Monday July 28, 2003

TypePad is in sight

When I first started playing with weblogs, I used Greymatter. I didn't do much with it, and things just sort of lay fallow for about a year. Then I heard about Moveable Type at the O'Reilly Mac OS X conference and (eventually) got around to installing Moveable Type in February, 2003. I really like MT and I've been steadily adding to my journal ever since.

Fortunately (for me) but unfortunately (for many potential users) MT provides a wealth of options for configuration, most of which require a knowledge of HTML coding to use! To address this "problem", the developers of MT have announced (and will soon be releasing) releasing TypePad. ...
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TypePad is in sight ( in category WebTech ) - posted at Mon, 28 Jul, 22:42 Pacific

Sunday July 27, 2003

Adopt a tortoise

A short piece in the August 2003 issue of Sunset magazine suggests an interesting and "different" choice of pet. Although it is illegal to take a desert tortoise from the wild, tortoises in captivity often need new homes.

...
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Adopt a tortoise ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Sun, 27 Jul, 16:02 Pacific

Saturday July 26, 2003

Re-defining the commuter car

(not to mention the concept of "back-seat driver")

The Tango, the first vehicle produced by Commuter Cars, is a glimpse into the future of commuting where we hope wasted time, energy, and freeway real estate due to traffic jams will be things of the past. The safety, size, and efficiency features of the Tango will be found in every vehicle we ever produce.
It's electric. It's tiny. It's cute. It looks like it's been squished between two big rigs :-)
At 39 inches wide and 8 feet 5 inches long, it's skinnier than some motorcycles and shorter than many a living-room couch. It runs on batteries, not gas. ...zero to 60 in less than 4 seconds ... 80 miles per charge; three hours to recharge in a dryer socket.
Demo models are currently zipping around Spokane, Seattle, and Montréal ... maybe we'll see them on the streets someday.

Re-defining the commuter car ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sat, 26 Jul, 10:02 Pacific

Saturday July 26, 2003

Primate Programmers?

As legend has it, in 1860 (or thereabouts) Thomas Huxley, pro-evolutionist, argued that "given an infinite amount of time" (and enough paper and typewriters), six of monkeys would eventually recreate the works of Shakespeare. The Parable of the Monkeys has been reconsidered many times since then, as evidenced by these collected quotes.

The kicker is the "infinite amount of time" of course. Recent experimentation using smaller amounts of time have been less than impressive. ...
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Primate Programmers? ( in category In The News ) - posted at Sat, 26 Jul, 00:42 Pacific

Saturday July 26, 2003

My Life, The Movie

The Friday 5 for this week is weird. Once again, I wasn't sure I'd even bother, but I guess it's an exercise in creativity. A lot of the other folks who do this regularly seemed to find this to be a fun one; it takes all kinds to make a world, I guess. YMMV.

  1. If your life were a movie, what would the title be?
  2. What songs would be on the soundtrack?
  3. Would it be a live-action film or animated? Why?
  4. Casting: who would play you, members of your family, friends, etc?
  5. Describe the movie preview/trailer.
...
       Continue reading "My Life, The Movie"

My Life, The Movie ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 26 Jul, 00:41 Pacific

Friday July 25, 2003

San Francisco Factoid - BART Transbay tube

== The San Francisco Factoid ==
Essential local trivia you'll probably forget almost immediately

BART's landmark transbay tube was completed in August, 1969. Constructed in 57 sections and reposing on the bay floor as deep as 135 feet beneath the surface, the $180 million structure took six years of seismic studies to design, and less than three years to contract. Before it was closed to visitors for electrification, thousands of adventurous folks had walked, jogged, and bicycled through the tube. It received a dozen major engineering awards and rapidly became famous, seeming to capture the imagination of visitors from all over the world.

[c.f. Mark Morford, SF Gate Morning Fix, July 25, 2003]
San Francisco Factoid - BART Transbay tube ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Fri, 25 Jul, 11:21 Pacific

Friday July 25, 2003

Great Grains, Great Cereal

p_ggr.jpg We just tried Post Selects "Great Grains" cereal and it's yummy. We got the one with dried dates, raisins, and pecans. It also contains toasted oats, bran(?) flakes, and tasty unidentifiable crunchy lumps of goodness. Stays fairly crunchy in milk, not too sweet, went well with banana.

Five varieties to choose from. We're going to try Blueberry Morning next.

Great Grains, Great Cereal ( in category Show & Tell ) - posted at Fri, 25 Jul, 11:00 Pacific

Thursday July 24, 2003

Eat Fish? There's a catch...

Eat more fish! But not too much fish. And not the wrong kind of fish. ...
       Continue reading "Eat Fish? There's a catch..."

