I spent the evening talking to Michele and converting her weblog over to Movable Type.
Enjoy Scarymommy with the MT flava!
Thanks to James for help with the install over the weekend.
I'm going to sleep now.
Watch them in order...
My fraternity brother Casey is selling a car and a boat.
If you are in the market for such things, check out his 2002 Nissan Xterra XE and his "Awesome" 2001 Crestliner Welded Aluminum Bass Boat w/Trailer.
He could use the money so I'm sure you could wheel and deal a bit if you are interested.
BTW, if you never have looked at Craig's List, you should. It's where the cool people check the classifieds.
Sometimes it sucks not to have a Mac.
Apple's new music service is out and only Mac people get to play.
Beware the new Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory Beta.
Don't download it. Don't do it.
You could end up playing for 4 hours straight and going to bed in the wee hours of the morning.
Here's a snippet of my referrer logs:
Ever wonder what NET CLR 1.0.3705 in your referrer logs means? So did I.
I found out that it's the version of the .Net Framework Internet Explorer (IE) has installed on the computer looking at your page.
Thanks to Google I learned how to change this string to whatever I want.
I wrote up a page on Changing IE Agent Strings as a reference for others.
There has got to be other cool hacks of the agent strings and other data that is passed to web servers by browsers.
Let the fun begin...
Rather than incisive words of wisdom today, a set of recent photos for you.
The girls and I made cookies in the Easy Bake Oven today.
Smuggling goetta and Skyline Chili in my suitcase.
The Cruft Reference Book.
You simply must love eBay for finding things like this.
My new haircut.
Time to go make lunch and get the house in order.
Martin Diggs is Chokersandwich
A guy gets a little busy and peeps start taking pot shots... I guess I gotta throw down a little old school entry to satisfy the teeming hordes perusing the site.
I am proud of my wife, Michele. She's off in Paducah, Kentucky for the AQS Quilt Show. This is the Mother-of-all-Quilt-Shows. She took the laptop with her and is going online to check email and she's blogging the show!
Remember, she's the one with the BFA, not a EE degree like me, so her first solo trip with the laptop is a big deal.
With lines like this, she's got the blogging thing down better than most:
When I walk through the convention center, I can see the TRUE America... It's the women. and most are size XL and fuckin' proud.
I tried to convince her to try the wireless card, but there's no damn Starbucks even in Paducah for her to connect to easily...
Fuck Rick Santorum. This bigoted, lying, hypocritical, sack of shit represents all that is bad about the closed minded fucks that inhabit the right wing of the Republican party. This guy has got to go. America is about personal liberties and freedoms. He's against that. He's against the core of American ideals.
Call that scumbag at 202-224-6324 and tell him to resign.
To try and defuse the situation, he actually said this:
"[I have]no problem with homosexuality — I have a problem with homosexual acts."
Look, I know plenty of Republicans that are good hearted people that love America and have tolerance for all creeds. I ask you, doesn't this stufff make you sick? Why don't you take back your political party from the fascist fundamentalists that at are using our Constitution as toliet paper?
Alrighty people listen up. Many of you that read this here weblog, have weblogs of your own. I use blogrolling to keep track of all the weblogs I read and tell me when they update. The trick is that when you update your weblog, you need to tell the tracking services like blogrolling, weblogs.com, and blo.gs that you've updated.
It's not hard. If you use Movable Type, just make sure that Blog Config -> Preferences -> Allow Pings on by default? is checked ON. If you use Blogger, just upgrade to Blogger Pro and it happens automagically.
Just do it.
Don't linger at the bottom of my blogroll list, I don't look there. I'm looking at the top of the list for the fresh blog entries.
I've converted another into the Church of Skyline Chili. BillB is a true believer. He tried Skyline and LOVES it. You will too, if you try it.
I'm in game-overload. BF1942, Shadowbane, Planetside, and now the RtCW: Enemy Territory beta. So few hours, so many games.
Star Wars Galaxies looms in the near future threatening to consume the gaming world like a neutron star passing through a star system.
It's a good time to be a gamer.
There are a couple of tech stores that need mention.
