Archives: October 2003
Thu 30 Oct 2003
2 Days with Panther
OK. Been running panther for a couple days now. Love it! Use Expose all the time. Once I had the external drive to get around the failure of the internal CD drive, all went smoothly. I like the new look too. I made myself some extra users just to try fast user switching, even though I'm the only user. On my older machine it doesn't do the nice animation. I'll probably turn it off since it uses a lot of space on the menu bar. I wish I could set it to just show my picture instead of the full name.
The new mail is nice too. I have it set to do spam the default way again for a bit, but that will probably change before too long. As is, if I take spam out of the spam folder to file it (rather than delete it) it gets marked as not spam and screws up the spam identifying heuristics. I know I am screwed up for actually saving every single spam I get, but hey, I do. Before I had gotten around of this by setting up a seperate spam folder governed by my own custom rules. I may do that again.
Things do feel a little faster. I still need a whole new computer soon though. Hopefully Q1 next year. I should start counting the pennies. :-)
Panther is awesome though. Everyone needs to upgrade right away! :-)
Tue 28 Oct 2003
The external drive arrived FedEx this morning. I am now at work, set up the drive and everything, and fired it up. The scratched Panther disk booted just fine. The install process started up. I had to wait like ten minutes for some reason for it to give me the continue button on the first screen, but then I was able to go through the options for the install and start it.
I picked just a regular "Upgrade". I know an Archive and Install works better and is "cleaner" but from past experience it is a pain, because there are a handful of things I need which are in the world outside my own user folder, that I have to hunt down and move over one my one. So I'll do an upgrade install first. If I run into any issues, I'll go back and do an Archive and install.
I also went into the customize and made sure I was getting ALL the language packs and other such things. I hate it when I go to some foreign website and I don't see the characters properly, even if I can't read them anyway. :-)
So, it is chugging along installing right now. This will take awhile I imagine. I'll go get myself some microwave popcorn or something. It is lunchtime after all.
Noiw I'll finally get to get going on Panther! Several days later than I should have, but hey, at least it is working!
Mon 27 Oct 2003
Just checking recent logs and saw a few incoming from the Philly LocalFeeds and started playing around on there. Found out I could center it on me. The GeoURL site shows websites near me, but this is much more fun, because it shows recent blog entries from other blogs within 20 miles of me (I could change the distance, but that is just fine).
LocalFeeds centered on Abulsme.com
It shows the last 50 posts people have made from that 20 mile radius around me.
As of right now the breakdown of posts in that last 50 are:
13 posts from Judith Meskill's Knowledge Notes
12 posts from Mike Zornek
9 posts from Abulsme.com
7 posts from Coplan's Nonsense
5 posts from Lascivious.org
4 posts from AnthonyTrumbo.com
So I'm not doing too bad. 3rd most prolific blogger of 6 active bloggers in my area. Cool. (Well, of people that have their location properly geocoded.) I think I'll probably start following these local feeds in addition to the other places I check regularly. Some of this looks potentially interesting.
Judith Meskill's specialty appears to be knowledge management, which is closely related to some of the content management stuff I've been doing the past few years. Looks good. And sounds like Mike Zornek is doing some Mac stuff, also good. And the others look like they have some occationally interesting stuff too. I'll be checking in regularly to them, and any others that show up within 20 miles of me. :-)
The Optimistic View
I am not an optimist. I tend to expect the worst, then let myself be pleasantly surprised if it turns out better than that. The article below supplies the alternative rose colored glasses we can do no wrong view. It is an interesting read. My view when reading something like this is "Well, that would certainly be nice if it worked out that way..." but I just don't think it really will. If it does though, I'll be happy that I was wrong.
(As an example, at the time I thought the Reagan defence buildup and especially the "Star Wars" project were completely insane, however, in the decades following, when various former Soviet leaders talked about what had happened many of them mentioned that the USSR's inability to keep up with the US on those fronts, especially when they thought they might have to expand even more to counter "Star Wars" was a direct and significant contributor to the changes in policy that led to the end of the Cold War... it may not have been exactly the way Reagan and his buddies thought things would happen... it almost definately was not... but in the rear view mirror, it seems to have been a good course after all... or at least we got very lucky.)
