Archives: June 2006

Fri 30 Jun 2006

Why I Like My Job



Whiteboard full of equations. Love it.


Abulsme - Fri, 30 Jun 2006, 16:15:46 PDT
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Thu 29 Jun 2006

Hamdan v. Rumsfeld

I am actually very very tempted to spend the next few hours reading all 185 pages of the full opinion (pdf), but I am at work and that would be bad. Suffice it to say that I am happy and feel like for once the court is making the clearly correct decision. I am disappointed somewhat (although not surprised) that most of the "conservative" justices dissented. (Or in the case of the Cheif Justice were recused because they had been involved in the lower court opinion that was being appealed.) After all, the notion of strict limits on governmental (and executive) authority have long been a fundamental "Conservative" idea. Not to mention a strict reading of the constitution. No more it seems.

But, 5-3 will do, and things move in the right direction for the moment.

(Although there are dozens of other executive excesses that desperately need to get shot down... if the congress won't do it like they should, perhaps SCOTUS will get to at least some of them over the next couple of years. Maybe.)


Abulsme - Thu, 29 Jun 2006, 11:41:01 PDT
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Wed 28 Jun 2006

New Gig for Mom

I've been meaning to post something about this for awhile. But never got around to it. But now is a good time as the old job has ended and the new is about to begin. My mother has ended her 9 or so year time as a pastor in Westfield, Massachusetts and is starting a new position as Acting Association Minister for the Southwest Ohio Northern Kentucky Association of the Ohio Conference of the United Church of Christ. (Wow, that's a mouthful. Here is their website.)

The official announcement was in their April 18th Newsletter (pdf):

At its most recent meeting, SONKA’s Association Covenant Team (ACT) voted unanimously to call Rev. Ruth Brandon to be our Acting Association Minister.

Ruth currently lives in Massachusetts, where she has been pastoring a church since 1997. Prior experiences include two interim pastorates, Professor of Ethics at Ricatla United Seminary and pastor of Cidade Congregational Church in Mozambique, Africa, and Associate Conf erence Minister of the Central Atlantic Conference. Ruth will be assuming her ministry with SONKA July 1, 2006.
She bought a house in Ohio a few weeks ago, and she and Sara (her dog) arrived in Ohio a little over 24 hours ago. The moving truck arrives later today. So she's getting settled.

Congratulations to my mother on her new spot!


Abulsme - Wed, 28 Jun 2006, 21:36:19 PDT
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Sun 25 Jun 2006

The Sleepy Muskrat on My Head





I killed it.


Abulsme - Sun, 25 Jun 2006, 14:22:50 PDT
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Sat 24 Jun 2006

Maude Mae Rayburn

imageMy father's mother's mother. Most of what I know about her is what one of her nephews, Charles Rayburn, wrote quite a few years later. I quote it completely here:

Many uncles, aunts, neighbors and teachers influenced who we were and who we are. Aunt Maude, one of Dad's two sisters deserves special recognition.

She and her husband, Uncle Bill Wootton, met in college. Uncle Bill has an amazing "rags to riches" career, finally owning the Lockyears Business College in Evansville, Indiana. His resources gave aid to all of her nieces and nephews.

She made our Christmas each year. Each year we received a box of candy, toys and clothes. This was very important. Without this our Christmases would have been bleak. Aunt Maude made Christmas joyful and exciting.

Each summer Aunt Maude and her two daughters came to visit Grandpa and Grandma Rayburn for a summer vacation. It was great to visit with and listen to these city cousins. Aunt Maude brought fireworks for celebrating July 4th. She usually brought marshmellows for roasting and oranges as a special treat.

Aunt Maude opened our minds to life outside the hills. She excited us with the vast opportunities which lay ahead.

She purchases the old farm from Mom just before I went away to school. This would allow Mom to continue to live there and have funds to send William and me to school. She had no need for the pitiful farm and no desire to own it. It had no value to her butit provided Mom a method of maintaining her pride without seeking welfare.

Aunt Maude taught us altruistic giving by her remarkable examples. This was deeply engraved in our spirits.
As usual, more by clicking the picture.


Abulsme - Sat, 24 Jun 2006, 16:30:30 PDT
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Fri 23 Jun 2006

William Maynard Wootton

imageMy father's mother's father. Unlike the last couple of ancestors I have posted about, I actually know a decent bit about him both from memories of my Grandmother and from a published obituary.

He was born in Kentucky in 1891. His first job was driving mules in a coal mine. He later worked for a clothing store, then went to college and met his future wife Maude there. He then started up the management chain at various business colleges ending up being a principal owner and manager of Lockyears Business College in Evansville, Indiana. On retirement he was a good friend of Dale Carnegie and was significantly involved in developing and extending some of the courses and methods used by the Dale Carnegie Training courses. He was also involved in a wide variety of volunteer activities. Died in Arizona in 1962.