The first is Tigerdirect. Tigerdirect is like the clearance center of the internet. They've always got cool shit on sale. They have everything you need, want, and don't know you need, on sale. They've got an amazing section of recertified and closeout technology that makes even and Fry's-hardened geek like me drool.
The second is Cyberguys. They don't have such a wide selection, but they have items you can find nowhere else. You know you need dual power extension liberator and a USB cell phone charger and an Asian Design MouseRug.
These guys are worth signing up for their email to check out the deals.
So, is that a good enough weblog entry for you content hungry hounds? Time to go do something else...
I wish I had a ton of new stuff to write but I don't.
Currently, I'm downloading the Return to Castle Wolfenstein Expansion from Fileplanet. I hope it's a fun as it was when I tested it last year at E3.
Come back tomorrow. I hope to have recharged batteries by then...
Whew, what a day yesterday.
Zoe's got a bad cold and was home from school yesterday. I can deal, but I had to give an update for an 8AM meeting at work. I called in via the conference line and put the phone on mute. I explained to the girls I was busy on the phone and asked them to be quiet.
The group I was speaking to is a senior group of tech heads in the company. I'm explain the latest reasoning for the blah-blah-blah project when Mira walks up and says, "Daddy, I need you. I wanna play a game." She can boot the computer and switch CDs a hundred times previous to this but NOW she needs me. I try to shoo her away, but she says "Dad-deee!". I say into the phone, "Excuse me." Then I turn to Mira and say, "Sweetheart, you going to have to wait until I'm done on the phone. You can run the computer yourself."
On the phone, there is silence and I resume the talking, "Blah blah review process, blah blah capital." And then someone in the group says, "SOunds good Sweetheart." and the whole group starts laughing.
I took Zoe to the doctor. The doctor confirmed that cough + fever + lethargy = sick and gave Zoe a prescription. A trip to the store to pick up food & medicine and we finally got home.
I cooked dinner for the kids and even made them brownies for dessert.
When the kids were in bed I started getting IMs from friends saying that the web host was down. Yep, a router died somewhere and the servers were disconnected from the net.
I tried playing Shadowbane, but login was broken. Giving up, I went to bed.
I'm hoping for a smoother day today.
I'm sure it will piss off my brother, but I finished another book. I almost finished it on the plane home, but had 20 or so pages to finish last night.
A Princess of the Aerie - John Barnes
This is the second book in the series about Jak Jinnaka in a future society 15 centuries from now. The first book in the series The Duke of Uranium, introduces us to the world and the characters.
Barnes weaves an interesting future and follows many of the traditional space opera conventions. The book has plenty of action, hard sci-fi tech, and even a dollop of sex. There are lots of interesting idea like AI PDAs that you wear on your wrist, magnetic based docking transfer systems, and mining technology that uses hot magma.
Unfortunately, the main character, Jak, appears to be a hapless tool of others during most of the story. Like a powerful weapon, he is easily manipulated and does damage where he's pointed. For a highly trained spy, he's as guilliable as they come.
Perhaps Barnes is taking the long view and looking to show the change of Jak from fool to hero. I can't tell. I like the characters, but Jak is almost unsympathetic since he seems to fall for every trap that is placed in front of him, usually escaping only by the grace of his friends appearing at just the right moment.
I'm sure I'll read the next installment, but if thinking space opera is what you are after, I suggest the Night's Dawn series by Peter Hamilton.
Now I'm reading Barnes' other new book, The Sky So Big and Black and it is fantastic. None of the issues of Princess appear in this book. More when I finish the book.
I forgot to post up a few photos of this week.
Near Clifton, where our family lives, is a park called Mount Storm. The park has a view of the river and into Kentucky. I tried to find a geocache there, but I had no luck.
Here are the girls sitting in a tree in the park.
Here is the exit of the actual Underground Railroad. When slaves would cross the Ohio River from Kentucky, a slave state, to Ohio, a free state, they need to get away from the river as fast as possible and deeper into Ohio. There was an actual set of tunnels that went from the riverside up to the the hills to bypass police and others that may try to return slaves to Ohio. When Michele was a kid in Cincinnati, this tunnel entrance was not cemented up and children would crawl around inside.