We'll see if we get lucky again.
The Event of the Age
(Victor Hanson, National Review)
Yet here we stand, a little more than six months later, with a country that was the worst in the Middle East evolving into the best. We are witnessing nothing less than the revolutionary and great moral event of the age, and when it comes to pass, a reborn democratic Iraq will overturn almost all the conventional wisdom, here and abroad, about the Middle East, the nature and purpose of war in our age, the moral differences between Europe and America — and the place in history of George W. Bush.
(via Cold Fury
Sat 25 Oct 2003
No Progress on Panther for Zeus
So, during the day today, Ron took me to a local Best Buy to try to find an external CD-ROM drive. They had bunches. USB 2.0/1.1. No Firewire. My old laptop only has USB 1.1, which is dead slow. But it is what they had. I got one. Had a burner in it too. Cool enough.
Got it back to Rons place. Plugged it in. Put in the OS X Disk 1. It saw it! All the files looked like they were there. Did a disk check on it. It said it was fine! Woo! Hit the install thing, and it rebooted to start the install... and booted normally, not from the CD.
Repeated by choosing the bood drive from the Preference Pane. Same deal. After finding some hints online, repeated by booting with the option key and choosing the external CD. I hit Opt-V to get the verbose listing as it started to boot. It would start... then just keep waiting forever for data from the drive that wouldn't come.
Read several places online that booting from a USB 1 mounted drive is like booting from floppies in the old days (takes forever) except the OS is now many hundreds of floppies in size. The drive whirred for a while, but then seemed to stop, no data transver lights flickering. The boot process just continued to report "waiting for device" every minute or so.
This was definately a no go.
Now, me by myself would have probably just thrown the drive in the basement and bought a firewire drive when I got the chance, but Ron's wife Ursula offered to return it for me and so instead I got the full purchace price credited back to me. Thanks Ursula!
I did call the CompUSA in Pittsburgh (the closest big computer store to where Ron lives) to see if they had any firewire CD Drives in stock. They did not. So I just went to the Apple Store online and ordered one to be FedExed to me. Hopefully I'll have it Monday morning. If not, definately Tuesday.
Now, of course I don't know for sure if the scratched CD is useable. (Although Ron buffed out a lot of the damage with toothpaste, it is still quite visibly scratched.) When the drive arrives, I'll find out. If it still doesn't boot, even with a firewire drive at a decent speed, then I'll ahve to get the disk replaces. I'll probably start by asking Jon if I can borrow his. But eventually I will probably buy the one I had intended for my mom... or... Brandy says she will take it back to the store and see if they will replace it. Perhaps that would be more cost effective. :-)
Anyway, I'm quite annoyed at being several days delayed on trying Panther. Sigh. Oh well, guess I'll have it up and running Monday or Tuesday probably.
Now if only Zeus can remain functional until next year too...
Oh. I also went to the gym with Ron today. Felt great. I really should do that more often. :-)
Panther Disaster / Zeus is Dying
So OK, after getting Panther at the Apple Store along with a new remote for my iPod, I started driving to Latrobe to visit my friend Ron for the weekend.
First sign of trouble, I got out the new remote, and discovered I had bought one that works with the new iPods, but NOT the old iPods like mine. Drat!
Then hours later, around 8 UTC, I get to Ron's place. I try to check my mail, but for whatever reason the mail server at Chris's place isn't responding. Oh well then, enough of that. Time to install Jaguar!!!
I put the CD in the slot. It starts to suck it in.
Then there is a horrible grinding noise and the CD stops moving. The CD is stuck in there, and from the sound of it, was not doing too well. With a little proding, I manage to get the CD out. Sure enough, a couple of big scratches on it. Drat, I think, I really hope this scratch isn't so bad it won't work. It would really suck to have to go buy Panther AGAIN.
The CD on this machine has occationally had trouble pulling CDs in. It always worked on a second try, or perhaps with the help of a little push. No biggie. So I tried again. Or tried to try again. The CD slot was completely blocked. I hit the eject button. Some whirring noises, then some grinding, then nothing.
