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September 30, 2002

Seen on a T-shirt at Folsom Street Fair yesterday:
It will be long. it will be hard. And there will be no withdrawal.
- Winston Churchill

Believe it or not, the third time you see it, Folsom Street Fair is kinda boring. Yeah yeah, lots of hairy man-butt (to put it the way Joe did when he explained why he didn't go this year) showing through some heavy-duty black leather fetish wear. Yeah yeah, public spankings with pants pulled down using real whips hitting really really hard. OK that was all new and different the first time but now it's pretty much the same as before. Despite what the pictures on that site imply, there are definitely women there; some of them are both stunningly beautiful and decked out in some pretty kinky stuff. Still, once you've seen it, it's pretty much the same the next time. As I am slowly learning in SF, the way to have fun is not to find something cool and do it 10 times; you have to go all over the place and do all kinds of stuff once because there's so much to do.

Sick of these yet? Which Invader Zim character are you? Of course I am Zim due to our common goal of becoming LORD OF ALL HUMANS!!!!

September 20, 2002

Want to know the nitty gritty details of how PDF files work? Then read the Adobe PDF Reference (8.9MB PDF file). I was always sorta curious but until this week it was never really important to know about it. Now I have to figure out how to batch export thousands of dynamically generated HTML documents to PDF. While I'm evaluating products that do this I'm coming across PDF features that I didn't know existed! So I gotta self educate in order to know which features we might need... hello PDF Reference.

I'll probably spend a few hours reading it & learning all sorts of odd details that will seem useless but will turn out to be extremely useful for some reason 2 or 3 years from now. Such is the life of a software architect, I guess.

September 19, 2002

Stress. Payin' da bills, trying to get our security deposit back from our former landlords, etc. As a result I find myself seeking diversions such as trying to figure out what the correct phone dialing sequence is to make the touch tones sound out Funkytown (as Towelie did in South Park episode 508, "Towelie"). By the way, I listened to a WAV of that part of the episode and the touch tone sounds he's makiing aren't possible on a real phone. Dammit. But 3323113#93 comes pretty close. :)

September 17, 2002

Kim and I watched Vanilla Sky last night. It's great, which really surprised me (I was kinda expecting it to be a mindless Hollywood spend-fest like Mission Impossible I and II). Wrong! It was excellent, and definitely a reality bender like Fight Club or Memento where you're increasingly trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

Speaking of wondering what the hell is going on... I keep hearing about this musical genre called "emo" yet I'm not sure what the heck it is. I found a page entitled What the heck *is* emo, anyway? which cleared it up for me a bit. However, since apparently a big part of emo music is the low-fi, analog, vinyl-only, independent label publishing model, it's kinda hard to actually find any emo music to listen to. I guess that's part of the emo clique... you have to be into the whole vinyl, independent record store, out of print, hard to find thing. I saw Fugazi about 10 years ago at Fort Reno which I only slightly remember but I guess that sort of means I have a bit of early emo cred. Or something.

Fortunately, the author of the site that claims to explain what emo is has a band with a web site. On that web site there is a song called My Fist Smells Like Graveyard which includes the following absolutely hilarious quote from Time Bandits:

Evil Genius: When I have the map, I will be free, and the world will be different, because I have understanding.
Robert: Understanding of what, master?
Evil Genius: Digital watches. And soon I will have understanding of videocassette recorders and car telephones. And when I have understanding of them, I shall have understanding of computers. And when I have understanding of computers, I shall be the Supreme Being! God isn't interested in technology. He knows nothing of the potential of the microchip or the silicon revolution. Look how he spends his time: forty-three species of parrots! Nipples for men!
Robert: Slugs.
Evil Genius: Slugs! He created slugs! They can't hear, they can't speak, they can't operate machinery. I mean, are we not in the hands of a lunatic? If I were creating the world, I wouldn't mess about with butterflies and daffodils. I would've started with lasers, eight o'clock, day one!

The Korg PX4B that I ordered arrived today. It's hella cool. I definitely like being able to practice with a drum machine full of all kinds of built-in rhythms instead of a plain old metronome.

September 9, 2002

Not having a dishwasher sucks. Still having a washer and dryer in the same building (and shared with only 1 other apartment) is very nice, though.

September 8, 2002

"Jaguar... is spectacular. It's arguably the best OS ever released for personal computers" (BusinessWeek)

This version of my blog/home page is the first publicly-visible one that has been transformed from XML format to HTML via an XSLT template. I realize that doesn't mean much now (since nothing is different from your end), but hopefully this will allow me to more easily change the design of my web site. It has been several years (5? 6? I don't remember) since I last changed the layout and visual style of my web site. Browsers have changed a lot in that time.

I finally finished WarCraft III. It was a hell of a lot of fun but I doubt I'll actually play online... I guess I'm missing out but I have lots of other stuff to do (and other games to finish!).

I discovered an undocumented ReplayTV feature (yes it is in the ReplayTV FAQ but it's buried in the answer to this related question): enter a number and press the Instant Replay or Quick Skip button and you skip backward or forward that many minutes, instantly! So 5, 0, Quick Skip skips 50 minutes forward immediately. PVRs rule.

September 6, 2002

I recently bought an XLR8 InterView 2.1. This thing is super cool - it compresses live video down to a data stream that can squeeze through a USB cable and includes software that will let you recompress it into a more common format like MPEG, QuickTime, Video CD, etc. The best part is how cheap it is - $65 or so. (If you have a PC there is a similar product here.) Now that I've captured a few 10-minute video clips and recompressed them into Quicktime 6 or Video CD format, I understand why people would want something like a dual-CPU upgrade for a G4. It takes quite a while to recompress video, so the more CPU ya got, the sooner your computer will stop being really really busy recompressing.

September 5, 2002

Maybe you've read some of the articles that say that CD-R dye color is what tells you if your CD-Rs are going to go bad in a year or two or ten years. Here's an article that disagrees, and apparently they did some pretty serious research.

September 4, 2002

Top 10 ways not to get past my first round of resume screening for a Windows 2000 / Outlook 2000 / Office 2000 desktop support position with antivirus expertise:

10. Say "resume attached" in the email but forget to attach it (email expert, are we?)
9. Attach a resume .doc file with a macro virus
8. Send me a message with a .vbs virus attached in an obvious email worm to the specially-created email address for that job position (I never did get a resume from that person for some reason)
7. Send a one line cover letter - best one: "Hi, feel free to give me a try." (Bonus points for not attaching a resume or including a resume URL)
6. Send a .doc-of-death attachment (sends Word spinning into 100% CPU land indefinitely, but made it past Norton and Trend Micro antivirus so I don't think it was a macro virus, just an internally screwy document)
5. Send .doc files that don't open in Word 2000
4. Attach the exact same resume .doc file 5 times to a single email message
3. Send the exact same message with attachment more than once within a five minute period
2. Send the same message except with a different company name and position name the second time (doh!)
...and my absolute favorite:
1. Say "I would like to have your fax number so I can fax you my resume concerning the position for Help Desk Support."

September 2, 2002

Here is an interesting story about broadband monopolies in the US and what FCC chairman Michael Powell is going to do about it [nothing]. It's interesting that deregulation (the holy telecom buzzword) would lead to a monopoly.