Browse Month: September 2004

09/30/2004

New spam going around:

Have You Been Caught By A New Traffic Camera Yet?

Render them completely ineffective with the AMAZING PHOTO BLOCKER SPRAY! As seen on TV, reported 100% effective by Fox and CBS news and many other stations. Visit our website for more information and see actual TV news videos and what actual police had to say.

Wow! Actual news videos about actual police! Methinks this AMAZING PHOTO BLOCKER SPRAY looks something like this:

09/30/2004

Rain = good.

Not getting to play ultimate = bad.

09/29/2004

I can’t even count the number of times clients call me asking for help troubleshooting their e-mail configuration. With one exception, every one of them involved Outlook. (I guess this isn’t too much of a surprise, since it’s probably the most popular e-mail client around.) That program has so many configuration problems and security holes it should be an embarrassment to Microsoft.

Thus, it struck me as funny when I read this in a Linux newsgroup:

Just remember what the Magic 8 Ball says: “Outlook not good”.

09/29/2004

I’m seeing an interesting new development in the exciting world of e-mail spam. I’ve been getting some replies to spam messages that are (falsely) using my domain name as the sender address. For example, a message containing this lovely text:

With the o~nli`ne ph’ar_m`a_cy that carries over 220 m,~ed_s, o..f`fers
f.a`st and reliable service, your ordes on m_,ed,s like v.i`agr-a,
Le^vitr,a, Xa~-na-x, Telf_a_st, Premarin, , V^al.`ium and d,ar’von are
always secured and taken care of.

Was sent from jeff@bitrelay.net to some guy named Damon Bouillon. He replied to the message with:

small: for they are the most dangerous discontentments, where the fear

Naturally his response came to me, since the original spam used my address. Nice. Although on the one hand I think it’s funny to send automated responses with the same kind of crappy confusing text the spammers use, I also think it shows some lack of insight to recognize that almost all spammers use fake sender addresses. Thus, in playing your little joke you’re bothering legitimate users.

Why can’t they all just go away?

09/28/2004

Here’s a log of an actual IM conversation between my friend Steve (playing the role of VirtualSmitty) and his brother, as SmittysPetShop.

VirtualSmitty: campjinx.pictureshowfilms.com/bls/leonard/im_fight.html
SmittysPetShop: campjinx.pictureshowfilms.com/bls/leonard/im_fight.html
VirtualSmitty: why did you just send me that?
SmittysPetShop: so you could check out
VirtualSmitty: but i sent it to you
VirtualSmitty: just before you sent it to me
VirtualSmitty: did you forget who sent it to you?
SmittysPetShop: ohh yeah
SmittysPetShop: that was funny

09/28/2004

The Great Pumpkin continues to grow, and now probably outweighs Zack. It’ll be fun carving this puppy for Halloween; I wonder if I should plan on renting a chainsaw…

09/27/2004

Today I went to lunch with my friend Glenn. I ordered a grilled-cheese sandwich and fries, mostly because I remember the sandwiches being pretty good the last time I was at the place (about a year ago).

The waitress came back with my order and informed me that there would be an additional one-dollar charge because the grilled cheese was technically on the Kids’ Menu, and I wasn’t a kid. I asked her if I therefore received a bigger sandwich, or perhaps more fries. Nope, I just got charged an additional dollar. Apparently it was some kind of “adult tax”… who knows.

It reminded me of the lovely practice employed by, say, ISPs– who charge twice the price for the same services if you’re a “business customer” rather than a “residential customer”.

Sheesh.

09/26/2004

Well, it’s official. The extended edition of The Return of the King, to be released in December, will be 250 minutes long. Holy ringwraiths, that’s just over four hours!

Back in college Nat and I hosted several Star Wars movie nights where we showed the whole trilogy. Those were fun, but after six hours even the die-hard fans (and there were a lot of them, believe me!) were pretty worn out. Imagine the Lord of the Rings trilogy showing– it would approach eleven hours if my math is right. Wow.

Still, I’m excited to see almost an hour of new footage. Yessssss, my preciousssss…

09/24/2004

… So I see today that the House of Representatives passed a bill yesterday that would bar federal courts from striking the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. This seems pretty weird to me, as the point of the legislative branch of the government is NOT to tell the judicial branch what they can (or can’t, in this case) do. What happened to the separation of powers in the government we all learned about in fifth grade?

It’s sad to watch as this separation of power is being eroded a bit at a time– with minor things like this to major things like suspension of trials and due process in certain situations. While I typically gripe about how the executive branch is overstepping its bounds, it’s clear the legislative branch is following.

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the House Minority Leader, said it well:

“I love the pledge. But this bill … violates the spirit of pledge by professing a lack of faith in the constitutional framework.”

In a way, one wonders if this sort of thing is really just a thinly-veiled attempt to win votes. That’s the worst kind of lawmaking, if you ask me, because it’s so painfully short-sighted.

Sigh.

