Monday, December 22, 2008

Something I Had To Read Twice To Believe

Officers at the Phoenix police department have been requesting permission to purchase and carry their own semi-automatic weapons for use in the line of duty. It seems that budgetary issues kept them from keeping up with the firepower on the street. You'll never guess who stepped up to the plate to help out:

An unexpected Christmas donation from actor David Spade is expected to provide Phoenix police with enough money to buy an additional 50 semi-automatic rifles for patrol officers in 2009.

The $100,000 gift announced Monday means as many as 300 officers could soon be armed with Bushmaster AR-15s, even in light of recent debates between police and union officials about the availability of the high-powered weapons during the city's ongoing budget strife.

That brings a tear to my eye -- a member of the entertainment elite materially contributing to the cause of improved weaponry for law enforcement. David Spade, you are the man.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Stimulus Idea For the Economy

I just watched Andy Rooney kvetch about retailers wanting to skip right over Thanksgiving so they can get the retail Christmas season going, noting that some retailers realize about thirty percent of their annual sales during the Christmas run.

May I suggest to president-elect Obama that he install a quarterly Christmas in the calendar year to shake dollars loose from consumers into the economy?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

FIX IT -- Oscar Rogers for Finance Czar

Well, I can't say this is an official endorsement of this blog since I haven't spoken to Scott about it, but I'm confident he'll agree. Maybe.

Anywhoo, this election season please consider writing in Oscar Rogers for finance czar. I think you'll agree that his straight forward, no-bs plan for fixing our economy speaks for every person who has been victimized by our recent economic downturn.




Monday, October 20, 2008

RIP: Global Warming

An analytical chemist who works in spectroscopy and atmospheric sensing, Michael J. Myers of Hilton Head, S. C., declared, "Man-made global warming is junk science," explaining that worldwide manmade CO2 emission each year "equals about 0.0168% of the atmosphere's CO2 concentration ... This results in a 0.00064% increase in the absorption of the sun's radiation. This is an insignificantly small number."


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

One Simple Request For Google Calendar

Activate the letter "g" on the keyboard. A little window pops open like when you hit the letter "q" for Quick Add. There's one little field in the popup, and that's to enter a date. When you hit return, the calendar goes to that date.

You're welcome, google. Now get on it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Bailout Isn't Really A Bailout?

I just read this blog post [1] by somebody who sounds like they know what they are talking about [2] and... well, the fundamentals of the original "bailout bill" do not sound as poisonous to libertarian ideology as I thought it would. In essence the bill was supposed to act like a giant "reset button" and doesn't actually bail anybody out. In fact, the institutions holding on to sub-prime mortgage securities will actually still take a (major) hit selling those securities to the US Treasury. The question, I guess, is how does the Treasury figure out what to pay for these crap loans?

The ultra-crapified version that is failing in the House right now is the one with all the contingencies attached to it -- the ability for judges to rewrite the terms of a loan so the mortgage payer can keep the house regardless of who gets stuck with the bill, government ownership of banks, caps on executive pay, etc. You know, socialism [3].



[1] Tilt your head -- the author leans right a bit.
[2] It was published on the internet and therefore has to be true. Right?

[3] You know the saying -- first socialism, then communism, then alchoholism.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Good Riddance

Wow, Olbermann and Matthews are gone as news anchors from MSNBC. I guess we'll no longer hear about anything furrowing up anybody's leg when Obama gives a speech.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Al Gore On His Mission In Global Warming

From the department of redundancy department:

"One of the many complexities that complicate the task I've undertaken is complexity."

First the Nobel, and with eloquence like that a Pulitzer is sure to follow.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

hellotxt: I Recant

I tried hellotxt for awhile and for the first week or so liked it, until I really started trying to use it and found it to be quite buggy. Wouldn't connect to Facebook after being able to previously. Wouldn't remove services after I told it to. Wouldn't send the status via email. Would not interpret a line break from email with a space (so your update looks like it was typed by a fifth grader). Sorry, but my attention span is just too short to put up with that.

My new status-updater best buddy is ping.fm. You can sign up for the beta and receive an invitation within a few days. It updates all the major social networks and works fairly quickly. It has an AIM bot you can route your status updates through. It updates your statuses/statii/whatever within seconds. It even has command directives where you can send different updates to different services by prepending the sentence with a code corresponding to the particular service. Sweet.

The only thing it's missing is direct SMS support. You can get around this by sending an SMS/MMS to your assigned email address for updating on ping.fm, but it would be nice to have direct support.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hank Hill on Christian Rock

"Can't you see you're not making Christianity better? You're just making rock n' roll worse!"

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Notes from the Mall

Since I've been working from home I go almost three weeks between tanks of gas and hardly ever go anywhere else. I had to go to the mall today, though, to replace the battery in my watch. I haven't been there in eons and had a handful of observations.
  • The Apple store was jam packed with people and wreaked of BO. I didn't get past the front counter.
  • Victoria's Secret. Is not.
  • The last record store there closed. I'm sure the last place you'll be able to buy CDs soon is Best Buy, Wal-Mart, or some other box-shaped store.
  • The lone book store there had a whole section for manga.
  • It's hard to find high-tops at the Foot Locker that are purposed for playing basketball in them.
  • Is it me or is there a serious shortage of fabric for women's clothing?
  • There were two shops which had blackened windows where you couldn't see what they were selling unless you walked inside. Loud music was blaring out of both of them. I'm probably too old to go inside. That and/or my wife wouldn't appreciate it if I did.
  • I did have to go to the Best Buy nearby and noticed they are now selling albums in the store that you download from iTunes. The album art is resized so it fits on the card containing the redeem code. The mp3s are 320kbs. No surprise the record stores are going out of business.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Biting (And Accurate) Observations On Blab-It-And-Grab-It Theology

"Arctic Ice Refuses To Melt As Ordered"

You don't say.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado released an alarming graph on August 11, showing that Arctic ice was rapidly disappearing, back towards last year's record minimum. Their data shows Arctic sea ice extent only 10 per cent greater than this date in 2007, and the second lowest on record.

Other data sources show Arctic ice having made a nice recovery this summer. NASA Marshall Space Flight Center data shows 2008 ice nearly identical to 2002, 2005 and 2006. Maps of Arctic ice extent are readily available from several sources, including the University of Illinois, which keeps a daily archive for the last 30 years. A comparison of these maps (derived from NSIDC data) below shows that Arctic ice extent was 30 per cent greater on August 11, 2008 than it was on the August 12, 2007.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Savory Savior?