I would have thought the exit would have had a plaque or something denoting it's significance, but it does not. I can only imagine the number of people exiting the tunnel and breathing their first breaths of clean, free air.
In a couple of hours, I'm hopping on the plane with the two girls solo. It'll be zone defense till I get home. Wish me luck.
I've been in Cincinnati a week and most of my time has been spent revolving around eating or waiting to eat. There isn't much fof me to do since I'm not involved in the wedding planning of my sister-in-law and the kids are usually running around with their grandparents.
Cincinnati has a few traditional foods that I enjoy whenever I visit.
Skyline Chili - Skyline is the king of Cincinnati chili. Chili here is quite different than Texas-style. The chili has hints of cinnamon, chocolate and other spices in it. Sounds strange, but it's delicious. Typically it's served over spagetti with cheese on top (a three-way) or over a small hotdog (a coney). The taste is unique and perfect for snacks or large meals. Once you get hooked on this chili, you'll be stashing cans of it in your luggage too.
Graeter's Ice Cream - Graeter's is the local ice cream company that make all kinds of seasonal flavors. High quality stuff. The stores also have candy and cookies for sale. Similiar to the Fosselman's back home, always a treat.
Glier's Goetta - Goetta is German food consisting of oatmeal and pork meat with spices shaped like a sausage. The tube is sliced and fried. Similiar to breakfast sausage but better. The goetta melts apart in your mouth. Again, a taste you have to try before you can concieve what it is. I'm carrying eight pounds home with me in my luggage.
There are also a few places to eat that we don't have at home, but do have in Cincinnati:
White Castle - White Castle is the home of the square mini burger. Hot greasy burgers that you buy by the sack. I ate 7 on Thursday and still could have eaten more. If you are near New York you can find them too.
BW3 aka Buffalo Wild Wings & Weck - I love hot buffalo wings. I went to college in upsate NY and tasted the real deal. BW3 is the real deal. A good place to eat what Michele calls my 'comfort food'. Plenty of tasty sides to round out an all-fried meal.
Tomorrow, I head home with the girls and Michele heads to Paducah for the big quilting show. Time for sleep.
I finished a few books recently. Last week I was in Vegas and finshed Gibson's Pattern Recognition. On the flight out I started Cadigan's Tea from an Empty Cup and finished it a few days ago. Here are a couple brief reviews.
Pattern Recognition - William Gibson
I have enjoyed William Gibson's books over the years, and this one is no exception. Those that are looking for hard sci-fi or futuristic cyberpunk will not find it here. This book takes place in the present day with today's technology. Gibson is good about showcasing ideas and items that live below the radar of most people. For example, Gibson talks about mechanical calculators called Curtas.
I won't go into the plot structure, you can read it on Amazon reviews. In the novel, Gibson explores the idea that everyone is searching for something. Be it an answer, love, or a mechanical calculator, each individual is looking for something special in life. Something that has importance to them, but not to others.
The book looks at how these individuals quests intertwine and work together. Gibson also shows how the new technologies available make the completion of such quest easier.
Technology does not change what people desire in life, it just changes how they go about reaching their goals.
If you are looking for a traditional 'hero-wins-in-the-last-chapter-after-cheating-certain-death' sci-fi novel, this ain't for you. If you are interested in thinking about how technology adds or subtracts to the work of attaining happiness, this book is for you.
Tea from an Empty Cup - Pat Cadigan
This the first book of Pat Cadigan's I've read. I can't remember who or where I heard about it, but a good book.
The novel is set in a near future cyberpunk world where artifcial reality (AR) is commonplace and people regularly fall into lives in AR that are more compelling that lives in the real world. The technology is believeable with enough details to satisfy hard sci-fi readers without delving into textbookese.
Having enjoyed the proto-ARs that are online games, I was interested in seeing what Ms. Cadigan had to say about the future.
Similiar to Gibson's Pattern Recognition, all the characters in the book are looking for something. The focus is on the role of artifical reality in these hunts. The vision is interesting, but in the end it is difficult to relate to reality.
The book is fun and enjoyable as a quick read, but for more heady cyberpunk, turn to Bruce Sterling.
