dannyman.toldme.com


Politics

Happy 2006, Ukraine and Russia!

Link: http://dannyman.toldme.com/2006/01/01/russia-ukraine-gas-war/

Map of Ukraine
Map of Ukraine, from the CIA Factbook, via Wikipedia.

So, first thing I did in 2006 was sleep in late, see of Yayoi and our houseguest Miyuki, who are going to spend the day in San Francisco riding cables cars and stuff, and make some toast and coffee and check out the Internet. And what do I see? Well, I see . . . Russia accusing Ukraine of “stealing” gas. And I ask myself “ugh . . . is this saber-rattling before a war?

My thinking goes like this:
- Ukraine is not in NATO, it is with Russia’s CIS.
- The CIS is dominated by Moscow.
- Gazprom is effectively an arm of the Russian government.
- The “Orange Revolution” is believed to be viewed as a threat by Putin.
- War over natural resources is a popular theme. Iraq accused Kuwait of stealing oil . . . (more…)

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Technical, Technology

Standby for Maintenance . . .

Link: http://dannyman.toldme.com/2006/01/03/standby-for-maintenance/

Bouncy Kid!Upgrading WordPress to 2.0, which promises mucho new features . . . let us see . . . the site may be wonky for the next few hours?

Damn, that was easy. We’ll see what bugs crop up . . .

. . . well, I still need to figure out how to reverse the posts in some categories, but that is no biggy. Please chip in comments here, just to see if the new anti-comment-spam feature is doing its thing properly. :)

Cheers,

-danny

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Excerpts, Letters to The Man, Testimonials

No More IKEA Emeryville for Me

Link: http://dannyman.toldme.com/2006/01/09/ikea-emeryville-bah/


IKEA Flags, San Diego (Thanks, Juan23)

Don’t get me wrong, I mean, I love shopping at IKEA . . . the drive to the mega-store, the search for parking, the endless meandering through furniture and accoutrements, only to find yourself facing the stark reality of a giant warehouse, asking yourself if the Black-Brown BILLY bookshelf, which looks so black in the warehouse, is really the same color you were looking at in the showroom, and standing in line, wondering just what kind of crap they put in a 50c hot dog. But once you pay, and you’re rolling out the door, you know you’re not far from the actual joy of wrangling your heavy flat-packed furniture up the stairs and getting busy with the allen wrench.

But yesterday . . . well, I have officially given up on the Emeryville, CA IKEA. Here is my tale, as told in the call-and-response format that passes for “customer service” via the “Internet” these days: (more…)

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Letters to The Man, Technology

Google Updater

Link: http://dannyman.toldme.com/2006/01/12/google-updater/

So, the pattern with Google projects seems to go like this: release something mediocre and not so interesting, and over time, it gets a lot better.

Case in point: Google Video. At first, I saw no utility in this disorganized beast that only supplied video within the confines of a web browser. Ah, but the times they have been a changin’! Now you can buy videos from Google video, and unless the content provider has DRM, you can download the Google video in a file, and watch it without a stinking web browser. It is my fervent hope that before long, I’ll be able to download the shows I like to watch for about $2/hour, and I won’t have to deal with the gorge-your-brain-on-crap-all-you-can-eat buffet of mediocrity that is Cable.

Well, we’ll see if things go that way. But I think the TV industry is ready to learn from the opportunities missed by the music industry. And I think that while Apple Video store has an early lead in this territory, the Google Video store shows more promise, as it is in the business of making video available to the widest audience possible, where Apple is in their 1980s business of giving people an incentive to buy their proprietary hardware.

But what really gets me excited is Google Updater. What’s this? Well, they aren’t touting Updater, they’re touting Google Pack, which is a software bundle that Google thinks you should download. The pack is mediocre–Norton Antivirus? Norton is the suck! The Pack software litters up your desktop with icons . . . grr! And since Google is making your decisions for you, Google decides that you need Firefox with Google Toolbar. Okay . . .

So, Pack is mediocre, but Google Updater . . . now this is what excites me! It is a tool to update new versions of software. Nothing so magical about that–we have been automating software update deployment in the Unix world for years now! The cool thing is that Google is releasing a tool to do this on Windows. I hope they’ll release an API, as this would be very useful for IT folks. I think this will ultimately come to pass . . . much as Google Video ultimately let you download and buy video.

But why I really want Google Updater to be unleashed as a generally useful tool, is because this sort of framework for tracking and updating installed software really ought to be a part of the OS–it is in Unix land–but Microsoft has . . . well, let us say that they have not chosen to innovate in this direction . . . and Microsoft is ever so jealous of Google, with Ballmer throwing chairs around. If Google gets into the business of improving Microsoft’s core product, man, that’s gotta scare a few in Redmond.

And nothing proves that you’re doing no evil more than sticking it to the man.

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Free Style, Technology

beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep

Link: http://dannyman.toldme.com/2006/01/12/beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep/

This is a test.