Who says salvation can't be crunchy and crisp? Some chick found Jesus in her Cheetos, and given Catholic ritual cannibalism ("This is my body, this is my blood, this is my appetizer"), I can't believe she didn't chow down on the miniature Christ incarnate.

A messiah munchy, if you will.

Friday, July 25, 2008

He's Now a Teen Spirit

NPR has an article online about Spencer Elden, the guy whose private parts may very well be in your record collection.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

TotallyLooksLike.com

http://s3.lpsol.com/assets/images/scrapes/FlavaStripe.jpg

The makers of ICanHasCheezburger? (the site that dragged the LOLCat meme into the spotlight) has a new site which looks like a soon-to-be-never-ending list of separated at birth photos. Enjoy.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Modest Proposal

Please, somebody, I'm begging you.

In javascript and C# (and probably C, although I haven't touched it in years) an if statement looks something like this:

if ( i == "one" ) { blah blah blah }

If you need to compare that variable against multiple values, you can do it this way:

if ( i == "one" || i == "two" || i == "three" ) { blah blah blah }

Or you can do it this way:

switch ( i ) case "one": case "two": case "three": { blah blah blah break }

How about doing something like this instead:

if ( i == ( "one" || "two" || "three" ) ) { blah blah blah }

Similarly when assigning a variable using this notation (I forget what the notation is called):

test =
( i == "one" ) ? "number" :
( i == "two" ) ? "number" :
( i == "three" ) ? "number" : "not a number";
// note -- don't know if this works in c# exactly like that, but it
// does in javascript.

How about doing it this way:

test = ( i == ( "one" || "two" || "three" ) ) ? "number" : "not a number";

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Status Quo

So I was thinking it would be nice to have a service which would update my status on myspace, facebook and maybe even linkedin at the same time via email or sms.

The great thing about the internet is that as soon as you have an idea you just google it up and find out that it's already built. I stumbled on hellotxt this morning, plugged in my information for the various network sites I'm subscribed to, and low and behold I can update my status via email. It does have a separate sms option, but I'm probably likely just to send an sms to the same email address as the phone number for the sms option looks like it's from outer space.

It also supports a bevy of other networks, including twitter if you can't resist updating your peeps from the restroom.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Belief In Global Warming = Neurosis?

Bret Stephen at the WSJ observes:

If even slight global cooling remains evidence of global warming, what isn't evidence of global warming? What we have here is a nonfalsifiable hypothesis, logically indistinguishable from claims for the existence of God. This doesn't mean God doesn't exist, or that global warming isn't happening. It does mean it isn't science.

He then goes on to offer three explanations for believing in gw -- ideological (serving as a conduit for your political views), theological (i.e. humans and their by-products are inherently bad, so we need to "tread lightly" as it were) and psychological (a penance system, aka carbon credits).

The psychological aspect, to me, has more to do with providing the basis for the other two motives. In the case of ideological convenience it has to do with the rich and powerful (read: celebrities and politicians) getting off on controlling your life -- telling you what you can drive, what you can illuminate your house with, etc. Those who do it are doing it with your entertainment dollars or votes in their pocket. You've given them value, therefore their edicts (in their minds) are obviously canonical.

The psychological basis behind the theological motive is what I believe to be an innate sense of being morally accountable to something bigger than us. We may do that in varying degrees through our religious beliefs, or if lacking any belief perhaps through the betterment of mankind, family, etc. The average joe driving his Prius preaches self-loathing and capitalistic abstinence (and at times may also exercise the two), looking down his nose as those who don't. It's his mode of worship and should also be yours. It doesn't matter which religious or non-religious belief system he espouses, the mad pursuit of being ecologically friendly is his method of attaining moral justification.

All of this is to ask, does the message of gw arrive with a sense of genuine concern for you and what's important to you, or does it arrive with a sense of "knowing better than you" ?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Behold! The Awesome awesomeness

GO HERE

Fast forward to 3:00...

You're welcome.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fight the Smears

B. Hussein Obama's campaign has launched a website to counter rumors on the internets about him. You can find the site at fightthesmears.com.

Unfortunately the campaign didn't register the .org version of the domain which contains a lol funny parody of the original.

http://lh3.ggpht.com/LPSol.com/SFGeAhAnLFI/AAAAAAAAAUo/Jlzn5rJg8Ys/s800/FightTheSmearsHacked.jpg

UPDATE

Just noticed that the site is now hosting porn. Fabulously enterprising. Go there at your own risk.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Hillary willing to take sloppy seconds...

So, after insulting Obama by 'offering' him the vice president spot if he failed to get the nomination, Hillbilly is now scrambling to get her power hungry ass into the White House any way she can.

Anyone smell an assassination attempt?

Whatever...

If Obama selects Hillbilly as a running mate, it's just as bad as if she won the whole thing. Worse, in fact, because she'd be off trying to wrest power away from the spotlight. She'd be even more dangerous as she fucked around, possibly in the same way her husband did. And I do mean every possible innuendo you can come up with for that.

I don't how things work in her world, but where I come from you don't expect many favors from someone you continue to insult and denigrate. Even less to hand over the spare keys. She's a complete mess, and very dangerous to the US. Obama is almost guaranteed to lose the presidency if she goes along for the ride.

Seriously, folks... For everyone who hates Bush and his practices, the Clintons are just as bad or worse. They want to get in and exact some kind of perverse vengeance for not having been in power. They will do it in the name of Democrat solidarity; to "get back" at the Republicans; to take their share of corruption.

I can't imagine how far down the toilet the US would go with another Clinton in the White House.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Getting Rich Pennies At a Time

You know how some financial institutions which work with your bank account make small deposits into your checking account to verify that you are the owner of that account? You sign up for an account (such as Paypal) and they make a couple small deposits (usually less than a 25 cents each) of varying amounts into your checking account. You then have to verify the amount of money they deposited into the account in order to complete the sign-up process.