Yoshi pointed me to DanO's post on Shadowbane & the Express Lane. Funny stuff. I'm with DanO. The Cash Only lane is for speed folks. I also hate those damn grobolds...
Martin's been a crazy weblogger. On his 35th birthday, he blogged 35 times! Next, he wrote a scene from home, Hollywood style.
Go listen to Pat's Music. The song, The Key, is good.
Blogsprogs is an interesting page about the experience of a few Dads raising their infants. Funny stuff since I've been through it.
Lastly, if you eat seven White Castle burgers for lunch, expect to burp them for the rest of the day. More on Cincinnati food later.
Before I headed off into the ether for the night I read mathowie's post on usernames. Go read it, I'll wait...
Now Matt is a smart guy with lots of whuffie and all that, but in this case he's wrong.
Having usernames or as I like to call them noms de net is important to having well balanced interaction with people on the internet.
Many of the newer users of the net that think that weblog comments are the end-all of personal interactivity may think it's fine to use real names on the net for everything, but it's not. I think they simply don't know any better. I view the people who use FirstLast for a username the same way I view people that have aol.com addresses on their business cards. The just aren't operating on the same plane as me.
There are many ways for people to interact on the net and they each have different social dynamics. Gaming interactions and weblog interactions are two wildly different beasts. Chat rooms and message boards even have different mentalities.
While you cannot ever be completely anonymous, with a few simple clicks you can be fairly untraceable. With enough resources and time, any information can be gathered, but to most people the barrier is too high.
There are many times when anonymity is important. Log into a game of Quake or Counterstrike with your real name, do some serious damage to people and sure enough you have hate mail in our inbox before you quit the game.
Consider games like Everquest or Ultima Online, where much of the politics of the game takes place on message boards. Use your real name there and people will be calling you on the phone complaining about why you PKed them in the game.
Interested in some 'alternate lifestyle'? Are you going to use your real name?
Chatting in IRC with a bunch of strangers? Are you going to use your real name?
Yes, people could try to track you down, looking for connections, but they don't in most cases.
I'm sure you all could track down my two main nom de nets in a few seconds, but there are several names I use that no one but my wife knows. Hell, I've got websites that none of you even know exist. Any you can't even find them due to the way I've registered them. You can't google up a connection, believe me, I've checked.
Anonymity has it's place on the net.
People want to be something other than they are in real life on the net. How can I be the valiant swordsman online in a game and be named MichaelPusateri? The net for a large part is about fantasy. They fantasy of being an expert, the fantasy of being a sexpot, the fantasy of being anything but yourself.
To give in to the flavor of the of hour and use FirstLast as your username is dull, boring, and quite mundane.
Have some fucking style. Have a damn story about your name. Disconnect, just a little bit, from the real world and live a little.
The rain came to Cincinnati today. It's not too cold and a bit refreshing.
The new RAM for the laptop arrived yesterday and the extra 512 MB does make a difference. I need to try Shadowbane to give it a real test.
We had Passover Seder yesterday night and it went smoothly. While I'm not a very religious person, it did help me remember to keep some perspective on what's going on in the world today. People have suffered under tyranny for hundreds and thousands of years at a time. It clear that you cannot break the hope in people for a better life even under the most terrible circumstances.
I thought while I'm vacation, I'd be blogging more, but I'm just not in that groove today. Later
I've been playing with Trepia a bit. The Trepia software is used as an imprompto instant messaging system based on people near your real physical location.
The Trepia software works with wifi to send out a signal that other Trepia users can pick up. If two Trepia users are near each other, a message will pop up telling them that someone is close by. They can then exchange IMs back and forth. I think it will be fun to try this at a larger geek gathering where there are several wifi users willing to play around.
There's only a Windows client at this time. I asked where the Mac & linux clients were and the CEO told me they were coming in the future once the Windows version takes off.
Cool stuff if you ask me.
It's the evening here in Cincinatti and hopefully I can catch up on a few things.