I was subsequently unable to get any response from the CD drive. It would not open the slot. It would not suck in a CD. Nothing. Nothing at all.
I went and grabbed a screwdriver from my car and actually opened up the laptop to examine the CD drive to see if I could see anything obviously stuck. I did not see anything specifically obvious, but the mechanism was clearly jammed, and would not move. Not having the proper expertese to really diagnose, or do much about it even if I did, I put everything back together. I figure I should have at least been able to move the mechanism with my hands, but it felt like it was locked solid. I dunno. Anyway, it is busted.
I am not happy.
So, plan is to get up a little earlier than I had planned in the morning. One of the things Ron wants is to go out and get more memory for his computer. While we are out I'll buy an cheap external CD-ROM drive. That will at least give me a CD again. (Although I only tend to use it once every few months... this was the first time in ages). Then I will try the Jaguar Disk. Hopefully it is still readable and workable. (I think the installer checksums everything at the beginning, so if there is an issue it will be found and it won't install garbage.) If it it not readable, I'll have to make a second trip out to a CompUSA or something (no Apple Store in Western PA) to get another copy of Jaguar.
This is really annoying.
I hope I can get something up and running. If not I will be pretty upset.
Of course, this is also a sign that this almost 3 year old originial Titanium Powerbook I call Zeus is on its last legs. I beat the hell out of this machine, taking it with me everywhere, using it constantly, dropping it more than a handful of times. For the most part it has managed to keep going, although there have been a few issues over the years. I am due to buy myself a new one in Q1 next year. This one needs to last me at LEAST until January, but possibly longer depending on how my finances are going by then.
An external CD I can deal with. Even buying a second Jaguar CD if I have to. I was planning on buying another for my mom anyway. Just as long as the CPU and screen hold up... Hold together Zeus! Hold together! You're a good computer! You can do it!
Anyway, I'd better catch at least an hour or two of sleep now.
Fri 24 Oct 2003
I am being geeky and posting this entry while waiting in line at the King of Prussia Apple store on Panther release day. I got here a few minutes after Panther went on sale and the line was well over 1000 feet long. An hour later, and I've made it half way to the front. Jon from work is here with me. I've got the iSight up to throw some pictures of the line on the webcam.
Oh well. Back to waiting in line. It will probably be at least another hour until we get into the store itself.
Perhaps I should have just ordered online. :-)
Tue 21 Oct 2003
Slings and Arrows
Byron Scott, on Slings and Arrows, as part of a "Primate Promotion Project" has linked to me and thus promoted me on the Ecosystem from a Insignificant Microbe to a Wiggly Worm. Actually on the 19th I had TWO links into me, which is a new record for me, and ranked me even higher. (That based on my Ecosystem History.) But the other person dropped their link on the 20th it seems, and I didn't notice in time to find who it was.
Anyway, thanks to Byron. Just thought I'd link back before I devolved back to an Insignificant Microbe again in a few days.
Primate Promotion project
(Bryon Scott, Slings and Arrows)
Sam Minter (aka Abulsme Noibatno Itramne) laments the fate of the Reform party. Sam could learn to use permanent links for his posts.
Oh. And in fact I did always have permalinks, they just were not labeled well and were hidden in the "Comment" link. I have changed the wording on the link to clearly indicate it is a Permalink too. Hope that helps. :-) Just one of the defaults on my blog program I hadn't changed yet.
Addition: Found the other person who linked to me through my logs... John Quiggan
. So here's a link back to him as well. Thanks John!
Follow the Forger
The linked article below is a really good one on the whole debacle that represented the administration's use (or non-use) of intelligence running up to the invasion of Iraq. It is all about how the top officials knew what they wanted to believe, and intentionally set things up to prevent themselves from hearing anything that would contradict their opinion. It is the exact same effect of sticking your fingers in your ears and saying "Na Na Na!! I can't hear you! Na Na Na!". What a joke. I'm not sure if any of what happened is actually criminal. Probably not. But it is certainly incompetant and dispicable. What a complete bunch of clowns. And dangerous clowns. They have caused so much damage in the last few years it is unbelieveable.
