I spent much of last week in Ottawa, and this week catching up. Plus getting ready for Gareth’s (first) birthday sleepover (tonight), Kortright kite fest this weekend, and I’m going back to Ottawa for a week on Sunday. Then the following week is the open source conference (Sun-Tue)… not to mention mundane things like 5.1 patch 2 and a continuing low-level stream of customer issues…

I’m a little wrung out?

I haven’t even managed to check off any more movies from the list!

On the plus side, my 2002 income tax refund showed up yesterday! (Mine, mine all mine… I’m rich! I’m independently wealthy! I’m financially secure!)

posted at 10:19 pm on Friday, April 30, 2004 in Personal | Comments Off on News

Movies update

I copied my “movie list”: from the “blog entry”: over onto my static content pages. The “new movie list”: I’ll try to keep up-to-date :-)

posted at 4:48 pm on Monday, April 19, 2004 in Site News | Comments (1)
  1. Jeff K says:

    Hey, where’s “Fahrenheit 9/11”? [n.b. I’m not a big fan of Moore’s agenda, but he collects a lot of important facts while pursuing it].

More Quotables

bq. I’ve used about 20 operating systems in my career and written two. I’ve programmed in over 40 languages. I’ve tasted about 75 flavors of ice cream. Limiting me to one of each would be a pity.

“Dr. Eugene “Spaf” Spafford”: in “Spaf on Legislating Technology, Congressional Testimonies, and Info Security”: on “Greplaw”:

posted at 1:36 pm on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 in Links | Comments Off on More Quotables

Diversity vs. Inequality

The New York Times contains an essay titled “Diversity’s False Solace”: (registration required).

I loved these quotes:

bq. the reason we like the problem of racism is that solving it just requires us to give up our prejudices, whereas solving the problem of economic inequality might require something more — it might require us to give up our money.

bq. When student and faculty activists struggle for cultural diversity, they are in large part battling over what skin color the rich kids should have. […] As long as we think that our best universities are fair if they are appropriately diverse, we don’t have to worry that most people can’t go to them.

posted at 1:32 pm on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 in Links | Comments (1)
  1. Greg Wilson says:

    They, the poor, have to labour in the face of the majestic equality of the law, which forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

    – Anatole France

Page 23 Meme

“This is one of the most arcane and irregular architectures still in use, but is undeniably the most popular.”

(“Linkers and Loaders”:, John R. Levine)

The deal:
Grab the nearest book whatever it happens to be.
Open the book to page 23.
Find the fifth complete sentence.
Post the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

(via “The Nita”:

posted at 3:51 pm on Monday, April 12, 2004 in Miscellaneous | Comments (1)

Long Distance Charges

I received my monthly phone bill today.

Does anyone else think Bell Canada’s savings breakdown is absurd? This month, I saved $114.40 on my $135.60 phone bill! Wow, I feel priviledged that Bell is giving me such a deep discount!

Well, they’re not. Not really.

I’m on their basic (First Rate) long distance plan. A minimum fee of $4.95 gets me up to 60 evening/weekend minutes. The rest are 10¢/minute, but with a maximum total fee (including the minimum) of $20.00 for the first 800 minutes.

Fine, so far. But the report they generate compares this plan with the _maximum_ I could have paid for the call. This is misleading two ways:

1) It ignores standard time-of-day discounts, which are applied across the board to everyone, even poor schmoes who don’t have a Bell long distance plan. (It doesn’t apply to operator assisted calls, though :-). So I’m not really _saving_ on those, am I?
2) It ignores the fact that everyone with two brain cells to rub together purchases a long distance plan from _somebody_. The actual going rate for long distance is well below 10¢/minute, not the 38¢/minute or 43¢/minute they are comparing my rates to…

I’m not sure why they’re allowed to do this. Ah well; laugh at the poor sucker who would have paid the whole $135.60, I guess…

posted at 1:38 pm on Monday, April 12, 2004 in Random Thoughts | Comments Off on Long Distance Charges

USDA denies beef testing request

A Kansas company wants to export beef to Japan, despite the Japanese ban on all American beef. The Japanese have said they will accept beef that has been tested using a $20/head, government approved, “rapid test”. The USDA told them not to.

bq. The rationale for the USDA decision was that the rapid testing was only approved as a measure for surveillance of animal health and that Creekstone’s 100% testing proposal would have “implied a consumer safety aspect that is not scientifically warranted.”

There is apparently _way_ too much cattle money in Washington…

(via “Plastic”:;sid=04/04/11/16342611 )

posted at 9:37 pm on Sunday, April 11, 2004 in Current Events | Comments Off on USDA denies beef testing request

We didn’t start the fire

“Billy Joel: We didn’t start the fire”: Annotated.

On the one hand, I’m kinda embarrassed about the number of references I didn’t get. On the other hand, four of the five verses mention events that occurred before I was born :-)

posted at 9:10 am on Saturday, April 10, 2004 in Links | Comments Off on We didn’t start the fire

Movable Type security problem with Draft entries

I’m astonished that this has not been fixed yet, given the huge problems lately with Movable Type and comment spam.

Joe Grossberg: MT Post Status Vulnerability

This explains why I’ve been getting comment notifications for old posts, even though I’m running an automatic “close comments after 2 weeks” script.

Proving once again that open source developers are not any better at security than everyone else :-)

posted at 10:29 am on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 in Security | Comments Off on Movable Type security problem with Draft entries

More on Driver retesting

I had a short chat this evening with a fellow curler, who said (if I remember correctly :):

* Now that Ontario has privatized the driver testing program, the wait for an examination is a couple of days, not months.

* The problem in Ontario really is driver skill (well, the lack thereof), and not congestion; European roads are much more congested than ours, but their accident rates are lower.

