Archive for December, 2002

Date: December 31st, 2002
Cate: Regular

Stupid working microwave

At work, they got a new microwave. And it works. This is very very bad, because up until now I’ve been able to use the non-working microwave as an excuse not to bring leftovers.

Although I have to admit that this fried rice with leftover Christmas ham in it is おいしい.

Date: December 31st, 2002
Cate: Regular
3 msgs

Peace!

Peace!

It’s mindless link propogation, but I just can’t resist. The train of death there says “Peace!”. Click for more.

This comes to you from Idle Words, care of Boing Boing.

Date: December 29th, 2002
Cate: Regular
1 msg

Be like Dave

What is www.suver.com?

Date: December 27th, 2002
Cate: Regular

Send in the clones

The Raelians claim to have produced a human clone, through their company, Clonaid. They say it will be genetically tested soon to prove it’s a real clone.

Of course you understand that this is all part of their plan to achieve immortality, they want to eventually develop technology to clone adults and then transfer their brains into the cloned bodies.

They also believe that all life on earth was created by aliens, and that the founder of their religion (Claud Vorilhon, now known as Rael) has visited their home planet, “Elohim”. (He met Jesus and the Buddha there).

Date: December 26th, 2002
Cate: Regular

I’d cry too

SO SCARY!

Date: December 25th, 2002
Cate: Class

Registration

Oh I almost forgot, I registered for class. This will make it so that I can’t use my usual “I don’t know much about networks” excuse anymore.

It starts January 13th.

Date: December 25th, 2002
Cate: Geekism
4 msgs

iPod and Apple

I got Jenny an iPod for Christmas! She likes it but hates how expensive it was. I don’t care.

It was yet another “perfect” Apple Experience. It comes in a cube shaped box. You slide this sleeve off, and that allows the cube to fold open down the middle. Inside there are two doors with Apple logos on them… Opening one reveals all the accessories, in neat compartments, like a bento box lunch. Opening the other reveals the iPod itself, wearing only a multilingual “don’t steal music” sticker. No ugly packing material to get through, or tape to remove, or plastic to fight with. I love their packaging. iBook was the same way.

So we got it out of the box, plugged the firewire into my iBook, and it did exactly as I was hoping: automatically just suck down all the music, categorized, and with all the meta-data intact from iTunes. It could even display the Chinese and Japanese track names we’ve got. Woof! I also got her this iRock thing, an FM transmitter you plug into the headphone jack so you can listen on your car radio or whatever radio is nearby. We’ve had mixed results with that one.

Since my great conversion four months ago, every time I’ve gotten a new piece of Apple hardware, it’s been the same story. Open the really cool packaging, plug it in, it works. Getting iBook to work with DSL was impossibly simple, especially compared to the reboot and reinstall fest I had to go through to get it to work on Windows. When I upgraded to Airport, that was easy too. iPod was perfect. They have their stuff down in this department.

The problem I’m having with the iBook is it’s SLOW. So slow. Agonizingly slow sometimes. Oh, you want to run iPhoto? Why don’t you wait for about a minute while I bounce this icon up and down. OK, done. Now wait another minute before the window actually pops up. What’s that, time to quit? Get a load of this spinning beachball! Don’t even bother trying to start something else while it’s quitting, that’ll just cause thrashing. I got the fastest model too, what am I supposed to do? The only avenue left to try is to max out the RAMs, we’ll see if that helps. Maybe what I really need is the Powerbook? Is that much faster? But four… four… four… four… THOUSAND dollars is pretty steep.

Don’t get me wrong, the other benefits of the iBook outweigh the speed problem. It’s UNIX, it’s hackable (but at the same time it Just Works™), and the whole world of free software is being ported as we speak by an army of high school students. Everybody should dump their stupid PC’s and buy Apple stuff immediately.

Date: December 25th, 2002
Cate: Regular

Ho Ho Ho!!!

Merry Christmas to all! And to all a good night.

Date: December 24th, 2002
Cate: Regular

Segway considered….?

Read this chilling account of a Segway sapping Aaron Swartz’s will to live:

And in the past few days, Ive noticed a certain aimlessness about myself. Usually when I close my eyes and introspect, I feel an urge to move on to the next thing, to do something new, to finish all the work I have begun. But now I feel nothing. Just a large emptyness inside, no particular desire to do anything. So I ride the Segway, and fight over riding the Segway.

