Saturday, October 2, 2004


I've been working on a piece of wiki software for my own site. It uses Perl/CGI with SQLite for the database. The syntax is based off of what Wikipedia uses, since I use it all of the time and don't like having to remember different wiki styles :-p

The DB layout started off based on what Wikipedia uses, but I'm looking to make something that will have a weblog in it, along with comments and stuff, so it will diverge over time. I'll have to have some integrating SPAM-fighting capability, but it probably won't be anything fancy (it'll be fancier than what I have right now, however). I've got a very basic wiki running right now on my home machine. About 6kB of Perl code (not counting the libraries it's built on), so not too bad. It keeps old versions at the moment, but I don't have a history view yet or any way to do diffs (that'll be tricky). I'm not tracking links yet (and, well, I think I only have one page at the moment). I'm just working on the basics so far (what do you expect after only a few hours' work?).

I hope I'll be able to do security right.

The Daily Show folks have been all over lately. This is due to several factors colliding at once: Winning two more Emmys, having their audience get called “stoned slackers” by Bill O'Reilly, having their audience then be determined to be one of the smartest and most well-off groups of people around, and the release of America (The Book).

I saw them on (apparently a repeat of) Deborah Norville's show on MSNBC. I never watch her because I've always counted her among the media sources that TDS makes fun of all of the time. I dunno, maybe she was beginning to understand by the end of the show (which was still reasonably good despite her overexuberance). I kind of had the same reaction after catching a glimpse of one of the correspondents on Paula Zahn's show on CNN. Like two galaxies colliding or something strange.

Monday, October 4, 2004


SpaceShipOne won the X Prize today. I was a bit late getting up and going to work, so I ended up watching a portion of the flight on CNN. It's kind of weird to see space flight stuff not show up on NASA TV ;-)

Anyway, it broke the altitude record of the X-15 from 1963, although it looks like it only went about half as fast (or maybe 2/3 the speed) in the process. Apparently the next step for them is to demonstrate regular operation. Wikipedia says that there is a plan known as “task 21” which should consist of 20 consecutive flights happening on a weekly basis.

The modern speed demon, the X-43A, is getting set up for an attempt to reach Mach 10, possibly in early November. We'll see how that goes.

Update: Google commemorates today's events with a different logo:

Posted by mike at 12:42 PM | News | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

B to the E

Blech. I really need to find a way to block Flash advertisements in my browser. They suck up way too much CPU power, and contribute heavily toward causing Galeon to crash. There are bugs open on Mozilla's Bugzilla, but nobody wants to do the work I guess.

Anyway, stuff is slowly progressing at work. I have started work on install scripts for the next version. Hmm. I should probably start fiddling with User Mode Linux again, since that would speed up my testing quite a bit if I can get it to work right.

Posted by mike at 07:59 PM | Internet , Software , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 7, 2004

Fear Will Keep the Local Systems in Line

Hmm. Bill O'Reilly is supposed to be on The Daily Show tonight. But, Bio-Dome is on 45. Decisions, decisions.

(I'm kidding.)

Posted by mike at 07:04 PM | Daily Show | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, October 9, 2004

Little Brown Jug

The power adapter for my laptop was one of the models listed by Dell for a recall, although the manufacturer was different, so I'm unaffected by it. I know my adapter gets kind of toasty from time to time (when charging rather than just supplying normal power), but it doesn't get to the point of melting.

My family is planning to head out to Stillwater to see some of the fall colors. Not quite peak yet, but it should still be fairly nice.

Posted by mike at 10:44 AM | Family , Hardware , Laptop | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, October 11, 2004

Rock with Me

I really, really, really wish that Best Buy would set up some sort of listening stations in their stores. I've passed over stuff by The Vines for months/years, but upon passing their new-ish disc under the scanner thingamabobby at Borders, I discovered that the first track there was one I'd been wanting to get my hands on ever since it was included in an iPod commercial. Too bad Borders wanted me to pay $18.99 for it…

My family and I went out to Stillwater on Saturday, just as planned. It was fairly nice except for the constant rumble of motorcycles and a few long waits for food. Once we took a few steps off the main road and sat down in a park area right next to the lift bridge, things quieted down a fair bit.

We got to see the bridge operator goof up and start lowering the bridge as a paddlewheeler was heading straight for it. Fortunately, the ship was still a decent distance and could reverse in time to stop, but I'm sure the radio conversation got a little hot-tempered.

