Heart Monitor

I’ve been under a lot of stress lately, and experiencing what are probably stress related symptoms (e.g. sporadic chest pain and palpitations). I had the worst attack while in Dublin two weeks back (naturally I’d have scary health trouble while travelling!). I’ve had a cardiac stress test (which was normal), and my doctor says my resting EKG looks marvelous. My subconcious is not convinced, and likes to respond to symptoms with anxiety attacks. Whee!

So today (and tonight :-) I’m wearing a Holter Heart Monitor; basically EKG leads attached to a tape recorder that saves 24 hours worth of data. Tomorrow I’ll take it back to the hospital, and some poor overworked doctor will have to stare at the data and pronounce me “fit” or “unfit”.

The wires are all taped to my skin, and they’re uncomfortable. Other than that, the thing is suprisingly unobtrusive! I’m not allowed to sweat (or the electrodes will come off); we’ll see how sleeping goes.

The hospital sells the used batteries (and the used cassette tapes) for $0.25 each; so even if I get nothing else out of this experience, I’ll get some cheap (slightly used) batteries…

posted at 5:28 pm on Thursday, November 21, 2002 in General | Comments (1)
  1. David Brake says:

    Hey Harald! Chill out ;) Hope the doc deems you fit.

Cappuccino, anyone?

The Cappuccino TX-3 Mini PC is substantially more powerful than anything I have at home, and is the size of a CD-ROM drive.

It’s not for those without cash to burn, however; They start at $950US. At that price, the Shuttle mini-boxes are cheaper.

Still, it does have that alpha-geek appeal…

posted at 7:10 pm on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 in General | Comments (1)
  1. Dave says:

    I’ve got one they kick butt especially with DVD unit!

Implosions, anyone?


Welcome to the explosive demolition industry’s worldwide source for news and information on building implosions, blowdowns and all other types of structural blasting projects.

This site is just plain cool. I’ve always loved watching building demolitions (who doesn’t?). Don’t try this at home, though…

There is no problem that cannot be solved by a suitable application of high explosives.
— Leo Graf, USS LaFarge, 2298

posted at 11:52 am on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 in General | Comments Off on Implosions, anyone?

Roll Out the Gun Barrels

Roll Out The Gun Barrels

So, your RPG has run into a situation where there’s going to be some sort of large scale battle. Sure, the players can be involved in their corner of the way, but they’d really like to have some control over the whole fight. What do you do? Pull out that copy of Advanced Squad Leader and put the RPG on hold for a few years?

Well, here’s a very cheapass way to simulate large battles without having to deal with maps and counters and fifteen hours per turn.

Those wacky guys at Cheap Ass Games have done it again. I love this company; they have a great concept (make interesting games cheaply), and they’ve managed to come up with a whole bunch of interesting games (arguably the hardest part). Excellent!

posted at 10:08 am on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 in General | Comments Off on Roll Out the Gun Barrels

Long-range Wireless

People are making some interesting advances in long-range wireless networking.

The San Diego Supercomputer Center “routinely” sets up multi-mile wireless links, and currently has a 72-mile link from San Diego to San Clemente Island.
They’re using maximum power links with 2 foot, high-gain parabolic antennas at both ends. The range apparently cuts the bandwidth to 1Mb/sec (aw shucks :-). Read more about it in this Computerworld article.

In not unrelated news, Vivato Inc. has introduced a wireless LAN switch that uses a planar phased-array antenna to boost range to about four miles (outdoors; 1 mile indoors). I’ve always loved electroncally steerable antennas; this is certainly an interesting application, though! Again, read more about it in Computerworld.

(Thanks to Irving for the article links.)

posted at 4:44 pm on Monday, November 18, 2002 in General | Comments Off on Long-range Wireless

Paying Forward (redux)

Blog.org from David Brake, UK-based Internet journalist, consultant and virtual community builder

David’s just updated to use Movable Type‘s TrackBack support. Here’s a ping, David!

(Full Disclosure <grin> the DNS for blog.org is hosted by cfrq.net.)

posted at 4:30 pm on Monday, November 18, 2002 in General | Comments (1)
  1. David Brake says:

    Thanks, Harald. If you are lucky Santa might let you buy yourself one of those flash disk devices… ;-)

    I know I don’t need one but it is such a cool use of the technology I don’t know I can resist!

tin-foil hats

Finally, a stylish tin-foil hat! They may claim that they protect you from cellphone radio emissions, but we all know that they’re really to protect from the Orbital Mind Control Lasers.

