Saturday, April 26, 2003


It appears I have fixed my archives, which is cool. It took setting preferences to no archives, then back to weekly, then republishing all. The data's there, it just got mangled so that was needed. Whether it should be so easy for it to become mangled, well, that's a good question.

Once I made the effort to look in the Blogger knowledge base, I found the fix info both easy to find and easy to implement.


I watched the latest episode of Enterprise today, having taped it when it was on Wednesday. It was fairly typical. The notable thing was some of the crew went spelunking in a serious way, trying to find some Denobulan scientists and get them off the planet before they became victims of the new, unfriendly regime.

At one point they had to crawl through a narrow passage. Ugh! I could barely stand to watch. I don't consider myself claustrophobic, but seeing or reading anything like that makes my skin crawl. I can just feel myself being stuck in a narrow passage, unable to move. Especially one as unforgiving as a passage through rock deep below ground. I have no idea whether this is inherent, or I picked up this phobia, if you can call it that, from a specific incident sometime in my early life.

The first time I remember feeling the empathically skin-crawling shudder is when I read a book when I was a kid. It involved a kid caving, at one point having to worm through the tiniest of passages to reach a new, undiscovered cavern, almost getting stuck. Then there was a TV show episode I saw in which someone was stuck in a heating duct, which I could barely stand. Same kind of thing.

I had completely forgotten this particular revulsion until it was triggered today by that Enterprise episode.

I Believe

On a read through, I don't recall seeing anything I disagreed with in this superb Unigolyn post "I Believe."

Recording Industry Madness

Okay, so I was singing along with the Beatles earlier, some goofy ditty about wanting to hold some compliant lucky gal's hand, and pondered the fact that I own but one Beatles CD; the "1" compilation. I also own two vinyl albums; the blue and red compilations.

Why not more? Too expensive. I have always wanted more; at least the White Album, but every time I have gone and looked on the store shelves, I have reacted with economic revulsion. This is especially true of the Beatles, as they are forever popular, thus never distressed, reduced merchandise. However, as I have mentioned before, it is true in general.

"Why is this so," I wondered to myself earlier.

I think for me, and no doubt for others, apart from any emotional reaction to relative prices, the presence of music on the radio reduces the perceived value of a CD. It's a double-edged sword. Radio is a massive marketing machine for music sales, it's true, as well as a revenue source in itself. At the same time, there's some point for each listener at which hearing a song on the radio is enough, eliminating sale of media. I, for instance, am most inclined to buy old, familiar music that is at a big discount from the dominant rapacious pricing. I am next most inclined to buy music I never hear on the radio that I have heard enough to be hooked on. (Thus the Chicago compilation I purchased largely for one song, even though I like several others on it.)

The value of a CD is conveniently being able to listen to music of your choice at high quality on any CD playing device any time you wish.

An MP3 freely obtained is like radio, in that it both promotes and depresses the demand for CD media, but it differs by being playable on demand. I would rather have a CD, but I would want to be able to copy music from CD to MP3 if desired, just as I can copy from CD to tape in order to play the same music in my car conveniently, if at lower sound quality. An MP3 is large, takes time to locate and download, and because the music companies ran away from technology, lacks predictable quality.

I represent a fount of pent up demand. Halve the price of music CDs and my spending would increase hugely; certainly compared to the almost nothing it is now. I can't possibly be alone in this. I'd pay for a convenient source of MP3 music at predictably decent quality, for that matter, but it couldn't be hoop-jumpingly restrictive.

Mess with CD media to make it play in fewer devices, or be restricted in use, you reduce the value of the music media more. It becomes even less appealing at a high price. In effect, adulterating the CD format in order to fight the "loss of sales" from MP3 sharing is like increasing prices even more in a soft market.

Did I mention the economy is soft? Of course, music is such a vital necessity, a recessive economy can't have affected sales. Must be file sharing. Can't be the taste of the audience not matching new releases being pushed. Must be file sharing. Can't be that the music industry has lost its way managerially. Must be file sharing.

That one Beatles CD I own was not bought on a whim, and was not an easy sale. I looked at it in stores probably three times before I overcame my revulsion at the price and parted with my money for it. I find it regrettable that it was the price of two or three albums, and I don't get to experience the other album or two I could have afforded were they acceptably priced.

So that is what I think of the way things are in the music industry. Prices are too high. Management is deplorable. The record companies are driving themselves out of business by technology phobia and belief in stasis.

