posts to days old
of topics
with text

Drop Everything and Read

Paul (3 Sep 2008 18:45): This year I have to find something for my 11th grade students to read each day, for "Drop Everything And Read". So if you find anything good for this, post it in this topic and I'll see about having them read it.
Paul (3 Sep 2008 18:49): (links from Morgan):
students' ideas about discipline
paying students for good AP scores
not enough money for schools
one student describes supporting Obama
skipping school to see Obama
voting issues: Obama v McCain
register to vote!
Paul (6 Sep 2008 5:15): NYT editorial on teen pregnancy prompted by Palin's family
Paul (14 Sep 2008 4:29): Felons can vote at least more than they used to
Paul (22 Sep 2008 15:33): school results in Phila
Paul (5 Oct 2008 5:21): Obama and Racism without Racists
Paul (17 Oct 2008 15:00): Nature alleviates ADHD
Paul (18 Oct 2008 4:23): Obama's advertising spending vs McCain's reaches 4:1 thanks to my donation, I guess, among others...
DK (21 Oct 2008 11:55): Interesting, that's pretty cool. I guess the moral of the story is that if you have ADHD, make sure you live in a green city?

One of the things I really dislike about ADHD is that doctors use totally sketchy measures of attention span. Having something truly quantitative to measure is import...
Paul (17 Apr 2009 13:11): Buffett slams tax system disparities
R (17 Apr 2009 16:40): That's a nice article, but I think I read a different report of the same event, around the time of it's occurrence back in 2007. Hopefully he will be kind enough to publicly discuss his overall taxation rate this year.
Paul (18 Apr 2009 6:25): (lest you misinterpret the meaning of "drop everything and read", it is directed at Bartram students, not m'bloggers)
G (18 Apr 2009 17:07): So you're telling them to drop all their classes?
Paul (20 Apr 2009 3:35): probably...probably.
R (29 Apr 2009 10:48): Torture and Civilization by Kevin Drum
R (29 Apr 2009 13:34): Fatal Distraction
Forgetting a child in the back seat of a hot, parked car is a horrifying, inexcusable mistake. But is it a crime?
Paul (12 May 2009 3:41): "What color is that baby?" A murder at Wesleyan goes on the front of Murders near Bartram don't.
Paul (24 May 2009 19:33): A Prom Divided
R (26 May 2009 10:17): Man... there are certainly some nice individuals in the South, but I cannot say I'd be willing to live there. What the hell.
R (4 Nov 2009 18:07): Can Prosecutors Be Sued By People They Framed?

I'm pretty sure Scalia thinks the answer is no.
Paul (5 Nov 2009 4:05): At least in limited circumstances, yes. Limited circumstances: 'prosecutor':'CIA', 'framed':'framed and tortured', 'sued':'prosecuted in Italy'. I guess it's a start.
R (5 Nov 2009 15:10): I had not heard of that. I have to say, I'm impressed with those judges. Of course, no actual punishment has yet been meted out to the criminals. A start, though.
Paul (21 Nov 2009 10:09): myth of the scofflaw cyclist and philadelphia bicycle insurrection
m (21 Nov 2009 12:25): what's all this about your city councilman and twenty dollars? those bike stories sound horrible.
m (21 Nov 2009 17:18): the next time someone uses the word annular and this makes you grumpy, reply with the equally obnoxious synonym circinate (which I on seeing it thought referred to Circe)
Paul (22 Nov 2009 5:38): ...because if they knew better, they'd say, 'donut-shaped...mmm...donuts...class dismissed'
Paul (17 Dec 2009 4:06): Time to drink bottled water
m (17 Dec 2009 9:48): The arsenic one over here has got to be Tacoma from the old smelter (here's our seattle arsenic fact sheet).
And tetrachloroethylene (perc? what? I've never heard of this.): It's on this "substances monitored but not detected" list, so I guess we're off the hook.
At least we're not under a water boil warning.

I'm looking at the 2008 water quality sheet for Philadelphia, remembering your complaints about all of the organic shit in your tap water, and I see that they give a WHOLLY HUMAN UNREADABLE metric of "Ratio of Removal Achieved Divided by Removal Required [by EPA]" for the Total Organic Carbon category. For no other category is the data obscured like that. Annoying.
m (17 Dec 2009 17:40): new favorite quote, from a Cory Doctorow speech on books and reading (and how the shift from ownership to licensing is such a terrible thing):

I have a 21-month-old daughter, and when she was two weeks old, my mother, who holds a PhD in early childhood education, came to visit us in London, where I live, and she said, “Have you stuck your tongue out at her yet?” And I said “Why, no.” And she said, “Stick your tongue out at her and watch.” And she started sticking her tongue out at Poesy, and Poesy started trying to do the same—she copied her. Poesy had never seen a mirror by this point. She didn’t even know she had a tongue. That’s how deeply ingrained in us copying is. We copy like we nuzzle for the breast. It’s right in there at our most fundamental level.
Paul (23 Dec 2009 15:27): Logic exercise: Does
(1) some hospitals spend more than others on patients who die anyway
imply (2) patients will typically die regardless of money spent
m (2 May 2010 9:29): Gail Collins loves teachers!
G (3 May 2010 11:47): Huh.
m (3 May 2010 15:21): This guy starts off whining about the biased and non-causative nature of alcohol studies that tout the health benefits of drinking, and then gives his bar graphs arbitrary ranges (50-100, 50-100, 40-90, 50-100 and 0-90, all percents) to emphasize the differences across demographics. What a dick.
G (3 May 2010 15:23): hahaha.
Seriously, though, Paul, time to hop on the booze train.
G (3 May 2010 15:24): I'm pretty sure that that word means 'smart.'
Paul (5 May 2010 19:46): loquacious! loquacity opacity capacity salacity! burbulurbulurbulurbul
G (5 May 2010 19:52): Oh crap! Don't drink that much, Paul!
m (12 Aug 2010 16:54): McSweeney's picks the best e-reader. My favorite is the bit about pre-installed apps, like "fly swatting" and "making a hat".
R (30 Jun 2011 22:51): "[T]he United States Sentencing Commission, voted unanimously to apply retroactively a new law that brings penalties for crack cocaine offenses more closely in line with those for powder cocaine."
"About 12,000 federal prisoners could now be eligible for reductions, with the average being about three years."
m (1 Jul 2011 16:51): about fucking time.
but, wait, doesn't the constitution say that retroactive laws are no good?
m (1 Jul 2011 16:57): In Article 1 Section 9: no bill of attainder (law finding an individual guilty), or ex post facto law shall be passed. That doesn't apply at all here, in the domain of sentencing mandates/guidelines.
Paul (4 Jul 2011 10:03): I just dug up M's link to a youtube video on the current dilemma of public education from RSA Animate. RSA Animate is an amazing way to teach lessons online. Also check their video on Empathic Civilisation.
m (3 Nov 2014 21:11): yet another article on just how fucked Philadelphia's public schools are
Paul (29 Jan 2015 21:48): Philosophy of free technical support (The original is in German. The questionable machine translation adds to its charm.)
m (16 Apr 2015 8:05): New Neal Stephenson novel, Seveneves - he's got a preview up of the first 26 pages.
m (20 Apr 16:17): On the whole, "Those Who Trespass" is a not a bad potboiler: a love triangle between a detective, a killer, and a journalist; a cat-and-mouse game through a series of four murders, culminating in a large explosion. There are some legitimately, if perhaps unintentionally, comical moments: at one point, O'Malley arrests a teen-ager in a gang called the Bitchin' Boys. But the book is a nauseating read because you know, while reading it, that it was written by Bill O'Reilly.
R (22 Apr 15:02): Dang, I did not realize this was by Jia Tolentino, who wrote a bunch of great stuff at The Hairpin. Also great!


"Van Buren is the only major female character in the novel. (An ā€œunattractive womanā€ named Hillary appears briefly, before Michaels knocks her out and throws her body out the window into an alley.)"

R (22 Apr 15:11): Build a Better Monster: Morality, Machine Learning, and Mass Surveillance by "Pinboard" Ceglowski

"In a setting where attention is convertible into money, social media will always reward drama, dissent, conflict, iconoclasm and strife. There will be no comparable rewards for cooperation, de-escalation, consensus-building, or compromise, qualities that are essential for the slow work of building a movement. People who should be looking past their differences will instead spend their time on purity tests and trying to outflank one another in a race to the fringes."
Paul (16 May 17:12): The Atlantic's story of a modern slave is hard to stop reading
m (6 Jun 14:55): Agreed, Jia Tolentino is great


R (14 Jan 2007 4:55): Hipster contrarianism is a nice segue into: The iPhone.

I don't really like it.

It's pretty as all get out. But:
Touchscreen keyboard
Only Apple-blessed applications (e.g. where the hell is my AIM client? Also, ssh plz?)
Price, price, and price (I am too lazy to intersperse this objection in the other list for comedic effect, please do so mentally)
Seriously. 599 US dollars, anyone?
G (14 Jan 2007 8:48): I own a cellphone now, but it's really just part of the lifestyle over here. I never really thought I'd get another cell-phone when I went back home, and I still don't. Even if I did, though, that $500 ticket would probably be a deal-breaker. On top of the monthly charges, of course.

And, yeah, it's kinda disappointing that there might not be all the cool things we'd want on it, and no real way to put them on yourself.

But, still - what are you comparing it against? There are a lot of crippled, crappy cell phones out there.
R (14 Jan 2007 22:16): Yes, there are many, many crummy cell phones, and carriers as well. But I'd really like Apple not to make a crummy phone, or work with shitty carriers (e.g. Verizon)
But, the Treo offers a tactile keyboard and 3rd party applications right now. Not nearly as pretty, not a great music device, but still. I suppose Apple can change their mind about development at some point, but they seem to be saying it's not going to be nearly as large a field. I mean, it doesn't sync contacts / events wirelessly at the moment. Whiskey Hotel Foxtrot.
G (14 Jan 2007 22:49): Yeah, Treos might be better. And cheaper.
G (14 Jan 2007 23:00): Jeez, I decided to look up how much a Cingular plan costs for a Treo, and yikes. According to the Treo website:
You can get the Treo 680 for $199 if you sign up for a two-year plan.
(They sell the same phone, without plan, for $450. An unlocked phone is $400.)
The cheapest plan sold is the 450 minute plan ($40), but you have to buy the data on top of that (10 MB/mo. for $25).
Total: $65/month, for 24 months = $1560 + phone price. If you don't go over 10 MB.
And that's probably still $300/400 cheaper than an iPhone. An iPhone might get you closer to two large.
G (14 Jan 2007 23:14): Man, if they charged you that up front, there's no way people would go for it.
R (15 Jan 2007 1:27): Well, Steve Jobs wants to have 1% of the cell phone market in 2008. I guess I am not in the target demographic for that 1%. "Computers for the rest of us," indeed. On the plus side, it has 802.11b/g so you may not need a high-end data plan. Unlike with the current Treos. Visual voicemail should have been here fucking years ago. There is no good technological reason why I shouldn't be able to do it now with a current gen phone, except for carrier greed (voicemail phone tree eats minutes). Hopefully, the iPhone inspires the entire rest of the industry to start doing cooler stuff. Which I would be thankful for.
G (15 Jan 2007 6:46): Well, unless there's a Cingular plan available that's different from what's on the web page, the cheapest data plan is $25. So you'll probably need it if you ever want to use email away from wi-fi...
G (15 Jan 2007 6:47): And I completely agree about carrier greed. I really hope this scares some of them into making decent, uncrippled phones.
R (2 Jul 2007 20:27): I know I trashed it before, but why isn't anyone asking me if *I'm* getting an iPhone? *I'm* the Apple Certified Tech Nerd. I gets PAID to fart around and accidentally delete user files. And make terrible jokes that nobody would simultaneously understand and enjoy. ("Ah HELLs nah. You don't know rm -rf from rtfm, biatch! Go /~ and cry.")

And I didn't get an iPhone. </pouts>

But I'm thinking about it. Plans start at $60/mo for unlimited data, 200 text messages, 450 rollover minutes, and 5000 night/weekly minutes. Not great, but close to reasonable. I'm not sure if it would be a good thing to be able to browse the web ALL THE TIME, though. At least not for me. OTOH, I spend 1 hour/weekday riding the bus...

Sadly, DO WANT. Before this week, a Blackberry Pearl seemed like a really nice device. Still has all the features I want, but the magic is totally gone. iPhone done killed the romance.
G (3 Jul 2007 0:06): Well, for what it's worth, that was exactly the question on my mind: "Wonder if R's gonna get one?"

Because for me, the answer is a big "no," or at least a big "not yet." They do look pretty cool. But I'm not sure if I'm going to be getting any cell-phone at all, for now. So it would be kinda hard to justify it.

Spending an hour on the bus every day would go a long way towards justifying it, though. Right now that kind of thing is usually DS time for me, but being able to check the web would be like... it would be like what I would do if I wasn't on a bus. Seriously...

Of course, if speculation proves correct, and a price drop + 3rd party apps show up in the sorta near future... Well, it might be completely irresistible at that point.
DK (5 Jul 2007 15:25): There's a lot of things that put me off about the iphone - the price, the price of the monthly plan.

That, and honestly, I'm not a huge gadget guy. I enjoy PCs, but I have a hard time convincing myself to get the latest and greatest XYZ.

Reed, where are you working now-a-days?

