July 30, 2000

Advogato Entry 12

Hey, djcb, fix your last entry -- you're missing a double-quote mark..


Went to the Twin Cities ``Rockin' Ribfest'' today and got a half rack of Roscoe's ribs, some fresh lemonade, and a Dove bar. All for $20.. Eesh. Yet another one of those *fests that that requires you to buy using tickets rather than paying in cash. But it was good.

I rode my bike there and back. There's a fairly nice half gravel/half asphalt road going along a railroad right-of-way. The road basically goes under all of the traffic, which is a much more pleasant way of getting places, IMHO. However, the road is suffering from potholes and washboarding. My arms were getting thoroughly tenderized for a while.

It would be really nice if the University would put a real bike path down there and connect it to the new bike/pedestrian bridge they just installed. One of these days.

I haven't gotten around to working on my bus schedule thing much today, though maybe I'll do something after Futurama and The Simpsons. However, I was pleased that I actually got Evolution to compile and run. Now I've got to try my luck at Nautilus..

One of the things that I worry about with Advogato is that the diary area could be prone to DoS-ing of various kinds. Individuals could presumably plaster diary entries all over the place, or post pages and pages of junk at a time. I imagine there are some checks for this already, but there's almost always a way around it.

Oh, I have a few mail-related problems. One is that I just started using procmail to filter my mail. Locally, I run an IMAP server so it's easier to view mail with disparate clients. Also, I think my mail actually gets loaded faster, as Netscape is not the most efficient at reading/parsing mailbox files. Anyway, I still have to find a way to get procmail to notify the IMAP server that it just dumped mail into a certain folder. Then, the IMAP server must be able to notify my client that there is new mail. This isn't happening automagically, and I'm not sure how to get it to work correctly. I suppose I may have to start using a different IMAP server or something.

In other news, I need to find a good way to consolidate mail at my workplace. Well, my mail doesn't matter, since I'm an admin and can basically do anything I want. However, the head of my department basically wants all mail to go through Lotus Notes (Domino?). I believe it is my task to now find a good way to get Notes to interoperate with my system and the Linux/Unix desktops of others in the organization. I imagine that the server can just run POP or (preferably) IMAP through stunnel. Then, any decent client can read the mail. However, calendaring still remains a bit of an issue, though Lotus is (or at least was) a supporter of the iCalendar protocol, which Evolution is going to support. My only question is, does Lotus actually support iCalendar or not?

August 12, 2000

Advogato Entry 25


pcburns: A `whois' indicates your scans came from the Beijing Province in China. Of course, they appear to be using the Internet Security Scanner, which is pretty silly, IMHO. ISS is messy and leaves a lot of tracks. However, it is good for doing security audits on your own systems.

More fun whois tricks: Add the line      whois.crsnic.net

to your /etc/hosts file, and you'll be able to look up whois entries without going to a webpage or using jwhois or whatever.

Late Morning

raph: I just have to say that the best solution I've seen to the problem of lack of reimbursement is by being involved in open source through an umbrella organization. You probably know everything I'm going to say, but I'm just going through the motions of writing down my thoughts on the subject...

This is probably easiest in the US Government(!), as much of the `intellectual property' created by the government is placed into the public domain. Beowulf really got its start this way, and there are plenty of other projects going on that involve the government that are or could be open source. Also, I'm not sure how many gov't employees have actually asked to make their projects open source..

Another place where this can work is when your work is funded by a university, though they seem to have that nasty habit of wanting to copyright it like ``Copyright the Regents of <university name here>.'' This is (at least partly) how the TeX/METAFONT fonts were funded and made.

And, obviously, you can do some work by working for some sort of business. OctobrX, Raster, and others are employed by Linux businesses, and they release a lot of graphics. I guess I haven't checked to see what sorts of licenses they want with them, but they don't really ask for any extra compensation, as they are already getting paid. Then again, I shouldn't attempt to put words in their mouths...

Posted by mike at 09:21 AM Central | Internet , Old Advogato Diary , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 15, 2000

Advogato Entry 28


Well, it wasn't so bad getting to work at 7:00, though it's fairly surprising how many people are alive pre-7:00. Morning people. Ugh.

I tried to install Win2K on a P133/64MB. It didn't work. Er, actually, it's been hung on the startup screen for the past 18 hours or so.

One of the things that really annoys me about the lack of Linux support among (some) hardware vendors is the fact that many of their engineers probably run Linux at work or at home. You'd think they'd have an incentive to produce Linux drivers. Either that, or Linux is not as popular in the technical community as I thought.

Regardless, Linux and *BSD are quite popular with the college crowd. Even Michael Dell knows that -- he says that nearly 15 percent of the user base at places like UNC is running Linux (though I don't know if I should quote Michael Dell for such numbers). I know that there are a lot of people who run it here at UMN, though there have been problems (security is an issue, as the U's networks are scanned pretty frequently).

Which reminds me -- I still have to figure out how to tell the admin for my apartment's network that it listens to broadcast ICMP echo-requests. Every day, I get those packets. It's annoying. Especially since whoever is doing it obviously doesn't know what he's doing. Sending 1 packet every 30 seconds.. Hello? What are you doing? Trying to smurf from a 14.4k modem? Sheesh. (BTW - I've asked my building management about this already, they don't want to give out the information about how to contact my admin, as they have to pay extra when someone gets called in. Perhaps I should tell them that the network has been used to (attempt to) DoS Yahoo!, among others..)


nymia: Did you actually mean WinMe? You can still use bash, can't you?

mrorganic: I'm guessing you either have a crappy video card or are using it in framebuffer mode? If you want performance, you need to let X access the hardware directly, and don't use the FBDev X server.

In the long run, I expect the framebuffer to be the `right' way to display things, but there doesn't seem to be a huge amount of effort being put into making it usable (but maybe I just don't pay much attention). The Accelerated Framebuffer Library apparently hasn't been updated since last year..

In other news, I'm listening to the Gnome Press Conference right now.. (er, well, I was until just a second ago.. RealPlayer sucks..)

More Afternoon

nymia: I'm not sure if NT (which W2K is based on) ever had a DOS shell. It has something similar -- CMD.EXE, based upon CMD.EXE from OS/2.

Posted by mike at 12:30 PM Central | Internet , Old Advogato Diary , Software , Work , XFree | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 16, 2000

Advogato Entry 29


I've always wondered if someone `famous' used Linux. Someone you'd know from TV or movies.

Also, I wonder why women don't seem to get into Linux or `the community'. Girls are usually a lot more social than guys, so it would seem that this is a really screwed up world we all live in. Then again, the girls I know are highly susceptible to gossip, which can easily destroy social circles..

Hmm. I used `girls' instead of `women'. Blah, I'm not feeling PC today.

Anyway, I'm currently trying to do some wacky NFS sharing that is going to involve mounting loopback filesystems and other weird nonsense. There's probably another solution which is easier, but I haven't found that one yet.


Well, the loopback filesystem trick actually works (the problem was that the disk being shared didn't have enough space left, and it was supposed to be pretty much an exact mirror of another system. Symlinks to another filesystem don't work all that well with NFS, but maybe I could have still found a way..). Never thought I'd find a real use for loopback devices (other than viewing ISOs that haven't been burned and whatnot..). Then again, I guess a loopback fs is an important part of those bootable business cards, among other things.

Spent much of the afternoon mucking with TCP Wrappers on Solaris. Some of the daemons just don't want to run from tcpd.. Annoying..

I see that there are versions of tcpd that support IPv6. Might be fun to play with.. I've been interested in IPv6 for a long time, but it's only now really getting any use on the Internet at large. Debian 2.2 supports it though. Hopefully it will finally start to displace IPv4.

Kind of along the lines of why we need IPv6, I'm always scared by the DSL and Cable modem setups where you essentially get 25% efficiency WRT addresses. The lower number is the network number, the higher is the broadcast. The two left over are gateway and client IP. Scary..

And this brings me to a question I've had for a long time -- is there a system for NAT in IPv6? Ideally, this won't be necessary, but we all know that the service providers will only want to give you a single address if at all possible, meaning that they can bilk you for cash if you want more than one computer on your connection..

Annoying companies..


It's raining, and I'm getting interested in how Free Software can be used to distribute weather information. There's a system called EMWIN that I've looked at before, but I don't have the time/money/hardware to play with it. The best way to get info right now is probably to have a satellite downlink. They have a moderately powerful transmitter up there, so the dishes only have to be 2-3 ft in diameter. Not as small as the digital satellite TV dishes, but not exactly huge.

The important thing is that you can get real-time or at least close-to-real-time data, which is often better than what you can say for most of the current Internet sources. With EMWIN, you can get notified of watches and warnings at the same time as or earlier than your local TV and radio stations. Weatherguys.com is largely powered by EMWIN data.

At any rate, I have been wondering if the National Weather Service will make at least some radar data publically available on the Internet after some contracts expire at the end of next month. It looks like they have defined the layout for how things will be on their FTP server. This sort of thing is a prime candidate for mirroring and multicasting.

Posted by mike at 09:06 PM Central | Internet , Old Advogato Diary , Software , Weather , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 05, 2001

Advogato Entry 99

I'm discovering that a girl I know is basically turning out to be a muse for me. Unfortunately, I have no control over when she shows up (she's a girlfriend of a friend), and thus my motivation is as chaotic as ever. Ugh.. So confusing. If only life came with a manual page.

LIFE(8)          Universe Programmer's Manual            LIFE(8)


      live; die

      Life is spawned.  It does stuff, then dies.

      It's difficult to get working right.  This manual could be
      spruced up a bit, too.

Anyway, I had a good day, though. Went to the local LUG's meeting on OpenNMS. It looks like a really nice tool, but you really need some horsepower to run it. It uses Java, which is part of the problem. The good thing is that it seems to be pretty portable -- you just need a few hundred megs of RAM, a fairly large hard drive, and a few hundred MHz. I think I'm going to stay with Netsaint for now.

I hung around with a friend from High School for most of the afternoon. We discussed a lot of stuff, though it largely centered around computers. I don't think I've `geeked out' for a while, so that was nice. He's having trouble finding a job, though I guess he's not very sure if he wants to get a job doing computer stuff.

He totally agreed with me that it appears that one problem with electricity generation in this country is that it's too centralized -- something like 2/3rds of the electricity evaporates before it reaches customers. Decentralizing power is probably better -- no need to worry about the losses of sending power huge distances. Of course, I don't know if there are enough people to manage a lot of small power plants or fuel-cell shacks effectively.

Well, if I can find some motivation, I should do some studying for my finals this coming week..


Why the hell isn't anyone running IPv6 or Multicast yet? Is having support for these things in all modern host and router operating systems not enough? sheesh..

Posted by mike at 06:05 PM Central | Brian D , Internet , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 25, 2001

Advogato Entry 139

I had an interesting weekend.. My apartment building's router died at about 1 AM on Saturday, so it didn't get fixed until about 8:30 on Monday. The stupid building management won't let anyone in to fix this sort of thing unless it's during business hours. I told the girl in the front office that this was unacceptible to me, as similar things have happened several times now..

It's likely that all that had to be done was to reset the router. I told them that if that was the case, they should just invest in a remote power switch accessible over the phone.

I'm getting curious as to what alternatives are available for our apartment.. DSL is probably more likely to work than a cable modem (seeing the tangle of boosters and things already here). It really sucks that one of the big selling points here was the Internet access..

Luckily, this coincided with a few friends coming into town, so we didn't just sit on our asses all weekend doing nothing.

I haven't heard from the Matlab or Mathematica people, though I did get pointed at GNU Octave again. I took a look at that -- I guess they strive to be at least semi-compatible with Matlab, which is pretty cool.

Today, I had a terrible time concentrating at work, so I left early and went for a bike ride (after my conversation with the front office folks..) and got burned..

<tangent> In High School, I became obsessed with one of the girls in my grade. I don't know why it happened, and I probably never will. Somehow I just got it in my head that we were somehow meant to be together. Even so, I kept my distance. I tried to talk to her, and we talked through a few phone calls and handwritten notes. It just didn't work, and I've had an empty part of me ever since High School ended.

My belief in possibilities turned her into a muse of sorts for me, though I guess it was all in my head. That's the most frustrating thing -- knowing that the pain I've felt by not being able to be with her is probably all due to my (then) over-active imagination.

Anyway, I thought I saw her the other day, which is partly why I decided to take my bike ride. A faint part of me still hopes that we'll see each other again, and finally speak face-to-face. I know the scales are against me, though I hope it would at least bring some much-needed closure.. </tangent>

Posted by mike at 06:34 PM Central | Internet , Old Advogato Diary , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 31, 2001

Advogato Entry 160

Hmm. Rack for servers is still sitting down in the loading dock. Not sure when that will get put together. I'm perfectly happy with it still being in pieces -- I don't really want to move everything again.

Still haven't gotten this WinNT box to crash. I've had it for nearly two months now, and it still works fine. I figure the reason why is because, being a Linux guy and realizing that running as root is not a good idea, I've been logging in as a user, then logging out and logging in as Administrator when I need to install something. Probably keeps things a little saner. It is annoying that I can't just `su' to run installers and whatnot, though. The Amanda backup setup here at work decided to estimate very strangely today. The actual backups were about 2x what the estimate was. The backup started at 1 AM and is still running now at almost 3 PM. Worrisome.

Whoa! Just reminded myself that the amcheck cronjob was just about to run. That probably would have rewound the tape (not that it necessarily matters at this point -- the dumps didn't fit anyway). I think Amanda might be having trouble calculating things when >2 GB dumps are involved.

Got an AIM note from a female friend up north. She's really cute, so it's always a joy to hear from her. I don't have enough girls in my life at the moment.. Wasn't awake this morning when she sent it, though, but I did respond through e-mail. Hope I get to see her again soon.


*sigh* Two weeks ago, the news media was terribly scared about reporting on the Code Red worm. Now they can't get enough of it. Jeez, does it have to require a press conference from the FBI for people to consider it newsworthy?

Bought some music: Paul Oakenfold, Live in Oslo and Orbital, In Sides.

Posted by mike at 01:02 PM Central | Internet , Music , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 18, 2001

Advogato Entry 193

Barely managed to do my homework last night and today. Grr.

I just get distracted when news stories come up. I've been avoiding real work for a week now. I should change that. Of course, it didn't help this morning when a new worm showed up. Sheesh.

Silly Microsoft.

Took a look at the Billboard charts today. Found a song name that seemed very appropriate (though who knows how appropriate the song itself is): ``Bleed American''

From today's campus newspaper: ``We don't live in America. America lives in us.''

Posted by mike at 06:03 PM Central | Internet , Music , Old Advogato Diary , September 11th | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 31, 2001

Advogato Entry 206

Dealing with a crappy Internet connection in the apartment. The whole building is on a T1, which really isn't enough. I bet people have been sharing loads of stuff with Morpheus or something.

The connection to the outside is slowly getting better. Recent measurements indicate packet loss has finally dropped below 50%.

Very high quality Internet connectivity is definitely something I miss from my college dorm days.


Crap.. it was my stupid hub the whole time.. well, I still have terrible ping times to the outside, but it's not dropping 90% of packets or anything..

Dammit dammit dammit..

Posted by mike at 08:29 PM Central | Internet , Old Advogato Diary | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 10, 2001

Advogato Entry 211

*sigh* My internet connection sucks. There must be someone in the building that is running a KaZaA supernode or something. Not a nice thing to be running on a T1. Oh well.

Started playing with Squid as a web cache on my computer. I'll have to see if I can get my roommates to sign on and use it. It'll probably be pretty pointless otherwise, as I'd be the only one using it.