Basically born poor, died well off, had some adventures in between. Not too bad.

As usual, click on the picture for more.


Abulsme - Fri, 23 Jun 2006, 16:29:21 PDT
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Plainsboro

So, I just found out that two people on my team here in Seattle, besides myself, actually lived in Plainsboro NJ at the same time as I did. One of them in the apartment complex immediately adjacent to the one I lived in. That is just odd.


Abulsme - Fri, 23 Jun 2006, 15:05:13 PDT
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Wed 21 Jun 2006

Book: Dragonflight

imageAuthor: Anne McCaffrey
Started: 18 Jun 2006
Finished: 21 Jun 2006
303p / 4d
76 p/d

Brandy recently read all of Anne McCaffrey's dragon books after she ran out of books once and I pointed her at them. And so I was inspired to want to read them again for the first time in at least a decade. So, I decided to pick up the first of the bunch and read it again.

And of course, I basically couldn't put it down. Well, of course I put it down. I went to work and stuff. I only read a couple chapters Sunday through Tuesday actually, but then early Wednesday, right around when I was supposed to be going to sleep for the night I picked up the book instead. And THEN I didn't put it down until I was done several hours later. Leaving me quite tired during the day Wednesday after I dragged myself out of bed and to work. The 76 pages per day rate I averaged on this book is the fastest rate for anything I've read since I started posting books I read on this blog. Woo! Of course, in exchange, I didn't do anything I was supposed to in the time between work and bed for a couple days (although this wasn't the only reason) and I ended up only sleeping a couple hours one night, but hey, I wanted to read the book!

I was definitely reminded how much I like this series. And that is of course mainly because I want a dragon. I mean, who wouldn't? I'd even settle for a fire lizard (although they were not in this book). A fire lizard would be quite fine.

I have read these much less often than I have read the Lord of the Rings, and it showed while I was reading it. There were certainly things that I remembered... but generally only a few pages before I got to them... I could not have told you the plot before I started reading it again. In fact, I would have claimed that this particular plot was actually the plot of one of the later books, not the first book, and would have been completely wrong. And even once reading it, I might remember general plot points, but not details. And that was nice. Not quite like reading something for the very first time, but still good. And like going back to an old friend. I am very tempted to just move right on to the next book in the series, but alas, there are other things ahead of it in line.

One more note... Brandy was reading many of the dragon books in the last few months of Princely's life. A few times during those months she referred to him as "her dragon". And that resonated while reading and added poignancy. I'll never be able to read these books again without also thinking about Princely and shedding a tear or two. I miss him very much too.


Abulsme - Wed, 21 Jun 2006, 21:43:09 PDT
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Sun 18 Jun 2006

Book: Machine Learning

imageAuthor: Tom M. Mitchell
Started: 25 Mar 2006
Finished: 18 Jun 2006
414p / 87d
5 p/d

This is a textbook I got for work to give me somewhat of a background in some of the technologies being used, and other related technologies that we might someday want to use. It is normally targeted at advanced undergrad CS majors or starting CS grad students. Now, I took a couple CS classes my freshman year of college, but really haven't done much else of the sort since then. So this was a mode of thinking I hadn't been much used to. And to be honest, even back then it was more about listening to and understanding a professor than trying to grok it by reading a book.

The first few chapters were pretty straightforward, but it did definitely get more challenging after that. And of course I wasn't doing it the full out way trying to actually do all the exercises and such at the end of every chapter. However I was, for the most part, doing careful reading. That is, if I read a paragraph or two and then realized I didn't fully understand what was being said, I'd go back and read it over and over again, thinking about it, until I thought I did understand. And sometimes that took a few passes. And even then, I think what I actually ABSORBED, in that I still remember after having finished the entire book, is just the general ideas for the most part, certainly not the details. If I was asked to actually do anything with any of the techniques described, I'd have to go back and read that chapter again with an even more fine tooth comb. And certainly, the further on you go in the book, the more true that is.

But it was still a good overview. Gives some good vocabulary I can use at work. And some background that helps me understand some of what the options and tradeoffs are. So it was good to have read it.

The next non-fiction will be a book for work as well. They are sneaking ahead in line of the personally chosen non-fiction. But for now, time for some light fiction...


