Archives: September 2003

Mon 29 Sep 2003


Over the weekend Apple released a new firmware upgrade to the Airport Extreme. I eagerly downloaded it and tried it out last night. Once again, my troubles getting to ares from zeus were instantly solved.... but once again the connection kept dropping every 15 to 20 minutes. So I reverted again to an older firmware... several versions old. And once again things do not drop, but the connection to ares will only work over the internal IP, not the external default host route. Oh well. Maybe the next firmware upgrade.

Abulsme - Mon, 29 Sep 2003, 08:32:04 PDT
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Fri 26 Sep 2003

Doctor in the House

And just at lunch today I was talking to some folks about dropping a couple of my season passes (including this one) in favor of some other things. Given this, perhaps I will wait. Hopefully it will air in the US too! And hopefully it will not suck!

Doctor Who ready to come out of the Tardis for Saturday TV series (Tom Leonard, Daily Telegraph)

After aeons drifting hopelessly lost in the space/time continuum, Doctor Who is finally coming back to Earth. In a move that heralds the most eagerly anticipated comeback in television history, BBC1 said yesterday that it is developing a new series of the sci-fi classic.
(via SlashDot)

Abulsme - Fri, 26 Sep 2003, 11:32:11 PDT
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The Unfortunate Possible Future of the Internet

This is a very good read. Kinda long. I admit toward the end I started skimming. But good stuff. It lays out a very plausible development path attempting to solve current Internet problems, which results in an end-state that, at least to me, is scary and unfriendly, with constraints and controls everywhere. I'm sure steps in these directions will happen. Hopefully good ways to undermine them will pop up as quickly as they are developed.

The Digital Imprimatur (John Walker,

Over the last two years I have become deeply and increasingly pessimistic about the future of liberty and freedom of speech, particularly in regard to the Internet. This a complete reversal of the almost unbounded optimism I felt during the 1994-1999 period when public access to the Internet burgeoned and innovative new forms of communication appeared in rapid succession. In that epoch I was firmly convinced that universal access to the Internet would provide a countervailing force against the centralisation and concentration in government and the mass media which act to constrain freedom of expression and unrestricted access to information. Further, the Internet, properly used, could actually roll back government and corporate encroachment on individual freedom by allowing information to flow past the barriers erected by totalitarian or authoritarian governments and around the gatekeepers of the mainstream media.


This is how I saw things at the euphoric peak of my recent optimism. Like the transition between expansion and contraction in a universe with [Omega] greater than 1, evidence that the Big Bang was turning the corner toward a Big Crunch was slow to develop, but increasingly compelling as events played out. Earlier I believed there was no way to put the Internet genie back into the bottle. In this document I will provide a road map of precisely how I believe that could be done, potentially setting the stage for an authoritarian political and intellectual dark age global in scope and self-perpetuating, a disempowerment of the individual which extinguishes the very innovation and diversity of thought which have brought down so many tyrannies in the past.
(via Doc Searls)

Abulsme - Fri, 26 Sep 2003, 11:20:23 PDT
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Cough Cough

It's probably stress induced, but I think I am getting sick. Energy levels have been ebbing for the last three days or so, and today I wake up with a nice hacking cough. . And a headache. Goodie. Oh well, gotta keep pushing through anyway. Bleh.

Abulsme - Fri, 26 Sep 2003, 09:11:02 PDT
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Tue 23 Sep 2003

Thus the Slow Traffic

I was complaining about all the backed up traffic coming into work this morning. This is why.

Severe Weather Hits Delaware Valley (

Meteorologist Paul Deanno says damaging winds and torrential downpours hit the region beginning around 7 a.m., quickly moving north. The National Weather Service says one tornado touched down in Ewing Township, Mercer County, while the other tornado touched down in Flemington, Hunterdon County.
Yup. That's right where I was driving though on the way to work. (Ewing Township that is.) Probably explains all the broken trees too. The tornado had passed by there probably an hour before I was driving to work.