It took a while to figure out how to convince Galeon how to use the damn thing.. The dialog box didn't really do anything with what I typed in. I just set up Mozilla to use a proxy, then copied the relevant lines into Galeon's prefs.js

I actually signed up with IRCache. Dunno if that's a great idea. I picked two sites, uc and startap. I still have to wait a day or so before getting an account. Both sites are close, somewhere around 8 hops away (their networks are blocking traceroutes somewhere). Still, ping times to them can be pretty nasty, in the 300-500 ms range. It makes web browsing slow, and it feels like I'm on a modem. However, big transfers still work pretty well, and I can get 70kB/s or so from nearby sites.

Things used to be better, and I was able to do something like 160kB/s.. It's really annoying, and I'm debating whether we should look at a cable modem or something as an alternative to the apartment building's network.. It requires more research than I really want to do..

Posted by mike at 09:25 PM Central | Internet , Old Advogato Diary | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 11, 2001

Advogato Entry 212

Well, I got an IRCache account. One of the servers I selected seems to cause traffic through Squid to hang, so I'm not peering with that one right now.

This will be an interesting experiment. I'm not sure if it will help my browsing at all, since ping times can sometimes be atrocious, and any extra traffic to the outside will probably just slow things down even more. It certainly doesn't help that most of the sites I visit are largely dynamic.. Even images (well, ads) are produced on the fly in many cases.

Anyway, it will be a while before I really notice any improvement or whatever. It's Sunday now, and traffic is at its lowest point. Ping times are reasonable, and I should really do some homework..

Posted by mike at 10:37 AM Central | Internet , Old Advogato Diary | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 12, 2001

Advogato Entry 213


Then again, it is sweeps week..


Okay, this is on an annoying site, but look at what political cartoonists are doing these days. A stunning theme, if you ask me.

What's Bush rated at again?


It's organizations like this that really screw things up. And there are plenty where that came from. I have little doubt that if public companies were more honest about their earnings, the economy wouldn't be in the shape it is..

yakk: you evil bastard. Er, uhm. Sorry. It's just that people like you have been smashing my bandwidth to pieces...

Posted by mike at 10:46 AM Central | Comedy , Corporations , Internet , Old Advogato Diary , September 11th | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 17, 2001

Advogato Entry 214

Well, I decided to snmpwalk my building's router, and was somewhat surprised to see that it actually worked! I'm now graphing traffic in and out of my apartment building with MRTG. As I suspected, the connection is pretty much maxed out. What surprised me was that outgoing traffic was the big culprit. Okay, that fact didn't surprise me, but I was amazed at how big the effect was. I thought that both incoming and outgoing would be pretty much pegged, but outgoing traffic was maxed (around 189kB/s -- the maximum theoretical bandwidth of a T1 appears to be 192 kB/s) and incoming showed a fairly normal curve. Annoying that it looks like there are just two or three people sharing lots of data and screwing up the connection for everyone else..

I'd like to learn how to make prettier graphs with RRDtool, but then I need to learn a new `frontend.' Of course, the current method for configuring MRTG sucks anyway. It's really annoying to have to modify line after line after line just to duplicate an entry for a new interface or host. Maybe I should just look at some config file generators..

Finally sent in the booklets for Nielsen ratings. They might not count what we watched, since I mailed them a few days late. Who knows. Of course, my roommates didn't really bother to keep track anyway..

I got tangentially involved in the news in the last week. A news crew from WCCO followed some folks from a new security company in town around downtown and the campus looking for open wireless networks. They apparently printed to some people's printers and sent out forged e-mail. They stood outside where I work, and started accessing professors' computers. Needless to say, the wireless firewall project got a kick in the rear to get operational soon.

It's really close to being ready anyway. Unfortunately, we won't have any encryption mandated on the network, so we'll have to block some of the nastier protocols that let passwords go out in the clear a little too much. Telnet, FTP, POP3, and IMAP are all probably going to be blocked. Debating locking out SMB shares as well..

In my Internet Programming class, I was happy to learn about pseudo-terminals. If it's not already obvious from the screen, they're `virtual' terminals which are moderately easy to hook up to a program. He showed an example of using Perl's IO::Pty and Net::Telnet to run ssh. Pretty funny, but it looks like it should work.

I need to write a chat server and client in Perl this weekend. I suppose I could emulate the behavior of talk if I really felt like it.. Probably too much effort..

There's a big orange sign on the front door notifying our building management that they forgot to pay for sewage service. I wonder if the city posted that today.. The stupid office people usually aren't around on weekends at all anymore.

Hmm. I should go buy some music.. The stuff I'm playing is becoming very redundant..

Posted by mike at 11:40 AM Central | Internet , Old Advogato Diary , School , TV , Wireless , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 11, 2001

Advogato Entry 233

Heavily considering shelling out cash for a Dell Inspiron 4100 with a UXGA display. My roommate got an 8100, but it's too heavy (and expensive!) I'm looking for something lighter than that, and not too likely to kill my pocketbook. I can get a configuration I like for about $1700. Well, I'll probably later spend another $60-$100 on a few hundred megs of RAM, plus some more for a wireless ethernet adapter.

I'd really like to get a laptop with Linux pre-installed, or no operating system at all, but that's not going to happen with the prices they're going at these days. I just can't justify the sacrifice when it comes to that much money.

Anyway, I guess I'm not sure if I really need the high-res screen. I'd probably be happy with SXGA (1280x1024) or SXGA+ (1400x1050). If I do get the UXGA screen, it'll have a pretty awesome DPI, though -- about 140! That also means that plenty of stuff will be downright tiny. Oh well..

I haven't been doing any open-source coding lately, but I've submitted a few bug reports! :-p I'm sure plenty of folks groan at that... It would seem to me that anyone who would like to contribute to open source should do some digging in bug databases. There are plenty of things to fix ;-)

Sounds like Sarah's presentation of her audio project went well, which is good. I, on the other hand, just managed to not finish my last programming assignment in Internet Programming. Oh well.

That class is kind of weird, though. The average score for the homeworks is something like 47/50 and the median score is 50/50 on most of them! Isn't that insane? It's not like they're the easiest projects in the world, though we weren't getting killed by them. I have to think, either the graders are too nice, or the students enjoy programming too much ;-)

Posted by mike at 10:02 PM Central | Dan , Internet , Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 14, 2001

Advogato Entry 235

Stupid network! My apartment's T1 has been absolutely clogged lately. Too many people sharing or downloading stuff. Amazing that it can get pegged for days at a time. I mean, a T1 is relatively slow these days, but it's still pulling down 15 gigabytes a day..

Anyway, someone shoved notes under our doors earlier this week, telling people that they should stop sharing stuff or risk getting their access cut off. I think they may have cut my connection, though I haven't been using that much bandwidth. I haven't downloaded any music for weeks.

I have been querying the public SNMP data on our building's router, though, which may have made the network tech get mad. (Note the name of the community again... `public')

Blah.. I left a note with the office to check on it. Maybe I'm just being paranoid, and something honestly broke..

Dammit.. it's Friday. If it doesn't get fixed today, it won't get fixed until next week!

This is one thing that makes me wish I was back in the dorms.. (except traffic there gets restricted more and more with each passing year....)

Posted by mike at 11:27 AM Central | Internet , Old Advogato Diary | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 15, 2001

Advogato Entry 236

crap crap crap

Love is definitely a cool feature of being human. I just wish I knew where I misplaced the manual.. I'm really trying to push Sarah out of my mind. If I don't manage to do that over Christmas break, it will be a -- geez, I hate to say it -- painful holiday season. It kinda works now, but I'm only at the point where some thought about her pops in my head, and I swear under my breath. It seems like I've got a mild case of Tourettes ;-)

Anyway, it gets worse when I'm under stress, so I need to find ways to relax. May as well go out and get some stress squeeze toys. Heh, I need to work on my grip strength anyway ;-)

I had a somewhat crummy day on Friday. I was all worried about my Internet connection being down. I was certain that it wouldn't be fixed when I got home, or I'd have to rant at the network tech or something. I guess the expectation of having that way of venting just made things worse, as my connection was actually working when i got home.

``Come back and break it again! I need to yell at you!''

Anyway, I wanted to come home early from work, but managed to find some work to keep me there. Turns out that I've been using a bad version of GNU tar (1.13) for our Amanda backups. The index files were all broken, as some strange number was being inserted at the beginning of each line in the index. I upgraded tar on all of our Solaris servers to 1.13.25 (since they were the affected systems -- all of the Linux boxes had sane versions of tar).

Actually had to write a little code to go through and fix the broken indices. It wasn't much, though -- just a bash script for walking through the directory tree with a perl one-liner to strip off the leading garbage. The files also had to be gunziped and the gziped again.

Kind of funny, though. I think that script is probably the biggest time-saver I've ever made. It also actually runs for a non-trivial amount of time (though it's not like it goes and does stuff for hours). Finally, something that wasn't just a silly math problem that takes actual processing time.

Posted by mike at 09:20 AM Central | Internet , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah , Software , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 23, 2002

Advogato Entry 258

Just had about the weirdest day of my life. Second day of classes, and I actually talked.. I'm taking some courses at the business school, and about half of the class is Computer Science students! What the hell? I think I was the only CS major in the previous class I took there.

Bumped into Sarah as she was coming out of a class, and helped her find an office to get a permission number to get into that course.. Showed off where I work, but only for a moment (I didn't really have anything interesting to show off...)

Discovered that Internet Explorer apparently doesn't like self-generated SSL certificates at all... Need to actually pay for a certificate at some point, or find a workaround.

Anyway, it's just been a weird day. I've been overstimulated by the talking in class and stuff.. My courses look to be pretty intensive. I know that my previous classes have been hard, but it wasn't obvious on the first day of class.. I guess I'm not sure how these classes really stack up..

Still waiting on permission numbers for two classes.. Not sure what will happen there.

Gotta cut down on using my laptop for web browsing. Using the scratchpad doesn't seem to be good for my wrist..

Posted by mike at 07:22 PM Central | Encryption , Internet , Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Sarah , School , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 10, 2002

Advogato Entry 264

Katz is going off on some strange tirade about pre-/post-9/11 movies on Slashdot. It got me thinking (for no good reason--It's a pretty poor review), and I realized I haven't written down my experiences of that day..

I don't remember when I rolled out of bed, but it was later than I wanted. My roommate had woken up and had left the room, so I figured it was time. I climbed into the chair at my computer, powered up the monitors, and started my daily morning browsing. I think I hit Slashdot first, and the top story was the first article of the planes hitting the WTC towers. I tried getting to some news websites, but couldn't get anywhere.

I turned around and powered up the TV and turned it to CNN. With my groggy morning eyes, I saw a wide-angle shot of the towers. It looked entirely fake, but I figured if it was on CNN...

I came out of my room and went into the den. I turned off the music my roommate had started up, and turned on the TV out there. I still wasn't fully awake, and could barely manipulate the remote controls well enough to get it turned to CNN. I tried to tell my roommate what happened, but I didn't know anything. Some big planes had hit the World Trade Center.

Anyway, nobody knew anything, so I took a shower. I can't remember much else that happened. I know that the sky was very clear and blue. I came into the business school building where I work, and saw a huge crowd of students watching TV, but I felt like avoiding the coverage until people actually knew something. I went into my office area and sat down at the computer, trying to do some work, but I was thinking too much.

I was chatting with people on IRC, and was informed when the towers fell. I didn't have a TV at that point, so I didn't know they'd pancaked. I just couldn't imagine it.

Anyway, I sat around at the business school for a while, but I was going a bit stir-crazy. I walked to Taco Bell, about 15 minutes away on foot. On the way there, I saw a small United States flag protruding from a building. September 11th was a primary election day, and the flag was there informing people that they could go vote.

That was probably the last time a flag really made me feel good. It was a puny little thing, only a few inches in size, but it meant so much that morning. I smiled, and kept walking.

I got to Taco Bell. One employee was on the phone, looking out the window at downtown. She said, ``I know they're going to target downtown.'' It never actually happened, but people were worried. Anyway, I ate and tried to remain calm.

I got back to my desk and tried to work again. There were still way too many things racing through my head, plus I got a little worried by the fact that the business school is a very shiny corporate-looking building. I decided to head home.

I got home and spent some time watching coverage, browsing the web and chatting on IRC. That day, classes were supposed to start late for me, around 12:30. I was hearing that they may have canceled classes. Before long, I found they had..

I walked to class, finding a notice on the door saying that classes after noon were canceled. I started heading back to the apartment, but decided to see if my brother was at his dorm room. We got some lunch and hung out for the afternoon, though definitely it wasn't the most entertaining time we'd spent together. I spent most of my time watching TV, while he played Civilization on my computer.

In a lot of ways, it was a very dull day. It was very strange to feel so affected by something that happened half a continent away.

Strangely, the events since then have made me less interested in the news. I'm sure there's a lot of stuff going on that I'd like to hear about, but it gets drowned out by `The War on Terror'. Hell, I just wish the cable news channels would get rid of all of that extra crap on the screen so I wouldn't have to get reminded of it as I flip through the channels..

Hmm. There are some other things floating around in my head, but a bunch of it has already been posted, so I don't want to re-write it..

Posted by mike at 12:17 PM Central | Erik , Internet , Old Advogato Diary , School , September 11th , TV , The Media , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 28, 2002

Advogato Entry 268

I've done a lot of browsing today, picking up little bits about the updated Microsoft settlement. I don't even know where the settlement is, though.. I guess I don't feel like reading that now anyway ;-)

Reading about some networking stuff. I'm getting kind of concerned about the lack of IPv6 deployment, but I was amazed at the fact you can just do `apt-get install freenet6' on Debian Woody and get an IPv6 address. With a little fiddling, you can have your very own /48 prefix (sort of, it goes through some ISP in Canada). At any rate, it's a good stepping stone. I saw that it's now possible to set up reverse DNS entries for the IPv6 addresses you get through Freenet6, which would be a good thing to work on and see if IPSec/IPv6 works.. I guess I need to look into using a USAGI patch..

I need to get my roommate to plug into our Linksys WAP11 access point so I can get IPv6 going over the 802.11 connection in my apartment.

I wonder if I'll get a chance to fiddle with IPv6 on our wireless gateway at work.. Not sure if I want to play with that or not ;-)

Posted by mike at 08:09 PM Central | Internet , Law , Old Advogato Diary , Wireless , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 09, 2002

Advogato Entry 274

Finally got sick enough of getting junk mail that I installed SpamAssassin. I'd been using Vipul's Razor for a while, but it hadn't been working well enough. Of course, once I bothered to look I noticed that SpamAssassin now checks the Razor database as well, so I can kill two birds with one stone. Of course, it has tons of rules, so it's actually like killing a few hundred birds with one stone.

Anyway, I saw someone post a little bit of code for drawing a simple graph of score vs. time on messages, and decided to make one of my own. I suppose it'll be a while before my graph looks like much of anything, though..

I just wish it was as easy to attack the bandwidth over-usage in my apartment building..

I also was happy to see anti-aliased text when I pulled down a copy of Galeon 1.2.0 and Mozilla 0.9.9 from Debian unstable. I played around and even got sub-pixel rendering working on my laptop. Very nice. Too bad that the Render extension doesn't work very well on Xinerama. Mozilla/Galeon actually works great, but gdkxft and StarOffice just gunk up the screen when they are used on the second head.. I guess the Gecko engine uses the Render extension in a different way than other programs do.

