Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Best Page In The Universe.

How the hell have I missed this site all this time? This is one of those blogs that when I happen to stumble across it, I am motivated to go through the entire archives.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Yahoo! Top Stories - Tree That Give Meat Instead Of Fruit!

Here's some good news that vegetarians can really sink their teeth into: Researchers have developed genetically engineered fruit trees that bear real meat!

Did they miss the fact that the same people who are vegetarians for the purposes of animal rights also tend to be opposed to genetically modified food of all kinds?

It's all worth while when you see the URL that Yahoo gave it, though:


(Yes, I know Ent is for Entertainment... but why is this in the entertainment section anyway?)

DLL Help Database

DLL Help exists to assist developers, system administrators, and other IT professionals who face file version conflicts with Microsoft software. Use DLL Help to identify which software installed a specific version of a DLL.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Quaker Food? - Suite101.com

Quaker Oats have nothing to do with actual Quakers. But apparently the modern chocolate bar does.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Are You Ready to Talk Money

If it's been a while since you were last in the market for a new job, then whatever you're assuming about pay negotiations is probably wrong.

Using MVC Pattern in Web Interactions

Work related, and long. But highly recommended by a co-worker.

See Also: Manageability - Open Source State Machines For User Interfaces Written In Java

Bigger or Better?

Developers are accustomed to think of things like CPU speed and memory capacity as real, physical quantities. When we write new software that requires more memory or a faster machine than the software of a few years ago, we really do have a mental picture that this is OK because our code now has a "bigger" room to play in.

But this is of course an illusion. Modern CPUs, memory chips, and hard drives are not bigger than their predecessors. The companies that make them are able to pack more instructions per second, more bits, more of everything into the same amount of space because people (and machines) have been hard at work optimizing the design of all these devices to make them more efficient.

In other words, they aren't bigger, they're better. What we software types think of as a question of quantity is actually one of quality.

We have the freedom today to do less optimization in our software because someone else is now doing ridiculously more optimization of the hardware level. I believe that optimization properly belongs down there, but that doesn't mean that those of us doing our jobs up above the abstraction ought to forget that it is an abstraction.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Next Blog

If you're actually visiting this site at all and not just reading the feed, you've probably noticed that my kindly hosts have installed a "Next Blog" button at the top of this and every other blog. That means you can just sit there and keep hitting the button and seeing random blogs every time. I just tried it for about five minutes, and somehow it made me think of these lyrics:
Walked out this morning, don’t believe what I saw
Hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore
Seems I’m not alone at being alone
Hundred billion castaways, looking for a home
The Police, Message in a Bottle

How to use additional command-line switches that are not included in Outlook

(Microsoft Knowledge Base Article - 197180)

Every MS Office program seems to have a number of command-line options that are un-documented in the application's help files but which are explained in the knowledge base. These are the ones for Outlook.

Disinfopedia - Disinfopedia

A collaborative project to produce a directory of public relations firms, think tanks, industry-funded organizations and industry-friendly experts that work to influence public opinion and public policy on behalf of corporations, governments and special interests.

golden era Missile command challenge

I shouldn't bother to blog stuff I saw on BoingBoing because everyone cool is probably reading it anyway. (Actually for a long time I was afraid to subscribe to BB in fear that I wouldn't have to read it all everyday.) But this is just too long, rambling, and historically relevant to not save a link here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Fundamental gender?

Interesting discussion, from 1996, about a brief discussion of gender in the last pages of C.S. Lewi's Perelandra.

The Grammar of TV and Film

(via Crutcher)
Television and film use certain common conventions often referred to as the 'grammar' of these audiovisual media. This list includes some of the most important conventions for conveying meaning through particular camera and editing techniques (as well as some of the specialised vocabulary of film production).

Samedi Studios: Braindump

This could be what I've been looking for... a Crutcher apparently has a Blog, although apparently it's one of those multi-person blog things. Anybody who knows the Crutcher I'm talking about knows that his conversation style was always essentially blog-like.

AtariAge - 2600 Activision Patch Gallery

This gallery highlights the fabric patches that Activision offered for achieving high scores on their games. Contestants were instructed to photograph their TV with the high score showing and mail it in, and Activision would send back a patch.
I earned a Starmaster patch when I was a kid. I think Activision was going through some tough times, presumably related to the video game "crash" that had taken place a couple of years before, because my patch came with a letter written with a blue ballpoint pen on notebook paper. Both this letter and the patch would probably be worth something on Ebay, but I have no idea where either of them are today.

