Saturday, June 07, 2003

Dog Snot Dating Service

Geoffrey at Dog Snot Diaries is trying to get his single brother hitched.

Whaddaya say gals? Oh, hi Lori. I heard you were single... Go have a look.

Lot of Work

This link management is a lot of work! At least initially. As you'll see, I've made major progress, but I still have to go through the not yet classifieds and stick them somewhere, including in at least one category that doesn't exist yet.

I forget what I'd intended "Ganymeans" to be. May have been generic.

I need a category for business/economics/accounting. If I'm lazy I might put bloggers who are highly focused on libertarian/objectivist matters in that same one.


Hi, I'm black

Glenn left a comment, and I paid a visit through the URL he left. I love the "contractor peon" bit. I thought there was some interesting stuff over there, so thought I'd mention it. Nice fish and monster rat pictures.

As I was saying a few posts ago, leaving comments can get you noticed.


For what it's worth, I just did an archive rebuild. Links prior to this point should all work.

Interview Questions

Maripat needs interview questions! She plans to interview Lori, who is single by the way, and is at a loss for clever, Frank-like or Bill-like questions to ask. Any ideas?

"Lori, is it true you're still single because you smell funny? Or is it merely because you devour your dates alive at the end of the evening?"

You know, useful, meaningful interview questions like that.

Is That Legal

Is That Legal has fled Blogsplat. This is to remind me to update my link, as well as to publicize it.

"Blogroll Me"

Something I forgot to mention in my thing on getting links is the usefulness of the "Blogroll Me" link. I take my own behavior to be anecdotal evidence in favor of having one. I routinely look for such a link (which should not be hidden if you have one, dammit), and will spontaneously blogroll if there is one. If not, I'll try to remember, and usually forget.

Which is why you might sometimes see things like:
Note to self: Remember to blogroll this site.

On another note, I am working on links today. I think the port to unblogrolled categorical links will be completed, but many of them will be under "not yet classified" since decisions on categories are still pending. The blogroll and an uncategorized list of links not on the blogroll will appear on their own page.

Hanker for a Hunka Cheese

Mmmm... the power of cheese. Via BusinessPundit.

Cheese is one of my absolute staples, much the way Acidman once described peanutbutter. I can have almost nothing in the house for food, but if there's cheese, I can probably whip up something I'll like. If I lack cheese, I know it's time to go shopping.

Don't Forget to Vote!

In the New Weblog Showcase. Link the entered posts for any of the entries that tickle your fancy. The final tally is Sunday night, so do it by then and have it remain on your main page for it to count.

I'm not sure what the reason is, but it appears one (admittedly interesting but not enough for my vote, or that many) entry has multiple times the votes of the next entry down, which shows the importance of voting.

My final votes will appear sometime in the next day. There appears to be a new entry I didn't notice earlier in the week, trying to entice a vote from me.

Up and Up We Go

I notice today I gained three links and RWA gained one. My missing link still isn't back. Anyway, I think it's totally cool that I am now Sandwiched between Natalie Solent and Asparagirl.

Right We Are! is somewhere between Jay Caruso and Pejmanesque, which is also cool, and gaining rapidly on Blogs of War and Rand Simberg. It's not all that far for them to become primates!

Obviously if we do drop because the contest is over, it's not going to happen until the established momentum stops and any gratuitous links scroll off main pages.

Oh! I think I forgot to mention at the end of the race what our Technorati standings were, just for giggles. So today JSV is at 86 inbound blogs and 173 inbound links. RWA is at 88 inbound blogs and 149 inbound links. Which is kind of weird. We're almost even on inbound blogs, but I seem to have more links per blog linking to me. *Shrug*


Caption contest over here is ready for voting! Lots of choices, but I am rather partial to K and O specifically...

Getting Links

Sean Hackbarth, of the fine blog named The American Mind, which has been on my blogroll for ages with good reason, posed a question in comments over on Right We Are! in response to the race being over. How to get comments? He just reached Flappy Bird in the Ecosystem, for which congratulations are naturally in order. But how to do better?

Naturally being the sometimes chaotic critter that I am, I answered a question posed at RWA by entering a massive comment over at TAM. Why, after all, answer in the same venue where the question was posed? That might make sense and stuff.

So I talked about getting links in general, as well as some of what happened during the race. Here, verbatim, because it is post-length and of possible interest to others, is what I had to say:

You asked over on RWA how we got links. Good question! Some people have said they link to me because I'm entertaining, post regularly, etc. That was before, during, and will presumably be beyond the race. I know RWA has quality and design - if not load speed - going for them. If anything, I'm handicapped by Blogger.

Part of it's been because it's a contest, and people played along. Some went mainly linking me. Some went mainly linking them. Others were trying not to take sides but linked us both, bringing us both up.

Because it was a contest, we were openly and blatently ASKING for links, which I'd not normally do. We, or I, didn't e-mail people asking, but there were times I mentioned it in comments here and there, especially jokingly objecting to a link made to the competition.

Also, because of the contest and in the spirit of it, people not only quietly linked us, they advertised for us, mentioned the race, got others to check it out.

I think we both grabbed opportunities to generate links when we saw them. For instance, by participating in the RWN traffic drive, it added a link or two for RWA.

More generically, I would tell anyone, you want to be read, which gets you linked, then go read, but make sure they can see where you're coming from. That is, click the links to your reads on your own page to get to them, so they can see where the traffic came from.

Then leave comments. Not completely gratuitously, but if you can come up with something to say, the proprieter of the blog - and other people! - have an added opportunity to see you out there, to click the link toy your site, read, like and link it.

Publicize others. Even the lowly blogs, because some of them are going to become your peers and even superstars. Plus others plugged me, so I am doing the same. I'll keep doing dungeon tours anyway, but during the contest it had the added benefit of attracting the attention of entirely new blogs who might link me. (There are still some of those I meant to permalink and haven't; my bad.) The Showcase works for that too. If you were new and looking for links, I'd say enter the showcase. And if you're in a race and need pure, semi-gratuitous linkage, Carnival of the Vanities is a source of one. RWA picked up a link by actually agreeing to host CotV off in October.