Also started using Evolution as my mail client. I was happy to see that it synchronizes quite nicely with my Palm IIIx. I haven't really used that thing to it's full potential.. Hopefully integrating mail, calendar, to-do, etc., will be good for me. Evolution just doesn't seem designed for the power user, though.. Sylpheed is still better in many ways..

Oh yeah, I switched partly because of Sylpheed being somewhat buggy with regard to GPG-signed messages. Of course, it looks like Sylpheed, mutt, and Evolution all occasionally produce broken messages. Well, maybe not mutt..

Uuuhh.. just saw a really freaky bug in the Gecko engine. For a moment there, I could type text into the scrollbar.. very weird.. Oh well, I can't seem to repeat it..

Posted by mike at 07:32 PM Central | Internet , Laptop , Old Advogato Diary , Software , XFree | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 10, 2002

Advogato Entry 275

Seriously considering unleashing hell upon Lotus for making such a crappy e-mail client.. I work at a business school where pretty much everyone except me uses Notes. It seems amazing that mail gets delivered at all..

It definitely shows it's heritage as a `groupware' system, not designed at all to communicate over the Internet.. Hell, it doesn't even have message threading, and no messages ever have In-Reply-To (or similar) set in the headers.. Really sad..

Personally, I had thought that an XML format for e-mail might be kind of cool (if it was well thought out, and there were good mailers/interpreters both on the text console end and the GUI side of things). Looks like some of the big names got together and created one back in 1998. Of course, I don't think anyone is using it...

Posted by mike at 10:17 AM Central | Internet , Lotus Notes (Must Die!) , Old Advogato Diary | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 11, 2002

Advogato Entry 276

Well, I was hoping SpamAssassin would reduce my junk mail to zero, but it's still managing an 88% hit rate. Razor was probably only getting about 1/4 to 1/3 of the junk mail coming in to my mailbox. I get a lot of spam where there's some randomly-generated string in the message body, so comparing MD5 checksums doesn't work against that..

So cool that all it takes is an `apt-get install' on Debian (testing) to get both Vipul's Razor and SpamAssassin..

My computer graphics project got pushed back a few days, which is good, but I really need to make sure I use the time, rather than waste it.

Glad to see that the CBDTPA is pretty much being criticized from every direction. Even more pleasing is that people actually wrote into their congresscritters about it! I wrote to my representatives recently, but I was criticizing the idea of reducing restrictions on how many TV/Radio stations can be owned in a market, and I also threw in a few bits on how adding copy protection capabilities to HDTV sets is bad..

I'd like to get into a habit of writing my reps both in Washington and in the Minnesota congress on a regular basis. I haven't checked if my state reps have e-mail, though..

Posted by mike at 08:02 AM Central | Internet , Law , Old Advogato Diary , Politics , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 27, 2003

Other Movable Type Sites

Whilst analyzing errors by viewing web server logs, I came across another Movable Type-powered site on this server. Say Hi to Steve Gigl.

Posted by mike at 10:36 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 28, 2003

Junk Mail

Hmm. SpamAssassin doesn't seem to be working very well for me anymore. It doesn't seem to catch as many messages. However, it looks like it has changed behavior and doesn't put the "*****SPAM*****" string in the subject line now, so it is harder to tell how effective it is by just glancing at the subject lines in my junk mail folder. I guess I'll have to use a different way of tagging them..

Posted by mike at 06:16 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 29, 2003

Firewall Fun

I was just looking over at Soekris at their various products. Someday, probably after I get a job again, I suspect I'll plop down some change for a net4521, along with at least one 802.11 card from NetGate or Demarc. I'll need to get a CompactFlash card or a Microdrive too. Also, it might be fun to play with the vpn1211 hardware encryption board. Somehow, I don't think a 133MHz 486 would handle IPSec very well ;-)

Anyway, one nice upside to getting those things would be that I get rid of the big power-hungry computer that is currently routing my Internet traffic. The problems are that it's expensive to get those parts, and I'll lose my print server in the process (of course, it's dumb to have your firewall double as a print server, but I live dangerously. Sometimes. ;-)

Posted by mike at 12:21 AM Central | Encryption , Hardware , Internet , Wireless | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 30, 2003

Not Explicit Enough

Okay, so there's this feature of TCP/IP called Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN). It's been part of the standard for a few years now. The problem is, there are still a lot of routers and servers out there (mostly just routers, though, if people know what's good for them) that don't understand it. If you turn on ECN, suddenly some sites on the Internet become inaccessible. This isn't supposed to happen.

TCP ECN uses a field in the TCP header that had previously been defined as "reserved". This means that you should ignore the field. However, many programmers thought this meant the field should always be set to zero. So, many routers just discard ECN-enabled packets.

I was having trouble seeing any pictures hosted from photoisland.com on Kari's LiveJournal page because of this, so I had to execute the command (on Linux):

echo 0 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_ecn
Posted by mike at 10:23 AM Central | Internet , Kari | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 12, 2003

The Inky Blackness of Space

Yay! My disk quota (how much space I'm allowed to use) on this server has recently been increased from 60MB to 100MB. Sweet!

Posted by mike at 04:37 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 22, 2003

Togetherness, Brought To You By Perl

Since the guy upstairs from me was playing music at 8 AM, I got up and started hacking together a “friends” page of my own. It's not much yet, but you can see what I've done so far.

The script is meant to be embedded inside another page at some point. We'll see if I ever get that far.

It appears to only work when people have paid accounts on LiveJournal.

Posted by mike at 11:55 AM Central | Internet , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Join the Syndicate

In theory, people can syndicate my journal and integrate it into their own friends pages on LiveJournal. I don't have a LiveJournal account, so I don't exactly know how this works. I found a post by someone about this, along with lots of others.. I guess I'll keep Googling..

I suppose I'll have to muck with how Movable Type generates the feeds. You can try index.xml or index.rdf. I'm not sure which one is more appropriate.

Update: LiveJournal has a FAQ page about this. The best sources to use for my site are probably the RSS 1.0 index.rdf or the RSS 2.0 index2.xml, which I added recently.

When someone starts using one of these, please let me know, so I can tailor the format of the RSS feed file appropriately.

Posted by mike at 03:14 PM Central | Internet | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!

Erin must have accidentally clicked “Yes” once in the past when she used my laptop to log into LiveJournal. The password was still saved from many moons ago. The upside is that my site is now syndicated on LJ. The downside is I now feel like a dirty, dirty bastard for following through on the thought of, “Hmm, the password field seems to be filled in. Let's click ‘Login’.”

At any rate, the password is now purged from my laptop's memory (I never saw it in plaintext, just something like ‘******’). Yeah, that's not much consolation..

At first, I thought I'd come across some random security hole in LiveJournal, but this seems like the vastly more likely reason..

LiveJournal seems to be kind of dumb when dealing with RSS feeds. All of the entries I can see now have exactly the same date on them on the LJ page. I do have proper date fields for each entry in my source file, but LJ just doesn't interpret them, apparently. Still, this should work itself out after a while—LiveJournal times will just be off by up to an hour.

Posted by mike at 07:28 PM Central | Erin , Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

I Thought Aggregation Involved Small Rocks

I'm tired and just about to go to bed. But, just so I don't forget, I'd like to point out some stuff that Jamie Zawinsky has come up with. There are some scripts for his Cheesegrater that I'd like to look at more thoroughly at some point when I'm awake. The portalizer script looks like it might be something I could use here.

Related to that, I discovered that JWZ has a LiveJournal. I would have figured he's too much of a hacker to use LJ. It's like Bill Gates using AOL or President Bush riding on a trike (okay, maybe that one isn't as big of a stretch as it should be ;-)

Posted by mike at 11:15 PM Central | Internet , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 23, 2003

The Page Contained No Data

Someone mentioned smstools to me, after I mentioned on the gsmlib mailing list that it doesn't support my phone. Unfortunately, it looks like smstools is very much focused on sending/receiving SMS messages, while I'm more interested in downloading/syncing the phonebook and other data stored on my phone.

I got Adam to befriend my LiveJounal syndication. This should mean that anyone can now access it, as the “cost” of using it has gone down. The problem is that it's currently only updating every 24 hours, but hopefully it won't keep doing that..

Posted by mike at 01:03 PM Central | Adam , Internet , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 24, 2003

Them Thar's the Internet

So, I wonder if I'd have a life if the Internet had never come along? Would I have found the means to socialize with the outside world? I don't know.

I suppose I'm just living vicariously at the moment, though I guess that's what I did a lot back in high school before the Internet got big. I'd sit in class and listen to people tell stories. I just never had my own stories to tell for one reason or another.

People just seem to assume that I don't want to be around people since I never share much. But, I'm sure a lot of it's my fault. Maybe I'm just interpreting the whole situation in the wrong way.

I'll blame my slow wit.

Actually, the Internet lets me cover up my slow wit a bit. That's probably why I like it. Sometimes I feel like writing a big important e-mail to someone, but that gets troublesome on occasion. I get too many expectations and whatever.

A journal is better in a lot of ways. It lets me mete out my frustration in smaller doses.

But, the Internet doesn't solve everything. Due to some of my frustrations in life, I actually tried some online dating , but there are just too many people out there who end up being like, “I'm a busy Ph.D. student—too busy planning to take over the world to date anyone.”

I see that and I think, “well, I'm just a boring guy trying to work his way up to leading a semi-normal life.”

But, I suppose I had to try it just so that I could see how things go at a place like that. I just get tired of waiting for things to happen sometimes, so I have to try something different. Too bad so many of the places that offer to help are probably just moneymaking or e-mail harvesting scams..

Posted by mike at 12:00 PM Central | Internet , Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 27, 2003


Jeez. Wikipedia is totally addicting.

Posted by mike at 05:05 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 28, 2003

Wiki! Wiki! Wiki!

See previous entry

Posted by mike at 05:16 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 05, 2003

Let Me Register My Disappointment

Heh, today's FoxTrot is pretty funny:

When I was at Best Buy the other day with Dan, picking up some music, I almost picked up a CD by Massive Attack. I thought I might have already owned it, and I was right. The CDs I did get are okay, but not great. I'm still eagerly anticipating Radiohead's next release (though I hear it's been floating around the file-sharing networks for a while).

The U pestered me again to renew my DHCP registration for my Ethernet MAC addresses on my laptop, so I did (although, I think one of the addresses is for a Wi-Fi card that I gave back to my employers at CSOM—I should probably replace that one with my new wireless card's address). Anyway, I was surprised that I could actually renew my registration. I'm pretty sure the registration system I built at CSOM has the same bug—you don't actually have to be a student to use the network, you just need an x.500 ID...

I'd been meaning to fix that, really! ;-)

Posted by mike at 12:15 PM Central | Internet , Music , School | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 11, 2003

The Password Is “Walt Sent Me”

I suppose I'll have to get an actual LiveJournal account at some point. I can't see some entries because they're protected, but maybe that's for the best.

That's a feature I sometimes wish I could have on my website, but there are a lot of other things I can't really do with LiveJournal...

Posted by mike at 06:22 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 13, 2003


Some silly news stories.

Britney Spears to have inflatable breasts:

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. pop star Britney Spears (news) is to get a pair of inflatable, throbbing breasts that will pulsate in time to her dancing—at least her waxwork model will at Madame Tussauds museum in London.

“There are plans to make a new figure of Britney Spears,” a spokeswoman said on Friday. “She'll be very sexy and she'll have heaving bosoms. But this is only in the very early stages of planning.”

Spike Lee is winning so far

State Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub on Thursday said Lee presented enough evidence at a hearing this week to warrant a trial to decide the fate of the network's new moniker. Until then, no name change can take place.

But just in case he can't prove his case in the courtroom, Tolub made Lee post a $500,000 bond to cover Viacom's potential losses.

Just out of curiosity, I searched Google Images for “spike” and found a hell of a lot of images of Spike, the character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer...

Posted by mike at 10:56 AM Central | Internet , News , Spike , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 21, 2003


Hmm. Just had an odd idea pop into my head. It's a peer-to-peer network (like gnutella and friends), but it would be a more restrictive system of distribution. It would only allow connections between people who have a web of trust (probably based around GNU Privacy Guard keys and signatures, or some other crypto system). This would in theory work a lot like Friendster, except that it would be a distributed system. You could do more than just send messages back and forth. All sorts of other data could be shifted around too.

Probably a fairly useless idea, though, and I'm sure other people have thought of it before...

Posted by mike at 06:09 PM Central | Internet , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 04, 2003

90% != 100%

Best Buy's website seems messed up. My desktop can view the site, but the drop-down menus at the top of the screen don't work. When I click on stuff, nothing happens. This makes navigation pretty much impossible. Usually, web sites that have broken menus at least allow me to click on the top-level category titles, but even that doesn't work.

On my laptop, it seems that the site never loads. I've only been able to get a page saying that the site is too busy (or something to that effect).

I imagine both of these problems are just because I'm using a browser that they don't expect. I was going to send an e-mail, but there doesn't appear to be any “Contact Us” link anywhere. Grr...

There are these things called “standards”—it'd be nice if people used them (though I suppose my site is probably just as broken as anything else)...

Posted by mike at 11:20 AM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bored Surfing

Two sites:

Iraq Body Count —when you feel the need to get pissed off about something.

Government Information Awareness —when you want to find someone to blame it on.

Posted by mike at 03:34 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 06, 2003


Hmm.. I didn't know until I upgraded my mail program that most of the unreadable junk mail I've been getting was in a Cyrillic character set. The previous version just attempted to convert the stuff to ASCII, so I figured it was some oriental character set...

I actually updated a lot of software. Most of it seems to be slower now... Bah. On the upside, I now have a nifty mouse cursor with a drop-shadow ;-)

Posted by mike at 04:18 PM Central | Internet , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 09, 2003

They Must Have Attended Screw U

Attempted to go see Pirates of the Caribbean, but the folks at Block E don't want to sell tickets after the showing starts.. That annoyed me greatly—I think I will tend to go to other theaters if I can. The actual seating is nice, but the service there tends to suck, and who thought out that stupid bathroom positioning anyway? Oh well, I was not sure about how I felt about being near a certain couple for an extended period of time..

So, I ended up wasting time at Borders, and then went to Target with Spike and Erin. Picked up Weird Al's new CD, and was informed that he'll be at the State Fair. I may have to go to that..

Moved onto some different test platforms today at work. One involves the same model of laptop that my brother has, which is kind of neat. However, I ran into a problem as soon as I started. In theory, the thing is supposed to work, but I was greeted with the Mac's equivalent of a Blue Screen of Death. Of course, Apple decided that the crash message should be multi-lingual, which I don't quite get..

Anyway, I want to bring in my laptop, just to see if Linux behaves the same way as MacOS. Just curious.

I accidentally trashed the database containing my preferences and desired shows for MythTV. Oops. I guess I shouldn't give myself root access after about 11 PM.

Ugh. Hewlett-Packard has some really annoying Shockwave Flash banner ads on Yahoo now that use a ton of CPU power. Whenever I open a few pages from Yahoo news, my browser slows down to a snail's pace. Bastards..

Posted by mike at 11:13 PM Central | Erin , Hardware , Internet , Josh , Laptop , Movies , Music , Sarah , Software , Spike , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 22, 2003

Wow. Good Stuff on TV. Whodathunkit?

I'm working on encoding a very interesting conversation that was on NOW with Bill Moyers this past weekend. I'm thinking I might start putting up a “video of the week” on my website, though I'll only really be able to have one very compressed video put up at a time due to limited storage space. Hopefully I've found an encoder setting that will work with Windows Media Player so all you people without Linux can actually play the video ;-)

(Actually, it should be possible to get video made with my system's best encoder to work on Windows, but it looks like it'd be vastly too much effort for an ordinary human being. If more people had Macs, though…)

Also, I just noticed that Jon Stewart had been on NOW last week. Dammit. I wonder if I accidentally deleted that recording. Bah. Oh well, the consolation prize is a very good transcript.