My Brain Is Bursting

Argh! I am sitting here with so many thoughts on what to write that I don't know where to start and could take all night doing it. Polygamy, which involves a tale of a rascally great grandfather I never met. The record industry, inspired while I was singing along with the Beatles in the car. Answering my own question below, perhaps, though that will require some thought. An overdue SARS roundup. An amusing e-mail exchange with someone on a client's staff. The promised commentary on change in the world. And I'm sure other things that surreptitiously slipped out of my mind the second I started typing this. Shall I start one now and risk the nephew being ready to be driven home before I am done? Hmmm...

Ten Reconstituted

If you could replace or change the original ten amendments to the constitution in any way, changing nothing else about the constitution, how would you change them? I am curious what people might say.

I haven't sat and thought about this at length myself, but I know I'd want some things to be clearer. I've thought in the past about what I would want a constitution to look like for a "from scratch" society starting out on a newly settled planet, but that's a whole different ballgame.

Bizarre as it may be, this question was inspired by the thought of someone fisking the bill of rights, and what that might look like, even if it were from an idiotarian perspective. That thought came when I was at Xrlq's blog.

Hmmm... 14 hours and no comments to a direct question post. Guess this one's a dud. Heh.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Note to self...

Remember next chance you get, post about the "aren't we ashamed of us" dinner conversation on the evil enablement of antiquities destruction and looting by our incompetent war management.

Me, I say if the barbarians act like barbarians instead of becoming humans, it's the fault of the barbarians and not the humans that the barbarians have failed the minor challenge of humanity clue absorption. But hey, maybe that's just me.

Note to others... sorry for the lightness of posting. Still entertaining the nephew and being preoccupied otherwise. Thanks for the new links; you know who you are. Looks like I'm not going to make 2000 hits by the 2 month mark, but I'm still doing okay.

BlogSplat, This Is A Stain On The Web

I just intentionally brought up one of the not found pages Blogsplat generates; in this case it was a link for Drumwaster, but mine was the same. Was thinking how easy it'd be to make a spoof on that page (see the title above). Anyway, the other thing I noticed is it says:

"You may wish to visit the home page for this site."

All well and good, but the link in there points to "" like they don't really know whose subdomain they're failing to find. Sheesh.

Health Insurance

As I believe I mentioned before, I am becoming disgruntled with my health noncoverage and should really find something else. They've raised rates again, effective May 1st, having gone up about $50 a month in two years, or almost 25%.

I was going to rail against the latest statement I received, but it may be that I am back on the buildup to using all of my $500 deductible. The charges were $166. Discount is $13, so I suppose I get that courtesy of being insured. Amount not covered is $153. All of it. Ah, it's classed as a routine physical, not covered for that reason. Well, at least I knew that. But the physical was in December. It's almost May. Hello? That's slower than my billing! (I just billed for January.)

Anyway, even when I've used up over $500 and it's supposedly paying 80%, I get statements almost as bad as this. Inexplicable "the charges are 100, discount is 10, our 80% is 30, you'll be paying 50" kinds of things. The only thing they've ever paid most of is a testing lab bill.


I offered to pay a friend to look into what's available, since she works for a good insurer/HMO and Knows Things. I don't think she actually took me seriously though.


Well, there they are. The Gweilo post was saved in w.bloggar and I brought the Surreal post back up, but to get them online I had to paste them into the Blogger web interface. When w.bloggar and Blogsplat play nice together, it's a wonderful thing, but when they act up, boy is it frustrating. I probably wouldn't post nearly as much if I always had to use the Blogger web interface to do it.

Surreal 'R' Me

I haven't had this kind of thing happen in ages. I woked up froma bizarre dream, saw the bright sunlight, saw "1:11" when I twisted myself to see the alarm clock, got all excited, jet propelled myself out of bed, hit the switch on the computer, grabbed the mug, and on reaching the kitchen saw 7:14 on the clock. After having made enough noise to ensure my nephew, sleeping in the living room, was wide awake. Oops!

So I jumped back into bed, because I had figured I'd sleep until 9:00 today, and hadn't fallen asleep until about 2:30 (which is an improvement over insomniac 5-6 AM). After about 20 minutes of not being able to fall asleep, I gave up. Too pumped up. That was 7:26, which means it's one of those slow motion clock days.

So here I am, going through e-mail and checking the web. My nephew wants nothing more than to replace me at the computer, of course. He hovered around behind me twice, after I suggested there was a towel he could use, to get in the shower first, in the hall closet, and subsequently said "or you could go back to sleep..." I think he's done the latter.

