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Category: indecision

04/18/09 07:27 - 56ºF - ID#48434

moo goo gai pan

So the paint on my garage door was peeling quite badly and it was making the house look a little more West Virginia than I'm comfortable with. Part of the problem was that someone had decided to paint over the windows, and the paint was coming off the glass in sheets. Which has made me wonder for the longest time: why would you paint over windows?

Then as I was scraping [and the parts that weren't peeling were not coming off the glass as easily as I had hoped] and my mind was wandering, I started to think: why would you put windows on a garage door in the first place? I put stuff in my garage so I don't have to look at it.

So now with the windows half-scraped and the garage half-painted, I'm faced with the decision that I've criticized for so long: is it weirder to have windows on your garage door, or to paint over them?

- Z

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Permalink: moo_goo_gai_pan.html
Words: 146
Location: Buffalo, NY

04/15/09 10:24 - 48ºF - ID#48395


Sucks being self-employed.


- Z
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Permalink: ugh.html
Words: 10
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: wut

04/10/09 10:18 - 44ºF - ID#48349

something new every day

Even when you think you understand the client's business, you never really understand the client's business. This is a screenshot from an application I'm developing for an unnamed baseball cap manufacturer. I believe this particular part has to do with the import and export of raw materials. The world will never know.


- Z
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Permalink: something_new_every_day.html
Words: 56
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: musings

04/06/09 11:13 - 30ºF - ID#48312

digital existentialism

This is a narrative from the guy who wrote the software that enabled "Collateralized Mortgage Obligations," one of the extremely complicated financial instruments that helped bring down Wall Street. It's an interesting perspective and a good read if you've got the time.

He feels bad, of course, but he can't bring himself to accept more than a little responsibility - nor, really, would I expect him to. He understood exactly what the program was doing; meanwhile, the firms kept pushing it to enable riskier investments, and the traders complained it didn't insulate them enough from the pesky details. Naturally, he made a lot of money off the software, but a lot more people made a lot more money off of it, and spent it on [insert wall street debauchery boilerplate]. He says he didn't expect his software to cause financial armageddon, but considering the people who were using it he's not surprised. He retired a few years ago and now raises oysters on Long Island.

It's a funny situation we programmers live in. Mercenary. People ask us for things they think they need. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. It's not really our position to editorialize. We quote them a large pile of money and, if they're rich and deluded enough, get to spend the next couple months to several years learning every minute detail of a business we don't care about so we can write software we're not interested in. When the day comes, your application goes one way and you go another way, on to the next client. And if you find out a couple years down the road that your application happened to cause a global economic meltdown, well, chalk it up to user error.

Today I discovered that an old business relation of mine had started a new local software company [dare I say... hyperlocal?] and was hiring Python programmers. I told my current boss/client, who said he was actually bidding against him on a project just this afternoon. I noted how incestuous the local IT sector is and joked that I would be on the project whether he got it or not. He called me a dick. I told him I was going to become a metaconsultant - get in on every software project in Buffalo, and let the web developers fight over who gets to bill it. I thought I was hysterical. He closed the chat on me.

- Z

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Permalink: digital_existentialism.html
Words: 409
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: geeky

04/02/09 11:07 - 55ºF - ID#48267

colors in the air

I have a client who was very explicit that I should not be using standard book colors for Pantone matching, and is now wondering why everything looks all wrong. In addition to straightening out the mess, I've been able to put together a complete Pantone color table with Web, RGB, CMYK, Lab, and [why not] Grayscale approximations. This information is really difficult to find, and it shouldn't be. If it's useful to you, download it and save it for reference.

For everyone else: bunnies!

- Z
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Permalink: colors_in_the_air.html
Words: 94
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: a series of tubes

04/01/09 12:39 - 49ºF - ID#48254

i just can't stop

From the collection of the Museum of Bad Art

- Z
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Permalink: i_just_can_t_stop.html
Words: 19
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: social commentary

03/30/09 07:30 - 36ºF - ID#48244

people please

Can we quit with the shooting rampages already? Seriously.

- Z
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Permalink: people_please.html
Words: 11
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: food

03/23/09 10:25 - ID#48176

you've got to change your evoo ways

Public service announcement: you should not be frying with extra-virgin olive oil. Spend some dollars and buy a bottle of peanut oil. Then spend some other dollars and buy a pound of bacon.* Then use this recipe to get rid of those boneless skinless tasteless chicken breasts that you've been freezer-burning.

Catfish Fried Chicken
1. Eat the bacon. Mmm, bacon.
2. But save the drippings in a little glass cup in your refrigerator.
3. Thaw the chicken breasts. If you wanted, you could pound them flat. If you wanted, you could also make schnitzel and join the Luftwaffe, you Kraut.
4. Breading: one cup of corn meal plus one tablespoon of chili powder. Next time I make it I'll probably also put in some fresh ground black pepper. Use as much of this as you need.
5. Heat two tablespoons each of peanut oil and bacon fat in a cast-iron skillet. If you don't have both, you've totally missed the whole point. If you don't have bacon fat you can substitute goose fat, lard, or butter. If you don't have peanut oil, skip the rest of the steps and stick your head in the oven.
6. Roll the chicken all around in the breading until it's evenly coated, and slide it into the frying pan.
7. This step is going to take a while.
8. Flip them over. They should look delicious on the bottom, which is now the top.
9. This step is going to take a little while too.
10. Flip them over again. They should look delicious on the top and bottom, which are now the top and bottom again.
11. Put them on a plate. Realize that you forgot to make side dishes.
12. Put the chicken in your mouth and chew. Notice that it is both crunchy and moist. Notice the super-subtle smoky flavor from the bacon fat.
13. Put $20 in an envelope and mail it to (e:zobar)

- Z

  • The calculus of bacon.

