March 2004 Blog Posts
I'm looking to host my site and I'm ready to pay money!!! Does anyone have any recommendations? Right now, my top choices are WebHost4Life which has unlimited bandwidth, $9.95 a month, 150 MB disk space and 150 MB SQL Server space, with a $19.95 setup fee.
A cheaper option is hostdepartment.com with no setup fee, $9.95 a month, and 500 MB disk space, but only 10GB of monthly transfer. I think 10GB should be more than enough, but I've never heard of this company before.
I've been on a real Anthony Pappa kick lately. Right now I'm listening to Resolution CD 2 Track 12, "Solstice" at home and am blown away at how rich and full it sounds on my piddly Altec Lansing computer speakers. I spend way too much listening to my music turned down real low at work that I don't appreciate how good this stuff can sound in the a half way decent environment.
Of course, I'd love to hear this in a PROPER environment. I need to look into getting a real sound system. My father-in-law is a Sony manager/engineer in Japan who is really into his sound equipment. He custom built his current speakers and they deliver a very smooth crisp sound. Hopefully I'll be able to enlist his help one day in building a hi-fidelity system. He's turned me onto Bossa Nova and Samba music.
Every time someone tells me to register a component in the GAC, I think of GAK. Do you remember GAK? It was this Are you sure an alien didn’t sneeze this up? brightly colored gooey junk made by Nickelodeon. You can still buy the stuff!.
But what’s better than buying stuff? Making it! I found this little article online on how to make GAK. Your assignment, make tons and tons of this stuff! It never lived up to its potential to take over the world.
Rory at Neopoleon.com has an interesting proposition for would-be Computer Science mentors. Basically, he’s willing to pay for one-on-one tutoring in CS concepts over the web.
It’s an interesting idea if it works. In fact, it inspires me because I could use some tutoring myself, though my goal is not as lofty. Are there any experts out there at Poker, specifically Texas Hold'em?
I lost a wee bit o’ money this weekend and could use a refresher on how to play well. ;)
I just realized that I haven't been to Google.com in a very long time. Maybe months. Oh, don't get me wrong, I've used Google plenty, but now with the IE Google bar and the Desktop Google bar, I have very few reasons to actually go to the Google front page. My view of Google lately has been search results.
So today, I decided to visit the Google front page for old time sakes now that they've totally revamped their look. Ok, so it's about as noticeable as the difference between Old Coke and New Coke, but it is noticeable. I like it.
I tried a new drink this weekend. It's called an Irish Car Bomb. It's a half glass of Guiness with a shot of Baileys and Irish Whiskey in a shot glass on the side. You take the shot glass, drop it in the Guinness, and then quickly down the whole concoction before it coagulates.
It almost has slight chocolatey taste and is very creamy and smooth. It was a nice alcoholic explosion before seeing Margaret Cho in concert.
Don't you hate it when you momentarily lose all control and pig out like a death row inmate on his last meal? I need to exhibit more self control during those “all you can eat” moments, because I am so uncomfortable right now.
This must be how it feels to be a 10 ton elephant trying to sit comfortably in an oh-so-NOT-ergonomic chair. I hear elephants complain about that all the time.
I know you want to hear all about my troubles, but I just needed to vent.
According to this article, Steven Hawking's wife has been questioned by British detectives over claims that she has been assaulting the brainy cosmologist (no, a cosmologist is not someone who writes for Cosmo).
If she is guilty, Boo hiss hiss! This is no way to treat the most famous physicist since Einstein!
In support and honor of Mr. Hawking, I will bring back a long lost site from the archive and link you to MC Hawking's Crib where you can hear him bust a rap in a imploding quasar's ass.
Found this on Eric Gunnerson's (PM for the C# compliler team) blog. It's an interesting approach to get a lock statement with a time out. It would be nice to perhaps add a timeout syntax to the lock statement in C#. Maybe it would look like this:
object obj = new object();
int milliseconds = 10000;
//Do something with obj
One thought I had, and let me know if I'm off base, but it seems we could add debug code to Ian Griffith's TimedLock class to "register" locks on an object. This would only happen if you conditionally compiled with #DEBUG, but the idea is that when a class gets a TimedLock on an object, TimedLock would add information (such as the call stack and thread id) to a hashtable with the object as a key. Thus, if another class attempts to get a lock on the object and times out, the exception could have information about who had a lock on the object. May be useful for debugging deadlock situations.
