the world, I want to get off!

posted at 11:50 pm on Friday, December 31, 2004 in Personal | Comments (1)
  1. start
    With reference to “stop”:, I’m feeling a lot better now. After the chaos and stress of the week between Christmas and NYE, I got a day all to myself. I slept in, cleaned up the house (after the part…


Wow, I’m impressed. A search for ‘panvore’ in “google”: returned no hits! We’ve been joking about Brian (the human garberator) for years. Most of us are omnivores (we eat anything); Brian is a panvore, because he eats *everything*.

_Update_: two days later, and I’ve been indexed; the search now returns this page…

posted at 2:27 pm on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 in Humour, Personal | Comments Off on panvore


It’s Christmas day, the spammers are out in force, and I don’t feel like babysitting. Comments are kaput, for now.

posted at 7:21 pm on Saturday, December 25, 2004 in Site News | Comments Off on sigh

Why does the shower curtain blow up and in instead of down and out?

The Straight Dope: Why does the shower curtain blow up and in instead of down and out?

I always thought it was convection; hot air rising out the top of the shower stall sucks the curtain in. But it turns out that cold showers do the same thing, thanks to the Coanda effect.

You learn something new every day :-)

posted at 12:29 pm on Friday, December 24, 2004 in Links, Science and Technology | Comments Off on Why does the shower curtain blow up and in instead of down and out?

Maybe we’ll win after all…

Apparently we’ve developed cochroach contraceptives:

The Straight Dope: Is it possible to control bugs by making them sterile?

posted at 12:24 pm on Friday, December 24, 2004 in Humour, Links | Comments Off on Maybe we’ll win after all…

Can you see a difference?

The Straight Dope: What’s the difference between apple juice and apple cider?

Summary: the differences ranges from “none” to “extremely little”…

posted at 12:20 pm on Friday, December 24, 2004 in Links | Comments Off on Can you see a difference?

It’s time…

It began when I started driving to work; I lost 20-40 minutes per day of walking (not to mention an hour per day of reading :-).

It accelerated when my mother died; for a while there, I just didn’t care.

The result: I’ve mangaged to regain 35 of the 50 pounds I lost in 2002/2003. It’s time to get rid of them. I think I’ll get through the holidays first (although I’m going to try for _some_ restraint), and then get serious come January.

posted at 7:52 pm on Thursday, December 23, 2004 in Health, Personal | Comments Off on It’s time…

Jerks shouldn’t drive

I was heading into the mall from the parking lot. A guy gets tired of waiting behind another car, and forcefully throws his car into the other lane and speeds towards us. Curmudgeon that I am, I yell at him to slow down. This guy stops his car (in the wrong lane!), _gets out of the car_, and yells back at me:

bq. Who are you to tell me what to do?

I gave him the obvious answer: I’m the guy with the two kids that you could have hit with your car!

He yells something else unprintable, but gets back into his car and speeds off.

Anyway, the real question is this: Where the hell does that attitude come from? He did something completely boneheaded, but other people aren’t allowed to call him on it unless they’re somehow an Authority? Sheesh!

posted at 7:47 pm on Thursday, December 23, 2004 in Personal, Rants | Comments (1)
  1. Jeff K says:

    My guess is he’s manic bipolar with psychotic elements. Which unfortunately means not sick enough to Form-1 the prick — some other unfortunate family will have to get him in civil court at our expense one day.

MT Plus Comment Spam Equals Dead Site

I’ve experience the problems described here: The Daily Whim: MT Plus Comment Spam Equals Dead Site

Several times we’ve woken up to a dead server, and (ignoring one disk crash) it’s always been runaway Movable Type comment scripts causing the system to thrash, until some important process gets killed because of the resulting out-of-memory condition. It invariably happens on a Saturday, which means we all get to wait until Monday morning for the server to get manually rebooted.

I’ve installed countermeasures in the past:
* I’ve renamed the comments script
* I close comments automatically after two weeks
* “Comment SPAM interlocking”:

And still, I see a constant, steady stream of comment spam that gets posted, even to postings that are closed to comments!

So far my WordPress blog is getting fewer hits, but it’s only a matter of time until the spammers find that one…


posted at 5:54 pm on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 in Links, Miscellaneous, Security | Comments (1)
  1. ReidNews says:

    Comments have been disabled
    Due to a huge influx of comment spam, I have disabled comments on tnir. This affects all blogs hosted on tnir, including Luisa’s and David’s. If you try to post a ccomment, it will let you type it in, but when you click “post” it will give you some…

Boing Boing: S’mores Nativity kit

I saw it, I had to share:

Boing Boing: S’mores Nativity kit

posted at 5:46 pm on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 in Links | Comments Off on Boing Boing: S’mores Nativity kit

Why Nerds are Unpopular

Interesting read:

Why Nerds are Unpopular

bq. So if intelligence in itself is not a factor in popularity, why are smart kids so consistently unpopular? The answer, I think, is that they don’t really want to be popular.