Anyway, the article is a must read. Read it.
However, I want to point out a specific part near the end. I remember when I was reading about the forged Italian papers when that thing came out screaming to the TV "Follow the forger!!!" but I don't think I ever blogged about it. It may even have been before I started the blog. But in any case, the quick summary is that an Italian reporter got handed to her (for cash) some documents claiming to back up the Niger Yellowcake connection, just in the nick of time for some of the discussions of the Iraq threat. She did some rudimentary research and quickly determined they were fake. But not before they got handed over to the Americans, and got up to the highest levels, where they were accepted as true.
I was seeing a lot written on who the US believed these, or what the failures were that led them to be accepted, etc... but I thought this was all missing a big point...
Who forged the documents in the first place, and why????
Knowing this would tell a lot. It would either document just who was "playing" us and was so successful into manipulating us (Chalabi anyone?) or perhaps it would lead back to someone in the Administration itself, which would be even more damning. Who knows.
Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough, but I saw very little coverage of that aspect of the forged documents. But there is a decent bit about it here in this article. There is "no general consensus" on the origin of the documents, but several possibilities are cited and talked about. Other possibilities are not discussed, but are clearly possible. I quote a bit of that section below. But read the whole article, and pay special attention to that section.
Finding the true source of these documents should be SOMEONES priority right now. At worst there are serious criminal acts here. At best increadibly stupid intelligence failures. This needs to be followed up.
The FBI is looking, and is quoted in the article as saying "somebody’s hiding something, and they’re hiding it pretty well."
The press should be all over this too. Much more so than they have been so far.
(Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker)
Who produced the fake Niger papers? There is nothing approaching a consensus on this question within the intelligence community. There has been published speculation about the intelligence services of several different countries. One theory, favored by some journalists in Rome, is that sismi produced the false documents and passed them to Panorama for publication.
Another explanation was provided by a former senior C.I.A. officer. He had begun talking to me about the Niger papers in March, when I first wrote about the forgery, and said, "Somebody deliberately let something false get in there." He became more forthcoming in subsequent months, eventually saying that a small group of disgruntled retired C.I.A. clandestine operators had banded together in the late summer of last year and drafted the fraudulent documents themselves.
"The agency guys were so pissed at Cheney," the former officer said. "They said, 'O.K, we're going to put the bite on these guys.'" My source said that he was first told of the fabrication late last year, at one of the many holiday gatherings in the Washington area of past and present C.I.A. officials. "Everyone was bragging about it—'Here's what we did. It was cool, cool, cool.'" These retirees, he said, had superb contacts among current officers in the agency and were informed in detail of the sismi intelligence.
"They thought that, with this crowd, it was the only way to go—to nail these guys who were not practicing good tradecraft and vetting intelligence," my source said. "They thought it’d be bought at lower levels—a big bluff." The thinking, he said, was that the documents would be endorsed by Iraq hawks at the top of the Bush Administration, who would be unable to resist flaunting them at a press conference or an interagency government meeting. They would then look foolish when intelligence officials pointed out that they were obvious fakes. But the tactic backfired, he said, when the papers won widespread acceptance within the Administration. "It got out of control."
(via Just One Minute
Of course, I should have written about this back in July when I was first thinking "Follow the Forger", but I think it was before the blog. Speculation is starting to bubble up in the Blogosphere now prompted by the New Yorker article. Lets see it hit the mainstream press in a few days... I hope. It really needs more attention. The whole intelligence mess in general, but this forger link specifically. I think it is potentially very important.
Mon 20 Oct 2003
On Sunday morning when Chris and Rebecca were visiting, Chris saw Brain (the younger of my two parakeets) on one foot. He asked what was up with that. Not thinking or really looking too hard, I just said that's how they sleep, on one foot and all. At least a bunch of the time. I didn't think much of it.