[Via Eric Gunnerson's C# Compendium]
Ian Griffiths comes up with an interesting way to use IDisposable and the “using“ statement to get a very of lock with timeout.
I like the approach, but there are two ways to improve it:
1) Define TimedLock as a struct instead of a class, so that there's no heap allocation involved.
2) Implement Dispose() with a public implementation rather than a private one. If that's the case, the compiler will call Dispose() directly, otherwise it will box to the IDisposable interface before calling Dispose().
How quickly would the pledge be altered if it ended "one nation under Allah" or "one nation under Buddah"?
AP - Not long after the Supreme Court came to order Wednesday with the invocation, "God save the United States and this honorable court," the justices were deep in a wrenching argument over whether millions of public schoolchildren may continue pledging allegiance to one nation "under God."
[Via Yahoo! News - Top Stories]
A group of us went snowboarding at Mammoth mountain this past weekend to celebrate Judy's (Dan's wife) birthday. I won't be so uncouth to tell you how old she turned. We stayed in a nice little condo with the 7 of us.
On the slopes for the first day, the weather was brilliant! It was very bright, sunny and hot, probably around 65 degrees or so. Hot enough for girls in bikini tops to snowboard around, while I was stupid enough to be wearing a long sleeve shirt and my jacket, completely burning up.
This was a good trip for me as I improved alot. After tackling a few blue-black diamond (advanced-intermediate) slopes, I was cocky enough to tell my wife that I'll soon be as good as she is. So she promptly took me up to the summit so we could try the Cornice Bowl, a black diamond.
At the top, a friendly sign forewarned "Black Diamond runs are for EXPERTS only". At the lip of the bowl, I looked down, and I mean STRAIGHT DOWN, and felt a rising wave of unadulterated, first time watching Nightmare on Elm Street, fear. Needless to say, my wife smoothly made her turns down the slope while I can't really do justice to what I did. I started off toe-side, trying to plow my way down a bit. Perfecting my deer-in-headlights impression, I was paralyzed for a moment. Standing nearly straight up on my toe-side, yet able to reach straight out and touch the slope (I ride goofy foot), I realized this was steep.
I was not willing to point my board down the slope in order to make a turn. After snowplowing down a bit, I gained some courage and tried a turn, only to be rewarded with a mouth full of snow and a Pete Rose slide for 30 yards. I think I have a long ways before I can mouth off to my wife about how I'm approaching her ability. :)
Found this on another website. Sorta ties into my earlier rant about Bush's stance on the whole gay marriage issue:
Lawmakers who use the Bible to justify their opposition to gay marriage ought to be consistent. Here are some other Biblical rules to add to the Bill of Rights :
[Via Boing Boing]
Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in
addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron
A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a
virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut
In lieu of marriage, if there are no acceptable men in your
town, it is required that you get your dad drunk and have sex with
him (even if he had previously offered you up as a sex toy to men
young and old), tag-teaming with any sisters you may have. Of
course, this rule applies only if you are female. (Gen 19:31-36)
Austin would be so pround. I wonder what the Queen thinks of all this wanton shagging going on? And I thought the British were such a reserved people. Apparently so if we’re talking about reserving a spot in the park for a romp.
A new sex fad called 'dogging' is sweeping Britain, and it’s all thanks to the wonders of technology. By Leander Kahney.[Via Wired News]
My favorite quip from this article:
Dogging is so prevalent, 60 percent of U.K. country parks are affected by it, Byrne’s report estimated.
Being of mixed heritageI have both bases covered. For now, I can claim my caucasian-ness and reap all the benefits of being the dominant sub-culture. But once minorities surpass caucasians, I can switch to
"You've oppressed us too long whitey! It's your turn!" and claim my asian heritage.
