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December 31, 2002

Christopher Lee has had quite a career as an actor - most recently as Count Dooku (a.k.a. Darth Tyranus) and Saruman the White. But check out all the other stuff he's done... damn!

According to this Wired story about new wireless phone regulations, Forrester is saying that MSN has 57% user turnover annually. Ouch! I guess I understand now why ISPs try to create all the mystique about their special magic software when in reality it's just PPP and a modem on the other end. I wonder if all the additional services that they push (instant messaging, search, free email) do more to help or hinder customer loyalty? In other words, if you really provide IP connectivity over a phone line but you want customers to think you're providing AOL-like services, what happens when they want to use Yahoo Messenger but they don't think that'll work over MSN? Or what if they want to use Google but they don't know how to make their browser stop going to MSN search (especially since IE has MSN search built-in, separate from what home page is used)? Will they just switch ISPs when all they really needed to do was change the configuration of their PC? Or is the turnover just a result of cheap dialup ISP's who charge one-third of MSN's $21.95 per month?

A few months ago, a company I've been workng with moved offices in San Francisco, and I had to set up some funky firewall circumvention stuff to get e-mail delivery working while we waited a few days for the T1 to be installed.

December 22, 2002

John Entwistle died from cocaine use, according to the coroner. Sad. He was the bass player for The Who, and one of the two bass players who first inspired me to want to play (the other being Geddy Lee). I'm glad I got to see them perform live before he died. He had some very cool-looking custom basses made. Check out the Status "Buzzard Bass", and the Warwick Buzzard Bass. Check out the paint job on the Warwick buzzard at the bottom of that page. Wow! My favorite of them all is the Alembic "Exploiter" (similar to the Gibson "Explorer" shape), seen here being played by the man himself. I have one just like it, except mine doesn't have the spiderweb fretboard inlay like his does.

John C. Dvorak and I agree on at least one thing: Linux desktop user interfaces are too derivative of Windows. The usual rationale is "we have to make it look that way so Windows users can switch easily". Is it working? I don't think so. IMHO, most Windows users are afraid of their computer because it's so easy to hose something. Why clone that?

December 19, 2002

Dammit! SFSU rejected my application! It turns out that the California State University system requires high school courses including 2 semesters of performing or visual arts, and I didn't do that in high school (even though I was involved with theatre for several years, I didn't take any classes for it). So, a big fat NO from SFSU. That means I have to go to City College of San Francisco to make that up before I can re-apply. Or, as the advisor I spoke to yesterday suggested, I could just take enough credits to transfer into SFSU as a junior, which means the high school requirements don't matter since they just look at your previous college experience for junior and senior transfer students. That's what I plan to do.

I went to CCSF today and submitted my application in person, since the cutoff date for applications was last Friday. Of course I didn't know that, because I didn't expect to have to even apply to CCSF in the first place... anyway, they accepted it. The trick is that since I missed the 12/13 deadline, I have to just pick what I want, then show up on the first day of classes (1/14/03) and get an "add" code from each instructor so that I can register for each class at that time. Presumably this is the college registration equivalent of trying to get a standby seat on an airplane... show up and hope that there's room, otherwise I'm screwed and have to scramble to juggle my courses into something resembling a sane schedule, or pick alternate courses. Whee. At least I have a few weeks to figure out my preferred and alternate courses, so I can take some time to do other stuff, like catch up on work (being a contractor means that if you spend all your time vacationing and getting into school it gets expensive quickly).

December 17, 2002

SFSU's online application status tracker says "Your admission file for the Spring 2003 semester is currently being reviewed. You will be notified in the event that additional information is needed." This is better than before when it said that I needed to submit certain documents that I had already mailed 4 weeks earlier. So, they're busy. I get it. Still, I would really like to have them say "yes you will be a full time undergraduate student for Spring 2003" already.

It has been raining a lot in SF recently, it being the rainy season and all. Here's a cool photo of the rain in SF.

Concerned about racism now that Trent Lott has shown his true colors? Wondering if you could just move to someplace that's more tolerant of different races and cultures? Well, maybe Europe isn't the best choice: check out this chart: What European Tribes Think About One Another.

Robert Burck (a.k.a. the naked cowboy) is serious about his art.

Hey look, Jon Stewart has a new show.

Some people take Slashdot far, far too seriously. seems pretty cool. I haven't really bought anything big lately but if I do I would probably try and get a deal on it FatWallet style, just to see if it works. (The basic idea of the site is to share your combined price-matching/rebate/coupon/misprint schemes that let you get insane deals on consumer products.)

December 9, 2002

Our pictures from Aruba are online.

December 8, 2002

We're home! What an exhausting return trip... from Oranjestad, Aruba to San Juan, Puerto Rico to Dulles (outside of Washington, D.C.) to Oakland, then via BART (commuter rail) to San Francisco. We're pooped!

Pictures are coming... I'm working on them tonight. The Thanksgiving and Aruba pictures all came out quite well.

Our landlord/downstairs neighbor is installing a new sink, a dishwasher, and a disposal right now! Woo hoo!

December 7, 2002

We're back in the US. Aruba was great; we have photos and stories and stuff. We did so much that the little cartoon postcard Kim bought that has the major attractions of Aruba only has one or two things on it that we didn't see! Cool. We're staying over in Washington, D.C. tonight and will fly back to SF tomorrow morning.

December 3, 2002

We're in Aruba. It's sunny and hot. Thanksgiving with the fam was fun.