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Category: misc

05/07/09 11:41 - 52ºF - ID#48616

data art redux

Evans, NY 14047

Ever since I was a kid I was mesmerized by maps. In my off-time I created this little art project where I turned map data into non-abstract abstract art. I may make this more dynamic - maybe put it in a Flash app or something, improve the navigation or whatever - but it's pretty cool as-is.

You will need an SVG-enabled browser [anything but IE]. Every page is a representation of a county, town, or ZIP code, which is shown in the window title. The part of the image inside the county/town/ZIP is solid-colored; the part outside is faded. If you click outside the area, it will shift the image. If you click inside the area, it will zoom in or out. Hover over the map for a tooltip telling you what you're hovering over [this is also the image you'll go to if you click].

- Z
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Permalink: data_art_redux.html
Words: 159
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: compost

04/30/09 06:10 - 63ºF - ID#48545

the bat-whisperer?

B's calling me the 'bat-whisperer' now but I am just a dude.

We've been doing a lot of work outside lately, what with the weather and all - (e:dragonlady7)'s been in the garden and I've been all over the garage. We were both working in the driveway area when my horrible next-door neighbor came over to the fence with both guns blazing. I have this thing that I do where I ignore her. B not so much. The situation became [in a manner of speaking] un-diplomatic to the point where I felt that I needed to intervene.

I felt that I needed to intervene. I am just a dude, not an intervener. Even a forest fire will burn itself out if you ignore it long enough, am I right people?

So I position myself directly between the two of them so that they would shut the hell up and put my arm over the fence which is a source of contention in what may or may not be construed as a gesture of ownership. I slowly raise my finger to my batty next-door neighbor and I look her in the eyes.

Meanwhile B is looking on silently and fretting, as she thinks perhaps I had just had an Exceptionally Bad Idea and she might be called upon to hide the body. My batty next-door neighbor actually looks a little terrified, and probably also thought I'd had a Bad Idea. A little background: she's about 117 years old and probably crapped herself literally as well as figuratively.

But to tell the truth I had no idea at all. There was a Situation, and I had put myself into a Place with respect to the Situation. Of that much I was sure - other than that, my mind was totally blank. And I wasn't looking her in the eyes, I was staring at the bridge of her nose, from which a large drop of blood was emerging. As you can imagine, this did wonders for my concentration.

I muttered something. She said "Yeah, I know it." That was it. I went back to work in the garage; my batty next-door neighbor shut up and left. B silently flipped out because she had no idea what kind of diplomatic coup I could possibly have just pulled off.

Later in the afternoon she came back and asked me - politely! if we could clean up her side of our garage. I said we had talked about it yesterday and although we had a lot of work to do, it was on the list. "OK," she said, and left.

Finally B asked me what I said to her. "I said her nose was bloody." "That's it?!" "That was the only thing I could think of."

I am just a dude. Why am I now the Motherfucker Of Diplomacy.

- Z

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Permalink: the_bat_whisperer_.html
Words: 480
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: yay

04/29/09 03:27 - 59ºF - ID#48535

useless shit. free!

BUSTED LAWNMOWER L@@K Engine kinda works. Side discharge, no handle. $0

DISHWASHER CATASTROPHE, runs. Summer fun for the kids. Outdoor use only. $0

KIDDIE POOL OF MYSTERY. Be a super sleuth and find out if it leaks. Buy DISHWASHER CATASTROPHE and KIDDIE POOL OF MYSTERY together and save $0.

GET A WORKOUT this summer. Lawn spreader, high-traction tires won't turn. $0

LEAD PAINT - scare your friends and neighbors. Like new! $0

LAWN ORNAMENT, plush cow. Slightly mouse-poo'd. $0

50-GALLON DRUM SALE, one day only. Take the drum, get all the shit inside it FREE! No substitutions.

Ask about our VINTAGE TURPENTINE. By app't only.

Get it before it's gone, probably first thing tomorrow morning, at
40 Hartford Ave. 14223

- Z
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Permalink: useless_shit_free_.html
Words: 119
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: misc

04/28/09 12:05 - 67ºF - ID#48525

data art


I'm between projects now, and I'm using the time to do a little data art. Here we have an 'abstract' rendering of my neighborhood - 14223.

Depending on how much downtime I've got, I may write a little app that lets you create your own.

- Z
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Permalink: data_art.html
Words: 53
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: misc

04/22/09 04:52 - 40ºF - ID#48474

'drive it like you stole it'

You mean with the windows rolled up and the radio turned down and obeying all posted traffic control devices so as not to arouse the suspicion of the 5-0? How boring.

A recent survey of 450 college students showed that 57% of them did not understand what a '50% chance of precipitation' is and somehow I ended up in this majority. Now that I think about it, it seems dumb but I always sort of read it as '25% chance of getting wet' - like if they were 100% certain that it would rain over 50% of the area, that would mean there's a 50% chance that I personally would get wet. Or if they're only half sure that there will be rain, and if there is it'll only cover half the area, I would have a 25% chance of getting wet. I mean, that's really the number I care about. What it actually means [and of course I know you already knew this so I won't ask] is that given identical atmospheric conditions, half the time it'll rain and half the time it won't.

The manager of the water authority says no tours [for reasons which are kind of obvious if you think about it for like two seconds] but maybe they'll send an intern to take some photos for the website. [I love email- you can pester strangers with weird questions about their jobs (e:zobar,43416) and even if they want to look at you like you're from Mars, they can't!]

There's been a lot of talk in the news lately about Britain's Got Talent, and also the Khmer Rouge which led me to an unsettling discovery: Paul Potts has a very unfortunate name.

- Z

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Permalink: _drive_it_like_you_stole_it_.html
Words: 281
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: misc

04/20/09 11:10 - 48ºF - ID#48460

water intake

This is almost the photo I was looking for.


I swear I saw a picture looking down, and it was just like an enormous drain. There's a bunch of dudes standing around in this picture, so maybe they do tours?

- Z
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Permalink: water_intake.html
Words: 52
Location: Buffalo, NY

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



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