometime.

    Also though, while the old PowerMac G3 I'm running this on is fine for a static site, it is noticably slow with this dynamic site, and sometimes times out when I post new things. Kind of annoying. But when I get a new computer in January, I want to get another laptop, not a new desktop to use as a server!

    Abulsme - Thu, 17 Jul 2003, 19:21:45 PDT
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    Blair's Speech

    Once again, this is a great speech. Read it. Read the whole thing.

    Text of Prime Minister Blair's Speech to Congress (Reuters at the Washington Post)

    As Britain knows, all predominant power seems for a time invincible, but, in fact, it is transient.

    The question is: What do you leave behind?

    And what you can bequeath to this anxious world is the light of liberty.

    That is what this struggle against terrorist groups or states is about. We're not fighting for domination. We're not fighting for an American world, though we want a world in which America is at ease. We're not fighting for Christianity, but against religious fanaticism of all kinds.

    And this is not a war of civilizations, because each civilization has a unique capacity to enrich the stock of human heritage.

    We are fighting for the inalienable right of humankind -- black or white, Christian or not, left, right or a million different -- to be free, free to raise a family in love and hope, free to earn a living and be rewarded by your efforts, free not to bend your knee to any man in fear, free to be you so long as being you does not impair the freedom of others.

    That's what we're fighting for. And it's a battle worth fighting.

    It may just be good speech writing and delivery, but it is *GOOD* speech writing and delivery. Conveying the message in a way I have not heard from W. Or if I have, it is somehow less convincing from him because of the other things he says and the stupid and disturbing things that come out of his mouth.

    It may not convince me that the war was the right way to have gone about this, I think there were better ways that could have done less overall damage. But this leaves the impression that it comes from a man of integrity standing up for principals I can believe in and follow. One that thinks things through, and actually does have the world's (and his country's) best interests at heart.

    By contrast, speeches by W make me feel like I am listening to a jingoistic idiot who has goals and objectives which I do not trust, and who I don't believe thinks out or understands the full implications of his decisions and instead relies on the analysis of people who I trust even less.

    Oh, and I liked his jokes near the beginning too:

    Mr. Speaker, sir, my thrill on receiving this award was only a little diminished on being told that the first Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to George Washington for what Congress called his "wise and spirited conduct" in getting rid of the British out of Boston.

    On our way down here, Senator Frist was kind enough to show me the fireplace where, in 1814, the British had burnt the Congress Library. I know this is, kind of, late, but sorry.

    Actually, you know, my middle son was studying 18th century history and the American War of Independence, and he said to me the other day, "You know, Lord North, Dad, he was the British prime minister who lost us America. So just think, however many mistakes you'll make, you'll never make one that bad."

    And true, he didn't address the problems with intelligence and other factors which rushed this thing along faster than needed, which is being shown more and more by the day. But I don't think he needed to during this speech. It wasn't the time and place for that.

    Anyway, read the Blair speech. It is very good. Made me feel more patriotic than anything I heard anybody say on July 4th.

    Abulsme - Thu, 17 Jul 2003, 14:54:31 PDT
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    Can I please vote for Tony Blair for President?

    Wow. I just listened to Tony Blair's speech to Congress. He blew me away. He is so much more convincing than W, so much more reasonable, and said all the right sorts of things. I would probably vote for this man in a second, whereas voting for W is pretty much unthinkable to me. I thought the way W rushed into Iraq was irresponsible and reckless. I think Tony would have worked toward the same result, even perhaps including the same level of military action, but just done it in a much better way.

    In any case, Blair was very very impressive. If you missed the speech, look for a transcript or audio/video of it.

    Anyway, more thoughts once I find a transcript online and am actually home from work and have time to think, as opposed to now when I have to get back to work.

    For now, here's a link to the CNN story on the speech.

    Abulsme - Thu, 17 Jul 2003, 13:41:57 PDT
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    Gravity Talk

    Oh no, I saw this talk about gravity propigating at infinate speed, and just had to insert myself. Oh well.

    What's The Speed of Gravity? (Thread on

    Uh... several people have said that current experiments and theories predict an infinate speed for propigation of gravitational forces. This is just not correct. It was correct for Newton, but this was a big part of Einsteins General Relativity. One of the assumptions of the theory was in fact that gravitational forces would indeed propagate at exactly the speed of light.

    Abulsme - Thu, 17 Jul 2003, 07:58:17 PDT
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    Six Today

    Got in at 13:50 after once again taking my time at home. So six dollars for Kelly. I still feel very tired though. I slept on the couch, cause that is where I was, and I never sleep as well on the couch, which is probably why I do it 50% of the time. Anyway, still tired. Only one meeting today in the afternoon. The rest of my day today will be working through a couple of voice mails, a bunch of emails, and a huge pile of papers to evaluate and either throw away and read, and through all of this find items to add to my to do list.

    It will be hard to keep awake. I think I will start with a walk to get a White Chocolate Molcha at the mini-Starbucks they have down the hall. I need to stop at the ATM too. Kelly took my last six dollars.