Abulsme - Sun, 18 Jun 2006, 20:26:49 PDT
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Sat 17 Jun 2006

Harriet Maria Smith

imageTime for my father's father's mother. Again I don't know all that much about her, but there is a picture. I'm pretty sure that spot on her face is just a problem with the photograph, not something that was really there. :-)

She was born in South Carolina, died in Texas. Married William Ramseur Minter and had four kids including my Grandfather. And that is about all I know unfortunately. Hopefully I'll be able to find some more info, possibly from relatives who actually knew her (she died in 1964). But that is all I have at the moment really.


Abulsme - Sat, 17 Jun 2006, 22:59:57 PDT
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A Lovely Game of Nethack

A couple weeks ago I downloaded Nethack for old times sake. I played one game then but don't remember much. I just played a game a few minutes ago. Here is the entire transcript:

Hello Abulsme, welcome to NetHack!
You are a chaotic female orcish Wizard.

You displaced your kitten.
m - a puce potion.
The kitten falls into a pit!
The kitten hisses!
You frightened the kitten!
You fall into a pit!
You are still in a pit.
The kitten bites!
The kitten bites!
You die...

Goodbye Abulsme the Wizard...
You died in The Dungeons of Doom
on dungeon level 1 with 0 points,
and 0 pieces of gold, after 7 moves.
You were level 1 with a maximum of
11 hit points when you died.
Ah, good times.


Abulsme - Sat, 17 Jun 2006, 17:53:23 PDT
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Thu 15 Jun 2006

Happy Dog Day



Today here at work it is Happy Dog Day... or somthing like that... They have a playground for the dogs with tubes and seesaws and thing to jump over. They have a schoolbus full of dog toys. They have a couple guys in dog suits. And of course dozens of employee's dogs.


Abulsme - Thu, 15 Jun 2006, 13:16:07 PDT
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Thursday

I just suddenly realized that today is Thursday, not Friday, and that just pissed me off. I am ready for it to be Friday. Damn it.

Also, even though I slept from about 3 UTC to about 7 UTC, that's only four hours, and I should try to sleep again. It is almost 11 UTC, and my alarm will start going off at 13 UTC. I have a 16:30 UTC meeting today, but it is in a different building than my usual building, so I'll have to get to work early to catch the shuttle over there and such. So If I'm going to try to squeeze in another couple of hours of sleep, I need to do it now.

But I'm in one of those "I feel tired and I would like to lie down, but doubt I'll be able to sleep" modes. Contrast to 3 UTC, which was way early for me to be going to sleep, where I sat down on the floor and then woke up 4 hours later. I was just instantly out.

Oh well. I'll try. If I can't manage to get back to sleep by the time the alarm goes off, guess I'll just stay up...


Abulsme - Thu, 15 Jun 2006, 03:46:14 PDT
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Kathy's Site

Well, not a personal site, so not actually hers, but my friend Kathy recently (well, OK, almost a month ago) emailed that the site she'd been working on for work was finally up:

Yippee!! The women’s health website I’ve been working on for SIX years is finally launched!! Be sure to check it often, as we create wellness spotlights for consumers throughout the year and update publications for health professionals at least monthly. Browse the site and be sure to check out “Office of Women’s Health Materials” currently under “In the Spotlight” (also under “Spotlights and Observances” and “Publications and Materials” in the left navigation bar) for some of our consumer-friendly wellness spotlights and “Topics A-Z” in our left navigation bar for consumer and health professional resources by health topic.

You can see it spotlighted at the top of the CDC homepage this week at www.cdc.gov or go directly to it anytime at www.cdc.gov/women. Enjoy!
~Kathy

P.S. We have a men’s health website that I manage, too- www.cdc.gov/men.
So, drop by and check it out.


Abulsme - Thu, 15 Jun 2006, 03:25:35 PDT
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Podcasts and Vlogs and even Front Row

I've been meaning to mention this for a long time, but I generally would always think of it once I was in bed for the night, not at the computer, so I never did. But today having fallen asleep really early, then woken up in the middle of the night, I figured I'd give it a shot.

People who read my blog know that I've been without a television since around the end of February. I've got tons of TVs in Florida and it just didn't seem to be worth it to get a new one here, or to double up paying for cable or whatnot. Slingbox was considered, but there were a few obstacles, so it never happened.

In any case, thanks to the internet I've yet to miss a TV show I really wanted to watch. And more and more of it is actually available legally as television producers and distributers finally start to "get it". They still don't get it completely, cause they often offer lower quality versions with less flexibility than you can get by "other means" but the moves are in the right direction.

But that only gets the fix for "show" type content. It is great for watching Doctor Who, CSI, Lost... whatever. But there is a niche that doesn't cover, which is the more timely stuff. For instance, I tried using the same methods as with the other things for something like The Daily Show. Very possible. It is all there. But I don't do it. Why? Cause for that kind of thing I want the convienience of being able to do it directly by subscribing to a podcast in iTunes.