Then there's the dream I was having. I was in urban combat. Some British guy and I were firing rounds directly into each other at close range around a car in a narrow road, all other fighting having calmed down, neither actually being harmed, until we realized it was futile, we were running out of ammo, and we were actually supposed to be on the same side anyway. At that point we both went into a storefront on the right side of the road, and I learned the Brit was blind, which hadn't seemed to have hurt his fighting ability. The storefront seemed to be some combination former record store, and book store, now used as a headquarters/barracks/hangout. The blind Brit had a box of vinyl record albums in there he was trying to keep safe, and when I woke up I think he was attempting to explain to me why that was so.

Yes, I have crazy, involved dreams like this all the time, which makes it fun when I actually remember them.

On A Roll

Visit Conrad at Gweilo Diaries today. Lots of stuff, including a Howard Dean gem.

Aw Jeez

I've made two posts this morning with w.bloggar and they timed out. One I saved as a text file in case, the other I didn't. After all, normally a timeout means they posted but didn't publish. However, here I am at Blogger making a gratuitous post intended to force the two errant ones to publish, and I see they didn't even post. Argh. Well, I'll try again..

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Blogsplat Archives

Intriguing. All archives of mine up to a certain point are fine. Then we get an archived week that displays the following:

220 batcave5 NcFTPd Server (licensed copy) ready.
331 User FTPUser okay, need password.
PASS xxxxxx
230-You are user #22 of 250 simultaneous users allowed. 230- 230 Logged in.
215 UNIX Type: L8
257 "/home/FTPUser" is cwd.
350 Will attempt to restart at position 1.
350 Will attempt to restart at position 0.
Restartable feature is enabled.
200 Type okay.
ERROR: The file transfer service could not find the upload file: /home/localOutput/3857713_ArchiveIndex.html after waiting one minute.
200 Type okay.
PORT 192,168,10,110,232,214

Every week of archives subsequent to that one generates the familiar Blogsplat 404 page. Our brain on the web indeed. I wonder what in the world happened to cause the FTP madness, and whether there's a connection between that and the subsequent hosing of archives. Heck, I wonder programatically and technologically if it's really that difficult to manage this functionality on a large scale as Blogsplat does.

Moore Does Career Day

Link courtesy of the great Frank J., friend of puppies and primates everywhere.

Funny End User Tricks

When a program error occurs it will generally say "runtime error" and some error number and description.

I find it amusing how consistently people will tell me they got a "time running error." It's kind of cute. For instance: "...I get a time running error '-2147220992:' (80040200) and then I get kicked out..."

SARS Worse With Socialized Medicine

Medpundit has a good discussion of that theory and more today. Worth a look!

Linkage and Stuff

I have links to fix over in the blogroll, from people going and changing names, locations, and even ceasing to exist on me. I have a ton I can add, and am not immune to suggestions. What I do is add sites to favorites in IE, in a particular candidate folder, then I look at them again closely enough to decide link, don't link, or watch them to see what happens.

I first want to remove some sites from the Blogrolling section of the blogroll. I figure any sites that don't show last updated either at all or reliably can go in the template. I also figure any sites that are frequently or predictably updated enough that the updated status doesn't matter can go directly in the template. Simple enough.

That should add some room to put more links with Blogrolling without getting totally out of hand. I'd also like to link some more non-blogs, like OpinionJournal, Reason, and MSNBC. That's as much for my convenience as that of any visitors, no offense.

Look for that maybe this weekend sometime. I got thinking of this when I realized I hadn't added a permalink to Oscar Jr's main page yet. Lately I've found myself only adding blogs that have a "Blogroll Me" link to make it easier.

Oh, the "and stuff" part of this... The geek-in-training nephew will be hanging out with me for the next couple days, and I have important things to get done, so I may post lightly at best for a time. I've posted tons of stuff in the past week, so feel free to wade through all of it that you haven't seen yet, commenting freely. Beyond that, check out the sites in the blogroll. Lots of cool site seeing to be experienced there.

It Makes Me Wanna Puce

Okay, so I started seeing this "Puce" thing mentioned here and there, getting a great deal of attention, amusement, and speculation. I went and took a quick look, and the first time I said "well this is stupid" and went away wondering why the fuss.

