personal comments edit

My buddy Ed posted some pics from Burning Man this year. This pedal powered Ferris wheel particularly caught my eye. How cool is that!

Ferris Wheel \ When you can’t afford a hamster.

I wish I could have been there to try it. Visit Ed’s blog to see some more great pics.

NOTE: He’s got one of them stupid Xanga blogs so I can’t link directly to the entry. You might have to hit the “Next 5” link a few times if you see this much later. The pics were taken on September 29.

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Think back to the last week or month of IM conversations you’ve had. Perhaps you have archiving on and can actually read them. Now, I want you to take a megaphone and broadcast those conversations while at the same time emailing them to everyone in your address book. Don’t forget to print a copy for your coworkers and boss. Quick poll of hands, who’s willing to do this?

Except for you exhibitionists out there, there’s probably not too many hands in the air (you can put them down now). What not many people realize (and for you techies, tell your non-tech friends) is that using an IM tool is equivalent to broadcasting your conversations. Now, not every company is listening to those conversations, but all it takes is a widely available network sniffer and an inclination.

IM clients send messages in clear text over the network. So if big brother feels like listening in, no problem. Some companies employ tools for archiving IM conversations by their employees and analyzing them to see if corporate secrets are being leaked.

If you’re going to talk about sensitive topics, I’d recommend using an IM client that encrypts communications. The Jabber protocol provides encrypted communications. The client I’m using is Pandion (

You’re employer does NOT need to know about that suspicious rash you acquired after your business trip to Asia.

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You gotta love the Japanese for making such interesting products. The company that makes this disembodied arm pillow has sold 1000 units since last December. It’s actually genius if you think about it.

Disembodied Arm \ Aiko’s pillow attempts to cop a feel

My arm always falls painfully asleep when my wife lays on it like in the picture. I could get one of these and reclaim my arm. Just as long as the pillow doesn’t try to make any untoward moves.

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Twiggy is our new Italian Greyhound (not to be confused with a normal greyhound). She’s around two years old (we don’t know for sure) and she has a major case of Attention Deficit Disorder. Fully grown, she’s only ten pounds.

Twiggy Hello, my name is Twiggy

We’re working around the clock to get her house trained. Apparently her previous owners didn’t know how to take good care of her. She pretty much won’t do her thing outdoors, prefering the comfort of the indoor accomodations. Also, if you look closely, you’ll see she has stitches above one eye. She used to live in a yard with a terrier and a Rotweiler. Rotweilers are playful.

Overbite\ I have a major overbite so my tongue hangs out a bit.

Despite the accident with the Rotweiler, she still is very friendly to other dogs and people, and has an insatiable curiosity.

Adoption Day\ This is my mom Akumi on the day I was adopted

We have an excercise pen for her as IGs are not supposed to be left unattended in the house. They are superb climbers, and even better at falling and breaking a leg. When I take her for a walk, she tries to get into everything.

\ I like to sniff everything.

Well thanks for saying hi to the newest member of our family.

tech comments edit

Yesterday was a crazy day. Our production site runs on an older Dell disk array with three logical volumes each set up in a RAID 1+0 configuration. For you non geeks out there, RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks (though some claim the I stands for Inexpensive, I take no stand on this issue).

Data Center \ The matrix has you.

The point of a RAID 1+0 array is to provide high performance fault tolerance. Unfortunately, it seems that when one disk goes down in our array, others follow in its wake. Yesterday we had three physical disks report failures and one reported that it would probably fail in the near future. I appreciate the one disk giving us a heads up.

“Umm yeah, those other guys failed you. I think I’ll hum along a bit and fail…say…sixish?”

Luckily for us, one of the failures was a misreport and we were able to immediately bring it online. The other two failures were on separate volumes, thus we could rebuild each of the drives. My coworker and I headed over to the data center to meet with a network engineer from our former parent company to take care of the situation.

Data Center Networking \ Networking cables galore.

The entrance to the data center has one of them double lock chambers. Swiping a card provides access into the vertical glass tube. At this point you half expect all the air to be sucked out like a physics experiment gone awry. Once the door closes behind you, you swipe the card again in order to exit the tube on the opposite side. It was reminiscent of every episode of ALIAS where Sydney has to infiltrate a data center, only there were no paramilitary guards with machine guns.