Later that evening though, I moved the cage into the other room to get it away from a drafty window, and noticed that Brain was having trouble staying perched. The right foot clearly had something wrong with it. It was stuck out to the side and splayed out, and Brain did not seem to be able to use it at all, and was balancing on one foot, and using his beak to help him climb and move around. It looked broken, and looked aweful. The only thing I could figure is maybe Brain got his foot stuck somewhere on the cage and then struggled and broke his foot trying to escape.
There was no emergency vet that handled birds open, so I had to wait until morning to make an appointment. Plus, I had an appointment I could not break in NYC in the middle of the day. Brandy once again became a life saver, and said she would take Brain to the bird vet she used. She had been planning on taking her bird Nicki in later in the week, but moved it up because of this.
So Brandy took Brain in for the apointment at 2 PM, just after I was finishing up in NYC. So she called me on the cell for updates and decisions as they were needed. After getting my permission, the vet took X-rays.
It was not a broken leg. It was worse. Brain has a large tumor, the vet thinks probably in the kidney. The tumor is so large it is pressing on the psyatic nerve, and causing paralysis in the leg. The tumor is too large to be operable. He gave me some steroid drops that I need to give Brain daily. But basically, it is incurable. The medicine *might* be able to reduce the tumor some, but tends not to be effective indefinately, and often is not effective at all. Sort of a 50/50 chance of it helping at all, and even if it helps, it will not cure, at best it will make Brain more comfortable.
When I got home Brandy showed me how to catch Brain and give him the drops. Doing this stresses both me and Brain out. I hope it will help. I need to learn to do it twice a day going forward. Brain's prognosis is not good. But I will do everything I can to do whatever I can to help him out.
Not a happy day.
Sun 19 Oct 2003
After a few weeks of editing and refining the MS Word version, I've finally updated the online version of my resume. Check it out. If you are potentially interested in hiring me, or know someone who might be, contact me! Thanks!
Sam Minter Resume
Fri 17 Oct 2003
It's really kind of sad. Back in 1992, before the first time Perot freaked out about government aliens abducting his daughter's wedding or whatnot, they actually had a lot of potential. Remember when Perot was breifly actually the frontrunner in 1992? Then he just sort of tossed that down the drain. And everything after 1992 has just been a complete sideshow. Oh well. Maybe in another few years we'll have another opportunity at a serious third party.
Reform Party: No Perot, no Jesse, no Pat, no funds
(David Bernstein, Boston Phoenix)
The remnants of the Reform Party -- the official Reform Party, as there are now several different strains -- gathered in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, last weekend. Nobody much paid attention; even the local Mississippi papers didn't write about it.
(via Political Wire
Thu 16 Oct 2003
Health Fair Results
So there was a health fair thing at lunch here at work today. So I got all the free test stuff.
Here are my results:
Cholesterol -- Total: 180 (Desireable), HDL: 45 (OK), LDL: 135 (Borderline)
Glucose -- 114 (Normal)
Blood Pressure -- Systolic: 138 (Prehypertension), Diastolic: 81 (Prehypertension)
BMI -- 26 (Overweight)
OK. So my total cholesterol is good, but I'm a bit high on the "bad cholesterol". It should be less than 130. I blame Rebecca and Chris taking me to Mortons. :-) Oh well. No burgers for a little while.
Glucose all normal. That's good.
I know I'm all stressed and stuff, but that is the highest blood pressure I've ever registered. It still isn't dangerzone, but it is above normal. (Above 140/90 would be Hypertension Stage I). I do not like that. In the past whenever I've checked I've usually registered with blood pressure too LOW if anything, but usually smack dab in the middle of normal. I'm going to start remembering to check whenever I pass the little machine in the drug store or grocery store. I'll adjust some diet things too, but this one may be highly stress related.
BMI. OK. I'm at 182 as of this morning. I hate it when I am above 180. I like myself best between 165 and 170. To be in the "Normal" category instead of "Overweight" I need to get back under 174 pounds. I knew that one already of course. It's been a few months since I was last under 174. Time to get there again and stay there a bit.
OK. That is my health update. :-)
August 2003's Top Ten!