    Abulsme - Thu, 17 Jul 2003, 07:02:56 PDT
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    Wed 16 Jul 2003

    Three Three Three

    OK, it is now 3 UTC. I have been up since, what was it, 11 UTC? No, it was 10 UTC. With alarms ringing since 9 UTC. And that was after only 3 hours of sleep or so. I was really tired hours ago. Especially afetr I ate. But I am still up. I have a few more emails from Wednesday yet to answer, but I am getting more and more sleepy. So I think I'm going to call it quits for the night. I'll clean up the rest of Wednesday in the morning before I leave for work. Maybe I'll actually get to work by 13 and not have to pay Kelly. :-)

    Abulsme - Wed, 16 Jul 2003, 20:02:27 PDT
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    Jon Said It Was Lame

    After my meeting was over today, I called Jon from work, who I knew was at MacWorld, and asked if it was worth my while to catch a cab and go visit MacWorld. Jon said not to bother, that it was "really pathetic".

    Apple's Manhattan Freak Show by Michelle Delio at Wired News

    It's all happening this week at Macworld CreativePro Expo where, in lieu of the usual ecstatic insanity invoked by Apple CEO Steve Jobs' traditional opening address, the lunatics have apparently decided to take over the asylum.

    Abulsme - Wed, 16 Jul 2003, 17:41:41 PDT
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    Too Bad for RIAA

    Ha Ha! (For now anyway.)

    Hot spots elude RIAA dragnet by John Borland on CNET

    Early last spring, NYCWireless co-founder Anthony Townsend got a note in the mail saying that someone on his network had been violating copyright laws.

    This type of note is becoming increasingly common as record companies and Hollywood studios subpoena Internet service providers (ISPs) for information about subscribers in order to stop people from trading songs and movies online. But Townsend's case was unusual: As the representative of a loose collection of wireless "hot spot" Internet access points, there was no way he or the relevant access point operator in New York's Bryant Park could identify or warn the file trader.

    Of course, I'm 100% Apple Music Store for new music downloads now. No more gnutella for Sam. They still have to work on their selection though.

    Abulsme - Wed, 16 Jul 2003, 17:33:39 PDT
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    All For It!

    Still small compared to the larger industry, but growing quickly. Woo! That means nicer places and more people and stuff. Cool.

    Nudism becoming big biz (Rose DeWolf of Knight Ridder on

    Annual revenue associated with nude travel, nude resorts and other places where the only thing worn is sunscreen jumped from $120 million in 1992 to $400 million last year.

    (via Fark)

    Abulsme - Wed, 16 Jul 2003, 16:19:31 PDT
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    Randy Shows Up!

    So, Randy confirms that it was him I saw in my logs, and leaves a comment. The first comment by other than me on here. Woo! Thanks Randy!

    The Post with Randy's Comment

    Sam, I did indeed notice the new blog look yesterday. And now I'm leaving a comment. Look at me! I'm so cool!

    Do you want to know what's on my desk right now? I'll tell you. A 19" monitor. This keyboard, which is an old clicker I salvaged out of some lab. It's nice and loud, I like it. A pair of speakers. Don't use them much, this office is like a frickin library. My old tactile membrane crap keyboard. A recipe for shoo-fly pie on 3x5 cards. An iomega peerless disk with some old files on it. I don't even really remember what's on it.


    There is more in typical Randy style if you click through.

    Ok though, time to check if Randy made the top ten in the last year and thus would meet what I've kept saying it would be fun to wait for... lets see... Looks like Randy last made my email top ten in September 1999. Yeah, that's not in the last year. So still waiting.

    But thanks Randy for the long comment! :-)

    Abulsme - Wed, 16 Jul 2003, 15:41:07 PDT
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    Not Surprising, but kinda sucks

    Just like with Challenger. They lasted a little while and probably knew quite well what was happening. Not "instant" at all. :-(

    Columbia crew probably lived at least a minute beyond last contact (LA Times on AJC)

    The crew of Columbia lived for at least one minute after their last communication with NASA ground controllers in Houston, a potentially important finding that could affect future efforts to improve the survivability of space shuttle accidents, investigators said Tuesday.

    (via Google News)

    Abulsme - Wed, 16 Jul 2003, 03:23:48 PDT
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    Well, so Lynn was the first person I know personally to look at the redesigned site since I redesigned it as far as I can tell. And she emailed me, but without any comments on the site. And looking at the logs I suspect Randy may have looked at it yesterday, but no comments.

    Erikas looked at the redesigned site this morning and sent me email commenting on where my random trip selector was sending him, and saying "Oh yeah, nice blog" thus becoming the first person to actually comment on the blog. Thanks Erikas! I'll answer your email tonight or tomorrow probably. :-)

    Still waiting for the first comment from anybody who has made my top ten email list within the last year. I'm trying to avoid mentioning my website to people just to see how long it takes. But I did slip and mentioned the site to Brandy yesterday in answer to a question. So if she sees this and comments, I'll still be looking to see who is the first person to say something without haveing been prompted in email by me to check the site for something.

    This is a fun game! Still deciding if there should be a prize. :-)

    OK. Now I really have to rush and get ready to go. Had I mentioned, YAWN?

    Abulsme - Wed, 16 Jul 2003, 03:11:08 PDT
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    Getting up at 10 UTC

    I have a meeting in NYC at 13 UTC today. Which means I should be out of the house by 11 UTC at the latest. Which means my alarms started going off at 9 UTC. After me not actually lying down to sleep until about 6 UTC. I hate days like this. Yawn! It is now 10 UTC. I am now up I guess. Gotta rush to get ready and out the door now. Yawn! Yawn! Yawn!