09/23/2004

As I drove to ultimate today, I was following a car and watching with great amusement as the driver battled a balloon floating around the car. He had a silver helium-filled balloon in the car (the “happy birthday” type), and the window down– so the wind was whipping that thing all over the place. It kept attacking him, and he’d take a swing and punch it to the back seat, where it would lurk for a few seconds before lunging forward again. Another punch, another defeat, another pause and jump for the kill.

I wonder if the balloon made it to his little girl’s party or wherever it was destined, or if it finally succumbed to relentless pummelling when he got so mad that he turned on it at a stoplight and beat the helium right out of it.

09/23/2004

I was reading a news article talking about file sharing and the music industry and yada yada. This was in a reputable news journal, and I just about choked on my glass of milk when I read this portion of a sentence:

“… Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA) …”

One wonders how intentional that abbreviation was…

09/23/2004

There’s big news in the world of science fiction movie-making: William Shatner is teaming up with Leonard Nimoy to make a new flick.

Basically, imagine all of the following:

1) Riverside, Iowa.
2) Captain Kirk.
3) A small budget.
4) The working title “Invasion Iowa”.

Man, it just doesn’t get any better than that!

09/21/2004

Well, it’s the last day of summer, forty degrees outside, and raining. There’s a chance of snow tonight, which means it’s business as usual in Colorado.

09/20/2004

Today on Slashdot there’s a discussion about a web log authored by a guy who found a digital camera memory card in a New York City taxi. There are 277 pictures on the card, spanning the course of exactly one year. So, in a fit of creativity, this guy decided to create an online photo album with the pictures, including fictional stories about the people and places shown. From the beginning, the web log is clear that the project is pure fiction, and even discusses its roots.

However, in this age of copyright fascism, there are of course legal issues surrounding the project. By posting photographs taken by someone else, this guy is technically violating copyright law. Any pictures you take or words you write are immediately and automatically copyrighted by you– and this is no exception. So, is he liable for damages under copyright law? Moreover, could he be charged with libel or slander because he’s inventing the people in the pictures (“This is Susan, from Amsterdam…”)?

Two points of interest have arisen: first, at least a few of the people in the pictures have been positively identified; second, no one has come forward to say they’re the owner of the card. It’ll be interesting if and when that happens.

In the meantime, it’s a pretty funny idea. Too bad we can’t just enjoy a good joke sometimes.

09/19/2004

With the recent 1-2-3 hurricane knockout in Florida, who can resist a great postcard like this one?

09/19/2004

I’m sitting here clicking away on the ol’ laptop, pretty much waiting for Laralee to finish writing in her journal (and occasionally cursing at the computer for shifting the photos around on the page when she doesn’t want it to). Thus, as often happens in such times, I’m surfing for weirdness on the web. And, ahoy! I think I found one.

Take a look at this picture. A close look.

1) A guy holding an accordion.
2) Wearing a yarmulke.
3) A portly woman with a huge flower-like headpiece.
4) And leather biker gloves.
5) A table covered with an assortment of cheeses.

Methinks it would make an awesome album cover. Now I just have to think of the band name. And a song.

09/19/2004

Ahh, crap! Today was Talk Like a Pirate Day and I completely forgot until now (10:19pm). That means I completely missed my chance to toss out such things as “arr, matey” and “batten the hatches, me pretties” during church.

Obviously I need to put this in my planner for next year. No, wait– perhaps I should demand that Franklin Covey add that to their list of holidays and print it in their planner pages. The “celebration” is international in scope, for crying out loud!

09/19/2004

For some reason, this RIAA poster continues to crack me up. Maybe it’s the hammer and sickle in the corner, but it’s probably the evil guy with the furry hat.

09/19/2004

I made some chocolate-chip cookies this afternoon, and after dumping in an unspecified amount of chips I noticed there was still some bare dough (“whitespace” as a geek would say). So I added another generous handful of chips, and the result was chip saturation. I baked them anyway, but I’m not sure how some of those cookies are held together– they’re pretty much masses of chocolate lumps with a bit of dough between them.

09/17/2004

This morning I was putting in my contacts and dropped the case into the sink. When I picked it up, the ol’ left lens was simply gone. I didn’t see it on the floor, in the sink, anywhere. I crawled around on hands and knees, squinting at the rug and the linoleum, but didn’t see it. Yikes, it must’ve fallen down the drain.

Twenty minutes later I’d disassembled most of the sink and was rewarded with a pile of muck from the drain. Wow, to think I brush my teeth above something so nasty! That single ten-inch section of drain pipe would’ve made a fascinating (but gross) science project for someone. Sadly, despite digging through the goop very carefully, I couldn’t find the contact lens.

Disappointing thoughts of trying to set up an appointment with an eye doctor were floating through my skull when I finally found the thing– stuck to the side of the faucet on the bath tub. The tub is just to the right of the sink, although how the lens popped that far is anyone’s guess. I suppose the manufacturers build in some “evasion” technology because the more lenses you lose, the more money they make.

So happily, I’m seeing with two eyes again.

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