The damage in the whole area last night was worse than anything from Isabel. I still have water and electric though. :-)

Abulsme - Tue, 23 Sep 2003, 08:56:01 PDT
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Mon 22 Sep 2003

Tivo Wishlists for the New Season

Well, the 2003 Emmy results came out, so that means last night I adjusted my Tivo Wishlists accordingly. I have a system for these things of course. As a result, I will be watching two new shows this season... Everybody Loves Raymond and The Daily Show. I will be dropping one show, Will and Grace.

The full current list is below. The three years of Emmy's are fixed by the Emmy winners, everything below I can and do change at will within the categories as I feel like it.

First I have all of these categories, in this order, with wishlists (not season passes!) set to record only new episodes and keep until I explicitly delete them:

#1) 3 years of Emmys for Drama, Comedy, NonFic, Animated, Variety
#2) 5 other shows
#3) 4 keyword searches
#4) 3 actor/actress searches

2003 Emmys:
* The West Wing
* Everybody Loves Raymond
* American Masters
* The Simpsons
* The Daily Show

2002 Emmys:
* Friends
* Biography
* Futurama
* Late Show

2001 Emmys:
* Sex and the City

5 Other Shows:
* Doctor Who
* Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
* Frontline
* Angel
* Enterprise

4 Keyword Searches:
* Egypt*
* Iran*
* Syria*
* Photo*

3 Actor/Actress Searches:
* Reese Witherspoon
* Amy Sedaris
* Drew Barrymore

Then after that I have three "limited" wishlists, where I have it set to only keep the X most recent or what not.

3 Limited:
* BBC News (keep 1 most recent at all times)
* Director's Cut (keep 5 until I delete, get a new one when I delete one)
* Action News (keep 1 most recent at all times)

Then after that, I reverse the entire list (except the limited ones) and have a second wishlist for each show, this time set to get ALL episodes, but to only save them until I need the space for soemthing else. I have them in reverse order, on the theory that if the show is at the top of the list for new episodes, I am more likely to have already seen it, so I don't need to catch the reruns, while shows at the bottom of the new list may have gotten bumped by conflicts, so I catching the reruns is a higher priority.

So that is the TV list for the moment. Queer Eye and Doctor Who may have limited lives left on the "5 other shows" category. There may be some others I want to check out instead. I also rotate the actresses every month or so.

But this will do for now.

Abulsme - Mon, 22 Sep 2003, 08:11:43 PDT
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Sun 21 Sep 2003

More on Saddam

OK, found the source of the report. The Sunday Mirror in London from their reporter in Baghdad. Looks legit. The story has lots of interesting details. Check it out. The administration is probably going to be annoyed this leaked early, especially the "It is just a ruse to find his location" spin on part of it. If this is actually the case, the next few days may be interesting.

Desperate Saddam Offers Americans Deal (Paul Martin, Sunday Mirror)

SADDAM Hussein has been in secret negotiations with US forces in Iraq for the past nine days, we can reveal.

The Iraqi dictator is demanding safe passage to the former Soviet republic of Belarus. In exchange, he has vowed to provide information on weapons of mass destruction and disclose bank accounts where he siphoned off tens of millions of dollars in plundered cash.

President Bush is being kept abreast of the extraordinary talks by his National Security advisor Condoleezza Rice. She is co-ordinating negotiations in Baghdad which are led by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of American forces in Iraq.
(via The Agonist)

Abulsme - Sun, 21 Sep 2003, 05:46:03 PDT
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Got Saddam?

Haven't seent this anywhere else yet, and the guy doesn't even provide a link to his source. So I'm pretty dubious. But passing it a long because it is a cool rumor. :-)

Saddam in Secret Talks with US Forces (Aquafire, AppleInsider)

According to AFP sources..

Saddam has been in secret negotiations with US forces for the last few days..

He is seeking safe passage out of Iraq to a third country in exchange for imformation pertainng to WOMD and to his personal bank accounts...

President Bush is said to be fully aware of these developments..

Abulsme - Sun, 21 Sep 2003, 05:33:46 PDT
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Sat 20 Sep 2003

My Next Phone

Drat the current budgetary constraints! I so want this! It will be available next month here in the US, it started being available last week in Europe. Of course I'd like to buy it right away. But even without the budget issues, I'm thinking I should wait until November when number portability happens, so I can keep the number I already have.