* As for the money, it turns out that we (Ontario) spend about 95 million dollars a year on hospital care for the victims of non-fatal accidents. That’s a whole lot of money to apply to a) retesting, and b) other parts of the healthcare system…

It’s all moot, however, since “McGinty came out and said no”:

bq. on Tuesday, Premier Dalton McGuinty told reporters that mandatory retesting was “just not on” for Ontario drivers.

posted at 10:20 pm on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 in Random Thoughts | Comments (1)
  1. Jeff K says:

    You must not have heard me the first time [well other than an attempt construe “n00b” into “foreigner”]. Twice zilch is zilch, so there’s no $95,000,000 to be saved. And my lord, where does your buddy get his statistics? “The Sun” or something? French roads are unbelievably lethal. (8000/year):
    (1 in 7522 population)

    (841 in Ontario)
    (1 in 14000 population)

    and fewer people drive in France!

    Anyway $95M / 85,000 injuries = $1117. Or less neo-con of me, $95M/10M = $9.50. A driver’s test is probably a $50 thing. Anyway, I didn’t check that stat of yours. $1117/incident seems low. (Approximately 2.6 cents per day per population).

Movies to See

After seeing some good trailers on “”:, I decided to put my list together, so I wouldn’t forget.

Apparently I’m going to be busy in June :-)

* “Hellboy”: – April 2 “trailer”:
* (seen!) “Ella Enchanted”: – April 9 (A favourite book) “trailer”:
* “The Girl Next Door”: – April 9 “trailer”:
* (dvd?) “13 Going on 30”: – April 23 (Jennifer Garner) “trailer”:
* “Van Helsing”: – May 7 “trailer”:
* “Troy”: – May 14 “trailer”:
* “Shrek 2”: – May 21 “trailer”:
* “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”: – June 4 “trailer”:
* “Around the World in 80 Days”: – June 16 “trailer”:
* “The Notebook”: – June 25 “trailer”:
* “The Village”: – June 30 (M. Night Shyamalan!) “trailer”:
* “Spiderman 2”: – June 30 “trailer”:
* “Garden State”: – July 30 “trailer”:
* “The Bourne Supremacy”: – July 23
* “The Thunderbirds”: – August 6 “trailer”:
* “The Last Shot”: – September 2004 “trailer”:
* “Shark Tale”: – October 1
* “The Brothers Grimm”: – November 19 (Terry Gilliam)
* “Serenity”: – 2005

posted at 9:59 am on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 in Personal | Comments (1)
  1. Catspaw says:

    You have good tastes. :)

Driver re-testing

I’ve always had a somewhat idealistic view on things like driver retesting. Any skill that is not reinforced can suffer; driving is no exception. So theoretically, it should be a good thing, right?

So when I read (in CBC News:Alberta, Ontario mull retesting all drivers)

bq. Drivers in Alberta and Ontario could soon be forced to take periodic exams to make highways safer, transport ministers in both provinces have said.

bq. Ontario Transportation Minister Harinder Takhar said on Friday that his province would also consider driver testing, if the government sees evidence it would improve highway safety.

My first thought was “and how are they going to manage that?”. When I took my drivers test (only a few years ago) there was a 10 month wait to get a test, at least here in the Greater Toronto Area. Add mandatory retesting and the load on the driver testing system would skyrocket, which means either completely unmanageable delays, or hiring a whole bunch of new examiners.

And where are we going to get the money for _that_?

posted at 10:26 pm on Saturday, April 03, 2004 in Random Thoughts | Comments (4)
  1. Reid says:

    Um.. from the money we save by reducing the number of accidents?

    Ya, okay, maybe not.

  2. Jeff K says:

    Just go for a cruise in my neighbourhood, you’ll see that the current driver’s test does zilch. Twice zero is still zero. Between the sh33p, the n00bs and the l33ts, it’s pretty hazardous. I’m certain they hate my driving too — damn I stop at nearly all the stop signs and yield to the right [to a certain number of milliseconds]. I must be the only one.

    In Mississauga the other day, I found it humorous to see a Jeep driver committing 5 and 6 point infractions blatantly, yet still stopping for red-lights. There are some confused folk out there.

    Let me think, how many of these folk are going to do these sorts of things on a driver’s test… hmmm.

  3. Harald says:

    I’m one of those obnoxious drivers who doesn’t speed (insanely :), stops for red lights and stop signs, doesn’t enter the intersection when there’s no exit, signals lane changes, and so on. I’m a safety nut in a few different areas of my life. Still, I wonder what blind spots I have about my own driving skills.

    Possibly urban legend: some Toronto cops used to carry a card, english on one side, french on the other, that said “I wrote my own driver’s exam”. They’d hand it to people they pulled over and ask them to read it out loud. This was before the law changed to allow you to write the test in any conceivable language…

  4. More on Driver retesting
    I had a short chat this evening with a fellow curler, who said (if I remember correctly :): Now that…


From Nelson’s Weblog: life / escapeFromNoise:

bq. Sound isn’t like light. You can close or avert your eyes but it’s nearly impossible to avoid an offensive sound.

* Here at work we have a large atrium rising the height of the building (eight floors). All but floors six and seven are open to the core; no walls, just a railing. Needless to say, noise carries quite well, especially up from the lobby.

* There are a few cell phones in the group, mainly for the customer support team. They get annoying quickly.

* Our old Dell’s are, well, old. The main CPU cooling fan starts to _squeek_ after a while. It’s a very high-pitched sound, difficult to track down when computers are behind partitions and under desks.

I wear headphones most of the day…

posted at 2:36 pm on Thursday, April 01, 2004 in Links | Comments Off on Noise