    Abulsme - Wed, 16 Jul 2003, 03:08:29 PDT
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    Tue 15 Jul 2003

    Voting in Primaries

    I just got an email from my grandmother encouraging her grandchildren to register in order to be able to vote in the primaries as well as the general election. She also implying a subtle endorsement of Dean as a possibility. I first wrote something longer and bringing up more esoteric points, but I ended up thinking better of that and shortened my reply to this:

    Nah, voting in a primary implies endorsement of one of the two major parties, and even worse, acceptance of the ridiculous two party system and unfortunate legal recognition of parties rather than simply individuals and all sorts of legal mechanisms that favor the two major parties over independent candidates.

    If one is a partisan, and active member of one of the two major parties, I guess voting in a primary would make logical sense and in fact be a recommended activity. But myself, objecting strongly to BOTH parties, only differing on which issues I violently disagree with depending on the party, and also the specific individual running, won't be doing that.

    As usual, I'll look at all the candidates on the ballot come the general election (there are usually about 6 to 10 of them) and pick the one that most closely matches my stands on various issues. If nobody is on the ballot that matches more than say 80%, then I'll write someone in who does. :-)

    There was a second email from her talking about Governor Dean and mentioning again how important it was to vote in the primaries. This time I replied with this:

    Having said what I said in the last one, Dean does seem kind of interesting. I've been reading his blog entries. Not that I necessarily agree with him on lots. But interesting none the less.

    I'd be curious to see who comes up top for you in this "Candidate Selector"... you answer a bunch of questions on various issues, and it ranks the candidates by how well they match your views...

    Here is the ranking I got when I told it to not exclude anybody, even those who have withdrawn already, have not yet announced, and of course not excluding 3rd parties. Dean came in tied for 3rd with a 70% match to my views. Of the Democrats my best match is apparently Kucinich at 82%. This compares to President Bush at a 58% match to my views. (By comparison, Al Gore only matches me at the 29% level.) But the as yet unchosen and unnamed Libertarian party candidate comes in at a 100% match. So unless they end up nominating someone I really dislike, I'll probably end up voting Libertarian again as I did in the last two Presidential elections. My candidates never win. :-) But they do most accurately represent my own views, which I believe to be important.

    1. Libertarian Candidate (100%)
    2. Kucinich, Cong. Dennis, OH - Democrat (82%)
    3. Dean, Gov. Howard, VT - Democrat (70%)
    4. Kerry, Senator John, MA - Democrat (70%)
    5. Clinton, Senator Hillary Rodham, NY - Democrat (69%)
    6. Feingold, Senator Russ, WI - Democrat (68%)
    7. Buchanan, Patrick J. – Reform/Republican (67%)
    8. Sharpton, Reverend Al - Democrat (65%)
    9. Green Party Candidate (64%)
    10. Leahy, Patrick Senator, Vermont - Democrat (62%)
    11. Edwards, Senator John, NC - Democrat (61%)
    12. Socialist Candidate (61%)
    13. Lieberman Senator Joe CT - Democrat (60%)
    14. Daschle, Senate Minority Leader Tom, SD - Democrat (60%)
    15. Bush, George W. - US President (58%)
    16. Bayh, Senator Evan, IN - Democrat (58%)
    17. Gephardt, Cong. Dick, MO - Democrat (56%)
    18. Biden, Senator Joe, DE - Democrat (54%)
    19. Jackson, Cong. Jesse Jr., IL - Democrat (49%)
    20. Graham, Senator Bob, FL - Democrat (45%)
    21. Dodd, Senator Chris, CT - Democrat (44%)
    22. Clark, Retired Army General Wesley K "Wes" Arkansas - Democrat (42%)
    23. Moseley-Braun, Former Senator Carol IL - Democrat (41%)
    24. Feinstein, Senator Dianne, CA - Democrat (39%)
    25. Kaptur, Cong. Marcy, OH - Democrat (36%)
    26. Phillips, Howard - Constitution (36%)
    27. Bradley, Former Senator Bill NJ - Democrat (31%)
    28. Gore, Former Vice-President Al - Democrat (29%)
    29. Hagelin, John - Natural Law (26%)
    30. McCain, Senator John, AZ- Republican (24%)
    31. Vilsack, Governor. Tom IA - Democrat (11%)
    32. Hart, Former Senator Gary, CO - Democrat (11%)
    33. LaRouche, Lyndon H. Jr. - Democrat (0%)

    For those of you who saw the SelectSmart results I got a couple weeks ago, this is more acurate, as last time I neglected to fill in the "how important is this issue to you" parts, so the various issues were not properly weighted. This is probably better. Although I think some of this may evolve over the next year and a half before the election. :-)

    I wonder how my grandmother will react. Hopefully she won't be too upset with me. :-)

    Abulsme - Tue, 15 Jul 2003, 21:28:43 PDT
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    Closet Doors

    When I got home today, the people had been here again. They put the doors back up on my closet and rehung the shade for the hall light and the carbon monoxide detector and stuff.

    They looked at the dryer, but just left a note saying "clean the lint trap after each use". Well DUH. OK, I do clean it BEFORE each use, and I forgot to clean it before they came, although I did remember to empty the dryer. But I *do* do that. Every time. The problem is the lint trap isn't catching everything and a lot of lint is getting through that and into the rest of the works. And the stupid thing does get warm, just not warm enough. I have to run it full length (2 hours) two times to get a load dry. Three times if there are any towels or sheets or blankets in there.

    But you know, screw it. I'm in this apartment for LESS THAN FOUR MORE WEEKS. And this dryer has had these issues almost the whole time I've been here. So I'm not going to call and bitch and tell them to look more deeply. I'm going to ignore it, and the next person who lives here can deal with it.

    But at least the closet doors are back on.