The August top ten email list has been posted online. If you made the list, you got the results by email a while ago. If you are one of those who never sends much email but follows this anyway, you can now see who won!
August 2003 Top Ten
Wed 15 Oct 2003
I'd pretty much ignored the stories about Al Gore starting up a new cbale news network, until this caught my eye...
New Al Gore TV Hopes To Avoid 'Liberal' Label (Richard Linnett, AdAge)
The Gore-led group of investors is about two weeks away from forming an agreement with Vivendi Universal Entertainment to acquire Canadian-based cable network Newsworld International for about $70 million, said an insider at Universal Television Networks, the Vivendi unit that currently operates the network.
(via WSJ Opinion Journal Best of the Web
He is going to do it by taking over NWI
!!! Now, I can't say that I watch a LOT of NWI. OK, I can't say I've ever watched a full 30 minutes straight of NWI. But I do flip past it sometimes, and look at the listings for it on my Tivo. It is a quirky little news channel with half hour news shows from a variety of different countries and perspectives. They have some of their own shows too (Canadian based I gather) but then they also have news from ITV in the UK, NHK in Japan, DW in Germany, etc...
I've been meaning for awhile to check out more of their news programs. Guess I'd better hurry. Even though it wasn't much watched by me (and I gather not by too many folks) it will be a shame to lose an outlet where you can easily get those varied perspectives.
Winning Hearts and Minds
As usual, W and company are taking situations that while not necessarily good, could have some potential for improving things in the future, and instead are taking the road that will lead to the most resentment of us in the future. Good job!
Jobs for the boys—and for foreigners (Economist)
The mass import of migrants to service the American-led armies further fuels resentment. Saudi caterers contracted by Kellogg Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, an American oil-services company, have shipped in hundreds of Indian and Bangladeshi cooks to avoid, they say, the risk that Iraqis might poison the food. Filipina maids hired in Jordan do the cleaning. [...] To cap it all, a new investment law lets foreign contractors bring in labour from abroad but export all profits. Those Iraqis who do get contracts are often just back from exile. A recent tender for a mobile-phone franchise for southern Iraq was won by a consortium led by the son of the media director for Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, who had just returned from Canada. And Iraqis fret at the lack of auditors and openness in Iraq's Governing Council and over the UN's Development Fund for Iraq, where Iraq's oil revenues are supposed to go.
(via Nathan Newman
Mon 13 Oct 2003
OK, a few substitutions on the Tivo wishlist front. I had a few suggestions before, but these are mostly my own:
The "Emmy" determined ones of couse stay the same. But...
First, since the guide listings finally include "Star Trek" in the info for "Enterprise", I am broadening the wishlist to include all Star Trek.
Then in the "Shows" section of my method, I am eliminating Doctor Who and Queer Eye, and replacing them with Nova and 24. Doctor Who will come back when they actually do make more. Nova is because I have missed a good Science documentary show lately. 24 is because I have heard good things about it, and Season 3 hasn't started yet, so I won't miss the begining.
In the keyword section am killing the Egypt* and Syria* lists in favor of Ancient and President*. Ancient should get some good documentaries on ancient history. President* should get more and more stuff about the presidental race as that heats up.
In the Actors section I am eliminating Drew Barrymore and adding Janeane Garofalo.
And finally I'm switching my local news provider from "Action News" to "Eyewitness News" for variety.
The Tivo is processing the changes now. We'll see how it goes.
In the mean time, I'll make myself some dinner.
Sat 11 Oct 2003
Al / Kim Wedding Pictures
A week ago right now, I was at the wedding reception for friends Al and Kim. Although I neglected to bring my camera for the rehersal dinner and the evening of debauchery that followed, I did bring the camera to the wedding itself and the reception. Being in the wedding, I couldn't take pictures there, so gave the camera to Chris. They had said no flash in the church, so I'd turned off the flash to be good. So a lot of the pics came out too blurry to show. And some of the ones hewre are still a little blurry. And then a bunch of people were using their flashes anyway! Oh well.
In any case, there are a few fun pictures from the wedding and reception. For those of you who have been bugging me to get these out, here ya go.
