Tuesday January 31, 2006

Serendipity in Numbers

In any largeish set of numeric data, you might guess that numbers that begin with the digit '1' would occur approximately 11% of the time. And, that numbers beginning with any of the other digits, 2 - 9, would also occur 11% of the time (each). After all, shouldn't each digit have an equal probability of occurrence?

In truly random data, data which could just as easily have been labeled with letters or colors as numbers, you'd be right. But in truly numeric data, data that increases or decreases additively (or subtractively), you'd be surprised. In actual fact, values that begin with the digit '1' are much more likely to occur (especially if the numbers have at least 4 digits, e,g, from 1000 on up).

The mathematical rule that describes this phenomenon is referred to as Benford's Law, after the physicist who discovered it. ...
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Serendipity in Numbers ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Tue, 31 Jan, 08:04 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday January 30, 2006

Weekly Wrap-up 2006_04

The weather was mostly fair, except for rain on Saturday evening.

I had a peculiar computer experience on Monday. Most of my address book was mysteriously... gone. Replaced, I don't know how, by addresses from a job I had in 2003?! It took multiple tries and several frustrating hours to find the files in backup (they are considered to be "databases" and not easy to locate) and then reinstall them so that the Address Book program would see them and use them. Gack!

This was my birthday week. I got a free pasta dish from Pasta Pomodoro on Monday for lunch and a free lunch at Todai Japanese buffet on Sunday. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2006_04"

Weekly Wrap-up 2006_04 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 30 Jan, 01:01 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday January 29, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday.

Happy Birthday to me. :-)


Happy Birthday to Me ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Sun, 29 Jan, 00:01 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday January 28, 2006

Treasures 2006_04

Memory is the treasure house of the mind wherein the monuments thereof are kept and preserved.
-- Thomas Fuller

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Pink blossoms on an ornamental plum tree. Spring is coming early!

  • A blue sunny shiny gorgeous early almost-spring day

  • Turkey sandwiches on fresh sourdough bread with mayo and cranberry sauce

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Treasures 2006_04 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 28 Jan, 01:55 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday January 27, 2006

Calendar Holder-Upper

In my office, I have a bookcase to the left of my desk. I have always hung a wall calendar on the side of the bookcase and I can see it from my desk. Unfortunately, the lower part of the calendar has been partially obscured by the "cat buckets" above my monitors. So, I asked Rich to help me figure out how to solve the problem.

How could I extend things so that the calendar hung in a position that made it easier to see? ...
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Calendar Holder-Upper ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Fri, 27 Jan, 01:18 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday January 26, 2006

The Citizen Journalism Debate

In today's commentary, I discuss the recent announcement, by the National Union of Journalists in Britain and Ireland, of a "code of practice to address important issues raised by the 'phenomenon of citizen journalism'.

Read my commentary.

The Citizen Journalism Debate ( in category commentary ) - posted at Thu, 26 Jan, 12:09 Pacific

Wednesday January 25, 2006

Curiously Ginger

I'm not a fan of Altoids Peppermint candies (they're too strong, if you ask me!). But I really like their ginger flavor. You may have to look around some to find these; they aren't available in every store that carries Altoids. If you like ginger, however, they're worth hunting for! If you can't find them, you can buy them online (mmmm, licorice too!)

If you're a ginger fan, you might also want to try St Claire's Organic Ginger Snaps. They're made with all natural ingredients, including organic molasses granules for that true ginger snap taste. Sweet and spicy, like a tiny bite of cookie.

Curiously Ginger ( in category Show & Tell ) - posted at Wed, 25 Jan, 17:53 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday January 24, 2006

Short Stories

The Most Dangerous Game. Leiningen versus the Ants. The Open Window. Lamb to the Slaughter. The Gift of the Magi. The Tell-tale Heart.

Short stories. More than that, excellent short stories. I remember each of these well. I read some of them in school, others before or since. Each left a clear memory.

It takes a special gift to write a good short story — to include characterization, plot, conflict, and resolution in such a small space and to do it well. Some authors, such as O. Henry, specialized in this format.