The last I saw the patch, it was still on the v-neck velour shirt that I had asked my mother to sew it onto. I loved wearing those kinds of shirts because they looked (to me, at least) a lot like a Star Trek uniform. I also used to buy all kinds of NASA patches for those shirts.

When I was in college in the mid-90's I briefly decided to start wearing the v-neck velour shirts again. Unfortunately no one at that time seemed to be making such a thing for men. A female friend suggested I try shopping at a "big woman's" store. A few years later they came back "in" and you could get them at Old Navy, but of course the novelty was gone by then.

Historians rethink the war to end all wars.

While waves of revisionism and refinement have come and gone, something larger is at work now, and that is a tendency to view the war not as the end of everything but as just one more thing that happened. This publishing season brings us an exceptional round of new books on the subject, and it is possible to scent the first cool injections of historical embalming fluid at the edges of their pages.

Marching to November

Beginning in the 1980s, Democrats have delighted in scolding various Republicans as "war wimps"--public officials and think-tank types who advocate the use of military force and who did not themselves serve in the military.

On the kindest interpretation, the "war wimps" charge is based on a non sequitur, linking two things that have nothing to do with each other (military service as a young man, on the one hand, and sound judgment in geopolitical affairs, on the other). On a not-so-kind interpretation, it entails the repudiation of a crucial democratic principle: civilian control of the military. After all, if only men with military experience are justified in ordering other military men into combat, then national security has been ceded to an unsupervised warrior class--something that Democrats used to warn us against.

Monday, August 23, 2004

The Oxford Bottled Beer Database

The Oxford Bottled Beer Database is a constantly growing resource for beer lovers worldwide. There are currently 2101 beers listed, from 68 different countries. We aim to provide tasting notes, factual information about the beers and photographs.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

The Guestbar: Rudy Rucker

Working with computers isn’t quite like biting the head off a live chicken, but it’s close. The thing is, computers are somewhat repellent. Computer cases are a dull, ugly shade of beige. Computers are the tools of telemarketers, dot-commers, oppressive governments, and digital snoops. Many of us have office jobs where using a computer is part of the daily grind. The damned things never work like you expect them to for more than a few weeks at a time. You have to constantly upgrade their software and hardware. They flicker and they make an ugly noise. A lot of us lost money on computer stocks in the Dot Com Bubble. And so on.

Who but a chicken-head-biting geek could stand to spend much time with such machines?. What could less life-affirming, mind-manifesting, or philosophical than computers? Ah, but if you look, the secrets of life float just beneath the pulsing screen.


It looks like this web version of the standard that probably plays some role in your online bank statements was generated by OCR'ing a paper version, and then never looked at by human eyes again.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

I am the true inventor of the Buddy List

As I've stated before on this blog, I invented the Buddy List before AOL. I'm reposting this now to see if it stirs up any comments.

Trawling the web for emerging cyber-communities

Abstract: The web harbors a large number of communities -- groups of content-creators sharing a common interest -- each of which manifests itself as a set of interlinked web pages. Newgroups and commercial web directories together contain of the order of 20000 such communities; our particular interest here is on emerging communities -- those that have little or no representation in such fora. The subject of this paper is the systematic enumeration of over 100,000 such emerging communities from a web crawl: we call our process trawling. We motivate a graph-theoretic approach to locating such communities, and describe the algorithms, and the algorithmic engineering necessary to find structures that subscribe to this notion, the challenges in handling such a huge data set, and the results of our experiment.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Something Awful - The Worst Rock Stars Ever

The rock stars listed here have earned their places in the annals of crappy rock star lore for various reasons; some are monumental failures, some are unforgettable jerks, and some have seemingly dedicated their lives to destroying any possibility that the words “rock and roll” will ever be associated with any sort of artistry or merit.

Card Games

(via Novarese) Lots of good stuff here. Hours to waste reading.

Luncheon of the Boating Party

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1880-1881
Oil on canvas

Ever since the first time I saw this painting, I wondered "what's the deal with these guys in their undershirts?" Everybody else is wearing long sleeves, coats and ties, etc., but here are these two lounging about in their straw hats and wife-beaters.

The following doesn't really make them stand out any more than they already do, it's just an excuse for me to mess around in the Gimp:

One can't help but envy these fellows, who also do things like sitting backwards on chairs while talking to women with small dogs. They strut their comparatively-shirtless stuff with reckless abandon. The one in the left seems to be looking off into space at no one in particular, or just plain posing for the "camera".

Finally, after wondering about this for about 20 years, this page gives some explanations about these people, who were actual friends of the artist.

