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Last Visit 2012-06-04 13:32:26 |Start Date 2006-02-27 14:30:33 |Comments 654 |Entries 407 |Images 203 |Sounds 3 |SWF 3 |Videos 44 |Mobl 11 |

Category: geeky

11/02/06 08:04 - 33ºF - ID#37389

great minds, right?

I got some productive fucking-around done at work today.

I've been playing around with Django a lot. It's a very young framework, but as long as the developers retain tight control over the architecture, I think it's got staying power. Not very long ago I started reading up on J2EE and Jakarta Struts, and it seemed to me to be such a brilliant idea, but like anything Java, it was just way, way more complicated than it needed to be. As I read more about it I kept saying, yeah, if this were done in Python instead we could just cut that out, ... and that ... and wow, you'd actually be able to use it. Django is gunning for everything in J2EE and Struts that is useful, without all that other bullshit that's only there to circumvent Java's fascist static typing. I get the impression that Django is a lot like Ruby on Rails - except that I know Python.

Today I started poking around at the Yahoo Flash Maps API. I like it. I know this is going to offend certain people, but let's face it- AJAX+DHTML is an egregious hack based on a misbegotten API [XMLHttpRequest I'm looking at you]. I think using Flash instead is a much more elegant solution to map service in particular, and Flash's HTTP library, while a little weird, at least suggests to me that someone thought it over before they released it. Also, Yahoo offers the Boring-old-image API to their maps, which I intend to use on our fledgling mobile website. Feature request: you should be able to dump a pile of markers onto the map and ask the map to make sure they all fit. Yahoo's agreement says Non-Commercial Use Only, but as long as (e:ajay) doesn't blow me in, I think we're cool.

- Z

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Permalink: great_minds_right_.html
Words: 319
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: politics

10/29/06 01:43 - 44ºF - ID#37388

sunday morning + psa

Ever since (e:dragonlady7) joined the Rollergirls she's been going to practice early every Sunday morning ... giving me a chance to sleep in, take my time waking up, and cook up something nice for when she comes home, bruised and exhausted. I'm no chef, but cooking is one of my favorite hobbies, and it provides a nice, relaxing way to start my Sabbath. Today I made a small frittata with bacon, green peppers, green onions, and Swiss cheese; the store-brand coffee was enhanced with a dash each of amaretto and locally-produced [Grimsby, ON] Oh Canada maple liqueur . Yum.

Public Service Announcement:
It's almost that time again where we tell our elected representatives what we think of them, and there are a number of very important federal and state offices up for election this year. The League of Women Voters has put together an excellent guide that should be required reading as far as I am concerned. Please read it so that you know what the Hell is going on before you get in the booth next Tuesday.

Positions up for election:
US Senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) incumbent
NY Governor, George Pataki (R) retiring
(NY Lt Governor, Mary Donohue (R) retiring)
NY Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer (D) retiring
NY Comptroller, Alan Hevesi (D) incumbent

All three House of Representatives seats are up for election this year as well.

26th District (Amherst and points east), Thomas Reynolds (R) incumbent
27th District (West Side, Lackawanna, and points south), Brian Higgins (D) incumbent
28th District (East Side, Tonawanda, and points north), Louise Slaughter (D) incumbent

-- My Opinion --
I think everyone is entitled to their opinion, regardless of how wrong it may be, and we pay our politicians to represent our opinions. If I disagree with a politician because I disagree with his constituency, well ... for better or worse, at least he's doing his job. Lately, though, it seems that our representatives are more interested in promoting the soap opera of politics [and at a very bad time, mind you] than in, you know, running the country. If the country's in the shitter and you want to know who's responsible, I'll give you a hint - it's not the Republicans or the Democrats at fault - it's the incumbents.

This year, I think a simple vote of no confidence would suffice.