R (5 Jul 2007 23:52): I work for RR Donnelley, doing onsite desktop support for a few RRD employees and the client we are working with. It's in Redmond, so the commute kinda sucks. Also, I now start work at 7 AM... which is the earliest I've ever consistently woken up in my life. I'm still not fully adjusted, I get home at ~4:30 and just crash... or stay up until my previous normal bedtime, and stagger around all day at work.
DK (6 Jul 2007 9:37): Wow, that commute and the start time sucks :(

Sleeping on the bus might be a better option than an iPhone...

R (19 Sep 2014 3:58):
R (19 Sep 2014 3:59):
R (19 Sep 2014 4:13): If you missed the Apple iPhone 6 and Apple Watch announcement, this is a good liveblog of the event. Jony Ive: “Finally, you can wear After Dark on your wrist." -Paul Ford
m (13 Oct 2014 20:15): Just cracked open the macbook charger to replace the cable. Housing was tearing right where it connects to the computer. Works great!
G (17 Oct 2014 20:05): Oh, for fuck's sake. Confirmed that the new Mac mini doesn't have replaceable ram.
R (18 Oct 2014 14:01): On top of the no-longer available quad-core option. Also, no confirmation yet if it will be possible to get two spinning drives internally, as it isn't a BTO option and the fusion drive / SSD options use a pcie based drive.

The Intel 5000 graphics are not great, but most folks expected that.

OTOH, there are two major Intel chipset releases scheduled for next year since broadwell has been so delayed. Which might mean another mini update a year from now-ish. (Probably to broadwell when skylake has been introduced to everything else. Anyone looked into the state of the hackintosh recently?)
R (11 Jun 2015 4:11): Content blocking coming to iOS 9! One thing this article didn't mention as a reason to use an ad-blocker: ad networks have been used to serve browser exploits from high-traffic, trusted sites, e.g.: HuffPo. Trusting a site to trust their ad network to trust their tests that ensure vendors aren't malicious seems like a bad idea.
R (22 Sep 2015 23:13): Re: content filtering: It only works on 64-bit iOS devices :(

Also, speculation about future non-x86 things from Apple.
m (6 Mar 2016 16:50): Fruits we have eaten in Costa Rica: mango, water apple, papaya, banana, cantaloupe, palm heart (this is probably veg), raw coffee bean (does this count?)
Fruit juices we've had here: cas, tamarind, starfruit, orange, soursop, guava, passion fruit, frog water. One more that was dark red but I don't remember what fruit it was.

Obvious: there are a lot of fruits here!
sam (15 Apr 2016 22:13): Who's going to register
m (16 Apr 2016 10:33): Surely already taken!

Is .vr an extension yet?
G (16 Apr 2016 17:04): Surely VR should be considered a country,, and so should be receive a two letter TLD.
sam (16 Apr 2016 19:54): Is this what you had in mind?
m (16 Apr 2016 21:01): I'm just saying, if .wtf and .tattoo get to be sovereign nations (to say nothing of .sex and .sexy) maybe we can just open the TLDs up to arbitrary strings?
G (16 Apr 2016 23:23): Sure! Totally! It's just that the current rules are that two-letter TLDs are only for countries. Otherwise we'd already have a .vr and a... I dunno. Maybe Sam could finally realize his dream of owning musk.ox
sam (19 Apr 2016 21:34): I'll have to settle for musk.oxen
m (20 Apr 2016 11:08): You'll have to settle for
m (20 Apr 2016 11:08): (or the badly spelled
m (13 Jun 2016 18:44): Macbook charger teardown

Apple's involvement with switching power supplies goes back to 1977 when Apple's chief engineer Rod Holt designed a switching power supply for the Apple II. According to Steve Jobs:[3] "That switching power supply was as revolutionary as the Apple II logic board was. Rod doesn't get a lot of credit for this in the history books but he should. Every computer now uses switching power supplies, and they all rip off Rod Holt's design."

This is a fantastic quote, but unfortunately it is entirely false. The switching power supply revolution happened before Apple came along, Apple's design was similar to earlier power supplies[4] and other computers don't use Rod Holt's design. Nevertheless, Apple has extensively used switching power supplies and pushes the limits of charger design with their compact, stylish and advanced chargers.
m (20 Apr 17:48): This post intentionally mis-filed (click through!)
R (21 Apr 21:21): I dislike how my (discontinued! :C ) RSS feed reader app doesn't show the address bar, so that I get no warning at all on that link. At least Safari shows the domain to be strange. Didn't check on my phone though...
m (21 Apr 22:06): Better than my Chromium which just shows ""!!

Present day, present time

(22 Apr 2008 19:10): ha ha ha ha ha
G (23 Apr 2008 7:33): You should add it.
R (8 Oct 2015 1:20): RFC 5841: TCP Option to Denote Packet Mood
sam (13 Jan 2016 13:49): ...

and my glasses don't look anything like Gendo's, if that was indeed being implied!
G (14 Jan 2016 10:14): Maybe that's your problem!
sam (16 Jan 2016 20:34): Ah, I would like to buy these!
R (2 Mar 2017 19:55): * Never put portable computing devices in your mouth!!
* Never join subcultures predicated on misusing $500 electronic devices!!
* Always have the humility to let a departing bus go!!
And, although this wasn't mentioned, always record videos in landscape orientation!!
Thread Police (3 Mar 2017 9:39): Appropriate use of topic. Please, carry on.
m (3 Mar 2017 9:39): Also: excellent!
m (6 Mar 2017 11:20): A Shaenon Garrity sourced game? What?

a more perfect union

m (28 Jan 2010 9:36): I like Gail Collins.
m (28 Jan 2010 9:39): and wordle!
m (28 Jan 2010 9:51): nice pdf from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the differences between the House and the Senate HCR bills.
Paul (17 Dec 2010 16:50): Does anyone get the sneaky suspicion that Obama actually works better with Republicans than with Democrats? Is it easier to negotiate with opposition than with allies?
Paul (4 Sep 2011 6:09): When computers talk to each other conversationally
m (4 Sep 2011 7:39): I see you've got your Flash Plugin working!
Paul (4 Sep 2011 8:34): Yes, Chrome for linux "does flash" out of the box. Not quite sure how it works...
Paul (7 Sep 2011 5:35): I'm so "in the know": I linked the cleverbot-cleverbot chat before it made it to xkcd
G (13 Jan 2012 14:01): ...Texas abortion law that requires pregnant women to listen to the fetal heartbeat... :(
In before "Texas abortion law that requires pregnant women to shed at least 10 tears," "Texas abortion law that requires physicians to play a sound clip of babies screaming..."
Paul (6 Nov 2012 21:51): So... looks like the Presidency and Senate are in good shape. But what's up with the house? Looks like it's all fucked up by gerrymandering. How can we quantify how unfair the house results are?

* Maybe, find the total popular vote for Democratic house candidates versus Republican house candidates, and compare it with the percentage of seats won...

* Maybe, plot a histogram of the margin of victory in each house district. An unfair result has democrats winning by wide margins and republicans winning by narrow margins, with a gap in the middle (ie, not many democrats winning by narrow margins)...

Are any of these feasible? Is anyone else asking this?
m (7 Nov 2012 19:33): (from a FiveThirtyEight interview last year with David Wasserman about redistricting)
DW: All districts have to be contiguous. Compactness is a different matter all together. Mathematicians and geometrists have attempted for years to come up with a uniform way to calculate compactness. But there is really no one-size-fits-all solution to evaluating whether a map is compact or not. If there were, courts would probably be drawn to it.

Don't you think there is, though? Wouldn't it be relatively straightforward to construct some simple geometric rules for splitting states up? Maybe the rules themselves could be subject to gerrymandering, though. Hm.
m (19 Nov 2012 10:34): Wow! Talk about gerrymandering: "Democrats led Republicans by 56 million to 55 million votes nationally" [cumulative over all House races]
Paul (20 Nov 2012 5:37): yeah. Perfect gerrymanderers can keep 1/2 + epsilon of the seats as long as they keep 1/4 + delta of the voters. Specifically, put 1/2 - delta of the voters into seats that are 100% democrat, and the other 1/2 + delta of the popular vote into seats that are ((1/4+delta)/(1/2+delta))% republican. So what lower bounds can we put on delta? (If delta is 1/4, we're back to normal democracy.) Delta is mildly lower-bounded by state borders, somewhat more lower bounded by district compactness requirements, and substantially lower bounded by states like California where a nonpartisan commission draws the districts...
Paul (20 Nov 2012 5:48): oh no! some of my epsilons and deltas are wrong, and I'm late for work. correction forthcoming!!!
Paul (20 Nov 2012 19:54): Ok, here it is. In order for republicans to win 1/2 + epsilon of the seats, they only need to get 1/4 + delta of the votes, where delta > (epsilon/2), provided they gerrymander the districts. Specifically, draw 1/2 - epsilon of the districts to have 100% democrat votes, and draw the remaining 1/2 + epsilon of the districts to evenly distribute the remaining votes which are ((1/4+delta) / (1/2+epsilon)) > 50% republican.

arrange it so that 1/2 - epsilon of the votes are 100% democratic for 1/2 - epsilon of the seats, and 1/2 + epsilon of the votes are evenly distributed (. of yeah. Perfect gerrymanderers can keep 1/2 + epsilon of the seats as long as they keep 1/4 + delta of the voters. Specifically, put 1/2 - delta of the voters into seats that are 100% democrat, and the other 1/2 + delta of the popular vote into seats that are ((1/4+delta)/(1/2+delta))% republican. So what lower bounds can we put on delta? (If delta is 1/4, we're back to normal democracy.) Delta is mildly lower-bounded by state borders, somewhat more lower bounded by district compactness requirements, and substantially lower bounded by states like California where a nonpartisan commission draws the districts...voters are selected to yeah. Perfect gerrymanderers can keep 1/2 + epsilon of the seats as long as they keep 1/4 + delta of the voters. Specifically, put 1/2 - delta of the voters into seats that are 100% democrat, and the other 1/2 + delta of the popular vote into seats that are ((1/4+delta)/(1/2+delta))% republican. So what lower bounds can we put on delta? (If delta is 1/4, we're back to normal democracy.) Delta is mildly lower-bounded by state borders, somewhat more lower bounded by district compactness requirements, and substantially lower bounded by states like California where a nonpartisan commission draws the districts...
Paul (20 Nov 2012 19:55): And just ignore the garbage after the first paragraph. It was late and I was tired.
G (28 Nov 2012 8:29): I think that there is probably not any good rule for mechanically determining if a district guideline is reasonable or not. Simply because you could still have compact regions that are very clearly designed to favor your side, but also because maybe having a long district on a coastline seems like it might not be so bad, and stuff like that. Or I guess what I meant is that compactness, while good, doesn't really prevent abuse.
m (15 Dec 2012 16:39): No wonder gerrymandering makes you grumpy, Dex. Is/was that your district?

What about just the requirement that districts be convex? It's certainly simple, and though Grant's right that it can (will) still be abused, at least we'll avoid ludicrously, blatantly abusive shapes like this one.
G (16 Dec 2012 14:35): The grid nature of streets makes a convex requirement untenable.
m (16 Dec 2012 22:22): Good point, but there's no reason I can think of that district boundaries would need to align with streets.
m (16 Dec 2012 22:24): But the initial point still stands: they'd just end up being long skinny rectangles of cheating instead of wiggly cheater-fractals.
m (30 Dec 2012 17:41): This article makes me think that they're doing it wrong: 242 districts in which the result was more than 20 percentage points off of the presidential result (117 of those going Dem, 125 for Republicans).
m (30 Dec 2012 17:49): but here's a thought:
Meanwhile, the differences between the parties have become so strong, and so sharply split across geographic lines, that voters may see their choice of where to live as partly reflecting a political decision. This type of voter self-sorting may contribute more to the increased polarization of Congressional districts than redistricting itself.
G (31 Dec 2012 23:49): Requiring convex districts means that either you'll need to make perfectly rectangular districts in perfect grid cities, or you have to deal with deciding which houses or which rooms are on which side of which lines. The stakes are lower for every decision, but there are a lot more decisions that have to be made, this way.

If we have weird district lines that don't align by streets even now, then I guess I think we oughta do that!