You get links by linking others. If they know you did. Again, click the links to visit those you're linking to. More modest sites are actually better that way. Glenn's not going to notice a few referrals a day from me. Even when I e-mail him a completely foolproof reason to link to Wizbang, which might have resulted in "got this from Jay Solo" linkage to me, Glenn ignored me. I figure I won't get a link from him until I write something outstandingly cool he can't resist. But for just getting links and more modest reader increase - the kind that sticks, not a one day flood of thousands that then dry up - links from modest sites are priceless.

One trick I used in the race was to see who was linking RWA. I permalinked most of the ones I didn't already have, then clicked through in an effort to make them notice I was visiting (which comments also do). That got me some links. And found me some great blogs.

One "trick" I told Maripat to use was to go see who was still linking their old Tripod site and hadn't updated, then e-mail those people asking them to update. Special circumstances, but for anyone who's ever changed URLs recently enough, it's a way to get links that are already wanting to be there, just misguided.

If you do one really "newsworthy" thing periodically, that will generate bursts of links that stay with you. Waaaay near the beginning, my post about Bush not being stupid got readers and links big time, bringing me up a notch from then forward. A periodic gimmick can work too though.

Mostly if you write good stuff, in solid or at least predictable volume, growth and linkage will happen. Maybe it's been more so for me because I post so heavily and so eclectically; I dunno.

Anyway, if there's more to add, I can't remember it offhand. Probably lost coherence a while ago. I hope this is informative.

Great Rat Race Thoughts

I wrote this as a comment on RWA and then realized it was essentially a post. So here it is:

In retrospect, it should probably have been about number of links by a certain date as measured by the Ecosystem. The rule of getting into large mammal and staying there for 10 days made it basically inevitable that, by that measure, the first one there would win. We didn't know that though; that there'd be inevitability in moving up or staying put, and minimal chance - during the contest - of moving down.

It was an interesting study of how Ecosystem and Technorati both work, and how fellow bloggers respond to this sort of thing.

In the end, RWA is well on the way to primate, and in the course of the race - not a long time - went up by 72. That's darn near a doubling!

In addition to increasing by 69 links (no handicap applied) to 151, my traffic has increased as a result of the competition. Ironically, during the competition I felt like it was all about the race, and I was doing less quality posting than I might. I'm running around 200 site hits per day typically now, routinely enough to make it appear it'll stay that high.

Something I noted in e-mail earlier to Maripat is that the last day of the race, there was at least one known good, registered, permalinked, previously listed link to me that disappeared. Which means the figures for me are one higher than they officially were... but what else is missing? For me or for Right We Are! Very strange.

It was fun! That's the main thing. And for two relatively new blogs, it was an attention-getter.

Now I can move without threatening my standings. I expect I will still be on Blogspot for at least a week, unless I make an interim move using Blogger and FTP. Stay tuned.... Chances are, FWIW, that the domain will be because I already own it. I may get more hosting power than I truly need and be able to invite some refugees along, but we'll see. Still haven't decided where to host and what tool to use, though I like the look of pMachine from their web site.

The Great Rat Race

Well, I am all ready to declare Maripat and Lori of Right We Are! the wieners, even if Maripat was ready to call it a draw (which it's close to being). However, Maripat has not been responding to e-mail or AIM to discuss it. I'm not sure if she's too busy porting to pMachine (woohoo!), or if the monsterskids are out of hand, or if I insulted her with one of my entries to this great caption contest. Hey, she did dare me to do it, after all.

So stay tuned for it officially, but it looks like Right We Are! wins by a whisker. Woohoo! Now I can link to them again. They keep posting good stuff and it was a pain not to be able to link over there.

Friday, June 06, 2003

Okay, so...

The disappearing text problem went away when I turned on script debugging in my browser settings.

The refusal to publish anything new was a Blogger setting that was entirely my fault.

So I retract the bad things I said. Kinda.

New Blogger Release

This is not your savior folks. In a tiny experiment with the new blogger via FTP, I have found it creates posts that do not reliably display in my browser, and have to be reposted to make them display. Maybe. And editing again might cause the disappearing text problem to come back.

I have found that you can edit and rebublish a post, but the changes don't publish.

Not cool. Not cool at all. Not that I expected to be able to use Blogger, even via FTP, in anything but the most introductory timeframe from what I have in mind. Oh well.

Note to self

Chicago Boyz has moved and needs to be updated in blogroll.

Finding Nemo

It's excellent! You have to stay through the credits, of course, but everyone knows that by now. It is, after all, Pixar. That's why of a mostly full theater, about eight of us stayed to watch the antics at the end.

Ellen Degeneres makes the character she voices; is the character, and goes a long way toward making to movie as a result.

Definitely well worth seeing. Perhaps a bit scary for the really young, as others have noted. But beautifully done.


Tell me, how many of you watched Bewitched when you were kids, and tried to wiggle you nose that way?


What the heck are "Tropical Lychees"?!

Never heard of 'em before. Whatever they are, they are on sale at Market Basket from Sunday through Saturday for $1.99 a pound.

At least I know what bananas and stem cluster tomatoes are, and they are 29¢ and $1.49 respectively.

When I was boycotting both Victory and Shaws, I started going to Market Basket in Raynham sometimes, even though it's a little out of the way. A flier appears in the office mail periodically, as happened today.

Lychees? Then again, kiwi fruit started much the same way, introduced when most of us had never heard of it.

Fancy Wardrobe

I love T-shirts from Offworld Designs. I have multiple of this design, so you'd see me in it all the time. It's my favorite. Official name is Alchemy for Dummies. I also have multiple of this phoenix shirt, which tends to turn heads.


Finding Showtimes

Looks like I'm going to see Finding Nemo with my friends in a little while, either 4:50 or more likely 5:50 at Randolph Showcase. Usually we just go to dinner on Fridays. Which may change when Nic abandons us to move to San Diego in a month, as she's the usual instigator. But that's another post.

Here's One For Mapchic

Very interesting article.