    Abulsme - Tue, 15 Jul 2003, 16:13:59 PDT
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    Apple Guide

    This page seems to be pretty useful. Shows where Apple Products are within the average product cyles for each line. Neat. Says not to buy a Powerbook now, cause they are overdue for an update. Which I knew. But cool. I plan to replace my powerbook at the end of January with whatever is the best powerbook available at that time. I am hoping for not just a speedbump but a major revision before then. But we shall see.

    This page provides a product summary for each Apple model. The intent is to provide our best recommendations regarding current product cycles, and to provide a summary of currently available rumors for each model.

    (via "Sick of Waiting" thread on AppleInsider)

    Abulsme - Tue, 15 Jul 2003, 09:29:53 PDT
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    Greenspan Rate Comments

    If Greenspan cuts rates and mortgage rates drop again before my closing on August 11th now that I've locked in, I'll be quite pissed at myself, and Ivan can say "I told you so".

    Greenspan Says Fed Could Cut Rates Again (AP on Yahoo News)

    The Federal Reserve stands ready to reduce interest rates even further if necessary to boost the sluggish economy and guard against a destabilizing fall in prices, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Tuesday.

    Although, the next Fed meeting, which is when these things usually happen, will be August 12th, which is the day after my closing. So it probably won't affect me. :-)

    Abulsme - Tue, 15 Jul 2003, 08:51:10 PDT
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    It would not be fun to have to be a voter in this and pick between characters like this. But I don't live in California, and watching this from the sidelines is going to be fun!

    The Battle of the Accents (Don Hazen, Alternet)

    Hard to believe, but this fall those two accented icons, Greek-born Arianna Huffington and Austrian-born Arnold Schwarzenegger, may well be battling to the wire to take the California governorship away from sad sack Gray Davis, who has embarrassed himself to near unanimous public contempt in the state.

    (via Cursor)

    Abulsme - Tue, 15 Jul 2003, 08:44:57 PDT
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    Four for Kelly

    I coulda been in at 13 today. Alarm rang at 11. Was concious by 11:50. Out of bed by 12:10. But I took my time again. Put away laundry. Tidyed up in case the maintenence people come again to fix the closet. Watched an episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. See, I knew my first meeting wasn't until 14. But it means another $4 gone. Oh well. Time to get ready for that meeting.

    Abulsme - Tue, 15 Jul 2003, 06:41:30 PDT
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    Mon 14 Jul 2003

    Day 4

    Day 4 of my redesigned site. Woo! I am about to do the sleep thing. But before I do... I'm all curious about just how long it will take before someone from my regular top ten actually notices this revised site and comments on it. I wonder which of them (of those who have made my top ten in the last year) will notice and comment on it first. Dunno. Could be any of them I guess.

    Greg and Brandy knew I was working on adding the blog, cause they helped me test and set it up on a different URL before I made it the home page. But neither of them have commented on it since I actually activated it on the site. And certainly nobody else has.

    Dunno. Perhaps I should offer a prize for the first person from the last year of top tens who notices and says something to me. Or not. :-)

    Anyway, bedtime. ZZZzzz...

    Abulsme - Mon, 14 Jul 2003, 21:00:06 PDT
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    Justice Department Defies Court

    If they didn't want to comply, justice should have dropped the charges themselves to avoid the need. But for outright violating the courts order, not only should the case be dropped and Moussaoui set free, but the Justice Department officals responsible should be charged with contempt of court and sent to the slammer themselves.

    Story on

    The Justice Department on Monday refused a federal judge's order to allow accused terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui access to a captured al Qaeda leader because it would damage national security.

    If there is real evidence against this guy, and it certainly seems there is, then he should in fact go to trial, be convicted if the facts weigh out the case, and then he should be sentenced appropriately. But the man is entitled to a full and fair trial. Which means he should have access to *all* evidence against him that the prosecution intends to use, and he should be able to have access to any potential evidence or witnesses that might be able to provide evidence to clear him. If the government feels it is unable to prove its case in open court, with full defense (and accused) access to evidence, then it can't make the case, and needs to let him go.

    Now they are directly defying the authority of the court? Even after already losing appeals several times? Who do they think they are?

    Abulsme - Mon, 14 Jul 2003, 16:49:00 PDT
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    Checking for DirecTV with the Moon

    I just did this a couple weeks ago at the potential new place. I was a few minutes off on the time I looked outside, but it looked pretty clear, so I think I am good. Which makes me happy. But some guy was having the same problem, so I thought I'd try to help and answered the thread.

    TivoCommunity Thread on Tools to Check Dish Placement

    I pointed the guy at:

    which is the site that actually does the calculations.

    Hopefully it is helpful. I love that moon check thing. It is cool. I've used it a bunch of times. :-)

    Abulsme - Mon, 14 Jul 2003, 14:19:39 PDT
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    Locked Now

    Called both Ivan and Rebecca for advice. Ivan said don't lock cause it might go down again before closing, and probably wouldn't go up again. Rebecca said lock because it would give me more piece of mind and make one less thing for me to worry and stress about. Rebecca also recommended not paying any points, because it would take 6 years to break even with that, and who knows if I will stay that long, plus I will need the cash NOW for various things I'll find I need when I move in.

    I decided to go with Rebecca's advice. Ivan's might make more sense in raw financial terms. But Rebecca's also takes into account soft fuzzy emotional factors. I didn't really want to sell any more stock than I already had to finance this house thing, plus I *will* need the cash. As it is I'm thinking I will be pretty tight for the rest of the year.