Al / Kim Wedding Pictures
If anybody wants full resolution version of any of these for printing or whatnot, email me which ones and I'll send them to you.
Fri 10 Oct 2003
Several people have suggested that I should apply. Thoughts?
Queer Eye Contact Us
We're looking for straight guys, both single and married, of all ages and backgrounds to help become more stylish, more cultured and more desirable straight men.
They say Metro NYC though, and I'm not Metro NYC any more. I'm Metro Philly now. Oh well! :-)
[Edit: Fixed Typo. Title is Queer Eye, not Queer Qye.]
Been meaning to blog this for a few days, but keep forgetting...
I met one of the neighbors the other day!!! Specifically, the woman who bought the house next door... the other end unit right across for mine. I had actually looked at that house first, then the one I bought. They are mirror images of each other... except... mine has a basement and that one does not. So I bid on this one. But right before I put my bid in and made it final, I found out there were two other bidders, so I raised my offer about 6.6% from what I had initially planned. I won. I got the house with the basement.
Well, when I had looked at the house, there was a couple who came in to look at it right after me. They also bid on it. I beat them. They proceeded to bid on the house next door, and got that one.
Yup, my neighbors are the ones I out bid. Oops. :-)
She was coming over because they had gotten some of my mail. She seemed very nice. Said I was lucky to get this house, and they had looked at it too and loved the basement. We chatted for a minute about how they are redoing their house. Contractors have been there almost every day since they moved in. She mentioned that her husband had seen my projector TV through the window and really liked it. I invited them to come over any time to check it out more.
Anyway, they seem nice. I feel kind of bad that I out bid them. But then, on the other hand... I like the basement a lot too, and am really happy with this house. And I guess this gives them more cash to refit the other house the way they want.
Anyway, haven't talked to them again since. But they seemed nice.
Thu 09 Oct 2003
Arizona Democratic Presidential Debate
Before I watch or listen to any of the pundants and get "spun" here are my initial thoughts on all nine candidates in the debate. This is NOT about how much I agree or disagree with any of them, or who I might consider voting for if I were to vote in the Democratic primary (which I will not, I am a vehement independant). These are just my short summary thoughts on the impressions they left after the debate:
Here are my overall thoughts of all nine:
Mosely-Brown: Came off as a nice lady, but too mushy to be president. Not of any substance or weight.
Kucinich: What a joker. Get him off the stage. He has no grip on reality at all.
Kerry & Gephardt: Almost like twins. Both came off as pompus blowhard assholes.
Sharpton: Was fun to watch. Not a serious candidate in the end, but came off like he thought he was, not like a joke. Made some good points where others were afraid to go. Not having watched the last debate yet, he came off a lot better than I expected.
Clark: Took a couple hits, did not rebutt them well, did not bring anything new to the table, or show anything of his own. He didn't do anything horribly bad, but gave absolutely nothing on the positive side to speak for him. He didn't seem really comfortable with himself either.
Leiberman: Personable and serious. Knew what he was talking about. Seemed to have weight behind him. Was a little whiny and annoying, but not too bad. Did not quite pull off the "presidential" vibe, but I'd say he came in 3rd.
Dean: Came off second best behind Edwards. Came off serious and presidential for the most part. Knew what he was talking about. Was sure of himself. But he came off a little, um, I dunno... twitchy... So I don't think he did quite as well as Edwards, but between them it was close.
Edwards: Best of the bunch I think in terms of performance. Was sure of himself. Knew what his message was. Serious and presidential. And also likable. I'm surprised actually. Hadn't spent much time looking at Edwards before. I'll pay a little more attention to him now.
Anyway, the only two of them that left me with a really solid and positive impression where Dean and Edwards. I got very negative impressions from Kucinich, Gephardt and Kerry. The rest were just neutral.
Now, again, this is soley based on how they came off in the debate to me. An evaluation of the actual issues and their positions on them is a completely seperate exercise which I have not looked at in the slightest yet.
[Edited to fix problem pointed out by mithras in the comments.]