Caption This

Right We Are! (see link on blogroll) is having a caption contest (scroll down a few posts after the site eventually loads). It's a particularly good one. I was dared into making my most recent entry into it, which I initially thought might be too mean, however funny. Anyway, fun picture, go see it, maybe enter a caption yourself.

Deep Unemployment

This situation is what's happening to most of my unemployed friends. If I sometimes seem to think the economy sucks when officially maybe it doesn't, that is why. Plus I've been through similar and can especially empathize.


125 Hits so far and I haven't posted anything since 2:07 AM! I'd post something now, but my brain hasn't woken up for the day yet. I am out of coffee creamer stuff, which means I can't help jolt the brain awake faster.

Checked the Ecosystem and found it wasn't updated yet. Probably we'll get around to final results of the Great Rat Race late tonight. In the meantime, it means links presumably still count.

More later, maybe, when the brain joins the rest of me.

What Is Andrea Swearing About?

Go find out! Join in, even.


Tonight I remembered something amusing to blog about... in the car, of course. Has anyone ever used a program called Dogz? It dates back to around 1995, as I recall. The company also made Catz.

Anyway, it was a completely frivolous desktop pet program, with rudimentary AI of sorts, in that conditioning could be used on the dog. When I did VB support, some of us ended up running Dogz and having a blast competing with each other for the most outlandish or amusing dogs, etc.

I quickly discovered you could edit a couple files that had numeric specs for every aspect of the dog's appearance. This is how the program could create different breeds for you, by changing the default specs to ones that would look like the breed in question.

At the height of it, I had a "dog" that looked like a psychedelic Mickey Mouse elephant dachshund that barked. Unfortunately, I got no screenshots! It was later I discovered the ability to take "snapshots" of your dog. I have a bunch, some representative ones of which I might post. Actually, here's an example. It's a colorful variant doing a trick, balancing on a ball. Imagine at least as colorful, with an elongated body, huge Mickey mouse ears, and a trunk-like nose, and you've got the absurd one of which there are no pictures.

Mine was universally feted as the ultimate in well-contrived weirdness, but others were pretty funny too. The excitement over this helped get the program officially banished from our systems.

I seem to recall you could also change behavior with the initialization files, which also reflected what the dog learned. You could use the spray bottle on the dog to the point it would be terrified of you, then confuse it by being friendly. I did some of the being mean, but I seem to recall my neighbors were worse.

We had so much fun for such a thankless job.


One thing I've learned; I'm particular about comment systems. Here are things I dislike, since that is an easier list to make:

  • Having to enter my info fresh every time

  • No HTML will work in comments

  • Comments reusing the same window, at least across blogs. That is, I click the comments link on one post. Comments window starts to come up. While waiting I click the comments link on another post. It then loads that comment set into the same window. Worse, when it does this across different blogs. If I open a comments window on Gaggle and then click Comments on Gut Rumbles, I expect the second one to use its own window, not replace what's in the first comments window. Threading or window handle thing or whatever it is, it's bad.

  • Loading an entirely new blog page for comments, then to go back to continue reading the blog, having to waaaaaaait while it loads all over again.

  • Worse than any of the above, however, are sites that lack comments. But I can understand not having them on high volume sites.

  • What I like are comments that popup into their own window that can't be grabbed and reused by another blog's comments, or even by another post's comments.

    Or I like comments that expand inline and keep you on the original page, either being collapsable or a matter of scrolling past to get to the next post.

    As a blogger, I like the idea of being able to control comments tightly, right down to whether or not they appear with a given post, as well as deleting, editing, and blocking abilities.

    So if I adopt MT or pMachine or whatever, how hard will it be for me to have comments that behave as I wish?

    Thursday, June 05, 2003

    I love my toaster oven

    Some people think have a toaster over is silly if you have a microwave. Not so!


    You like SF stories? You like being intrigued? Reading something that makes you think about what's going on exactly?

    Go read this story then.

    I feel a little bad because when he first posted it, I skipped spending the time to read it. Now that I have, I'm glad I did.

    Sun, woohoo! Sorta...

    Friday, mostly sunny, near 80, according to Weather Underground.

    But wait. Then it's cloudy, chance of rain... showers, maybe sunny in the afternoon... cloudy... chance of showers, but maybe clear... Ooh, and definitely sun again next Wednesday.

    What drought?


    Well, I just got my 7000th hit since I started using Site Meter, which means probably about my 7050th hit in reality. 6999 was a referral from Oscar Jr. and, while I am not absolutely sure, I believe visitor 7000 may have been Mapchic, the birthday girl.

    Hard to believe it was just a matter of days ago I reached 5000.

    A Defector's Story

    This is a must read, firsthand account from a North Korean defector, who subsequently became a South Korean defector as well.

    Strange Ecology

    I wasn't planning to mention standings today, but this is too weird and is about the Ecosystem, not the race.

    On the main screen, I show as 127, which with handicap is 133. Right We Are! shows as 128. Actual ranks are 166 and 164, respectively.

    Details for Right We Are! shows a tally in the history table of 148, and a rank of 133.

    Details for me show a tally of 142, and a rank of 147. With the handicap this would score me at 148, dead even in terms of links.

    I took the liberty of checking the count of the links listed and indeed, it's 142 for me. I will assume RWA's is similarly correct in the details and wrong on the main page. We'll see if it updates some more before the day is out. This does mean we are so even that I really need links in order to end in good standing tomorrow.

    Raines Watch

    I guess this means it's at 100%.

    Morning... Ick

    Mappy Birthday!

    Go on over and say happy birthday to Mapchic! She saw how many well wishes Frank J. got, so lets at least give her some modest fraction of that amount, like say, 1/3. Okay, fine, I'll settle for 1/2 then.

    Someone hire her while you're at it. No? Okay, so just happy birthday then. You can at least do that!

    Good day for a birthday, too. My father turns 29 for the 41st time today. And he doesn't look a day over 60.

    This of course means I'll always remember when Mapchic's birthday is. I astound people sometimes with remembering birthdays. In some cases it's through creating an annual recurring even in Outlook with a two day ahead reminder. However, many of them I simply remember offhand. Or remember closely enough to be able to say "isn't your birthday coming up?"