E-Book: The Adventures of a Sci-Phi Pilot

A Sci-Phi Pilot is one who explores the realm between the precarious heights of philosophy and the cold, hard reality of science below.

The Adventures of a Sci-Phi Pilot is a growing collection of interrelated theories and anecdotes gathered during the many flights of mind by the author.

Mr Appliance | Appliance Repair, Service, Kitchen, Franchise

Online, apparently professional, repair manual for all kinds of appliances.

Frozen in Time: Convenience and the Environment.

In 1970 only three percent of the UK population owned a freezer. Twenty-five years later, the freezer had become an accepted, if not crucial element in the fabric of modern kitchens and the ordering of everyday lives. This paper examines the creeping "normalisation" of the freezer and the ways of life which go with it.
I wonder what the equivalent statistics look like for the U.S.

Slashdot | Federal Reserve To Use Internet For Money Transfer

A rare slashdot article that actually has some bearing on what I do for a living. Read later.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Appliance411 FAQ: How does a Frost Free Refrigerator's Defrost System Work?

Nice use of animated gifs.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Bush Soundboard

What's the strangest this you ever found in the desk drawer when you moved into a new office/cubicle/etc?

I found a can of beets:

Flight of the Rat

Spread the word around
The rat is leaving town
The message is a song
The misery is gone

Once I had a dream
To sing before the queen
She didn't want to know
She wouldn't see the show

What a fright
I couldn't do it right
Oh what a night

Mystic demons fly
All about the sky
With memories of a clown
The saddest show in town

When I was seventeen
Me mother said to me
Be careful what you touch
You shouldn't take so much

I blew my mind
She was so kind
I could have cried

In my mind
I had to find
A kind of new way
Of being oh so cool
Like a blue blooded
Well studded
English fool

Speak about the past
Times are changing fast
Once I was so weak
I couldn't even speak

Shaking put a curse
Nothing could be worse
Walking through the door
Who could ask for more

Now I'm free
And I can see
And I can see

Spread the word around
The rat is leaving town
The message is a song
The misery is gone

Shaking out a curse
Nothing could be worse
Walking through the door
Who could ask for more

Now I'm free
And I can see
And I can see

Please stay away
My wife says these are the absolute worst lyrics, ever. I don't care, the song still rocks.

New Slang

by The Shins
Gold teeth and a curse for this town were all in my mouth.
Only, I don't know how they got out, dear.
Turn me back into the pet that I was when we met.
I was happier then with no mind-set.

And if you'd 'a took to me like
A gull takes to the wind.
Well, I'd 'a jumped from my tree
And I'd a danced like the king of the eyesores
And the rest of our lives would 'a fared well.

New slang when you notice the stripes, the dirt in your fries.
Hope it's right when you die, old and bony.
Dawn breaks like a bull through the hall,
Never should have called
But my head's to the wall and I'm lonely.

And if you'd 'a took to me like
A gull takes to the wind.
Well, I'd 'a jumped from my tree
And I'd a danced like the kind of the eyesores
And the rest of our lives would 'a fared well.

God speed all the bakers at dawn may they all cut their thumbs,
And bleed into their buns 'till they melt away.

I'm looking in on the good life I might be doomed never to find.
Without a trust or flaming fields am I too dumb to refine?
And if you'd 'a took to me like
Well I'd a danced like the queen of the eyesores
And the rest of our lives would 'a fared well.

Note: this song was used in a MacDonald's ad that aired prominently during the 2002 winter Olympics, and is currently in ads for the movie Garden State.


by Of Montreal
Now a man loving a woman that's a very
Common thing common but beautiful all the same
Still there's something so neat something so
Extraordinarily sweet with a man who's in love
With a man
I have nothing to say about the traditional ways
They're fine if they work well for you
But there is something so right so completely
Out of sight
With a man who's in love with a man
Or a woman who's in love with a woman
They should never feel ashamed because it's
So important to do the things we want with
Whoever turns us on
Now a man desiring a woman that's a very
Common thing common and really rather dull
There is something so strange something so
Wonderfully deranged in a man desiring a man
Or a woman desiring a woman....
Men are usually fighting each other that's
Why I think it's so special when a man and
A man are in love It's so good It's so special
Now a man kissing a woman is a very
Common thing common but usually
Quite nice still there is something so fine
Something so beautifly devine In a man
Kissing a man
A man kissing a man

The You I Created

by Of Montreal
It's hard to know exactly
when my dreams got weird
I tense up and get antsy when you're near
But nightly you appear to me
ghostly in my head
but I never can remember what you said