I think the blue-skies perfect-world solution would be to have non-partisan groups doing the redistricting. Maybe you have to lock them in a room with no internet until the lines are all drawn, and they can't check how the territories voted?
G (31 Dec 2012 23:51): Also we have states with concavities along their borders. Their state-borders. So you'd have to at least add exceptions for that. So take that!
Paul (1 Jan 2013 21:16): Center for Range Voting always has something interesting to say. Did you realize that the whole concept of specially-drawn districts is specified only by law, not by constitution? "In some sense the ultimate proportional representation system is simply not to have any votes and voters at all; the legislature is simply selected randomly!"
m (2 Jan 2013 10:37): [continuing from paul's quote]: "This practice was introduced in Ancient Athens where a machine was invented for generating the randomness."
m (2 Jan 2013 20:44): here's a new one (to me)
m (2 Jan 2013 20:53): The very first proposed amendment (also new to me) actually tries to do this (districts max out at 50,000 residents) and fails due to a scrivener's error(?!)
But failed amendments are still live(?!) so if it had been properly worded we would be able to pick it up for ratification today (I think)
G (5 Mar 2013 23:28): In order to form a more perfect union, it is imperative that we change the national anthem to R. Kelly's 2003 hit "Ignition (Remix)."
G (28 Apr 2013 14:46): America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.
G (1 May 2013 22:14): ...
m (5 Sep 2015 12:00): Bachelor party
LAN party
Party all the time
m (7 Sep 2015 7:36): Good party guys.
G (7 Sep 2015 13:59): That's my line!
Thanks very much, I had a great time.
m (18 Sep 2015 13:29): trolling mancala for any good old quotes that might be nice to break out tomorrow
z (19 Sep 2015 23:55): Congrats G!
Paul (12 Oct 2016 16:06): My deep reflection on visiting Waffle House in Atlanta: If the North won the civil war, how come only the South got the Waffle House chain?
m (13 Oct 2016 9:04): Lasting grudge against Sherman for burning down all initial franchise locations?
m (13 Oct 2016 9:04): Sic semper tyrannis?
R (1 Mar 2017 16:32): Barack Obama Was Kicked Off Of A White House Tour For Shouting, ‘I Already Know That,’ After Everything The Tour Guide Said
R (1 Mar 2017 16:35): So, so dumb, but it got me.
sam (2 Mar 2017 15:54): picture says it all


Paul (15 Dec 2004 16:16): Should I delete the below messages? They're sort of amusing, though, maybe...
Paul (16 Dec 2004 18:48): then again, maybe not...
m (16 Dec 2004 20:41): I'm getting spam at my gmail account even though I've never posted the email address anywhere. I wonder if spammers send to all [dictionary]@[popular_email_host].com
addresses and then ignore the bounces.
Paul (17 Dec 2004 18:11): yes. solutions:
sender authentication?
Paul (17 Dec 2004 18:14): By the way, if any of you are trying to email me, my address is pgd@post.[my college's domain]
m (18 Dec 2004 2:01): sender authentication without having personally ok'ed the sender is tricky.
m (18 Dec 2004 2:03): Actually, I think collin jackson did his senior project on something related.
Paul (19 Dec 2004 12:30): to tag email as from spam-IPs, good-IPs or unknowns...all one needs is sender authentication and a few competing IP-list sites, ne?
m (21 Dec 2004 14:31): maybe, but email headers are easy enough to forge. I was thinking that a spammer could just prepend some fake initial header data to the email and pretend to be forwarding on a valid email, but you could filter based on intermediate-node IP. it still seems like it would be straightforward to forge TCP header information and make the intermediate email routing step seem to come from a legit host.
m (21 Feb 2005 21:04): how did spammers ever find mancala? Have any of you ever linked mancala from somewhere? Maybe an evil router watches http post traffic and grabs urls with post data associated with them to run through a message-board-bot?
Paul (22 Feb 2005 18:35): Well, I certainly haven't tried to hide mancalablog...on the contrary, I originally wanted the archive to be listed in Google, in case some poor searcher wants to know about equilateral triangles on lattice points or Kagawa Compulsary Education..... And spam has hardly been significant...3 posts in 8 months, I think.
m (22 Feb 2005 21:24): still, google bots can't find you unless someone already in their (vast) database links you, right?
Paul (24 Feb 2005 16:31): Well, you should be able to get such a list by Google-ing for "", but it comes up empty. I think Google may now index pages it finds, regardless of whether they're linked from anywhere... But watch out: similar queries often come up empty even when Google has a cached copy of the page with the link!
Grant (25 Feb 2005 1:53): Too creepy!
zong (25 Feb 2005 10:05): Google's motto, according to Larry Page, is "Don't be evil." Whether it is that or just "Don't appear to be evil," one will never know.
The technical problem with Google is that it is supposed to just measure the properties of the network. But because it does a good job in measuring the network, it modifies the network via a feedback process through it.
Grant (27 Feb 2005 18:30): Wait, I thought the problem was concerns of privacy and intellectual property?
zong (28 Feb 2005 12:16): That comes from Google being (market-wise) powerful, I guess; but that's the same thing. Its power is in modifying the network (here used in a sense that includes traffic patterns), which is a screwy thing to do for a search engine but inevitable for a successful search engine.
Grant (28 Feb 2005 19:30): I'm not understanding how you put '(semi-)covertly gathering all sorts of personal information for dubious purposes' under the heading of 'modifying the network.'
I'm not really all that concerned about how Google's presence modifies the internet - stuff like Google bombs and web pages that talk about Google don't bother me at all. I'm more concerned about how Google's presence have effects outside of the web - possibly identifying or implicating users via their searches, or giving government (or even commercial) agents the means by which to do so.
That, and knowing that by sending email to gmail, I could essentially be handing it over to Google for analysis, indexing, and who knows what else.
m (1 Mar 2005 22:20): seems reasonable
Grant (2 Mar 2005 3:53): It is, probably, in some ways just fine. And actually, some of the stuff on google-watch does seem pretty paranoid. One might even say 'crazy.' The points that I thought might be valid follow.
The provisions for disclosing personal information are pretty vague, and suspect to change at any time. Furthermore, 'necessary by law' - who's law, sucker? My law, or The Man's law? No, seriously, though - somebody brought up an interesting point about requests from other countries with somewhat dubious governments.
I also heard that personal communications ceased to be protected by (our) federal law after 90 days or something? Which means that the US government could legally peruse email via a subpoena rather than a search warrant? I end all my sentences in question marks? Like this?
I can't say what protections would be given for foreign (non) citizens - presumably, less.
As far as the actual search engine goes, I am personally of the opinion that that sort of thing should fall under fair use. But I don't kid myself for one second - Google is copying other people's works (commercial and otherwise) without any sort of permission, and it is making a profit out of it.
But, like, I still use it...
m (2 Mar 2005 10:47): yes. presumably less.
m (3 Mar 2005 18:10): whoah! google maps is straight sexy.
(3 Mar 2005 23:04): Yeah. I just wish it had maps of Japan. That'd be awesome.
I have a hard time finding things, sometimes. It's only mitigated somewhat by the fact that I don't have a car.
m (7 May 2006 0:29): god damnit
Paul (11 May 2006 9:22): What the hell? It's not like this site has any pagerank or readership. Any suggestions?
Paul (11 May 2006 12:10): okay, adding a simple spamfilter, sigh
Paul (12 May 2006 5:54): tweaking the spamfilter again :(
Paul (28 May 2006 18:53): I am disappointed to report that we've gotten 58 spam posts since I tweaked the spamfilter. The domains they link to are registered to a guy in Minsk, Belarus. How many person-hours and social interactions is this one guy probably wasting/ruining? Like, just protecting mancala from him took me almost an hour iirc. I guess spam isn't as bad of a utilitarian evil as war etc., but it ranks right up there.
Grant (29 May 2006 17:35): I'm pretty sure they're both bad, but that's about as far as I'd be willing to take that comparison.
m (10 Feb 2007 21:47): subject text: Is he Pythagorean
R (17 Jun 2007 20:38): Subject: I guess some people expect their software to automatically do whatever they think it should do, and be perfect and contain no bugs.

Fucking awesome. Ripped from thomasvs' Advogato page. Home of other cute rants like:

Never ever ever install stuff from source to /usr unless you are completely sure that this is what you want and the only way to work around something. If you don't know if it is, the answer is it isn't.
m (28 Jun 2007 9:25): today's spam to make it past the filter is

(a) upsetting: "Subject: Who has the bigger pen1s.? g"
Damnit. I always suspected.

(b) absurd: invitation.pdf
It's an incoherent kidnapper's ransom-note style pdf telling me to buy some sort of stock. I don't know. (don't worry -- there's nothing embedded in the pdf besides a little image data)
m (26 Jul 2007 23:14): Shit. R, your dancing post from a couple weeks ago tripped p's spam filter. I don't know on what impulse, but I was browsing his spam.dat file that logs everything here flagged as spam. So, uh, maybe I can just cat it onto the end of blog.dat? I'm a little afraid of breaking mancala, though.
m (26 Jul 2007 23:18): not quite.
P: chmod blog.dat g+w
R (7 Dec 2007 18:59): Subject: "Men think with a penis - the bigger penis, the smarter man."
Subject: "Big penis is great - it's an axiom."
G (8 Dec 2007 19:37): Those are awesome. Maybe I should start reading my emails, too! Maybe I should start digging around in this pile of shit, looking for gold!
G (9 Dec 2007 1:32): I, uh, didn't mean that to say that those emails you guys sent me aren't awesome. They're great. Really.
m (9 Dec 2007 14:27): G's .procmailrc:

# It's axiomatic
:0 fw
| sed -e "s/[::alpha::]*/shit/g"
m (9 Dec 2007 14:34): To actually match the character class and to avoid vacuous matching, that sed line should really instead read
| sed -re "s/[[:alpha:]]+/shit/g"
G (18 Dec 2007 20:10): Hey, I got one!
"You Dont please with your male aggregate size."
G (22 Oct 2008 1:17): Also, it looks like your spam filter doesn't catch complete gobbledygook.
m (22 Oct 2008 16:20): Find the spam filter on grza and take a look at it -- it's pretty goofy.
m (2 Nov 2008 6:25): I was just thinking: bayes filtering can't catch clever messageboard spam, because the spam can simply use the messageboard itself to generate its own bayes-likely message, with a few smarmy urls in it.

I kind of want to see that: a generic mancala message
g (2 Nov 2008 13:11): But the spam we're actually getting isn't that - it's just nonsense with a bajillion URLs that don't even have link text.

Also, generic mancalablog post in 3... 2... 1...
Paul (3 Nov 2008 15:52): using the phpbb-style urls as a trigger for the spamfilter seemed promising, but Jeffrey's spam doesn't have any of them...

If you've ever tried dadadodo, you'd find some good random mancala messages. Here's one coming up...
Paul (3 Nov 2008 16:01): ~$ curl -s |grep : |cut -f3- -d: |dadadodo - |head -20
dadadodo: reading stdin...
254 lines
Datte datte, datte. Apple used to. Paprika is no fun of clicking the
image ssh to just like being have it beyond the second or I still
remember suggest this be able to eternally battle mysterious terrorist
timebots, not hang of power you know why did it would bother spamming a
Yakuza But talk to this be it micycle? Nice to basic syntax. Test
the order cursor at maybe nobody got put their a rimming mazing, is
this time.
Paul (3 Nov 2008 16:03): ~$ curl -s |grep : |cut -f3- -d: |dadadodo - |head -20
dadadodo: reading stdin...
........... 2309 lines
Work on some sort of keeping it to buy a while, the indirect, so.
Also probably be a Remote ssh y; and the government's purpose is
back in their account on all of the all of economics wifi signal?
Besides unla. Perhaps I'm humor you being dicks? Discuss.
Particularly good npr points in Seattle.

The some soundfonts or you a writ of Content? Minnesota? It
anywhere like leeks. Royal Tenenbaum Rollicking good the short
very old, to offered in line and say it's Thanksgiving here is now
Paul, has is long typing this lady site links I refuse to buy of
your bb I thought that! And yikes. Jesus. Sorry I agree: the
executive branch is it working. You wanted to implement the whole
thing I've ever again I knew that, fine; with regex's?

G's procmailrc: syntax these machines I hear was funny;
though. That many buffers are Obama's, campaign of them is

Stupid, but I saw that it's a standard system
and as a href and seems okay, preview. I
Paul (3 Nov 2008 16:05): Conclusion: "Why did it would bother spamming a Yakuza?"
G (3 Nov 2008 16:35): Holy shit, that spam is awesome.
m (11 Nov 2008 20:58): :<
G (12 Nov 2008 0:44):
- -
Paul (13 Nov 2008 13:52): Manually moved spam into blogspam.dat. Honeypot field pending.
Paul (16 Nov 2008 5:54): One honeypot field added. Now, can I still post?
Paul (16 Nov 2008 5:55): And...can I still post after previewing? Yes.
Paul (16 Nov 2008 5:57): And, can I still post from Elinks? Yes, but it shows the honeypot, so just don't put anything in it.
m (16 Nov 2008 7:56): Well done, dex. Stupid spam-flood.
G (16 Nov 2008 11:33): Nicely nicely.
m (29 Dec 2008 1:09): Subject: Your powerful uprise will surprise women

[pretty great sight/slant-rhyme of uprise and surprise, even if it's a stretch to translate "uprise" to "boner".]
m (15 May 2009 13:34): Subject: Hannibal the Great's Favorite sexual Positions and Libido Enhancers From Hitsory
R (11 Feb 2010 16:49): "Your shlong can be shlonger"
"Like a drilling machine in pants"
G (15 Mar 2011 17:46): I just really like this subject line.
Paul (23 Jan 2017 20:38): what happens when you reply to spam email rotfl

Officially a pesky hack

DK (28 Aug 2007 20:59): According to the powers that be, <HREF="">I'm a pesky hack</A>. Hurray : )

R (18 Sep 2007 21:10): Dude, congrats! Although I'll admit I am too timid to tackle yr whitepaper. "Pesky hack" is high praise indeed from El Reg.
DK (29 Sep 2007 18:07): Thanks Reed : )

I'm just hoping that's not my 15 minutes of fame going down the drain here...

R (3 Jul 2016 6:56): Officially a pesky... Slack?

link propagation

m (9 Jan 2005 18:43): The Edge asks 120 experts from various fields what they believe to be true but cannot prove.
zong (10 Jan 2005 18:32): The techies make more interesting readings than the fuzzies, who indeed make very fuzzy statements.
m (12 Jan 2005 15:27): BGP routing in the Internet (maybe a little dumbed down, but not too hindered by this -- clearest explanation of BGP I've come across yet). Shocking that (as of may 2003) the global routing tables for the internet contained only about 123000 routes.
zong (17 Jan 2005 18:42): Shocking that for all the hoopla about the Internet being a redundant network, global traffic basically get routed through a handful of large corridors with ISPs hanging off as branches. The topology is more like a tree than a web.