Fewer and fewer people these days read short stories. This is unfortunate--so few will ever experience the joy that reading such fine work can give. The goal of this site is to give a nice cross section of short stories in the hope that these short stories will excite these people into rediscovering this excellent source of entertainment.

[from classicshorts.com]

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Short Stories ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Tue, 24 Jan, 20:19 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday January 23, 2006

Weekly Wrap-up 2006_03

The weather was mostly fair, although we did have some rain in the middle of the week.

I've been trying to remember to use the stepper machine. I've got an alarm set to remind me once an hour during the day. I've made it to 100 steps several times now before going all rubbery.

I took my keyboard apart and cleaned it this week. It's amazing how much cat hair and gedunge gets into a keyboard over time. I popped all of the keys off, then Rich scrubbed it, then I put the keys back on. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2006_03"

Weekly Wrap-up 2006_03 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 23 Jan, 20:26 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday January 22, 2006

Animusic 2

Although perhaps not as entrancing as its predecessor, Animusic 2 (available on DVD) is still worth watching. ...
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Animusic 2 ( in category Books, Movies, Music , Special Interests ) - posted at Sun, 22 Jan, 21:12 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday January 21, 2006

Treasures 2006_03

The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.
-- Albert Einstein

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Sparks in the Dark! - stroking sparks from Raven's fur in the middle of the night

  • Krispy Kreme pumpkin spice cake donuts (they freeze/thaw out well :-)

       Continue reading "Treasures 2006_03"

Treasures 2006_03 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 21 Jan, 08:37 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday January 20, 2006

Turing Hopper

Turing Hopper is the somewhat unusual protagonist in Donna Andrew's "techno-cozy" mystery series (three books currently in paperback; one in hardcover). Named after Alan Turing and Grace Hopper, Turing is an Artificial Intelligence Personality (AIP), one of many created for the Universal Library (a knowledge corporation that is digitizing the world's libraries). Turing, however, differs from the other AIPs. She is the first of her kind to achieve sentience. At least, she thinks she has. ...
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Turing Hopper ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Fri, 20 Jan, 07:35 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday January 19, 2006

The Interactive Web

In today's commentary, I duscuss my interest in interactive web appliations, so-called "Web 2.0".

Read my commentary.

The Interactive Web ( in category commentary ) - posted at Thu, 19 Jan, 11:55 Pacific

Wednesday January 18, 2006

Excluding Categories in Movable Type

We wanted to be able to post "draft" weblog articles, accessible for review by a selected audience but not publicly available to the world yet. We wanted to exclude one or more named categories from all indexes and lists; however, we also wanted to ensure that the "excluded" articles could be found by direct URL to their "Individual Archive" pages.

We use Movable Type which has many useful plugins available, including quite a few choices for handling categories. That's the good news. ...
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Excluding Categories in Movable Type ( in category WebTech ) - posted at Wed, 18 Jan, 10:23 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday January 17, 2006

Daisy Dalrymple

Turn back the clock to January, 1923...

The Hon. Daisy Dalyrymple, daughter of a viscount, is a working girl, living in London's bohemian Chelsea district (much to her mother's expressed chagrin). Her father perished in the 'flu epidemic; her brother was killed in the trenches during the war. A distant cousin has inherited the title and the estate. Daisy is on her own, living frugally, just making ends meet thanks to a small inheritance and her new writing job. ...
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Daisy Dalrymple ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Tue, 17 Jan, 00:48 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday January 16, 2006

Weekly Wrap-up 2006_02

The weather has been mostly sunny and cool, although we had rain overnight Friday (it cleared by Saturday morning).

I still have a nagging cough (mostly a lot of hrrm hrrm! throat clearing). Rich convinced me to call our medical group. They told me this is not uncommon, however my doctor did prescribe a stronger cough syrup that is (YES!) helping. In fact, I know exactly when it's time (hrrm hrrm!) to take the next dose.

By the way, I've been wondering when it was that "cherry cough syrup" flavor was invented. It's certainly a special taste all its own. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2006_02"

Weekly Wrap-up 2006_02 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 16 Jan, 16:08 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday January 15, 2006

Night Writing

I keep a pad of paper and a pen by the bed. At night, when I can't sleep because my thoughts are tumbling round and round, I can reach for the pad and make a note. Then, if I'm lucky, my brain agrees that the thought has been captured and allows me to sleep.