After seeing the bridge come back down, we headed across to Wisconsin and went to my old workplace in Hudson. They seemed to be redoing the entrance. Probably adding an elevator or something, since there hadn't been one earlier. Hey! This Friday marks a year since I left that job.

Me standing by the sign for Adaptec's old Hudson Technology Center

Yeah, the sun was in my eyes…

Posted by mike at 08:16 PM | Family , Work | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Let Forever Be

Microsoft's newest MSN ads made in Flash have caused my browser to go south too many times, so I've decided to disable Flash altogether for now. We'll see how long that lasts, although there tend to be very few sites where I actually need Flash (Unfortunately, those few sites tend to be some of the most interesting… Oh well)

Not a whole lot happening. Almost crashed into a guy who wasn't paying attention yesterday morning, and because the road was covered with that tar/gravel stuff, my tires did not squeal in protest like I would have hoped. Probably added 50% to my stopping distance too, though it's hard to say.

Then, it turned out that I didn't even need to go that way because I had forgotten the paycheck I was going to cash. Things like that happen to me way too often. I'll lay something out in order to bring it along, but then it just gets left at home. *sigh*

Posted by mike at 09:30 AM | Car , Internet , Self , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Poll Position

Curious, my polling place moved from an apartment just a block away to De La Salle High School on Nicollet Island. Perhaps my precinct is larger than I thought? Hmm. I'm in school district 001. Nifty ;-)

So, let's see. Here are my contested races:

President and Vice President
ConstitutionMichael Peroutka and Chuck Baldwin
GreenDavid Cobb and Pat LaMarche
LibertarianMichael Badnarik and Richard Campagna
Republican (I)George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
Democratic-Farmer-LaborJohn F. Kerry and John Edwards
Socialist EqualityBill Van Auken and Jim Lawrence
Socialist WorkersRoger Calero and Arrin Hawkins
Christian FreedomThomas J. Harens and Jennifer A. Ryan
Better LifeRalph Nader and Peter Miguel Camejo
Ralph Nader is on the ballot as a candidate for the Better Life party. I've never heard of them before. I guess he's their candidate in at least Arkansas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, according to a glance at a Google search. I'm probably still going to vote for him. (Update Oct 31, 2004: as such, I link here in an “enblogment” experiment.)

Yeah, I've considered Kerry and Edwards, but a number of things still bug me about that. For one thing, in the debates they've been quick to practically scream, “We'll kill the terrorists too!,” but I have issues with that. Call me old-fashioned, but I kind of like the Constitution and the rule of law. I guess I'm just a liberal softie.

I took a look at Cobb a while back, but I wasn't all that impressed. I suppose I didn't give much more than a glance though—this was months before the election, remember? I pondered the Libertarian candidate a little bit four years ago, but I guess I just think that capital-L Libertarians are almost like anarchists, only with money.

Christian Freedom? I still kinda like that whole church-state separation thing. I mean, I know we don't have to worry about King George anymore, just this other one.

U.S. House, MN District 5
GreenJay Pond
RepublicanDaniel Mathias
Democratic-Farmer-Labor (I)Martin Olav Sabo

I'll have to look into the House race a little bit more. Considering that Sabo has been in office almost as long as I've been alive, it would probably be good to get some fresh blood in there. I'll take a look at Jay Pond and see if he has anything interesting to say. His issues page kind of seems like the Greens' party line (not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, but I still haven't figured out what single-payer health insurance is).

MN House, District 59B
GreenBecki Smith
IndependenceRon Lischeid
RepublicanAmanda Hutchings
Democratic-Farmer-Labor (I)Phyllis Kahn

And, well, Phyllis Kahn has been the state representative here since about the time my parents graduated from college. 32 years is quite a while. However, I don't know if anyone else has a whole lot to add. Hmm. It looks like Becki Smith lives on my block. I may have to go knock on her door (or push the buzzer button thingy ;-)

Soil & Water Supervisor, District 5
Gregory J. Bownik
Jonathan M. Burris
Kevin W. Rodewald
Michael Wyatt
MN Supreme Court
Alan C. Page (I)
Tim Tingelstad

Yes, that Alan Page is the Alan Page of the Minnesota Vikings. I don't know much about him other than that. However, Tim Tingelstad worries me. This post in the Twin Cities LiveJournal community points out that he's pretty much running on the idea of pushing his religious values.