Shocking that you can (or can you?) route traffic your way just by promising to deliver to a certain range.
Paul (18 Jan 2005 18:18): There must be something more to this. If you could reroute arbitrary traffic to yourself, that would be more crippling than any existing DoS attacks.

As for tree-versus-web... as long as there are many (say, >10) paths from A to B, for any points on the "major corridors", that's reasonably redundant... lack of ISP-to-major-corridor redundancy is worse.
m (18 Jan 2005 19:06): I don't think any of the routers that you personally have a chance of talking to will be running BGP. Ones that do afaik have to be explicitly configured to use your IP as a BGP neighbor. I think they also have a bunch of route redistribution filter rules that they use. The explicit neighbor part seems strange. OSPF does automatic neighbor discovery with some "hello" messages, but BGP just doesn't
zong (22 Jan 2005 1:01): BGP was briefly mentioned yesteraday in a seminar on network utility maximization (with applications to congestion control protocols). BGP was described as a "big mess."
m (22 Jan 2005 14:16): congestion control at the mac layer (like, with aloha and macaw for wireless), or at the transport layer (with TCP Tahoe/Reno/Vegas)?
m (22 Jan 2005 14:18): I think i listed every congestion control protocol I know.
oh - CSMA/CD for media access does the same thing as aloha, I think, with exponential backoff.
zong (22 Jan 2005 15:27): Network utility maximization can be used to analyze both and to guide designs of such protocols.
According to the talk, all three TCP congestion protocols are implicity solving a standard network utility maximization problem over the network, in the sense that, they will stabilize at the optimal solution that maximizes sum of individual utilities over a network with fixed link capacities, where utility is a concave function of the transmission rate. Two of them maximize according to a logarithmic utility function, the other one maximizes according to an arctangent utility function. None of them were ever designed to do this.

If you mix and match protocols, though, you may have more than one equilibrium. But, with some contraints on the utility functions and whatnot, the number of equilibria is almost guaranteed to be odd and probably there is a unique one.

Read more about reverse engineering TCP congestion protocols here.

Read about NUM and optimization in general here.
R (30 Jun 2016 19:49): Ambiguous Cylinder Illusion
m (1 Jul 2016 7:43): CONFUSING
m (1 Jul 2016 7:45): Some clarification?


m (28 Aug 2005 20:02): I was reading the Errata for K&R 2nd edition (I'm going to put that in a future personal ad -- likes to curl up by the fire on a saturday night and read Errata for K&R) and saw something about changing an argv[0]++ because writing to argv elements isn't explicitly allowed in ANSI C, though neither is it forbidden, and this made me think of how assigns to _GET[] and about how writing non-portable code that's clean is much sexier than writing ugly robust portable code.
The commandments link mandates explicit return value checking so that a line like
(a = (char *) malloc(LINE_LENGTH))[0] = '\0';
doesn't haunt you when you've run out of memory, or something, and a is NULL. but that's lame. if you've run out of memory, go ahead and seg fault. a little core never hurt anyone.
m (5 Feb 2007 13:33): You guys know Brainfuck? Well, it's awesome. A classic. Now for lovers and non-lovers alike, there's the even more gorgeous SNUSP.

What a shitty name, though.
G (19 Jan 2012 18:40): Programming funnies: wat
Paul (14 May 2012 10:19): fun fact: the CIP code for "Computer and Information Sciences, General" is 11.0101
Paul (12 Jul 2012 18:16): How to safely store a password
Paul (2 Aug 2012 17:33): For reference: An Open Letter to Javascript Leaders Regarding Semicolons
G (3 Aug 2012 0:11): Literary Programmer sounds like a cool guy!
R (22 Aug 2013 23:55): Simulating Constrained Retrocomputing Color Palettes in iOS
m (26 Aug 2013 8:14): I want that RMS was right shirt.
G (26 Aug 2013 17:44): It seems the largest sub-population of "X was right" t-shirts is for "Cyclops."
Second largest is "Magneto."
R (3 Dec 2015 3:27): sRGB, Gamma, and You: What To Expect When You're Reflecting

(that is not the real title jk but it is about srgb and kinda interesting)
m (3 Dec 2015 10:24): Save that title for future use!
m (3 Dec 2015 10:47): 'filtering' and 'texture filtering' are mentioned a few times in the article -- what is that?

Also: Luma/Chroma!


R (22 Sep 2015 22:59): Hey, S and Paul, this is the phone I was recommending, the 2015 Moto G. Make sure to set the storage to 16GB (which also bumps the RAM to 2GB). Here's the GSMArena review.

Much like the iMac, it comes in <strike>five&<strike>several colors.
sam (3 Oct 2015 15:01): i want berry flavor
sam (3 Oct 2015 15:16): i used to have that motorola phone that could only fit 6 characters on the screen in a row. motofone
sam (12 Oct 2015 8:45): Got a hands on review yet?
R (14 Oct 2015 0:00): The phone just showed up today. She doesn't have SIM for it yet, but nothing seems amiss so far. Very very few preinstalled apps, fewer than my Nexus 4 even, like 28 total? I thought the moto actions (twisting for camera, chop for flashlight, screen waking when picked up) seemed nice. Camera quality seems decent, a lot better than my Nexus 4. Size is a little longer and a little less wide than my Nexus with the case on, about the same thickness. Grippy back texture feels good in the hand. Screen is very bright, good saturation. Light colors have a very slight diagonal texture when viewed off-angle, something I've seen before with non-high-end LCDs, pretty much invisible from more than a foot away. Speaker is louder than my (pretty quiet) Nexus, vibration about the same strength but higher-pitched. Comes with a charger with an attached cord, weird. FM radio needs headphones for reception, works OK, nice to have the FM RDS text. 11.8GB free out of 16GB out of the box, and there's a microSD slot that supports up to an extra 32GB. Still seems like a good buy for the price, just make sure you get the 16GB version with 2GB of RAM. Feels Snappy™.
Only limitations are 720p screen and no gyro. Unless you want to do crummy phone-based VR or make photospheres, not a big deal.
sam (16 Oct 2015 15:07): Thank you!


m (9 Oct 2009 17:26): Grant: translation needed. Is this a barbershop+residence, or just barbershop? Or, I guess residence with cool barber chairs...
Design Milk linked to their ultra low footprint (267 sq ft) Nana Han - it's super great.
G (9 Oct 2009 20:56): Your guess was right, it is a barbershop and residence.
I gather that a couple and their parents (doesn't say, I'm guessing this means two couples total) live there.
G (9 Oct 2009 21:06): The 7.5-tsubo residence is pretty cool. Niggling complaints aside...
- What is up with the floodlight on the stairs? Seems lousy for people going down.
- I would probably have to put a whole lot of shelves into a place like that.
- Kind of funny that there are no windows on the front of the building.
I guess the bottom floor is a bike garage.
I swear I've seen that somewhere before.
m (10 Oct 2009 14:04): -Bottom floor is a bike garage, yes.
-I assumed the flood was just there for the photo shoot, though I guess they only turn it on for two shots.
-The only storage space in the whole house looks like those glass/plexi/clear-something-or-other cupboards above that tiny bit of stainless kitchen. Is it normal for Japanese houses to have less closet space (and fewer things) than American ones? Do they use more movable storage, like chests or boxes or something?
-It is weird that there are no windows on the front, given that that and the right side (where you can see also minimal windowing) are the only spaces that don't look out onto immediate neighboring walls (which the quasi balcony and bedroom, both along the back face of the house, seem to do).

Verdict stands, though: still think it's great.
G (10 Oct 2009 15:45): Yeah, the flat front is very distinctive, but I can't help but think it'd be a little inconvenient when you want to know who just honked their horn outside, or whatever.
Most Japanese houses have at least some closets, usually with sliding doors. If you've got a futon instead of a bed, you can toss in there during the day. I don't see anything like that, though, so I guess you'd probably want a bunch of shelves and drawers and stuff.
The bike storage looks pretty roomy... it would be tough not to make that your guest room/entryway.
The bedroom is funny. It's got, like, a hatch.
Pretty cool.
m (11 Oct 2009 11:19): yeah. you better be okay with crawling into bed. Also, it looks like the bedroom ceiling is about 4ft.
R (30 Aug 2010 9:15): Hey! A new Studio Ghibli film opened in Japan last month: The Borrower Arrietty. Not directed by Miyzaki, FYI. Based on a fantasy novel by Mary Norton, sounds promising.
G (12 Mar 2011 23:27): Earthquake, tsunami, and now the very real possibility of a complete nuclear meltdown. It is pretty intense.
m (14 Mar 2011 10:44): So the earthquake stopped the external power to the plant. Appropriate backup response kicked in: the three running reactors shut down, and diesel generators fired up to pump water into the reactors to cool them down. But the tsunami killed the generators an hour later? BAD!
m (25 Mar 2011 13:59): great radiation comparison chart [xkcd]
m (17 May 2011 12:00): Grant: Want japanese pickles. Reading about nukazuke. Good thing?
G (17 May 2011 23:18): I endorse nuka. It sounds radioactive, but it tastes delicious.
It's easy and fast and cheap and tasty. Cucumbers and carrots are great.
But see about some other veggies and report back.
m (9 Feb 2012 19:49): Ever had nukazuke? Any idea where I can get rice-bran-flour (nuka)? Uwajimaya, I guess?
G (13 Feb 2012 0:25): I said in the previous post that I like it. >:(
We used it at Issian for our cucumber pickles.
I think you can get it at uwajimaya, don't really know where all its available. HT oak tree? But that's not closer for you.
m (13 Feb 2012 12:04): You're right! Back in May I asked about it? I guess I've had nukazuke on my mind for a while, even if I don't remember what it was I was thinking/reading that last time I asked about it (could I have arrived there strictly from bouncing around within wikipedia? And actually I'm not sure what turned me on to it this time - I think it was something in JustBento (had some too-mushy kinpira gobo a few weeks ago when I went out to Poppy (North end of Broadway) with my mom and went there for a recipe - maybe this was when?)). So I found a small book about umeboshi/nukazuke/tsukemono at Kinokunya. Entirely in Japanese. It's got plenty of pictures, but I may need some help decoding

Well I found nuka at Uwajimaya on saturday, but it was crowded and took asking three different people before someone knew where to look. Now I need a ceramic urn for the fermentation.

Heh. Sounds radioactive...
G (17 Feb 2012 9:05): I'd be happy to translate if you can get some decent-quality scans or pictures up. At work we just used regular plastic tupperware...
G (19 Feb 2012 23:02): holy shit it's Japanese fart scrolls
m (25 Jan 2014 22:43): TOKYO—Ending a decades-long struggle for gender equality at the ballot box, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan signed a new measure into law on Thursday extending the right to vote to female robots.
m (8 Jun 2014 20:06): Wait, Japan wants people driving fewer fuel-efficient tiny cars and more regular, big, awful cars? What?
m (8 Jan 2015 7:58): Translation Needed -- I think this is Murakami's new Dear Abby website.
m (20 Jan 2015 13:06): Translation still needed! Murakami, a cat, and a ... opossum?
m (20 Jan 2015 13:07): Only one so far in English
R (19 Aug 2015 18:42): So, new touhou character for Comiket 88. "GOD BLESS AMERICA FIARY"


dkanter (2 Jul 2007 11:50): Grant - are you going to get an iPhone?

One of my friends worked on the hardware/software design, and it looks really sweet. I don't think it's $500 worth of sweet, but I was pretty impressed.

I definitely like the idea of a dynamic thumbpad.

m (19 Jul 2015 9:25): DIY Cell Phone?!


(20 Oct 2004 19:21): it's slow around here
(21 Oct 2004 13:34): drriiiip!
Paul (7 Dec 2005 15:25): Don't you feel safer already?
Grant (7 Dec 2005 16:45): If I had to lay odds, I'd say that the chances of me making a joke about having a bomb at an airport are a lot better than winding up with a person who had brought one and not made a similar comment.

So, not very safe.
Paul (8 Dec 2005 15:07): "An analysis this year by the Treatment Advocacy Center, a nonprofit group in Virginia, found that mentally ill people were four times more likely than members of the general public to be killed by the police." [from nytimes]
David (11 Dec 2005 22:59): Just to highlight how fucking incompetent airport security is, I flew from San Jose airport to Seattle with a 6" buck knife in my backpack. I had forgotten it was in there, and I pulled it out afterwards at home thinking "Funny, I wonder how this got through security..."