    Paying the points back down to where it was would cost the same as the fridge I need to buy plus the vacation I plan to take, plus the cost of moving. At least. If I paid points, I'd still have to do something to take care of the rest of that. So screw that. Long term it may make better sense. But short term it does not.

    Having said all that, I'm still pissed at myself for not having paid closer attention and locked a couple weeks ago instead of now. And I'll be pissed at myself again if rates do go back down like Ivan thinks they might. But oh well. Locked and loaded now. I don't have to worry about it any more.

    OK. Back to work stuff again. And I have to fax one last paper related to this lock back to the mortgage people. But I am locked now.

    But I should have done it last week. Let me slap myself in the head a few more minutes. :-)

    Abulsme - Mon, 14 Jul 2003, 13:29:05 PDT
    Permalink and Comments [1 comments]

    Damn Rates!

    So this morning on the way to work I see a story on CNBC that mortgage rates are starting to go up again. Damn! I had expected them to basically stay flat, or maybe, just maybe, drop one more time before my closing. So I called Brandy to get my lock in NOW. But my rate had already gone from 5.375% to 5.75%. Which translates to an extra $50 a month or so for me. To buy it back in points at closing would cost me 3 grand or so. To do that I think I would have to sell stuff I don't want to sell. But maybe it would be worth it. Poo. I'll probably buy back at least half a point. Gunna run and check my finances real quick, then sign the lock in paper work. This blows. Should have locked in a week after the last fed rate once it was clear the mortgage rates were not going to drop because of that. Poo.

    Abulsme - Mon, 14 Jul 2003, 12:27:53 PDT
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    Stopped by at home on the way between offices for work. Just needed to pick up something here. The AC repair guy was just leaving. Cleaned the filters and recharged the AC, and supposidly now it will cool the place to 68. Of course they left it turned off. I just turned it on. We'll see if it works. If so, it will be the first time my place has been below 77 degrees in almost four weeks! It will be nice for it to be a decent temperature for the last month I'm here!

    Abulsme - Mon, 14 Jul 2003, 11:11:20 PDT
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    Just had lunch with Joe & Chu from work. Joe says between closing and moving in on the new place, I should paint and stuff. I hadn't even thought of that possibility. I don't think I'm going to. Don't want to spend the time and money on that sort of thing right away. On the other hand, it will be an empty house... Dunno.

    Abulsme - Mon, 14 Jul 2003, 10:28:34 PDT
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    14:08 UTC

    Yeah, I didn't make it. Didn't try all that hard. If I had really wanted to, I might have been able to if I skipped my shower and such and just got dressed and ran out the door as fast as humanly possible. But I didn't. I took my time. And I put away some laundry and tidyed up the place a bit before I left. And other stuff like that. Also, instead of going in to my office in the close building, this was a day for me to go to our other building, so I drove further. Could have stopped at the first building just to pay less, I passed it at 13:44, which would have been $5. But my first meeting was in the second building, so I kept driving. Got to the desk here at 14:08. So $7. Bleh. There goes this being the last week of this!

    Oh well. Time to work now. I"ve been fighting with the stupid old laptop I have here for work for the last half hour. Finally have it all rebooted and operational. Meeting in 20 minutes. I'll get ready for that and clear out some simple work email.

    Abulsme - Mon, 14 Jul 2003, 07:37:04 PDT
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    Well, alarms started going off at 10:30. But I didn't actually leave the bed until 12:20. In theory it might be possible to make it by 13. But the chances are VERY slim. Oh well. Suppose I should try. Yawn!

    Abulsme - Mon, 14 Jul 2003, 05:26:15 PDT
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    Sun 13 Jul 2003


    My normal work hours are 14:00 UTC to 22:00 UTC. But most people where I work tend to get in at 13:00 UTC. (During the summer anyway, in the winter everybody comes in an hour later. They do that goofy savings time thing here.) Anyway, it seemed like coming in an hour earlier at 13:00 UTC would be a good thing for me.

    So a couple months ago I made a bet with Kelly from work as a technique to motivate myself. I would pay her a dollar if I got in after 13:00 UTC, and an additional dollar for every 10 minutes beyond that I got in. So, for instance, if I came in at 13:43 UTC, she'd get five dollars. This would go on until I did an entire week getting in before 13:00 UTC.

    This has not gone well. I've ended up giving Kelly money almost every day. Maybe once a week or so I'll not have to. Some days I've had to pay up to $12. Kelly is now planning a vacation to Mexico financed by me being late. This is not good.

    So this week I am planning on doing the week on time, to end this thing. OK. Good.

    Problem. OK. To get in at 13, I need to have my alarm set to 11 to give me time to hit snooze a few times, get up, get ready, and get to work. OK. Fine. That means to have a decent nights sleep I have to be asleep by 3 UTC. Urgh. For me that is horribly early. I almost never get to sleep before 5 UTC. And it is often later.

    So today at 3 I started thinking about sleeping. At 4 UTC I actually turned off the lights and tried to sleep. I failed miserably. By 5 UTC I had given up and was surfing the web, answering email and making a couple posts here (my latest distraction). It is now after 7 UTC. I am finally starting to feel sleepy. But now I have to get up in only 4 hours.

    I doubt my willpower to actually get up when the alarm rings. My first meeting today is actually not until 15 UTC. In my little brain I know I don't HAVE to be at work until then. Even though 13 is my goal. And I will be sleepy and not fuilly concious and rational, and I will want to sleep.