Date: December 24th, 2002
Cate: Regular

張學友 – Jacky Cheung Music Odyssey 2002 Concert – Atlantic City – Pictures

Jacky Cheung

Click Jacky for Jenny’s album of pictures. You’ll need an Ofoto ID to see them.

Date: December 23rd, 2002
Cate: Regular
3 msgs

JACKYYYYYYYY!!!!!

Jacky Cheung

Who is this guy? Jacky Cheung, or 張學友. He’s the king of Chinese pop music, and we just got back from his concert in Altantic City!

It was great! Jenny and Susan screamed and acted like teenage girls. The whole thing was almost 3 hours long. It went for about an hour and half, then there was a fake ending, then he burst back on the stage for almost another hour, then ANOTHER fake ending, then back for a few more songs, then a looooooong “goodbye” song, then it was over. The last concert we went to (Phil Chang – 張宇) was barely an hour, so this was pretty nice.

Here’s one of the songs he played, Corazon de Melao. He seems to switch back and forth between releasing Mandarin and Cantonese albums, but this one is from his English album. He also sings a little in Spanish on that one. That’s why he’s the king.

The one problem with the concert is that in between songs when he talked the audience, it was all in Cantonese, which nobody I was with spoke. So we missed out on all his jokes and stuff. Rats!

Date: December 21st, 2002
Cate: Regular
3 msgs

張學友 time

Shopping finished, finally. Right as I was about to collapse. The mall was super scary today. Will they like their presents? We’ll see.

So we’re off to see 張學友 now… Back tomorrow night!

Date: December 21st, 2002
Cate: Regular

More shopping and secret…

Plans for this weekend:

  • Finish shopping. Not many more to go, but I haven’t got anything for Jenny yet!!
  • 張學友 – we can’t wait!
Date: December 20th, 2002
Cate: Regular
3 msgs

Finally

We finally got to go see The Two Towers tonight! It was just as good as I expected. I liked the point the second book closed at a little better than the movie though, it was more of a cliffhanger. I wonder why they didn’t use that ending? No time? Wanted a happier ending?

Date: December 19th, 2002
Cate: Geekism
2 msgs

Zero click vulnerability in XP

It used to be, long ago, that we computer people would assure people that you can’t get a virus from an email. You have to actually run a program to get a virus. Just viewing the email can’t hurt you.

Of course, Microsoft fixed that one, by allowing scripts to be included in email that are executed automatically when the email is viewed. Then we’d say, you’re safe as long as you don’t OPEN the email. This was fixed too, as auto-preview was added to Outlook.

Here’s the latest one: Just pass your mouse over a malicious file, and get infected!! No click, no run, just mouse over. Turns out when you mouse over an MP3 or WMA file in Windows XP, it conveniently tries to grab the info from the ID3 tag in the file and display it. You can guess what comes next. That’s right, long artist name = buffer overflow!

The fix from Microsoft. Really funny line from their bulletin:

MITIGATING FACTORS: The vulnerability lies in the Windows Shell, rather than Windows Media Player. As a result, playing an audio file with Windows Media Player would not pose any additional risk.

Translation: Since you’re already dead as soon as your mouse passes over the file, go ahead and play it! We think this mitigates your risk somehow!

Another funny part is where they explain what to do if you think you have an infected file on your system. Of course, you should delete it. BUT WAIT! NOT WITH THE MOUSE!!! TOO LATE!!!!!!

Date: December 19th, 2002
Cate: Regular
2 msgs

Whoa

We (right, not royal either, just means me and Jenny, and in this case, also Susan). What? Oh yeah, we went to try to see the movie tonight, and found out that not only was that showing sold out, all other showings for the rest of the night were sold out! That’s never happened to me before. Sheesh.

So we got tickets for tomorrow.

Date: December 18th, 2002
Cate: Regular

Warning! Warning!

My wishlist is currently showing more than one of some of the items puchased. Danger!

Date: December 17th, 2002
Cate: Regular
1 msg

That’s what

Like most of my posts, What’s that? caused quite a stir among the weblog community, and in fact, across the entire internet. What could it be a picture of? When will the secret be revealed? Uh, hello? Is this thing on?

