Monthly Archives: May 2002
Much correspondence with Dave and Lawrence from Userland today on this and related issues…more to come!
Error message of the day [thanks, Brad].
The weather is a bit cooler today — should be a nice weekend.
I’ve joined the RSS auto-discovery party, not that there’s usually much worth discovering here. But it’s nice to see HTML features used properly!
More later, probably.
[Mom, you can stop reading today’s entry here. It’s all gonna be acronyms….]
I tried a little experiment with my Radio website today — I tried to convert it to publish on my intranet instead of into the cloud.
First, I tried using the “upstream by FTP” option. That didn’t work, but not through any fault of Radio; we’re having some sort of bizarre FTP problem on the server I’d be using.
So then I decided to be clever and use the new “FileSystem” upstreaming driver. I added a second <upstream> element to my #upstream.xml file, pointing to a server I’d mounted via Samba, and all hell broke loose.
The first problem was simple; when Radio rendered my pages, it always appeared to use the URL for my intranet; I was hoping it would render with the appropriate URL for each destination, but it didn’t seem to.
And as a second problem, it never seemed to copy files into the local filesystem (whether on a Samba-mounted server drive or my local drive didn’t matter).
So I gave up and restored the original #upstream.xml. But the pages being sent up to the cloud still had the intranet URLs. I did a search-and-replace in Radio for the intranet URL and changed it to my cloud URL; that would have helped, except I got the cloud URL wrong, leaving out an initial zero.
I tried fixing that, but screwed up again. Eventually, I downloaded a new copy of Radio and registered it; that put me in position to fix the problem with even more find-and-replace and also got me a few new Tools which weren’t in the 8.0.7 copy I’d upgraded to 8.0.8.
When all was said and done, I had my old Radio site back, complete with all of my content (for what little that’s worth!). Next time, I’ll back up the Radio directory before I start playing.
But I sure wish I knew what I’d done….
Currently, we’re discussing the situation in Israel; I see that
Dan Gillmor has arrived there to report on the Israel high-tech industry. I am afraid he’ll have no problem getting into nice hotels and restaurants; tourism in Israel is very weak these days.
Better to bore the boss than the whole team
I gave a talk (via teleconference and e-meeting) about the IBM Academy of Technology to my team at work today. I’d planned to use a slightly-edited version of a presentation prepared by the Academy Office, and by happy coincidence, sent it to my boss yesterday along with some slides for him to use in introducing this series of talks.
He liked the slides I’d prepared for him, but had some pointed questions about the Academy presentation — such as asking whether it was suitable for this audience, since the interesting stuff began at about the 20th slide. And after thinking about it for a few seconds, I agreed with him…and not because he signs my appraisal. So I spent some time writing a brand new presentation intended for the team, and I think the people who called in appreciated it. The saddest part of the story is that it took me less time to write a new presentation than I’d spent trying to adapt the other presentation!
Jews in Space
As if weightlessness, cramped conditions and the enormity of the galaxy were not worrying enough, a crew member of the next space shuttle mission is facing an additional problem: How do you observe the Sabbath when it occurs once every 10 1/2 hours in orbit?
Shortwave Radio Makes Major Media
“Night after night I was in hotels where my modem became useless after the switchboard was closed down for the evening. I might have saved myself the pain of watching too many talk shows on French television had I brought a shortwave radio along.” [New York Times]
The song for the morning: “91 pieces of spam in my mail, 91 pieces of spam…you take one down, pass it around, there’s 91 pieces of spam in my mail.”
The Battlebots tournament was great fun; we sat in an area loaded with contestants, who knew more about what was going on than I did (and even had a list of the upcoming bouts). There was plenty of robot carnage, and the food was still good, too. I had to sign an NDA, so I can’t reveal any results, but I will warn you to watch out for Evil Cheese Wedge when season 5.0 finally airs on Comedy Central.
On the way home, even though it was quite late, we stopped at Krispy Kreme in Union City for a pick-me-up (giving tired kids a sugar infusion at 11pm is a good idea, right?). It took forever to find the Krispy Kreme (it’s way back in the back of the Union Landing complex), and then there was a long line, giving us plenty of time to see the hot doughnuts being made. As we approached the registers, a nice lady handed each of the kids a free hot doughnut…then she gave one to each of the adults, too. We had originally only planned to get one doughnut each, but walking out after getting the free ones seemed like it might be slightly tacky, so we wound up buying a dozen doughnuts instead and eating more in the car. Good marketing!
Time to get back to work; unfortunately, not all of my e-mail over the weekend was spam, and I need to do something with the rest of it. Where’s the delete key?