Turns out this guy allegedly cobbled a script or two together which opened thousands of accounts at eTrade and others institutions which follow the same verification process. He made about $50k in six months before the secret service caught up to him.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Benedictus the Hinn

A devastating article on the king scam artist of the Christian industry, Benny Hinn:
Hinn's services, for example, follow a strict pattern that's calculated for maximum emotional impact and, not so coincidentally, maximum offering collection. From the time the crowd enters the arena, they're massaged with mood lighting, repetitive music, responsive chanting, group gestures, group singing, various forms of choral and instrumental entertainment, all leading up to the moment Hinn makes his entrance. The song sung for the entrance is "How Great Thou Art," making convenient use of an ambiguous personal pronoun.

"There's power here, people!" Hinn will typically say. "Lift your hands and receive it."

All dutifully lift their hands.

"You will be healed tonight!"

They sob and shout hallelujah.

"All things are possible to him that believeth!"

Hinn repeats this same sentence three times, getting a bigger emotional reaction each time he says it.

Chant, song, gesture, salute--all the classic techniques used to submerge the individual into a group. It works for dictators and it works for Hinn. But now that he's joined them together in hope, he adds a dose of fear.
If you have about 10 minutes to kill give it a read.

As a bonus, here's a separated at birth for you.

http://s3.lpsol.com/assets/images/scrapes/TempleOfBinn.jpg
The temple of Binn.

http://s3.lpsol.com/assets/images/scrapes/TempleOfDoom.jpg
The temple of Doom.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Client-Side Session Variables

Brilliant. A javascript library that stores up to 2 MB of persisted data on the client through the window.name variable.

Hallelujah, It's Here

A bluetooth cassette adapter for those of us still using car radios made in the 80s. And it's for sale.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Unassisted Triple Play

You can probably go a whole season without seeing a triple play, but you may well go a lifetime without seeing an unassisted triple play such as the one which happened last night.

UPDATE

Thanks JR. I should know better than to post video from YouTube of anything related to pro sports. They seem to have an itchy trigger finger.

This link goes directly to MLB and should play the same video.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Defaced Cash Flickr Pool

The image

Hopefully these are erasable inks, because it looks like a good wad of cash was creatively "refaced" in this Flickr pool.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Obama Has Campaigned in 57 States

What planet is this guy on?

Much was made of the lexical incongruities of Dan Quayle, but surely this is a little bit more of a gaffe than knowing how to spell potato.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Charles Barkley Gets Punked

The good, old, tweak the teleprompter trick.

Obama: War Monger

Thus spoke the messiah:

I trust the American people to understand that it is not weakness, but wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but to our enemies, like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did.
 
Excellent. Here's how Truman spoke with our enemies in WWII:

http://s3.lpsol.com/assets/images/scrapes/nagasaki.jpg

Storm Troopin'

The image

No description can quite capture the awesome awesomeness of this Flickr photo set.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Candle Cannon??

Have you ever seen those "magic" ball-of-air cannons? You know, the ones that have a rubber diaphragm on the back of a largish conical tube - guaranteed to jam dirt and debris in your eyes at 20+ feet?

Here's a Much Bigger one.

This one was built to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of a sandwich shop, of course. What... you were expecting something relevant?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Classmates.com Makes It Right

Imagine my utter shock when this arrived in my inbox yesterday in response to my post earlier this week:

Hello Mike,

I am following up with a recent posting you had on "Idiotsyncrasies" which was brought to the attention of our management team.

Please accept our apologies for the emails you were receiving for other members. I have deleted all of the memberships created using your email address. Please allow 10 days for emails to you from Classmates to discontinue, you may receive some within that time that were already queued to be sent.

In the future please feel free to contact me directly if this occurs. You can email me at the email address this was sent from or you can also call me at [redacted] between 8 AM and 5 PM PDT Monday through Friday and I will be happy to assist you.

Again, please accept our sincerest apologies.

Sincerely,

Laurie
Member Care Department Lead


The shocker isn't that Classmates.com fixed the issue, the shocker is finding that a human was reading this blog and not a search bot. In any event, good on Classmates.com.

Theodicy on Trial

Beliefnet is sponsoring a "blogalouge" between Bart Ehrman and one of my favorite scholars N.T. Wright on the age old subject of theodicy. Here is the abstract:
Is our pain God's problem? If God is good and all-powerful, why does he allow so much suffering? These kinds of questions—sometimes called the problem of theodicy—have long bothered believers and nonbelievers alike. These questions are especially pressing now as we face the AIDS pandemic, widespread hunger, and environmental degradation—not to mention the grief that humans can cause one another. Our two guests for this new Beliefnet Blogalogue have devoted part of their lives to addressing these issues. Bart Ehrman is James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the author of God's Problem and Misquoting Jesus, among many other titles. N.T. Wright is the Bishop of Durham for the Church of England and has taught at McGill, Oxford, and Cambridge. His books include Surprised By Hope, Evil and the Justice of God, and several other titles.
And here is the link to the opening round. This format seems to me to be a better method of airing out an issue vs. the timed and controlled debate method typically hosted at universities and such. The latter seems to be more about the performance of the speakers and scoring points than getting to the bottom of an issue.

Friday, April 25, 2008

MP3 Cassette

http://lh5.ggpht.com/LPSol.com/SBHEadQe-zI/AAAAAAAAAJ8/MxvODHjHA84/s400/SDCassette.jpg

This little wonder is found on ThinkGeek. Pop in an SD card full of your favorite mp3s, pop the whole thing in your tape deck and enjoy. I may have to get one of these. I have a vehicle which still has a tape deck. It also doubles as a stand-alone mp3 player.

If you do a google search you can also find lots of references (such as this one) to the Abe BT 80c Bluetooth cassette tape adapter. That would see a lot more useful to me but, alas, I've scoured that company's website and can not find the product.

Via Jalopnik.

I Like God's Style

I'm interrupting your normal morning of sane blog reading to bring you this piece of awesome awesomeness.

http://lh3.ggpht.com/LPSol.com/SBHA29Qe-yI/AAAAAAAAAJ0/3VNOth70hog/s400/ILikeGodsStyle.jpg

Via Purgatorio.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Coming Ice Age

Hmm, I'm trying to imagine what kind of hysteria is going to break out if global cooling takes the reins from global warming as the crisis-du-jour. Maybe all the warnings to repent of our earth-killing behavior will remain the same, with claims that we thought our SUV-driving ways were warming the planet when in fact they are icing it.