On the other hand, since my cell is a 609 number and I live in 215, every single time I call for pizza, the delivery people get all confused and I have to explain. So maybe I just want to forget about that and get a 215 number.

Anyway, this phone is cool.

New Treo 600 Rules (Walter Mossberg, Wall Street Journal)

I've been carrying a Sprint Treo 600 around for a couple of weeks and I love it. It's a great phone, an excellent mobile e-mail terminal and a full-fledged Palm-compatible PDA. I prefer it to any RIM BlackBerry model I have tested, and it blows away any of the PDA/phones based on Microsoft's Pocket PC operating system.
(via TreoCentral)

Abulsme - Sat, 20 Sep 2003, 14:45:43 PDT
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Some Clark Stuff

I've been meaning for awhile to post something about Clark entering the democratic race, but I've been kind of distracted by other things lately. Today, at my Dad's doing the birthday thing, I have a little time.

I don't really have a strong opinion about Clark (or any of the rest) yet. I'll start paying more attention over the next few months. We are still a year away from the election people! But in any case, the biggest thing I have noticed since Clark announced is just the absolutely heavy volume of strong negative comments about him all over the place since the announcement.

I flipped the radio past Rush the other day... non-stop Clark bashing. Checking various blogs, all sorts of negative stuff on his flip flop on the war. There was one article full of quotes from co-workers in the military slamming him for various things, etc. I was seeing very little positive comments.

From the Republican leaning sources, the negativity might indicate they think he would be a real threat if nominated, thus he needed to be slapped down quickly. From the Democrat leaning places, it is people who already have their favorite horse trying to make sure his impact isn't that high. I mean, if either of the two really thought he had no chance and was irrelevant, wouldn't they just mostly ignore him?

Anyway I notice today some polls are showing him right near the top of the Democratic pack already. This could get interesting.

Oh, and I've seen a variety of places posting conspiracy theories about the role of Bill and Hillary in this, and how it might be related to Hillary's own plans for the Presidency. Here is one of those...

More Stupid White Men (William Grider)

Clark's much bigger problem is that he is the Clintons' candidate -- Bill and Hillary's pick to stop Howard Dean and keep warm the leader's chair until '08 when the stars are supposed to align for Hillary's candidacy. If Clark wins the nomination and loses the election, that's fully compatible with the Clinton restoration plan (and maybe would increase Dems' hunger for the re-ascendancy).

If it looked as though the General was actually going to beat Dubya, you will hear a mighty clamoring next spring that he must put her on the ticket for Veep. This "grassroots" yearning for Hillary will be orchestrated by the same Washington political whisperers who whipped up enthusiasm for Clark's entry.
(via MaxSpeak)

Yeah. OK. Maybe. If Hillary really wants to be Prez, I'm not sure this would be the most sensible strategy. But I'll withold judgement for now. I'm not saying this sort of thing isn't possible, it very well could be.

I was not a Bill and Hillary fan when Bill was in office. The disaster of W has made me miss them though. They were horrible in many ways, but nowhere near as horrible as W and his entourage. And I'd take Bill back in a heartbeat over W. However, both Bill and Hillary *are* scheming slimeballs. So I could see them thinking like this.

But for now, lets go with Occam's razor, and just assume Hillary means what she says about the presidency and Clark is in it for himself and is not just a puppet of the Clintons, OK?

Abulsme - Sat, 20 Sep 2003, 14:09:14 PDT
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Thu 18 Sep 2003

News Pending

I got some news yesterday that will be significant to me, but have been asked to keep it quiet in certain circles until it is official in a couple weeks. I will do so for a little while. But wanted to make mention of it here "for the record" as it were, but without the specifics for the moment. More details over the coming weeks.

Abulsme - Thu, 18 Sep 2003, 03:25:58 PDT
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Mon 15 Sep 2003

Happy Birthday to Sam, Happy Birthday to Sam

As of 42 minutes ago, it is my birthday UTC. Woo! Go Sam!

Although actually, lets be technical for a second.

I was born 1971 Sep 16 20:58 UTC (seconds unknown).

That translates to 2441211.37361 Julian.

1 year is 365.242198781 days. Which means 32 years is 11687.750361 days. Add that to the Julian date I was born and you get that I will be 32 years old at:

2452899.12397 Julian.

Translating back...