Eventually I looked again, read more closely, looked at the links versus the text for context, and saw some "sense" and the scrambled nonsense tongue. I laughed at the silly posts instead of being contemptuous of them.

If you reacted like me... all I am saying, is give Puce a chance.

What would Pucemania be without a Puce Watch "fan" site? Poor Puce, it looks like the grammarsphere, represented by Puce Watch, is really giving him fisk of rage.

World Blogs

Go figure. Oscar Jr, of Blogs Around The World, reports that there's another person with the same basic idea. It's called World Blogs. This is by Flightless Farrago, who talks about how they differ in this post, which is currently the top one.

SARS, China, and AIDS

Conrad blogs on this topic, related slightly to my previous post, as far as sanitary conditions are concerned. This also reminds me I saw a passing comment on a blog, I forget which, worrying about what SARS could do in Africa where AIDS is so prevalent.

China and SARS

Back when I was in college, I was required to take a communications class. That was one of my "kicking and screaming" requirements, as I am generally terrified to speak before groups. Eventually I got around to taking it as a summer class, before my last semester (which also consisted of a part time class schedule, including a math class that had been put off by my kicking and screaming through the prerequisite maths to that point), on the idea that the crammed summer session would make it more bearable. It did. Only had to do one speech, in the end, which I chose to do on space privatization (this was in 1987). It was horrible, even after being in the class all that time and being somewhat comfortable with my classmates.

The professor had participated in an exchange program the college had going with China. She'd spent a year there, and as I recall she'd visited a second time, and written a book. Meanwhile, our school had started offering Chinese as one of the foreign languages offered, taught be genuine Chinese instructors. I was almost intrigued enough to try it for a semester, but I'd already had four semesters of German and was just trying to get school over with already.

In that communications class, you could completely derail the professor by asking her about China. She would then talk about it at length, even for the rest of the class time. Heh.

The thing I most remember is how bad hygiene, if that's the right word, was there, and how sick people tended to be as a result. People just freely spit on the ground anywhere, which spread things around. Where she taught, there were students sacking out eight in a room on the floor, happy to be able to attend school. It was amazingly crowded, with limited bathing facilities and poor heating.

So no wonder China is such an incubator for new flu and, now anyway, other viruses. It's easy to see how new strains could cook themselves up and start to spread. We simply managed to be served up with something worse than a new flu strain this time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Bush Backs RIAA Lawsuit Against Verizon

Link courtesy of The Real Geek.


Michele has a poll/quiz looking for your opinion on SARS. Overhyped? Wrath of God? Alien plot? End times? Let her know what you think.

George Bush, Messiah

Go visit Val, at Val e-diction, for this Iran news and more.


Now it's Eugene Volokh weighing in on grammar, or written communications at any rate. I am inclined to agree with him. I especially hate all caps, which my father likes to use because he can see what he's typing more easily.

You've all heard of Nigerian spam e-mails...

I actually have received a paper mailing, similarly suspicious, from South Africa. I want to believe it's not legitimate due to the similarity to the spams, and a few red flags, but darn they did a good job making it appear reasonable. It was mailed from Africa, but apparently not South Africa (stamp says Republique Togolaise). It has a real signature. It has phone numbers, but not a street address. The envelope is hand addressed, and the addressee is not printed on the letter. The letter is a relatively low quality printout, which appears to be mass produced.

But I shouldn't be telling you this! I'm supposed to handle it with confidentiality. Heh.

I Just Can't Imagine...

Being locked up, year after year, for something I didn't do. Or facing execution for something I didn't do. South Knox Bubba inspired me to say this with a post on a death penalty case.

Not that long ago a guy was released in Massachusetts after being falsely convicted of rape and spending the prime of his life jailed. I just can't imagine what that might be like, knowing the system had made a mistake and your life was all but over because of it. *Shudder*


Trent at Winds of Change comments extensively on SARS and China, so I don't have to.

Tax Cuts Versus Spending Increases

Over at Asymmetrical Information, Jane Galt posts about the difference between tax cuts and spending increases on the economy. Spirited discussion ensues in the comments.

I made the following comment myself, asking if it made sense:

On a slightly related note, I always assert that an administration's fiscal policies have limited impact on the economy in the short term. So, for instance, I tend to credit Reagan with the boom of the nineties, along with a delayed productivity factor from computer technology finally kicking in. I tend to credit Clinton with the downturn, apart from whatever the artificialness of the dotcom boom and accounting fraud had to do with it.