On the positive side, I'm hoping a cease-and-desist order goes into effect for Ira Flatow so he doesn't have to contort every blessed podcast on Science Friday to be about the consequences or causes of global warming. Dude, are you getting paid 5 bucks by Al Gore for every use of that phrase on the show?

Anyhow, there is a reason for this early morning rant:

All four agencies that track Earth's temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over.

There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence that 2007 was exceptionally cold. It snowed in Baghdad for the first time in centuries, the winter in China was simply terrible and the extent of Antarctic sea ice in the austral winter was the greatest on record since James Cook discovered the place in 1770.

There you have it. More data and (the preferred method of proving things for those prone to hysteria) anecdotal evidence.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Also Known As...

Thanks to the wonder of spam I'm finding out that my hotmail email address has been registered at classmates.com under (at least) three different names:

Mark - Big Bear High School, Class of 1959
Mike - Eau Gallie High School, Class of 1973.
Mercedes - Chapel Hill High School, year unknown.

I hate that site. It's an abomination.

Repeat After Me(ebo)

I've been using meebo as my main chat client now for the past couple of months after deciding to use Firefox as my main OS. They apparently now have a way for you to use their site from locations where their site is restricted by installing a repeater client on a machine that has free access to the Internet. So, you would install it on your home computer and then connect your work computer to your home computer to do your chats.

Neat, although this just seems like a whack-a-mole game where your IT admins just keep blocking sites from you (in this case perhaps all the IP addresses of the subnet your home computer connect to through your ISP) until they remove all your Internet privileges and you're restricted to chatting by sending greeting cards and writing your blog posts on an IBM Selectric.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mecca Standard Time. Mmm-hmm...

Here's a little treat from the BBC: Muslim leaders want to replace UTC with Mecca Time. No, it's not a new dance tune stolen from MC Hammer... they're serious.

Because, you know, you can find the exact center of the surface of a sphere...

One of the citations given as "proof" of Mecca's importance in this regard is a supposed alignment with magnetic north. According to current measurements, there is a declination of about 2.6 degrees, so it ain't really aligned. And, the poles shift over time, even swapping places once in a great while.

So, there's that.

This is delusional at best, and it bothers me that people can supplant reason with religion to this extreme. What's worse is that these same people assume that the rest of the world should subscribe to their ideals without question. They just want validation for their faith and can only do so if everyone plays along.

Ayn Rand's Hank Reardon character in Atlas Shrugged identified this same retarded behavior in a group of businessmen who wanted absolute control. But the control was only as strong as they could convince the population it was. It was illusory and frail, and I see this part of the Muslim world acting in the same childish, fanciful way. They can only get stiffies if everyone around them bows down to their will.

Fuck 'em.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

They'll Be Back

Yay. It sounds like Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles will be back for another season.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Reactagon Arpeggiator Table

This is just cool...

CPU Benchmarking

I'm in the middle of looking for a mini-desktop PC to use for work at home instead of my ridiculously loud, fans-a-blazing, tinnitus causing tablet PC. I'm looking to get something on the cheap but am woefully out of touch with the CPU world as far as how the processors relate to each other in terms of performance -- such as how a Pentium Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz performs against a Pentium 4 HT 3.0 GHz.

Therefore, I am finding this site insanely useful.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Up Yours

Your colon, that is. I mean this in a very educational way.

Some things, they just aren't right.

Expelled? Anyone? Anyone?

A guy I keep tabs on is Peter Thomas Chattaway. I "know" him through the usenet group rec.music.christian, where I've discussed topics with him ranging from Christian rock to the Jesus Seminars to various pieces of theology. I've also stood alongside him in flame wars against the group's resident atheist and others.

Anywhoo, Peter has a blog called FilmChat where he gives you little tidbits and sneak peaks of movies past, present and future. He also writes movie reviews and interviews for such publications as Christianity Today. His latest interview is with non other than the world's most famous economics teacher Ben Stein on Ben's upcoming move, Expelled.

Money quote:
And it doesn't scare me at all when scientists say, "Oh, but [Intellegent Design] can't be proved," because neither can any of the Darwinian hypotheses about how life began be proved. Anyway, I couldn't give a [profanity] whether a person calls himself a scientist. It doesn't earn any extra respect from me, because it's as if science has covered itself with glory, morally, in my time. Scientists were the people in Germany telling Hitler that it was a good idea to kill all the Jews. Scientists were telling Stalin it was a good idea to wipe out the middle-class peasants. Scientists were telling Mao Tse-Tung it was fine to kill 50 million people in order to further the revolution.
The interview is a good read, and Peter's blog is overall a good read.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Baseball History Made Today



I am still trying to picture in my mind how that would look.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dilbert Widget

Making subversion even easier...

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Mozilla Easter Egg

Type this into the address bar: about:mozilla

Friday, March 28, 2008

New Kinds of Crazy

How do you feel about being extorted to prop up the music industry?

(Time) Warner's plan would have consumers pay an additional fee—maybe $5 a month—bundled into their monthly internet-access bill in exchange for the right to freely download, upload, copy, and share music without restrictions.

Griffin says those fees could create a pool as large as $20 billion annually to pay artists and copyright holders. Eventually, advertising could subsidize the entire system, so that users who don't want to receive ads could pay the fee, and those who don't mind advertising wouldn't pay a dime.

"Ideally, music will feel free," says Griffin. "Even if you pay a flat fee for it, at the moment you use it there are no financial considerations. It's already been paid for."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What In The ... ?

Two (somewhat) great tastes that can not possibly taste great together. Lead singer of Stryper, Michael Sweet is to perform vocal duties for (can't believe I'm typing this) Boston on an upcoming summer tour.

The image

Enjoy this moment of anti-Zen.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Blast From the Past

Here is my first .Net project, compiled against the .Net 1.1 framework. It's an applet that forgoes those ridiculous translation wheels you used when you bought one of the original Dungeons & Dragons games back in the day (is that Wednesday?). You know, the ones where you lined up characters from Elven and Dwarfic alphabets to get a codeword which you entered into the game.

It covers Hillsfar, Pools of Radiance, and Curse of the Azure Bond and weighs in at a whopping 80k. Click below to download it and all the source code.

I think the nerd quotient on this post is somewhere around 9.8.


[ FRWheel.zip ] 252k

Where's The Heat?