Paul (19 Sep 2010 16:59): ...
G (20 Sep 2010 12:59): pong!
R (20 Sep 2010 15:01): Sounds like you're back up & running, Paul? Whatever happened with your fonts & other assorted comp. weirdness?
Paul (7 Feb 2011 20:48): ping!
G (7 Feb 2011 21:44): pong!
Paul (11 Aug 2014 4:29): ping
G (11 Aug 2014 8:23): PONG
m (11 Aug 2014 11:38): ping m

PING m ( 56(84) bytes of data.
From Paul ( icmp_seq=1 Destination Host Unreachable
From Paul ( icmp_seq=9 Destination Host Unreachable
64 bytes from m ( icmp_req=10 ttl=255 time=12.0 ms
10 packets transmitted, 1 received, 90% packet loss, time 7hr 08m
(5 Sep 2014 7:44): Drriiiiiip


m (14 Jun 2006 5:18): Hey! Stephen Hawking conjectures that if we (humanity) can hold out another hundred years, we'll be safe (sort of)!
Paul (16 Jan 2008 18:45): So this guy was setting me up with an account on his server, and it comes time for me to type a password, and he clicks to another xterm and types "setxkbmap us"...
"Wait," I exclaim, "do you use Dvorak?"
"Yes," says he.
"Then you don't have to change it; I use Dvorak too."
(17 Jan 2008 14:56): My hands trembled with excitement as they met his on the keyboard. He visibly stiffened as I caressed his wrists, his long fingers, but soon he relaxed and began to caress my hands, as well. Slowly he worked his long hands, slightly calloused from long typing sessions, up my arms to the hem of thrift-store t-shirt.
m (18 Jan 2008 6:55): I see a future for you on
Paul (27 Feb 2008 14:42): "If you randomly changed some of the letters in this sentence, you’d bost likfly git rubbizh."
Paul (12 Dec 2009 10:50):
G (12 Dec 2009 16:37): WTF.
R (12 Dec 2009 18:57): The only possible explanation is that God is getting back in the game. Suck it, atheists.
m (12 Dec 2009 23:28): alternatively: Widespread use of psychedelics hasn't declined the way you thought it had.
G (13 Dec 2009 3:40): Also getting back into the game: ghosts, curses, reincarnation, planetary alignments.
R (15 Dec 2009 10:44): AKA, "God's natural allies", duh. And you forgot about Yoga.
m (15 Dec 2009 12:32): and Yoda.
Paul (15 Dec 2009 15:57): We could do such a graph for mblog users only. It could be like:
born 0 times: 100%
born 1 time: 0%
born 2 or more times: 0%
Paul (16 Dec 2009 16:00): Deep thought: Avocados are good in theory, but not always in practice.
Paul (16 Dec 2009 19:24): nytimes has printed the word "bitch" at least online. They used to always euphemize these things.
m (18 Dec 2009 12:20): does the FCC fine newspapers?
m (18 Dec 2009 12:22): no, that seems unlikely. And I suppose it does with radio/TV because they're using public chunks of the frequency spectrum and those are well regulated?
Paul (30 May 2011 7:58): Fun fun, if you think the pain of being unable to type a desired symbol is fun.

setxkbmap us dvorak-intl
xmodmap -e "keycode 24 = apostrophe quotedbl dead_acute dead_diaeresis dead_acute dead_diaeresis"
xmodmap -e "keycode 15 = 6 asciicircum 6 asciicircum onequarter dead_circumflex"
xmodmap -e "keycode 49 = grave asciitilde grave asciitilde dead_grave dead_tilde"
xmodmap -pke | grep dead
m (31 May 2011 12:06): wait, I don't get it
m (31 May 2011 12:06): Your number 6 is dead?
m (31 May 2011 12:16): Your number 6 is a onequarter dead circumflex?
m (31 May 2011 12:16): and this is related to proliferation?
Paul (2 Jun 2011 18:55): The proliferation of posts nobody understands is the essence of mancalablog.
G (11 Jun 2011 15:20): So, it's not a cell-phone, but I guess a neck-speaker is better than nothing.
m (11 Jun 2014 8:23): BEST GROCERY STORE MAPS! So many regional ones that I've never heard of.
m (11 Jun 2014 8:24): Piggly Wiggly

is paul

z (28 Sep 2007 20:32): around?
m (29 Sep 2007 7:47): !
m (20 Oct 2007 16:34): paul! is paul!
Paul (21 Oct 2007 10:55): Good. I bet these will be over $200 on Ebay for a while during this limited-supply phase... Thinking of that, I wonder how they can minimize kids being threatened or hurt for them. There are places where carrying $200 would be like carrying $2k in the US.
Paul (25 Dec 2009 16:24): can be reached at 215-729-2556 or my mom's house at 285-5502
G (26 Dec 2009 10:38): Okay, here is my basic schedule:
I am working Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat evenings. I have to be there by 4:30 today (blegh), and by 5:30 usually.
Sometimes when it's very quiet I will get off very early, but this can be difficult to predict.

SO I am up for hanging out on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays, and possibly quiet nights! Hanging out in the morning is a nice idea, but I tend to sleep in... Not impossible, but probably needs to be planned somewhat in advance.
G (26 Dec 2009 16:04): Concrete plan edition:
How 'bout I give you a call after work.
m (24 Nov 2013 7:33): is not paul
Paul (6 Mar 2014 5:50): New malapropism: We'll do it by hook or by crooks in our necks. Abbreviation: Do it by crooks in your neck.
m (6 Mar 2014 7:24): That phrase always makes me think of the opening sequence for The Prisoner

Won't be prime for another 6 years.

Paul (28 Feb 2005 13:56): Happy birthday to me!

(This is not Paul writing, hehe.)
m (28 Feb 2005 22:29): and you won't be a prime number of days old on your birthday until you turn 30 (though some of us will when we turn 26)

Your number of days old (8401) and its odd-number predecessor (8399) have prime factors with a relationship that's difficult to express in words. The two factors of each number have the same least significant digit, and the prime factors of similar magnitude for the two numbers have the same most significant digit. ack.
m (26 Feb 2010 15:41): which is to say, now.
m (26 Feb 2010 15:42): I'm bad at dividing.
m (26 Feb 2010 16:15): counting. whatever.
m (27 Feb 2014 7:10): Won't be a power of two for another thirty two years...


m (12 Dec 2005 15:10): Do you fellas have an opinion on Governor Schwarzenegger's refusal to grant Crips founder Stanley 'Tookie' Williams clemency? He (Tookie) is slated to die tomorrow. That last sentence was a little awkward.
Grant (12 Dec 2005 15:24): My opinion is that he should be granted clemency. But I guess I've been reading more about the good things he's done recently, and less about the murders he was convicted for. I'm not sure it would change my opinion, though.
Grant (12 Dec 2005 21:29): And I see that the arguments presented against him seem to focus on that he claims he did not commit the crimes for which he was sentenced, instead of admitting guilt and showing remorse. Also, he has not offered evidence against fellow gang members. I would still prefer the merciful option.
Paul (13 Dec 2005 16:43): No, of course he shouldn't've been executed. Nor should anyone, really. The death penalty doesn't help the victims or anyone, and it incurs soul-damage to the civilization/culture that uses it. (In contrast, being merciful probably incurs soul-benefits.)

As for whether he "redeemed" himself, I dunno, it seems pretty clear that he did the crimes, and it seems like apologies would mark any real redemption....But he says none of who he was then, is in who he is now, which is pretty true at a cellular/molecular level, and probably pretty true psychologically too, and that's probably the same for most 25-year-ago crimes, and it highlights many many problems with the way we do "punishment". Too many to mention here.
But lemme mention one such problem: Consider Grant's city where murder is legal but most people don't do it (ignore CEOs). Does it really have more murders than a US city? I'd say most people who are so crazed as to murder someone, are probably too crazed to be deterred at all by any possible punishment.
Grant (13 Dec 2005 18:03): Well, we all know your stance on the particular issue because you're a pacifist. I'm not saying that's not a valid stance, it just doesn't really have anything to say about the particular nuance of that case. I think that a lot of people might be in favor of keeping the death penalty on the books, but wanted to see Tookie given clemency. I think it's an important distinction; even if you think capital punishment is okay, obviously there's still such a thing as inappropriate usage.

Regarding legal murder, it's a bad example, I think. Without legal punishment as a deterrent, I believe more people would commit crimes. I also think that without legal punishments, people would create their own punishments, and a socially-established, 'wild-west'-esque system would be the result.
Grant (13 Dec 2005 18:27): For what it's worth, most punishments don't help the victims (except in that they may have a desire for the guilty to be punished). That's why we call it a punishment, and not repayment (or something like that). We only really have them (punishments) to try to prevent and discourage crimes (in my opinion), but presumably they won't be an effective deterrent if we go and let everyone off the hook. One or two should be okay, though. Especially since many people have been saying that Mr. Tookie himself was an effective deterrent for certain kinds of crimes.
DK (16 Dec 2005 13:16): Actually, strictly speaking that's not true. If you can establish criminal liability for an act, then in general it is extremely easy to establish civil liability for an act. This means that the victim of a...robbery, let's say, can possibly sue the robber for what was jacked, and some psychological damages.

Of course, your average robber probably has very little in the way of liquid assets...not everyone is lucky enough to be robbed by the actors from the Sopranos.

Paul (21 Feb 2006 9:36): Well, this is interesting...I would think all doctors might recuse themselves from lethal injections as unethical, though the reasoning here is more technical. Does anyone know if pain is possible under thiopental? Somehow I had trusted the state's implicit claim that it wasn't, but from wiki it sounds entirely possible.
Paul (18 Mar 2006 5:43): another dubious execution
G (16 Jan 2009 13:27): SEE YOU, SPACE COWBOY
G (21 Jan 2009 1:05): You didn't love it enough.
m (21 Jan 2009 13:01): "... effectively sounding a death knell for the technology, which has been replaced by DVDs and advanced karaoke machines."

Advanced karaoke machines. They're what did in the laserdisc.
m (27 Jan 2009 11:26): Karaoke machines sound the death knell for mancalablog, too.
G (27 Jan 2009 12:25): I know, this... much, is... true-ooh!</ballet type="spandau">
Paul (19 Mar 2009 3:23): Okay, my populist anger is piqued, although honestly it was already piqued and I think the AIG bonuses are a drop in the bucket, but now everybody's populist anger is piqued, it seems. So can we hurry up and nationalize AIG or other bankrupt banks? Then we could keep them "open", but directly control who they pay with our money, instead of whining about who they pay...
G (19 Mar 2009 13:32): That does seem like the reasonable thing to do, doesn't it?
If we're already paying for their failure, shouldn't we stand to profit from their success?
Paul (15 Apr 2010 15:24): Iceland gets revenge
m (19 Apr 2010 19:55): "My feeling was, heck, if staging public gripe fests gives these people something to do, then great. It's outside. It involves handicrafts, the making of signs and costumes. It's like Scouting for irked middle-aged white people."
Paul (29 Apr 2010 20:10): Now that they understand that it is contaminated water rather than witchcraft that causes the disease, village elders have barred anyone with a dangling worm from entering a water source. Violators are fined, typically one goat.
Paul (2 May 2011 15:06): Killing of a monster poses a conflict for Buddhists. Well, not a sudden conflict, just the usual.
m (30 Dec 2013 17:58): "It just crushed all of the ducks."


z (12 Jul 2013 20:40): hey paul, tried to return call tuesday night as well as tonight but couldn't get through on either number. feel free to call back whenever.
m (13 Jul 2013 7:46): He's having phone issues: battery won't charge. We discussed the possibility of pulling apart the wires of a micro-usb charger and taping them directly to the battery terminals. It's possible that the phone was destroyed during this process, and that's why you can't reach him.

Alternatively, it could have started a fire.

Paul! Please report!
m (13 Jul 2013 7:49): also: you're 100% right to think that mancala is a better place to leave a message than Paul's voicemail, which is actually one of those old mechanical tape-deck answering machines that has a switch permanently held down to trick it into thinking it contains a tape.
Paul (18 Jul 2013 5:06): Doh. Actually, I'm checking my voicemail now, as of a few days ago. The battery not charging was fixed after applying 3 online suggestions for how to fix a Samsung Micro USB port that's not charging:

1. Brush it out with a toothbrush (both port and charger plug)
2. Apply vinegar with a qtip to remove corrosion for 1 minute, dry with tissue, repeat 3x
3. Apply high-proof alcohol with a qtip for 1 minute (as an antidote to the vinegar? not too sure about this part, but it's what I did), dry with tissue, repeat 3x
4. Use a needle to bend the contact plate inside the port a couple hundred microns toward the middle of the port.

Apparently 1-3 were useful for fixing visible corrosion that probably occurred when charging with poor physical contact in hot and humid weather. After 1-3, the port and the charger contacts were a lot shinier than before. So I was really frustrated when it still didn't work. Apparently 4 was useful to reverse the effect of trying a different charger that bent the contact plate inside the port a couple hundred microns toward the edge of the port. Now it works.
Paul (20 Jul 2013 6:59): Ok, my phone is really terrible now. The battery, I mean. I have two batteries and they're both terrible. They don't charge anymore, even when the device says "charging". The problem with the batteries started when I let them get down to 0%. I think it is independent of the problem with the charger. Terrible!! I'm so frustrated, I'm ready to spend $$$ to buy a better phone. The trouble is, from what I read, all phones on the market have terrible battery and charging problems!!! !!! More exclamation points I'm so frustr;eou,e,.rh!!!
! (20 Jul 2013 10:29): uh-oh!
G (24 Jul 2013 0:45): Ubuntu phone...
Paul (25 Jul 2013 6:14): So I got a "refurbished like new" Nexus 4. But it won't turn on. It has this: Moral of story: don't get "refurbished like new". Now I have two phones that don't work.
Paul (25 Jul 2013 6:15): Super fucking grumpy!!! :(
m (5 Aug 2013 17:16): The cheap, easy way to make those old phones as good as new
m (16 Nov 2013 10:24): The Great Speedup; made me think of you, Dex.
m (16 Nov 2013 10:30): Another good one
m (16 Nov 2013 10:32): Henceforth, as the productivity of the American economy increased, the wages of American workers would not increase with it. Tide and boats parted company.

all topics

m (18 Feb 2005 21:34): quiet here today.
Paul (20 Feb 2005 18:26): Doh! It appears I broke posting for the last 24 hours, and didn't notice until I tried to post just now. Fixed now. Sorry.
(20 Feb 2005 18:59): Hehe. Quiet, indeed.
In other news, I actually still post on my live-journal, occasionally. Like, should I stop doing that, or what?
It's not bad, per se - but ultimately, I kind of want to have my own web page (so that I can post pictures, etc.); having a live-journal is kind of a stop-gap measure, and probably just keeps me from getting around to actually fixing the problem.
Grant (20 Feb 2005 19:00): Yeah, I just forget to type my name in.
Maybe there should be, like, a cookie.
m (11 Jul 2013 8:01): Central Cinema Kickstarter!
m (2 Oct 2013 11:24): Wait, what? We get the Paul Ryan nightmare budget??