It must be something reassuring
something sweet and kind
something you would never say in real life
Where does it go in the morning
It slipped out of my hand
Eating breakfast with my other thoughts
away from wakeful lands
Where is the you I created
the you that I adore?
When my eyes are open I don't see you anymore

It's hard for me to fathom
that you disappeared
and turned into exactly what I feared
But every night you sing to me
when my eyes are closed
But I never can remember how it goes

It must be something undeserving
only in my mind
Something you would never sing on your time
It disappears without warning
It shifts like grains of sand
Galavanting with some other dreams
I didn't understand
Where is the you I created
the you that I adore?
When my eyes are open I don't see you anymore

But nightly you appear to me
ghostly in my head
but I never can remember what you said

Known Your Onion

by the Shins
Shut out, pimpled and angry.
I quietly tied all my guts into knots.
Gave up on trying to make them,
I figured it'd take them too long to look up and besides...

It was undeniably clear to me i don't know why
When every other part of life seemed locked behind shutters
I knew what worthless dregs we've always been.

Lucked out and found my favorite records
Lying in wait at the birmingham mall.
The songs that i heard,
The occasional book
Were the only fun i ever took.
And i got on with making myself.
The trick is just making yourself.

But when they're parking their cars on your chest
You've still got a view of the summer sky
To make it hurt twice when your restless body
Caves to its whims
And suddenly struggles to take flight...

Three thousand miles north east
I left all my friends at the morning bus stop shaking their heads.
"what kind of life you dream of? you're allergic to love."
Yes i know but i must say in my own defense
It's been undeniably dear to me, i don't know why
When every other part of life seemed locked behind shutters
I knew the worthless dregs we are,
The selfless, loving saints we are,
The melting, sliding dice we've always been.
Note: this song was in an episode of Gilmore Girls.

More Wimpy Recommendations

Totally un-macho, un-metal, un-prog music that I recommend. You'll never hear any of these guys play a diggety dank. (Admission: I stole all of these ideas from my wife. I am completely unoriginal.)

The Shins
Of Montreal
The New Pornographers

Meanwhile, back to the muscle. Get Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts from the British Empire and Beyond. Mixed in with all the twee British accents and fairy-tale psychadelia is enough searing fuzztone guitar to make the first (US-only) Nuggets look like the collection of sock-hopping Louie-Louie-isms that it is. Alao, once you hear the kind of noise that average, ordinary British bands were kicking up in the 66-67 timeframe, you can no longer hold onto any illusions that Zeppelin, Sabbath, Purple, etc., were actually any louder than what came before, they just played longer songs.

I'm too lazy to make those links for you. You know how to use Google.

Java Programmers FAQ

This good old FAQ seemed to have disappeared recently, but now it's back.

No, it's not. Only the table of contents!

Now where I am going to point newbies to deflect their Java questions? This leaves me with nothing but Roedy Green's Java Glossary, which mixes a lot of good Java content into a website whose politics will probably make me the butt of all kinds of jokes if I ever recommend it to anybody.

Thursday, August 12, 2004


Because certain people bitched about the lack of comments, I've turned them on. I can't help the sinking feeling that I just degraded from blogger back to the role of sysop. Of course I feel the same way about the entire blogosphere doing it, too. You can guarantee that if I have any problems with the comments, such as people abusing it for spam or something, I'll just turn the damn things back off. If I had time to be a moderator I'd start a mailing list.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Apparently the most-viewed part of my website at geocities is the DOOM files. There are a lot of people who still play DOOM/DOOM2 enough to be Googling to find WAD files for it, because all the referrals are from Google. Don't have any statistics about whether they downloaded the actual WADs.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004


JDocs is a comprehensive online resource for Java API documentation. All the javadocs for a variety of popular packages are loaded into our db-driven system, and users can contribute their own notes to virtually any class, field, method.

16bit.com: Audiobook Review: Garfield The Movie

Good lord. Not only is there a Garfield movie, and not only did someone write a book based on it, but you can actually get the book on CD! And read by Edward Hermann, is best known for his role on Gilmore Girls.


Reviews of toys, games, and music. Looks very geeky.

Ed in the Refridgerators Rock the Website

Blogged this because the name reminds me of how my neighbor Ed used to shove his brother Mike in the deep freeze.

Flvxxvm Florvm redesign

The Flvxxvm Florvm homepage has been redesigned for the first time, ever.

The new look is still cheezy and 1995-ish, it's just different.

