Letters to The Man, Technology

Microsoft and the New Yorker

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/03/01/microsoft-new-yorker/

I’m flipping through the latest New Yorker, which this week has page after page of old New Yorker covers. This seems like a cheap ploy at generating the week’s content except that every New Yorker cover is, literally, a piece of art. Some are from way back, and so I have never seen them before. Others are familiar to me because I have been a subscriber for about two years. I turn from a full-page ad for Microsoft and see an old acquiantance. (more…)

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About Me

Intelligent Bulldozer

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/03/02/intelligent-bulldozer/

Back during the boom I read some fluff piece on my “stealth mode” startup attribute the description of “intelligent bulldozer” to one of our senior employees.

I have long wondered just what that is supposed to mean, but from time to time when there is a series of problems to deal with, and I just start knocking them out, one after another, like one of those video games where you have to fight the bad guys one at a time, I start to get it. Some problems are rough or tedious to deal with, and feel like they are pushing you back, but if you’re on your game, you take their blows and keep gaining ground.

Not so much emotion, not so much ego, not so much pride, not so much artistry, just that sense of inevitability . . . the thing will be done, and it will probably be done on time.

I’m not a big “intelligent bulldozer” fan . . . my style is different, but sometimes there’s this complicated task that doesn’t stir your soul, your ego, your sense of artistry, and there really is no way to go about it except as some unconcerned, powerful piece of construction equipment, patiently wielded by an experienced operator, punching out one obstacle after another. And once you knock the whole thing down, you can step back and grin for a moment with pride at your ability to finish something you aren’t so eager to do.

For what it is worth, our “Intelligent Bulldozer” came from Microsoft.

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HOWTO: Drill a Hole in Soft Plastic

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/03/03/howto-drill-hole-soft-plastic/

As posted by Dave:

<yohan> For future reference:
<yohan> the right tool for the job, when the job is drilling a hole in soft plastic, is a Forstner bit.
<yohan> Someone with a blog should put that up, because Google sure didn’t give me that answer.

Thanks Dave, thanks Andrew.

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Excerpts, Technology

Like Programming a VCR

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/03/04/like-programming-a-vcr/

I am trying to install some software that isn’t working. So, I’m trading messages with the company’s technical support, who suggested I add an argument to a wrapper script, which I tried, but nada, so they clarified:

Hmmm, when you add the -nosetjmp make sure you go through custom install using ___setup and select 2 for run setup utilites then select 2 again Perform ___ configuration then select each step except number 3…this will override your changes that you made to the script. Once that is all done you can add -nosetjmp to the ___v9.cfg file and let’s see what happens.

All this while walking back and forth to the machine room to swap through a series of three CDROMs. Ah, the glorious work of being a SysAdmin!

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Good Reads, Technology

Jilted by Google

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/03/09/jilted-by-google/

Back in late 2001, after I lost my job with Tellme, I looked for work at, among other places, Google. I had long been impressed with Google, which by all accounts offers a great working environment. And like me, they were also in Mountain View. I submitted my resumé and a recruiter contacted me and said they had a Junior position available, and the salary would be about 2/3 what I had been making at Tellme, where I had worked as an underpaid technical lead. I explained that I was more interested in and better qualified for some of the more senior job postings they had open on their web site. “Well, this is the position we have available,” was the ultimatum offered by the recruiter. I politely declined.

Two months later and it was very clear to me that the job market was terrible, and that if Google was willing to talk to me about a junior position, that was far better than the stresses of being broke and idle. I contacted the recruiter and she set up a phone screen, which was followed by an on-site interview. (more…)


Technology, Testimonials

Hooray for Rojo

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/03/11/hooray-for-rojo/

Two years ago I started work and eventually gave up on toldme.com. The main reason is that it was a little too ambitious for my project management and database skills, not to mention my interest level relative to free time. (Getting a paying job can really destroy your ability to work on personal development projects.) (more…)


Free Style, Testimonials

Devastation and Beauty

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/03/12/devastation-beauty/

When we moved in, we noted a large collection of long-abandoned small houses and shacks and sheds and an apartment complex next door. And lots of beautiful trees. This area had been condemned, I’m told, for the past two years. Well, they finally got around to doing something with the condemned buildings, which is to tear them down to make room to build hundreds of condos. I can not blame them for building hundreds of condos so close to the BART station, but we were hoping that they would keep some of the trees around.

Wednesday when I got home, the buildings had been razed, except for a masonry structure down on the corner. About half the trees, mostly the taller ones, were still standing. On Thursday evening, I note that miniature forest that stood throughout the lot was completely gone. There are a few trees yet along the fence line, but the devastation is sad.

Construction Panorama

Those had better be some awesome condos.

On the other hand, one neat thing about Walnut Creek is that there is a lot of unspoilt land that we can walk to and hike around. This weekend we wandered around some of the foothills of Mount Diablo. We walked through a muddy area where Yayoi learned that there is nothing to fear about free-ranging cows. The views were awesome. I understand that things aren’t normally this green, but the current flora blows the mind.

Mount Diable Panorama

All in all, I can’t complain so much. We will likely lose our view of Mount Diablo in the distance as the condos are built, but we still won’t have far to go for natural splendor.


Technology, Testimonials

T-Mobile Makes Good

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/03/14/tmobile-makes-good/

Last week, there were serious troubles with the Sidekick data service. It was mostly down for about two days, and seriously flaky for two more. That really sucked.