The Senate bill funds the 2014 government at a level 18 percent below the president proposed five years ago; 17 percent below the Democratic Congress proposed four years ago; 10 percent below Paul Ryan and Republicans proposed three years ago; and 8 percent below the debt ceiling compromise two years ago (see graph, via Michael Linden and Harry Stein). The Senate bill is less than 2 percent away from Paul Ryan's own 2014 budget.

Rural Japan ni Ikou

Grant (30 May 2004 18:16): So, I got my contracting prefecture - I'll be heading off to KAGAWA Prefecture this july. It's on the north-eastern part of Shikoku island, just west of Osaka. Check out the prefecture HOME PAGE! Seems a little bit rural, with only a million people in the prefecture (and 300k in the capital city Takamatsu). Anyway, that's the news on my side.
mike (30 May 2004 23:46): wow. bitchin'
I expect plenty of compromising photos of you and schoolgirls.
Paul (1 Jun 2004 5:12): That's really cool--- do you know what town you'll be in, or what grade you'll be teaching, or other such details?
Paul (3 Jun 2004 7:29): I am suddenly reminded of Mr. Anderson's 9th grade World History class: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu
Grant (4 Jun 2004 20:06): More compromising pictures? Haven't you had enough?
m (31 Mar 2005 11:05): You ever coming back to the states? What are you doing in Japan, again? Teaching English? Setting high-scores on Money Idol Exchanger machines?
Grant (31 Mar 2005 23:22): Oh, hells yeah. Both of those. Except now that MELTY BLOOD: ACT CADENZA is in the arcades, I'm moving over to that. Broken doujin fighters + arcade level competition = vampire/schoolgirl knife-fight~!
As far as coming back to the states, well -
It's now the end of spring vacation, here. It passed by pretty quickly, but it would have been hard for me to travel, anyway, because a) it's not a very long break, and b) I would have to miss rehearsals (I'll be in a couple of performances of Grease).
I can't really just take off when there are classes, so my next chance to really travel will probably be this summer. I might go somewhere during the first part of this summer. I don't know where.
At the end of summer, my brother will be coming to visit! So, I may do a little bit of traveling then, but it will probably all be within Japan.
Grant (31 Mar 2005 23:23): Oh, Melty Blood has maids, too. And robots. Robot maids, that is. Also, cat-vampires.
I knew I was leaving something out.
Is this sounding like a great game, or what?
Grant (31 Mar 2005 23:25): And when I said 'cat-vampires,' I really just meant a cuter, be-cat-ear-ed version of the vampiress that's already in the game. Not a vampire house-cat. That would just be silly.
G (23 Jun 2005 0:42): Here is a funny article from a disreputable online newspaper! I know I could have posted it in LinkFest, but there's a strange glee in resurrecting threads, y'know?
m (17 Jul 2005 22:38): google maps now does japan! At least, I think it does -- I have no idea if that's kagawa prefecture or not, since it's <blink>not in fucking english</blink>. man, the fake blink tag is more functional than the real one, which really only served as a "navigate away from this page quickly" tag. kind of like if you could make your webpage smell like poop.
m (17 Jul 2005 22:53): grant, when I maps osaka, in the lower left under the distance key is something that resembles, I don't know, a raccoon head, or maybe the head of a cartoon bear. They're not very detailed about it. What does the caption say?
(18 Jul 2005 11:38): it says "southern port wild bird park"

some sort of bird zoo i guess.
z (18 Jul 2005 11:41): this is zong, by the way.
kagawa is ģ or "fragrant stream" so i think you are in the right ballpark.
Grant (18 Sep 2006 5:09): Got my tickets - looks like I'm going to the Tokyo Game Show next weekend.
m (1 Apr 2007 7:04): Does Japan always do this? It seems pretty shady to me.
G (3 Apr 2007 2:23): That, and the whaling, man.
m (3 Apr 2007 10:40): whaling?
G (5 Apr 2007 6:25): You know that thing where you kill whales and eat them?
That thing that every other country has stopped, and has been condemning for, like, a score of years?
Yeah, that.
G (5 Apr 2007 6:38): Although, for what it's worth, I personally don't know a whole lot about whaling.
I mostly base my negative opinion of it on these two things:
1. Everybody else has stopped, and says it's bad.
2. The JWA basically just says that it's traditional and not hurting anybody, to which I say, 'who cares?' and, 'only because everybody else stopped doing it, jerks,' respectively.
G (5 Apr 2007 6:58): Yeah, it's a sham.
G (5 Apr 2007 14:47): GRZA GOT THE QUAD-POST
G (20 Jul 2007 22:45): I'll be back in Seattle on the 25th!
m (23 Jul 2007 20:32): party at G's place!
G (24 Jul 2007 21:45): Woot!
G (31 Oct 2008 6:52): Lols.
m (31 Oct 2008 10:30): hm. awkward.
m (17 Sep 2013 8:02): hey - tentative plans to head to Japan in Feb. Two week trip. Hokkaido, Osaka, Kyushu (dictated by Kai's dad's work itinerary). Probably in and out of Tokyo where Kai has a cousin who's busy studying for entrance exams, so likely little/no time in Tokyo. Any tips, particularly for the Tokyo -> Hokkaido -> Osaka legs?

Also, I don't know how expensive things are in Japan - how much should we budget for the trip?

Also I want to buy FANCY COOKING KNIVES, please tell me where to go.
G (18 Sep 2013 20:20): Super jealous.
G (19 Sep 2013 0:12): Not sure about knives, really... All I can say is that Kiya is well-known in Japan as a store where you can buy knives. Maybe kinda expensive, but that's true of most well-known/department stores in Japan.


m (13 Jul 2005 17:49): Rehnquist: cheeky! In response to reporters' questions the other day about his presumed imminent retirement, said "That's for me to know and you to find out."
That spry old justice!
(19 Jul 2005 16:24): House of Pain

Hear me and hear me good, Scalia, you SNAKE, you high-court LOWLIFE, you black-robed, black-hearted COWARD. For years, your manager and mentor, Ronald Reagan, told you LIES, PACKS of lies, NOTHING BUT LIES. LIES about what America stands for. About what's good for America. About the American people. And those lies are why you think like you do. Which is a problem ... FOR YOU! Because I'm COMING AFTER YOU, you maggoty magistrate. RRRRRRRRR! I'm coming to UNLEASH my rabid fury on your restrictive originalist interpretations of the Constitution. To PILE-DRIVE your musclebound attempts to undermine the separation of church and state into the canvas. To SMACKDOWN your [expletive] opinions on affirmative action with some affirmative ass-kicking action. And something else, Judge Mental Case: Tell your tag-team partner, your STOOGE, Clarence Thomas, he's goin' down, too. OH, YEAAAAAH! Believe me, I'm gonna clock that adjudicating jackass so bad, he's gonna wake up thinkin' he's BLACK.
g (19 Jul 2005 16:25): For the record, it came out fine in the 'preview.' Seriously.
m (11 Nov 2005 20:06): I shit you not. anagram. Credit to Hertzberg in the New Yorker:

Samuel Alito
I am a sellout
m (14 Jan 2006 10:20): depressing.
Paul (19 Apr 2007 19:33): The more I read quotes of Kennedy's opinion, the more bizarre it really reads like Alice in Wonderland. So, does Kennedy really believe his own opinion, or is he just giving us a scare so we know the stakes of the '08 election?
Paul (25 Jun 2007 9:33): Dammit. It looks like we're just going to have a giant parade of evil decisions until Scalia or Kennedy leave, which may not be for quite some time.
m (25 Jun 2007 17:08): Wait, SCOTUSblog? Who runs scotusblog? The justices don't need a blog. They get to comment all they want in their opinions. Maybe clerks could post candid photos of the justices in their off time (nsfw).
m (24 Jun 2013 7:47): Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dreamy (her lone dissent starts p38)


m (14 Jul 2012 19:47): So the bad interface for Netflix streaming, its crappy searching, its limited selection - whatever - I got grumpy and canceled our subscription. But I'm worried I'll miss the ability to browse by category, list similar titles, etc. Surely there's a movie database out there that's well tagged/categorized with good searching and browsing. IMDB is annoying, but it's the only thing I've got so far. rottentomatoes doesn't even try.

You guys know of anything? Maybe even a tracker? I know the one I use for music has exactly what I'm talking about. Just not for movies.
m (16 Jul 2012 10:10): nothing?
G (17 Jul 2012 21:47): Netflix killed off a bunch of its API to stop people scraping that kind of stuff off their catalog, I think I remember hearing about.
m (18 Jul 2012 13:56): what about imdb? Have they got an api to make scraping their tagging/simliar-titles doable? I just kind of hate how commercial their site feels and want to avoid it if there's a good alternative (which there must be, right?).
m (18 Jul 2012 14:14): Or maybe some clever wikipedia scraping? What if we were to crawl through movies/tv shows (from the movie lists/tv show lists) and make a similarity comparison based on similar category links at the end of the entry?


m (23 Apr 2012 11:43): I've never before had a document that refused to load in a non-acrobat-reader pdf viewer. Oops! I get a brief glimpse of the real thing before it replaces itself with the following message:

"To view the full contents of this document, you need a later version of the PDF viewer. You can upgrade to the latest version of Adobe Reader from
For further support, go to"
m (23 Apr 2012 11:44): [this is from evince document viewer 3.2.1]


m (30 Jun 2011 14:54): The Oxford Comma
Paul (30 Jun 2011 20:36): Journalistic objectivity demands to present the fact that the Oxford comma, endearing as it is, creates equally many ambiguities as it resolves. For examples, see wiki.
G (30 Jun 2011 21:33): Yeah. But it's still better in my book, because without it we have one more exception in English. "Commas between entries in a list" vs. "Commas between most entries in a list"
z (30 Jun 2011 21:45): Forget the Oxford comma, how about the comma inside apostrophe? Apparently it's for typesetting pleasantness (so it looks good). With dynamic typesetting, this is the one that should really go.
m (1 Jul 2011 10:31): yeah, I've always hated that one!
G (1 Jul 2011 12:56): Yeah, but... It really does look bad. Maybe we can have the period put directly below the quotation mark? It would not be helpful at all. Or else maybe punctuation that is not so far apart (the very top and very bottom of a line)
Paul (4 Jul 2011 7:58): I think if we used some kind of corner brackets, then most possible logical orders would look fine. Maybe some would still look terrible, though.
    I told them ⸢I can make your punctuation look terrible.⸥, then ran away.
m (4 Jul 2011 8:21): Is that supposed to be on the "terrible" side of things? Because I think it looks decent, and it's nice and easy to parse. Yay corner brackets!


m (21 Apr 2011 9:18): Taxes are confusing.
z (21 Apr 2011 11:42): And late?
m (25 Apr 2011 18:50): and deadline-extension'd!