    But I should try. This daily cash outflow needs to stop! I am buying a house after all! But I will keep my word on my little bet. I need to be in by 13 for a full calendar week to get out of this. I've got to try.

    Of course, to do that, I should stop writing, and try to sleep again. I think I will do that now.

    Abulsme - Sun, 13 Jul 2003, 23:57:43 PDT
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    So Self Deluded

    This story is pretty disturbing, although it basically says things we knew before. Basically Rumsfeld and the Pentagon were so self-absorbed int heir own vision of things that they were completely blinded to contrary input coming from elsewhere. And not just from the "opposition" but by the State Department and CIA.

    AFP on Yahoo News

    Pentagon planners failed to develop detailed plans for postwar Iraq because they were convinced Iraqis would welcome US troops and that a hand-picked exile leader would replace Saddam Hussein and impose order.


    Postwar planning documents from the State Department and the CIA were "disappearing down the black hole" at the Pentagon, a former US official was quoted as saying.

    For example, the Pentagon ignored the "Future of Iraq" project, an eight-month effort by the State Department involving 17 agencies and dozens of exiled Iraqi professionals.

    Officials in the Pentagon's Near East/South Asia bureau, which houses the Office of Special Plans, were told to ignore State Department views, according to Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, who retired from the bureau July 1.

    This is just one more example of this kind of thing coming from the Rumsfeld/Cheney/Wolfowitz worlds. They seem to pop up almost every day.

    I hope W will learn from these fiascos and spend a bit more time listening to Powell, and less time listening to these wackos. Although so far, that does not seem to be the case. W seems to be one of the wackos himself, or at least controled enough by them that it doesn't matter.

    (via History News Network)

    Abulsme - Sun, 13 Jul 2003, 22:51:04 PDT
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    the World as a Blog

    OK. Saw this thing pinging my site, and had to set myself up to be on it and added the needed metadata to my site and made sure the RSS version of my site was properly linked.. Pretty cool. I like it. You just watch it and people's geographic location lights up as their sites are updated.

    It uses the data at which I also made sure got updated. Which is neat because you can easily find other websites geographically close to me and via the sat picture of my location.

    I just have to remember to update my location once I move.

    I'll save hooking the GPS to my laptop and having it update the location automatically every few minutes for some later project. :-)

    Abulsme - Sun, 13 Jul 2003, 18:18:42 PDT
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    So, I went to the Americana, had some pasta spinich thing. It was really good. The waitress was really cute. All was good. But when I left I was completely stuffed. And when I got home, my apartment was above 80 again. (I put in the work request almost 3 weeks ago, they still haven't fixed the AC.)

    It was hot. I was stuffed. I fell asleep within minutes. Just woke up again now, several hours later. The poor birds still haven't had their cage cleaned. I guess I really should do that right now. But it is so HOT! I don't feel like moving!

    The temperature outside dropped to less than the temp inside while I was asleep. So I just opened the windows and such. So it should get better soon. It is a good thing I am moving I guess.

    But I should clean the birdcage. And feed them.

    Abulsme - Sun, 13 Jul 2003, 17:47:11 PDT
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    Tivo Ratings

    If Tivo becomes widespread and these sort of ratings details become commonplace, it will indeed radically change the economic model of television. But for the better I think.

    Earlier this summer, TiVo - makers of a personal video recording device - unveiled an analytical tool that can tell advertisers, ad agencies and television networks not only how many people tune into a show, but whether they’re watching the ads. The technology is far more accurate than a Nielsen rating because it uses computer technology to track viewing habits, not handwritten surveys filled out by viewers after the fact.

    Broadcasters are frightened over this development, according to a new report by BusinessWeek Online. “This is the beginning of the end of that drunken orgy of dollars spent on broadcast TV as the ultimate ‘reach’ vehicle,” said Tim Hanlon, vice-president for emerging contacts at Starcom MediaVest, an ad agency that helped TiVo design its new service.


    Abulsme - Sun, 13 Jul 2003, 12:44:36 PDT
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    Robot Segway

    OK, now as I mentioned to some people right after the Segway came out, THIS is the kind of thing that seems like the most probable common use. We'll see how it turns out. But I'd been waiting to see this.

    (via SlashDot)

    Abulsme - Sun, 13 Jul 2003, 12:33:49 PDT
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    Two Others Before BlueYonder and Lynn

    OK, looks like a couple other people may have looked at the redesigned site before Lynn did. Going back in the log files I missed a couple. followed a link to me from Funny Pet Photos which highlighted a picture I took of Sara soon after I found her on I-95.

    That hit was after the basic redesign of the site, but before I added the camera.

    Then there was a hit from No referrer, so I don't know what brought them here. But it looks like it might be a real human. All the other hits so far to the front page are either me or robots I think. A few hits to random pages on the site from search engines as well, and Brandy hit the camera page, but I'm not looking at those right now.

    But anyway, Lynn appears to be the first person I know to look at the new front page (including the return of the AbulCam) and BlueYonder person seems to be the first person coming from the Ecosystem link. And Brandy did look at the camera (I'd given her the URL since she was with me when I bought the iSight). Nobody who has made my email top ten in the last year has looked at the front page yet as far as I can tell. It will probably be awhile. None of them check the site regularly I don't think. :-)

    OK. Enough watching log files for now. I have to clean that birdcage, get some food, and then answer email!