I'll be 32 at:

2003 Sep 16 14:58:31 UTC.

For those of you stuck in EDT, that is 10:58:31 AM tomorrow morning.

So I have a few hours left. :-)

Abulsme - Mon, 15 Sep 2003, 17:42:05 PDT
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Mad at Self

So, just sat down to go through the bill pile after my vacation. I knew I had gone overbudget, but ARGH! Anyway, when I had finished compiling everything, the amount I was short to pay all the bills that were due was about the same as one months paycheck. Perhaps even slightly more. Now, over the next few weeks I'm expecting to recieve from various sources at least half that amount above and beyond my paycheck. (Things like being paid back for money I'd paid out front on the vacation for my companions, an inheritance check from my grandmother's estate, etc.) But cash flow wise, it isn't in the bank yet. So I'm pissed at myself at going over by this much.

Lets see... new A/V setup for the new house... all sorts of new things needed for the new house... a new camera when mine broke on the vacation... several car repairs last month... a vacation including a condo for a week... a new suit for a wedding or two I needed to go to... etc, etc, etc. I probably could of avoided a bunch of those costs if I wanted to, but I didn't, so now I'm mad at myself for blowing the budget.

But, as several people have pointed out to me, I actually do have the money. I just spent an hour online selling some stocks I had. As soon as the transaction clears, I'll have all the cash I need. And after all, this is what savings is for, right? When you move and go on vacation and spend all sorts of dough on related things? It's just that I hadn't wanted to sell any more. To close on the house I'd done a loan against my 401K and sold some mutual funds and cashed in some of my company options. I wanted to be done at that point. But that really wasn't enough for all the things I wanted to do in the few weeks after closing. So here I go selling more. Selling some stuff I'd wanted to keep awhile longer. Oh well!

Also, at this point my reserves are way lower than I'd like them to be. With all the events of the past two months, starting with the moment I decided to buy the house, I've brought the reserves WAY lower than I would like... although there are still some if an emergency comes up.

So, as I've said to various people, I am now *done* for the year. No more non-necessary purchases. Just the usual expenses. And start building the savings back up. Then come January I'll blow more again on a new laptop. :-)

So, annoyed at myself... but... I wouldn't undo any of the purchases. I'm not that annoyed. :-)

Abulsme - Mon, 15 Sep 2003, 11:33:48 PDT
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Sun 14 Sep 2003

Still Not Good

I did exchange the base station. Same issue. I tried reverting to an older version of the firmware. Different problems, but still not workable. Now on the current firmware again, and various things goofy.

I'm not happy. :-( I need to get this all working smoothly so I can work on updating and adding more days on the vacation. Very frustrating. Sigh!

Abulsme - Sun, 14 Sep 2003, 16:54:24 PDT
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Sat 13 Sep 2003


So, since by yesterday Comcast had not fixed my routing problem between my two computers, and my DSL investigation showed I could only get a low speed IDSL, I went ahead and replaced my old Apple Graphite Basestation with a new Airport Extreme Basestation, which also allows wired machines to attach.

Got it set up pretty quickly. Set up ares with a fixed internal IP and put it as the "default host" on the base station so external traffic would go straight there. Set up a new dyndns host entry for the internal address of my laptop. All was working great, I can do everything I used to be able to at my old apartment.

But... I've been having problems with the whole damn thing going down periodically, losing connection on both computers (wired and wireless) until I reboot the basestation. Sometimes this was happening as frequently as once every ten minutes. That is of course unacceptible.

I've been playing with adjusting settings and things to try to stop it. I've been online almost an hour this time without getting shut out. Crossing my fingers.

But... searching online I've seen that this problem is known by a bunch of people. It was fixed for most people by a firmware update a month or so ago (which I already have). But for others, it seems like they had to return the base station and get a new one, at which point it worked.

I'll see what happens. I hope I don't have to return it. I hate returning things.

But I should be able to cancel the second IP address if this starts to work and save a couple bucks.

Abulsme - Sat, 13 Sep 2003, 07:38:25 PDT
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Thu 11 Sep 2003

And the Reorg is...