Our founding fathers were inspired by God to create the greatest form of government the world has ever known. These were men of strong convictions and a deep faith in God. They were certain that this Nation would only prosper if we continue to embrace the Biblical principles upon which they built our constitutional government. It is time to rediscover our Godly heritage; to restore His Truth to our communities, our State and our Nation.
Discarding the basic misunderstanding there (many of the Founding Fathers were Christian, though a significant number were Deists), I don't want to see a Roy Moore here, so I'll definitely be going for Page.

MN Court of Appeals (3)
David Minge (I)
Paul Elliot Ross

Pretty much ditto here. Ross is another right-winger.

MN Court of Appeals (14)
Daniel L. Griffith
R. A. (Jim) Randall (I)

And here, Griffith is concerned with getting “of all people, Christians” into elected office.

MN 4th District Court (1)
Julie Delgado O'Neil
Thor Anderson
MN 4th District Court (18)
Stephen Allan Baker
Susan N. Burke
MN 4th District Court (27)
Kevin J. Kolosky
LaJune Thomas Lange

Everything else on my ballot is uncontested…

Posted by mike at 10:35 AM | Decision 2004 | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Hot is the New Cold

I decided to delete KMWB (23, or 8 on Minneapolis cable) from the channel lineup on my TV, mostly because Sinclair is being stupid. I hardly watch it anyway, except that it provides a little escape when that Jennie Garth show is on ('cuz, well, it's Jennie Garth). But, considering that the show is on only about 0.2% of the week, it's not really worth it to me. Yeah, I can't stand all their stupid dating shows either.

Friday, October 15, 2004

I Have the Power

Do my eyes deceive me? Is it October 15th? Does that mean that Team America: World Police is finally in theaters?

Well, well, well…

I've had an eventful day already, with the power supply for my computer going out overnight. So, I guess it's good that I had that other PC sitting in the other room without any functioning drives. I quickly swapped out the power supply and was back up.

Jon Stewart will apparently be on CNN's Crossfire this afternoon at 3:30 PM CDT.

And speaking of CDT, daylight saving will end in the wee hours of October 31st, so all you Halloweenies will get one more hour of that day this year.

Posted by mike at 09:48 AM | Hardware , Movies , News , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Debating De Baiters

Wow. Jon Stewart's appearance on Crossfire ended up being much different than what anyone expected. That's got to be the only time I've ever seen someone come on a show (as the only guest!) and totally eviscerate it. A few links so far:

There is video of the show up at and it's also downloadable from some BitTorrent sites, such as

Monday, October 18, 2004

The Larch

I've been starting to listen to BBC Radio 1 and KCRW's music stream lately. I guess I got interested in KCRW after hearing about the station on Frontline's "The Way the Music Died." They say that they were the first station to play artists such as Fiona Apple (yay!), Coldplay (yay!), and Norah Jones (meh). I dunno, KCRW certainly is "eclectic," but that doesn't necessarily mean that I'll like it.

Radio 1 seems to play more beat-heavy stuff, which can be both good and bad. I generally despise rap/hip-hop, which they play a lot more than I like. However, there's a lot of dance music there too (which some would argue is essentially the same, but whatever). Unfortunately, the best I can get from them is a 44kbps RealAudio stream. KCRW has a 128k MP3 stream, but it seems to either be down right now, or the ISP we have at work blocks it. Hard to say. I suppose both of these places have Windows Media Player streams too, but I use Linux and I don't want to pay for the CrossOver plugin at the moment.

Anyway, it's something different. I'm just sick of hearing the same stuff over and over on the local FM stations around here (and I usually only listen for 30-90 minutes while I'm in the car each day). The sameness is just mind-numbing.

Posted by mike at 11:29 AM | Internet , Music , Software , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

A More Purple Union

So it turns out that Jon Stewart stayed around at the Crossfire set for an extra 90 minutes debating the hosts and staff of the show about media ethics after his appearance on Friday. It doesn't seem to have rubbed off at all. Those guys have just been working in the same way for way too long, I guess.

Posted by mike at 08:25 AM | Daily Show | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 21, 2004

That Smell? Freedom

I saw this in one of the blurbs on Turns out that George W. Bush and John Kerry are related. Not closely (obviously)—they are ninth cousins, twice removed. It goes back to about the year 1600. The twice removed part comes from the fact that there have been two fewer generations on Kerry's side. There's a simple family tree here (though it's more like a family “fork”)

Posted by mike at 08:25 AM | Politics | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Robert Smith of The Cure is currently DJing on BBC Radio 1, and has been playnig some awesome selections (though he just dropped a peg by resorting to Nirvana which I still hear too much these days on local stations).