Spam, Glorious Spam

Ha! I just got a whole new class of spam! Not penis (or breast!) enlargement, not growth hormones make you feel younger, not Nigerian scams, not yummy Russian brides, not come see our nekkid contortionists at play, not lose weight, prevent diabetese, none of those things were involved at all this time.

This was from, has a subject line that says what it's about, and starts with a headline in the body of:

Get the Iraqi 'Most-Wanted' Deck of Playing Cards
Only $5.95 a Set!

It has links to go buy, pictures of the cards... it is very nearly cool spam.

But then in the end it says this:
This is a Beefy Mailer mailing! Our emails are never sent unsolicited. If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter, simply click here: no-moo and your email address will be removed within eight hours

There's an unsubscribe link where it says "no-moo." All well and good, but like so many spams, it lies in this part. Bull that your e-mails aren't sent unsolicited! I never ask for this stuff. Lies lies lies! They always lie in the remotely legitimate looking spams that include this clause. I hate that more than I hate getting the spam in the first place. Be unsolicited, but don't effing LIE to me and say you're not when you are. Argh!

Thoughts For Your Nickel

Justene at Calblog links to a good article on coinage, mainly a temporary change to nickels.

Zero Blogs

I opened a few of the Ecosystem blogs near the bottom, that show they have 0 links, to see if there was anything interesting to see.

Blue Dot looks good so far. I saw the name and thought "the blue dot cleanser," but it's actually "a blue dot in a sea of red." By now you may have seen most of what Blue Dot links and has for pictures, but there's good stuff.

Grumpicus Maximus has a cute logo and name. I love the sword through the monitor. There's some interesting stuff, including this I liked, and the links from this site have a lot of comics and gaming orientation to them if that appeals to you. I lean more toward revisting Blue Dot regularly, of the two I've mentioned here so far.

Flow of Time is a European (looks like Finland), business-oriented blog. I'd have to visit more to see what it's like over time, but it could be interesting. If you don't mind occasional poking of fun at Americans, that is. An example of something linked from Flow of Time is an article on there being more to CRM than technology.

That is all for now.

For Whom The Grammarians Debate

Over at Dean's there is a vigorous discussion and debate over his post, similar to mine, referring to the funny apostrophe graphic Joanne had on her site. I got one comment. He got 33 and counting. Envy aside, the post and discussion might be of interest to some of you.

An Intriguing Proposal

Joe Queenan makes an amusing, intriguing proposal in an OpinionJournal column. It's inspired by the Leno/Couric show swap for a day.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Blog Tour, Third Leg

Have you had A Taste Of Africa yet? Mmmm... camel meat (hilip geyl). But seriously, I read about Somaliland's striving to regain nation status separate from Somalia before I ever read a blog for the first time. Naturally I think it's wonderful. Well, this blog is by someone who has gone to Somaliland to work there and help things along. I have found it fascinating, leading up to the elections, reporting on their results, what life is like there, the tribulations of small business, the food... And there are some nice photos! You should check it out, but at least go all the way to the bottom (beginning) of the current page and then scroll up to the next post chronologically as you read. Then it makes more sense.

Speaking of African food, I have had Ethiopian food twice in my life, and loved it. Both times were in Montreal, each at a different Ethiopian Restaurant there. The first was The Blue Nile (Nile Bleu). I can't remember the name of the other place, but I think it was Au Messob d'Or. It was down some steps, on a cellar level, at any rate. Both times I was at the Con*Cept SF Convention and went with a bunch of people, including at least one local. That was a great way to do it, because we were able to order a bunch of different dishes and try some of each. It'd be nice if there were some good Ethiopian places around here. I understand there's one expensive one in Boston, and that's it, unless things have changed.

Of course, when I told people I went for Ethiopian food they were surprised there's a distinct cuisine that justifies having Ethiopian restaurant, and I got to hear "what do they eat, rocks and sand?" Duh.

The other cool thing in Montreal was getting smoked meat sandwiches from Schwartz's. Yum!

People Search the Darndest Things

Recent search hits to my blog:

ged "95th percentile"
Sezchuan greetings
drum solo's (okay, not odd, just amusing to me)
dotnet jobs ireland
instapundit businesspundit
vee vc++ variant
"boycott french companies" (also not odd, and I get this a lot)
pei chinese SARS

Or maybe it that I write the darndest things in close enough proximity to be found with unexpected search combos.

Only 300 to go...

