Free Style, Religion

Friday and the Sun God

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/02/04/friday-sun-god/

I am having such a Friday. I have been really productive lately, which heightens the sensation of coming in one day, and sitting at one’s desk, and really not doing anything. Not even slacking off, just sort of in suspended animation.

So, let us slack off for a bit. It is important to do. I’ll tell you that this morning, as I was walking across the foggy parking lot to get to work, I looked up in to the sky and saw a sphere. The moon, so late in the morning? But it was pure white, and a bit larger. What an interesting moon. Unless … it is … the sun! I was staring at the sun!

Normally, staring at the sun is a bad thing that will make you go blind. Don’t stare at the sun! But today, the sun was weakened by fog … it was stripped of its wrathful power, and was just an orb in the sky. I thought to take a picture of this, because it was eerie and alien, but when I pulled my camera out a moment later, the sun was gone. It had become invisible in the fog.

Talk about eerie.

As I finished my trip across the parking lot, I thought about how the sun is totally manifest each and every day, even when you can not see it. It is so powerful that usually you can not look at it directly or it would destroy your eyes, but you can feel it shining warm on your body, touching you and everything from up high. No wonder the early people revere the sun as a God. But then, the fact that you can not look at the original Sun God, and you can experience the sun even when you can not see it, well, that opens up people to the idea that you can experience other Gods, even when you can not observe them directly.

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Technical, Technology

Project Idea: Referer log Zeitgeist

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/02/04/referer-zeitgeist/

So, take a look at backlinks. It is kind of a mess, culled from my web server’s Apache log, but gratifying to browse. Apparently, I am the top hit on Google for such things as:

I owe such “fame,” I think, in large part, to WordPress’ clever habit of putting title keywords in to the URLs of my posts. Google seems to lend a bit more credibility to URLs that match keywords as opposed to goofy URLs. “What’s in a name? Would a Rose, by any other name …”

Anyway, another thing you’ll see in there is some spam referers that companies will wrap in to HTTP requests with the expressed intent of appearing on a public “backlinks” page to boost their own Google ranking!

I have been thinking to hack up a little log-file parser that pulls the referers out, and checks on them to make sure they actually link to the pages they say, and if the referer is a search engine, to check the results on that search engine and report the ranking. It is nice to:

And, thinking 1.1, it would be neat to track this data by week, or month, and see gaining keyword hits, and declining keyword hits. A personal site “zeitgeist” if you will.

Has anyone ideas on implementation, or if it has already been implemented, or other features that would be nice, or how best to arrange the results? Drop me a line or comment here. Thanks!


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My Sister Kicks Butt

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/02/04/my-sister-kicks-butt/

Well, it started as a gigantic screw-up. Getting pregnant, right? Well, these things happen, even to responsible people.

And, there are a number of ways to handle such a screw up. My sister has come a long way, I think, nine months is one way to put it, but I think she has come farther than that.

Though she is not prepared to be a Mom, she decided to have the baby anyway, and place it with an adoption agency. Well, on February 2, with the help of our Mom and my sister’s awesome boyfriend, (who is not the father,) my sister gave birth to Evan.

Being pregnant, and giving birth, and then giving the baby away . . . of all the tough things you can do in life, that is up there on the list. I’m proud of my sister, and I am very happy that things seem to be working out great.

(And I’m a little frustrated that I can’t be around, but this is nothing new.)

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Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/02/04/seatguru/

Dave is flying to China for two weeks for business.

Another Dave suggested SeatGuru.com for advice on selecting seats for his sixteen-hour flight.

I will have to remember this, for I will have to fly to Japan in May.

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Halfway Through Friday

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/02/11/halfway-through-friday/

So, as you can tell from the lack of activity here, it has been a somewhat hectic week at work, so as I return from lunch, I point out to our office manager that I’m half-way through Friday!

And I got the weekend ahead of me.

And, a friend calls, totally bummed out about work. I share my philosophy about how you can work your 9-5, and then forget about whatever you don’t like about work, and go home, and revel in the beauty, or the problems, I guess, of your home life.

Enough upbeat energy and positive thoughts and my friend seemed a lot more cheerful.

Which makes me happy too.

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Politics, Religion

Choosing Morality

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/02/13/choosing-morality/

It was the vision of the founding fathers to have a nation of independent, land-owning farmers. Each farm run by a man who was the equal of his peers in freedom and opportunity. Wealth may be inherited but much of it was to be determined by personal enterprise, not to mention the ambitions of the creator …

It is a common belief that a complex entity derives much of its character from the characteristics of its component parts. In a remote colony aspiring for independence, the nation, as a republic, was to be formed in turn by independent states, composed of democratically-run communities, comprised of independent, self-determined farmers, each man his own lord over his private fiefdom. E pluribus unum — from many, one. The strength of independent men makes the strength of the communities makes the strength of the states makes the strength of the Republic, the sum of our national strength, to stand in defiance of the awesome might of the British Empire.

The conservative philosophy is that the moral failings of our government and power structures are the result of moral failures among the constituents that represent society as a whole. Their solution is too often a reactionwe will impose morality. Abortion will be illegal, as will self-serving homosexual relationships. We will seek to weave the notion of Godliness through the public discourse, for it is only through Jesus Christ, our savior, that redemption, and thus morality, is to be found.

But morality is not something you can get from the law, or from uttering some profession of faith. Morality comes from honest dialog with the self and those around the self. Morality comes from looking at the other as a different version of the self, and accepting that as a point from which to work with others. In short, morality comes from personal initiative, and requires independence and responsibility. Morality comes from the need to choose morality. (more…)

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Thomas Jefferson: Religious Freedom

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/02/13/thomas-jefferson-religious-freedom/

Almighty God hath created the mind free . . . All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens . . . are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion . . . No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.