Update: The 2-hour show will be available for listening here until next Thursday afternoon (he was sitting in for a guy named John Peel). Oh, and a track listing. Neat (though it looks like that will only exist a few days before being moved).

Posted by mike at 05:32 PM | Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, October 22, 2004

Stop Hurting America

Heh. That Mary Cheney debacle did turn out to be about a 48-hour bug, didn't it.


Out of Time

Wikipedia article of the day: Cheese-eating surrender monkeys

Posted by mike at 12:52 PM | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, October 25, 2004

Oh Fawkes

I came home from a weekend with the family to a failing hard drive. Unfortunately, it was the one with my personal data on it. I was able to get most of the data off the home partition, but some fairly important stuff went missing. My contact list disappeared along with my inbox (and about 13 messages had been retrieved before it died, so who knows what they were), although I still have my saved messages and my sent mail folder. My resume is gone (though largely regenerateable from web stuff, except for a reference or two), my programming projects have disappeared, and the photos that I took since the middle of last year are missing. In retrospect, perhaps I should have tried to just use the ‘dd’ utility to attempt a block-by-block dump of the partition, but it's hard to say how successful that would have been.

I'll have to re-rip my music collection, but at least that will make it all have a fairly consistent quality to it. Unfortunately my downloads are toast.

So, maybe I'll call Ontrack some day when I'm feeling liquid, but that will probably be a year... It probably won't be worth the money.

I could sense that something was going to happen, but I guess I didn't act on it since my monetary situation has been so up in the air. I had enough leeway today to go and get two 120GB drives for a total of about $190, but it was definitely money I didn't want to spend.

Posted by mike at 02:55 PM | Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Well, after some mucking around because LILO was being lame, I managed to get my system running on a RAID-1 set (or three RAID-1 sets if you want to get picky—one for each partition). I also managed to configure my swap space so that it is “striped,” though it appears from reading documentation that it's merely a round-robin sort of thing rather than actual striping.

And, of course, it's hard to say what the real performance is since I have both of the drives on ide0. Curiously, I was just noticing that another system I have has three IDE ports (labeled on the motherboard as IDE1, IDE2, and IDE3, just to confuse me, since Linux often likes to start things at zero.)

Anyway, it's running now, and probably significantly faster than my old system. Yeah, these are some of those 8MB cache disks that various companies have been making lately. They don't seem to make any noise when the head goes skittering across the platter, which is nice, although I could hardly hear my old drives when they were inside a closed case. Still, a little less noise is always nice.

Well, off to work…in the other room.

Posted by mike at 08:41 AM | Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Time and Again

Agh. Creepy. So I start listening to BBC Radio 1 last week, and then I hear some people fill in for John Peel in his regular slot. They seemed to be in awe of his abilities (he was the only DJ who had been with the radio network since it started in the 1960s), so I was anticipating hearing one of his regular shows. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack while on a trip to Peru.

Bad luck seems to be following me around these days.

Posted by mike at 11:13 AM | Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Al Qaqaa

I'm disturbed that the Zogby polling data on suddenly changed significantly. Zogby normally pushes people really hard to make a decision, so maybe they suddenly stopped being so picky about that—that seems to be the most likely thing. Most of the movement seemed to be people moving out of the Kerry column into undecided. Other polls also shifted and seemed to have an uptick for Bush, probably because everybody's been visiting Minnesota lately.

Well, we'll just have to see what happens next Tuesday, I guess. Maybe cell phones will make a difference since some people weren't polled. Maybe young people will make a difference. Maybe high turnout helps Democrats. Maybe not. It's hard to say. I just don't understand how people can still like Bush. There are insane numbers of people who are like Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York City. On The Daily Show last week (I think), he said that he doesn't like any of Bush's domestic policies, but he thinks Bush is a good leader in the war on terrorism. Bah. Ninnies.

On NBC Nightly News last night, Tom Brokaw said that 95% of eligible Iowa voters had registered, so 90%+ turnout is possible there. Hmm, actually, I wonder if they have some sort of automatic registration with drivers licenses or something. Maybe. They had 71.7% of voting-age people actually vote in 2000, while Minnesota had 69.3% turnout that year.