"Model Minority my ass! It's Model Majority now punk!" I just love playing it both ways. ;)
AP - For as long as there has been an America, whites have made up a clear majority. But that will change by 2050 when minority groups will be 49.9 percent of the population, the Census Bureau says.[Via Yahoo! News - Top Stories]
In general, cursors suck ass! Ok, that’s a bit extreme, but I have a long and ugly history with cursors. Let me diverge here and tell you a true story.
A while ago, a friend of mine recommended me to a company in serious need of senior developers for full-time or contract work. After talking to the dev manager over the phone, he felt my rate was too high, but wanted me to come in anyways. He set his top three developers in the room with me and left as they began to drill me with technical questions.
Now, I don’t mind being asked difficult technical questions in an interview. In fact, I think it’s a necessary part of an interview. But it was clear from the outset that these three hadn’t set their egos aside and they were quite antagonistic. One of them asked me the following question.
Suppose you have a table named
tblUser with column named FirstName. On the whiteboard, construct a query that will select all the first names into a single varchar with commas. I asked if I may assume that the list of names will fit in a VARCHAR 8000, to which they replied yes. So I promptly wrote the following on the board.
DECLARE @FirstNames VARCHAR(8000)
SET @FirstNames = ''
SELECT @FirstNames = FirstNames + ',' + @FirstNames
With disdain on their faces, they shook their heads and said no. No! Well of course they did, they were looking for a cursor answer. They wanted to know if I could write a cursor. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job, but after the fact, I couldn’t help sending the manager an email informing him that not only was my answer correct, but it was 1000 times faster than the answer they wrote on the board. Yes, I’m still bitter. ;)
Which brings me back to the point of this post. If you can avoid a cursor solution, by all means do. The following article describes a technique for performing row by row operations without using a cursor. It makes several assumptions about your table, but for the most part, this is very useful.
Cause his shiznit be fo real, know what I'm sayin'. Enter yo trickass URL and he'll tranlate that shizzle.
I can almost smell the smoky embers. Burning Man tickets have already gone on sale. I tried to buy them in the mad rush when they first came online at a discounted price to no avail. Their servers basically decided to go on a vacation with the overload of requests. I had a vision of one of them Japanese subway cars where they have to shove people inside.
This year, I'll be sure to bring my wife’s iBook (if she’ll let me) to take advantage of the WIFI connection. Yes, they have a WIFI network in the middle of freaking nowhere out on the playa. Very cool.
Hopefully I can convince some of the crew I went with last time to join me this year. Now that I’m buying a place and entering the realms of responsible adult life, this may be the last time for me to go (at least for the next couple decades). I’m looking to have a blast.
We’re meeting the lender today to make the final preparations for the big loan. I thought college was expensive, but this is on a whole 'nother level. For you out there who don’t live in California, I’m basically buying a small 1000 sq ft 2 bedroom 2.5 bathroom condo townhouse for probably the amount you could buy a mansion in Kentucky, or a four bedroom house in Seattle. This market is crazy, but we're not ready to leave L.A. just yet. So it's love it or buy it.
Proving the whole 6 degrees of separation thing, I finally received an invitation to Orkut. The thing that struck me was when highlighting a button I noticed this in the status bar:
Ah, now doesn't that look familiar. I looked up and noticed I was on the http://www.orkut.com/SignUpPhoto.aspx page. Definitery an ASP.NET page. Cool.
With the news that we are about to be home owners, Kyle’s comment was
Now you are a homeowner. Commence reproduction cycle.
Akumi and I have both agreed we would’t start the baby making aparatus until we have a place. Now that we have a place, we’re not ready to start that cycle just yet. She just recently found her calling and is interested in getting that career off the block.
Pattern Making. Everybody in the L.A. fashion world wants to be a clothing designer. It's the hip thing to do.
Why yes, I'm an aspiring actor, a budding screenwriter, and on the side I have my own label. Now may I take your order?