NOW is a good television news magazine—what 20/20 and Dateline NBC wish they were. 60 Minutes is probably fairly comparable, though.

The show was hyped quite a bit by PBS when it first came out, and I didn't think it lived up to the hype then. However, it seems to have gotten better over time. I don't like all of the stories they do (some are just on topics I don't give a rip about), but a lot of them are very interesting.

Oh yeah, I need to donate some cash to PBS again once I start getting paid. Possibly NPR too. Bah. My money is being pre-allocated way too fast.

Posted by mike at 08:19 PM Central | Daily Show , Internet , Software , The Media | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 25, 2003

WEP Your WAP, You Wang

I'm probably going to build my own Linux-powered wireless access point eventually, though I'll probably make a box that is a router too. Haven't built up the ambition or the finances to give it a go yet, though.

Actually, I'll probably start by adding a wireless card to the PC I'm using now for a gateway, then shrink it down to a box with a small form factor. Heck, maybe I could run it with power-over-Ethernet.. That would be nice.

Anyway, the whole point of this post is to quote:

Here's where this gets really fun. We can make this box do all sorts of things. The traditional example is a Web server; it's the kind of thing the media likes to portray as a giant liquid-cooled machine with lights and an ominous humming sound; but which you and I know is actually just a few megabytes of disk space and a nearly imperceptible load on the system.

Ah, so true…unless we're talking about anything from Microsoft…

Posted by mike at 04:08 PM Central | Hardware , Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 05, 2003

To the Power of Foo

Well, after my last entry, the neighbor upstairs became eerily quiet. I ended up in my bed, and slept pretty well until 1 or so, but kept tossing and turning the rest of the night. Probably has something to do with the massive amounts of sugar I ate that evening…

I was really hungry after work, but went home to make a pizza. However, in the 25 minutes it took to preheat and then cook, I'd devoured some fruit snacks and half a bag of gummi Life Savers. Probably won't do anything for my waistline. Then again, neither will the pizza ;-)

I ended up just eating two slices of 'za and putting the rest away in the fridge. I suppose I can eat that instead of going out tonight and feel slightly less bad when I look at my bank balance after buying DS9.

I got some music at Best Buy the other day. I got a CD by Nickel Creek, because I'd heard their awesome “Smoothie Song” in a few places. Unfortunately, when I listen to the rest of the CD, I get the same creepy feeling I get when I hear Christian rock, so I'm not sure if that was the greatest purchase in the world. I got another disc by Maroon 5 (who are apparently billed as The Strokes of Hollywood). That one seems to be better overall, but it feels like they're playing tricks on me, using musical techniques that they know will get people's attention. A few songs sound amazingly like Red Hot Chili Peppers, while some others remind me a lot of Jamiroquai, other songs I can't place, but they sound very familiar…

I see Sarah has become one of the collective and started a LiveJournal account now. I think interlinked online journals are a really interesting result of giving everyone Internet access, although I'm sure more than a few people get freaked out by it at first.

Technology pundits (especially media consolidation apologists) have talked a lot about the Internet being a place where anyone can publish, but except for a relatively small number of sites that generated some traffic, few people really believed that it had any effect. Weblogs change the equation. Most sites still don't generate much traffic, but the important thing is that the people who do read the sites do so on a regular basis.

Or maybe I'm just sleepy and talking out my ass.

Posted by mike at 06:48 AM Central | Abode , Internet , Music , Sarah , TV , The Media | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 11, 2003

Groove to the Beat


I guess I got paid just in time. Er, actually, it looks like I'll have to wait a few weeks yet. And there's no telling how that Ethernet connection works…

Too bad their website sucks. Viewing it in Mozilla gives me no joy.

Posted by mike at 03:03 PM Central | Hardware , Internet , Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 20, 2003

Virus Warning

Came home today to find 46 messages in my inbox, most likely generated by the Sobig.F worm variant floating around now. Most of the messages were errors returning undeliverable mail. So, a worm is sitting on someone's computer using my address in the From: field, what fun.

I finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire yesterday night. Now that I'm done with that, I'll need to spend some time cleaning up in my apartment. Whee.

Posted by mike at 06:05 PM Central | Abode , Books , Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 21, 2003

Ooooo It's Soooo Biiiig

Lots of worm-related antics at work today. It appears that none of the systems I touch on a regular basis had any problems, but the programmers upstairs got their Ethernet ports shut off.

Despite some alarmist news reports to the contrary, the thing seems to be slowing down—I got about half as many bounce messages today as I got yesterday.

I got Bowling for Columbine at Target today, so I might watch it later.

Dum de dum dum.

Oooo! HDTV!

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

August 22, 2003

Eet's Pononced “Wirus”

Hey, I found a computer that apparently had the MSBlast worm on it, though it hadn't been rebooting itself (I think it was supposed to). Naturally, one of the last people to touch the machine was one of the programmers, who apparently didn't update the system…

Anyway, in process of re-imaging and Windows Update-ing now. What fun.

Posted by mike at 02:57 PM Central | Internet , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Internet Exploder

With the various nasty things floating around, I should point out to the Windows lusers out there that http://housecall.antivirus.com/ has a free virus scanner you run through Internet Explorer. But everyone I know is already using their free University-subsidized copy of [brand name here] Anti-Virus, right?

I've seen a few Minnesota (and possibly Twin Cities) RoadRunner IP addresses show up in the bounce mail I've been getting. So check your boxes.

Posted by mike at 07:48 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 24, 2003

Total World Domination

Well, that pcHDTV card I talked about has hit Slashdot. I was going to send a link, but I decided to wait until my card arrives before advertising it to the world too much. It should show up at work on Monday.

Now, I'm in the process of designing an appropriate home theater PC that has the necessary CPU power to decode the video stream nicely. This will be a challenge, since I also ultimately want to have a system that is quiet. I think I've figured out what I want for the base system, though. Probably going to get an Athlon XP 3000+ running on a VIA KT600-powered motherboard. That gives me all the goodies like USB2, FireWire, Serial ATA, and whatnot. I would go for an nVidia nForce2-based system since they're faster, but nVidia only has closed-source drivers for some stuff, and nVidia motherboards apparently don't play nicely with non-nVidia video cards, at least in Linux.

I am looking at getting one of the wacky Zalman fan-shaped CPU coolers, but I guess the extreme size of these heatsinks could actually damage the CPU in certain situations. However, they're very quiet.

It would be awesome to get one of the Ahanix cases, but they're very spendy. I'm still hunting for a good power supply and some good fans as well, but I guess I can't find all of the parts I want right away—I may have to try a few different things before I get things just the way I like.

But, once everything is set up properly, it should last me a long time. The PC would replace the functionality of several A/V components, and it would be infinitely configurable and expandable.

This is one happy day ;-)

Posted by mike at 01:29 PM Central | Hardware , Internet , Movies , Music , MythTV , Software , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 31, 2003

Where Can't You Go Today?

Someone appears to be DoSing my Yahoo! account, giving me an error along the lines of, “Maximum number of login tries exceeded. Try again in 12 hours.”

For all I know, it's me—my web browser might be trying to log in all of the time or something. I'll see if I can avoid Yahoo web sites for the night, and see if I can log in tomorrow. If I still get an error, I may have to ask them to delete my account.

I don't think there's any information in there that could help anyone do anything, but I'd rather be safe than sorry…

Posted by mike at 04:52 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 17, 2003

Access Denied


Firewall cause pain. Firewall hurt. Me bash head on firewall.

Head hurt.

Well, at least there are a few free caffeine-infused carbonated beverages available here. Hopefully that will keep me from punching my fist through something.

i.e. The firewall.

Posted by mike at 11:52 AM Central | Internet , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 19, 2003

Where's My Parrot?

Yar. The good ship Akamai, she be adrift on the high seas. The wily RoadRunner nary can connect. Some o' me favorite sites be lost to the bit-bucket in Davy Jones's locker.

A treasure trove o' new software (a filly's undergarments it be not, alas) that I partook in testing was set upon the world yesterday. Two of 'em I dinna know about, and there be one I tested but they dinna release. I smell treachery of the highest order. There be marketers in them thar seas.

The winds will take me south tomorrow, as I go to lend a hand in the repainitng o' me parents' hideout. 'twould be the best color to hide a shanty on a beach, but I fear not so for the grassy lands o' Minnesota.

Posted by mike at 06:39 PM Central | Family , Internet , Software , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 28, 2003

Beware of Cute Lesbians

Went down to Uptown again today, after seeing Lost in Translation yesterday. Finally replaced my missing Massive Attack CD—I think a high school friend had borrowed Protection years ago, but I guess he never gave it back. Then again, I never paid him the $20 I was supposed to for that broken portable CD player.

I got some other music too, and tried out the Chipotle in the neighborhood (they just keep pulling me back in). Amazingly enough, they actually have their own parking lot! Shock of shocks. It was also nifty to discover that it's right across the street from the Brave New Workshop. I might have to go see their current project, Total Recall 2: The Governator.

Hmm. Did anyone see the TV ad that had Jesse in it, making fun of the California stuff? I don't even remember what product it was marketing.

Another TV ad that sticks in my head is this recent Pier 1 ad with Kirstie Alley in it, wearing some clothes that look disturbingly like Scientology uniforms. I have no idea if that's intentional or what…

In other news, I need someone to drop me a LiveJournal code, so I can make an account to see people's protected entries. I still plan to use my own website for journaling, although Movable Type seems to be a bit slow now that I have several hundred entries…

Posted by mike at 03:07 PM Central | Brian D , Food , Internet , Movies , Music , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 04, 2003


Crud. Google's calculator function won't translate from miles per gallon to rods per hogshead. It will, however, give you the speed of light in furlongs per fortnight.

Posted by mike at 03:47 PM Central | Internet | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

October 06, 2003

Think Dunk Tank

I got Think Tank by Blur the other day. The first time I listened to it, I thought it was amazing. The second time, not so much. However, I can't seem to stay away from the melodies and sound mixes of the disc for very long.

“Try Blur—It's Highly Addictive™”

For some reason, I really like the song “Faint” by Linkin Park (I must be losing it). I imagine the rest of the songs on that disc are probably not to my liking, so I must spend some time compiling one of those P2P clients to find out for certain.

The program I had been using a few months ago has become pretty difficult to set up and use, so I haven't been downloading much music for most of this year. Well, plus I'm weak-willed when authority figures tell me I'm doing something wrong…

Yeah, I'd never make it as President.

I totally fubared a computer today at work. Well, it's not really fubared. Truly destroying a Linux box takes effort (hmm… though there are a few commands I know&hellip). I managed to put a lot of files in a place where they shouldn't be—residing in place of other files.

“Oops, I mounted that partition again?” Bah.

On a few random political points:

The only thing I'll say about the impending California recall election is that Gray Davis makes me think of Johnny Carson impersonating a politician. And it creeps me out.

Israel attacked Syria the other day. Everyone was pissed off by that, except not. Syria is one of those countries that the U.S. administration has discussed in the past with potential military action in mind.

Wherever they got this reinvented idea of manifest destiny, I'll never know.

Posted by mike at 11:06 PM Central | Internet , Music , Politics , Software , War , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 16, 2003

Shaq Would Not Approve

Yesterday was my last day of work. Nothing really special happened, though I just got my farewell handshakes from the crew there. Today, I started my job search anew, after stopping by Carlson to visit my old boss. We went out for lunch with some other guys there, and he explained some of the things they'd been working on. They had quite a time dealing with the Windows worms that broke out over the summer, but they had set up a separate virtual LAN to quarantine systems that got infected. He also mentioned the ways they're trying to avoid paying an arm and a leg for Oracle software. A quarter million dollars for a cluster of just a few systems? Uh, no thanks.

After that, I wandered over to the East Bank and did a quick search through the job postings at the I.T. Career Center. Not a whole lot of interesting stuff. Most of their postings were months old, which was pretty disappointing to see.

I wandered farther east to Tran Micro and picked up some fans for the new computer I've been fiddling with, though I had to backtrack a ways because I forgot to stop by the cash machine on the way there. I paid with a new $20, which got a comment or two.

For my trip back west, I took a detour back to the West Bank and stopped by Sarah's workplace just to see what's up. I hadn't seen the new system there yet, so that was pretty neat to see. I also told her that I'd seen Josh on the way into campus earlier in the day, and explained some of what he'd told me about our court case against Joe. Too bad it might get extended yet again, but it was nifty to hear that pretty much the Eischenses and Joe are the only landlords that the University wants out of their system.

I went home and tried to rest a bit, but remembered that I was hoping to go out and look for an S-Video to RCA adapter. I've been trying to get my Matrox G550 to output to my small TV, but I only have an RCA input on that thing. I have a VGA to S-Video and RCA that came with my G400, but it doesn't seem to work right. I don't get anything out of the RCA jack on it. I have a 7-pin S-Video to RCA adapter that came with another card, but it must be wired differently than the 7-pin output on my G400 adapter.

Anyway, I went to RadioShack and brought one to the counter. I forget the exact price the cashier told me, but it was approaching $30. Uh, what? A cheap (though out-of-spec) connector can be made with a few wires and a strategically placed capacitor. There's no reason for it to cost that much (the cashier said, “well, there's a computer in there,” and I just rolled my eyes), and I don't even know if the adapter would fix the problems I'm having. I'll have to lug my computer somewhere where there's a TV with an S-Video input, or maybe I'll just swap the video cards in my desktop and this new system temporarily (since I know that this card can do TV-out to RCA just fine).

Posted by mike at 06:17 PM Central | Hardware , Internet , Josh , Sarah , School , Software , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 23, 2003


I have an incredible knack for IMing people just as they step away from the keyboard.

For hours.

Posted by mike at 07:40 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 29, 2003

Fight Fight Fight. Bite Bite Bite.

The team behind The Simpsons were almost sued by Fox News Channel for their fake news crawls (NPR interview ~6:00)? Priceless. That conglomerate has some serious issues to work out.

Spent the afternoon helping Adam install Debian on his old machine. I hope I didn't take control too much, but I could tell that it wasn't the best first impression of a Linux install. Oh well, that's Debian for ya.

I managed to snag a LiveJournal code from him, so I now have a user account there, which I will be using for the friends page.

Posted by mike at 07:44 PM Central | Comedy , Internet , News , Software , TV | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

October 31, 2003

40 Days and 40 Nights of Overcast Skies

Let's see. Viagra spammers should be put in jail, and have their cellmates force-fed the stuff. That should solve the problem.

It's been kind of dull around here lately, though I suppose the weather hasn't helped. The cold mixed with frequent light rain puts a damper on things. Strangely, the humidity is low enough for me to be getting severely chapped lips, and the occasional “geek problems.”

I wish the sky was clear, then I'd at least have a chance of seeing the Northern Lights. I don't think I've ever seen the aurora..

Looks like I'll be picking up a new headlight for my car next week unless my friend from back home calls me up today to say he has one. I had forgotten to call him about it before yesterday.

Microsoft has made a new command-line interface for Windows. It's called MSH, for Microsoft SHell—but the codename is “MONAD.” This just makes me wonder if the codename was the result of a bad Tupac Shakur joke (or Tupac Amaru, for that matter).