Thanks to Kansas I ended up winning the fraternity NCAA Tourney pool. The prize for winning was a DVD from each of the others in the pool. Here are my choices:
For the kids:
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
For Martin who told me to choose Kansas:
The Killers (w/ Lee Marvin)
Big Fat Greek Wedding
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Apocalypse Now Redux
Amazing Grandmother Tricks
When we arrived here, Michele's grandmother was sleeping. She's 88 and had traveled from Philly the day before. Michele's dad, Steve, had flown out before and travelled with her back to Cincy. For her, this was very tiring. So on Saturday, around 4 PM, she went to sleep. We arrived to the house after 4 PM on Sunday.
About 5 PM, the girls woke up Bubba (grandmom). She had slept for 25 straight hours. A full day.
IMHO, this is a remarkable achievement. No matter how hard I try, the most I've ever been able to sleep is a little over 12 hours. I wonder how long she trained to be able to sleep 24 hours?
This morning she woke up around 9AM and had some tea and breakfast. She headed back to bed around 11AM, but was up and dressed again by 3PM. After dinner at 6:30PM she went back to bed. Around 10 PM she talked to Michele for about an hour. Now she's in bed again.
I met Grif at SXSW. We are both GenX geeks with kids and careers that attempt to remain cool in the face of approaching our 40s. He is coller than me. He is starting a counter meme.
Alan is happy to have a Tivo. Chalk one more up for the converted.
Yoshi has finally got his weblog groove on. Go visit him and ask him why the site must be black.
After a three month hiatus, Trikster posted. Fargin slacker...
Lastly Mrs. Diggs details the pre-trip birthday party. Unfortunately, that evening I had a gut-wrenching experience. The next morning, Michele was the one feeling ill. I blame the Mrs. Diggs personally!
I got Shadowbane working on the laptop. It's slow, but I was able to level yesterday. Woot. I'm hoping that the 512MB RAM arriving on Wednesday will help.
The Flaming Lips rock. Go listen to their music, immediately!
It's 1AM here now. I'm sleepy. G'night.
I'm in Cincy. The laptop is running well, even with Shadowbane. :)
Now I head out to get a bottle of scotch with my father-in-law. Life is tough.
After work today, I went to my parents house. The kids were on their last day of official spring break and they spent it with their grandparents.
When I arrived, I found that my Dad was having problems getting connected to the internet. I assumed that it was a simple thing. I sat down and started to poke around. The computer reacted slow and I had trouble bringing up windows. My dad pointed to the DSL modem at the flashing lights and said, "When it does that, nothing works." The flashing lights are the activity lights.
I called up the network interface and saw no packet coming down and tons going out. It looked like 2 megs a second blasting out. What the hell, I thought. I called up the task manager, and after a long wait, it opened. I looked at the processes and was suprised to see 'sqlserver.exe' running at 90+ percent CPU usage.
SQL on my fathers computer? How can this be?
I aked him why he had SQL on his computer. He told me it was for some sales software he had for his company. It couldn't be what I thought it was.
I ended the sqlserver process. The lights stopped flashing. The computer became responsive. I could connect to the net.
Could my father really have the Sapphire/Slammer worm? Looks like it.
I downloaded the Microsoft Slammer Patch Utility, and sure enough his system was wide open to the worm. I ran the utility and rebooted again. Everything seemed fixed.
One of these days, a virus or worm is going to hit the net that does some real damage and individuals will really get hurt. Consider that two and a half months after the Sapphire worm hit the net, packets are still travelling around in significant quanities that it found my father computer.
OS and software manufacturers are going to have to step up to the plate here. Windows Update didn't patch his computer. Norton anti-virus didn't protect his computer. All software is going to need updating of problems built-in.
I have returned home from Las Vegas. I was hoping I'd have the energy for a nice entry, but I'm running on empty. I only have enough for a quick one.
Every cell phone out there has a vibrate or silent mode. Every one.
Why don't people use the silent mode? While I agree that some of the phone rings are neat, most of them are simply annoying.
I was in a number of meetings this week and in the middle of almost every one, a phone would go off with some song. Switch your damn phone into silent mode or turn it off during meetings!
OK, I need to go get some rest.
Lack of posts lately, I'm in Las Vegas for the NAB convention. Not a lot of time to blog here.