To make 2000 hits as of the two month mark, I need a mere 300 hits in the next 3 days. Hmmm... yeah, right.

The Right Time for Weapons of Mass Destruction

Little Tiny Lies speculates that Bush is clever enough to be saving any big, demostrably true announcement of WMD discoveries for the right, hit 'em all at once, time. I am inclined to agree that it makes sense both as a theory of what the administration is up to, and as a political move.


I'm working on a post that at the moment is titled "Discontinuity, Stasis and History." I had started it weeks ago, then put it aside. I just more than doubled the length of it, and if I wanted I could add a few more words and put it up, and it basically would say what I have in mind. However, I've lost the mood, the train of thought, and I'd rather sit on it at least until later today. The last time I made a post that made some kind of a strong point about the Bush administration, I wrote most of it, then a couple days later I finished and edited it. The result was good enough to get plenty of attention, so I decided if I consider something a meaningful post, taking my time is worthwhile. Regardless, I don't think it'll be all that long, and it certainly won't compare to anything Bill Whittle would write. In his sleep.

Juan Gato Is Dead

Long live Juan Gato!

Get Out The Vote

Frank J. needs you, to go vote on his official picture for the IMAO site. Vote early and often!

Blogger Death

I was thinking about this topic just the other day; what it would be like if someone with a blog died. I sometimes get morbid like that. Dandelion Wine points out this Wired article about it.


I agree with Andrew Sullivan; this is big. I was shocked when I read the news yesterday that he was being paid by Iraq. Besides Andrew covering it, Instapundit talks about it and points to Tim Blair for a roundup.

Free Speech

Drumwaster covers very nicely what is and isn't constitutional freedom of speech, for benefit of Sarandon and Robbins. They would do well to read and learn.

Wedding Planner

I watched The Wedding Planner last night. I liked it and thought it was particularly cute, even if it was a reasonably standard romantic comedy. It was definitely better than Maid In Manhattan, though I liked that one well enough. These aren't things you sit down to watch expecting high art. Plus, as I may have mentioned before, I'm a sucker for romantic comedies. One of my friends was shocked when he found out I hadn't seen The Wedding Planner a while back, and told me it was a "me" movie.

Blogs Around The World

Before this post scrolls completely into oblivion, I thought I would put a permalink above the blogroll to Oscar Jr's cool Blogs Around The World project. That way the handful of people who see my blog from time to time are more likely to notice the link and visit, and when Glenn someday links me, a whole mess of people will see it.

Monday, April 21, 2003


I have noticed that there seem to be people who buy most of the stock in newly listed blogs, when they are at a share price of 0 or near it, then sit and wait until they increase, becoming rich in the process. What I haven't figured out yet is how to know when a blog is newly listed and at that absurdly low price. It's almost like some people have some way of knowing. One of them bought most of the shares in my blog within a day of it being listed, and last I looked has a sell order in for when it reaches a dollar per share.

The trouble is, from what I have seen, most of what drives a price up and down seems to be the actual transactions. So, for instance, a blog might sit there at a share price of 24¢ for ages, then someone sells 500 shares and it's suddenly 50¢. Which can be a good trick; selling part of your shares to make the price go up and have the value of your remaining shares be higher than the total was before you sold. But sometimes the price goes down, which I haven't figured out the rule for yet. It may have something to do with P/E ratio.

I thought "Hot Stocks" might be the new, low priced ones, but they are not the zero or penny ones. Hotness seems to be based on a low P/E.

Well, at least I've done okay, even if I am not worth as much as half a billion virtual dollars like one of the predatory players I looked at.

Aha! You can do it by creating a search by share price. Wish I'd known that sooner!

Apostrophe Rules!

A basic guideline on apostrophe usage, via Joanne Jacobs. It's cute!

It leaves out the "its" and "it's" exception though. There is one very easy, simple way to tell if you have erred when typing "it's" in a sentence. Whenever you are rereading what you just wrote, replace "it's" with "it is." If it sounds stupid, then it's clearly a mistake. The word "it" is an exception to the posessive rule. Every dog has its day is correct. Every dog has it's day really says "every dog has it is day."

Very simple rule to follow. It drives me absolutely bonkers, all out of proportion to the seriousness of the error, when I see someone spell "its" with an apostrophe, and all the more so when it's done repeatedly. Any of us can make a typo some of the time. I do that with it's and its, their and there, your and you're, but not as systematic, unthinking spelling abuse.