The inside was volumnious, with several cages here and there humming with the sound of murmuring server racks. It sort of reminded me of the Core in the Matrix series. Posted prominently in the entrance was a sign forbidding the use of photographic equipment, so we had to place our cameras back in the car. However, my coworker had a phone cam with him and took a couple of pics of our servers. Don’t tell anyone.

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A little while ago I said we’ve decided to adopt a doggy. Well we did it. On Saturday we got a call that an Italian Greyhound was in need of a home immediately. So we drove out to Visalia (about three hours north of L.A. a little past Bakersfield) and picked her up.

Her name is Twiggy (after the 60s fashion icon) and I’ll post some photos later. Needless to say, we’re very tired as she is not yet house trained and seems to have lost her natural instinct NOT to soil her den.

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I’m conducting some phone interviews today for a C++ contractor/employee. Man it’s been a long time since I’ve conducted interviews. I wish I kept a list of my favorite questions to ask.

Maybe I’ll start off with:

  • What is your age?
  • What is your sexual orientation?
  • What is your race?
  • Who are you going to vote for?
  • Are you married or pregnant?
  • What’s your religion?
  • How fat are you?
  • Would you be willing to line my pocket for this job?

Oh wait. Those are the questions that are ILLEGAL to ask. Doh!

Perhaps I should just re-read The Guerilla Guide to Interviewing.

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My wife is in the fashion industry and as much as I love her dearly, I’ll never understand the industry. At least she’s a pattern maker and not a designer, so she has no responsibility for this garbage.

Check out what all the fellas will be wearing at the next PDC.


Or is that a woman?

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RSS Bandit Developer Torsten points out a very long and arduous process for enabling IPv6 in your .NET application. Here is the extremely tedious set of instructions.

A while ago one user complains about RSS Bandit was not running with installed/configured IPv6 on a windows machine. Today I got the answer (by mail from Frank Fischer, Microsoft Germany - thanks again!): open machine.config located at C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v1.1.xxxx\CONFIG and change the XML tag:

<!-- <ipv6 enabled="false" /> -->


<ipv6 enabled="true" />

This change allows the framework to parse and resolve IPv6 addresses. So any .NET application will be IPv6 enabled, not only RSS Bandit (but also ;-)

[Via torsten’s .NET blog]

Gee, that seems like a lot of work to me. I’m going to reward myself with a beer. Thanks Torsten!

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My office is 17 floors up with a nice view towards the Pacific. The ocean is a few miles away, so all I see is a sliver of blue on a clear day.

This is not one of those days.

It looks like the sky just puked a fuzzy brownish gray blanket over the ocean. I’m holding my breath when I go outside today.

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I doubt these guys went out of business, but they’re site has been unavailable since last evening. Perhaps someone bumped into the power switch?

UPDATE: Niels reports it is back up and indeed it is. Justin Pitts mentioned it was up for him which indicates it was a routing issue. I performed a Tracert and found that it died when it reached I was just making sure it wasn’t a bigger outage over here.

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I obtained this certification several years ago and pretty much forgot about it. It really hasn’t done me any good. The only benefit at the time was that it helped my former employer obtain Gold status as a Microsoft Solution Provider. However, I’m still waiting to see the real benefits of that status for them.

The benefit of any certification is fully dependent on the external perception of the certification and how well it represents skill and expertise. A PhD for example is generally highly regarded.

As it currently stands, the MCSD certification does not carry such respect. It seems this is due to Microsoft doing little to promote it. The status of a certification goes hand in hand with the people who carry the certification. When you see a lot of very talented smart people carrying a certification they are proud of, you strive for that certification.

Take a moment to think of the who’s who of .NET development. How many have MCSDs? My guess is not many. I can’t be sure, but I doubt that Don Box, Jeffrey Richter, Ian Griffiths, Chris Sells, etc… have this or even care for this certification. Otherwise they’d display it proudly just as Mr. Sells displays his IEEE member in good standing logo on his blog.

In any case, I’ll display it anyways just in case it bears weight in the future. At the very least, I like the color scheme.

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A while ago I wrote up a post on Asynchronous Sockets. Ian was kind enough to send me an email correcting a few niggles with it and in an email exchange, cleared up a few other misconceptions about how sockets (and other IO operations for that matter) really work.

Well now he posts a great article that points out that a program doesn’t always use a thread to perform some work.