That just brought back some high school memories. It's been a long time…

Posted by mike at 10:59 AM Central | Car , Internet , School , Software , Weather | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 13, 2003


Heh. I like this quiz:

If you could fly, what would you do first?
  1. Do flips in the air
  2. Throw stuff at people
  3. Pretend like you were going to jump off a building just to freak people out
  4. See how fast you could go
  5. See how high you could go
Posted by mike at 06:56 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 18, 2003


Cool. There is now a Wikibooks project for creating online textbooks. I always wanted a searchable, hyperlinked reference for my classes :-) Too bad I'm not in school anymore :-p

I really think that the creation of Wikipedia (as well as, of course, the concept of a Wiki itself) will be considered a signature moment in the history of the Internet along with the formation of the big sites like Google and Yahoo! I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up being recognized as a great moment in the history of the written word, much like the Gutenberg Bible.

Okay, that might be overstating it a bit, but only a little bit…

Posted by mike at 05:18 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 04, 2004

Relaxen und Watchen das Blinkenlichten

Just got back from going to Ground Zero for the first time in months. The cold has kind of driven me away, and I guess I didn't know they have a coat check in the winter :-p

I didn't quite have the energy for it at first. I was really dehydrated for some reason, and I didn't hear about the outing until just before it happened so I hadn't been in the right mindset. Plus, once we got there, the video selection the DJ was playing was a little more than I had anticipated. But, it worked out, and I had a pretty good time. Toward the end of the night, Simmons was trying to get me to dance even more, but I knew that I'd probably die of hypothermia on my way home if I didn't take some time to dry off my sweaty self.

Beyond that, most of my Saturday was spent acting slightly Wikipediholic. I'm sure I'll be on to something else (hopefully job-hunting) in a few days.

Posted by mike at 02:42 AM Central | Internet , Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

We Cannot Find Reverse

Heh. I've been having quite a time on Wikipedia, but I just found Memory Alpha, a Star Trek WikiWiki. The coolest thing so far: the "This Week in Trek History" line on the front page ;-)

Posted by mike at 01:16 PM Central | Internet , Movies , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 10, 2004


Last week, Simmons was wondering where I got my Tom Hanks icon for LiveJournal. The truth is that I just searched at Google Images until I saw something I liked, which happens to be at this page from a movie site in the Netherlands. The site is in Dutch, but it appears that the image is a publicity still for Big.

Posted by mike at 10:24 PM Central | Internet , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 14, 2004

Yo Quiero

Ugh. I just got a spam through my ICQ client. Interesting technique: it was sent to me as an “Authorization Denied” message. So, if you want to cut down your debts drastically, legally, and quickly, give them a call at 281-587-6082.

I did a search on that number just for kicks and ended up with some web pages in the Netherlands. They were in Dutch, so I couldn't really understand them, but one seemed to be discussing a diploma from a university. Both of the numbers started with 1- or 001-, which would seem to indicate a North American number (since 1 is our international calling code). But heck, I dunno. The area code is supposedly Houston, Texas.

The experience of coming across a dutch page reminded me that there are a lot of languages I wish I knew. I sort of know Norwegian (heritage reasons) and German (the only other option in high school was Spanish, which I didn't think was important at the time—oops), but I don't know them very well anymore. I should really get some reference books on that. Beyond that, the old languages used in Britain and Ireland are intriguing. Celtic and Welsh are pretty wacky, not to mention old/middle English.

If I'd had my choice in high school, I probably would have either done Norwegian or Russian (I'm so jealous that Sarah did that in high school), but my experiences in college have gotten me interested in Japanese and Chinese. Today, I'd be pretty interested to learn Arabic, but I don't know if I could ever learn to read backwards… Heh, I even admire the reasons for making Esperanto, though it's messed up in a lot of ways. Latin always sounds so pompous whenever I hear someone speak it, so there are reasons it could be fun—too bad the complex conjugations and declensions would make my head explode.

But if I ever learn another language, it will be Spanish—for purely utilitarian reasons. Like, I don't know, could I get my cheeseburger today?

Posted by mike at 12:42 PM Central | Food , Internet , Sarah , School , Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 16, 2004

The Streets Shall Flow with the Blood of the Nonbelievers!

Woo! I just coined a phrase: World Dominazn! This is entirely appropriate due to my Total World Domination t-shirt, and entirely inappropriate due to my Norwegian heritage.

Though, I suppose I can't really take credit. Google says that people and quake teams have been using the screen name of DominAzn for a while… But, “world dominazn” is new.

<spotlight state="occupied">
Thank you. Thank you. You're so kind.

Hmm, I really need to rediscover Dan's umbrelloquy, though…

Posted by mike at 07:52 PM Central | Dan , Internet , Kari | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 20, 2004

Person to Person

The Big Five Personality Test
Extroverted|||||||||| 32%
Introverted |||||||||||||||| 68%
Friendly |||||||||||||||||| 76%
Aggressive |||||| 24%
Orderly |||||||||||| 42%
Disorderly |||||||||||||| 58%
Relaxed |||||||||||| 42%
Openminded |||||||||||||||| 66%
Closeminded |||||||||| 34%
Take Free Big 5 Personality Test

This is no real surprise

I guess I'd think that I'm even more introverted than the test says (in a weird sense, as introverted as I am friendly, I suspect). Also, I would have expected the test to show me as significantly more open-minded, but I suppose it's still relatively accurate considering how long it takes for me to accept new ideas sometimes.

Anyway, I shouldn't overthink it…

Grr. Car Talk switched their online show to use Windows Media Player, which (surprise, surprise) doesn't exist for Linux. Just like I can't listen to a non-crappy version of Radio K because there is no QuickTime player for Linux either. I'd like to recommend Ogg Vorbis for such things, but I guess I haven't listened to very many Vorbis streams and I don't know how well it really stacks up—plus it's geared more for “live” content, since I don't think many Vorbis players allow seeking (ff/rew) in audio streams that aren't stored on a local hard drive.

Well, blah blah blah. I've got to do taxes and find a job and find a girlfriend and do laundry and get food and… (not necessarily in that order)

Posted by mike at 02:42 PM Central | Internet , Music , Self , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 23, 2004

Where Have All the Cowgirls Gone?

Blech, I had to redo some ucky HTML with a perl script to get the thing below. Yeah, I'm late to the party on this one. Eek. I definitely need to find more girls to get to know. This thing is kind of lopsided…

How compatible with me are YOU?
Posted by mike at 03:24 PM Central | Internet , Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 26, 2004


Question for the Francophones: How the hell do you alphabetize this name?

René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle
Posted by mike at 05:31 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 27, 2004

At Least It's Not Avian Flu

Ugh. Stupid virus. I've gotten five real or fake bounce messages since the wee hours of this morning. It apparently affects every version of Windows from 95 to XP. Not sure where they get these names: Novarg? Mydoom?

Posted by mike at 11:14 AM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 03, 2004

Hot or Not

I came across a pretty big archive of Marilyn Monroe pictures the other day. I had been searching for something completely unrelated, and somehow it popped up. Anyway, I looked through some of the pictures, and I was pretty surprised by how her appearance changed over time. A lot of the images show her as being a little bit chubbier than what is usually shown on TV shows about what she did. Personally, I think I like many of them more than some of the photos she's more famous for, though maybe it's more a function of whether her eyes were wide open or not…

I took an online test a while back to try and determine what sort of women I'm attracted to, according to appearance. It gave some contradictory answers, but it did remind me that I'm extremely picky. I think it said I was mostly interested in women who make up about 3% of the population, and I'd be competing with 50% of the guys for them. They called it the “supermodel” category, which leads me to question the test a bit since I know that I like women who aren't fat, but I usually find stick-like supermodels to be unattractive as well.

I also didn't like the test, because there seemed to me that many types of women I find attractive weren't in the test at all, but it's hard to say.

*shrug* I'm just so destined to be by myself that it doesn't really matter for me to try and dissect the situation too much…

Posted by mike at 03:58 PM Central | Internet , Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 13, 2004


Ack! I thought something was looking funny on my LiveJournal friends page—my friends are no longer friends of me (or however you phrase that). Some people are not friended to my "mulad" account anymore, so I can't see private entries and stuff. Was this intentional? Was this an automated doodad somewhere in the bowels of LJ? I may never know. It'd be nice if the people I know who want to be my friend add that account back. Yeah, I know it's silly of me to have two separate accounts…

Posted by mike at 12:22 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Still curious why I've disappeared from some friends lists, but I hope it has just been a fluke. I'm not aware of having any enemies or anything, so I'd hate to have started a bad trend.

On a much better note, my aunt Lori and uncle Scott were interviewed on MPR the other day. They're part of a small troupe that's started a new theater in Fargo. You can check it out here (with text and pictures plus the story audio for folks who aren't afraid of RealPlayer…).

Dunno if I'll have a chance to post tomorrow before I depart home for Kentucky.

Posted by mike at 09:42 PM Central | Family , Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 18, 2004

Life, the Universe, and Everything

Another day, another (not) dollar. I guess I spent most of the day reading. I picked up Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary by Linus Torvalds and David Diamond several months ago, but never managed to get into it. I guess the introductory bits by David Diamond had turned me off, plus there was still some latent over-enthusiasm for the stock market and the represented businesses which had hit their high shortly before the book was finalized and sent to the printers. Still, it's a good book, and I'd recommend it to lots of people. Linus is definitely an entertaining character.

Not a whole lot was going on today in Kentucky, though my dad and I installed another handhold—this time in the master bathroom. I hadn't snuck into my grandparents' bedroom yet, so I didn't even know it was there. Anyway, this installation pretty much went off without a hitch—mostly since we'd done it twice before.

Like I said, I spent most of the day reading, though I guess I did more of it without my CD player upstairs rather than listening to the radio or CD with my earmuff headphones downstairs. My grandfather had gone into town to visit his broker and get a haircut, my dad was out at the hardware store, and my uncle Joe was still trekking back from Illinois where he'd spent the night (presumably working on something). I was upstairs to keep an eye or an ear or something on grandma, just in case she needed something. Mostly, I just sat in the other room and quietly read, since I was more in the mood to read rather than listen to her repeat her stories over and over.

I went for a walk in the afternoon when a physical therapist showed up to help my grandmother exercise a bit. I took a walk around the “block” (hard to call it a block, since it's one of those annoying suburban squiggle roads that loops back on itself) and visited the local convenience store for the hell of it. Man, I really need to get out and walk more often. One of my feet started hurting a little after a few hours, though I'm sure it won't bother me too much.

My dad and I will probably go into town tomorrow. Maybe we'll try to find an Internet café or something, but I'd still rather not put my computer on an insecure network. Maybe I should try to set up an IPSec gateway on my home firewall eventually. That would give me a minimal security net, though it would probably be impossible to get the different computers working with the same version. Plus, I'd have to recompile the kernel on that old box somehow, and I'd hate to disturb its uptime ;-)

Well, my uncle has laid down on the couch in the adjoining room, so I'd better stop typing so I can avoid keeping him awake…

Posted by mike at 08:30 PM Central | Books , Family , Hardware , Internet , Kentucky 2004 , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 28, 2004

The Quotable Chode

Aagh! Life is not better with the butterfly. Stupid Flash-based ads keep on pegging my CPU from time to time. They pretty much lock up my browser every once in a while, but the really evil ones have at least been becoming less common lately. I have a hunch that the Linux version of the Flash player doesn't timeslice with the browser properly, though I suppose it could be the browser's fault.

I set up my computer to record Tripping the Rift on SciFi, but I don't know if I'll like it. I was kind of surprised by the fact that Gina Gershon plays Six in that. The voice in the ads sounds like Terry Farrell to me.

Oh weird—now that I look up Terry Farrell on IMDB, I see that she did do the voice of Six in a Tripping the Rift short made in 2000. Maybe they're making the ads from the original short? I dunno. Wow. She grew up in Iowa too. Funky.

Anyway, I really have no idea what Gina Gershon sounds like, so it would be hard for me to tell if they have similar voices. I only know Farrell's voice since she was on for most of Deep Space Nine and had been on Becker for quite a while (not that I ever watched it much). I think I've only seen significant amounts of two of Gershon's movies (neither of which is Bound or Showgirls, by the way). Such a sheltered life I lead…

Posted by mike at 06:27 PM Central | Internet , Software , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 29, 2004

The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre

I was having a heck of a time getting any P2P software running on my little corner of the Internet. Anyway, I finally got online and started searching for some things. After googling a while and finally deciding to just do a brute-force attack on the Billboard Modern Rock chart, I finally discovered that the song I'd had in my head since my trip down to Kentucky was. Yeah, I ended up going through almost the entire list to figure it out. It was “Figured You Out” by Nickelback.

Oh. Yay. Them.

Well, whatever. I also have listened to almost all of the songs that seemed “new” over that trip. Boy. I remember when radio stations would play songs before they hit the top of the charts (and when they actually told the listeners what the fuck they were playing, for another thing…)

Posted by mike at 07:58 PM Central | Internet , Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 03, 2004

Go Stewie! Go Stewie! Who's Your Daddy?

Yay! New episodes of Family Guy will begin airing in January 2005. Woo! They will at least be on Cartoon Network, but Fox might also air them.

I put an article up on the Twin Cities Independent Media Center site about the caucuses. It's kind of disappointing to see that the IMC has pretty much turned into just a protest organization with articles that usually have very slanted views. That's not to say that my article wasn't slanted in any way, but I think it's a lot less volatile than most of the stuff that shows up there. It's a site full of editorials rather than actual news… I suppose some of the more neutral people have spent more time on Wikipedia instead.

Update: Oh yeah. Two other things I wanted to mention but don't feel like writing much about now: McDonald's to dump supersize portions and Ed Asner reprises his gruff newsman's role for KSTP.

Posted by mike at 03:25 PM Central | Internet , News , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 08, 2004

Menace the Dennis

Heh. So I'm right, dammit! I finally tried out Minnesota Public Radio's Select a Candidate survey and got the results: Nader, Kucinich, Kerry, Edwards, Sharpton, and then Bush landed at 0% favorability ;-)

Wow. I must really hate that guy :-D

The interesting thing about that survey is that current results indicate that 44% of the site's visitors had Kucinich as the top candidate. John Kerry is in second place with 16%.

Of course, this is the Internet, and it's entirely possible that there has been a scripted attack to boost Kucinich's standings.

Posted by mike at 11:02 AM Central | Decision 2004 , Internet , Politics , Ralph Nader | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

An Ode to Maybe

Wow. LiveJournal timing out/closing connections/not working reminds me of the good ol' BBS days when I had to set up my computer to redial continuously. Sometimes I feel like I need a wardialer for web pages (like this most trusted non-friends thing that I've been trying to access for about a week). Other times I feel like I should just get off my ass and fix some code somewhere.

But I never do. *sigh*

I went around and changed the layout of my LiveJournal page and even made a new icon (though it was from an image I already had). I figured using the Tom Hanks icon all the time was somewhat disingenuous, though I suppose this one isn't significantly more genuine… I might change my homepage as well. I guess I did make a few tweaks, but there is a whole lot more I could do if I had the motivation.

I finally got around to IMing with Sarah a bit. I got out of the habit of talking to her for various reasons, though I suppose I never really talk to anybody. It was just noteworthy because I basically woke up one day this weekend thinking, “I should IM Sarah,” but wimped out because she was actually online at the time I crawled over to my computer. I wanted to talk, but had nothing to talk about, like normal.

Anyway, like I said, I finally got around to it. I mentioned a comment Adam made over the weekend at his party about her helpfulness to him on a song mix. She seemed down, and I knew it would make her feel better. Well, once I actually structured my comment in a way she could understand. It seems my IMing skillz leave something to be desired.