Paul (14 May 2010 19:50): My friend Evan just won the Second Annual West Philadelphia Spelling Bee. His final winning word was "langouste". The runner up lost on "lambrequin" (she said lamberquin). I had lost on "abattoir" (I said abbatoir) after surviving "flibbertigibbet".
G (15 May 2010 0:49): lol loosers

Caveat Emptor

Paul (26 Nov 2008 17:04): Comcast modem refuses to give DHCP address to Linksys router. One post recommends "Mac Address Cloning" (spoofing), but even that doesn't seem to work. My take: avoid Comcast.
m (28 Nov 2008 12:22): list of webcams supporting linux uvc
m (28 Nov 2008 12:28): spca-chipset webcams
m (29 Nov 2008 17:19): assholes
G (30 Nov 2008 23:48): assholes

So much more threatening as a hyperlink, eh?
m (2 Dec 2008 0:30): ay!
Paul (21 Jun 2009 15:47): Mischief: Make a site to nab webmail passwords. (Quick! Before people start thinking! Ok maybe it doesn't have to be quick, then.)
Paul (29 Mar 2010 17:25): caveat emptor

Happy (early) New Year

zong (26 Dec 2004 1:35): To all mancalablog friends.
zong (26 Dec 2004 18:32): I take it nobody's in Seattle?
Grant (28 Dec 2004 3:44): I am in Seattle!
Sorry, I haven't been too up-to-date computer-wise.
Paul (1 Jan 2005 11:56): Happy New Year from Iowa, just back from New York
m (9 Jan 2005 11:24): happy new year from LA
Paul (4 Jan 2010 7:56): Free wifi in seatac airport! It says "sponsored by google" and makes you click a button before it works.
m (4 Jan 2010 8:32): They did that for Christmas at like 8 or 10 airports around the country, and (I think) they're making it permanent here and in SFO.
R (4 Jan 2010 10:41): Free wifi is great, but holy crap, the US is behind the times in this area. You know where else has had free wifi since circa 2005? The Estonian ferry terminal. Granted, the Copenhagen airport was paid wifi at the time...
G (4 Jan 2010 13:44): Yeah, US internet access is all lame.
Paul (4 Jan 2010 16:35): "US ___ is all lame" is a true statement for many values of ___.
G (4 Jan 2010 18:11): Oh yeah?
That's what I thought, commie.
Clippy (4 Jan 2010 22:54): Did you mean: There's only four things we do better than anyone else: music, movies, microcode, and high-speed pizza delivery.
m (4 Jan 2010 22:58): Ann just got a copy for christmas
G (4 Jan 2010 23:14): I was thinking of Autotune #5. I love how google autocompletes "exceptional fast food."
R (4 Jan 2010 23:55): It's pretty great, although you can tell NS is not super comfortable with female characters. Cryptonomicon is the manliest book I've ever read (Zero female characters, one "damsel in distress"). Rest of the Baroque Cycle is okay though. Y'know, if you're into 2700 pages of historical sci-fi. Goes a lot fucking faster than Infinite Jest, though. Shit is slower to read than Nabokov. Nabokov!
G (5 Jan 2010 0:45): I was amazed that Paul hadn't seen Autotune the News. At first I thought - hey, why don't you subscribe to my favorites, and then skip through all the video game movies, like my other friends? But then the horrible truth dawned on me - he can't watch YouTube videos. Maybe not even if he goes through the whole 'download an h264 version and watch offline' rigamarole.
G (5 Jan 2010 0:45): </i>
Paul (5 Jan 2010 5:49): I can watch them using youtube-dl (1. find the url, 2. 'youtube-dl (url)', 3. 'mplayer (result)') but not having preview-capability means I'm more reliant on someone else's recommendation of what to watch...
thread police (5 Jan 2010 9:22): what the fuck!

No IP :( and port forwarding?

Paul (28 Sep 2004 17:30): So I have DSL now, but I have no IP; getting one costs an extra $15 per month.
Is there a recommendable way people might ssh to my computer despite this hangup? Like, ssh to somewhere else on some weird port...? Perhaps I could get a special ssh-daemon that supports such a thing (I suppose my daemon would have to log onto the port-forwarding server)...
Paul (28 Sep 2004 17:38): Wait, so, checking google and this site, it seems all I need is to type

ssh2 -R 1234:localhost:22

then tell people to ssh to
but it can't be that simple, can it? That would be too bizarre; I'd be hijacking their port 1234... Thoughts?
m (29 Sep 2004 0:13): huh. I was about to say that you're wrong, but it looks like you're not. Hijack away! Take a more oddly numbered port to decrease the chance that anyone will ever care.
m (29 Sep 2004 1:34): huh. trying this between two machines in the cs dept and I can't get it to work.
m (29 Sep 2004 1:35): what timezone are you in, paul? two hours later, or is that just digaudiorock?
m (29 Sep 2004 1:38): maybe you can run your own instance of sshd on digitalaudiorock, listening on port bajillion that forwards to your home machine? that seems plausible. then whenever you restart your computer, or renew your ip-lease, or whatever dhcp does, you can have something log into the server and restart the sshd?
m (29 Sep 2004 17:22): I'm desperate, paul - I need a machine to log into.
shaky and irritable, both.
Paul (30 Sep 2004 13:34): Well if you can't get it to work on two machines you know, I certainly can't get it to work on something weird like (which is only a limited mini-server running on a larger server anyway). Also, port forwarding could only work if I can initiate it; nobody can initiate a connection to me since I have no IP :( But why can't you log into your own machine, Mike?

Also, recommendations for how to get Carla a wireless card that works? The LinkSys one we tried required IE5.5, and when she tried to upgrade IE, we ended up having to reformat the whole hard drive :( This comes up because the DSL modem has only one ethernet jack, so I can't use internet on Linux until she gets a wireless card.
Paul (30 Sep 2004 13:58): And, by pure coincidence, I am now in the same time zone as digitalaudiorock
m (1 Oct 2004 15:34): Julian: DLINK, maybe?
Julian: tell him to get something that uses the PRISM chipset
Me: yeah?
Julian: the actually manufacturer isn't super-important
Julian: just make sure the chipset is supported
Paul (14 Nov 2004 13:24): I now believe that my port forwarding trouble is not on my end, but due to firewalls etc. on all the outside machines I have ssh access to. So I ask you, do you know of any plain linux box running sshd with no firewall, that I could have an account on? Once I find one, you can all ssh to my machine....
Paul (20 Feb 2005 18:26): have you heard of wifi connection-sharing with an ISP called
m (20 Feb 2005 19:33): speakeasy's my isp - what wifi connection sharing are you referring to?
Paul (20 Feb 2005 20:56): apparently they have a connection sharing plan. they bill your neighbors for sharing your line, and you pay less or nothing. the details don't look stellar, but it's a lot better than anti-sharing ISPs
m (21 Feb 2005 0:08): that seems all-right. Except that on our 1.5Mb line, if either tatsu or I are d/l'ing at >= ~15K/sec, any web-browsing we might be doing is brought to an abrupt halt. stupid speakeasy dsl.
Paul (6 Mar 2005 21:23): Have you heard of entropy and other anonymous filesharing? Do they work? Can I use them to download and share music and movies without danger of prosecution? mean, for research purposes only, of course...
Paul (12 Sep 2005 17:36): So once again I'm sitting here with sshd, with no IP address. But it looks like all I was missing last time was a way to open the remote port to listen for connections. This seems to be resolved with "simpleproxy". So, if you ask me for an account, you can now ssh -p 5730
m (3 Jun 2006 3:14): So now that I've got a clean install and can do things again (i.e. connect to the internets) -- how do I ssh to cuax? digaud:5730 doesn't seem to be working right now, but maybe your connection is down.
Paul (4 Jun 2006 4:34): My connection just came back up following about 36h of downtime :/ It's digaud:5722 (you know, like "22" only with 57 first). You may notice that when it's my connection that's down, ping digaud works, whereas when I would be up but digaud is down, ping digaud fails.
Paul (15 Jun 2006 11:41): Cuax and I are back online(!), after >100h downtime, with a whole new setup under which I actually know where the packets go. As before, ssh -p 5722 digaud
Paul (22 Sep 2006 19:24): Apparently is not cool with me running 'simpleproxy' (which I used so I could connect from afar to my home machine):

paul@somewhere:~$ ssh -p 5722
ssh: connect to host port 5722: Connection refused
paul@somewhere:~$ ssh
[lei]$ simpleproxy
-bash: simpleproxy: command not found
[lei]$ ls bin/simpleproxy
ls: bin/simpleproxy: no such file or directory
[lei]$ find -name simpleproxy
[lei]$ echo doh

I can still twist it to work like before (by double-tunneling 'ssh -g'), but perhaps I risk angering root@lei? Do you think they're actually against what I was doing (minimal-bandwidth, authorized-connections-only)? or do they just have a kneejerk reaction to the substring "proxy"?
m (25 Sep 2006 4:08): it probably is a knee-jerk reaction, but circumventing the prohibition is contrary to the implicit request that you not run an ssh proxy on their machine. Maybe the best thing to do would be to drop root or admin an email?
Grant (25 Sep 2006 19:30): I'll have to check what their policies are. I've read some potentially pertinent things on the support board, but I'm sending a specific question and I'll let you know what I hear back.

What I read was that: They generally discourage things being left running all the time, and "CGI proxies are known to regularly cause problems and consume system resources. They're generally not allowed on our servers because of that but if they don't cause us problems we won't notice. If it does cause a problem we'll shut it down."
Grant (25 Sep 2006 21:29): Their response: "We specifically don't allow proxies because they can easily be abused,
and they are considered a persistent service and CPU intensive which
violates are TOS:

I strongly advise you to request that your friend not use their account
for this purpose, or you risk having your account disabled if it is
causing problems on the server. Please let us know if you have any other

Now, for what it's worth, the only thing the TOS mentions is the 'intensive tasks' part, which is oddly worded in a way that seems to imply that persistent tasks are considered 'bugs.' I don't know - are SSH proxies super intensive? It would be news to me. They probably don't want people to use them for security reasons, but can't actually go ahead and say that because it's too vague. I'll send back a message asking for some suggestions and maybe a bit of clarification, but that seems to be the gist of it.
Grant (25 Sep 2006 21:32): I suppose the other thing to mention is - why do you need a proxy for SSH? Seems kind of wonky to me.
Grant (25 Sep 2006 22:45): Although, yeah, ssh -g or -L might be the way to go.
Grant (25 Sep 2006 23:01): Or perhaps none of it's allowed. It's really hard to tell what their policies are, since you have people saying things like "we'll only disable it if it's a problem." Does that mean they admit that they're fallible, or are they essentially saying they'll turn a blind eye towards responsible use? Are all the administrators even on the same page?
(26 Sep 2006 18:24): RE: SSH processor usage, I doubt it would be huge, normally. SCP'ing a file at 78 KB/s only takes ~2% processor time on my laptop.

But yeah, for security and other hassle reasons, I doubt this would ever be entirely supported by any ISP. The internet is full of BAD DUDES, and allowing a customer to set up an encrypted proxy for an unknown numbers of users to a system or system(s) you don't control could be (which translates to a lawyer (or pessimistic(/experienced?) sysadmin) to "will be") problematic for obvious reasons. Almost analogous to running an open relay. I mean *I* know you are aren't trying to do anything wrong, but try finding an ISP that will trust you that far.

TOS's anywhere are a little bit odd. >90% probably prohibit illegal file sharing, and yet enormous numbers of people do, and end users do not seem to ever be disconnected. People who run servers, well, yeah. That shit is obvious. Which seems to be the same principle at work here. I'm not saying it's logically consistent. Check John Gilmore's take on the subject of Terms and Conditions, particularly the T&Cs that were in effect for the ISP he co-founded.

The world can be an ugly place. (I think the prank described in the link is amusing, but sadly true, not that the prank is ugly)
R (26 Sep 2006 18:33): That last post is mine, BTW.
To do what you want, the easiest way would definitely be to get an actual IP address. I'm sure you have a pretty good reason for being with the ISP you are using (perhaps - "they are the only ISP available" or "Only ISP I can afford"), but living behind NAT is just messed up. I mean, I've never had an ISP do that to me, or even heard of such a thing before this thread. Maybe you can find a new ISP here?
Paul (3 Oct 2006 18:26): Hm...the point about living behind NAT is well taken. The original idea was to allow sshd to be accessed even when the sshd server (a laptop) moves to strange places, say, wifi hotspots (those often use NAT, ne?), corporate firewalled networks, etc. But maybe I should forget about that weirdness.
Paul (7 Oct 2006 18:36): So, provided my computer stays where it's at, you can now use
Paul (9 May 2009 10:40):
[lei]$ pwd
[lei]$ ls bin
ls: bin: No such file or directory

Wait, I think this directory used to exist...
Paul (23 Oct 2009 19:01): So I signed up my friend for a dreamhost site for his business, but now he changed his mind and wants to point the domain name to a wordpress blog. Reading about domain name transfers is very confusing, with 60-day rules and such! It's almost as bad as immigration, complete with horror stories. Do you all know how to do such a thing? Would dreamhost register the domain name cheap and point it elsewhere? Should he ask dreamhost somehow? Their contact info is intentionally obscure...

Also, I don't 100% get the difference between a domain registrar and a domain server. Help!
Paul (23 Oct 2009 19:03): Also: this and that
G (25 Oct 2009 13:17): It's not intentionally obscure, it's quite prominent once you're a subscriber.
But he probably won't need to contact them, because it seems pretty straightforward.
I mean, if that doesn't work, that's one thing. But he should try that first.
G (26 Oct 2009 1:32): Although, because this friend may not know entirely what he's doing, you should at least make him aware of these options:

1) Move hosting to for details. Once he's got an account set up, that's when he could use the auth code from Dreamhost to move his domain hosting over to them.

2) Setup a wordpress blog on his existing dreamhost account. Dreamhost actually makes this ridiculously simple, and if you go with 'easy' mode (choose from pre-installed themes), will even auto-update wordpress. In 'advanced' mode, he can install his own themes, but will have to click a button in the DH control panel to have it updated.
G (26 Oct 2009 1:39): Hosting on, itself, has a few different options.

1) Set up a blog at using the free tools. It's free!

2) Pay for stuff there. No ads on your blog costs $30/year. Custom domains cost $15/year ($5 for registration, $10 for mapping, so he should save at least an initial $5 on this). And a custom theme will cost $15 a year. So, maybe $45 a year - probably about half.