We’re just back from an expedition to the Wilds of Berkeley — specifically, Telegraph Avenue.
The goal of the trip was the Mensa Monthly Gathering at Cody’s Books; the speaker was Bob Steiner, CPA, quackbuster, magician, Fellow of The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, and author of Don’t Get Taken: Bunco & Bunkum Exposed How to Protect Yourself, who gave a dandy magic show (except for the one trick he cancelled partway through, when the audience member accidentally shuffled the Oreos instead of cutting them), and then responded to audience questions about magic, bunkum, John Edwards, Miss Cleo, cold readings, and other related topics. It was an enjoyable and educational session (I was amazed, though, to find Mensa members who seemed to really want to believe in psychics, such as “telephone medical diagnosticians”), well worth the drive. It would have been nice to have had time to explore Cody’s Books…and Moe’s…and Shakespeare and Co…and the others on that block of Telegraph. But we didn’t.
Before the session, we had dinner at Le Bateau Ivre (The Drunken Boat), four blocks down Telegraph. We picked the place pretty randomly — they’re not even in the AAdvantage Dining Program — but were very happy with our choice. Our waiter was honest and told us he was there to help us spend more money (we’d started out by asking for the coffeehouse menu rather than the full-blown restaurant menu), and he did a good job of it by mentioning Chocolate Mousse Cake. Tasty stuff! In fact, everything we had was tasty; I’d go back cheerfully.
While we were there, we heard a person at another table talking about being an “indigo child”. I figured it was something strange, but I was confident I could find out about it on the Web, and I was right. That combination of attributes doesn’t seem that distinctive or amazing to me, but perhaps I’m a skeptic.
No, it’s not because of a layoff. It’s because of a poweroff.
Twice a year, on a three-day weekend, IBM powers down the whole Almaden site for major maintenance, and this year, Memorial Day weekend is one of those weekends. So I have to shut down my computer so it doesn’t have problems when power bounces; I also had to shut down and clean out my refrigerator so my office won’t stink on Tuesday morning.
In previous years, I also lost Internet connectivity on these weekends, because IBM was my ISP. But now I have my own Internet service at home, so I don’t necessarily have to disconnect for the weekend. But we’ve got lots of other plans which don’t involve sitting in front of a keyboard, so I hope to be mostly disconnected anyway.
One of the firmer plans is a return trip to Battlebots, which is filming their Season 5.0 this weekend at Treasure Island. We’ve bought the tickets, so we’re committed.
And other than that, we’ll see.
So I lept up from the seat, washed my hands, and went to the computer to check Sci-Fi’s schedule. Sure enough, there’s a showing of The Star Wars Fan Film Awards at midnight tonight, so I zipped to my TiVo to program it to record the showing, and I’m looking forward to watching it this weekend.
Technology is wonderful, but sometimes, there’s no substitute for paper.
Speaking of TV
We watched the season finales of both Smallville and Enterprise last night. At one point in one of the shows (I won’t say which one), I was afraid they were going to pull a Dallas by declaring the whole season to have been a dream, but fortunately, they didn’t. Both did follow the Dallas tradition of ending with a cliffhanger, though! Next season should be fun on both shows.
Jeffrey’s school doesn’t start until 9:30am on Wednesdays (giving the teachers a chance to work and plan together, I guess). So whenever I can, I work from home on Wednesday mornings and then walk with him to school — it gives us a little time together. But the school year is coming to an end soon, which will mean an end to those walks. *sigh*
And speaking of Wednesdays, tonight’s the season finale of Enterprise. We’re looking forward to it — we won’t watch it live, of course…that would require seeing the commercials…but we’ll probably start watching it by 8:15 or so. I’ve even set up the VCR to capture it as a backup — boy, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to program the VCR! Did I mention I like my TiVo?
Paul Graham: Revenge of the Nerds. “The disadvantage of believing that all programming languages are equivalent is that it’s not true. But the advantage is that it makes your life a lot simpler. And I think that’s the main reason the idea is so widespread. It is a comfortable idea.” [via Hack the Planet]
Scary news in today’s online NYTimes:
Nintendo Cuts Its GameCube Price: Nintendo of America announced Monday it will cut the price of its GameCube video game system by $50 to $149, the latest shot in the ongoing console war that includes Sony’s PlayStation 2 and Microsoft’s Xbox.
South Bay Triviots News
I got the results of our CultureQuest adventure; we scored 145 (of a possible 400!). The top 20 teams have scores of 151 and up, so I don’t feel too bad, but it would have been nice to have finished in the money.
Wait till next year!