It’s a cookbook!

No, wait. It’s a picture of cropland, near Garden City, Kansas, from Mapquest! You’ll need an AOL or Netscape ID to click on this image and explore for yourself.

Garden City, Kansas

Isn’t that super cool? I’ve seen land that looks like that from airplanes, it really doesn’t look real. Each circle is something like 130 acres and uses a center pivot sprinkler system. I guess that’s the best way to grow the most crops, even though you “waste” the little triangles of land around the edges of the circles. Wouldn’t they be able to pack more circles in in a honeycomb pattern?

Cool! This guy is selling irrigation systems to irrigate all your little wasted corners.

More pictures of center pivot sprinkler systems, via Google Images.

I found out about this through the Earth as Art collection of pictures by NASA. Check it out!

Date: December 17th, 2002
Cate: Regular
1 msg

The one good thing about Sickness…

…of course is staying home from work! Pretty nice restful day. Watched this Sagwa the Cat that Jenny told me about, which I really wanted to like, but utimately just wasn’t that good.

The bad thing though is I’m going to miss tonight’s special showing of The Two Towers. Confusticate and bebother colds!

Date: December 17th, 2002
Cate: Regular
3 msgs

Sickness.

California makes me sick! Or made me sick. Sore throat, runny nose, no likey.

Date: December 15th, 2002
Cate: Regular
74 msgs

Taiwan Girls!

Of all the amazingly interesting content available on the various sections and subsections of Minutillo.com, what is the most popular?

Taiwan Girls

That’s right, Taiwan Girls! Something like 75% of all the seach engine referrals into the site are from queries like “taiwan girls” or “taiwan women” or “pictures of taiwan girls”. Why are Taiwan girls so popular on the internet? If you found this post by searching for Taiwan girls, what were you looking for?

More Taiwan Girls

Why isn’t everybody searching for Taiwan monkeys?

Taiwan Monkeys

Anyway, here’s more of what you’re looking for.

Date: December 14th, 2002
Cate: Regular
1 msg

Guess who’s back?

Back from California! Class was good. Now I’m all WebServices-arific. XML, Infoset, Namespaces, Schema, (more on schema, even more), DOM, SAX, XPath, SOAP, WSDL, UDDI, JAXA through JAXZ including JAX-RPC, and SAAJ… An amazing number of acronyms learned in just four days! My ears only bled a few times.

Date: December 10th, 2002
Cate: Regular
7 msgs

Negative world

I’m here in sunny Torrance, California for my class, which is great so far. But, the hotel hasn’t discovered the internet yet. I could dial up, I suppose, back to Connecticut… No thanks. My only access is in class, during breaks and lunch. So expect very small amounts of not very in-depth weblogging this week.

Date: December 8th, 2002
Cate: Regular
2 msgs

Painting day

Painting day

Date: December 6th, 2002
Cate: Regular
1 msg

What’s that?

Bizarre

Date: December 6th, 2002
Cate: Regular

Learning Stuff

Next week, class in California.
Next month, and for the next two years, finish the Master’s degree? Going to be expensive, and lots of work…

Date: December 5th, 2002
Cate: Otherwhere
9 msgs

Strange Buildings in Hong Kong

I like weird buildings, so I like these buildings:

Strange Buildings in Hong Kong

That picture is part of a travelog type page by this guy Peter Merholz, who shares my love of BroadVision. He even claims to have worked with BV at Outpost.com, although nobody there seems to remember him. Outpost is the same place where I encountered, and attempted to destroy, BroadVision.

As far as I know, buried deep under layers of Apache, JSP, and Servlets, hidden inside concentric spheres of page mungers, cron jobs, and Perl scripts, the black heart of BroadVision still beats at the very core of Outpost.

Update: Peter contacted me, it turns out he did a brief interface assessment for Outpost, and made some suggestions, but they couldn’t happen, because of course BV sucks.

Date: December 5th, 2002
Cate: Geekism

Java -> C#?

Is it just me, or are they trying to make Java into C#? Here are some current JSR’s:

Seems that these are targeted for 1.5, the next release. I wonder if Sun’ll decide that these are a big enough change to merit calling it Java 3?