(I know, there are RSS/Torrent combinations that can do this, but they still have more friction.)

I've subscribed to about a dozen such shows that I listen to or watch regularly. For the stuff that is timely and are available this way, I'd never consider using "other means". Just like when iTunes opened for music. Before then, I downloaded lots of music through "other means". From the day iTunes Music Store opened, I can't say I've downloaded one single thing through other means... unless it wasn't available at iTunes. Right now TV on iTunes is lower quality than I'll pay for... I watch on my monitor, not on an iPod... but they are now offering "subscriptions" to shows... still a little pricy, but getting there. Once they straighten the kinks on that, increase the quality, etc... I'll be all over that. (And maybe once I buy a video iPod. :-)

Um, I've got distracted from what I originally wanted to talk about though. There are about 12 audio podcasts I now listen to regularly, and two video podcasts I watch regularly. A couple interesting things with that. First of all, while there are a couple "indy" ones, like TWiT and RocketBoom... most of what I listen to is actually from more "traditional media" type sources. Almost every night I watch the ABC News World News Now video podcast. I listen to stuff from NPR and the BBC almost every night. Each weekend I listen to NBC's Meet the Press and ABC's This Week. Could I watch all these things independantly by going to the various websites? Yup. But I never would.

I listen to some BBC stuff directly from their website, but it pisses me off every time. I want to access that stuff as a podcast. (At least the non-live stuff... live stuff is a different beast.)

The other thing that has suprised me is Front Row on the Mac. I thought I would NEVER use this thing, but I use it ALL THE TIME. Now, when I'm awake and sitting at the computer working, I'll just fire up iTunes or whatnot, but in the evening, when I'm tired of sitting at the computer, and I want to lie down and put something on to fall asleep to, out comes the remote control and Front Row. I love that thing. Never really use it for music, but I use it to pick which podcasts I am going to listen to and such when I'm NOT actually using the computer for something else. Never thought I'd touch the thing. Now I use it most evenings.

I could definately see a day when all my TV shows are automatically downloaded and watched like this. Then it becomes very much like a Tivo, but getting rid of the middleman of the cable or satellite company... or eventually even the networks and such. And also eliminating the bottleneck of worring about conflicts and such. You just download the things you want anytime after they are made available. What time it is released becomes the start of when you can download it, not the only time you can record it.

Ah, good times. :-)


Abulsme - Thu, 15 Jun 2006, 01:18:29 PDT
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Tue 13 Jun 2006

Battle at the Jackal

I just wanted to point these out, because after many days the comments and discussion are apperantly still going strong.

Rebecca made one innocent comment about starting to send Gideon to day care part time, and then all hell seemed to break loose in the comment threads on her blog. See these posts and the comments on them:

OK Blogger is Really Pissing Me Off

Legitimate Mothering (or Vote for Reb)

I'm Putting Harrlynn's Comment Top Level

I checked last night, then just checked again a few minutes ago and there are many new comments. I'll go read them all shortly, but I've just been called to lunch.


Abulsme - Tue, 13 Jun 2006, 12:10:46 PDT
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Difference in Confidence

Listening to the radio coming into work this morning about President Bush's surprise trip to Bagdad, and there is one thing I wanted to comment on that I didn't hear people explicitly commenting on. (I haven't checked the blogosphere yet for this sort of thing, just noticing the people on the radio didn't comment on this.)

On all other VIP trips to Iraq that I can remember... Tony Blair, George W Bush, even cabinet members and such, the news has been embargoed until the VIP has LEFT and is now back out of Iraqi airspace.

This time the news embargo was lifted while the President was still on the ground and was planning to stay on the ground for several more hours.

Now, unless this turns out to be disinformation and he has actually already left, that means that they are now feeling confident enough that they can essentially give any insurgents who are interested a several hour head start saying "if you want to make a spectacular attack, now would be the time" and still feel confident they can defend against any possible attacks.

They aren't quite ready to announce such trips BEFORE they happen. But even that they let the news get out while it is still happening is still a very significant change.


Abulsme - Tue, 13 Jun 2006, 09:08:03 PDT
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Sun 11 Jun 2006

The Die Is Cast

image

This weekend we set the plans for the final move from Florida to Washington. On 9 Jul I'll fly back to Florida. From 10 Jul to 14 Jul the moving company will pack and load. From 15 Jul to 21 Jul Brandy, Amy, Zuri, Cheese, Skittles, Mike, several fish and I will pack into a car and drive cross country to my apartment here. Our planned route is above courtesy of Google Maps.