‘Mobile Cap’ to Combat Phone Health Worries

As an aside, why is the first Google hit for “orbital mind control lasers” a bridge workup?

posted at 1:04 pm on Monday, November 18, 2002 in General | Comments Off on tin-foil hats


In case my adoring public was wondering where I went, this has been My Week:

  • Modifying the code to handle more than 1024 simultaneous clients. Seems that Apache’s process-per-connection model means, in turn, that each Apache webserver makes up to 1500 connections to the validator. This naturally involves rebuilding most of the support libraries, as well as the main application, and then finding a machine capable of *generating* that many simultaneous connections.
  • Hunting down an obscure memory leak (which turned out to be something we had fixed a couple of years ago; *sigh).
  • Hunting down crashes in the XML parser (still haven’t found that one).
  • Managing various other customer problems along the way…
  • Moving the blog
  • A late curl
  • Mild asthma, as a result of my cold from last week
  • Finding time and energy to spend with the munchkins :-)

And my weekend:

  • 8AM hockey on Saturday
  • IMAX Space Station, then day at the science centre
  • The TKF Chili Bash
  • Santa Claus Parade
  • Birthday celebrations at my dad’s house
  • somewhere in there, laundry

So I plead “guilty with an explanation” for the lack of recent updates. I have a whole pile of stuff to filter through, and a couple of rants brewing (including one on the state of Ontario’s electricity supply). Stay tuned…

posted at 10:14 am on Saturday, November 16, 2002 in General | Comments Off on THUD

Slight reorganisation

This weblog has moved from http://www.cfrq.net/blog/ to http://blog.cfrq.net/chk/, mainly to allow the creation of weblogs for other people in something pretending to be a secure environment. Apache’s suEXEC requires separate CGI directories for each user, but I’ve managed to tweak Movable Type so that all of the code and static data is shared amongst all users.

Old links will still work, thanks to some RewriteRules on www.cfrq.net. Hopefully I won’t have to do this again.

[ Man, it’s been a busy week. updates eventually. ]

posted at 12:17 am on Saturday, November 16, 2002 in General | Comments (1)
  1. meg says:

    You should update more often! I miss the old site!


60’s goodness

Leonard Nimoy did a music video for a song called “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins”.

I’m speechless.

(URLs are constantly changing; Search Google! for a copy.

posted at 3:00 pm on Friday, November 08, 2002 in General | Comments Off on Bilbo!

We’re still getting fatter

The CDC says that Weight Gain in US Continues Upward Trend.

I’m not sure how you conclude that “children 2 to 5 years old” are overweight. But the study confirms what we already know, that generally speaking, the whole population is getting fatter, from a combination of too much to eat and too little exercise. This in turn is greatly increasing the prevalence of Type-II diabetes and heart disease, particularly among younger adults and adolescents where the problem didn’t exist before.

I’m slowing doing something about it. My recent trip to Ireland may have set me back a couple of weeks; A combination of airplane food, Irish breakfasts, and a few pints of Guiness… We’ll see on Tuesday, I guess.

posted at 9:18 am on Friday, November 08, 2002 in General | Comments Off on We’re still getting fatter

David Suzuki: Nature Challenge

David Suzuki Foundation: Nature Challenge

The challenge is simple: pick three of the top 10 ways to conserve nature, and do them over the next year. The website contains resources, including a mailing list, to help you meet these goals.

An interesting idea, and you’ll probably learn alot even if you don’t meet any of these goals…

posted at 7:28 am on Wednesday, November 06, 2002 in General | Comments Off on David Suzuki: Nature Challenge


I’m off to Dublin for a few days; business, unfortunately. I may or may not be adding entries while I’m gone. Enjoy my absence :-)

posted at 11:27 am on Friday, November 01, 2002 in General | Comments Off on Hiatus?

Website “hacked”

In Wired News: Rooting Around Site With Intent?, Michelle Delio discusses a case in Sweden where a reporter downloaded Intentia‘s Q3 2002 financial statements before they were officially released. Intentia has filed a complaint against Reuters and the reporter in question, claiming they violated various intellectual property and computer protection laws.

Both Intentia and Reuters agree the Reuters reporter obtained Intentia’s financial statement directly from Intentia’s website.

But since Intentia did not provide an explicit link to the report, Intentia’s lawyers consider Reuters’ retrieval and early publication of the information a violation of intellectual property and computer system protection laws.

The reporter did not use software that would penetrate or search Intentia’s private systems. The reporter did not enter a password in order to obtain the data. The reporter simply went to the area of Intentia’s site where such information is normally posted and found the report.

This just proves once again that most people don’t understand security or the Internet. Placing confidential data on a public website is just asking for trouble. If you need to pre-publish data (e.g. to make sure it can be accessed from the outside before announcing it), put a password or other ACL on it!

These people need SelectAccess :-).

posted at 10:50 am on Thursday, October 31, 2002 in General | Comments Off on Website “hacked”

impending doom

Hey! I’m exactly 6 years older than mark! Sagittarians unite…

posted at 11:04 pm on Tuesday, October 29, 2002 in General | Comments Off on impending doom

Weight Watchers

Well, Weight Watchers appears to be working for me. 6 weeks, 12.6 pounds weight loss; see the link or the graph in the sidebar.