So, she might stay at the U. She might go to Brown or some other place. She might completely change directions and go to Aveda or something. I can't really give any advice on that last point :-D

Ugh. I need to try to get to sleep relatively early tonight, since the weekend messed up my schedule a bit. Staying up to 3AM cleaning up the muck left by Jedis fighting probe droids can only be done so often. (Er, I mean, you can only play Burnout 2 for so long…)

Posted by mike at 10:16 PM Central | Adam , Internet , Sarah , Software | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

March 09, 2004

Voodoo People

The American Family Association is running a new online poll, though perhaps a little less controversial than the gay marriage one that got poll-bombed a few months ago. This one was sent out to people who had voted online previously and has some dramatic numbers. They're simply asking Kerry, Bush, or Nader?

I just took it, and then, well, my browser crashed before I could type anything in. By the time I got back, probably another hundred people had voted, though it didn't change things much. The numbers I've just jotted down say Kerry 90.5% (8578 votes), Nader 6.08% (576), and Bush 3.42% (324).

Funny ;-)

Posted by mike at 07:12 PM Central | Decision 2004 , Internet , Politics , Ralph Nader | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 10, 2004


Ah, eBay. Life just wasn't worth living before you came around. First seen in this E! Online article

Posted by mike at 12:59 PM Central | Internet | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

March 24, 2004

Me Crush! Rawr!

Ugh. Why does it seem like web designers are getting worse and worse at writing JavaScript? Oh well, people have always had trouble getting that to work right.

So, I got up this morning, checked my friends page, and it looked like a lot of people were thinking heavily about their dreams last night. Well, relatively speaking. I had some weird stuff floating around last night too, though I guess it wasn't very memorable. Mostly, I can only recall thinking through some of the faces of girls I've liked in the past, though I know there was a lot of other totally unrelated dreaming going on at other points.

Anyway, it seems that I actually do have a “type” of woman that I really like, though apparently it's weird enough to confuse the heck out of me and out of things like this test. On one hand, the test tells me that I really like the idealized faces of movie stars, but then it also says that I don't buy into the “mainstream” image. So people who appeal to the mainstream are not the idealized figures in movies and on TV?

Another portion of the test said that I'm, well, read for yourself:

Very Open: You have a more open and accepting view of what makes a woman attractive than other men your age. In fact, you fall in the most open and non-traditional subgroup of men who have taken this test. Good for you! This doesn't necessarily mean that looks are less important to you than to other men. You simply have a unique set of criteria and keep your eyes out for special qualities that make a woman, who may seem ordinary to most, extraordinary to you.
Sure, I'd generally agree with that. Sort of. I don't know. I mean, there seems to be a type of girl that I really go for, but that particular type seems to be really popular with other guys too. I think that if you take a step back, though, and look at the few notches below my absolute ideal, I see things differently than most other guys. Plus, strangely, I'm not exactly attracted to every girl I see—I find it to be a relatiely rare moment when I turn my head to get another look. It's all very weird.

Also, one portion of the results said that I'd be one to skip over cheerleaders, which is funny since my two biggest crushes were cheerleaders in high school. :-p

I keep breaking the test, dammit.

In other news, my efforts to be nice to Erin are failing dramatically.

Posted by mike at 01:59 PM Central | Erin , Internet , Sarah , School , Self , Software | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)


Okay, so I finally found the avatar generator today. That's pretty awesome, though I guess if I were to pick on people, I'd say there weren't quite enough hairstyles or eyeglass types. But heck, it's free. BFD.

So I kinda went nuts making icons. My aforementioned difficulty with hair made it a challenge to find something that seemed appropriate for Dan, especially with his beard, but I finally came up with this:

Which seemed okay, I guess. No offense intended, Dan. But then, I thought that I'd have to do at least two more for him. He's mentioned his desire to obtain an appropriate aged scientist look when he's older. I suppose I mucked around a bit when I came up with a kooky image for him. Dan is also famed the world 'round for his sad face, and I did my best to emulate it given what was available. I suppose you could tweak these to be a bit better.

I tried doing Sarah, but I couldn't find hair that I liked. For one image, I ended up just giving her a hat (which doesn't really make sense, but it seemed good at the time), and then using a cop-out hairdo for another image. A while later, I came back and did another try with glasses.

I tried to do appropriate icons for the Mars rovers, attempting to do a slightly angst-ridden spiritrover and a somewhat too happy opportunitygrrl. I'm debating whether to point them out or not.

And, what entry would be complete without some self-flagellation?

Posted by mike at 07:32 PM Central | Dan , Internet , Sarah , Self , Software | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

March 26, 2004

Job Wars: The Employer Strikes Back


You know, I think I am being lazy about finding a new job sometimes, but I was really surprised to get a phone call today about a possible job at Medtronic that was initially mentioned to me back on March 3rd. I've got a phone interview set up for Tuesday the 30th now. Just a slight delay there.

So, once I finally land a job, the offers will just start rolling in.

In other news, opportunitygrrl is using the icon I made, which is cool.

Posted by mike at 11:45 AM Central | Internet , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 30, 2004

That's Robert Novak: A Douchebag for Liberty

Like that title? Thank Jon Stewart, though I have no idea how The Daily Show can repeatedly use the word “douchebag” without getting in at least a little trouble. Makes me think of when they forgot to bleep “fuckers” a few weeks ago. I think that was on a Thursday—the next Monday, Stewart said something along the lines of, “We thought that [with all the Janet Jackson stuff] we'd get a call. But you know what? Nobody called!”

Always good to know the FCC is paying attention. Yeah, they basically give cable a free ride, in my opinion. On the other hand, I think the broadcast networks can get held back a bit too much from time to time. Well, except Fear Factor is on NBC. Sheesh, I don't know. I'm just generally displeased with television these days. Just give me PBS, TechTV, The History Channel, Comedy Central, and Cartoon Network, and I'll be happy. Okay, there are a few other shows I like. Say, Monk and Las Vegas.

Well, I just did my phone interview for that Medtronic position. I think it went well, though I imagine they'll have more qualified people anyway. I haven't used some of the software that they mentioned. But, those pieces are only moderately important, I think… Still, the position is only a month or so, though it's theoretically contract-to-hire (at least, that was the initial impression I was given).

Well, I have some errands to run today. I plan to finally buy an iron and ironing board, get a haircut, copy my cable bill so I can get that deduction when I pay rent, and maybe pay some other bills. Hmm. I should get one of those 12-pocket folders so I can save my pile of old bills somewhere.

Heh. This was me yesterday:

Posted by mike at 12:13 PM Central | Daily Show , Internet , Self , TV , The Media , Work | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

April 01, 2004

Googlewhacking Off

Heh. Is Google really smart or really dumb for announcing a new service on April Fool's Day? The folks over there are maintaining that Gmail is an actual service offering. It doesn't take a rocket scientist (hah!) to figure out that the Googlunaplex is a fake. Actually, I wish I'd come across the job page first—It's much more entertaining. The Gmail thing would have been a pretty lame hoax, in my opinion.

Oh! Oh! And you've got to see how awful people are at spelling Britney Spears

Posted by mike at 04:54 PM Central | Internet | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 06, 2004

Oh, Fox. Why Won't Your Animals Attack When We Need Them?

Seen today on my Dice.com "JobAlert":


Cheeya, right.

Okay, actually, those guys weren't too bad. I'm just missing Oracle, Veritas, and about three years worth of experience. There have been much worse job postings out there where the requirements go through the roof.

Posted by mike at 01:45 PM Central | Internet , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 13, 2004




No more signing up for stupid crap.

Posted by mike at 10:00 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 31, 2004

Shut Up, Donkey!

Yay! I found SkyscraperPage.com again! I was confused and thought it was Skyscrapers.com. That really worried me because all of the cool pictures were gone.

I went to see Shrek 2, but I was kind of disappointed. It's a tired storyline.

Hmm. I wonder if I'll be able to eat anything interesting tomorrow, seeing as it's a holiday. Then again, I should probably stay in—spent too much money on the movie, popcorn, and pop.

Agh! Before I forget, I should mention that a lot of evergreen plants around here seem to be dying. That doesn't seem good. At least three trees just on the land of my apartment building. Maybe somebody used bad weed killer or something when treating the area. Makes me wonder what I've inhaled.

Posted by mike at 02:03 AM Central | Abode , Food , Internet , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 05, 2004

Another One Bites the Dust.

I signed up for Netflix on Wednesday. They shipped some DVDs on Thursday, which I got yesterday. I watched The Office yesterday, but wasn't very impressed by it. It was more ouch funny than ha-ha funny. I prefer ha-ha funny, thank you. Today I watched Spirited Away, but I think my lack of interest in the fantasy side of sci-fi/fantasy caused contributed to my lack of any real opinion on it. Kind of unfortunate.

I should probably recommend Netflix to my parents since they now have a fairly nice TV but no cable (not that they'd necessarily like cable anyway, I think). When nothing is on, they could just pop in a DVD instead. Oh well, maybe the lack of anything interesting on the tube contributes to them actually getting things done.

I'm in danger of overflowing the queue fairly soon, though topping it off would probably involve TV shows more than anything else. They're still a relatively sparse thing on my list, but I suppose more might get added in later.

We'll see how the three-at-a-time thing goes for me. I have a suspicion that this arrangement could leave me in a lurch on weekend. Netflix doesn't send out new discs on Saturday, Sunday, or postal holidays, so there will probably be a few Sundays and Mondays when I get stuck with nothing, but it's hard to say how quickly I'll go through new discs. This is particularly true since turnaround time also has to be factored in, and I don't know how that works yet.

If they send out a new disc on the same day they receive a returned one, if I send a disc in on Friday, I probably wouldn't get anything until Tuesday at least (fortunately Minneapolis has overnight shipping). If it takes a day for turnaround, it could be Wednesday. Of course, things get worse if the local shipping center doesn't have a movie. My parents are probably in an overnight shipping region, but it could be two nights for them.

Anyway, I might personally have to go up to the five-at-a-time system, but I doubt I'd ever need the eight-at-a-time subscription. I was thinking that my parents might prefer the four-movie-a-month subscription, but that might not quite be enough.

Well, in other news, my building is now owned by a new company. I have to remember to write my checks to them instead this coming month. I also don't know if the arrangement where I deduct my month's cable bill from rent (well, the portion paying for TV, not Internet) is still in force or not. It would suck if that went away.

Hmm. Time to skim the U's job website yet again. This job search is getting totally ridiculous.

Posted by mike at 07:32 PM Central | Abode , Family , Internet , Movies , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 06, 2004

Gaming the System

Okay, I'm going to have to watch what my Netflix queue does in the next few months, if I'm able to keep it that long. I pretty much filled up the queue already. Of particular interest to other Netflix users is the fact that nearly all are marked as being available now. Only one is marked as requiring any sort of wait (well, aside from discs that have not been released yet).

There are indications that the wait goes up over time, at least if the customer is a heavy user. That bugs me, since that's not the initial impression I got when I saw so many movies available “now.” Most of the sites I've seen out there that complain about this sort of thing are a year or so old. One dates back to 2000 or 2001 (though the guy has been an on-again, off-again customer starting in at least 1999).

Some of the complaints don't seem relevant anymore. It looks like cancellation of service can occur over the web. At least a few people had complained in the past that you had to call a phone number to cancel service. Still, I haven't gone through the entire process, so maybe there's some required human interaction at some point.

Theoretically, if these silly numbers I jotted down are right, a person like me living near a distribution center could watch something like 25 movies a month on the regular three-at-a-time plan. However, you'd have to watch every movie by 8:00 or whatever the late mail pickup time is in your neighborhood, and if two or three movies showed up the same day, you'd have to watch all of them right away. This probably isn't actually possible, though, since there are weekends to figure in.

More practical limits seem to be around 15 or 20, but I doubt Netflix appreciates users who manage to view that many discs in a month. People outside of overnight shipping regions kind of get shafted, since turnaround averages a little more than a week. That would probably theoretically work out to around 12 per month, but the same problems pop up here as with the 25 scenario above. More practical numbers would be a little less than 10, probably (though a few examples I've seen online seem to say that getting much more than 6 is pretty difficult).

I can certainly understand from an economic standpoint if the company wants to slow down heavy users. Current subscription rates are $22 for a month. Getting 10 discs means that the company has $2.20 to use to pay for each one, which isn't a whole lot, but it should still be possible to make a profit with that (IMHO). It's reasonable to expect that fairly normal people would want service at or near that level. There may be others beyond that, but they'd be toward the edge of the bell curve anyway.

It appears that Netflix currently has 28 distribution centers, and apparently 80% or more of their customer base has overnight delivery now, so there's a much greater opportunity for people to rent lots of DVDs. Having so many distribution centers is both good and bad. They can serve more people, and get them their videos at a faster pace. The company obviously has to pay for the expansion, and as they expand, the pace of returns gets higher and higher. This makes it a bit unclear to me if they'll be profitable in the long run.

Some people have advocated that they actually go back to a per-disc pricing model, at least if people want to watch a lot of movies. However, their current (or at least recent) strategy seems to be punishing people who watch a lot of stuff. New and low-volume customers get precedence, while high-volume customers get pushed back. This is essentially punishing good customers, which is not the best strategy in the world. The worst thing is that the company is not forthcoming about this information. Well, like I said, I don't know for certain that this will happen to me, or if this is really what is happening behind the curtain. If I see the movies in my queue slowly move from being available now toward being short and then long waits, I'll have to consider sending a note to someone like Mike Hatch, since that was not the same level of service that was presented to me during my free trial.

Posted by mike at 12:45 PM Central | Internet , Money , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 06, 2004

All I Know Is, Bob Is A Dick

I can't believe Anchorman hasn't come out in theaters yet. It's been quite a while since I first started seeing ads for it. Well, maybe it just feels like a long time. I think I've been seeing previews since at least Hellboy which I probably saw in April.

Today, my website got a whole lot of spam comments from nipr.mil, which is apparently the DoD's big gateway to the Internet. Always good to know that the military's computers are secure.

Oh. The Fourth… I went with my brother down to the St. Anthony Main area, where we just happened to run into Dan, Laura, Josh, and Sarah. We ended up going up to the north end of the 3rd/Central bridge and sat at the curb. The bridge was blocked off, but it's kind of good that we didn't get any closer—the curb was much more comfortable than standing for that amount of time. Still, the show was only about 15 minutes.

Posted by mike at 11:35 PM Central | Dan , Internet , Josh , Movies , Sarah | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 09, 2004


Oh, I'm a few days late, but Wikipedia has now passed 300,000 articles.

Someone snapped a pic of the Hiawatha Line at RailPictures.net (though the locomotive is probably mis-identified, and I still haven't figured out what “Train ID” means there). I may try to take a few this weekend, though my camera just can't produce such clean pictures as that one. Another thing I'll have to upgrade eventually.

I'm theoretically getting paid Tuesday by direct deposit. I saw my boss authorize the payment from his end earlier today, so hopefully the pay service won't screw up. I think it was somewhere around $770, which is actually more than I expected. I suppose there were fewer deductions since I'm not a dependent anymore (or does that go the other way around?) Or maybe that $0.33 difference from what I was getting paid at the U actually adds up. Then again, I barely ever managed to put in a full 40 hours there, and holidays tended to screw things up. Usually closer to 35 most of the time.

Posted by mike at 06:49 PM Central | Internet , Money | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 17, 2004

Rubber Band Man

It took me a long time to get anywhere at work today. Well, anywhere that I actually wanted to go, at least. I'd upgraded my desktop machine's kernel yesterday afternoon. It turns out now that I'd pretty much gotten everything right the first or second time, but some problems with our Internet gateway box caused trouble. Turns out that the Linksys WRK54G doesn't handle TCP ECN packets properly. Oh, my favorite little networking bug…

Anyway, for the longest time I thought there was something fubared with my network driver. In the end it was just a simple little tweak to fix. Oh well, at least I brought the kernel from Red Hat's random 2.4.20-8 up to 2.4.26 and then 2.4.27. Now, the 2.6 kernel I have trouble with… 2.4 I can still wrap my head around.