We had thought about flying back, but in the end for a variety of reasons decided that driving would be the way to go. This will give me four more states on my State Map. Woo! Um, that wasn't one of the reasons though. :-)

In any case, should be an interesting trip.

And it will let me visit my house one more time before it isn't my house any more.


Abulsme - Sun, 11 Jun 2006, 19:35:31 PDT
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William Ramseur Minter

imageTime for my father's father's father. I have very little biographical information about him at the moment. I know he was born in South Carolina and went to Davidson College there. I know who he married and I know her had four kids (the last of whom was my Grandfather). I have a few pictures and know a few dates. But that is about it. I hope at some point I'll be able to get more information, but I don't have it at the moment.

As I get deeper this of course becomes very common. There are many many of these ancestors for whom all that is really there is date of birth, date of death, and names of spouses and children. Some of them I might be able to find out more about with some more real world research (not just sitting here at my computer doing searches). But for many, that's just all the information that is left. Meanwhile these are all people who lived full lives, had many adventures, successes, failures, loves and losses... but all that is remembered is a few dates.

And then of course, there are some places where I can't find names of parents of some ancestor at all, and then those parents, whoever they were, for them nothing at all is left in terms of knowledge of them. Kinda sad when you think about it.

I think though I probably WILL be able to get more information about William Ramseur. He is recent enough I'm sure there's gotta be more I can dig up. But we shall see. And for now, I have what I have.

As usual, click the picture for more.


Abulsme - Sun, 11 Jun 2006, 14:09:10 PDT
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Sat 10 Jun 2006

It Lives

image25% chance of Tropical Storm force winds in Melbourne within the next 120 hours (5 days).

I would say "Woo" again, but Brandy chastised me for that last time and said I only said that cause I am 3217 miles away (by road). And that is partially true, but I'd be saying Woo if I was there too.

I mean, A Cat 5 hurricane bearing down on you is kinda scary, but the last Tropical Storm was actually rather fun...


Abulsme - Sat, 10 Jun 2006, 12:49:45 PDT
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Fri 09 Jun 2006

So It Begins

image

Nine days into the season and we have the first activity in the Atlantic Basin on the NHC warning chart. Woo!


Abulsme - Fri, 9 Jun 2006, 09:25:56 PDT
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Generation 2

I have now completed posting Generation 2 on this blog. So time to see "where Sam is from" if you consider where ancestors at different generations were born. If you remember the more recent generations:

Generation 0:

100% Wisconsin
Generation 1:
50% District of Columbia
50% Ohio
And now...

Generation 2:
25% North Carolina
25% Kentucky
25% Arkansas
25% Vermont
The center of mass here is definitely moving South... Hmmm... I should put some of this on a map... in my head I see charts and animations... Hmmm... OK, this is probably my cue to shut down and go to bed. Cause if I start thinking that way, I could be up for many hours making maps. And that would probably be bad.


Abulsme - Fri, 9 Jun 2006, 00:42:31 PDT
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Marion Vera Hurlburt

imageThe for another ancestor. This time my mother's mother, Marion Vera Hurlburt. She was born in Mendon, Vermont and died just a few months short of 100 years later in Southampton, Massachusetts.

In the intervening place she did a lot and lived in many places. At least eight states and two countries. High School in Maine. College in Ohio. Nursing School in Rhode Island. Followed her husband's ministries in Maine and Ohio before he died young leaving her a single mother with two children and pregnant with a third (my mother). Then a full career as a nurse in various locations in Vermont, including 16 years as the nurse in residence for a residential school for children in need.

Then as soon as the last of her children (my mother) graduated college, she left the country to be a missionary nurse in Turkey for five years in her 60's. Finally she retired to Massachusetts in 1973. And of course it is there that I visited her many times as a child, through to the last years of her life a few years back.

For more information, click on the picture.


Abulsme - Fri, 9 Jun 2006, 00:17:17 PDT
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Wed 07 Jun 2006

Alien Spores

I made an off hand mention of this in an email to my friend Ron. He asked for a link, and I realized I should just blog it.

Is It Raining Aliens?

As bizarre as it may seem, the sample jars brimming with cloudy, reddish rainwater in Godfrey Louis’s laboratory in southern India may hold, well, aliens. In April, Louis, a solid-state physicist at Mahatma Gandhi University, published a paper in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Astrophysics and Space Science in which he hypothesizes that the samples—water taken from the mysterious blood-colored showers that fell sporadically across Louis’s home state of Kerala in the summer of 2001—contain microbes from outer space.