Many designers don’t know squat about actually putting clothes together. Every one of them needs pattern makers to take their designs and put them onto paper. Really, it’s just like the being an architect for the fashion world. The designer is really more like a GUI designer, asking for this and that. The pattern maker takes that information and creates a pattern which is analagous to a software specification. That specification can then be used to actually make the clothes in question. Apparently Pattern Makers are in hot demand here.
Ok, this post has been effectively deleted. Apparently the link I posted is no longer up. :(
At least this advice worked for us.
In this housing market, it may help to write a personal letter with the offer. Adds a personal touch to the potential 40+ offers the owner might receive. My wife included a picture too. That might of been a bad idea because the picture included me. But since it also included my wife, so we'll call that a wash.
If you're ugly, forego the picture.
This is a hilarious guide to distinguishing aliens from humans. Here's an excerpt. Read the rest at Neopoleon.com
Green blood - Although you won't always get a chance to see it, Vulcans bleed green blood. Isn't that crazy? The diversity of life in the universe sometimes astounds me. Green blood... dang!
I was thinking about this question after reading an article in a magazine about setting goals. The article had four steps for setting goals, and six steps for meeting them. Included were your usual tips for visualizing your goal, writing it down, and making a plan of action to meet the goal.
The article made a good point to imagine how meeting the goal will make you feel. Will it make you happier? The article then went into a discourse on me... or rather dreamers. Those people who sit around dreaming about meeting goals, but not doing anything about it.
So that got me thinking. I’m very good at thinking about what I would do if I ever won the lottery. But what would I REALLY do? I can’t constantly travel, backpack, mountain bike, party, play soccer for the rest of my life (but I’m sure I could make a good faith effort).
Here are the things that came to mind:
- Travel big time
- Go on outdoor adventures and backpacking trips
- Buy a nice house
- Buy a really nice car
- Get in shape via a personal trainer
- Eat healthy with a cook/dietician
- Read a lot of books
- Work on open source projects and write lots of interesting code
- Learn to produce music on the computer
- Learn photography
- Live up to my name through Philanthropy
And the list goes on and on. The point of this excercise is to ask myself, if these are the things that would make me happy, what’s stopping me from doing them right now? The answer is that nothing is stopping me. I don’t need to wait to win the lottery (which will happen I tell you!). In fact, I’m already doing all these things to one degree or another.
Granted, I have a lot less time and resources to accomplish these things. Since I have to pay the bills with a J-O-B (and since I have a nasty habit of needing 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night), I can only devote a small portion of my time to Philanthropy (because you knew that’s what I do in my spare time, didn’t you. Didn’t you?). Thus I have to settle for a less nice house, a less nice car, less time to go to the gym, etc...
Now before you go off thinking “What a freakin’ whiner!”, I’m not writing this as a “woe is me” diatribe. My point is that I am very fortunate to live in a time and place where I can meet all my goals (though not as fully as I may wish) without winning the lottery or selling my firstborn. But in order to do that in a more fulfilling manner, it’s important to reflect on what more specifically are my goals and why would they bring me fulfillment and then make a plan.
So what would YOU do if you won the lottery? Discuss amongst yourselves and comment!
We found a place we like and we're making an offer. Wish us luck.
The Excorcist In 30 seconds
is one of the funniest flash animations I've seen in a while.
I received my business cards today. Now I can enter all those raffles at the local eateries.
Will they be giving him a gold watch?
ackthpt writes "CNN is reporting that Toho, after 50 years and 28 films, will be retiring Godzilla (Gojira in Japan) after this years film. Toho has thought of ...
Ok ok, I am in love with reading RSS and that has a lot to do with my geekiness. But I found an article on Slate (decidedly non geeky) that does a better job explaining the benefits of using an RSS Reader. One thing I learned is that there's an RSS Reader for Mac OS X. Read the article
I've seen the future and it is good. Adam Kinney has a demo Rss Aggregator for Longhorn at his site,
. It's very barebones right now, but you can just see the potential for how beautiful this will and does look. What struck me was how nice the text of a blog entry looked in the text window. Nice work adam!