The latest article from NPR on the lack of evidence for global warming (I did not insert the phrase "man made" in front of that) is an interesting read, including the backwards slant from the writer.

What's more interesting is to read the response of the diggers on it. I had though of digg nation as decidedly left, but I'll have to give that a rethink.

Because He Won't Toot His Own Horn

Scott has started a new blog with an emphasis on PhotoShop, design and such.

When I get a free moment I'm inserting a stick of dynamite into this blog to freshen it up a bit. You know, for the benefit of the google bot that runs through here every day.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Quick USB Eject

This little utility allows you to perform safe-ejects on USB drives quickly. It has command line options if you're old school. And it's free.

As my brother used to say, nifty thrifty, dollar fifty.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

On the issue of licenses for illegal immigrants

I read this blog entry a short while ago. It talks about issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. More specifically, it tries to dismiss arguments against granting these licenses.

Now, I took a couple of years of debate and logic in high school, so I feel pretty well equipped to respond to some of this guy's comments. Mostly because, no matter what side of the issue you fall, you can't ignore stupidity.

Shall we begin?
Many people say that allowing illegal aliens to obtain state driver's licenses helps them and encourages them to remain illegally in this country.
Yes, I am among them. This point is not refuted anywhere in his post, but it's the opening line. And for the life of me, I can't figure out how this is not true.

Removing the 8 million-15 million illegal immigrants from these databases would only make law enforcement harder.
Pardon? They are not currently in any database. How, then, can they be removed?

They will use fake IDs, buy real IDs from crooked DMV employees - as several of the 9/11 terrorists did - forge "breeder documents" to get real IDs (another 9/11 terrorist trick), or resort to identity theft.
So... if we make it legal for these folks to get real IDs, does anyone think they'll just take the easy route and give real information to the government? But your examples are all of people who intended to commit a crime from the start. Do I really need to spell this one out? Ok, I will... if they intend to use the IDs to facilitate a crime, why should you believe they will give information that will in any way be useful to law enforcement?

Of course, even an attempt to deny licenses to illegal immigrants puts DMV clerks in the impossible position of verifying immigration status.
Um... they don't do it now, except for 'proof' of residency. And that proof is usually a bill that says someone paid some amount to a utility for a given address. So, how is it different now if an illegal immigrant from Mexico steals a bill from someone's mail box, waltzes into the DMV and writes his name down as Frau Tanjorgenstein, PhD? Do you think the DMV agent will give them the squinty eye until they confess? Hardly.

Even more legal immigrants will be mistakenly denied licenses, resulting in lawsuits and additional government expense.
That's just retarded. Legal immigrants are not currently denied, and they don't have to prove citizenship. What you are suggesting is that we would all have to prove US citizenship from this point forward if we choose not to allow illegal immigrants to have driver's licenses.

Some states have considered a tiered license system, one that explicitly lists immigration status on the licenses. Of course, this won't work either. Illegal immigrants are far more likely to take their chances being caught than admit their immigration status to the DMV.
You mean like they do now? So, if we issue licenses, and they get pulled over for a traffic violation, and we find out they are here illegally, what have we gained? Think they will pay their insurance premiums? Hmm??

We are all safer if everyone in society trusts and respects law enforcement.
ROLLING ON THE FLOOR LAUGHING MY FUCKING ASS OFF. Oh, was I supposed to use the abbreviation there? And people call Bush a fascist. Being a libertarian, I much prefer "We are all safer if everyone in society behaves themselves." But that implies personal responsibility, and that CLEARLY can not happen. Moron.

And finally, denying driver's licenses to illegal immigrants will not protect us from terrorism.
Who the hell said it would? We currently do not allow illegal immigrants to have driver's licenses (yet many get them illegally). On the contrary, allowing everyone to have access to driver's licenses floods the system with bogus information. Licenses are not about protection, but control.

Contrary to popular belief, a driver's license is not required to board a plane. You can use any government-issued photo ID, including a foreign passport. And if you're willing to undergo secondary screening, you can board a plane without an ID at all. This is probably how anybody on the "no fly" list gets around these days.
Um... Honestly, I've never tried to get on a plane without my ID. But don't you think that someone on a "no fly" list would go get fake credentials to avoid having their mug searched during the secondary screening? Because the "screening" process when you check in, ass hat, is to glance at the name on the card and the ticket. And even that doesn't always happen. Frankly, I bet with $100 on eBay, I could buy a card printer and be good as gold.

Look, the whole topic is stupid. Giving licenses to illegal aliens won't curb crime, won't help enforcement, and instead creates a burdensome overhead on the legal system. These folks won't pay insurance, and are just as likely to run if they are involved in a vehicle accident because they will fear being deported. IDs can only benefit illegal aliens because it allows them to buy alcohol or get on a plane.

And it sure as hell won't make them safe drivers. Check the drunk driving rates in New Mexico, and then check the arrests against citizenship. Driving without a license is a lesser crime than drunk driving, so that charge is typically dismissed. Drunk driving is not prosecuted on illegal aliens in any meaningful way - they are just driven to the border. Please clarify how giving them licenses would make the roads safer?

What you are promoting, then, is simply to take away their illegal status. And then that opens a whole new can of worms. Open borders? Right... I certainly don't want those sneaky Canadians coming down to steal my cheese.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Another Web-based Office Goody

You can now do some rudimentary PDF editing with PDF Hammer.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Baseball Team Names

An interesting read on the origin of the various team names in major league baseball.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Huh, How About That

It seems that Google Docs now has a publish to blog functionality, including the option to update a previous blog post when you republish the document (which I was kvetching about earlier).

In Google Docs there is a publish tab on the right hand side of the screen:


The downside here is if you have multiple blogs -- you have to change the blog settings each time. Otherwise, cool.

With all the good stuff going into Google Docs, I wonder if it's going to be possible to ditch MS Office all together in the not-too-distant future.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Your Music, Anywhere

I don't listen to the radio anymore, but I can't conceive of paying a monthly fee to listen to music over the air, even if it is digital quality and more or less commercial free. What I've been telling folks for awhile, though, is that eventually everybody is going to have some sort of home media server where they will be able to access their movies/music from anywhere over the air. Host the files on your own server, then access them through an intermediary service.

Little did I know that I was already late with that prediction. Enter nuTsie, which hooks into your iTunes and makes your playlists available over the cloud -- either through your web browser or on your mobile phone (if supported and loaded with their client software).