Abulsme - Wed, 7 Jun 2006, 21:26:23 PDT
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Tue 06 Jun 2006

Lily

imageI promised Matt that next time he sent a picture I would post it. His daughter Lily is 8 weeks old now and he just sent me a new picture. And he gave permission in advance, so...

Here she is.

The picture is from May though, so she wasn't 8 weeks old there. But she is now. You know what I mean. Very confusing. In any case, a cute baby girl who is doing great.

She is looking very pink in that picture. :-)

In any case, congratulations again Matt!


Abulsme - Tue, 6 Jun 2006, 21:04:31 PDT
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Enterprise Software

I just attended my first demo of an enterprise software product since I left my previous job where of course what we sold was an enterprise software product. And oh my did it bring back bad memories.

Now, OK, the product we were looking at is much more well known and undoubtedly of much much higher quality than anything my previous company put out. And it is a public company, so you can go to their website and get all kinds of real information about them and the company and all that. So not so much hocus pocus behind the curtain stuff.

However, it is still enterprise software, and so a lot of the same things apply. Can it do X? "Well, it could be configured to do X." ARGGH! Probably true, but... Just the whole way that business works makes me uncomfortable. And although where I was last year and the year before seems to be much worse than most, a lot of the games that are played are common to that whole industry. And especially after now having been on both sides of that fence, just the whole being there and hearing the demo thing just... Well, I tried to concentrate on the pros and cons of the product itself, but my thoughts kept going back to just my whole negative impressions of the PROCESS.

And then there is the whole adoption thing. This seemed like a nice product. But it is one of those things that to be completely effective a culture has to develop around using it. A single person or two trying to use it makes no sense. It only starts to make sense when everybody uses it. So the obvious question is about adoption and how to bring it about. Of course, the management team on our side was clear. If the decision is made to do this, then it will be mandated from on high that everybody must use it, and that will be enforced.

Well, that is one way to solve that problem.

Anyway, we'll probably end up using this thing. And really, I see no real problem with it, and probably some advantages. But I just naturally find myself suspicious now of just about anything labeled as an "enterprise solution". And yes, I am jaded and disillusioned by my previous job. I fully admit it. :-)


Abulsme - Tue, 6 Jun 2006, 16:07:04 PDT
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Bonk, Bonk on the Head


Abulsme - Tue, 6 Jun 2006, 14:41:18 PDT
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Mon 05 Jun 2006

Guy in My Apartment!!

image

Got back from a meeting and noticed that Cronus, my computer at home which is home to both my wiki and my webcam was not responding. Luckily, today I'd had both the usual external webcam and the internal one going. They were both frozen on the last image they captured. The last image on the internal webcam was the one above. Hmmm...

Of course, I had all the cameras set because I knew they were coming. Somebody from the apartment complex doing a "routine inspection". Of course, the thing that pisses me off is that on that last frame you can see the guy's hand going for that lightswitch... the lightswitch that happens to be connected to the plug where my cable modem and wireless router are plugged in (I know, bad place to plug those in). So as he left he flips the switch and boom... no more internet connection or camera pictures... or Wiki.

I'd set both cameras to take more frames in their time laspses than they usually though, but I think I messed up the way in which it was set, so it may not come out right. I didn't realize until I was at work and it was too late to change. The switch only controls power to the internet connections, not to the computer, so hopefully I'll have full timelapses when I get home... just messed up I think.

I am thinking I accidentally set it so there will be one timelapse with alternating frames from the two cameras rather than two seperate timelapses. Either that, or I'll only have one timelapse from the external camera. Or, it could be screwed and I'll have nothing at all. I guess I'll find out when I get home.

After my last meeting today I may have to go work from home so that I can get that connection back on. Having it off is driving me nuts.


Abulsme - Mon, 5 Jun 2006, 14:51:53 PDT
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Falling Prices

Over the weekend we dropped the asking price on the house in Florida about 10 grand. Ten grand and six dollars to be exact.

The price of the house now matches my customer ID at the place I work. Not my employee ID, my customer id. Which back in the day when I made my account in 1997 were given out sequentially. Little did I know before I came to work here that I was six people away from a very round number. If I had just hesitated one or two seconds before placing my very first order back in 1997, I would have had a customer ID with five zeros in it and that would have been very cool. As it is, I have four nines in a row, and that is kind of neat, but not quite as neat.

Anyway, since it turned out that the price we were going to drop it to anyway was right near there, I said why not, and set it to match exactly. It probably won't, but if it actually sells at exactly that price it would be kinda nifty.

Anyway, as predicted a month ago when we finally got the place on the market things are pretty darn slow. We're maybe getting one or two people a week looking at it. Our price per square foot was actually somewhat agressive (even before this drop) compared to other houses in the area that sold within the last six months and other houses currently on the market. It is just that very few people are in the market right now in our area. Our agent said things were averaging being on the market 90-120 days before they get an offer. He wasn't kidding.