    Which is really an extension of something else. I'll have trouble remembering your name when we first meet. I'll see you and be baffled, knowing, embarrassedly, that I ought to know who you are. Once I get past that and place you, then I'll automatically remember little factoids; birthday, things you like to eat, quirks, spouse and kid names, verbatim anecdotes you've recounted to me. I just have to have you firmly filed first and have some initial referent.

    But I digress.

    Go say mappy birthday to the geographic one. Let her know we're thinking of her. Or that I am, and I twisted your arm...

    Sleep is Good

    I actually got back out of bed and came to the computer a while ago because I wasn't getting sleepy. This is no good. I need to be up in the morning at a reasonable time.

    I did get the rebuilt machine up and running. If you can call something that incorporates the floppy, hard drive, and CD drive from the old machine "rebuilt" as opposed to new. I even recovered the and a bunch of other stuff from it. Then I yelled at the person for having a of almost a megabyte. I freak when I see them getting to 500k because people won't use templates when autotext will do the job much more inappropriately. This is the largest one I have seen I believe since I did Word support. And I'm not sure I saw any that big then, because it was the days of Word 6.0 and Windows 3.1, when that would have been enough to crash a system without blinking.

    So she's going to learn how to use templates. Heh. It helps that I could hold out the example of someone less computer literate having found it a snap, declared it cool, and become completely reliant on a neatly organized collection of templates.

    Anyway, I don't have everything installed yet, so it'll get finished in the morning. Other than that it's a success.

    It's annoying when I have nothing to write, or if I do it's a major piece of work. I discovered ealier it's even weirder when I can't think of a thing to write and I'm bored with reading other people, enough to imagine easily walking away for a day. Perhaps that's a good thing. After all, I am able to go a day without caffeine. Why can't I go a day without blog reading or writing. But here I am, a few hours later, back. Still not at my most inspired, but oh well.

    One thing I neglected to write about was a guy I ran into when I went to get parts.

    Another Massachusetts blogger told me via e-mail that he swears by Macena Systems for computer needs. Well, I'd bought stuff from Macena a couple times at computer shows, and knew him to be both highly reputable and a nice guy. I was amazed last year when I was at a trade show and he recognized me to say hi.

    Synchronicity struck today. First time I have gone for parts since a fellow blogger mentioned Macena, and who walks in while I'm there but Mr. Macena. I told him someone I'd met online swore by his stuff, and he told me how important he considers it to do right by the clients, even if you sometimes take a loss to do it. My impression of him as a friendly, cool guy was strengthened, but I still can't place his accent. He was flirting like crazy with Eva and Wendy, two of the Chinese girls who work there. Pointed out to me that Eva was from Hong Kong, and unfortunately was married. Heh.

    That was kind of fun. I'm not gregarious, but I enjoy having someone like that around to draw me out. (Well, INTP, as I noted in a post in the past couple days, so of course.)

    Anyway, so enough rambling for one post.

    Save The Teenager!

    Patty is collecting stories about how you did that kind of partying and worse, so she can try to keep things in perspective and not kill the kid.

    Wednesday, June 04, 2003

    Link Me In The Next Day

    Get your final votes in!

    Currently, with handicap, I am at 134. Right We Are! is at 130. It's still pretty close, but I am in the lead enough to call it a draw. However, the reason we both dropped since yesterday is because links in posts expire when they scroll of the main page. Thus in the end, your links in the next day count disproportionately. Just like the Showcase, in which links made the last day before the final tally are the best guarantee of a vote counting.

    Friday we will have the final results, and perhaps something about what we learned through this whole thing.

    Lest Anyone Not Catch It

    The "boob job" footnote in the post telling everyone to go read Rachel Lucas today is a humorous cross-blog reference, intended to intrigue you into going over to Rachel's. She made multiple cool posts. In one of them there was a similar humorous footnote reference.

    Not Wide Enough

    No, not me! I am plenty wide. However, the new tunnel under Boston, I-93 Northbound, part of the result of the Big Dig, is not wide enough. I just know it.

    If you're spending billions to put in a section of road that will be almost impossible ever to change, why not pretend that in 30 years there will be three times the traffic potentially going through it, even if it's not internal combustion any more, and make it more than three lanes now? There'd be an additional cost, but it'd be an incremental cost compared to constructing the thing overall. That is, it could have been a single lane, and most of the cost would have been the same. For a moderate amount more, we got two more lanes. Plus in a place or two where there's merging traffic there's a stretch of extra lane. Why not four? Even five?

    I hope I'm wrong. Other than that, it's cool. Or, as they might say in Boston, it's wicked pissa. I found it tough to keep below 50 MPH, but they are heavily enforcing the 45 speed limit after that jerk in a truck injured the brand new tunnel.

    I love the Zakim bridge! I loved gawking at it from the Upper Deck before it was opened. I love driving over it. It is so purty.

    Anyway, now I remember what I was thinking as I approached and drove through the tunnel. Driving down into Virginia and the DC area and the south many years ago, I found myself noticing the elevated sections of highway and overpasses looked so nice, so shiny off-white and new looking, swooping gracefully through the air. In my area, such things looked old, ungainly, functionally ugly.

    Now I am seeing that kind of thing in Boston. Maybe I'm weird, but I like it.

    Which leads me to another tangent. Once upon a time, I drove into Washington, DC and I saw a fairy tale city. I have never forgotten that impression of the place, or obviously the parts of it I drove through that were dominated by the government. It didn't look like it was part of the same world as the rest of us. My other impression was that once I got into Washington, it was almost impossible to find a way out. What's up with that? I felt like I was going around in circles, in a maze, trapped, to a sufficient degree I started to become frantic.

    Anyway, more incoherent rambling in a bit...

    Attention Blogger Users On BlogSplat Hosting

    Dean Esmay declares jihad.

    He will help you move to MT on your own domain if you do not already have other plans, if you have $15 to register a domain and $5 a month for hosting. This is open to any of you who are not trolls or hate sites.

    Go see Dean for the info and to contact him if desired.

    Now The Fun Part...