You want intentionally obscure? I had to make a wordpress account to get the pricing. :P
Paul (26 Oct 2009 5:11): From "I convinced Paul to drink it, and he said it tasted like strong tea. I should have known not to expect hyperbolic language from Paul."
Paul (26 Oct 2009 5:18): I think the source of angst is: "Domains may not be transferred within 60 days of their initial registration." This seems to be not Dreamhost's rule, but ICANN's. But it means the Dreamhost 14-day risk-free trial period is actually not risk-free, because you can't keep your domain if you cancel hosting during the trial period afaict. Maybe you can still take advantage of the 97-day money-back guarantee period...maybe.
G (26 Oct 2009 7:10): This appears to be the case.
If he no longer has access to the support system because his account has been deleted, I can submit a report for him. They could probably get him a transfer once the 60 days are up, account or no.
m (26 Oct 2009 16:44): Geocities is shutting down today! Boo!
But go to xkcd right now for that sweet nostalgia you crave.
G (28 Oct 2009 0:47): Then again, perhaps if they had to spend money to register the domain, they might not want to just hand it to him after refunding all his money.

He could always go with I hear hyphens are pretty cool these days.
G (28 Oct 2009 0:48): Oh, I see that now forwards to his wordpress site.
Paul (20 Nov 2009 5:19): So I still had ssh access to my really old computer, even though its screen basically doesn't work anymore. But its wifi link went down. So I carefully (without a screen) backed up its /etc/network/interfaces, typed in a very simple /etc/network/interfaces myself, then packet-sniffed it as I ran 'ifup eth0'. Result:

08:04:57.842937 IP > BOOTP/DHCP, Request from 00:01:03:7d:25:cc (oui Unknown), length 300
08:04:57.845168 IP > BOOTP/DHCP, Reply, length 548
08:05:10.645639 arp who-has cuaxilotl tell
08:05:10.645841 arp reply cuaxilotl is-at 00:01:03:7d:25:cc (oui Unknown)
08:05:10.646102 IP > cuaxilotl.ssh: S 3598103644:3598103644(0) win 5840 <mss 1460,sackOK,timestamp 470792406 0,nop,wscale 6>
08:05:10.646437 IP cuaxilotl.ssh > S 1046792842:1046792842(0) ack 3598103645 win 5792 <mss 1460,sackOK,timestamp 283434685 470792406,nop,wscale 0>
08:05:10.797568 IP > cuaxilotl.ssh: . ack 1 win 92 <nop,nop,timestamp 470792444 283434685>
08:05:10.801386 IP cuaxilotl.ssh > P 1:42(41) ack 1 win 5792 <nop,nop,timestamp 283434701 470792444>
08:05:10.950833 IP > cuaxilotl.ssh: . ack 42 win 92 <nop,nop,timestamp 470792482 283434701>
08:05:10.950948 IP > cuaxilotl.ssh: P 1:21(20) ack 42 win 92 <nop,nop,timestamp 470792482 283434701>
... etc ... down to ...
08:05:16.387883 IP cuaxilotl.ssh > F 1302:1302(0) ack 590 win 5792 <nop,nop,timestamp 283435260 470793377>
08:05:16.541800 IP > cuaxilotl.ssh: . ack 1303 win 130 <nop,nop,timestamp 470793880 283435260>

Whew...scared me for a minute. Next step: unplug cuaxilotl, unplug internet from hub, plug in cuaxilotl and log in from adjacent computer, inspect /var/log/auth.log. Just an unsuccessful hack-attempt as usual. Plugged everything back in.
G (21 Nov 2009 10:56): "Whew!" Paul, you are doing an excellent job of maintaining your reputation.
There's probably a koan in here about a fonts in a computer with no screen.
m (21 Nov 2009 12:07): An ancient laptop
with no display
and broken ethernet
still has feelings.
R (23 Nov 2009 9:53): Skillz: Paul has them.
Paul (5 Dec 2009 13:14): you misinterpreted my intent. my intent was not 'look I have teh skillz'. my intent was 'dammit how can I tell if my headless machine was hacked?' and I think the answer is clear. it has been hacked. how else can I explain
16:00:58.276494 IP cuaxilotl.40038 > S 498640721:498640721(0) win 5840 <mss 1460,sackOK,timestamp 415884952 0,nop,wscale 0>
occurring with no web browser open.
Paul (5 Dec 2009 13:31): okay, okay, it could be explained because I set it to do that, and am now paranoid. I think we've confirmed by now that I do not have teh skillz.
R (5 Dec 2009 17:00): Well, one could argue that a less-skillzful user wouldn't have a headless machine to begin with, or be able to find potential signs of hacking. A low degree of paranoia is probably symptomatic of awareness that one is not the biggest fish in the sea, and that this "sea" contains predators.
R (8 Dec 2009 13:39): I have just realized that it is very unclear if I was mocking Paul or complementing him in my initial comment. It was a compliment.

Space Humor

Paul (10 Jun 2007 20:11): Before reaching the space station, Atlantis commander Rick Sturckow told Yurchikhin that shuttle astronaut Clayton Anderson was ready to relieve Williams on the station.

''Are you sure Clay is onboard?'' Yurchikhin said.

''Yes we checked before we launched from Florida,'' Sturckow said amid laughter.
(from NYTimes)
Paul (22 Nov 2009 5:45): posts containing donuts are automatically exempt from the thread police
m (22 Nov 2009 11:43): See you later, Space Cowboy.
R (23 Nov 2009 10:17): Are we sure we want to continue the "Space Humor" topic on Mancala? The competition is fierce.
R (23 Nov 2009 10:18): Also, check that fucking "HTPortal" banner.
G (29 Nov 2009 16:13): Oh, man.

funny pages

m (31 Jul 2009 9:30): Tell me you don't just want an endless stream of this sequence.


m (27 Feb 2009 2:38): jesus christ, my knee is astonishingly swollen.
G (27 Feb 2009 5:28): good thing you don't have to stand on it all day at work or something
Paul (27 Feb 2009 20:23): 2:38: my knee is astonishingly swollen
13:33: I want to hit the square dance
Hmm...maybe m'blog needs to somehow thwart cross-thread muckraking.
m (28 Feb 2009 0:26): I _did_ give it til monday to heal.
m (3 Mar 2009 12:14): solo.
G (3 Mar 2009 15:37): Last of the auto polo pictures.
The first two were admittedly better.
Paul (4 Mar 2009 17:14): Oh, now I get it, it's like bike polo but with more danger and exhaust. I was rather slow on this.

This is a cool site! Thanks and wish you better luck! Brilliant but simple idea.

G (10 Sep 2008 10:07): :(
R (10 Sep 2008 12:35): :(53:21 peS 01) R
G (10 Sep 2008 15:40): Haha, you need to rock some cyrillic Я action in there.
Paul (11 Sep 2008 19:23): I just chucked that post into blogspam.dat...where I happened upon a real post that was nabbed long ago by my naive spamfilter.
m (15 Sep 2008 14:12): Paul: what you missed the first time around.
Paul (15 Sep 2008 16:33): Testing the spam filter to make sure it still allows normal posts...

Wildy Off-Topic Microsoft Bashing

Grant (30 Nov 2004 21:20): DWP Kills Sixty Thousand Computers.
As reported on As the Apple Turns. Note their current poll!
Paul (9 Feb 2005 19:24): What? The blog's broken? It must just be your browser.
m (10 Feb 2005 0:16): oh, I see - you were demonstrating a weird spoofing problem with ie that uses html character entities.
which also seems to be a problem with my 20041107 Firefox 1.0

m (10 Feb 2005 0:23): OH! ie is the only one that _doesn't_ get spoofed. Everything based on gecko is vulnerable.
Paul (15 Feb 2005 16:48): Finally someone has explained a way to disable IDN in Firefox.
Paul (15 Feb 2005 20:47): I'm afraid I've found a hole in how mancalablog sanitizes things. not sure how to close it, though. hmph. Maybe it's not that bad that you can assign arbitrary javascript events to your it?
(15 Feb 2005 21:44): Remove all tags with semicolons.
Better yet, remove all posts with semicolons.
Grant (15 Feb 2005 21:51): This page has some good sample code (find for "trexx") that seems to do what you want. Stealing sample code 4 lief, bro.
Paul (17 Jan 2006 11:26): You know how LaTeX-generated pdf files often suffer from ugly-font? like, almost unreadable... I now find this can be fixed by \usepackage{pslatex}. I would blame TeX for this, but perhaps it's more Adobe's fault. At least there's a fix...
Grant (17 Jan 2006 20:25): I didn't really follow - why would this be Adobe's fault? They don't make TeX, and as far as I know they don't even make what you're using to view the PDFs with. I know I don't use Acrobat anymore. Linux, X11 and company are kinda famous for their poor fonts.
Paul (20 Jan 2006 13:55): Well, perhaps I'm just casting innuendo against the man. Here is a better explanation, but I still don't get why TeX's default font looks fine in DVI and PS files, and becomes ugly in PDFs...
Paul (22 Feb 2006 11:45): this has to be a joke, right? I hardly believe aol would dare this, but even if they do, and even if aol users do get corporate spam, does anyone care? talk about political organizations being on a hair trigger...
Grant (6 Mar 2006 22:22): I probably said this before, but hehehe.
"I picked up a Magic 8-Ball the other day and it said 'Outlook not so good.' I said, 'Sure, but Microsoft still ships it.'"
Paul (4 May 2007 20:15): If this is true, that would royally suck. I currently count Yahoo among the fairly-nice-and-only-slightly-spooky powers on the net, and it's all threatened.
Paul (28 Nov 2007 16:39): Microsoft Aquarium 3.0 (as told by xkcd)
Paul (2 Dec 2007 8:13): "Don't give up on Vista"
Paul (1 Feb 2008 9:35): Doh! just when I thought yahoo was a nice refuge from Microsoft brokenness and Google megalomania...
m (1 Feb 2008 14:05): that post doesn't actually make sense
m (3 Feb 2008 19:59): it seems I was a couple days behind the news...


m (25 Oct 2007 18:49): Oh shit, what happened to oink?!
m (25 Oct 2007 18:50): wait, and where'd indietorrents go?
m (28 Oct 2007 18:12): from Piratbyrån's grey commons talk, an interesting perspective:
"The war against file-sharing is essentially a war against the distribution of uncopyrighted metadata, not against the distribution of copyrighted material."

(the logic: people have always done low-scale pirating with xerox machines, cassette tapes, etc, but the filesharing networks facilitate hooking up with people who have what you want and are willing to share it with you, quasi-legally [see Eugene Volokh's goddamn treatise on crime facilitating speech], so the fight targets the networks)
m (28 Oct 2007 20:34): thoughts about oink (and its demise) from a musician's (DJ Rupture's) perspective.

(I completely agree re: radiohead. I tried to use their wonky site to grab In Rainbows and flipped out / closed my browser window once they started asking me for silly things like my address)
m (30 Oct 2007 21:06): did you see that RIAA is suing usenet? well, at any rate.


R (8 Apr 2007 1:14): Funky Fur Elise, apparently performed by G.
Also: Karl Rove, working for the committee to re-elect the president in 1972
had a reasonable copy of my face.
(skip 4 minutes in if you just want to see my stolen face.)

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Paul (10 Feb 2006 17:43):


m (25 Oct 2005 8:48): and while I'm at it:
Crypto Law Survey

Mission Complete

Grant (29 Jun 2005 23:43): As the last man standing, I declare myself the winner of Mancalablog.

Next up, I'm gonna go defeat the posters on some other web page. Real World Tech, maybe?
m (30 Jun 2005 0:32): I see a post by Paul a few days ago -- no declaring victory at least until he's two weeks off of the net with Xilitlan bacteria throwing parties in his lower intestine.
Foiled Again (30 Jun 2005 18:56): Currrsesss!

Infinite Hope

Paul (17 Feb 2005 20:37):


Paul (13 Oct 2004 10:05): I'm now working at Leepfrog Technologies (!)
Paul (21 Oct 2004 18:06): after last week's crash course in JavaScript and PageWizard (Leepfrog's content management product), I've been spending this week doing actual work for actual customers. Working full time makes me a lot busier now than I was before. I've been biking to work, which is a good route because it has few stoplights/obstacles, but is a bad route because it is long (4.5 miles?) so now my legs hurt. I've also tried taking the bus, which is good if I catch the bus and if I catch the transfer; this has happened 2 of the 5 times I've tried to ride the bus there. I hope I don't have to break down and get a car.
m (22 Oct 2004 11:54): or break down and get bionic legs.


Paul (19 May 2004 12:32): So I think php is a little bulky, now that I'm used to perl. Like, why does array_map require an actual function, instead of just letting you write something right there? Well, anyway. I guess I shouldn't diss php too much given that it's operating this pretty handily.
Paul (19 May 2004 13:01): By the way, you can view the php code for this page at code.cgi.
Paul (19 May 2004 16:20): Also, you may wonder why all my pages are *.cgi if they're written in php. I wonder that myself. Apparently that's what Harvard requires. Strange, ne?
Mike (22 May 2004 8:54): looks good. I think you might have problems once you're over 65535 bytes of blog with whatever entry happens to span the boundary. Or maybe I'm jealous because your blog code is much shorter than mine.
Paul (24 May 2004 6:15): Well, I should show the code for the "post" and "addpost" pages instead of just the index page. I think showing it to the world, however, is a good incentive to write efficient code.
Paul (26 May 2004 17:05): Actually, I was about to show the addpost.cgi code, but then I thought that's inviting people to hack through security holes like buffer overruns... Where can I get good info about making php code secure?
mike (30 May 2004 23:44): I think perl has some sort of sandbox feature that's related to security. perhaps php posesses some similar safeguard.
vague enough suggestion? I think that the sandbox applies to executed code - but really, how many buffers are there? just make sure that they don't overrun.