Hopefully this will get us some additional traffic, preferably even an offer. If not, we'll reevaluate again after another month. We could have been even more agressive to try to prompt it to move faster, but while we want (need) the thing to sell, we're not yet at the point where we'll just drop it a crazy amount just to get it to sell "NOW".

But the paying for a house plus an apartment thing really can't go on forever. We start the monthly payments for Amy's school on July 1st and things are already tight enough as they are.


Abulsme - Mon, 5 Jun 2006, 13:39:30 PDT
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Morning Note on Coffee

Spilling coffee on your mouse on Friday afternoon and then leaving it to dry until Monday morning is NOT the best way to have an enjoyable mousing experience to start off the work week.


Abulsme - Mon, 5 Jun 2006, 09:27:10 PDT
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Sun 04 Jun 2006

Ralph Aaron Brandon

imageTime for my mother's father. Born in Arkansas, but spent most of his life in Ohio. I really don't have a huge amount of biographical information on Ralph Brandon. Perhaps other members of the family will be able to fill some in or send me more as time goes on. He died while my Grandmother was still pregnant with my Mother, so my mom never knew him, although her older brothers did. I have vague memories of stories of how he died, but nothing solid enough to put down, and no sources to back it up. Something about a doctor's office or a chiropractor or something. He died young. Just about a week short of his 36th birthday. Just about my age now. In any case, click the picture for more.


Abulsme - Sun, 4 Jun 2006, 15:20:44 PDT
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Sat 03 Jun 2006

Shiver Me Timbers

image

For those who have not been following:

31 May 2006:

Swedish Authorities Sink Pirate Bay (PDF)
Motion Picture Association of America Press Release

Swedish authorities announced today that they have shut down “The Pirate Bay” - one of the world’s largest and most well known facilitators of online piracy. With more than one million registered users, “The Pirate Bay” touts itself as the “World’s Largest BitTorrent Tracker” facilitating and enabling illegal swapping of millions of illegal copyrighted movies, music, software, and games. The operators of The Pirate Bay have publicly ridiculed copyright holders and taunted law enforcement for years claiming immunity to copyright laws. Since filing a criminal complaint in Sweden in November 2004, the film industry has worked vigorously with Swedish and U.S. government officials in Sweden to shut this illegal site down. Over fifty Swedish law enforcement officials executed search warrants and raids at ten different locations which resulted in three arrests and the preclusion of millions of users trading up to two million illegal files simultaneously.

The Pirate Bay boarded, may be sent to Davy Jone's locker
(Eric Bangeman, ArsTechnica)
Through all the lawsuits, takedowns, and criminal charges, The Pirate Bay has continued to operate openly and with utter disregard for the MPAA, RIAA, and any other copyright holder. In fact, the site owners have maintained a "Legal" page where they post cease-and-desist letters along with mocking responses.

All along, The Pirate Bay has maintained that its operations are perfectly legal under Swedish law (an argument familiar to Allofmp3.com users). This insistence continued in the wake of a new law passed by the Swedish Parliament in July 2005 that strengthened the country's copyright enforcement law. As The Pirate Bay only hosts trackers and not the copyrighted material itself, it claims that it has every right to operate in Sweden.

1 Jun 2006:

Aftermath of The Pirate Raids
(Thomas, Slyck)
During the raid, each and every server that was hosted by PRQ was seized, despite the proper labeling of each domain. Not only did the Swedish National Police succeed in removing ThePirateBay.org, but every other domain hosted by PRQ. The seizure of these domains, which total between 200 and 300, affected a wide range of websites. While some were smaller, personal websites, many were business oriented websites that depend on advertising for the owner’s personal livelihood. Either way, virtually all servers confiscated had absolutely nothing to do with piracy, ThePirateBay.org, or the online copyright wars.

"Corruption Goes All the Way to the Top", Says Pirate Bay Chief
(Wiredfire)
It is now being reported that the Swedish Department of Justice received what amounts to orders from the U.S. Administration, who had in turn received "requests" from the MPAA, to shut down Pirate Bay. Orders went straight top to bottom, from the Swedish minister of Justice, this is even worse than I had possibly imagined. We have a situation where not foreign corporate interests, but foreign governments, pressured by their corporate interests, manage to get young people arrested for something that is not breaking Swedish law.

When asked for his reaction to these reports, Falkvinge said “this is even worse than I had possibly imagined. We have a situation where not foreign corporate interests, but foreign governments, pressured by their corporate interests, manage to get young people arrested for something that is not breaking Swedish law”.