    Using the old hard drive in an essentially new computer, I booted from the Win2k CD and went into recovery console to try to get the file. It's not enough that she's going from P3 450 or so with 128 MB SDRAM to P4 2.4 GHz, 533 FSB, with 512 MB 266 MHz (PC2100) DDR (they were out of 333 MHz - PC2700). She has to have her autotext too. Heh.

    Of course, it won't allow me to access the Program Files folder, even logged on as administrator in console mode. However, the very fact I can do that is promising enough so I'll try an automated recovery. In my experience, that never works, and it's probably better to fdisk anyway, but hey. At least the drive didn't fry. Bad enough I replaced the case, motherboard, CPU, RAM and video card. That last for no other reason than the old AGP video card won't go in the newfangled AGP slot.

    Okay, it should be done booting now. This saved me waiting, and listening to the annoyingly loud whine of the CD drive...

    Palm Buying Handspring

    One of the lawyers I do work for sent me this link. Seems kind of strange, but then again, there's a lot of competion, and Handspring seems to be have more going for it in design of the hardware, while Palm, obviously, is the software giant.

    Sadly, I still have yet to get me one of these, of any kind, and I could really use one. Help replace escaping brain cells. Trouble is, I tend to gravitate toward the more expensive models.

    Rachel Is Hot Today*

    Okay, so I came out of the conference room to check e-mail and see if my blog had any new comments. I am so bad. And then I saw Rachel had posted, so I had to look. So I'll go back in the other room and finish hooking up drives now, really. You go read Rachel if you haven't already. I really think AOL may be toast in the not too long run, and Rachel has both anecdotal evidence of why, and zealous cheerleading for their downward spiral.

    * Okay, so John might say she's hot every day. Even without a boob job. Now scoot.

    Wish I weren't Too Busy to Blog

    Have stuff to say. Sheesh. Back to work...

    It's Funny

    You don't order computer parts for several weeks, and all of a sudden prices are much lower! My cost for the CPU is down $40 since last time. Just had to order parts to rebuild the machine that fried yesterday. Which means I'll get to drive through the new Big Dig tunnel for the first time today. Been looking forward to that, to see what it's like.

    Expect lightness of posting as I'll be busy.

    This Week's Showcase

    Started by opening the linked articles at all the ones entered that caught my eye. Hmmm... this is almost like a dungeon tour in that regard. Anyway, here's what I am seeing...

    "This is your brain on the web." Cool entry! error is a real winner.

    Tony at Technically Speaking entered again this week, with a post on global mosquito extermination that I had noticed before. Worthy post, worthy site.

    Mudville Gazette looks very promising, and entered a decent, somewhat ranty yet thought provoking post.

    RandomActOfKindness entered a post on illegal use of taxpayer money to finance political campaigns against altering the erroneous status quo drug prohibition.

    In the course of this, I discovered I was remiss in failing to blogroll Tiger, who made this small post, which makes sense to me, an entry in the Showcase

    I didn't realize BusinessPundit was new enough to enter. I am starting to feel old. In any event, good post linking to a fascinating article I had read in the paper edition. looks promising. You certainly can't fault the name. The actual entry is a defense of the fact that people who don't pay much in taxes, if any, are getting little cut, if any.

    I hate the commercials RantDude makes fun of in his entry.

    Paul at Sanity's Edge entered to reasons to read his blog. The rest of the site looks more than a little promising and readable.

    And that about covers it. I suppose I ought to go through and select a couple or three to vote for, in the final analysis, but this at least culls it down to the ones I know I'd most support. Well, except that first one.

    Soylent Green: It's Not Just For Congo Any More

    Winds of Change on what some might really be eating in those North Korean noodle restaurants. It's ain't cats.

    Tuesday, June 03, 2003

    James P. Hogan

    I've started reading an early James P. Hogan book that I'd never read before, so it seems like a good time to say that he is quite possibly my favorite living author.

    He's also a really cool guy in person, and the only Arisia guest of honor selection in which I ever had an influence. The guy who'd been selected as convention chair had nobody specific in mind, so I told him who I'd pick. He immediately loved the idea, and voila.

    It's uncanny. I can pick up a book by Hogan, and based on the cover I might not think I'll care for it. Then he does it again. I have never read any book he wrote that wasn't outstanding. My favorite is The Proteus Operation, a WW2, alternate history, time travel story that invokes the "many worlds" quantum theory. Recommended.

    Spare Parts Are Cool

    Wish I had more of them now.

    I'm a little low on inventory right now. Just used the last brand new power supply. No spare hard drive or CD drive as is usually the case. I have an unopened P3 motherboard, but not for the Slot 1 style CPU.

    For some reason I thought I had a spare CPU in an otherwise dead machine, so I'd meant to see if I could make a viable machine out of it eventually. Now seemed like a good time. I could expediently rebuild the dead computer mentioned earlier.


    There is no spoon. Er, I mean, there is no CPU. Not one for the new motherboard. Doh! I'd have to jump through hoops to get one, too. I have two Slot 1 P3 450 carcasses at this point, which may or may not be capable of being turned into one correctly functioning machine.

    I think I see a new Pentium 4 in this person's future... which is good, becase she's jealous of how much better Dragon works on new machines. But it's bad because it'll mean no computer for a couple days. Except maybe a loaner Pentium 100. Ick.

    Oh well. Back to swapping parts and trying things.

    This is how it really is!

    A friend e-mailed me this link about tech support. This is not particularly embellished or overblown; it really gets like this on both sides of the call.

    And once in a while... mute doesn't work or someone forgets to press it. That's real fun.

    "It's Dead Jen"

    Ah, fun. The dead power supply wasn't simple. I didn't even bring it to my office; took up screwdriver and replacement power supply (managed to forget the wire ties and wire cutter I normally use to leave things neat) and tried to do the usual 15 minute swap. Talked with Jen, the lawyer, about computers, homemade Tivo devices, and the Matrix while I was performing computer surgery.

    Well, first shock was discovering the wattage rating of the power supply was 125 when it ought have been more like 250.

    Then when I got it hooked back up and turned the machine on... nothing happened! Oh yay. So I have it in the office now for debriefing, as it were. Silly machine.