The old kernel my system was using had all sorts of missing things that I wanted, so it was good to start over. The audio driver for the onboard sound was missing, so I haven't had any music for weeks while my coworkers have spent much of the day with their headphones on.

One big problem with the way my computer was set up was that the Serial ATA driver would sit there pondering its existence for about a minute each time the computer booted. This tended to take so long that when I'd reboot the computer (unfortunately something I have to do fairly often), I'd totally forget what I was doing by the time it finished. It's so much nicer without that delay.

I noticed that the processor I have in that machine seems to be a HyperThreading P4, but for some reason I couldn't get an SMP kernel to properly compile. I guess I can fiddle with that later, no that I've figured out the most pressing issues. However, the most annoying thing is that the video driver I use for the Radeon 9200 video card in the box requires a recompile for each different kernel, and it doesn't like switching between different versions at all. So, no graphics for me when I'm doing this testing. It wouldn't be so bad if it was at least a Debian box where I could easily download the text-mode packages I need.

At the end of the day I finally fixed a bug that I had actually almost tracked down yesterday (I must have gotten distracted then or something). Oh well, I guess I got some support done too.

My car still seems to be acting up a bit. Looks like the oil is starting to run low. Maybe I should add a quart, or maybe I should just get it in for service a bit early. Well, actually, with the driving I'm doing these days, I probably qualify for the 6000–7500 mile oil changes. However, it'll still be three months pretty quick here.

Now it's hard to say if I'll be able to get out of the parking lot tomorrow morning, as they're going to be removing a tree next door, and will have equipment in the way. Maybe I'll just have to go into work early.

This Dutch Elm disease is sure going crazy, though. A bunch of trees were taken down nearby earlier this summer, and a few have popped up since then. Of course, the thing that probably annoyed me the most so far was that somebody broke down one of the small saplings at the park that was put in place of an old tree that had been cut up. It's hard to say if they'll replace that one too or not.

Hmm. The weather definitely seemed weird on my way home. It was with the creepy hazy sky where nothing has any definition and you can hardly tell if there are actually clouds or if the whole world has just turned gray. There's just no texture to the sky, so it just feels ucky.

I got some music from the Best Buy. We'll see if my purchase was really the least objectionable or not. I also stopped into Target for some birthday cards for my aunt and grandmother. So now how should I pay the 80¢ postage? Two 47¢ stamps is not enough, but three is way too much. Well, considering the time and effort it would take to get proper stamps… Oh, also at Target, I got some 12-packs for $2 each. That was sweet.

Posted by mike at 08:20 PM Central | Car , Hardware , Internet , Software , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 28, 2004

Minneapolis and Jew

I'm heavily overplaying Frou Frou at the moment. Oh well, it'll be fun while it lasts.

I'm playing around with web design bits now, not that I'd ever really make it as a web guru. However, I can still borrow from the might of others:

  • JSCookMenu is probably the nicest menuing system I've seen on the web. Granted, his demos don't look all that hot, but if you ever end up using Mambo, you'll see how good they are. The drop-down menus on the Mambo demo site (username/password: admin) show what it can do
  • Open Source Web Design has a bunch of nice templates that you can use, modify, or completely mangle if you so choose. IMHO, a lot of them suck, but maybe it's just because I don't like the color schemes (then again, picking good colors is pretty damn tough).

This research is partly due to work, and partly just because I'm interested in making my own site better. Of course, my site will never be cool, but I can at least tweak little bits here and there and hope for the best.

Posted by mike at 03:26 PM Central | Internet , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 04, 2004

Congressional Medal of Idiot

On Wednesday, I went to the fair with my brother in the afternoon. I suppose neither of us are really party animals, so I guess it wasn't the most exciting thing ever. Had some decent food, though I was surprised that the chicken pita I ordered was cold, with a filling kind of along the lines of potato salad. Whatever.

We discovered that if you take the regular city bus to/from the fair, you get the shaft. It's much better to just drive to the U of M lot and take the shuttle from there. We had to wait ~15 minutes each way, and end up paying $3 in total for tickets ($1.25 there, $1.75 back because of rush hour—though we got $2 off on fair admission), but the shuttle was leaving at a rate of about once every 90 seconds. Other than that, the bus worked out pretty well, since he lives just off Como Ave.

So, I guess I'd propose that Metro Transit make the regular buses that go past the fair free too. Like that'll ever happen.

I don't remember Thursday at all, but, oh yeah, that's because I brought some work home. I shouldn't do that.

On Friday, I figured the most exciting thing I'd do would be to add some oil to my car. It's been low for a while, and the engine seems to have been running rough. It seemed a little happier with fresh oil added, but I should really get an oil change soon anyway. I should have just found a Jiffy Lube. I guess I want to wait until I get paid for the last two weeks.

My boss put in my time on Thursday. Fortunately, he changed the amount of time I had in the system up to 80 hours, but some of the other guys who don't have such consistent time sheets kind of got shafted for a day's work. I was thinking that I might get paid early, but with Labor Day on Monday, the money will probably still get transferred on Tuesday. I like that I get weekends off, but why can't other people work then? ;-)

Anyway, so after planning to do nothing other than possibly eat on Friday night, Adam called me and said he was moving out. So, I helped him move stuff over to Adam Nu's place, and then almost accidentally stole his laptop (or at least a black laptop-sized briefcase—I presume that was his laptop). It was in its black case, in the back of my car, in the dark, so it was kind of hard to see.

Kari is theoretically moving in with Erin once they find a place, so it's almost a wife-swapping type of deal. Er, or maybe nothing like that at all ;-)

Aha! I just found the little thing to tweak on my browser to get my fonts displaying correctly in Galeon again. For some reason, the mimimum font size was set to 4, but then there were two other settings that had been stuck at 14. That explains why I could never see any difference when people used <small></small> tags. Anyway, I just went to about:config (which works in any Mozilla/Gecko-based browser, I guess) and tweaked the setting. Conveniently, those two things were in bold, though I don't know why that would be…

Hmm. This might also let me finally fix the fact that pretty much all font sets except for Korean show up correctly (er, I think) in my browser. I just end up with these little rectangles with the Unicode character number in them instead of actual characters.

Posted by mike at 11:04 AM Central | Adam , Car , Erin , Family , Internet , Kari , Software , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 14, 2004

Managed Intensive Grazing

Ugh. The Linksys gateway we have at work is FUBAR. It only talks to the Internet for about 30 seconds before being quiet again. It still talks on the local network, just getting anywhere else is problematic. That'll be fun tomorrow. I wonder if our old router is still laying around somewhere. Feh.

I moved into an adjoining office today, which is probably why this all happened. Then again, the box seemed a little unhappy earlier. I've had to reset it a couple of times in the past.

Theoretically we have a static IP now and aren't stuck behind the firewall anymore. Maybe there's a weird worm out there that is causing the router to flip out, although there aren't any new firmware updates on Linksys's website. Not that that necessarily means anything—there are bugs in the software as it is…

I guess they have some big Sonicwall box out there somewhere, but the network behavior has been really funky. The routing paths in and out don't seem to make any sense—probably because of the firewall. We were having some really bad latency for a while, though it seems to be better now. Our ISP said they were having trouble with ARP storms. Fine fine, whatever.

I really recommend avoiding working with XO Communications if you can.

Posted by mike at 09:00 PM Central | Hardware , Internet , Work | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

September 23, 2004

So Soo Me

I downloaded some really big fractal images the other day and started using one for my desktop at work. Check them out here—they're even public domain ;-)

Posted by mike at 09:58 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 02, 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.

Posted by mike at 07:23 PM Central | Comedy , Daily Show , Internet , Software , TV , The Media | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 06, 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 Central | Internet , Software , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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 Central | Car , Internet , Self , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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 Central | Internet , Music , Software , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 22, 2004

Out of Time

Wikipedia article of the day: Cheese-eating surrender monkeys

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

November 05, 2004

Monty Python's Flying Circus

Ugh. I'm going to have to disable comments on my site. The spam is just getting to be unmanageable.

Posted by mike at 10:19 AM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 14, 2004

24 Hour Party People

After being nearly unreachable for about a month, Wikipedia is running decently again. We'll see how long that lasts. The current page count 394,660. Just a few days to the 400k mark. Wow.

Hmm. The Vikings are at Green Bay today? I guess I can try my mall trip again.

Posted by mike at 12:20 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 08, 2005


From today's spam pile:

As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because, I believe everyone will die someday.
Eh? Mmmmkay...

Posted by mike at 04:16 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 17, 2005


Erin wrote me a very honest note about how I pissed her off. Eesh. Sorry. I figured everyone saw me as a nice guy, albeit quiet or aloof. Well, I've got some friendship-rebuilding to do, I guess. Apologies to everyone—I've been off in my own little world, which is why I never talk about anyone else—there simply hasn't been anyone else to talk about. With repeated job trouble, I also haven't had a whole lot of spare cash, which has not exactly made me happy.

Oh well, I just have to figure out more of the free/supercheap stuff to do. I brought Keen Eddie over to Dan's place again yesterday evening, and spent some time with him, Laura, and Sarah. I'm glad they all like the show, as I haven't felt that I've had much to offer people. If I've turned them on to a cool show, that's great. They've all enjoyed seeing the actors on the show too, since many have been in other things. And, obviously the episodes just rock. I know Sarah needed the laughs.

One of Dan's roommates had us watch the Super Mario Reloaded and Final Fantasy A+ Flash animations, which were both really funny. Unfortunately, their DSL line is dog slow and they took forever to load. I just checked them right now on my cable modem, and the Super Mario one only took about 20 seconds to load. It took a few minutes last night.

Hmm. He just told me that his friends don't have or particularly want cable TV. He suggested that basic plus cable modem might be the way to go, and I'd agree.

Anyway, back to the Flash things: It's good that Dan knew how to make them nearly-full-screen. That made 'em a lot easier to enjoy, especially on the big TV ;-)

Well, that's it, I think.

Posted by mike at 01:30 PM Central | Dan , Erin , Internet , Sarah , Self , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 19, 2005

Black and White

I've kind of disappeared from Wikipedia in the last week or so due to...stuff, but it's awesome that they now have more than 500,000 articles. I've made several thousand edits there myself, but they're mostly updates. Many of my contributions are "redirects"—basically aliases or shortcuts—that don't really count as anything. Still, I think I've done some pretty cool things there, like my articles on the Hiawatha Line and the old Twin Cities streetcar system. There have been a few poor design decisions made on the site, but the deficiencies are largely outweighed by other features (in my opinion, anyway). I especially like that I can (usually) just replace spaces with underscores to figure out the URLs of articles.

In other news, my mom reports 22 ½ inches of snow at home. I doubt we have more than 2 at my apartment, but I don't have a good measuring utensil handy. It's pretty remarkable, since they can still watch the same TV stations and listen to (some of) the same radio stations that I do.

Posted by mike at 09:55 AM Central | Internet , Weather | Comments (0)

March 26, 2005

Stumbles with Scissors

Hmm. Native American Goth Name Generator

Some of the better ones for me: Warrior of Eternal Pits of Darkness, and Chief Shoegazer Tomahawk.

Posted by mike at 09:55 AM Central | Internet | Comments (0)

April 03, 2005


I want to make an online quiz where people have to guess what fluid they are looking at. There would be images of white grape juice, pear juice, apple juice, beer, and urine. I'm sure there are other brownish liquids that could be included as well. (Bio)diesel, gasoline, and other fuels might work...

Posted by mike at 02:37 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0)

April 14, 2005

The Postman Always Sings Like Elvis Costello

Hmm. I don't know how long Google video has been up and operating, but it's fairly interesting. Only 8 channels, though... Sadly, no Comedy Central.

I'm still playing with OkCupid too much. I suppose I'm procrastinating on my taxes. I'm sure my interest will wane within a few days.

Oh, and I had a phone screening plus a call to set up a face-to-face interview today.

Posted by mike at 04:52 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0)

April 28, 2005

Dick van Patten

Heh. Well, Google Maps may not have decent satellite images of downtown Minneapolis, but they do have pictures of a buch of nuclear test sites including Sedan. Look around...that's a lot of holes.

Posted by mike at 10:17 AM Central | Internet | Comments (0)

May 06, 2005

Hot Nigerian Mardi Gras Phishing

Wow. It appears that in the last 438 junk mail messages I've received, only one mentions sex. In a way, it's depressing.

Posted by mike at 09:01 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0)

May 12, 2005

Diesel Sweeties

LiveJournal's down and Wikipedia's up? That's unpossible.

Something else that's unpossible: my fortune cookies ever coming true. Latest example: "An old love will come back to you." I'd have to bend the rules of "love" anyway, and the big ones are spoken for. Reminds me of when I went to eat out with a bunch of people including Sarah. We had to go through "the talk" earlier that day or the day before, but it basically said that we'd get together in short order. Stupid fauxsian cuisine.

Posted by mike at 05:13 PM Central | Food , Internet , Sarah , Self | Comments (0)

June 26, 2005

Calvin Cordozar Broadus

Google Maps has updated the satellite images for the Twin Cities area, so now you can zoom in all the way for downtown Minneapolis. Unfortunately, the images they are using now are less up-to-date than the old ones. The Hiawatha light rail line is in an earlier stage of construction, for instance.

Posted by mike at 02:30 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0)

August 19, 2005

0xCAFE, er, -script

I've gotten so accustomed to the table of contents on Wikipedia pages that I expect them to be there, even on simple hand-coded web pages, so I cobbled together some JavaScript to walk the top level of a document and find the h2, h3, .. h6 headings and magically make a TOC. The actual list generation code originally came from QuirksMode, and I borrowed chunks from Wikipedia for the show/hide functionality. Layout of the elements is essentially the same as in Wikipedia, other than the fact that I use a 'span' or something somewhere instead of an 'h2', since fixing that probably would have required some specila logic. Anyway, check it out here (view source if you want the code).

Oh look, I forgot about that tag the U adds to static HTML pages... So, here is how it should really look...

Posted by mike at 12:52 AM Central | Internet | Comments (0)

In Combo

Okay, my JavaScript Table of Contents doesn't work in Internet Explorer or Konqueror (which means it probably also breaks in Safari). Firefox and Galeon both work, so presumably just about any Gecko-based browser will work (Gecko is Mozilla's HTML rendering engine). Just as well, since someone else also made a similar implementation. Well, sort of. I actually use ul/li elements, which means that you get a nice list even if CSS is disabled.

Posted by mike at 10:03 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0)

September 15, 2005

Change Made Easier

Well, after about two and a half years, RoadRunner finally kicked my firewall over to a new IP address. I tried connecting from work earlier in the day and was worried that the power had gone out or something. Ah well..

Minnesota Public Radio launched Minnewiki the other day, "The Minnesota Music Encyclopedia." Sounds like fun.

Posted by mike at 09:56 PM Central | Internet , Music | Comments (0)

September 29, 2005


Looks like Wikipedia passed three quarters of a million articles today (well, the calculation of what exactly is an article is a bit fluid, so the precise moment is probably indeterminate). I've kind of fallen off the map there in the last several weeks, but I suppose it's good to have a breather. Even though it's entirely voluntary (well, aside for a few folks who are paid workers), there can be a lot of stress that goes along with the site. I'm sure I'll cycle around again once I get bored with some other things.