I like the system. It’s simple enough to carry around in my head. It’s not a “fad” diet, so there are no food restrictions; anything goes as long as it fits into my daily points allottment. This cannot be under-emphasized: the combination of knowing which foods are “expensive”, combined with the ability to plan in advance for those expensive foods, is what is working for me.

I’m a geek; systems like this appeal to my orderly mind. With data, useful decisions can be made; guessing and waving-of-hands wasn’t working for me. And data is everywhere; Weight Watchers publishes books; lots of websites publish recipes; and the USDA Nutritional Database is online! In fact, I have a copy of the database, combined with a search engine that calculates points. (No link, sorry; it’s password protected so that they don’t send their lawyers after me :-).

I joined the At Work program at Lombard, where my friend Gerry works. That’s important; it’s a 5 minute walk from my office, and I go at lunch time instead of in the evening when I’m usually busy. I’m pretty sure that if I had to switch to evening meetings near my home, I’d stop going because of the inconvenience factor (even though the closest meeting is about a 15 minute walk from my house :-).

I can get by without the motivational stuff that is discussed in meetings; I internalised most of that stuff years ago, as part of other changes in my life. On the other hand, the Weight Watchers scale is accurate. That lets me measure steady weight loss, which is part of my incentive to stay on program. With the best personal scale I’ve found so far, I could vary my weight by 5 pounds just by leaning forwards or backwards. Most of them probably work ok, but it’s impossible to measure a 0.4 pound loss on those things.

(Anyone who has a good scale recommendation, send me e-mail. :-)

I also find the meetings useful for some of the tips exchanged between the group, but as a ‘netizen I can get those online, too.

Anyway, overall I’m quite happy with the program. It’s is worthwhile investment, in my humble opinion.

posted at 7:22 pm on Tuesday, October 29, 2002 in General | Comments (2)
  1. Shirelle says:

    Do you have any idea where I can obtain the scale that is used at Weight Watchers

  2. Harald says:

    The “Weight Watchers scale” I mentioned is a special “legal for trade” commercial scale, and is probably hideously expensive. That’s one of the things you pay Weight Watchers fees for :-)

    Scales that are reasonably accurate, but not legal for trade, can be had for ~$100 (Canadian); a good brand name is Salter; more information at http://www.salterhousewares.com/pages/products/index.asp?code=21

The Human Virus Scanner

I took the test at the TotL.net Human Virus Scanner. I recognize way too many of the icons. I suffer from, among many others, the following:

  • Linux
  • Religion
  • UNIX
  • Discordia
  • Sci-fi
  • Windows
  • vi
  • Free BSD
  • Brand Names
  • Computer Games
  • Conspiracy Theory
  • Macintosh

I especially liked the cure for Gaming:

Life is not a game. Roll 3D6. On a 4 or more go out and do something with your life.

posted at 9:46 pm on Monday, October 28, 2002 in General | Comments Off on The Human Virus Scanner

Another Interesting Project

The Open Source Applications Foundation has, as its first project, a Personal Information Manager (PIM). This group has some heavy hitters involved, including Mitch Kapor, the designer of Lotus Agenda, arguably the first PIM; and Andy Hertzfeld, a “principal member of the original Macintosh team”.

posted at 9:41 pm on Friday, October 25, 2002 in General | Comments Off on Another Interesting Project

The Standard of Truth

True or False?

Read an interesting article about the Standard of truth.

I thought I Knew how airplanes worked…

posted at 9:06 pm on Friday, October 25, 2002 in General | Comments Off on The Standard of Truth

PR firms admit they lie?

From Spin of the Day:

Nike Files Supreme Court Brief
Nike has asked the US Supreme Court to review a California Supreme Court ruling that Nike’s public statements on the work conditions of its overseas factories be considered commercial speech and be subject to truth-in-advertising laws. Nike argues that the ruling is “profoundly destructive of free speech.” The ruling applies to statements made by Nike in op-eds, letters to the editor, and comments made to reporters. PR trade publication The Holmes Report wrote that as a result of the ruling, Nike would not be releasing its annual corporate responsibility report. A number of PR trade organizations have joined together to file a friend-of-the-court brief. “At stake is our ability to do the kind of work we do in regard to public debate,” Council of PR Firms president Kathy Cripps said. “If the US Supreme Court does not hear this case, a lot of what we do will be considered commercial speech. This is possibly the most vital issue the industry is dealing with, and we need to come together to defend our position.” Source: The Holmes Report, October 21, 2002; PR Week, October 21, 2002

Is it just me, or is this Nike and the PR firms arguing in court to protect their right to lie to the public? <shudder>

posted at 9:37 am on Thursday, October 24, 2002 in General | Comments (1)
  1. RJ says:

    Are they fighting for the right to continue to lie to the public? Yes. Would they ever call it that? No. Will the majority of the public ever catch on to either of these points? Nope.

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