There's one problem with this method. It's dark in the middle of the night! ...
       Continue reading "Night Writing"

Night Writing ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sun, 15 Jan, 23:59 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday January 14, 2006

PathFinder 4

Path Finder is one of my most-highly recommended must-have applications for Mac OS X. I've been using Path Finder (originally yclept, "SNAX") since August, 2002.

Path Finder is an innovative file browser and manager with powerful tools to make you more productive on Mac OS X.
Path Finder 4 [has] nearly 100 improvements, new features, and other goodies.
Path Finder is a highly rated, native Cocoa application, sporting a level of configurability and ease of use and that far exceeds that of the Finder. Path Finder is what the Finder should be. (Read the MacWorld review of PathFinder 3.)
PathFinder 4 ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Sat, 14 Jan, 20:35 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday January 13, 2006

Treasures 2006_02

Learning is a weightless treasure you always carry easy.
-- Chinese Proverbs

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • A rainbow on a sprizzly day

  • A woman in the Post Office with a faux fur handbag (all it needed were googly eyes :-)

  • The grocery store checker's lilt, as she counted back my ATM cash - twainty fairty sixty ...

       Continue reading "Treasures 2006_02"

Treasures 2006_02 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 13 Jan, 21:13 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday January 12, 2006

Fighting the Phone Company

We don't care. We don't have to care.
We're the Telephone Company.
At SBC, We're part of the problem.

We had a run-in with the telephone company today. I picked up the phone to make a call and got those wonderful "trouble tones" (doo Doo DOO! We're sorry, but...). Our service had been temporarily disconnected.

$%^@&*()! ...
       Continue reading "Fighting the Phone Company"

Fighting the Phone Company ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Thu, 12 Jan, 21:46 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday January 11, 2006

AP Education

I took several AP (Advanced Placement) classes in High School — Chemistry, Biology, and English. I didn't take AP Math (Calculus) because I was a year behind my peers in math, having taken "Math II" when they took Algebra I; I needed that extra year before I "got" math. I didn't take AP History either (although all of my friends did). I never cared for History and had no plans to take any history courses in College. I never regretted that decision, especially when the AP History class always had a test on the faculty in-service afternoons (when the rest of the school was dismissed early).

I was not aware, however, that an increasing number of US states have been mandating universal availability of Advanced Placement courses in an effort to make college education accessible to a broader population of students. ...
       Continue reading "AP Education"

AP Education ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Wed, 11 Jan, 00:26 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday January 10, 2006

Model-based Documentation

Rich gave a short talk tonight on Model-based Documentation for the SF Ruby Meetup group. He's been thinking about this area for some time. If you're interested, take a look at what he's got and send him a note...

These pages present an integrated approach to semi-automated documentation of large systems. I have coined the term "Model-based Documentation" for this approach, because a model of the system under study guides the process and unifies the results.

Note: These pages are very much a Work In Progress: feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, etc.

Model-based Documentation ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Tue, 10 Jan, 23:50 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday January 9, 2006

Weekly Wrap-up 2006_01

We started out with rain but the weather cleared by the end of the week.

It was a quiet week. We did a little shopping - a cushion for Rich's desk chair, pull chains for some ceiling fans, a trip to the bookstore (because we were nearby :-)

The ceiling fans are in our favorite diner. The ceiling is high and the original pull chains were short and it was difficult for patrons or staff to turn down the fans if they were blowing too strongly. So, being the sort of compulsively helpful people we are, we bought a 36 inch chain and some attachment doohickeys. Then Rich cut the chain in four pieces and lengthened the pullchains on the fans.

Rich continued playing Harry Homeowner by modifying the cat flap in his office door, removing the heavier outer piece of vinyl. Now the cats only have to push on the inner flap. Squirrel has been going in and out daily, usually in the morning to let Rich know that he's starving. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2006_01"

Weekly Wrap-up 2006_01 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 09 Jan, 17:08 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday January 7, 2006

Treasures 2006_01

We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they're called memories. Some take us forward, they're called dreams.
-- Jeremy Irons

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Fireworks displays welcoming the New Year.