    Here I am, feeling sick, trying to play hookie and do some cleaning (yeah, you can see how much of that I've been doing), and and 1-2-3 I get hit with "I had a Crystal Reports error printing this case list," "the timekeeper isn't part of this query," and finally " made a 'pop' sound and went blank." Dead power supply. Hopefully only the power supply. Longer rant on the whole power supply issue another time maybe. Steve almost provoked one yesterday, but then I forgot or was distracted.

    In Keep With Two Posts Ago, Which You Should Check Out

    Running List Of Blogspot Defectors

    Image you can use for linking the defector list is now available at Wizbang.

    The Great Rat Race

    (If this doesn't interest you, make sure you scroll to the post below! Info sought in order to create a Blogspot migration and newbie resource.)

    I am frankly a tad surprised at the current standings. In a good way, of course. Thank you all those who linked me.

    RWA: 132
    JSV: 136

    I believe if I counted right that Friday will end the race. If RWA is even or ahead, and hasn't dropped below large mammal, that's the criteria for concluding things.

    Technically by being in large mammal first and staying 10 days, they win. I don't think either of us expected to shoot right into large mammal range and stay firmly ensconced there. They were a day ahead of me.

    However, if I am reasonably well ahead in links at that time, it's really more of a draw.

    In a related note, Parkway Rest Stop managed to shoot to the top of Higher Beings. That's enough to give us all hope. Heh. Apparently it's a glitch, but it's amusing. Plus Parkway Rest Stop is bound to get a ton of links from people talking about this.

    Blog Tips
    Blog Tools
    Blog Places

    Collecting Info for Newbies and Blogger/Blogspot Emigration

    As I mentioned over at Jen's, I would like to gather somewhat comprehensive information together, yes for my benefit in part, but in posterity for the benefit of others. I'll compile it on a permapage. Doing this requires input from other bloggers.

    The Tools

    Good points and bad points of various blogging tools: Movable Type, pMachine, etc. (including less well known alternatives). Seriously, I don't simply want "MT, rah rah rah!" I want "MT is great because... but a newbie might have to watch out for..." kind of things. If I find one person comes up with a definitive presentation on a tool, that other input seems to agree with, I may use that verbatim with link credit.

    What you need to know to use them. Where to get them. Foibles to be aware of in setting them up. Sources of truly helpful info.

    Starting up tips, more than how to make the tool dance and sing once you're rolling.

    The Places

    Recommended hosting providers (and vice/versa, with caveats if any even on ones overall recommended). Price ranges versus features. How do you have a clue what bandwidth you'll need, anyway? Which features a provider needs to offer depending on the blogging tool (overlaps the tools portion).

    Free hosts. Do they offer their own blogging tools? Do they support others? Subdomain or subdirectory hosts versus domain hosts.

    Getting your own domain ( versus subdirectory ( versus subdomain ( hosting. Tips on picking and registering a domain.

    People who are currently offering to provide hosting or help getting off Blogspot through their own domains.

    The Tips

    Personal experiences moving off Blogspot/Blogger. Personal experiences getting started without ever having used Blogger in the first place.

    How not to hose things in the process of setting up your site with the various tools.

    Tips on moving old archives to a new location.

    Anything you can think of that might be useful, even if it seems basic, for someone just starting at all, or just starting with a new tool and host.

    Feel free to submit via e-mail (see upper left of page) or in the comments. Longer items should probably be e-mailed. If you have trouble reaching me that way, leave a comment saying as much.

    I'll collect enough to start this off, I hope, over the next week, and will start putting together a page. Please spread the request for info around enough that relevant people will see it. Let's make it easy for people to get off Blogger when ready, or avoid it. (I know, this is an ironic place for that.)



    I definitely seem to have a cold or something. Ugh. That would explain the feeling woozy, getting prematurely sleepy, then not being able to sleep, then feeling more like crud than usual on getting up in the morning.

    Unintended Results

    Unintended consquences? That almost never happens with regulations and laws like HIPAA! Nope, not much at all. Via Medrants here.

    Tax Me, Please

    Over at Blogs of War there's an item on Oregon's efforts to come up with a usage tax alternative to the gas tax. Trouble is, it involves being Big Brother.

    Of all the taxes I pay, the one I least object to is the gas tax. Assuming most of it's used for road-related expenses, which in Massachusetts it theoretically is since there was a referendum that forced the issue a few years back, it's about as efficient as taxes get for essentially charging fee for service. Obviously when we get enough non-gasoline vehicles humming about, then it's different. But hey, consider the lack of tax an incentive for such alternatives. The government loves to give incentives like that, and this time it's built in.

    Perhaps, too, the fact that the gas tax is relatively painless and unobtrusive means those who call for replacing income with consumption tax are onto something.

    He's Got... Bloginality

    Dean had a post about this, which is a super simplified variant of the Myers-Briggs personality test. Amazingly, I got the same on this as I got the last time I took the online "real" version. Dean got the same on this one as I did.

    My Bloginality is INTP!!!

    INTP did seem to fit me well, as I recall.

    I Lost A Post

    It was a pointer to some blog about some topic, written before the previous one. Usually when w.bloggar gives a timeout error, it means the text posted but didn't published. So I blanked it and started the next one, on the investing series. Then it just barfed completely, so that I exported to a .POST file to open and retry later.

    Then I found completely down. Briefly; acted like a server reboot or something. When I got a chance to check, the post that timed out was gone entirely. Doh! Next time I save even the mere timeouts unless I have seen them on Blogger waiting to publish.

    Hitchhiker's Guide to Investing

    Chris Noble has posted part 6 of his 4 part series on investing. This time it's on Mutual Funds. I am certain I will enjoy it when I go back and read it tomorrow, when I am not in an insomniatic stupor.


    I am number 97 out of about 6,310,000 total results in a Google search for "jay" alone. Not bad, but nothing like Andrea and number 4, Rachel at number 3, Andrew at number 2, or Glenn at number 2 for single name searches. Hmmmm...

    Actually Falling Asleep Would Be Nice

    Every time I am close, I become wide awake again. Argh! Yet I was just barely fit to drive home.