Wed 08 Oct 2003
Oops, A Bear Ate Me
Kinda sad. I remember watching this guy on Letterman. He was kinda funny. He spent a lot of time talking about how to be safe around bears. Oops.
Bear Mauling Kills Grizzly Advocate, Friend (Reuters on Yahoo! News)
The deaths were discovered when an air-taxi pilot flew to the site Monday afternoon to pick up the campers. He found the campsite damaged and a brown bear atop what appeared to be a human body, eating the remains.
Panther Coming! 16 days, 7 hours, 0 minutes
OK. Well, the counter will have changed by time anybody sees this. Apple has updated their website and is now counting down to Panther and offering preorders.
Apple.com Panther Information
Mac OS X has evolved. The fourth major release in just three years, Panther offers breakthroughs in innovation, ease of use and reliability that won’t be seen in other operating systems for years, if ever.
(via fahlman on AppleInsider
The only question for me now is if I pre-order now, or actually go to the Apple Store and fight the throngs and feel the excitement of getting it right there on the spot at the first possible moment rather than getting it the next morning FedEx.
Anyway, all the reviews of pre-release versions of Panther that I've seen say it is pretty damn awesome. Adds a number of new useful features, and runs faster than Jaguar on pretty much every machine... including almost 3 year old Powerbooks like mine.
I'll need to be getting copies for both my machines at home and for my mom. I hope they offer the "Family Pack" thing again this time, and right away... looks like they do. Good. Last time I ordered the multiple copies individually at a much higher cost, then they announced the family pack a few weeks later. Grrr! Anyway, I'm leaning toward just doing the pre-order, but going to the Apple Store might be fun! It will be a madhouse!
OK, maybe that wouldn't be so much fun.
Mon 06 Oct 2003
A gallery of really funky optical illusions which I had not seen before. The first one especially freaked me out. It so completely looks like it is moving. But it is not.
The Latest Works
(via Merovingian on AppleInsider)
W's Poem to Laura
Rebecca, can you give this a proper literary critique?
Writen by commander in Chief W, for first lady Laura's return from Europe a few weeks ago.
President Bush pens a poem (AP on CNN)
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Oh my, lump in the bed
How I've missed you.
Roses are redder
Bluer am I
Seeing you kissed by that charming French guy.
The dogs and the cat, they missed you too
Barney's still mad you dropped him, he ate your shoe
The distance, my dear, has been such a barrier
Next time you want an adventure, just land on a carrier.
-- George W. Bush
Fri 03 Oct 2003
Minimum: No Warning
Every time there have been reports about killer asteroids and such, and the need to improve our tracking to increase the warning time if something big was going to hit, I've wondered what RIGHT NOW would be the minimum warning time. The ones they find are generally "10% chance of collision in 200 years" and such. BUt with current technology, if something was taking dead aim, right at us... would we for sure catch it a few days in advance? A few weeks? Hours?
Welp, the answer is that if it comes from certain directions, we'll know when it hits and not before. Goody.
Closest asteroid yet flies past Earth (New Scientist)
An asteroid about the size of a small house passed just 88,000 kilometres from the Earth by on Saturday 27 September - the closest approach of a natural object ever recorded. [...] The asteroid, designated 2003 SQ222, came from inside the Earth's orbit and so was only spotted after it had whizzed by. The first sighting was on Sunday 28 by the Lowell Observatory Near-Earth Object Search program in Arizona, US.
OK. So it was a pretty small one that would have mainly made a pretty neat lightshow and not actually damaged all that much, but still... we didn't know about it until it had already passed. I do still wonder if this is also the case for larger ones, like the 80m one that missed us in 2002 that could have wiped out a city if it hit and crashed in the wrong place. I'm guessing yup, while odds are increadibly low of it actually happening in any give time period (say our lives), it could still happen with no warning at all.
Thu 02 Oct 2003
I am Slackware Linux
BBSpot OS Quiz
You are Slackware Linux. You are the brightest among your peers, but are often mistaken as insane. Your elegant solutions to problems often take a little longer, but require much less effort to compute.
Seems pretty much right on the money.