    Abulsme - Sun, 13 Jul 2003, 12:00:48 PDT
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    Hello Blueyonder

    Hello to You seem to be the first person other than myself hitting the front page after following a link from the Ecosystem. Glad to have you! :-)

    It looks like my friend Lynn also hit the front page of my site a little bit earlier, and was the first real human being other than myself to look at the redesigned front page of my site as far as I can tell. She emailed me. I'll email her back in a bit. I'm behind on my email so it might take me a little bit. :-)

    I'm behind on my email because I'm determined to clean my parakeets' cage before sitting down to do email, and I'm procrastinating.

    Abulsme - Sun, 13 Jul 2003, 11:48:30 PDT
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    True Again?

    What? The buying uranium thing that was from information in documents proved to be forged and widely discredited many months ago is now true again because it is supported by "other intelligence"? It sounds like grasping at straws to me. Plus, they can't keep their story straight.

    WASHINGTON - The Bush administration said Sunday the president's statement in the State of the Union address about Iraq (news - web sites)'s seeking uranium was accurate and is supported by other British and U.S. information.

    Abulsme - Sun, 13 Jul 2003, 10:29:46 PDT
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    I'm a bright?

    I guess I am a bright. But I think this new name sucks, and is not a meme that will last. I'll stick with agnostic I think. Opinion piece here by Daniel Dennett.

    The time has come for us brights to come out of the closet. What is a bright? A bright is a person with a naturalist as opposed to a supernaturalist world view. We brights don't believe in ghosts or elves or the Easter Bunny — or God. We disagree about many things, and hold a variety of views about morality, politics and the meaning of life, but we share a disbelief in black magic — and life after death.

    (via Blogdex)

    Abulsme - Sun, 13 Jul 2003, 09:07:29 PDT
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    Insignificant Microbe

    OK. I went ahead and added myself to the Blogosphere Ecosystem on The Truth Laid Bear. I don't expect ever to evolve beyond the "Insignificant Microbe" category as I never have and probably never will really promote this site, I just do it for my own gratification. I'm pretty much the only one who ever looks at it. But hey, might as well get on some lists for a few more occational random hits. :-)

    The pMachine software I'm using for this also automatically notifies whenever I make an update. And I've noticed that apperantly a few other automated blog trackers apperantly take their cues from to decide when to scan things. Which is cool I guess. At least more robotic spiders will see my site!

    Oh, and to make sure I get on both the link list and the traffic list at the Ecosystem, I added the silly sitemeter thing too. You can click on the traffic meter at the very bottom of this page and see all by stats. At least for the parts of my site I've added the new footer to so far. Right now it validates that I am the only one looking at this. Which is OK. :-)

    Hmmm. After setting up the webcam and then adding the counter and registering myself for the ecosystem. I think it is time to call it a day. Or night. Or whatever.

    Abulsme - Sun, 13 Jul 2003, 01:11:39 PDT
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    Sat 12 Jul 2003

    Trouble Brewing

    The strains are apperantly building up in Kurdistan.

    Turkey warned the U.S. that its troops will fire back at U.S. soldiers if another attempt is made to arrest Turkish soldiers in Iraq, Milliyet daily reported, without saying how it obtained the information.

    (via Unqualified Offerings)

    Abulsme - Sat, 12 Jul 2003, 23:24:37 PDT
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    Heart Tossing

    Eww! This is a little bizzare. Although at the same time quite cool. This kid had to have a heart transplant. But after it was over, they let him PLAY WITH HIS OLD HEART!!!

    (via Dave Barry)

    Abulsme - Sat, 12 Jul 2003, 23:16:01 PDT
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    Late to the Blogosphere

    I'm late. I knew I was slow starting to do this. Should have done it a long time ago. But at least I beat the BIG crowd!

    The "blogosphere" may never be the same after America Online releases free blog-publishing software to its 34 million members this summer.

    (via Google News)

    Abulsme - Sat, 12 Jul 2003, 22:56:15 PDT
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    Oh yeah, the AbulCam is back! I have it set so I can easily swap it between Ares (the server for and Zeus (my Powerbook). It is updating the website with pictures every minute when it is hooked to Zeus, more often (for now) when it is hooked to Ares (since it is a local file save instead of an ftp). Woo! Of course, this means I have to start making sure I'm decent when the camera is on again. Oh well. I should be able to do that. :-)

    (I did eliminate the "Eating" section of the site since I've been doing really badly at going through those 100 restaurants closest to my place, plus I'm moving in a month anyway.)

    Oh, and if anybody else has iChatAV and a video camera, Video Chat me at "Abulsme" on iChatAV. I want to try that. :-)

    Abulsme - Sat, 12 Jul 2003, 22:26:59 PDT
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    Of course I got it. Was there ever any doubt? Have the box in front of me right now. I probably won't have anybody to video chat with on iChatAV, but I'll try to set up the AbulCam again. It has been more than a year I think since the AbulCam was last in operation. I just couldn't keep the old 6100 up as a webcam server any more. But now, this here should work. :-)

    Abulsme - Sat, 12 Jul 2003, 19:19:32 PDT
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    Houses and Cameras

    In just a couple seconds I'm leaving to go meet Brandy (my agent) to sign some more papers and turn in some more financial documentation as part of me buying a house. Less than a month until closing. Gulp!

    Of course, once I'm at her office, I realized I'll be close to an Apple Store. Well, maybe not right next door, but not too far away. And I am getting a hankering for that iSight. Now, I'm buying a house right now. And I'm going to have to get stuff for the house. And I'm doing the next random trip shortly. I really should not be spending money. But it isn't THAT much, right? Right? Pooh. We'll see if I am able to resist or not. I really should wait a few months. We'll see.

