Browse Month: January 2008

01/30/2008

I love Mac fanboys:

Mac users don’t comparison shop between Macs and computers running Linux or Windows. We use Macs because we like OS X, so they could create a computer for $9.95 that comes with a free pony and ice cream and it still wouldn’t make a difference.

01/30/2008

Here’s a nifty thing: a graphic depicting the frequency of words that President Bush used in his State of the Union address the other night. The bigger the word, the more times he said it.

I was surprised “terror” only showed up 23 times– that’s probably a new low for him. Not surprisingly, “Iraq” was the second most common word in his vast vocabulary. And of course “al-Qaeda” ranked much higher than “child”, “hope”, “liberty”, “peace”, “reform”, or even words (which are only barely visible here) like “compassionate”, “strengthen”, and “succeed”.

01/30/2008

I’m listening to Club 977 80’s channel on internet radio while I work, and generally there’s a pretty good mix of music from those glorious retro years. But every now and then a song pops up and makes one wonder, where the heck did that come from?

Take the current song, Tina Turner’s Private Dancer, whose refrain goes something like this:

I’m a private dancer,
A dancer for money,
Do what you want me to do,
Just a private dancer,
A dancer for money,
Any old music will do.

Umm… what? Come on, Tina, that’s just stuff we don’t want to know about. Give me Karma Chameleon or something with equally crazy lyrics, because at least that song is fun.

01/28/2008

Tom bought me a book for Christmas that pretty much sums up my life. Nice.

01/27/2008

Makin’ cookies with sugar that’s… nine years old?

01/27/2008

It’s been a couple of years since the Mentos + Diet Coke phenomenon, so it’s time for a crazy new combination of fun.

Enter potassium chlorate and Gummy Bears!

Step 1: Start with a test tube of molten potassium chlorate.

Step 2: Slide a single red Gummy Bear down the tube to his doom.

Step 3: Watch the flames!

These shots are taken from a video clip, and the flaming concoction lasted for a good twenty seconds. Pretty impressive for a single little lump of chewy red sugar.

Now, back in the old days we’d all see this and say, “Coooooooool!”. These days, it means that by next Tuesday we’ll hear about a new directive from the TSA about how Gummy Bears are no longer allowed on domestic airline flights. Who knows what evil could be perpetrated by terrorists armed with chewy candies?

01/26/2008

“If brains were dynamite some people wouldn’t have enough to blow their noses.”

— seen on Slashdot

01/23/2008

“Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.”

— Stephen Hawking

01/23/2008

In a discussion on Slashdot someone posed this question:

As a matter of interest what would be the consequences to modern physics if gravity waves do not exist?

To which someone else came back with a hilarious reply:

There will be less for spectators to do when gravity scores.

Ahh, physics geek humor.

01/19/2008

So another fun insurance thing came up today. I received one of those envelopes filled with random pages of text from the insurance company, most of which deal with how they’re changing their privacy policy to allow any yahoo in the hemisphere to contact you with “special offers” and whatnot. But I saw this really important boldface type about my terrorism insurance coverage, and I just knew that I had to read it so I can fully understand what a terrorist attack on my house would mean to me.

It’s important to notice that only certified acts of terrorism are covered by this statement. Of course that makes me ask several questions:

1) Who certifies terrorist acts? Is that something the insurance company does, or is there some branch of the federal government that specializes in this sort of thing?

2) What are the requirements for something to be certified? Does one of these inspector people stand around in the carnage, frowning a bit, and then nod and say, “Yep, this was a terrorist act”?

3) Why are only 90% of the “terrorism losses” covered? I mean, come on, you’re leaving a measly 10% left? Just pay the whole thing.

4) Since pretty much everything, including my Carmex lip balm, is considered a terrorist tool these days, wouldn’t that pretty much mean even a dog sneezing on my laptop could be covered by this policy?

01/18/2008

You know how realtors and pizza places and HVAC companies all have those refrigerator magnets they send you for whatever reason? (Maybe it’s because when you need HVAC work done, the first place you look is on your fridge door?) Well, the insurance agent who handles some business liability stuff for me sent me a magnet today:

It’s got a nice little 2008 calendar, yada yada, but I guess the thing that cracked me up is the spooky glowing blue eyeball. I suppose it goes with the slogan “Keeping my eye on your rates”, but frankly it’s a little weird having a big eye tracking me around the kitchen as I get some milk from the fridge.

01/16/2008

“The bottom line is that music has lost its economic value to consumers. But it still has emotional value. People will never stop listening to music; they’ve just stopped paying for it.”

— Wayne Rosso

01/15/2008

Things are hopping over at Zing. I hired a new programmer and he started last week. This week I posted a job on Craigslist, because we’re getting so much work that we need even more people on staff. Plus, foosball is much more fun with a foursome.

So once again I get to enjoy incoming resumes from people who, to put it bluntly, don’t have a clue. Here’s an actual line from the e-mail “cover letter” I received today:

I am very interested in this position. My resume is not reflecting my talents. We have to talk.