I went to a school full of smart people, so I didn’t suffer this nearly as badly as some people I know, and people actually sought me out for help with their homework. Still, I can relate with the argument…

posted at 2:25 pm on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 in Links, Personal | Comments (1)
  1. Jeff K says:

    This stuff with schools is hit and miss. Mark me down as disagreeing with the theory. My strongest opinions about the good and bad of school would be reserved for teachers I ran into.


gumstix – waysmall options

Yet another source of very small computers. I wonder what interesting things I could do with a bunch of these…

posted at 6:04 pm on Monday, December 13, 2004 in Links | Comments (2)
  1. David Brake says:

    What plugs into a “60 pin Hirose I/O header” connector though? Keyboard? Monitor?

  2. Harald says:

    The mainboard can attach to a series of different daughter boards, with serial, USB, parallel, LCD controller, etc. etc.; that’s what the connector is for, I believe.

supermarket checkout

I’ve had no luck with “supermarket self-serve checkouts”: either.

These days I’ll use them for quickly picking up snacks on the way to the Rolemaster session, but that’s about it…

posted at 9:14 pm on Sunday, December 12, 2004 in Links, Personal | Comments (2)
  1. Jeff K says:

    This is where you find out you’re old school. My 8 year old is an expert at checking out. It is true the systems work hard to prevent theft, but that just puts them back on a par with ma or pa running the store. When the authoritative voice comes on, you’re supposed to look at the head cashier and wait for the ma/pa-like “everything’s okay!” look and continue. Actually, my 3 year old likes to scan articles, but she’s only good at cans, however she does know most of the self-checkout etiquette now [after some false starts and stern scolding from her sister]. Welcome to the 21st century.

  2. Harald says:

    I’m holding out for the day when I can just drive my buggy full of RFID tags past the reader, and have it bill my account automatically. *That* will be progress. Self-scanned groceries are just a cost-saving inconvenience.

Place The State

I got 94% (average error 38 miles) on “this US Geography Test”: – much better than I expected!

(via “Perverse Access Memory”:

posted at 5:21 pm on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 in Links | Comments (1)
  1. Jeff K says:

    avg 12 miles, 320 seconds. Maybe I should move there.

First Blizzard

We had the first blizzard of the season today. When I left the house the roads were clear. About 5 minutes later, it started snowing, but the snow was just blowing around making the road surface look pretty. 15 minutes after that, the snow was sticking and turning to ice, and everyone was sliding around trying not to hit things with their expensive SUVs :).

At that point, I turned around, thinking that the drive home would be even worse. It took me more than twice as long to get back home. Then I drove the kids to school, and the wife to the subway, before making it back home again.

* Time on the road: 2 hours.
* Times stuck: 1 (on a relatively small hill, too).
* Skids: 5 or 6, not counting powering around corners with the front-wheel drive :-)
* Times _almost_ rear-ended: 2 (in both cases, I had left myself enough room to move forward and avoid the guy behind me who couldn’t stop ).

The afternoon drive was much better; the salt trucks had been out, and the freezing rain didn’t materialize (at least, not here). People always complain about how the first snowfall of the season is the worst, because everyone has forgotten how to drive in snow. I think it’s worse than _that_. For most other snowfalls of the season, the roads are covered with salt left over from previous days, and the snow melts as it hits. Today, with no salt (and -4°C) the snow fell, then was crushed into ice by passing cars…

posted at 7:44 pm on Monday, December 06, 2004 in Personal | Comments (3)
  1. ReidNews says:

    SNow, snow, snow
    Our first big snow As Harald points out, it snowed quite a bit today. I wouldn’t call it a blizzard myself, but then again, I didn’t have to drive around in it like he did. I did take some pictures and movies though….

  2. Greg says:

    Sadie’s bus was 10 minutes out of Finch station yesterday morning when the truck in front of it did a sideslip. Driver says, “Well folks, looks like we’re going to be stuck here for a bit,” and everyone (everyone) pulls out some sort of portable electronic device to let the office know they’re going to be late. (Punchline is, half the pelpl on the bus also pulled out knitting, ‘cuz they’ve been here before…)

  3. Harald says:

    There were two buses stuck on Don Mills yesterday. The first was stuck at a stop about halfway up a hill. The second obviously tried to go around the first, and then either it slid sideways or the first slid backwards, and _crunch_! They were blocking the two right lanes, which meant that all of the other traffic had to try to go around. Of course, they all had to slow down and stop, and then _they_ couldn’t get started again… What a mess!

    This morning there was a car wrapped sideways around a tree a couple of blocks from my house. That guy was obviously going _way_ too fast, to have done as much damage as he did.

Comment SPAM again

For about two weeks now I’ve been getting massive amounts of comment spam, both here and on some old Movable Type weblogs on the site. None of the comments appear to be making it through; WordPress has comment moderation (which just makes it annoying to delete them), and the MT sites have comments turned off. (For some reason the comments are still getting posted; but they’re not displayed on the blog pages, so no major damage).

Most of the comments are “Hey, what a great website!” comments, with no URLs (and no racy referrals, either); I don’t understand the point. Are they just trying to be annoying? Is this a test? Did the comment spammers suddenly find new tactics about two weeks ago, or did they suddenly notice my website again?

I guess it’s time to research WordPress blacklisting tools…

posted at 9:14 am on Thursday, December 02, 2004 in Site News | Comments (1)
  1. Jeff K says:

    “Spam” is of course the correct word for it, but I wonder if the intent is more like “electronic graffiti”. Which reminds me, did you see the horrible defacing of a Mayan cave drawing in Ecuador in this month’s National Geographic?