Posted by mike at 09:18 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0)

October 15, 2005


So, two weeks ago I went to IKEA over two days and bought some shelving for CDs (hmm, I really should get back to fiddling with that—I need at least one more notch between the shelves), some nestable coffee tables, one of those Poäng rocking chairs, a small kitchen table, a footstool and a storage cube with a lot of holes in it (I'm using it for laundry), plus some stuff that I want to try putting up in my kitchen to hang things from the wall. I also got some new shoes to replace the ones that were, oh five? six? years old...

Last weekend, I met with a few other Wikipedia contributors. One user, Angela, was in town to discuss Wikipedia and other related stuff like Wikicities. One guy who came was very gung-ho about explaining a software product he's developing that is based on the software that runs Wikipedia. Well, except all of the guts have been ripped out. It seemed interesting, but I shouldn't say much about it.

I've been feeling a bit odd this week, as though I'm sick but without coughing, sneezing, or really showing much of anything. I might have a fever, and I've been getting woozy spells, but I don't see much else for symptoms. My plan this weekend is to get out and walk around a fair amount to see if I jsut need some exercise.

I should go out and buy some more CDs, just to keep my wanted music list limited. Unfortunately, I spent a lot of money two weeks ago, and my secondary monitor at home finally keeled over last night, so I need to get a new one. Scary how hard it is to get anything better than 1280×1024 resolution, though since this was my second head anyway, it doesn't matter too much. I think I'll just get a CRT for now. Boy, do I wish I could get one of Apple's monster Cinema Displays, but that would require getting a new video card. I just don't have the money for that. Hopefully, prices will drop in the future, and a reasonably-priced CRT purchased today should be equal to or less than that future drop.

I still need a new computer desk too, so I need to think about that. Well, actually, I'm trying to stay on target for a down payment on a new car next year. I seem to be going through cash too quickly, though. If I felt more comfortable in my kitchen, I'd feel more comfortable cooking. If I was more comfortable cooking, then maybe I wouldn't eat out so much. Then I could save some money, maybe.

Well, I'd better get cleaned up so I can go out for my walk. And get a haircut. And get an oil change. And buy some dryer sheets. And a good baking pan. And all these other little things that I never remember.

Posted by mike at 11:41 AM Central | Abode , Car , Hardware , Internet , Money | Comments (0)

January 01, 2006

The Tick vs. The Tick

I was distracted and didn't look at my watch at midnight. I don't think it counted the leap—it's now off from my computer by one second. Apparently, my computer did it's leap second jump earlier in the evening, which is also rather disappointing:

Dec 31 19:08:13 3po ntpd[5675]: no servers reachable
Dec 31 19:19:30 3po ntpd[5675]: synchronized to, stratum 2
Dec 31 19:19:30 3po ntpd[5675]: time reset -1.000308 s
Dec 31 19:23:47 3po ntpd[5675]: synchronized to, stratum 2

I didn't think that was supposed to happen, but I guess the leap second actually occurred at midnight UTC rather than midnight local time. Of course, midnight UTC was at 18:00 local time, so I wonder why it took over an hour for the reset to happen...

Update: Aha! It's a bug (maybe).

Posted by mike at 12:51 AM Central | Internet | Comments (0)

January 29, 2006


It's still January (barely). It's been raining since sometime this afternoon. I was out in it for quite a while, mostly trying to find a place with a copier. Since Snyders moved to their temporary location, they've cut back hours (closing at 1 PM on Saturday, closed Sunday).

Ross Raihala at the Pioneer Press has an interesting article comparing 89.3 The Current, Drive 105, and Cities 97. Among the findings: Over a period of one afternoon drive-time hour for each of three days, 89.3 didn't play music by one artist more than once. Also, I'm not sure if this math is right, but apparently KCMP had about 7 minutes 30 seconds of non-music time per hour (DJ banter, promors, news), while Drive came it at around 13:15, and Cities 97 at almost 14 minutes.

Hmm. A moment ago I turned on Drive 105 for the first time in a while (since 89.3 was doing their weekly installment of Redefinition Radio), and caught Bloc Party's "Helicopter"—which was promptly described as a "Drive Exclusive". Sheeya right! That's a big reason I'm sick of commercial radio—everyone has to be "Number 1!" or "Today's Best Music!" or something else that is just total marketing bunk.

Anyway, on to other things. Last night, I set up a system for responding to SSH attacks using syslog-ng, SEC, and a small script I wrote up. I described my setup in an e-mail to TCLUG. I've gotten some responses, and it seems that most people have decided that different approaches suit their needs. I just set it up in a way that made the most sense to me.

Posted by mike at 12:51 AM Central | Internet , Music , Weather | Comments (0)

March 18, 2006


I updated the CSS on my website and got the right column to always be vertical. I also pulled some redundant code out of the individual pages that get rendered, saving a few megabytes of space. Unfortunately, I'm still over 90% usage on my web space, so I'll have to get more creative eventually. I'm running an ancient version of Movable Type, and I've got to move to something better fairly soon.

I basically hadn't upgraded in the past because the export facility for this version doesn't include the actual article ID number used in the database. Without that, some of my internal links would go awry once the new site was up, since pages would have different numbers. I try to avoid breaking existing URL links whenever I can. I've just come across too many 404s in my time, I guess.

I'll probably try to catch V for Vendetta sometime this weekend. I'd also kind of like to see Night Watch, though I'm not sure if I'm in the mood. Oh, and I wanted to see Why We Fight. Hmm, there don't seem to be any good comedies out right now, except perhaps for Tristram Shandy (which I saw last week), and Dave Chappelle's Block Party.

Hmm.. Thinkety thinkety thinkety...

Posted by mike at 04:45 PM Central | Internet , Movies | Comments (0)

July 03, 2006

Thy Name Is Vanity


hick0088@garnet ~>$ last
bend0075  pts/29       207-67-87-34.sta Wed Jun 28 14:48 - 14:48  (00:00)
wain0001  pts/3        64-148-59-82.ads Wed Jun 28 14:46 - 19:02  (04:15)
edenx001  pts/96       x101-199-138.cla Wed Jun 28 14:45 - 15:59  (01:14)
doh       pts/87       atlas.socsci.umn Wed Jun 28 14:44 - 16:19  (01:34)
leonard   pts/65       leonard1.nts.umn Wed Jun 28 14:44 - 08:51 (1+18:07)
smiile    pts/3        c-24-118-198-187 Wed Jun 28 14:40 - 14:41  (00:00)
troy0005  pts/52       209-240-88-34.st Wed Jun 28 14:40 - 14:52  (00:12)
frede005  pts/69       x101-215-48.ej10 Wed Jun 28 14:38 - 15:23  (00:44)
corne001  pts/69       x94-152-169.ej10 Wed Jun 28 14:38 - 14:38  (00:00)
hick0088@garnet ~>$

Bah, I always do that when I'm bored. Wait.. 'doh'?

hick0088@garnet ~>$ finger doh
Login name: doh                         In real life: Dong J Oh
Directory: /home/d/doh                  Shell: /bin/tcsh
Last login Mon Jul  3 04:00 on pts/54 from atlas.socsci.um
New mail received Mon Jul  3 07:01:10 2006;
  unread since Mon Jul  3 04:00:54 2006
No Plan.
hick0088@garnet ~>$

Oh... My... That's pretty funny ;-)

Posted by mike at 10:35 AM Central | Internet | Comments (0)

September 01, 2006


Meh, well, I had to find it eventually.

Posted by mike at 02:08 PM Central | Internet , School | Comments (0)

September 19, 2006


Oh good. My Internet gateway failed for the second time in about six months. I'm not sure what's wrong with it, since there aren't any obvious issues (no burning smell, no blown capacitors that I can see). It started making more noise yesterday, but the weather's been getting cold and computers often change their tune as the temperature and/or humidity drifts around... One of the two fans in the power supply has either failed, or doesn't turn on when the system is cold, but that doesn't appear to be the source of the noise.

Well, I guess it's time to research more a more solid-state design. Of course, I'd probably be willing to get a Netgear or somesuch—if they would let traceroutes go through! Hmm. I'll have to ask my cube neighbors about my company's low-end SnapGear boxes. I suppose I could get a discount, and that'd be cheaper than building a new system if something major has gone wrong.

Posted by mike at 07:42 AM Central | Abode , Hardware , Internet | Comments (0)

September 30, 2006


Scarlett's popular on Yahoo...
Is Scarlett Johansson really the Sexiest Woman Alive? I guess the folks browsing Yahoo News must think so.

...not that I'm disagreeing with anyone...

Posted by mike at 05:22 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0)

October 11, 2006


You'd think that Amtrak would have estimated arrival times on their website, but they don't.

Posted by mike at 05:48 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0)

December 14, 2006

Jack the Ripper

Bruce Schneier on real-world passwords:

We used to quip that "password" is the most common password. Now it's "password1." Who said users haven't learned anything about security?

It's used 0.22% of the time.

Posted by mike at 10:17 AM Central | Internet | Comments (0)

January 16, 2007

Hub and Spoke

Blech, Comcast seems slow as molasses half the time. I don't like it. I'm not sure where the bottleneck is, but even loading sites that you'd presume to be local (the Star Tribune and MNspeak.com, for instance) take a long time, just as bad as far-flung ones. At least my connection to the University of Minnesota seems fast.

Posted by mike at 07:55 AM Central | Internet | Comments (0)

February 19, 2007


Gah. I went to school with this guy. Well, no, it wasn't really school—it was a summer program for high school sophomores and juniors at the University of Minnesota in 1996. Jawed Karim—he's one of the founders of YouTube.

Posted by mike at 11:08 AM Central | Internet | Comments (0)

March 24, 2007

Muldering Fox

Everyone on MySpace should go add this to the top of their "About Me" code:

<style type="text/css">
.blacktext12:before {
    content: "I don't believe ";
Posted by mike at 08:10 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0)

April 06, 2007


Okay, I give up. I'm going to stop using the Galeon web browser since it's becoming old and crusty, and nobody wants to support it anymore. It's just a wrapper around Mozilla/Firefox's Gecko rendering engine anyway. Well, I'd avoided Mozilla and Firefox for a while since (at least with Mozilla) they'd gone the route of having their own magic theme-able interface, which might allow things to look pretty, but meant that the browser stuck out like a sore thumb on my desktop. But let me tell you, I was already sick of having the browser stick out—Before Mozilla, Netscape was the browser most people used on Linux, and it used the Motif widget toolkit, which I always thought looked ugly as sin. For years I had a nice Gnome desktop with various pretty applications, and there was Netscape, just destroying my whole zen experience...

Anyway, as I said, nobody likes Galeon anymore. Well, at least Firefox 2.0 has more than halfway caught up with the UI, though there are still a few things missing or different. But even Galeon got stripped of some of it's nicer features. I tried Epiphany, but that was even more stripped-down. They were definitely not going for the power-user arena, which is where the original Galeon browser was targeted. For instance, it used to be possible to have multiple user stylesheets available in Galeon. I had this nifty one set up which was best suited to "printer friendly" pages—those always print text at the full width of the screen, but that's much wider than what's comfortable to read. My stylesheet brought it down to a more manageable width, on the order of 80 or 100 characters wide. But, of course, in Galeon 2 (I think...), the option of having multiple user stylesheets went away.

So, in the last few months, I've noticed that Galeon has seemed to be loading and running much more slowly than in the past. It doesn't mesh with the Mozilla/Firefox libraries as well as it once did. I tried out Epiphany for a while and was amazed at how fast it loaded certain pages. However, Epiphany had so many good things taken out of it that I just couldn't stand dealing with it. It has extensions too, but they're mostly unconfigurable. There's an ad-blocking extension, for instance, but it will block any url which has the string "ad" in it. That makes for a number of false hits. I had images on Flickr disappear because of that...

So, begrudgingly, I'm giving in and switching to Firefox (well, Iceweasel on Debian, but that's basically just a name issue). Oh well, it's for the best. Firefox has a whole add-on development community, which means that I will eventually find all of the things I need. Now I just need to document the things that annoy me:

Ctrl+Enter adds "www." and ".com" to whatever's in the URL bar rather than opening the URL in a new tab

  • Explanation: The adding of "www." and ".com" with this key combination is something that was borrowed from Internet Explorer. Nevermind the fact that Firefox will probably add on "www." and ".com" even if you only press Enter all by itself...
  • Solution #1: See bug #237027 – One commenter has a link to an add-on which sort of fixes this, but it's not configurable
  • Solution #2: Re-train yourself to use Alt+Enter, which matches how Internet Explorer does it (ugh)...

There are too many cases where new browser windows are opened—I want them in tabs instead!

  • Solution: This behavior can be improved by modifying the browser.link.open_newwindow and browser.link.open_newwindow.restriction properties on the about:config screen (Why is this hidden? Grr!)

Multiple user stylesheets aren't supported

  • Solution: This can probably be circumvented with some Greasemonkey scripting.

I don't know where the hell my user stylesheet (userContent.css) is or should be!

  • Solution: If there's not a bug report on that, there probably should be. Epiphany was nice enough to have a button in it's preferences dialog which would open up an editor with the file. Just about the only truly nice thing I've got to say about that browser...

The userContent.css file only gets loaded once when you start the browser!

I can barely tell which Firefox tab is active—they all look almost exactly the same except for slight difference in how gray they are

  • (Not A) Solution: Use themes! (*sigh*)

There are too many extensions for Firefox!

  • No shit.

The existence of the about:config screen is too much of a secret

  • Yes. There ought to be a button somewhere, or at least some reference to it in the built-in help pages.

Okay, I found this about:config screen, but what the heck do these things mean?

  • Yeah, these things should be self-documented, like (most of) the options in Gnome's gconf system. For some of these options, you can get help with a Google search, but many don't seem to be documented anywhere other than the source code.

I want smart bookmarks, like what Galeon had.

  • Yeah, I'm hoping there's a good extension for that somewhere. I had a bunch of nifty keyword searches set up...
  • [Edit 4/7/2007]: It appears that I was looking for smart keywords

Hey! When I middle-click on a link, or do something else to open a new tab, there's no browse history! If I close the original tab, I can't go back anymore!

  • Yeah, the browse history should be replicated when new tabs are opened, in my humble opinion... Someone's probably made an extension for this somewhere...
  • Partial solution: If you go to History → Recently Closed Tabs, you can reopen the tab that was closed.

[Edit 4/7/2007]: When I've got my mouse cursor over a bookmark, I'd like the URL to be displayed in the status bar of the browser

  • I haven't figured out a solution yet...

Posted by mike at 09:20 PM Central | Internet | Comments (0)

April 20, 2007

Siegfield Follies


I'm trying to find ways to ditch Outlook at work. So far, the best option seems to be to use only as a calendar, and to use Thunderbird or something else for actually doing my mail. There are a few things that are a little annoying, such as the fact that I have to go in and select exactly which folders I want to "subscribe" to via IMAP, but that's not a huge thing. The most annoying thing so far? It doesn't have a way to edit signature files! What? It expects you to just create a text file on the hard drive in a particular spot. Now, I don't mind this on a Unix/Linux box, where I'd just plop something into ~/.signature, but on Windows, you have to go through the drudgery of plodding through C:\Documents and Settings\<User>\<something>\<something>\<something>, which is very annoying...

How hard is it to have a button that starts up Notepad or whatever editor is associated with *.txt files, and have it point at the expected location? Heck, there's a file editor built into the stupid program—the "Compose" window used for creating messages. Why can't you just use that? Grr!

Posted by mike at 10:15 AM Central | Internet , Work | Comments (0)