    Abulsme - Sat, 12 Jul 2003, 13:20:04 PDT
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    Both Wrong?

    Charles Krauthammer goes off on Democrats for supporting intervention in Liberia but having issues with Iraq and comes to the conclusion that maybe Democrats only support military intervention in places where there are no US strategic interests. Whatever. Maybe in some cases. Dunno. But perhaps they are BOTH wrong? We really should only be sending in the military when there is an extreme need and our national interests are in danger. This was not the case in Iraq, and it is not the case in Liberia either. There was no need for us to go into Iraq (although now we have no choice but to make the best of it). There is no need for us to go into Liberia. The main argument at this point to go into Liberia would be to help heal the wounds with the rest of the world incurred by the Iraq adventure. That might be something worth considering this for.

    (via MaxSpeak)

    Abulsme - Sat, 12 Jul 2003, 11:53:40 PDT
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    Rubber Duck, Come in Rubber Duck, Put the Hammer Down

    This is a really fun unintentional experiment. I'd like to see graphs and charts though.

    A consignment of thousands of rubber ducks is expected to wash up any day on the coast of New England - after more than a decade at sea.

    Abulsme - Sat, 12 Jul 2003, 10:56:14 PDT
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    This whole concept is a shameful travisty of anything even resembling justice or due process. The defendants can't see all the evidence against them. There is no client-lawyer confideniality. (Not to mention they haven't been able to see lawyers at all most of the time.) Hopefully there will be enough public pressure on this that either these eventually get transfered to a civilian court (unlikely) or the military keeps "adjusting" the rules as they already have a little to make these a little closer to what one would expect in a fair process.

    But as the Pentagon prepares for the first such proceedings in more than 50 years, it is encountering a potent criticism: many lawyers and bar groups say the conditions for civilian defense lawyers are so restrictive that they might not agree to participate in the process and thereby lend it legitimacy.

    Abulsme - Sat, 12 Jul 2003, 10:27:37 PDT
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    Rebecca's Candidate

    Rebecca is really into this guy. I admit I haven't really started to pay huge amounts of attention yet to the various candidates. But this guy would certainly be interesting to watch. If he is going to get in, he should go ahead and get in. I get the idea of waiting a bit to jump in at the right moment. But you can't wait forever.

    The good news is that an ideal solution has landed in the Democrats' laps: Wesley Clark. The bad news is that because so few Democrats recognize the scale of the problem, not many of them grasp the solution.

    (via OxBlog)

    Abulsme - Sat, 12 Jul 2003, 09:54:11 PDT
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    Enough for Now

    OK. I've been playing with the new blog thing and adjusting webpages to work with it for over 8 hours now. I have the first "layer" from the home page converted. Lower than that may just have to get done sporadically as I happen to update those pages rather than all at once. Maybe later today I'll try some actual links to real news stories or blog stories or something. Or not. We'll see. For now, a little more TV, then sleep. Night all. Hmmm... I wonder if I don't actually announce the change to the site how long it will be before anybody notices and comments. I bet it will be awhile. I told two (2) people I was working on this blogging thing tonight. Haven't mentioned to anybody else. Lets call it an experiment.

    Of course all this adjusting my website makes me want to hurry up and get an iSight and get a webcam working again.

    Oh, and I do have to figure out how to get an automated backup of this blog thing going. I'll think about that later. Sleep is first.

    Abulsme - Sat, 12 Jul 2003, 00:51:39 PDT
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    Possible New Place

    Hey, I showed a few people, but hadn't yet linked to it from the site, so here it is. If all goes well, I am in the process of buying a townhouse/condo in Yardley, PA. At the home inspection my sister took a few pictures. You can see them here.

    Abulsme - Sat, 12 Jul 2003, 00:43:00 PDT
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    Fri 11 Jul 2003

    New AbulHome!

    Well, I went ahead and made the new Blog the homepage of A bunch of things are still rough and need to be adjusted to really work right. But I've got some time this weekend. I'll fix as much as I can, then anything that is left slowly fix over time. My priority will be things linked directly from the front page. The deeper things are, the longer until I clean them up and make them match the new front page.

    Also have to put some things in place to start backing up this new stuff since it is all database driven instead of file based. Can't be losing anything for posterity!

    Abulsme - Fri, 11 Jul 2003, 22:04:28 PDT
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    Getting the Hang

    I'm starting to get a hang of this thing and am customizing a few things. We'll see how this goes. I may make it my home page soon.

    Abulsme - Fri, 11 Jul 2003, 20:07:57 PDT
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    Testing grabbing something from a site.
    A line in President Bush's State of the Union address alleging that Iraq was trying to buy uranium in Africa should never been included in the speech, CIA Director George Tenet said Friday.

    Abulsme - Fri, 11 Jul 2003, 18:12:52 PDT
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    My First Entry

    So I tried to set up Movable Type first a few weeks ago, but ran into some issues. So today I tried pMachine, which I'd actually downloaded first. A couple of issues with mysql at first, but all up and running and happy now. Don't know what I will do with it yet, but it should be fun to play with.

    Abulsme - Fri, 11 Jul 2003, 17:31:51 PDT
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    Welcome to pMachine!

    This is an example weblog entry. We added it as a place-holder, so the page wouldn't be blank. You can delete it from within your control panel.

    Abulsme - Fri, 11 Jul 2003, 17:23:04 PDT
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