Inscription on the Jefferson Memorial
Taken from A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, 1777.

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Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/02/15/dialogue/

“Can I ask a silly question?”

“Yes, I think you just have.”

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Happy Kyoto Day

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/02/16/happy-kyoto-day/

Well, although my nation isn’t participating in the Kyoto protocol, I still take the bus to work, which is really nice because in bad traffic I get more time to read.

The Japanese national I live with observed that we were somewhat lacking in hot water last night. We are still lacking this morning. One might think the hot water heater is busted and the building people will repair it soon, but in the mean time, today is a good day to skip the hot water and pretend, for just a moment, that we are a bit greener.

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Good Reads, Jokes, Technology

Pizza in Redmond

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/02/16/pizza-in-redmond/

Hehe, this is good, it appears that Microsoft has physical banner ads around Redmond bragging of MSN search. It says “pizza in redmond” … suggesting, of course, that if you go to msn.com, and type “pizza in redmond” you should be able to find pizza.

MSN’s competitors get it right, but MSN search ends up with . . . janitorial supplies!

The repeated search attempt made by seattlepi.com kind of remind me of some of the early early experiences with Tellme. I wrote a Caltrain schedule app way back in the day before the advent of VXML. “Mountain View,” I’d say, with my midwestern accent. “Millbrae?” “Moun-TEN View …” I would shout back. “San Francisco Fourth and King.” “No, you f_cker, I said Mountain View!!”

But, at least Tellme didn’t go advertizing their speech recognition features without first making sure they worked.

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FreeBSD, Technology, Testimonials


Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/02/16/skype/

Skype is an Instant Messenger client with a twist — if you hook up a microphone you can CALL each other. Like a telephone, only you can see if your buddy is online before you interrupt them. The audio quality is very good, and clients are available for Windows, OS X, and Linux. The Linux client works on FreeBSD.

Even nicer, you can dial out on Skype, for exceedingly low rates. It costs us about 3c a minute to call Japan, though we’re going to get Noriko-san on Skype soon enough, and then the calls will be free.

If anyone wants to try it out, you can ring me at dannymanTM.

To answer a question you may have on your mind, Skype is not a telephone, so it is different from a VOIP service, where they send you a telephone that you hook up to your broadband. Instead, Skype is a way of making telephone calls from your computer. Unfortunately, people can not yet dial in to someone using Skype.

For me, though, it is as if the Internet has come full-circle: we used to have to find a cheap local number to dial in to the Internet on our existing telephone. Now, we are finding cheap services to make telephone calls on our existing Internet connection. Yow!

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Losing the Lost Ladle

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/02/18/losing-the-lost-ladle/

“Cry Havoc and let loose that lady’s ladle!”

I work in the Bishop Ranch Office Megaplex. It is an enchanted dominion of beige and white office buildings, stretching two miles through the heart of San Ramon, CA. Our own building has a variation on a theme of steel and glass and fountains with abstract steel sculpture. We have a suite on one of the five stories, my private office has a view of Mount Diablo, and any time I pace the walkways around the open inner court I can spy somewhere the lady assigned to keep our spotless shiny building clean, dusting a steel handrail or some other task critical to structural shinyness.

It is like something out of Star Trek. We even have aliens: smaller, browner Indians from somewhere deep inside Mexico, who are always outdoors, somewhere around the complex, planting flowers, fixing the fountains, replacing shrubbery with other shrubbery. I’m told that every few months the plants in the lobby are replaced with other plants. Some plants are plastic, some plants are organic. All the plants share a common destiny: they will only stay a while in our lobby, before moving on, probably to another lobby.

When I started here in November they had opened a new cafe in our local complex, which was replacing the cafe that had been there previously. This cafe is called the Lost Ladle, and I have bought many morning pastries and lunch time sandwiches there. Good quality, good value, and some friendly faces. I’m told that it was better than the cafe that was there before.

This morning my pastry was half price. Today is their last day. In a couple of weeks, a new cafe, the Cactus Cafe, will open in its place. Rotated out of the complex, some Alliterative Alternative, to keep my own race of pasty-faced desk jockeys from becoming too complacent or bored with our office environment. Or something like that. I suspect the space is contracted out and whomever is there is often underbid. Anyway, for better or for worse, it shakes up my view of my little planet.



RIP: Hunter S. Thompson

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/02/21/rip-hunter-s-thompson/

“There he goes, one of God’s own prototypes. Some kind of high-powered mutant, never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, too rare to die.”



Remembering Malcolm X

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/02/21/remembering-malcolm-x/

On the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, you might enjoy some audio and video of a speech and an interview with Malcolm X, at the University of California at Berkeley in 1963. That being over fifty years ago, it is a nice time to pause and reflect on the evolution of race relations in America over the past forty years.

Happy President’s Day.

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FreeBSD, Technical

FAQ: Stream KQED on FreeBSD

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/02/22/faq-stream-kqed-freebsd/

If you want to listen to KQED using FreeBSD, install mplayer:

mplayer mms://wmbcast.kqed.speedera.net/wmbcast.kqed/wmbcast_kqed_jan032006_0957_103495

UPDATE: I just discovered the -playlist feature. So, this works even better:

mplayer -playlist http://www.kqed.org/w/streamingfiles/kqed_wmp.asx

I have also figured out how to convert the Windows Media Player stream in to mp3 files, and may set up a system to “record” programs on a regular schedule, at which point I can listen to public radio as I would watch TV on a DVR. (Radio TiVo!)

If anyone might be interested in getting in on a non-RealAudio “NPR audio archive” via a bittorrent setup, I’d love to hear from you.

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