At the end of the outage, T-Mobile sent everyone an e-mail noting that there would be a $20 credit due to the troubles. Basically, a refund for one month of Sidekick data service. They’ve also promised more free goodies in the downloads section for their loyal customers.

I feel better. And I think T-Mobile deserves some credit for trying to do well by their customers. Sh!t does happen, especially with bleeding-edge technology. It makes a difference when a company is pretty good with answering the phone, as T-Mobile has always done for me, and when they take proactive steps to apologise when things break fantastically, as they did last week.

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Free Style


Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/03/17/punctuality/

People, I will not beat around the bush. The old slogans convey a variety of disparate mission statements, which in turn only muddles up our message. I have had the mar-com team work on this for the past two months, and after a lot of process, and vetting, we have a new creative that consolidates our message in to a single slogan. I think you’ll agree that this captures the essence of punctuality, in a single, strong, coherent message:

A hand-stitched early bird in time gets to save nine worms in the bush.

You’ll find in your briefing packet a selection of tee-shirts, coffee mugs, letter openers, and tape dispensers all bearing this new slogan. We’ll be measuring over the next few months whether this new campaign has proven effective in improving on-time performance of key deliverables.

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Happy 1111111111!

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/03/17/happy-1111111111/

<recursive> mmagin@dt ~% date +’%s’
<recursive> 1111094490
<recursive> getting very close to 1111111111
<Nimbex> 1111094473
<recursive> hmm
<Nimbex> I need to run ntpd on neb.
<SmooveB> recursive: damn, that’s in like 4 hours
<dman> I’ll be around SysAdmins this evening.
<Nimbex> And I bet you forgot to register a domain for it this time, dave!
<Ark> SmooveB: I thought it was tomorrow
<recursive> jwz’s LJ says: 1111111111 = Thu Mar 17 17:58:31 2005 PST
<Ark> wacky
<dman> 0-13:23 djh@mito ~> date -r 1111111111
<dman> Thu Mar 17 17:58:31 PST 2005
* dman sets up a blog entry for 17:58
<Ark> what a great and arbitrary number we have a boner for

Yes, children, two minutes before 6PM Pacific it will be 1111111111 seconds since the start of the Unix Epoch, which commenced at 00:00:00 UTC, January 1, 1970. A couple hours later, and I’ll be at Apple HQ in Cupertino, to hear about LDAP.

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Good Reads, Technology

Microsoft Security Efforts

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/03/18/microsoft-security-efforts/

I have been surfing a lot this morning, trying to track down some technical, hence professional blogs that I can look at from work. That way, when I feel the urge to “slack off” by surfing the web, I can turn my slacking in to learning. I will try and summarize some of the publications I have found, but for now, I need to recommend Richard Bejtlich’s excellent review of current Microsoft security efforts. Even for Unixy people like me, it is useful to know what Microsoft is thinking, and this is a great summary of what Microsoft is thinking. (more…)

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Excerpts, Good Reads

“America” Still Relevant

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/03/20/america-still-relevant/

When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there’s going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I’m perfectly right.
I wont say the Lord’s Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.

Having a poem in your head is like having a song in your head, only quieter and easier to identify. This morning I had Ginsberg’s “America” in my head, so I went to read it again. I like this poem so much that I have a copy right here, on the web. (more…)


Politics, Testimonials

No Escape

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/03/22/no-escape/

There’s just no escape from Terri Schiavo. Honestly, I don’t care except that I hear about it on the news constantly, and it is very annoying to have Congress and the President try to usurp the authority of Florida’s courts, after the Florida legislature and governor have failed at doing the same. It is naked, disgusting opportunism of the slimiest kind, designed to appease right-wing Christian WEENIES. (more…)


Technical, Technology

Chabot Mirrors … and Flickr

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/03/28/chabot-mirrors-and-flickr/

Danny and Yayoi in the Mirror
Originally uploaded by dannyman.

In honor of Joe’s Birthday, we visited the Chabot Space Center in Oakland on Saturday. It is a pretty nice place, for a planetarium. They have some large telescopes set up out back, and it is really more of an observatory that has sprouted a planetarium to entertain kids and other members of the public. Yayoi wants to go back some night and peer through one of the telescopes . . .

Anyway, being an observatory, they are naturally intrested in mirrors, and have an exhibit on this topic. As you can see, we had a bit of fun with our reflections in one of the demonstrations. Another thing that was totally interesting is this video camera they have set up with a variable delay between the top of the screen and the bottom of the screen. Some sort of illustration about how images get distorted when you have to deal with how slow parts of the image may get to you. (more…)

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The Unfortunate Commuter

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/03/29/unfortunate-commuter/

Woman Driving Recklessly Down I-680.Woman Driving Recklessly Down I-680.Woman Driving Recklessly Down I-680.Woman Driving Recklessly Down I-680.

I left my camera with Yayoi this week. And the Sidekick has no zoom, but maybe just maybe we can make out that this lady is using her Blackberry while driving down the third lane of I-680 southbound, somewhere North of Danville.

Riding the bus, you get a good view of certain tragedies that you do not personally know, such as the woman who needs to be able to check her Blackberry during her commute, but also has to drive while doing so. Poor, unfortunate lady; Us privileged souls on the bus get away with taking pictures of you and posting them to the Internet while the CCCTA chauffers us to work, while you must risk your life to sneak glances at your communiques. (more…)


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