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March 30, 2002

I got a bike last weekend. I bike to work now; I haven't driven my car since Tuesday. The SF Bike Coalition has lots of resources including this awesome bike map (1.06MB PDF) which includes color-coded streets according to street grade (as in, steepness). That's handy if you live on the side of a very very steep hill (which I do) and need to figure out the least steep route to take to get to/from work, or wherever.

Here's an error message that MSIE showed me (70KB JPEG image) a while ago. It's just wrong on so many levels. Of course, it went away as soon as Epinions' name server started working again. I just thought it was humorously unhelpful. And of course, it shows the unholy union of MSIE and MSN. Why exactly did it take me to MSN? Creepy Microsoft monopoly product-tying, that's why!

March 28, 2002

I've been listening to Slayer a lot lately. Yes, the Satanic death metal band. No, I'm not a Satanist. I don't really take that stuff seriously. But DAMN, these guys rock. I originally heard Slayer at a friend's house in Northern Virginia. He had the "Bloodpack" limited edition CD which featured a liquid-filled flexible plastic CD case full of fake blood, with little skulls floating in the fake blood. Here's a photo. Cool. I tried to buy one of these recently on eBay but I didn't think it was worth $22. Then I saw the Seasons in the Abyss video on Beavis and Butthead, and of course they liked it. There's a palm-muted chug-chug-chug part before the verse that Beavis liked som much he said there should be a song that just goes "dun dun dun dun dun" and never does anything else. :) At one point I had some mix tapes made by friends, back when I had a much more extensive metal music collection. I'm rebuilding that now...

Anyway, I started listening to them again on my Rio 500 portable MP3 player, as part of my running mix, to make me want to exercise harder. It works! Angel of Death, Seasons in the Abyss (still a favorite), and South of Heaven just kick ass. Some people listen to Enya while working out; I listen to Slayer. BTW, I downloaded the songs from KaZaA originally, and now I've ordered the CDs online. RIAA, kiss my ass, MP3 sharing sells records.

BTW, either Beavis or Butthead once said that the only thing cooler than getting chicks was scaring chicks. :)

March 27, 2002

Ever seen one of these weird plaques about "Toynbee ideas in Kubrick's 2001 ressurect dead on planet Jupiter"? When I first saw one in Washington, D.C., I was in an interesting state of mind and it spooked the shit out of me. I mean, seriously, these are plaques about 8"x16" in size and are embedded in the pavement, and clearly have been there for a while. Wacky. Anyway, what's more wacky is how many cities have them. I still don't know what the creator of the plaques was trying to say. Maybe he/she was just trying to mess with folks' heads.

March 21, 2002

"Whatever! I do what I want!" - Eric Cartman. On last night's South Park, Cartman impersonated an Out of Control Teen on Maury Povich, going into a tirade about how bad he is, in hopes of winning a cool parting gift for being on the show. He started with drugs and underage sex, but he was easily outdone by another guest on the show who ran with gangs and participated in a drive-by shooting. His most outrageous made-up offense as an Out of Control Teen was running for senate, having sex with an intern, killing her, hiding the body, and pretending he didn't know anything about it. :)

March 20, 2002

I've been listening to A Curious Feeling by Tony Banks (keyboard player from Genesis - I'm a big fan of their 60s and 70s material, not a fan of their later work). This is a sad story but I can't stop listening to it, and thinking about it. The songs are stuck in my head. I don't want to listen to anything else if I can listen to this instead. I hope this passes! But it's fun for now to wallow in the sadness of the story a bit.

March 18, 2002

This quote is so good, I had to include the whole thing rather than just link to the story and hope you read it:

"Software development -at the moment- is much more like early manufacture of samurai swords, shields, and battlefield tactics. You make a pile of swords or war tactics, send them onto the battlefield, and see which ones worked better. Then you make different swords and tactics, and so on. You can't figure out the right answer sitting alone in the room. You have to be on the battlefield. I can't imagine learning the things I've learned while sitting peacefully in my office reflecting. Most of my original reflections and predictions were just wrong. So any one of you who is interested in this topic probably has to work as a developer or consultant, so you can see the moment-to-moment action and get raw data."
- Alistair Cockburn, Software Development as a Cooperative Game

March 15, 2002

In light of this story about Andersen being indicted for obstruction of justice related to their questionable audit relationship with Enron... the Accenture re-branding effort looks a lot less stupid than it initially did.

March 12, 2002

Wanna see something cool on your Linux box? Run this:

watch -n1 "( df -k ; echo; vmstat ; top -b )"

March 11, 2002

This Dilbert cartoon is particularly funny.

March 6, 2002

I'm on the NTBugTraq mailing list now. Every day it seems like there is at least one new major security vulnerability found in Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 or 6.0. I know Bill Gates has declared that security is a big deal for Microsoft now, but that doesn't change overnight, especially when there are several hundred million computers running software they designed before they started caring about security. Certain things have to be designed in from the start, and tested thoroughly before you ship a 1.0 release.

March 5, 2002

It's a nice day outside. I work inside. Why is that?

Joe sent me a link to a bunch of pictures of a tugboat having a rough day. It's really funny.

OK, I have not-very-mastered versions of all 5 songs by my band, available for download: Missing Link, Too Much, Feeding on Fear, Bleed, Live Nude Girls

March 3, 2002

Final Fantasy X (for PlayStation 2) is a really fun game. I like it a lot more than I liked Final Fantasy 8. Tidus (the main character) is a bit of a dork, but that's part of his character. I just got the Aeon called Shiva (she's an ice goddess whom you can summon to cast mondo ice-based spells on enemies) and DAMN. Not only is she gorgeous (as she has been for the past few Final Fantasy games, in whatever incarnation she has existed), but Diamond Dust (her big spell) totally rocks. Screen shot, screen shot, screen shot, screen shot.

I wish they had had time to change the facial movements to match the English localization - from what I hear, they skipped that step in order to ship it in time for Christmas 2001. It's odd watching a computer game that has the kung-fu-movie overdubbing problem. On the other hand, it's amazing that there is a console game where the problem where the spoken dialogue is out of sync with the movement of the characters' lips :)

A couple of weeks ago I recorded bass and guitar (bass on 4 songs, guitar on one) tracks at Sonic Imagery Labs for a 5-song demo that the band I'm in has been rehearsing for a while. We mixed 3 out of 5 songs last night, taking an average of 90 minutes per song to mix it. Yes, we're picky, but it's worth it. Tonight we go back to mix the other two, which include the one that I wrote. We still have to do the mastering step (which includes normalizing volume across songs and relative to other albums that are out there, deciding what order they should be in, and adding the little bits of silence in between songs) after that. Anyway, here's an MP3 of the first song, called Missing Link (2.6MB MP3).