This is a test of the new WordPress admin interface via Sidekick 2.

The web servers in your area, in voluntary cooperation with danny, his web site, and RSS feeds have devised this test in order to distract you in case of boredom. (more…)

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Technology

Taiwan Builds a Better Fluorescent Pig

Link: http://dannyman.toldme.com/2006/01/12/glowing-green-pigs/

The BBC reports that Taiwanese researchers have bred fluorescent pigs:

Scientists in Taiwan say they have bred three pigs that glow in the dark.

The pigs are transgenic, created by adding genetic material from jellyfish into a normal pig embryo. Taiwan is not claiming a world first. Others have bred partially fluorescent pigs before. But the researchers insist the three pigs they have produced are better. They are the only ones that are green from the inside out. Even their heart and internal organs are green.

As a coworker mused “green eggs and ham.” (more…)

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Sundry, Travels

Sysadmin Brain Dump

Link: http://dannyman.toldme.com/2006/01/13/sysadmin-brain-dump/

MAN!

I am not at all on my game today. I went to kick the tape robot, right? Then I check on the backups server to see if it can see everything, and it seems like it lost its SCSI capabilities. Huh? Reboot the server, and get kicked off IRC. Stupid Sysadmin brainfart! I was on the wrong server.

I hope maybe my brain comes back soon, I got work to do.

Yayoi’s been working at the cafe, which tends to mean she’s out for the evening. I love spending time with her but a little quiet time to myself is good for non-work geek productivity. I’m worried if maybe my brain has a finite capacity to function and I used it all up last night working on my WordPress Flickr plugin. You can see it taking shape. I am very excited about that. And, no, its not that my brain has finite capacity, its just that maybe its too busy being excited about other things. The least of those being PHP code. (more…)

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Biography

Just Another Monday . . .

Link: http://dannyman.toldme.com/2006/01/16/just-another-monday/

Lift every voice and sing
’til Earth and Heaven ring
Ring with rejoicing sounds of liberty!
Let our rejoicing rise,
High as the listening skies!
Let it resound
Loud as the rolling sea!
Sing a song . . .

Yes sir, I grew up in the public schools of the Chocolate city. Unfortunately, I’m working in the vanilla suburbs, so this cracker doesn’t get King day off. Oh well, that’s alright, I have work to do, you see.

And on Wednesday, I’ll be thirty years old. Neat, huh? I’ll have to start acting like a grownup.

If you haven’t received Yayoi’s e-mail invitation, and you would like to help us celebrate on Saturday, drop me a line and I shall send you details.

“It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.”

–Martin Luther King, Jr

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About Me

Happy Thirty to Me

Link: http://dannyman.toldme.com/2006/01/18/30/

“Well, spank my ass and call me thirty.”

Do I have to start acting like a grown-up now?

3 Comments


Politics

The Terrorists Ate Our Balls

Link: http://dannyman.toldme.com/2006/01/18/terrorists-ate-our-balls/

<SmooveB> <kyusaku> everson's constant: "for every subject X, there is 3
          geocities pages saying "X is Cool", 2 saying "X suX", and at least 1
          "X ate my balls."
<Tambreet> Am I reading this correctly?
<Tambreet> We are bowing to terrorist request and releasing the female Iraqi
           detainees (most of them at least)?
<recursive> are they hot?
<dman> huh?
<dman> Tam: ?
<jetfire> are the terrorists hot?
<jetfire> gee, not sure
* recursive asks the important questions
<Tambreet> http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4624716.stm
<h4ck> awwh man, I might have to buy a mac just to use aperture
<[Ender]> I cannot find a "Chuck Norris Ate My Balls" page
* Tambreet can find a "Koffing Ate My Balls" page.
<TanAdept> Koffing!

So:

  1. Chuck Norris ate my Balls. Not sure why, but Google needs to know!
  2. Now that someone has won the War on Terrorism, I’d like to know what’s our peace dividend? National healthcare? Yeah, right.

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About Me

Good Times

Link: http://dannyman.toldme.com/2006/01/22/good-times/

Danny<br />
blows out the candles.
Danny blows out the candles! (Thanks, Lea)

Yesterday was a fantastic gathering of friends.

Today we get to relax, and recuperate.

I love you, Yayoi. Thanks for organizing, and getting a fantastic cake, and cleaning up while I slept in today. And thanks to everybody who came by, and brought presents, and conviviality, and thanks to Brian, who treated nine of us to dinner.

Everything and everyone was fantastic. I am a fortunate person.

There are future events that will encompass Dim Sum, and “Axis and Allies” . . . those who may find such things interesting and would like to be added to such activities, let me know.

And thanks to those of you who sent e-mails or cards just to wish well.

And now . . . I have some work-work to catch up on, and my sister to pick up at the airport this evening.