So here’s a guy who actually has a resume that doesn’t reflect his talents. That’s a first for me. Out of some kind of morbid curiosity, I looked at the resume. The guy is apparently a real brainiac, because his recent work experience includes work in a “Quantum Engineering Lab” and a job description of “Investigating Zero Point Energy”.

Now, I really dig zero-point energy (who doesn’t?)… but that’s because I’m a physicist at heart. As a programmer, and the owner of a company looking for programmers, I really struggle to understand how someone involved with zero-point energy will help me build my next client’s web site.

Whee!

01/13/2008

So for Christmas I finally caved to the pressure and agreed to get Kyra a pet. She wanted a puppy, which was never going to happen, and then a cat, which was at least a remote possibility, but in the end I worked with her friend Grace (and her dad, John) to get a gerbil.

The little bugger is really pretty cute and funny… more or less a largish mouse. Kyra named her Pumpkin, and she totes her around the house a lot. Pumpkin clings to her shirt– possibly hanging on for dear life and screaming obscenities in gerbilese. Pumpkin also gets to ride in the Barbie RV, or put in an empty Kleenex box where she occasionally pops her head out to see what’s going on. Fun stuff.

01/11/2008

So the DVD drive on my computer died a horrible death, and I decided to order a new one. I poked around Newegg a bit and found a DVD burner that was cheap and had good reviews. And best of all, it had absolutely the longest product name I’ve ever seen:

SAMSUNG Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe – OEM

I guess it pretty much describes what it does…

01/05/2008

Wow, these spammers are getting pretty sophisticated. I found this message from the IRS in my e-mail today:

Sweet! I’m pretty sure I owed them money last year, so it’s nice to hear that they’ve decided to give me a hundred bucks. So I clicked the link (c’mon, who wouldn’t?) and was taken to a page that looks remarkably like the real 2

Since this must be legitimate, I clicked on the Tax Refund Online Form to fill it out. I was a little surprised to see that they want me to enter the amount I’m owed. Nothing ventured, nothing gained– I entered 1 million dollars.

And the last step is, not surprisingly, the part where I have to enter my e-mail address, Social Security Number, credit card number, and bank account information with PIN. Wow, is there any other sensitive financial information they’d like me to provide?

I’m sure President Bush will be pleased when he opens his e-mail and sees his million-dollar tax refund.

Of course I find all of this immensely amusing, but the sad part is that some people will really fall for it, and then they’ll be amazed when they find a bunch of stereo equipment on their credit card, their bank account transferred to the Caymans, and so forth.

Stupid spammers. We hatessss them, yessss.

01/04/2008

Oh how I love the command-line. I spend most of my work time either hacking away at stuff in a text editor or slapping together cryptic commands at my shell prompt.

So I just imported a database onto a staging server:

[fixed:zing@stage01:~ > dbl mocapay dump-mocapay.sql.gz]

As if that’s not cryptic enough, I needed to import a second database as well. Let’s be honest: that command above is a lot to type. It’s so much easier to do this:

[fixed:zing@stage01:~ > !!:gs/y/y_ext]

And voila!

I just don’t understand those people who think the command line is complicated… heh heh.

01/03/2008

Breaking news from West Chester, OH:

A Miami University student was killed Wednesday in an explosion in the backyard of his parent’s home. Police said a group of teenagers were trying to blow up a two-story, wooden playground set when debris from the explosion hit Daniel Ferraro, 19, a 2006 Lakota East High School graduate.

Police received the call about a loud explosion at the two-story home about 2:20 p.m., according to West Chester Capt. Joel Herzog. Police would not say what kind of explosives were used, but neighbors said the explosion rocked their homes.

But the best part of the article is this:

Butler County Corner Dr. Richard Burkhardt confirmed Ferraro, a Miami sophomore studying psychology, was killed, but said the cause of death has not been determined.

Umm… I’m guessing the cause of death was the explosion that shook houses across the neighborhood. But hey, I’m just a programmer guy, not a forensic pathologist…

01/01/2008

We just watched the movie Stardust with the kids, and it was fantastic. I couldn’t help but compare it to The Princess Bride, for sheer simple enjoyment and the same kind of mix of fantasy, romance, adventure, and humor. I hadn’t even heard of the movie until my friend Dave told me it was a good one, and he was right.

01/01/2008

Happy New Year!

To celebrate the end of 2007, today I’m going to… work on taxes.

Whee! I need to get my corporate finances in order, so I can send them to my accountant (because no mere mortal like me can comprehend the corporate tax code) so he can process them and send them back to me so I can do my personal taxes (with the help of software from the nice folks at H&R Block, because no mere mortal can comprehend the personal tax code either) and in the end, figure out how much I owe. Oh, how I love writing that annual check to the “United States Treasury”, knowing that my money is being spent wisely by our benevolent government.