Sweet. Now I just need a data plan on my mobile phone.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Couple Meager Requests

Dear Google,

My life would be more complete if you would satisfy the following wishes.
  1. Strike through formatting in GMail.
  2. Super and sub scripts would be nice, too.
  3. If you can't do either of those, let me edit the html at least.
  4. A non-clunky way to do inline images when composing in GMail.
  5. A way to label blog posts when they are emailed in to blogger. For instance, adding [tech, nerdville] to the beginning or end (I'm not choosy) of the subject line of this email would add those two labels to the post.
  6. A way to edit existing posts from email without going through that web 1.73 interface you have going on in blogger. You'll have to use your Jedi powers on that one. Maybe the whole bracket notation from the prior suggestion can be expanded to a full fledged notation system. Post a blog via email, get an email confirmation with the post ID, and then when you want to edit an existing post you reference the post ID. For instance, [id=12345, labels=tech,nerdville].
Sincerely,


Michael


P.S.: I'm trying to dump another piece of software, Windows Live Writer, which I actually like. It's just one less thing installed on the computer if you can get blog posting via email done in an elegant way.

P.P.S.: I'm part of the command line generation. The less clicking around with the mouse and the more use of the keyboard, the better.

Going For Broke

I mentioned earlier today that I'm importing my email from Exchange to GMail (more specifically my GMail account on Google Apps) and that I had already moved my pertinent calendar information to Google Calendar.

This week I also decided to switch from Trillian to Meebo. I love Trillian. It has a nice, tight interface that hasn't changed in years and allows you to talk on all the major networks. The pro version is affordable and gives you extra functionality, such as using plugins. Plugins range from email notifiers to a Skype controller.

Meebo I also love. The interface is also nice and tight, and it also talks to all the major networks. And it runs in your browser. Firewall managers who aren't paying attention may block access to the chat network when you use a regular chat client, but they probably aren't on to Meebo. Yet.

If you switch from a desktop client to Meebo just make sure you copy over your Jabber or GoogleTalk contacts manually as those don't seem to be stored on the server. And if you are using your Google Apps account on GoogleTalk, you'll have to do a little DNS fiddling to get it to work right on Meebo.

GMail and GCal allow me to ditch Outlook, the kitchen sink of PIMs and black hole of system performance. Meebo allows me to ditch Trillian, which although nice and tidy is somewhat obnoxious with system resources. All hail the new operating system known as Firefox.

What's Wrong With This Picture?

The image

This is a photo used in a Sports Illustrated article on dunking. Hint: The guy sitting down probably has no need of a hat.

Google Calendar To Outlook

I've been contemplating my next cell phone as my plan is coming up in May. Never in my lifetime did I think I would live to see my second cell phone contract expire.

I'm currently using a Treo 650 and have been using it to sync with my Outlook, which is hooked up to an Exchange server. The sync works great, but I've grown increasingly weary with the overbearing footprint of Outlook. I also don't understand how it can be so mind boggle-ing slow when trying to find stuff. I've installed Google desktop search just to search for email because it finds things so much faster.

Anyhow, I've toyed with the idea in the past of strictly using GMail for email and GCal for my calendaring. The problem with doing that is the synchronization of the contacts and calendar from Outlook, which has been a deal breaker for me. With my cell phone contract coming up I've been considering using a lighter weight phone with Internet access and just grabbing contact and calendar information from "the cloud" without having to go through the process of sync.

So this week I've been transferring my email from my Exchange server up to GMail (up to 1.4 GB as of this writing), and have also transferred all my future and recurring calendar events to GCal. Then this morning I'm greeted with this new blog post from Google.

Necessity being the mother of invention and all that. Hopefully they'll figure out a solution to sync'ing contacts in the not-too-distant future. If so, I'll have the option of sticking with a PDA phone when my contract comes up in May.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

My New Speaker Wire Product

WireHanger.jpg

Because apparently you really can't tell the difference between this and mega-mondo-monster cables.

Of course the article isn't scientific, but it would have been interesting to see the looks on the faces of those golden-ear'd guys.

Scott, care to chime in?

 

Via: The Consumerist

And Now, a Rant Before Bedtime

I skinned my knee pretty good tonight on the astro turf where I play indoor soccer, and I'm just waiting for the MRSA to eat clean through my leg.

But that isn't my rant. I typically have a little extra energy on sports nights and do a little mindless surfing sometimes into the early morning, versus the mindless surfing I do the rest of the day. I have my 20 year high school reunion on my mind, so I've been checking out classmates.com a bit and tonight, reunion.com.

What an utter abomination both are. To think that these sites were both established well before facebook but still look like the product of a high school Frontpage computer science project. They are both dreadful to use.

And to top it all off, to see any information on any of your former mates besides the letters constituting their name you have to pony up for an account. This is to view information that they put in themselves. Bizarre. No quid pro quo at all.

Reunion.com is bad in that you absolutely can not see any information on a person unless you buy their premium account, while classmates.com lets you see a little bit of the profile information, but if you edit your profile and try to put in your email address or other links in areas that are free to access, they strip it out with claims wanting to maintain the quality of content on their site.

Is it me or does something smell?

I'm not a facebook homer (I actually lurk around more on LinkedIn) and generally don't understand the whole social networking thing (maybe I grew out of it 15 years ago with IRC and USENET), but facebook offers a whole lot more for a whole lot less1 than these sham "find your high school sweetheart" sites. They just appear to be the defaults to turn to when you come up on your graduation anniversaries.

That's all. Oh, there is this in the event that you are hungry.

 

[1] Thank you, Wal-Mart, for enhancing my vocabulary.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Our Taxes, Explained

This was a pass-around email, and I'm including the attribution at the bottom although I don't know if that's where it really came from or not.

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.

"Since you are all such good customers", he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20." Drinks for the ten now cost just $80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.

But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share?"

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, "but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!"

"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics, University of Georgia

Monday, February 25, 2008

I Blame Global Warming

The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January "was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average."

China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them.

Interestingly enough, the article ponders whether another ice age is on our doorstep.

Emerging Commentary

Perfect.