It is good to be older. :)

-danny

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Politics, Technical, Technology

DST Productivity Drain

Link: http://dannyman.toldme.com/2006/01/23/daylight-saving-sucks/

I am one of those contrarian freaks who despises Daylight Saving Time, regarding it as a stupid fix to a problem that does not exist. You want more daylight after work? Set your alarm clock ahead and get to work an hour earlier! Don’t go changing my schedule . . .

Most people . . . normal people, don’t feel strongly about DST. “Yeah, it is annoying to change all my clocks twice a year, but then I don’t mind the extra daylight in the evening.” Of course, my last job I was working 7AM-3PM anyway, so I was saving Daylight . . .

So, enough bitching. Let’s talk turkey. Let’s talk Operational Qualification for third party auditing of a production database system. When I run the regression tests for PostgreSQL-7.4.8, the “horology” regression test fails. The README for this version reports that this may happen if you run on the day of DST switchover . . . or if your Operating System naively applies current DST rules retroactively. But, in my case? Huh, just don’t get it: (more…)

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Letters to The Man, Technology

Battlestar Galactica Paid Download

Link: http://dannyman.toldme.com/2006/01/25/battlestar-galactica-paid-download/

[From an e-mail I sent to the Sci-Fi Channel . . .]

Hello,

I don’t have cable, and my only access to TV shows has been via Netflix and Internet downloads.

I am very excited that you folks are now offering paid downloads of Battlestar Galactica! Bittorrent works great, but I’d like to see you guys compensated for the creative work and production costs, right? And since I only watch a few shows per month, the $2/episode is definitely a better value than buying Cable access, which is overpriced for my needs.

UNFORTUNATELY, the iTunes store is a closed, proprietary system, that can not be accessed from my home entertainment center, which runs on FreeBSD. So, even though I own a video iPod … I can not easily obtain the downloads from your vendor … and if I do somehow get to the iTunes store, I have no idea if they’re DRM-protected, which would block me from watching your show on my entertainment center anyway. :(

Please … please try to either:

a) Convince Apple to open up iTunes access to third parties. A while back, the open source community reverse-engineered the iTunes protocols so that Linux users could access this resource, but Apple locked these consumers out again.

b) Consider adopting Google Video as a sales channel — they have the capability to sell videos via traditional web browsers, which would allow ALL computer users to access your content, increasing consumer accessibility and sales for Battlestar Galactica.

Failing that … can I Paypal you guys $2/week for the episodes I have been obtaining via Bittorrent? :)

Thanks,
-danny

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Technical, Technology

Photos Flickr 0.4

Link: http://dannyman.toldme.com/2006/01/29/photos-flickr-04/

Hello,

I have written a basic WordPress plugin to present a Flickr photo stream from a WordPress blog.

Photos Flickr provides for basic browsing of a Flickr photo stream from within a WordPress blog.

You can see this plugin in action at http://dannyman.toldme.com/photos/ and if you would like to try this plugin yourself, you can read more about it at http://dannyman.toldme.com/photos-flickr/.

Thanks,
-danny

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About Me, Technology

Gapers, Cubicles, Redeyes

Link: http://dannyman.toldme.com/2006/01/30/gapers-cubicles-redeyes/

The past week has been good. Saturday was the excellent Birthday Party #30. Sunday I got some work done, then I was getting up to pick up Jessica at the airport when she called and reported that her Southwest flight had landed 40 minutes early! So, I met her at the BART instead. Monday and Tuesday I was out-of-sync, and Tuesday at work was spent doing some emergency resuscitation of a dead laptop . . . Wednesday morning, I think it was, I was back on my game, and on the bus ride in to work, I saw something really cool: a full traffic break.

I had been wondering why the Southbound traffic was so sluggish. Then, all of a sudden, I saw the traffic evaporate in the Northbound lanes, which were led by a Highway Patrol car, weaving to a full stop, four lanes of traffic behind him. Everybody stopped, and the officer got out in the middle of the highway, to remove some chunks of wood. A guy in a white pickup truck at the head of the third lane hopped out to help remove debris, as our Southbound traffic sped away. “Northbound 680, all lanes stopped at Danville to remove debris. Gapers Southbound,” is how that might have been reported on Chicago radio.

Gapers. Gapers is a traffic delay that you get when drivers slow down to gape at something interesting along the highway. “Something interesting” usually means a traffic accident. And in many cases, it is only reasonable to slow down, just to make sure people aren’t leaking from the incident into the traffic lanes. For my part, I thought the full traffic break, during rush hour, was a sure sign that we are civilized: we empower a single cop in a patrol car with the power of Moses, to part the rolling seas of a busy highway, to make 70MPH a dead stop. I heard an opinions piece on the radio some months back, a guy from India felt that Stop signs were emblematic of America’s true power. In India, nobody would ever stop at a stop sign, so the government doesn’t bother with traffic control. In America, people will come to a full stop nearly every time, even if they don’t really need to, because our civilization is in such a state that people respect and understand the legitimacy of our laws. (more…)

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