A few quick tips if you come to NAB.
1) Bring lip balm
2) Never allow yourself to be pulled into a meeting in a room on the floor
3) Drink a glass of water for every glass of booze
4) Flash your business card and continue walking into the parties, don't wait for them to check your name
5) If you like cookies, take the whole tray to the table
Time for breakfast. More when I have time.
After a week of meetings and work I finally have a day to rest before launching off again. Next week, I'll be in Las Vegas for the NAB convention. I've been going since 1990, only missing two years, so this will be my 11th trip to NAB. Nevertheless, I am still a bit excited. The changes in technology and inside Disney promise to make for interesting times ahead.
At the office, I was in a meeting with Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems. He said a lot of interesting stuff. He's definitely not afraid to think differently. He did make an good point. He said that companies shouldn't use open source software directly. He means you shouldn't download source and compile it yourself. Let others handle it for you. Why have a linux kernel expert on staff when you can pay for the expertise instead? The advantage to the company is that the price charged for software with equivalent open source software can never get too high. If Sun was to charge too much for StarOffice, a company could easily switch to OpenOffice. You get the benefit of price control without the headache of software management. It's a very valid point for larger businesses.
I've been playing Shadowbane and even got into the beta for Planetside. I don't have time to go into the details, but I will later.
I've been a little out of the loop this week. Between no time at work for surfing and all the tech troubles at home, my blogrolling page is scrolling by unmonitored. I'll catch up, but I think I'd rather spend time with my daughters than reading weblogs for a bit.
I should have known better than to mess with Apple on April Fool's.
Tech troubles continue. Michele told me on my way home from work that her computer was not working. When I got home and took a look, she mentioned that earlier in the day, there was a strong 'hot electrical' smell coming from the computer.
I feared the worse, but pulled off the heatsink anyway...
That's a burned up CPU. The brains of the computer to you non-geek types. An AMD 1700+ XP processor to be exact.
All the computers in the house use AMD chips so I pulled the chip from the kids computer and put it in Michele's so she could check her email.
A new CPU is on the way from Newegg, so we are down to only 4 computers in the house until it arrives.
I'll never mock Steve Jobs again.
I'm sure that in some sort of karmic revenge for my joke about the Mac, I spent a bunch of time working on tech issues at home.
Michele's CD-ROM had been acting up and she had complained that her CD burner wasn't fast enough (8x). I ordered a pair of matching black Lite-On drives. They arrived yesterday and I began the install after the kids went to bed.
As expected, after booting with the new drives installed, the BIOS hung during POST and didn't recognize the drives. First, I reflashed the BIOS. No luck. then I swapped out the IDE cable with a new one. (How nerdly am I for having spare IDE cables lying around?) That got them working. The DVD playback software and Nero burning software installed smoothly. Getting a copy of Nero included with the drives was a great deal.
I copied a mix CD at 48x speed to test things out. Three minutes to burn a CD. Nice. As I type, Zoolander is playing on her computer.
On the girls computer, the mouse stopped moving left and right. I popped it open and found a small ecosystem of dust bunnies inside. I cleaned it out and it still didn't work well. The girls took the mousepad into the bathroom and washed it with soap in an attmept to help.
I opened the mouse and had to realign the IR sensor to get things working well.
Most importantly, last night Shadowbane broke.
Shadowbane downloaded a patch and afterwards the program would crash when I tried to enter the world. After some research, I had to rollback Nvidia drivers from 43.45 to 41.09. Finally, the precious had returned to me.
I powerleveled from 6 to 11 last night. If not for all the tech issues, I could have been level 15 easy...
Time for work. Have a good day.
UPDATE: This post was an April Fool's Day joke. Settle down.
I declared victory and made a decision. After asking many people about how to best do this video capture/DVD burning thing, decided to go for what they suggested.
Yep, I bought a Mac. The 12" powerbook with Superdrive. From everything I can tell, the Mac still has an edge on doing this sort of thing.
Everyone that I know says the Mac is best for this kinda work, and for once I should listen to what everyone is telling me.
We could use the second laptop anyways for all the travel Michele and I do and it will be simple for the kids to to use.