  • Cinnamon- and nutmeg-tinted carrot cake

  • Our new 2006 calendars - cartoon dogs, wild cats, colorful songbirds, flowers, ...

       Continue reading "Treasures 2006_01"

Treasures 2006_01 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 07 Jan, 15:11 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday January 6, 2006

So Much to Do...

So Much to Do and So Many Other Things to Distract Me.

I ordered this t-shirt for myself. I thought it would be appropriate. :-) It goes well with the following essay (found in many places on the net; author unknown)

Do You Have Days Like This?

I decide to take the car to the gas station, fill the tank and run it through the car wash.

As I start toward the garage, I notice the mail on the hall table. I decide to go through the mail before I take the car.

       Continue reading "So Much to Do..."

So Much to Do... ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Fri, 06 Jan, 08:41 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday January 5, 2006

A real page-turner

I really have seldom enjoyed a book so much ...
I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

[back-cover recommendation quote for a book I'm currently reading]

I've often heard good books described as "real page-turners". I don't feel that way at all. ...
       Continue reading "A real page-turner"

A real page-turner ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Thu, 05 Jan, 09:21 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday January 4, 2006

Thoughts While Falling Asleep

So Little Moose, her brain go like that all night long...

Rich said "I wonder why it is... When I go to bed, I start thinking about things I need to do. And sometimes I'll stop thinking and fall asleep. And sometimes I'll get up and go make notes. But why do I think of all these things as I'm drifting off to sleep? And why do I not think as clearly when I am lying down? Is it possibly something biological, like the horizontal orientation of the brain or the systems trying to shut down?" ...
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Thoughts While Falling Asleep ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Wed, 04 Jan, 07:06 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday January 3, 2006

The Color of My Parachute

In today's comentary, I discuss my current job hunt as well as what I like to do, the sorts of jobs I like, the kind of career I want to have, and the sort of company where I would like to work if I had my druthers.

Read my commentary.

The Color of My Parachute ( in category commentary ) - posted at Tue, 03 Jan, 00:05 Pacific

Monday January 2, 2006

Of Resolutions and Priorities



  1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.
  2. A resolving to do something.
  3. A course of action determined or decided on.

For many people, it's a common practice at the beginning of a new year to compose "resolutions". The thought seems to be that each "new" year represents a blank slate and now is a good time to change yourself. Personally, I think one's birthday makes a better marker for change, but... New Years' Resolutions are the popular thing.

I've never done resolutions. If I want to resolve to change something, I'll do it when I think of it. (I buy presents when I think of them too, and send them throughout the year; I don't wait for Christmas or birthdays. But I digress.).

That said, I saw a suggestion two years ago that I thought had some merit and was better than making resolutions. You can make your list at any time during the year, revisit it again and again, and compare lists from year to year.

Instead of writing out your New Year's resolutions, take some time to sit down and reconsider your Priorities. ...
       Continue reading "Of Resolutions and Priorities"

Of Resolutions and Priorities ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Mon, 02 Jan, 07:01 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday January 1, 2006

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_52

Happy New Year!

The weather this week was wet. The week ended with a big storm that started around 11pm Friday night and splashed its way into Saturday morning, ending about 7am (then returning for a small finale between 10 am and noon), with lots of wind and perhaps six or ten power failures overnight. There were leaves and branches all over the place on Saturday morning, and three more power outages throughout the day.

The power hits were all short (except the last one), but annoying, because the computers went down. At 4:40 the power went out for 20 minutes (even though the storm was long gone by then, having left us blue skies at noon).

The cats didn't like the overnight power failures. Every time the power comes back on, the CD player in the bedroom "reboots" and makes little sorting sounds with its three CD trays. Sometimes when the power comes back on, our doorbell rings (it did that at 4am and 8:15am). And, if the power is out for more than a minute, UPSs all over the house begin to go beep... beep... beep.

Now you know how I know we had so many power failures overnight - each one woke us up when it ended. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_52"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_52 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 01 Jan, 00:01 Pacific | Comments (0)