The psychedelics are unnecessary. http://www.badgerbadgerbadger.com/
Reuters - A Los Angeles lawyer who claims he
was thrown out of Las Vegas last year because he was too lucky
has sued MGM Mirage in a bid to force the casino to warn
prospective gamblers that they can be barred for winning too
[Via Yahoo! News - Oddly Enough]
Found this gem on Raymond Chen's blog.
Okay, I'm about to reveal one of the tricks of Product Support.
[Via The Old New Thing]
Sometimes you're on the phone with somebody and you suspect that the problem is something as simple as forgetting to plug it in, or that the cable was plugged into the wrong port. This is easy to do with those PS/2 connectors that fit both a keyboard and a mouse plug, or with network cables that can fit both into the upstream and downstream ports on a router.
Here's the trick: Don't ask "Are you sure it's plugged in correctly?"
If you do this, they will get all insulted and say indignantly, "Of course it is! Do I look like an idiot?" without actually checking.
Instead, say "Okay, sometimes the connection gets a little dusty and the connection gets weak. Could you unplug the connector, blow into it to get the dust out, then plug it back in?"
They will then crawl under the desk, find that they forgot to plug it in (or plugged it into the wrong port), blow out the dust, plug it in, and reply, "Um, yeah, that fixed it, thanks."
(Or if the problem was that it was plugged into the wrong port, then the act of unplugging it and blowing into the connector takes their eyes off the port. Then when they go to plug it in, they will look carefully and get it right the second time because they're paying attention.)
Customer saves face, you close a support case, everybody wins.
Corollary: Instead of asking "Are you sure it's turned on?", ask them to turn it off and back on.
A while ago, I posted an entry imagining the next generation of Rss Aggregators and blogging engines that would in effect, create a better social network than Frienster, Tribe, etc...
Looks like efforts were already under way. A commenter pointed me to XFN, aka the XHTML Friends Network which presents a simple way to express relationships through hyperlinks. Very interesting.
After applying XFN tags, you can head over to http://www.rubhub.com and have them index your site. Entering a full or partial URL in their search engine will bring up a relationship results page. This page lists sites that link to the specified site and all the sites to which the specified site links. With each link, the search results also dislay the relationship (for example: Acquaintance).
I received this email from a coworker. It makes you stop and think, doesn't it?
With all the news coverage about sub-zero east coast weather and north Pacific ice storms, it's easy to forget that Southern California has its share of devastating weather also. Check out the damage caused by a wild west coast storm which recently passed through Los Angeles (photo attached.) It really makes you cherish what you have, and reminds us not to take life for granted!!!
Warning: This photo is graphic and not for the faint of heart.
Tired of annoying "pre-approved" credit card offers? I sure am. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) of 1970 as amended in 1996, the four major credit bureaus have the right to sell your information to companies that want to offer you a credit card. Fortunately, the amendment also stipulated that credit bureaus must provide a way for consumers to have their names excluded from pre-approval lists. If you're a United States citizen sick of getting pre-screened credit card offers, this article will show you how to avoid receiving them.
Before flying the friendly skies, you need to read this. Hilarious!
I wish I had this a while ago. Log Parser allows you to run SQL like queries against your IIS log files. Check it out here
I'm working on a project to add beauty back to the blogging experience, even when read by an Rss Aggregator.
For example, in RssBandit, you can select a style for displaying blog entries (via XSLT formatters). Currently, this setting applies to all feeds. In order for this to work well, some creative stripping of the style within an item must occur, otherwise you can get some very ugly (even unreadable) results.
I've been working (albeit slowly) on a spec allowing a blog to "suggest" a style (or custom formatter) for a blog entry when read in an aggregator. Based on your aggregator settings, the aggregator would either accept the style from the blog, or it would use your predefined style.
Some nice benefits include the fact that the style the RssFeed suggests could be customized to the user's aggregator. For example, if the aggregator supports Longhorn, the RssFeed might suggest a formatter that converts the blog entry into XAML. This nicely separates the presentation from the content, and yet gives both the content producer and consumer some control over the presentation.
Some issues I need to think about is whether this should be an extension to RSS or use a new API. Not only that, I need to gather some feedback on whether or not this is even a good idea and worth my time.