...Dunno yet. :-) My boss announced "Bowing to popular demand, I am leaving [the department]". He's looking for opportunities elsewhere in the company and will stay around in transition for awhile. We are reporting to someone temporary for a few weeks while they figure out exactly how to organize us. Looks like we will be scattered within the department. There will be various meetings next week where we can chat with the decision makers about where we think we fit in and where might make sense for us to go.

Overall this is good I think. Of course, that is hard to say not knowing where I will be going yet, but the guy who is our temporary leader and who will be planning where we go eventually I have worked with before and like and get along well with. I'm hoping for the best now.

Oh, and nothing about the move except I think it will be in October, not September, and they are trying to figure out the reorg before they actually move us.

Abulsme - Thu, 11 Sep 2003, 11:37:44 PDT
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GPS 2610 Drooling Again

The "street price" is much less than I thought it would be, and reading this review on Joe Mehaffey's website it just looks awesome. If I hadn't completely broken the budget already by buying a house and going to Idaho, I would be ordering this by sunset. :-) As it is, I still may have to wait a couple of months for the budget to recover. Perhaps January.

StreetPilot 2610 / 2650 Car Navigator Product Review

The Garmin StreetPilot 2610 is in Garmin's latest generation of GPS receivers with street level mapping and automatic route navigation for your car. It is their first model with Finger TOUCH SCREEN for data input and control -and- map storage (up to 1GB) using CF memory cards -and- USB data interface for map loading and NMEA data input/output. This sleek unit has the GPS antenna integral within the unit and is designed to fit on top of your dash and provide you with visual and audio directions for navigating your car on unfamiliar streets and roads. A battery powered remote control is provided so that passengers can program the unit even from the back seat. :) Unfortunately (for the kids), Garmin did not choose to put any games in this model.

Abulsme - Thu, 11 Sep 2003, 10:24:56 PDT
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In about 90 minutes we have an "Organization" meeting, presumably to notify us of yet another reorg. Rumor has it the current group will be broken up and the various parts put under random other parts of the larger organization. Just a rumor though. Will know for real in 90 minutes.

Don't know if they will also mention the fact that we will be moving on September 19th, and those of us who are VPs without people reporting to us will lose our offices and go back into cubes. But I've heard that so much at this point I will be surprised if it is not the case.

Anyway, there is potential for great suckage here, although depending on who I end up reporting to there may (or may not) be an upside too. We shall see.

My expectations are low.

Abulsme - Thu, 11 Sep 2003, 09:33:21 PDT
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Tue 09 Sep 2003

No Columbia

Got an email from my mom while I was on vacation saying she won't be going to Columbia after all. Well, not THIS time. :-)

By the way I have told the folks at national they should find somebody else for Colombia - it WOULD be interesting but the timing is all wrong for me...

Abulsme - Tue, 9 Sep 2003, 10:57:38 PDT
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Oh Yeah, I'm Home

So, about 15 hours and 9 minutes ago the 2003 Q3 Random Vacation to the vicinity of Mackay, Idaho officially ended. Only Day 0 and Day 1 are posted so far. I'll start working on more days shortly. Since I'm getting commentary from Marilyn and Chad too, it will take some time. Not to mention that it takes a lot of time even without that. I'd estimate it takes about 4 hours of work to get each day done in terms of selecting the pictures, resaving them in the right size, writing the text, etc. I'll make my tentative goal to have the whole thing up within a month of today. Maybe less. We shall see. :-)

Abulsme - Tue, 9 Sep 2003, 08:09:11 PDT
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Wed 03 Sep 2003

2003 Q3 Random Vacation - Day 1

Day 1 is now posted. Since we have been spending more time doing vacation stuff than updating the website (Duh!) we are falling further behind each day in terms of the log. But that was expected. We are currently in Day 4. Just finished posting Day 1. We'll be lucky if we actually get Day 2 up before the end of the vacation, but the rest will follow in good time over the next few of weeks until it is done. Anyway, Day 1...

2003 Q3 Random Vacation - Day 1

Chad wanted a pancake, so ordered one in addition to his egg meal.  The pancake was bigger than his head.  Something like the size of a hubcap.  It was huge.

Abulsme - Wed, 3 Sep 2003, 11:29:15 PDT
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