The real change is that a lot of the backstory that used to be buried in the "readme" that comes when you FTP the CD, is now right on the homepage.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Stop! Polyphonic mic

Novarese should be interested in this, considering what other bands Brian Teasley has been in.
The percussionist for the 25-member band had planned to do some recording at home, so he put the microphone in his suitcase, he said in Saturday editions of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

When his suitcase didn't show up on the baggage carousel in Birmingham, he filled out the missing-luggage paperwork and went home. He didn't know the suitcase wasn't there because it was under scrutiny at the Texas airport.

A terminal area and several gates were closed briefly after a routine baggage screening detected the device, which raised concerns because of the wires and threading caps running through it. A bomb disposal robot removed it.
(emphasis mine; extensive quoting because I don't trust the link to not die)

Nudes battle prudes on Baltic beaches

(via Moteworthy) The main reason I'm blogging this is because it includes an interview with someone named Dirk Richter, although it's presumably not the ghost of the actor who played Radioactive Man, since we all know he's off haunting that bordello.


Slashdot thread, which isn't really about FireFox, but about the Web vs. HyperCard, does the W3C suck, etc. Good old we-didn't-get-the-Internet-we-deserved ranting.

Mozilla ActiveX control

"Wouldn't it be great if the Mozilla browser engine were an Active control that could be embedded as in applications?"

That's a question that myself and other had asked on the Mozilla groups soon after the Mozilla project began. And further:

"Wouldn't it be great if the Mozilla control used the same API as the Internet Explorer control?"

The aim of this project is to be both of these things.

Friday, August 06, 2004

"Testability outside the container"

Is a POJO testable outside its container (i.e., the JVM)?

Why is it a requirement for EJBs alone to be testable outside their container?

music blogs

I somehow managed to miss the growth of music blogs until now. You know, the kind of blog that links to a different MP3 every day and reviews it.

Problem is, that just like every other kind of blog, there are so many that the only way to know which ones are worth reading is to see what my friends read, and their friends, etc.

If you're reading this at all, you're probably somebody whose tastes are at least a little similar to mine. So if you know of any music blogs that are consistently turning you on to stuff that you're glad you got the chance to hear, email me.

(Yes, I know that Blogspot supports comments now, and no I haven't turned them on. Firstly, it would require work on my templates that I'm too lazy to do. Secondly, I'm yet to be convinced that blog comments are a form of discussion that adds anything positive to the world. We have email, we have newsgroups, we have web-based forums, we have Slashdot which is in a category all it's own... why do we feel the need to post comments on every single one-man blog? (Of course the same argument could be used aginst the existence of blogs in general..))

Thursday, August 05, 2004

The Worst Streets In North America

Here are the basic criteria for inclusion in the list of Worst Streets:

1. The right of way has to be extremely wide. The minimum is 4 lanes with a center turn lane, but wider is better (or actually worse).
2. There must be signs everywhere of different types and sizes, tall ones, short ones, flashing ones, etc.
3. There must be huge parking lots in front of the stores. It helps to have weeds, chain-link fences and dumpsters prominently featured.
4. The stores themselves must be cheaply built single-story buildings resembling shoeboxes or refrigerator boxes. An occasional two or three story building is allowed.
5. No greenery, other than weeds and retention ponds, is allowed unless it is poorly kept up.
6. No sidewalks are allowed unless they are right next to the road where cars are going at least 45 miles per hour.
7. Special bonus for huge intersections with double turn lanes and traffic lights with two minute waits on red.

Rip Rowan: Over the Limit

In which the several latest (in 2002) Rush albums are compared to demonstrate the evils of modern CD mastering.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Creative Loafing Atlanta | COVER | THAT'S FUGLY

Hold your head high, Atlanta. You're hideous!

A Streaming Pile of Flvxx

I've finally bothered to learn how the trivial M3U file format works. As a result, the extremely lazy (at least if they have winamp) can now just click this link to stream every Flvxxvm Florvm song, in album order, directly off of poor Poobie's web server.

Absolute Anime / Voltron: Defender of the Universe

Compares the Japanese and American versions of Voltron.

They Voltron force were supposed to be a lot younger than I thought they were. Obviously Pidge was a kid, but apparently the rest were supposed to be teenagers. So the show was even more like Power Rangers than I previously thought.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Atlanta radio just gets stranger..

1190 AM is now WAFS "Air Force One". The format is: all Ronald Reagan, all the time! Literally, they just play stuff like Reagan's inauguration, state of the union addresses, and the "evil empire" speech 24 hours a day. I've actually heard the evil empire twice in two days.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Brighton Electric Railway - The fleet page 1

Oh my. This page describes exactly the kind of weird stuff that occasionally fills my dreams.