1) Does thick-sliced bacon taste different than thin-sliced bacon? The answer is no. Buy thin-sliced bacon - there's more slices.
2) Low-fat bacon has more meat, but regular bacon costs the same and comes with a free half-pound of lard. Buy regular bacon and eat it twice.
3) Is a pound of bacon too much? Do you want to take your bacon Higher? Go to Spar's and they will give you exactly the amount of bacon you require, and it will rock your world.

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Permalink: you_ve_got_to_change_your_evoo_ways.html
Words: 401
Location: Buffalo, NY

03/12/09 12:03 - 26ºF - ID#48024

earthlink can suck it

My network went down this morning. That would not normally be a big problem, except that through a convoluted ordeal my network provider is EarthLink which is commonly considered to be only microscopically less awful than AOL. I had previously used an independent DSL reseller based in the southern tier, but when they discontinued their DSL service they sold my account to EarthLink. I did some research, found that FiOS was 'coming soon,' and decided not to bother switching. [Still no FiOS, by the way, but they swear it's 'coming soon.']

So I called up EarthLink technical support, which is somewhere in India in the middle of the night. I am thrilled, by the way, because I have a fair amount of trouble with accents over the phone. Now it turns out that, due to the extremely dodgy way that EarthLink happened to get my business, the DSL router I have is not actually supported by the company. And furthermore they can't even begin to diagnose the problem with my router -- which has had 100% uptime for nearly two years -- because it's unsupported.

So Technical Support conferenced me in to Sales to get me a new modem. This is pretty ludicrous already, like if you complained to your web designer about the site she did for you and the resolution was 'well first we'll order you a Mac with Firefox on it...' Then it turns out that Sales is in Hong Kong, which is just awesome. Sales starts with 'ok we can get you a new modem for $40 with a one-year commitment,' and I said 'so, you can't fix my problem without me signing a contract?' 'One moment sir ok we will waive the contract and fee, it will arrive in seven to ten days.' 'So my network is down for a week and a half?' 'One moment sir ok your modem should arrive in two to three days thank you for using EarthLink.'

Then I get sent back to Technical Support who says 'call me back when you get your modem thank you for using EarthLink.' Sweet! Have I failed to mention that I'm an independent consultant and that downtime is slowly bleeding me dry?

Anyway, the network came back on its own somehow [and oddly enough, much better than it was before], but not before ordering DSL service direct from Verizon. Turns out if you get Verizon DSL they'll let you use a 'dry loop' - which is to say, a line with no phone service. So the offices of Scott Windsor, the collections agency which mistakenly has my phone number on robodial, can also suck it, perhaps on the opposite end of which EarthLink is sucking it. Which brings me to:

Public Service Announcement about +1 716 877 4788, because as of the 18th I will no longer be able to address these issues personally:

+1 716 877 4788 is not the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York. The correct phone number is +1 877 478 8083. The difference is whether you start by dialing one as is mandatory, or whether you are a moron.

+1 716 877 4788 is not a fax number for Elite Appraisal, Inc., and has not been for several years. When dialing a fax it is considered polite to stay on the line to ensure that it is actually a fax line and not, say, a residential voice line. It is considered exceptionally impolite to send several faxes at once and leave it on autodial all afternoon.

The people at +1 716 877 4788 do not owe you money [this means you Scott Windsor]. If you are a collections agency but cannot articulate who you are collecting for and are not prepared to immediately accept payment, you are missing an important part of 'collections.'

Linda, your prescription is ready. Also, your phone number is not +1 716 877 4788.

Mary, there is a really creepy dude who keeps calling you. I don't blame you for giving him the wrong number, although I wish you hadn't given him +1 716 877 4788.

+1 716 877 4788 is no longer a real phone number. If you have that number on file for anything, it was either wrong, or given to you because we didn't ever want to talk to you.

If you insist on calling +1 716 877 4788 [this means you Scott Windsor] - you should update your records to +1 716 877 1932. The new number does not carry voice service; nevertheless we are committed to providing the same level of service, friendliness, and picking-up-the-phone that you have come to expect from +1 716 877 4788.

- Z

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Permalink: earthlink_can_suck_it.html
Words: 744
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: misc

03/09/09 12:44 - 32ºF - ID#47995

rush limbaugh ate my kitten

Sex sells pageviews but so does politics.

I've basically been working nonstop since Thursday morning, except Saturday which was all derby [which is a lot like working except I don't get paid for it]. We have a .NET web app that they're converting to use Windows domain accounts, and it's working about as well as an external combustion engine It sure seems like a good idea to apply a user's actual permissions to the files & processes in a web app, at least until you think about it, say, or try to do it.

Some scattered thoughts I haven't had time to write down:

- The roller derby scoreboard now posts live score updates via Twitter . This has cool implications for a distributed national roller derby score system [which is a lot more compelling than you might think]. If you didn't tune in on Saturday, sorry but you missed it.

- Those annoying video game machines they have at bars run Linux. Somebody managed to crash one at Ava's last week and I saw it rebooting. I always kind of figured they ran Windows but I guess it makes sense since Linux is so much cheaper.

- Salisbury steak!


- What's the difference between terrorists and dissident paramilitaries? Dissident paramilitaries are white. [No, really. Pay attention to the news, and keep in mind that the paramilitary Real IRA is about a hundred dudes with guns and no political connections whatsoever, while the terrorist Al-Qassam Brigades are 40,000 trained fighters with long-range rockets and guided missiles, affiliated with a majority political party.] The Northern Irish peace process has been long and difficult but ultimately quite successful, and we should avoid giving these nitwits legitimacy.

- Z
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Permalink: rush_limbaugh_ate_my_kitten.html
Words: 287
Location: Buffalo, NY



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