There seems to be a popular notion that in order for a program to perform an operation, it must have a thread with which to do it. This is not always the case. Often, the only points at which you need a thread are at the start and end of the operation….

This is recommended reading.

Read the rest here

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Read the story from Fox News of all places.

The statement tells American voters that Abu Hafs al-Masri supports the re-election campaign of President Bush: “We are very keen that Bush does not lose the upcoming elections.” \ \ The statement said Abu Hafs al-Masri needs what it called Bush’s “idiocy and religious fanaticism” because they would “wake up” the Islamic world.

And my Republican friends scoffed at the fact that Kerry won the endorsement of many European countries. Well it’s better than being endorsed by Al Qaeda.

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Found this interesting puzzle on BoingBoing. I figured it out. Can you?

Mark Frauenfelder: This looks like an interesting problem. Lloyd Borrett writes:

Take up the challenge of “Petals Around the Rose”. Also read what happened when Bill Gates was introduced to Petals Around the Rose in June 1977. How he tackled this brain teaser is an interesting insight into the man at the helm of Microsoft.


[Via Boing Boing]

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Someday when I have a kid, the young squirt will sit upon my knee and ask:

Daddy. What’s the difference between Progressive House and Progressive Trance? What does Dub sound like and how did it influence Chicago House? And where the hell does Speed Bass fit in all this?

Ha ha whoa there little one. One at a time please. Clean your room and all will be revealed.

Well now, I have just the site to show the little one. Ishkur’s Guide To Electronic Music v2.5. This flash site provides an exploratory interface to discover the various genres and sub-genres of electronic music. Starting at the top level with House, Trance, Techno, Breakbeat, Jungle, Hardcore, and Downtempo, the site graphs the various predecessor genres leading up to the genre and then shows how the genre splits into sub-genres. The graphs place the genesis of these various genres in their proper time context. It’s really quite nice.

For example, click on BreakBeat and you can see that the roots of BreakBeat are in Hip Hop. Plenty of musical samples are provided to help you gain understanding.

The best part is the author’s irreverent descriptions. For example, in describing Happy House the author states:

The official music genre of Dance Dance Revolution, this is by far the most syrupy, saccharine music known to mankind. I bet they play this kind of stuff to calm lunatics at insane asylums locked in padded room with pink walls.

And he goes on and on. In any case, have fun exploring the various genres. And I highly recommend turning up your stereo volume as loud as possible and check out SpeedCore. Do it. Do it. Do it.

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Found this here on Yahoo news. What is this frog doing?

Frog spreads sperm on eggs \ Kermit takes revenge when Miss Piggy hooks up with Beaker.

Spanish zoologists have discovered that male frogs who are losers in love get their revenge by spreading their sperm over eggs that have been left by a pair of romancing amphibians.

You go boy! Exact that revenge. Can you imagine how awful it would be if humans engaged in this behavior.

Bitch left me for THAT asshole. Just wait till they have kids!

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Someone pointed this out to me on A book entitled How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men.

The fact that such a book exists leaves me speechless. I didn’t realize there was a demand by asian men to seek out specifically white women. Perhaps it’s a backlash against the perceived phenomenon of white men “stealing” asian women. This is absolute hilarity.

Then again, being biracial myself, I can only say I support more interracial coupling. Viva Hapas! The real humor is in the customer reviews for the book. For example check out this one from a reviewer in Brooklyn:

I suppose I really have only myself to blame, but based on a cursory glance at its title, I assumed that this book was about forensic techniques for identifying the age of bones, along with other remains and artifacts. If, like me, you are looking for any insight into the applications of C-14 comparisons, strontium decay or the like, you will be disappointed. However, I gave this book to a friend of mine, Arthur Fong, who said he appreciated it.

Too bad there’s no sample pages because I’m dying of curiosity to see what hackneyed tips the author provides. I’ll tell you the best tip for dating a person of a particular race (not that I condone dating people specifically for the color of their skin). Spend time where they are.

Studies show that the major determinant in who you marry is your proximity to such person. You want to marry a white woman, find out where there are high concentrations of white women. Want to marry a rich woman, hang out in the Hamptons. Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt to shower often and treat them with respect.

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This is an animated gif. If it’s not animated, then you’re not seeing what I see.

The more times I watch this, the funnier it gets.

UPDATE: I removed the gif. Brian points out in the comments that the video is funnier.