Date: December 5th, 2002
Cate: Meta

ETag and Last-Modified

I think there was either a bug in b2 or maybe in my configuration, but the ETag and Last-Modified headers were all screwed up. Minutillo.com runs on GMT, but I want the dates in my postings to come out in my local time, so I told b2 what the offset was. It seems b2 adjusts the dates before it writes the dates into the DB, which means when it gets the date of the last posting to generate the Last-Modified header, that date is in EST. That’s not allowed, according to the this section of the HTTP RFC. So a little hacking (reverse the offset) and I’ve fixed it, I think. I’m not confident enough about any of this to submit a patch back to Michel, though.

Maybe I’ll let him know in a few days if this fix seems right.

Date: December 4th, 2002
Cate: Geekism

2002 Perl Advent Calendar

This thing has been linked thousands of times across the web, but it’s so good, I can’t resist mindlessly joining in. By the enigmatic Mark Fowler:

The 2002 Perl Advent Calendar – Each day you can open one secret little door and find a tutorial on one Perl module. The quality so far is excellent – on par with the Perl Cookbook, for example. You can’t cheat though… the little doors won’t open until the appointed day arrives. A very special surprise is promised for Chrismas day itself.

For impatient kids, there is a way to sneak in and open your presents before Christmas, sort of. Last year’s calendar! You can jump right to December 25th if you like!

Last year’s calendar, though, isn’t quite as good. It just has brief descriptions of the modules, no tutorials. And the 2000 Calendar, while available, has even less… Just links straight the module docs. So we really do have to wait till Chrismas for our presents.

Date: December 4th, 2002
Cate: Meta
2 msgs

Goal Achieved

One of the subgoals on my way to world domination is to make sure that this site comes up first when you search for Steve Minutillo on Google. Well, that was easy. What’s more surprising is if you just search for Minutillo, I come up third, right after this Hana Minutillo who is apparently some sort of opera singer. On that same first page:

I wonder if my ranking will be hurt when I fix the problem that makes it look to Google like all my site says is “STEVE MINUTILLO STEVE MINUTILLO STEVE MINUTILLO STEVE MINUTILLO STEVE MINUTILLO STEVE MINUTILLO”? I was doing a stupid CSS trick.

Date: December 3rd, 2002
Cate: Otherwhere
1 msg

Tokyo at Night (with secret backdoor)

robot wisdom today linked to a really cool night panorama of Tokyo. If you go to the homepage of that site, and can manage to deal with site navigation all in Japanese, you’ll be rewarded with hundreds of other equally cool Tokyo night scenes. This is extra interesting to me because for most of them I can say “been there”.

If you can’t deal with the Japanese site navigation, there is a backdoor to see all the images. Just go to http://tokyoyakei.cool.ne.jp/tokyo/ and browse through the directories, conveniently named in English (sort of).

Date: December 3rd, 2002
Cate: Video Games
2 msgs

And Lines too

I showed Jenny Hextris and she said “Remember that other game I used to like, Lines or something?” One Google search later: Lines

Her jaw dropped at the power of the internet. I think it was at that exact moment that she was enlightened.

Date: December 2nd, 2002
Cate: Video Games
4 msgs

Hextris

I was thinking today that it might be a fun exercise to make a nice version of Hextris that worked on both Windows and OS X. I forgot that on the Lazy Web, all you need to do is type hextris.com.

Not that smooth looking though.. hmm…..

Date: December 1st, 2002
Cate: Regular
6 msgs

Transformers GoBots???

OK, we were watching Tokyo Pig this morning, and I saw a commercial that made my brain explode. Apparently Hasbro is now marketing a new line of toys called Transformers GoBots!!! This is insane! For those not in the know, Transformers is to GoBots as Apple is to Microsoft. They’re both lines of transforming robot toys that were locked in a struggle for the minds and hearts and parent’s pocketbooks of kids in the 80’s (ie, me). So to see one toy branded as BOTH… Horrifying.

Transformers vs. GoBots at Georgia Tech
Scholarly comparison of Tranformers and GoBots

Date: December 1st, 2002
Cate: Video Games

Grand Theft Auto III

I beat the game! But it still reports only 33% complete. I focused on moving the main story ahead, without doing the side jobs or rampages, or searching every crevice for secrets. Maybe I’ll go back in for more. What a great game! I used to be a total Nintendo zealot, but GTA3 is the game that finally made me branch out into other systems.