- Z

New journal music: Rasputina, 'The Mayor,' from 'Frustration Plantation.' gather:0607319001162147286
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Permalink: sunday_morning_psa.html
Words: 424
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: work

10/26/06 08:00 - 42ºF - ID#37387

productivity is down

because my laptop is in the shop. See, the thermostat is mounted to the heat sink and wired to the power management unit. When the heat sink expands, the thermostat shifts just so and disconnects from the PMU. The PMU assumes catastrophic failure and cuts the power. It's an academically-amusing butterfly effect kind of deal, but I'm not really amused anymore and I kind of want my computer back.

I've also found myself near the center of a number of poorly-conceived Vision of the Future meetings. Normally I dig Vision of the Future meetings, since it's a chance for Management to give us underlings direction and motivation. The focus of the meetings is We Need a Better Website, which I don't disagree with. Our online readership is, frankly, abysmal. From where I sit, the largest obstacle we're facing is that the website we have is just about as much [if not slightly more] than our current staff and organization can handle. If we want more, we need more staff and better organization.

I think we have two options. The first is that we can continue doing what we're doing. The website exists mostly as a byproduct of our daily operations, and as such, it really only needs a one-person web department and a small amount of cooperation from other departments. It is cheap and functional, and we're not going to go out of business if we keep it the way it is. If this is what we decide, I would only wish that we'd stop pretending small usability improvements and devastatingly grandiose gimmicks would magically net us a million hits a month.

The only other option I see is to 'go daily' online. We have 19 articles this week, and no new content until next Thursday. A certain competitor has 16 new articles today and more on the way tomorrow. And before you say I'm crazy to insist on nothing short of total organizational overhaul - Editorial is behind me on this one 100%.

So we seem to be having a meeting every week now. For fifteen minutes every Thursday afternoon, we have a premeeting meeting wherein we get our stories straight about what we're doing to follow up on miscellaneous ineffictive ideas. Then we sit at a table for an hour while the Boss shows us some keen websites he found, with the implication that we should be more like them [here is a true, honest-to-God example; I wish I were making this up]. Then there's a tense fifteen minutes where we try to regroup in a secure location [which is difficult to do in a blind rage] and spend fifteen minutes calming down by deciding what we're actually going to do before the next meeting.

It's fucking ridiculous, really, that we have to secretly plot how to be productive and organizationally successful.

- Z
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Permalink: productivity_is_down.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: putrefaction

10/19/06 05:48 - 53ºF - ID#37386

ghost stories from the fridge

OK, the last time I cleaned out the fridge it was because I was moving out of my Westchester apartment in 2004, so when I finally did it again last night, after our four day power outage ... I was expecting some pretty manky shit. This is the winner.

There was a Ricotta tub in the bottom of the fridge that I didn't recognize. We often reuse containers, so it was likely to be leftovers. I opened it up, and it was kind of moldy and lumpy and stunk to high heavens. I didn't take a really close look at it, but it looked an awful lot like it used to have been Minestrone soup.

Minestrone Soup.

I can't remember the last time we had Minestrone soup. Spring? Fall?

But when I dumped it out in the toilet ...

it was Ricotta cheese.

- Z
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Permalink: ghost_stories_from_the_fridge.html
Words: 142
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: weather

10/16/06 02:05 - 56ºF - ID#37385

attn photojournalists

1. (e:dragonlady7) and I are ok. Our power was out from 9pm Thursday until probably about some time this morning. We hung out with my mom on Friday and left for the Capital District Saturday after the driving ban was lifted and the Thruway reopened. We got back early this afternoon. I went directly to work; I have been informed that our power is on again at home, yays.

2. The staff photographer is putting together a photo-essay on the storm. If anyone has any good storm or aftermath photos, send them to me and I'll pass them along.

- Z
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Permalink: attn_photojournalists.html
Words: 100
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: food

10/09/06 08:04 - 63ºF - ID#37384

my coffee is...

...what can only be described as 'mauve,' which is not the color of food. Anderson's SPoTted Cow Float - coffee, frozen custard, whipped cream, chocolate syrup - with the black raspberry flavor of the day. Mmm, tasty and disconcerting. I imagine it would be less good when Banana custard is the special.