I'd heard on KARE 11 one day that Hennepin County had 86-88% turnout in the past, but I must have mis-heard or something. Maybe that's the turnout of registered voters: Turnout of eligible voters pretty closely matches the statewide level—69.8% in the last election.

Posted by mike at 10:38 AM | Decision 2004 | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 28, 2004



The League of Pissed-Off Voters


Posted by mike at 12:36 PM | Politics | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cuckoo for Qa Qaa

Hmm. Since I don't think the KSTP video of explosives in Iraq is getting around enough at the moment, I'm linking to it. Maybe Blogdex will pick it up, though I doubt they hit my site ;-) Oh, for people who want to get around the annoying scripting on the site that tells people running browsers other than IE to go away, this links directly to the video (thanks to skywayman).

Posted by mike at 11:08 PM | War | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, October 29, 2004

Green Day

It's overcast outside, but the temperature is relatively warm—enough to make my apartment uncomfortable (hardly surprising—it's been 80° in here in February before). I'll crack a few more windows, but I might have to hit the A/C. Yeesh.

Posted by mike at 10:46 AM | Weather | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Start Something

Wow. I'm amazed at how many of the CDs I own are “enhanced.” Not that I've ever really seen any enhancements that I care about at all (but of course, I don't run Windows and can't run any programs on there anyway—videos often work though, even though they use an aincent encoding). If I get bored enough, I may go through and store the data from the data tracks, but I doubt I'll be that bored until the next catastrophic failure that destroys all of my music collection. But by then I'll have three times as many CDs (or whatever the successor to CD is).

Listening to Radio 1 online is causing my list of music to buy to grow without bound. Some of the stuff might only show up on vinyl. Some might only show up in Europe. That would be an expensive habit.

John Peel, the British DJ who passed away this past week, apparently had 26,000 records in his personal collection (of course, he got 200 demos a week and went and purchased music very regularly). If even KQRS has that many, I might have to eat my hat (and they only have music with white boys playing guitars anyway).

Posted by mike at 08:08 PM | Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Trapped in a Box

Hmm. Another October surprise. The new bin Laden tape is the major story today, and people are already forgetting about the explosives it seems. The media is following the bouncing ball, probably because bin Laden is easier to report on than the explosives story, which actually takes effort. Oh well, the thing will probably be a wash anyway, since on one hand it will remind people of terrorism, but it will also remind people that Bush didn't manage to find bin Laden.

Ray Saw Birth

Pioneer Press: Mask sales for candidates neck and neck

“Oddly enough, we're selling a lot of the [Bush and Kerry] masks in pairs,” said Berg. “I don't know if they're buying them and putting on their own debates or what.”
Yow… People can't even decide who they want for Halloween.

Posted by mike at 07:02 PM | Decision 2004 , News | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Where Boys Fear to Tread

Given the number of acts that perform around the city every night, there seems to be little reason why there couldn't be live performances broadcast on the radio on a daily basis. Heck, even one hour a week would be better than what we have now (as far as I'm aware).

Now that I finally think about it, it amazes me how little the TV and radio stations around here do to foster community. There is no equivalent of the op-ed section found in the newspapers around here. The only performances by area groups that I'm aware of to be broadcast with any frequency are the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and St. Olaf's Christmas program. When was the last time an area play was on TV? Well, I guess TPT sometimes broadcasts stuff like that on channel 17, but it's not something I see often. I'm not even sure if stations around here broadcast community calendars anymore. It's been a while since I last saw one (though I suppose they were mostly announced in the after-school hours, at which time I'm usually working).

Radio doesn't seem to be much different. About the best you get for community involvement is when KS95 does their afternoon “is there anybody who…?” call-in routine. But jeez, what does someone's story about being run over by a lawnmower tell me about the people who live around here? Occasionally a group will do a recording locally, but I think the stations are too concerned with trying to get big acts rather than finding a group that can simply put on a good show.

Well, I suppose some people would rather not have their play or performance broadcast so that people wouldn't have to pay for it, but I'm sure a lot of groups would jump at the chance. Broadcasts wouldn't necessarily have to be live—heck there are disadvantages to that like working around annoying people standing in front of cameras, or blurting out swear words during an audio recording, or the simple act of touching up technical issues and cutting out empty pauses where someone has to reload their sampler.

Of course, I'm hardly one to talk, since I can beat out just about everyone when it comes to lack of experience seeing shows and other community involvement.

Posted by mike at 12:18 PM | Music , TV , The Media | Comments (0) | TrackBack