Related: Emerging: Theological Crap

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Truth In Advertising: Windows Vista

 

Update (2/20/2008):

Here's a link to the source of this video, which was taken off YouTube due to a copyright claim.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Calculated Fields, XSL Sums, and Commas in SharePoint

I find that, programmatically, SharePoint is a witches brew of different technologies which work together as long as you don't need to do things your way.

In this instance I'm creating a list of Invoices which will serve as the parent item to a list of Invoice Items. Each Invoice Item row contains (among other fields) a field for quantity, the amount for each item, and the total. The total field is a calculated field, displaying the product of the amount and quantity fields.

Initially I had the total field set up as a number, which seemed to make sense considering I was working with an equation. Where it did not make any sense is when I put together a form which found all the Invoice Items for an Invoice and summed up the total field values to create an overall total for the Invoice.

In my initial tests everything actually ran fine until I tried putting in an amount of 1000 for a particular Invoice Item. Or, rather, put in an amount and quantity whose calculated total was 1000 or more. It turns out that by the time SharePoint does the calculation and hands off the value to the XSL for transformation, there is a comma in the value which the XSL sum function chokes on. I either received nothing on the web page or NaN, and I could not find a simple way to format the total field through the SharePoint interface.

I switched the total field to text format and that didn't help. I even switched the amount field to text and that didn't help. My original total field looked like this:

=Quantity*Amount

What I ended up doing after a mere 18 hours of research was keeping the amount field as a number, the total field as text, and using the following formula to calculate the total field:

=TEXT(VALUE(Quantity)*VALUE(Amount),"0.00")

The calls to VALUE are probably overkill, but in essence I told it to get the product and format it as a number with two decimal places. And, even though the total field is technically a text field, the sum function in the XSL operates on it properly.

This technique could also help out in a worst case scenario where you do an XSL calculation on a numeric field in SharePoint -- create a calculated field whose sole purpose is to transform the numeric field into a plain vanilla version.

Get 'Em While They're Hot

Wow, a 7.5 terabyte drive for only $170.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Livin' In a Box

I'm a livin' in a command-line box.

OK, that was lame, but using xcopy c:\folder\*.* /s/e/c/d/y d: still rocks and works much better than Windows Explorer.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008

Name and Claim the Presidency, Huck

Sorry, but I'd rather have a mormon as president than somebody who rubs elbows with one of the kings of the blab-it-and-grab-it gospel. And that's before I consider his political stances.

I have, however, found the guy I'm going to write in for the presidency when I vote this upcoming November.

Friday, January 25, 2008

From Rebel Commander to Christian Preacher

Perhaps you've heard of this guy: General Butt Naked. It's not the first of April, and the story is not on The Onion:

The feared rebel commander earned his nom de guerre for charging into battle dressed only in his boots, at the head of a gang of fighters known as the Butt Naked Battalion.

The nude gunmen became known for terrorising villagers and sacrificing children whose hearts they would eat before going into battle during Liberia's 14-year on-off civil war which ended in 2003.

"I have been looking for an opportunity to tell the true story about my life and every time I tell people my story, I feel relieved," General Butt Naked, whose real name is Milton Blayee, told The Associated Press.

Mr Blayee returned from exile in Ghana, where he is now an evangelical Christian preacher, to face Liberia's truth and reconciliation commission last week.

Via: The Riddleblog

What's Running In SVCHOST.exe?

Just when I think I know all the DOS-based tricks there are to know, I find another one. Check out this insanely useful article on finding out what services/processes are running via svchost.exe by using the tasklist command or process explorer.

A Good Reason To Not Be a TV News Reporter

Baby Do's and Don'ts

NursingBaby

I chortled muchly.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The 11 Mile Wide Web Page

A gentleman wanted to illustrate the scale difference in size between an electron and proton inside a hydrogen atom, as well as the scale distance between the two. Scaling the electron to one pixel in size, the result is a proton 1000 pixels wide and a web page 11 miles wide (on 72 dpi monitors). And that is only covering the diameter of the electron's path.

Fascinating.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Scourge of Arial

An interesting article on why us Windows users were so lucky to end up with the Arial font pre-installed on our systems rather than Helvetica.

Short answer: Microsoft were cheapskates:

When Microsoft made TrueType the standard font format for Windows 3.1, they opted to go with Arial rather than Helvetica, probably because it was cheaper and they knew most people wouldn't know (or even care about) the difference. Apple also standardized on TrueType at the same time, but went with Helvetica, not Arial, and paid Linotype's license fee. Of course, Windows 3.1 was a big hit. Thus, Arial is now everywhere, a side effect of Windows' success, born out of the desire to avoid paying license fees.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Car Darts

A little testosterone fun for your Monday morning.

Lightning Strikes Twice

Lightning Strikes

My suicide watch extends another week. The Chargers are delivering on the predictions made on them in the preseason, taking down the defending Super Bowl champs on their way to a showdown with New England.

I can't recall a single talking head in the national media giving the Chargers a chance to win this game. And how even more miraculous the win seems to be with their top three offensive stars (Tomlinson, Gates, Rivers) on the sidelines for a good chunk of the game and the entire fourth quarter. At the end of the game the four guys running the CBS post-game show (James Brown, Dan Marino, Shannon Sharpe and Boomer Esiason) appeared as if they were presiding over a funeral. Either that or they just lost some serious money on the game.

Some things that I lived from the game:

  • Philip Rivers is growing up as a player. Maybe not so much as a person as the jawing with the fans indicated, but it's now two weeks in a row that the opposing team has shut down the run, forcing Rivers to make plays and he has delivered.
  • The Jackson and Chambers on the wideouts. Again.
  • Winning with the scrubs. The game winning drive was won by these three last names -- Volek, Sproles, Nanee. Heard of them?

Two things I didn't like:

  • We got beat up. LT went out early in the game with a bruised knee. Rivers injured his other knee (his left one being beat up already) and sat out the entire fourth quarter. Hopefully through the miracles of the best available health care on earth (and chemicals) they will be back on the field next week at full strength.
  • Officiating. It always seems to happen against your team but, c'mon. A defensive holding play on a critical play when the defensive back barely touched the receiver, and another holding play when it probably should have been called on the other player -- also happening on a critical play, where Cromartie intercepts the Manning pass near the goal line at the end of the first half and returns it for a touchdown.

They've taken down the defending NFL champs, now they just need to take down NFL history to make it back to the big game.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Can You Live In Two Kingdoms?