Eat Fish? There's a catch... ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Thu, 24 Jul, 16:15 Pacific

Thursday July 24, 2003

Microsoft's Patent Problem

I don't personally approve of software patents; I think they are bogus almost by definition. I've seen too many "inventions" that are nothing more than implementations of ideas that any reasonably bright programmer could have come up with. That said, this article causes me certain bemusement. On the one hand, I think s/w patents are wrong. On the other hand, they exist and, on the third hand, I tend to be in favor of just about anything that keeps Micro$oft from taking over more of the world, Borg-style. ...
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Microsoft's Patent Problem ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Thu, 24 Jul, 09:26 Pacific

Wednesday July 23, 2003

Rick & Rack's Big Adventure!

My friend Marian, in Nashville, TN, is blessed with a home on the edge of a wooded space. Her backyard is host to many wild creatures - deer, raccoons, and flying squirrels! She shares their stories and photos with us on my favorite mailing list. Recently, she had a visit from a pair of young raccoon twins, out for a big adventure without mama. With her permission, I'm sharing it here. ...
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Rick & Rack's Big Adventure! ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Wed, 23 Jul, 10:50 Pacific

Tuesday July 22, 2003

Science Buddies Mentoring Program

Started by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Science Buddies gives students throughout the SF Bay Area additional support to carry out successful science fair projects. Science Buddies is currently working with over 700 participants from a seven-county area in Northern California.

Science Buddies is a peer e-mentoring program for middle and high school students involved in science fairs. The hands-on program is structured with a schedule, deliverables, and a final goal of completing a science fair project and entering it in a Bay Area science fair. Top high school science students (Mentors) are matched with less experienced students (Investigators) and take the lead mentoring role on a science fair project. The Investigator does the actual work; the high school Mentor offers guidance and feedback. Adult advisors, usually professional scientists, complete each team and back up Mentors when they need it.

Read more at http://www.sciencebuddies.org or in the San Jose Mercury News article from March, 2002.

I never did a science fair project... maybe if something like this had been in place when I was in High School, I would have.

Science Buddies Mentoring Program ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Tue, 22 Jul, 13:26 Pacific

Tuesday July 22, 2003

Doctors carry out first successful tongue transplant

A patient who doctors say is the first-ever recipient of a human tongue transplant is recovering and shows no signs of rejecting the new organ, his Austrian doctors said.
...
Dr [Rolf] Ewers said the team of doctors had been preparing for two years to carry out the tongue transplant, but had until now either lacked a candidate for the operation or an appropriate donor.

"And now finally after long training we were able to carry it out," Dr Christian Kermer said.

He said there is no evidence in the medical literature that such an operation has even been carried out on humans and that his team felt convinced they were the first.

Read more in this article from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Doctors carry out first successful tongue transplant ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Tue, 22 Jul, 13:12 Pacific

Saturday July 19, 2003

The Pennsylvania State Cookie

According to the August issue of Reader's Digest, listed under "5 Silly Recent Local Government Proposals", in their "Only in America" regular feature, the PA house and senate has been "locked in a fierce debate" ... over whether to choose sugar cookies or chocolate chip as the official state cookie. The initial attempt at cookie legislation was introduced in 1998.
Despite the increasingly bitter debate, [State Sen. Robert] Thompson can envision tackling even more divisive issues in the future.

"Wait until we choose between the square dance and the polka as the official state dance," he said.

Read more in this article from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

And here I thought most of the fruits and nuts were in California...

The Pennsylvania State Cookie ( in category In The News ) - posted at Sat, 19 Jul, 11:06 Pacific

Friday July 18, 2003

Gardening

I've been out to do a little work in the garden, mostly deadheading the roses. These are delightful roses, disease-resistant, exuberant, easy to care for but they are NOT (ouch) thornless, oh my no.

Bebop came out and helped (actually, Bebop had his own agenda, which involved lying in the sun, rolling around on his back on the path, and enjoying the breeze in his fur). ...
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Gardening ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Fri, 18 Jul, 15:50 Pacific

Friday July 18, 2003

Lie, Cheat, and Steal?

The Friday 5 for this week is kinda nasty. I guess for some folks it can invoke deep soul-searching thought... I wasn't sure if I'd bother to answer, but I decided it's better if no one thinks I have something to hide :|.

  1. When was the last time you cheated?
  2. When was the last time you stole?
  3. When was the last time you lied?
  4. When was the last time you broke or vandalized another's property?
  5. When was the last time you hurt a loved one?
...
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Lie, Cheat, and Steal? ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 18 Jul, 14:56 Pacific

Wednesday July 16, 2003

Meowlingual

I'm actually fairly fluent in feline (especially the Coonese dialect :-), but still, I wouldn't mind trying one of these!
Jul 16, 7:55 am ET

TOKYO (Reuters) - Now that you can interpret what your dog is saying, how about your cat?