OK, I'm going to go into milkfat shock now. Have a nice ev--
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Permalink: my_coffee_is_.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: gadgets

10/05/06 10:33 - 49ºF - ID#37383


I had just finished telling someone how much I hate when people don't put on their left turn signal until they're already in the intersection and they have to stop and wait for traffic. Why would you do that? Why even bother? I know that you're trying to turn, because you are stopped in the middle of the intersection and I am right behind you. I would not be right behind you if you had used your turn signal properly. It is much worse when the left-hand turn they are making is illegal [Delaware Ave Southbound during rush hour, most intersections].

Just then, I got a text message:

10/04/06 07:58 pm
From: 36245

()thats so stupid

So I said ()amen brother amen even my phone agrees

- Z
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Permalink: synchronicity.html
Words: 132
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: fightin' the power

10/04/06 01:35 - 65ºF - ID#37382

i am a genius

I admit it. It's true. It's tough to be humble when you're this God-damned brilliant.

Next time you get a parking ticket -

chill out. It's not a stupid waste of your time and money - it's a $32 permit to park anywhere you want within the city limits. Pay the ticket online. There will be a $2 surcharge, but think of it as an investment. When you pay online, you get to keep the ticket and the obnoxious orange envelope, which you can then stick under your own windshield the next time you park illegally, thus saving Buffalo's Finest the trouble.

You're welcome. And, as with any free legal advice, don't try this at home.

- Z

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Permalink: i_am_a_genius.html
Words: 116
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: tv

09/30/06 10:07 - 49ºF - ID#37381

channel 420?

I had an idea that ended up morphing into what can only be described as The Stoner Channel. It is a high-concept TV channel that is not for stoners per se, but rather for anyone who has totally given up any pretense of looking for entertainment and instead would be satisfied with only stimulation.

I got an AIM from (e:dragonlady7) one day while I was at work; she had taken some heinous cold medicine and it was getting on top of her. I directed her to a couple episodes of Krentz and the Hand of Shame and another one called Ptikobj . Her response was something like, "That shit is freeky."

When I was at college, I was awakened very early one Saturday morning when I heard my roommates laughing their asses off downstairs. I came downstairs, still half asleep, and, well- this was the first time I had actually seen an episode of Teletubbies. Technically we were all stone cold sober, but at 7am that shit is way freeky.

Also on the list:

The Turkish Star Wars (e:zobar,108)
Pink Panther cartoons
Hatten Är Din
Teen Girl Squad

It would end up being heavy on cartoons, so it would really cater to anyone whose attention span is shot [cf: children]. With a complete story arc [if you could call it that] expressed in under five minutes, and a new disconnected thought every 45 seconds, it's just not about thinking. Except when we take a whole afternoon to bring you: curling tournaments!

We would strive to keep overt drug references to a minimum. Cheech & Chong is out. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is in, but only because it is an extremely well-made movie from an extremely well-made book, and also, that shit is freeky.

OK, I gotta get back to work. My project is going pretty well, so mos def we'll be at the housewarming party.

- Z
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Permalink: channel_420_.html
Words: 363
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: work

09/28/06 10:53 - 49ºF - ID#37380

the gulag archipelago

I have not posted in a while, because I have sequestered myself in the attic until I finish writing a new backend for our calendar database. This may strike you as a weird thing to do, but the attic is comfortable this time of year, quiet, and relatively clean. I have weird mannerisms when I am deep in thought, and when I am in the attic nobody says anything when I pace around the room, pulling my hair and chewing my beard. I have put in fifty hours this week [well, starting Friday after work] and I am thrilled to be able to concentrate so completely. I am making excellent progress. I have assured both Management and (e:dragonlady7) that the overtime will become a vacation in the not too distant future.

I have also promised Management that I will return Monday with my shield or upon it; this does not bode well for my attendance at the housewarming party. The question is not whether I will be there -- I will -- but when.

- Z
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Permalink: the_gulag_archipelago.html
Words: 177
Location: Buffalo, NY



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