My friend Loren Sanders is pretty jazzed up about Mike Huckabee (this link is only his latest... there have been quite a few lately from him on Huckabee). I don't know enough about him politically or theologically to have an opinion. Hmm, perhaps I should just leave it at that.

One of my theological heroes Kim Riddlebarger of The White Horse Inn opined yesterday that he should get both of his feet behind the presidential podium or the pulpit, but shouldn't try to have a stake in both at the same time. He's not saying that he shouldn't or can't be both Christian and the President, but that he shouldn't try to be both President and pastor.

Sounds like good advice to me.

Monday, January 07, 2008

So Glad I Don't Live in California Anymore

This really seemed like an April Fools joke when I came across it. A proposed change to the building code in California which would give the authorities the power to control your thermostat during power crisis events:

...in the proposed revisions to Title 24 is the requirement for what is called a "programmable communicating thermostat" or PCT. Every new home and every change to existing homes' central heating and air conditioning systems will required to be fitted with a PCT beginning next year following the issuance of the revision.  Each PCT will be fitted with a "non-removable " FM receiver that will allow the power authorities to increase your air conditioning temperature setpoint or decrease your heater temperature setpoint to any value they chose.  During "price events" those changes are limited to +/- four degrees F and you would be able to manually override the changes.  During "emergency events" the new setpoints can be whatever the power authority desires and you would not be able to alter them.

Egad. Socialism Communism, alive and well in the golden state.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Could It Be?

Woo Hoo! Now here's something you like to see -- your favorite football team lining up in the victory formation (preferably with the lead) inside of the two minute mark.

After 13 years of frustration the Chargers have finally pulled off a playoff victory, allowing me to postpone the kvetching on their playoff sucktitude for at least a week.

Philip Rivers stepped up in this game with Tennessee stuffing the run game. He did some things that good quarterbacks do, finally -

  • Footwork with the rush on. One one occasion he steps through the rush and fires downfield. Classic standing tall in the pocket quarterbacking. On other occasions he side-stepped away from the rush to buy a little more time before getting rid of the ball.
  • Hard pass fakes before launching the ball in the other direction.
  • Mixing his cadence and/or putting a hard count in at the snap. This drew their big nose tackle Albert Haystack offsides a couple times.

Those are classic trademarks of a quality QB. His decision making is still suspect but I think he's all of 25 years old or something like that. Hopefully it will come in time.

His mechanics still bug the ever-loving stuffing out of me, but it's 20 years too late to fix that.

Another thing he can work on is his play fake to the RB. Don't even waste your time on that unless you're going to really do it right. A good play fake freezes defensive backs and opens up some deep routes for your receivers.

One last thing that impressed me -- the combination of Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson at the wideout positions. Both had over a hundred yards today, and I can't really remember the last time a couple WR's did that on a San Diego team. Chambers has been a godsend since they acquired him mid-season from Miami. The WR core looked like the keystone cops until he arrived. Not only has his play been solid since he arrived, but he's elevated the play of Jackson. This may be just-in-time as Antonio Gates look like he got hurt in the middle of game.

Nearing the end of the game I received phone calls from a former co-worker, my mom, my father-in-law, and a text message from my half-brother. It is true, I need to be talked down from the ledge this time of year.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

What a SQL Server Logon Attack Looks Like

That goes on for about eternity to the tune of about 11 or 12 times a second. Maybe putting that port 1433 pinhole in the firewall wasn't a hot idea. Duh.

And some info on my attacker:

C:\Share\Backups\GRETCHEN\Data\DB\SQL2K5>tracert 71.170.25.99

Tracing route to static-71-170-25-99.dllstx.fios.verizon.net [71.170.25.99]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1     *        *        1 ms  192.168.10.2
  2    12 ms    11 ms    12 ms  bras1-l0.mrdnct.snet.net [204.60.4.34]
  3    10 ms    10 ms     9 ms  dist1-vlan60.mrdnct.sbcglobal.net [66.159.184.226]
  4     9 ms     9 ms    10 ms  bb1-10g2-0.mrdnct.sbcglobal.net [151.164.92.147]
  5    13 ms    13 ms    13 ms  bb1-p8-0.nycmny.sbcglobal.net [151.164.92.162]
  6    17 ms   209 ms   218 ms  ex2-p8-0.eqnwnj.sbcglobal.net [151.164.41.246]
  7    14 ms    13 ms    12 ms  70.245.63.206
  8    13 ms    13 ms    13 ms  asn3491.eqsjca.sbcglobal.net [151.164.249.38]
  9    14 ms    13 ms    13 ms  so-7-1-0-0.BB-RTR1.NWRK.verizon-gni.net [130.81.17.156]
10    18 ms    18 ms    27 ms  so-7-3-0-0.BB-RTR1.PHIL.verizon-gni.net [130.81.19.56]
11    22 ms    22 ms    21 ms  130.81.19.118
12    41 ms    40 ms    40 ms  so-7-1-0-0.BB-RTR2.ATL01.verizon-gni.net [130.81.19.35]
13    68 ms    68 ms    67 ms  so-7-3-0-0.BB-RTR2.DFW01.verizon-gni.net [130.81.19.20]
14    68 ms    68 ms    68 ms  P11-0.LCR-02.DLLSTX.verizon-gni.net [130.81.29.179]
15    68 ms    68 ms    68 ms  P12-0.LCR-04.DLLSTX.verizon-gni.net [130.81.27.205]
16    70 ms    69 ms    69 ms  P1-0.VFTTP-09.DLLSTX.verizon-gni.net [130.81.48.123]
17    70 ms    72 ms    70 ms  static-71-170-25-99.dllstx.fios.verizon.net [71.170.25.99]

Trace complete.

C:\Share\Backups\GRETCHEN\Data\DB\SQL2K5>ping 71.170.25.99

Pinging 71.170.25.99 with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 71.170.25.99: bytes=32 time=74ms TTL=121
Reply from 71.170.25.99: bytes=32 time=71ms TTL=121
Reply from 71.170.25.99: bytes=32 time=70ms TTL=121
Reply from 71.170.25.99: bytes=32 time=70ms TTL=121

Ping statistics for 71.170.25.99:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 70ms, Maximum = 74ms, Average = 71ms

In times past I may have aimed a few servers on different T1 connections to call down the thunder on these folks, but everybody has a broadband connection these days.