"It's" can only ever mean "it is." Easy rule to remember guys! Even you editors at major publications can remember it for me, right? Right?

This One is for Bob

Bob does FoxPro development, at least when he has no other choice. Anyway, this is another Register article on Microsoft antics. They are in rather tricky territory here.

"...Congressional intent carries a great deal of weight, even when it's entirely wrongheaded, or even corrupt."

This isn't good. I love the way The Register spins things when they write on something like this. For instance:

This type of burden-lifting doesn't directly contradict the Fourth Amendment -- merely 230 years of case law, which the DoJ has conveniently neglected to recall.

Patriot's Day

Today is Patriot's Day in Massachusetts, a state holiday, and the traditional day for the Boston Marathon.

I've only ever worked at one company that took it as one of their holidays. That's common downtown, but this was for no better reason than the founder of the company was a marathon fan. It was cool, but the problem was we did support for a POS system nationally. The only other state with a holiday that day was Ohio, or so I was told.

So it meant one person for each system having the pager, but the other person being on call by phone if the primary needed to assign work when it got too busy. On weekends and evenings until 11:30 PM, we alternated having the pager. That was fun. The pay was awful, but the overtime from being on call made it almost feel like real pay. It was an automatic hour per evening and two hours per weekend day, just to be on call, plus a half hour per call, however much or little time it took. Exceptions were granted for the rare four hour calls from hell.

Now I have a pager every day, every hour, every week, and while it typically only goes off once or maybe twice a month, there's no real compensation for being available (and that's because I'm available by e-mail at almost all times). Three years ago, without thinking through the consequences adequately, I let the client in question change payment plans in a way that means in effect that they no longer pay us extra to be available, only to do what's needed, as and when. Not a good result for either party. But I digress.

Dog Snot Diaries

This site's name may sound disgusting, but he has the hots for Alyson Hannigan, which makes him okay in my book. He is also amused by Acidman; another plus. Not that Acidman and Alyson are at all comparable...


Dean has an excellent, thought provoking post on Islam.

Burt Rutan

Rand Simberg at Transterrestrial Musings has more on the Burt Rutan X Prize competitor that was unveiled Friday. Of particular interest are the mess of comments this post inspired, including a regulatory troll, and later a more rational regulatist. Is that a word? Well, it is now. Regulatist: One who is a regulatory proponent. Heh.

Glenn also caught up on the story.

Dean wants to have Rutan's baby. That's another post with a cool set of comments, different from the ones at Rand's blog. There's talk of Rutan's track record and qualifications, and comparison to the Sky-Car. Dean also has an update.

I'm inordinately pleased that I was, as far as I know, the first blogger among myself and those I read to have picked up on this, with a link to the MSNBC article. It's such an exciting, important story! My second post on it, "Private Space Program," was better, but even that was ahead of most. It was just luck, though, that I saw the first article when I did.

Jerry Pournelle was actually at the demonstration, and had hinted Friday something was up, then later posted pictures. He hasn't posted anything new since, but I'm sure he and his correspondents will have much to say.

The X Prize site itself has a news entry (with picture) on this.

Normal As Stupid

I was chatting on AIM with Bob last night, and we ended up discussing the idea that people of high intelligence see themselves as "normal," and therefore can see perfectly normal, functional people as "stupid." If I were diligent, I would pause here, go do research and post links to any extant scientific theories or research on this topic. TK if I bring it up again as anything more than idle chatter. I've noticed this in myself, and find I have to be aware and watch for it. Anyone else out there notice the same thing?

Happy Birthday Rachel

It's a time like this when I really miss the comments on her site. Then again, nobody commented when I announced my birthday, so perhaps it doesn't matter. Then again, she has many times my readership. Lucky for her, she's still a youngster.

Is It Better To Be Linked Or Respected?

The Truth Laid Bear poses the above question in this post, so why not mosey on over and give him your response in the comments. I gave my answer.

Jerky Knees

My youngest niece, Alicia, who just turned one, has a broken arm. I managed to get to the age of 29 before breaking any bones (left arm, and damaged both elbows for perpetuity, but this is its own post sometime), but she didn't make it to her first birthday.

She's been cruising the furniture for a while, walking while holding onto something. My brother had noticed she was crawling strangely, with just one arm, but he figured it was just an odd step on the way to walking. Then my mother noticed she was switching everything put in her right hand to her left. She's right-handed. Investigating further, my mother figured out something was painful to the touch at a certain spot on that arm.