    Monday, June 02, 2003

    Good News

    I collected enough money today so I can think about ordering hosting in the next week or so. Woohoo! The bad news is I need to collect more money to actually assuage the IRS too.

    Rebuilding Archives in Blogger

    I am dead exhausted, and feeling a little sick possibly beyond mere pollen, so forgive any unusual number of typos or heightened incoherence, and this may be the last post for the night.

    The is an answer to a question from Camille, regarding problems making the rebuilds actually work. I only had one flat out failure, in which they were doing work and a couple weeks of the archives were toast. In that case I was still able to rebuild the more recent archives by clicking each week individually. But I am getting ahead here...

    Standard procedure for rebuilding is:
    Toggle archiving off completely
    Toggle archiving back on for the desired interval (weekly or monthly)
    Rebuild all archives

    That may work. That's the core steps without the exact places to click to get there. Also Blogger has this very info in their knowledge base if you query something like:
    rebuild archives

    When I am really having problems, not merely with getting into archives, but also with the page displaying properly, apart from refreshing a lot, or closing the browser window and starting a new one (sometimes one instance gets stuck reloading messed up local files it has created, or is freaking out in some way, and another loads flawlessly - talking IE in my case), sometimes it seems to shake loose if I toggle the number of pages to display on the main page. Instead of 4, 5. Instead of 7, 4. That kind of thing. I might or might not, but usually, follow that with rebuilding archives. And finally, either even after rebuilding the archives or all of the above, making a new post and publishing it will wake things up; like a trigger. It might also be worth making a nothing change in the template and republishing that. Don't recall whether I resorted to it or not.

    Okay, the exact steps off the top of my head for rebuilding archives per the three things listed earlier:

    Log onto Blogger and open the blog in question. Click the Archives button/link. Change the option in the dropdown to no archive. Click Enter. Change the option back to the desirered interval. Click Enter. Click republish all. Wait for the popup window to go away. If it's really hosed, it won't go away, but will show an error. If there's an error you can try clicking the rebuild link for each individual archive.

    Log on out and try your blog and archives now.

    Remember that you can also go into Blogger, to the settings for the blog, and change the number of days to display on main page. This seems to have an impact at times when merely rebuilding doesn't, or for things rebuilding might not affect, like the page loading only partway no matter what you've tried. It and/or rebuilding archives may need to be followed by a post being published, to be triggered into effectiveness, but not always.

    Hope this helps anyone who needs it until you're off Blogger.


    It's intriguing to know that Blogspot sites tend to give errors a lot, if you are on an OS and configuration that is set to indicate errors exist. This seems to contribute to slow loading. In at least one case it may have been connected with display of the ad.

    Jobs With No Future

    What do you think of this list?

    Great Rate Race Standings

    Just a quick note that nothing changed from yesterday to today; still 128 for RAW and, with handicap of 6, 129 for me.

    Not About Linking den Beste

    Dean has a cool post intriguingly called "Ambidextrous Sovereignty. It is not about the relative merits of linking den Beste.

    James Joyner adds to the particular discussion.

    Guns and Press: Equally Free?

    Go read what Courtney has to say on the matter.

    News to Me

    It's a little disconcerting to learn that the firm using a beta of your software doesn't actually use it much, because it doesn't lend itself to most of the types of cases they handle. Oh, and we already were aware of this. We were? Okay...

    Time to see if anything could be changed to make it more worthwhile for them, or if there are some things for which it's inherently moot.


    I always love it when only half the page will load. Usually rebuilding archives, maybe changing the number of days on the front page, and adding a new post will shake it loose. This is that post.

    Showcase Results Are Up

    You can see the results of the first week's Showcase here. The winner was The Smallest Minority. The other two for which I voted didn't quite make the top five. They were close though.


    In theory, permalinks prior to this should all now work as I have rebuilt archives.

    Politicians Selling Cars

    Andrea has the scoop on what various political figures would be like if they were selling you a car.

    Bachelor Cooking

    Jajoobie has a post on bachelor cooking that has inspired a comment thread with ideas in it. Could get interesting, or provoke dismay, depending who looks.

    Ironically, I was pleased with what I made for supper and almost posted about it, just prior to hitting this site and seeing the post initially. Aw heck, I made homemade fried rice. My own "recipe." It goes something like this:

    Cook a cup of rice, slightly heavy on the water, and with a bit of butter in there.

    When that's done, toss a large frying pan on medium-high heat and throw in a generous amount of butter. I'd perhaps use some kind of oil if I had any, but butter works. Somewhere in here when it was all melted and I needed to buy time, I turned the heat back off, then on when I was ready to continue in earnest (with the onion).

    As it melted, I tossed in unmeasured amounts of ginger, celery salt, and garlic powder. The ginger may have been as much as a quarter to third of a teaspoon. The other two were more modest dashes, roughly equal. I cut small handful of little slivers of Vidalia onion and tossed them into the butter, letting them cook a little and stirring the the butter mix around.

    Then I dumped in the rice, stired a little, let it start cooking. During the course of time I put in 5 takeout packets of soy sauce, starting with one now. I have a bottle of the stuff, but it's not as good. Obviously need a different brand.

    Two eggs broken on top of the rice and stirred in very thoroughly. One egg would be adequate; two was almost too much. Added another lump of putter around this time too.

    Added a small dash more spices. Kept adding soy sauce.

    Took a small can of chicken (optional or substitutable), partially drained the greasy juice (optional; it might be better to let it have the extra chicken flavor), smooshed the chicken into smallish shreds, dumped it in, smooshed and stirred. I may have added the last of the soy sauce after that.

    Cook and stir until it looks right.

    Very yummy. More trouble than I often go to, but I really enjoy it.

    I said "recipe" because I tend to invent things and ad-lib freely. If you have an idea what you like, and how different things taste and might mix, and what different ingredients do, it's not so hard.

    Chinese Mooning

    Robin Goodfellow discusses the realities and motives of the Chinese manned space program we keep hearing about lately.

    Filming Atlas Shrugged

    Ian Hamet has a superlative post on the conceptual challenges of bringing Atlas Shrugged to film. The problem is trains as central to the story, versus when or if in time it is set, versus the impact on the message.