He went on to say “And being a nuisance to the media industry is not illegal. It was a scandal of the worst sort to have Swedish Police Force used for these purposes. It's not what they should be doing”. We asked him to amplify, to which he responded “ X causing Y to lose money doesn't automatically make X a criminal, in Sweden. You have to actually break a law. A few people arrested for file sharing is just some youngsters getting caught for a prank. The US Administration forcing the Swedish Police to raid somebody against the law, though, that gets people up in arms”.

2 Jun 2006:

YARR! Swedish police site broadsided after Pirate Bay raid
(Eric Bangeman, ArsTechnica)
It looks like the raid on The Pirate Bay and confiscation of its servers upset somebody. That's one conclusion to be drawn from the sudden unavailability of the web site of Sweden's national police. Beginning last night, the the site came under a widespread and intense denial of service attack, according to National Police Administration Director Lars Lindahl.

...

The Pirate Bay maintains that the raid was a violation of Swedish law and that the site will be back up "soon," operating from another country this time. In the meantime, Piratpariet and the Pirate Bureau are organizing "Pirate Demonstration Saturday," a protest in Stockholm beginning at 3pm local time.

Swedish crackdown on Net piracy sparks row
(Reuters on ZDNet)
Swedish public television said Thursday that an official in the Justice Ministry had put pressure on the police and prosecutor's office to act against the Web site on a request from the U.S. government and the U.S. movie industry for action.

Justice Minister Thomas Bodstrom rejected the report.

"I have not had contact at all with the U.S. government as regards this question, and I have not had any meetings or discussed this matter," he told Swedish radio.

He said he had never given instructions to the police or the state prosecutor in individual cases.

But two parliamentarians reported Bodstrom to a special house committee which probes government actions.

3 Jun 2006:

Movie piracy site reopens
(AFP on DNAIndia)
The Pirate Bay, one of the world's most popular websites for the illegal downloading of movies through filesharing, reopened on Saturday, three days after Swedish authorities shut the site down.

"We just got the servers up and running. They're not totally stable yet but we expect the site to be working as normal within an hour," one of those behind the site, Fredrik Neij, told AFP.

...

Neij, who insisted Saturday that his actions were not illegal, said the reopened site was using servers in The Netherlands. The Pirate Bay provides instructions on how to share music and film files using links offered on the site, which attracts 1.5 million users throughout the world everyday, 29 percent of them in Sweden, Neij said.

The Scandinavian country last year passed a law banning the sharing of copyrighted material on the Internet without payment of royalties, in a bid to crack down on free downloading of music, films and computer games.

So... the site is back up again at the moment. With their logo changed so the Pirate Ship is opening fire on the Hollywood sign. And the browser title bar reading "The Police Bay". It isn't all that stable at the moment though and is up and down quite a bit. And not fully functional. And this may not last long anyway. It is important to point out that they have NOT been vindicated in Sweden or anything. They just set up shop elsewhere. And one of the reasons they were able to last so long in Sweden is because of the particular ways the laws were set up there. That most likely will not be the case elsewhere, although they may gain some time.

Of course, if they actually win in court in Sweden, it will be a whole different ball game.

We shall see.

And of course, whenever one goes down, more pop up. It isn't like this kind of thing stops anyone.

A few final thoughts...

Where is the American version of Piratpartiet (The Pirate Party)??? A one issue party to be sure, but I happen to completely agree with them on that one issue. I'd most likely vote for them unless they turned out to have views on non-IP issues that I strongly disagreed with.

And finally, a nice quote from Thomas Jefferson:
If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation.


Abulsme - Sat, 3 Jun 2006, 02:00:34 PDT
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Mary Sue Wooton

imageI should have posted pictures with the last four genealogical posts, but I didn't. You had to click through to the Wiki to see the pictures on those. Oh well. Cause after all, there are only so many of these that I WILL have pictures for. In any case, it is time for my father's mother:

Mary Sue Wootton

She is currently doing well and emailing regularly on her WebTV from Tucson, Arizona. :-) I remember fondly many visits to her house as a child up through a few years ago. Almost always at Christmas. The last time I was there was a few years back when I had a business trip to Phoenix and decided to take a side trip one day and drove to Tucson in the rental car and made a surprise visit for lunch. I got pretty close to being able to find the house without directions even though I had never driven in Tucson before. I think I was within about a mile when I gave up and called for directions. :-)

Oh, and very important. She goes by "Sue". Not "Mary" or "Mary Sue". Of course, she is just "Grandmother Minter" to me.


Abulsme - Sat, 3 Jun 2006, 01:02:46 PDT
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