So my brother and sister-in-law took her to the doctor, and the arm was broken. Nobody knows how it happened, but the theory is that one of the other kids jerked away from her too vigorously. Sounds like she'll have fun, having three rambunctious older brothers. They wrapped it up, then the next day she got a cast.

Well, the hospital was going to call DSS. For those who don't live in Massachusetts, that's the state child protections/family services type of agency. Calling the DSS on someone is possibly worse than calling the IRS on someone. Obviously there are cases where they must help here and there, but mostly they seem to cause people a lot of unnecessary grief. Kind of like this situatuation, which I saw mentioned on Dean's World and Right We Are. Fortunately, the pediatrician insisted that they not call DSS, because he knew there was no possible way it was appropriate.

They would have, if he'd not been there to toss some "I know these people" sense into the way. I know abuse happens, but it seems the knee jerk reportage of suspected abuse has gotten out of hand.

Liberation's New World Order

Andrew Sullivan is back with a vengeance. Guess this means you no longer have to come read me instead.

Science Fiction Shrine

In Seattle, complete with aliens. NY Times so registration is required. Link via the Reading for the Future list.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

I Am A Slithering Reptile

There have been changes at the TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem. I am now a slithering reptile, rather than an insignificant microbe, because most ofg the categories are now based on percentage of total blogs listed.

I think this is a superb change. Only 7-8 more links and, barring other jostling of the list, I will morph into a flappy bird. That'd be cool. Now I just have to write something clever, if not Whittle-like, to achieve the requisite linkage...

Writing about the sorry history of my hair just won't cut it. No pun intended.

Kids Are Cool

Sometimes, anyway. I swung by the office for a little while on my way home. A few minutes ago my partner stopped in with his oldest daughter, who is 9, cute, funny, and bursting with life and enthusiasm. She's so infectious, I feel much better than I did mere moments ago. She grabbed one of the few remaining Sunkist Fruit Gems, and I gave her a mini Cadbury caramel egg from my private stash.

Usually in the office I keep a container of Sunkist Fruit Gems, a Container of individually wrapped Twizzlers, and something in an M&M dispenser most of the time. Sometimes there are other things. Most recently I had Swedish Fish, but that's bad because I can't take or leave it the way I can everything else. I devour those. The Fruit Gems and Twizzlers can last months, depending how much other people eat them. I figure it adds a fun touch to the place.

My partner needed to buy a CD drive out of inventory for a machine he's troubleshooting. Unfortunately for him, I don't have any Pentium 4 motherboards on hand. He thinks he may have a bad motherboard. That's no fun.


Well, I managed to go to my grandmother's for the Easter dinner thing, albeit rather late. This whole insomnia/sleepiness thing went to a whole new level, by dint of my wanting to fall asleep while driving. I'm not a "sleepy while driving" person without good reason, so it was disconcerting. I think I'm having a bout of depression in which the sleep problems are a symptom, but maybe it's related to the balloon-like feeling in my sinuses.

I'll probably end up having my nephew come to the office with me a day or two this week, since it's school vacation. His parents aren't too happy, because he's being a teenager lately. They tried to get me to take him for the week, overnights too, but I wasn't buying it. He's turning into me, being given used computers by people that are his if he can make them work. I think the last one is still in suspense. The latest one tries to boot Win98 then shuts itself down; he forgets what it says. Sounds to me suspiciously like the problem where the OS thinks it can't find VMM32.VXD, usually even if it's there. Nothing fdisk can't solve, if all else fails. I am up to probably five machines in the Pentium 100 to 200 range that work, or mostly work, that have been given to me. One of these days I need to go through them and get them going, or chuck them, and see if I can find them a purpose in life.

Oh well. Maybe I can do something useful before the day is out...

Which Marvel Hero Am I

A cool one, naturally! Good for me, not one of the top five either.

For what it's worth, I don't recommend the above link for those who lack broadband. It doesn't go right to a straighforward web page with the questions, but rather to a slow loading base page, which launches another slow loading page, which does some other slow loading, and then you're at a place where you can figure out which button loads the test. But it is kind of neat, even if it's a form of viral marketing.

The Puppy Eating Scandal Grows

Over at Happy Fun Pundit, they have chosen now to reveal they kept the puppy eating news to themselves. They could have done the brave thing and said something sooner, but they chose instead to alienate their audience in the long run for site hits in the short run. All the while, puppies died horribly. How can they ever recover their blogging integrity?