    I got a particular kick out of his tangential experience vetting web designs, "Taggart Transplanetary," "Reardon Fiber," and the general "indefinite past" concept.

    He has been making other posts about the Atlas project, which are linked from the above gem.

    Sunday, June 01, 2003

    Talk About No Words

    This picture is just incredible. Awe-inspiring. Something. Not sure I have the words. By James, at Midwest Pundits.

    Jen Has A Moving Experience

    Jen Speaks will have a new home starting Monday. Which it occurs to me is tomorrow. In 39 minutes. Um... okay, I'm spacing.

    Anyway, the new URL is here. Ooh, and I don't have to wait 10 minutes for it to load. Go Jen!

    On an unrelated similar note, I am going through links to the rogue blogs and just found Last Man Dancing has also moved. It is at now.

    Note to self: update links accordingly.

    This Is A Lot Of Work

    I worked on the link categories thing somewhat, but it's not easy. Some of them are just going to be random in the end. For now my categories go something like:

    Solarans: Blogs I like best of all and go out of my way to read. I would bring these up multiple times a day to check them even without being able to see a last updated flag.

    Titans: More blogs I love, but that are more likely to be intermittent or write lengthy essay, or that tend to be widely popular.

    Mercurials: They are lawyers, whether they focus on that or not, or law, copyright, trademark and court issues are the focus, whether they are lawyers or not.

    Janusites: Tend to do a lot on guns and 2nd Amendment issues, if by no means exclusively.

    Venusians: Female bloggers who don't go elsewhere. Especially true if the focus is more personal to themselves and less about the world or issues at large.

    Martians: Significant warblogging focus, or military bloggers.

    Jovians: Humorous bloggers or sites.

    Saturnines: Blogs that tend to have a bitter or rabid tone or intentional theme to them.

    Europans: One guess what goes here.

    Uranians: Thinking of Iranian bloggers, perhaps other Persian, Middle Easter, and African based or focused bloggers.

    Neptunians: Thinking of putting Australian, maybe Asian based or focused blogs here. Also any far flung island bloggers.

    Plutonians: This will probably be bloggers with a medical focus or background, or focused on pharmaceuticals. (Alternatively, ones that seldom update.)

    Prometheans: Probably bloggers with libertarian or objectivist slants. Was also considering this for tech blogs, but will probably pick another for that.

    Lunarians or Lunies: Blogs with a leftward slant, probably.

    Terrans: Non-blog links.

    Any more suggestions are welcome! I am thinking in terms of a category for blogs having anything to do with film, TV, etc. but haven't picked a moon for that yet. Ditto for blogs with a space-related focus, though they might also be lumped with the tech blogs, especially since there's overlap. Also I'll need a category for economics, accounting and business-oriented blogs. What else am I missing?


    Woohoo! She now has comments. Go on over and say hi. Plus there's a great post about the need for a new map of China.


    I just messed with my links again. As you may recall, I went through and removed everyone who didn't ping and show a last updated date/time at all from Blogrolling, since the main point of their being under Blogrolling was moot. I cleaned house and added to those today.

    I also took care of something that has bothered me for a long time. There were a bunch that had last updated dates as old as the beginning of April, yet were updated as recently as today. If it doesn't show me that it's updated reliably, I don't want it with the rest. Those blogs are in their own section now, removed from Blogrolling.

    Barring ones I might have missed, if it's in the blogroll section, it pings. The rest take their chances, but are actually more likely to have me read them regularly now than when they were pretenders.

    Which leads me to the next thing; my plan to categorize. I may segue right into that now.


    Every time I see the name of this site, I say "I'll make it legal!" in my best Palpatine imitation. Not a good imitation, mind you, but an attempt.

    Revisiting My Votes

    Because they may have scrolled off the main page, which I recently reduced to show fewer days, and just to say "and I mean it."

    I had voted for the entry from The Smallest Minority, before there was any campaigning.

    I had also voted for the entry, which sounds really cool, at Technically Speaking, a blog I now visit regularly.

    Last but not least, I voted for this post by A Reasonable Man.

    I know that kind of dilutes my votes, voting for three different blogs, but they are all worth and it's hard to say whether my favorite would be this, that, or the other.

    I recommend voting for at least one of these. Or the lowlifemicrobial, or near-microbial, life form blogger of your choice. Remember you gotta link the entered post, even if you really like the blog in general more than the submitted post.

    Give a microbe a break. There are more worthy new, no or low-linked blogs there than the ones I picked. Go visit the showcase and find a microbe worthy of your support.

    Jeff Needs Help

    Go over there and see if there's anything you can do for this great gun rights blogger.

    Frank Religion

    Frank today explains where the bible and some major religions came from, giving us the world peace we enjoy today.

    West Nile Sanity

    Medpundit has a good post on the realities of West Nile Virus.

    Sydney really needs to get off that evil Blogsport hosting though. Oh wait...

    Today's Race Standings

    RWA: 128
    JSV: 129

    That is all. You may go about your business.

    Happy Birthday

    Today is Emily's birthday. She is the older of my two grandnieces, and if I am not mistaken turns 6 today.

    Chris Noble has also subtly hinted that today might possibly be hist birthday today. Not too sure about that, as he isn't 100% clear, but it could very well be. He's been busy posted more good stuff, in any event, including part 5 of his investing series, which I haven't read yet.


    I felt a great disturbance in the blogosphere, as if dozens of bloggers suddenly cried out in dismay and were suddenly silenced.

    Potential Graphic

    I am thinking about incorporating this graphic into my site after I have left Blogsplat behind.

    The Economy and The Market

    Chris Noble strikes again. This is part four of his series on investing. It includes discussion of CPI, PPI, inflation, deflation, currency fluctuation, unemployment and housing sales, all in an understandable, easy to read way. Good stuff, but here's the money quote if you ask me:

    The economy is cyclical in nature and is really beyond the control of any small group of men. The economy is almost always based on confidence. In other words, one stupid action can cripple it in a heartbeat, whereas it takes time, sometimes a long time, to rebuild the confidence needed to really get it going. No single decision by the Fed will make the economy better, but a single decision can certainly cripple it.