Takara Co, a major Japanese toy maker, said on Wednesday it would launch a device called the "Meowlingual" that can interpret a cat's meow, hoping to repeat its success with the "Bowlingual," a dog translation device.

Takara said the Meowlingual, a palm-sized electronic console that displays the interpreted phrase on a screen, will be priced at 8,800 yen ($74.62) and it would aim to sell 300,000 units by the end of March 2004.

Takara has sold about 300,000 dog translation devices in Japan since last year and plans to launch an English-language product in the U.S. market in August for about $120.

It has already rolled out the product in South Korea. The news hoisted Takara shares, which rose 5.68 percent to 781 yen by the midsession close.

[found at news.excite.com and posted to a cats discussion mailing list...] ...
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Meowlingual ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Wed, 16 Jul, 11:12 Pacific

Monday July 14, 2003

Recommended Reading

We've read some good books lately; I thought I'd share. Instead of an entry for each, I'll just put them together.

We recommend:

  • Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels (The Eyre Affair...)

  • Lee Harris's Murder in Hell's Kitchen

  • Kathy Reich's Forensic Procedurals (Deja Dead...)
...
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Recommended Reading ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Mon, 14 Jul, 13:26 Pacific

Saturday July 12, 2003

A Spy?!

Too cute not to share.

A Spy?! ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Sat, 12 Jul, 11:49 Pacific

Friday July 11, 2003

Yogurt tasting

There have been a number of articles recently that indicate that people who include dairy in their diets, when trying to lose weight, have more success than those who give up dairy. Low-fat milk, low-fat cheese, and yogurt are mentioned. (Unfortunately, ice cream's high fat and sugar counteracts the effects of the dairy aspect. sigh).

Unfortunately, while I'm willing to drink milk (the lower-fat the better), I've always found store-bought yogurt to be sour (though I am very fond of Indian raita and Greek tzatziki). The question was, is there any commercial yogurt I'd be willing to eat... or one that Rich would eat... and would there be one we both liked?

So, for fun we did a taste test. ...
       Continue reading "Yogurt tasting"

Yogurt tasting ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Fri, 11 Jul, 23:10 Pacific

Friday July 11, 2003

Friends

The Friday 5 for July 11, 2003
  1. Do you remember your first best friend? Who was it?
  2. Are you still in touch with this person?
  3. Do you have a current close friend?
  4. How did you become friends with this person?
  5. Is there a friend from your past that you wish you were still in contact with? Why?
...
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Friends ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 11 Jul, 14:48 Pacific

Wednesday July 9, 2003

Growing up reading

The Friday 5 for July 4, 2003
  1. What were your favorite childhood stories?
  2. What books from your childhood would you like to share with [your] children?
  3. Have you re-read any of those childhood stories and been surprised by anything?
  4. How old were you when you first learned to read?
  5. Do you remember the first 'grown-up' book you read? How old were you?
...
       Continue reading "Growing up reading"

Growing up reading ( in category Books, Movies, Music , Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Wed, 09 Jul, 09:55 Pacific

Tuesday July 8, 2003

Rubber Ducky you're so fine...

Curt Ebbesmeyer has been tracking plastic ducks at sea. Dr. Ebbesmeyer, a retired oceanographer, says that anytime now the plastic ducks, and three other plastic species from the same shipment that's already washed up, in part, in Hawaii and Alaska, could turn up in Iceland, Canada or New England.
Today on NPR, Robert Seigel spoke with oceanographer and "flotsamologist" Curtis Ebbesmeyer, who tracks cargo lost off ships. Ebbesmeyer is currently watching a flock of rubber ducks, which has made its way from the Pacific to the North Atlantic. Listen to the story on All Things Considered Audio. Transcript also available ($4.95).
Rubber Ducky you're so fine... ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Tue, 08 Jul, 23:50 Pacific

Friday July 4, 2003

Virtual Fireworks

Happy Independence Day.

Try these virtual fireworks and have a happy and safe holiday. (Note: Requires Java; Java may take minute or two to load.)

Virtual Fireworks ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Fri, 04 Jul, 14:56 Pacific

Thursday July 3, 2003

The Color of My Parachute

Everything about unemployment is wonderful... except for the lack of income.
So, being one of many unemployed in the Tech industry, I've been trying to find a job. I've been trying since January 2002 (when I still had a contract but the miserable economy forced me down to 15 hours/week).I've joined a few mailing lists - if you want a good one, try The Wednesday Group Job (don't ask me why it's called that; I don't know). I've participated in the discussions on other technical lists (not job lists but job-related discussion; we're all searching for work). I'm "using my contacts" (what contacts I have). And I thought, "Why not try one of those infamous books again?". So I got a copy of the 2003 edition of What Color Is Your Parachute. ...
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The Color of My Parachute ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Thu, 03 Jul, 22:52 Pacific