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Category: misc

06/07/09 10:26 - ID#48861

small thoughts

I didn't think any of these really warranted their own post.

1. A couple of weeks ago, Federal had bogo bacon and cheap stuffed pork chops. Swine flu creates a global freak-out, and I reap all the benefits.

2. If you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend Wolfram|Alpha for when you need facts instead of web pages. It does math conversions geography nutrition chemistry stocks genetics and probably more.

3. I've probably written about Spar's before - if you eat meat and you haven't been there yet, don't wait until after barbeque season is over. They have a good selection of 'normal' foods - sausages for grilling, cold cuts, sandwich cheeses, slab bacon, ribs - and some Extremely European items just kind of mixed in. They've got blood & tongue, two kinds of Krakauer, three kinds of head cheese, probably half a dozen kinds of salami, and a wide variety of cheeses with uninformative names. I was about to get the horseradish cheddar when I thought - let's go with the German butter cheese. For future reference: it's pretty mild but HOLY CRAP IT STINKS.

4. The woman at Spar's gave me a slice of Hungarian head cheese for being so well-behaved.

- Z

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Category: misc

05/07/09 11:41 - 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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Category: misc

04/28/09 12:05 - 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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Category: misc

04/22/09 04:52 - 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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Category: misc

04/20/09 11:10 - 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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Category: misc

03/09/09 12:44 - 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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Category: misc

01/22/09 01:09 - ID#47483


I've been crabby lately.

1. Saying 'guesstimate' instead of 'estimate' doesn't make you sound clever. I could be persuaded, but only if you could convince me that you invented the word. I would be on the brink of respecting your wit, until you also told me you were responsible for tarzhay, at which point I would punch you in the teeth until you couldn't say any more words at all, except perhaps a mushy slobbery bloody gurgle. Society would understand and forgive me.

2. Can I be opposed to the ceaseless Israeli-Palestinian violence without taking a side? I am. Seriously people, grow up. You're 50% right, 50% wrong, and 150% loud, and I'm sick of hearing about you. I'm not even entertaining comments about this, because if you're taking a side you're half wrong too.

3. Barack Obama is a rock star. I'm not saying that's a good thing or a bad thing. But you have to admit, it's kind of nice to be worrying about whether the President's going to get to keep his CrackBerry rather than worrying about whether he's going to start hauling people in for sedition.

4. You want my opinion on the poem? Nobody got it. If a poem can't be read effectively by its author, can it be read effectively? We'll let Philosophy 101 talk themselves in circles for an hour. Meanwhile I'll ponder on what would make a writer decide to give up on sentences and

just say words at people
slowly (perhaps)
one by one
until they get it
or not

It's probably the same neural trigger that makes people snap and become Lisp programmers.

5. Yo-Yo Ma. You can't fuck with that.

- Z

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Category: misc

11/12/08 01:15 - ID#46658

back to normal

I guess I'm back to posting geeky things I found on the Internet. Today's installment: Super Obama World a Flash game that starts in Alaska and ends, um, somewhere else in Alaska but they say they're going to add more levels.

My nephew is recovering from his skull surgery, so I can stop thinking about how gross that is. He's going to be in a special reshaping helmet for I think 3-4 months? so we were asked to send stickers. I need to find one of the Great Gazoo.

I had a weird dream this morning. I was on the bus and people were talking about the war. From context I gathered that it had just ended, ilke, in the time it takes to walk to the bus stop. So finally I asked and they said that after the election the president canceled the war. He said the will of the people was clear and just called it off, like that. I woke up because it seemed funny to me that the will of the people would matter.

In other nattering, I'm working with another consultant who is good at programming but bad at estimating time requirements. He says he'll be done by a certain date so, the client being impatient, the boss will schedule a demo for the afternoon of that date. When deadline comes, either the boss will get a panicked email first thing in the morning saying it isn't done, or no communication at all. This has caused no small amount of tension between client and boss, and between boss and consultant. It really only gets on my nerves when I get a panicked call from the boss to come in to the office and instant-learn .NET* so he can give a demo that looks like it works. But anyway.

So the boss was kvetching to me, because I'm the good consultant. And it's not that he works slow [he doesn't, really] but that he makes deadlines he can't meet. So I said yeah, if you say it'll be easy and you miss deadline you look like an incompetent. If you start right out with 'I don't think that's possible' you look like a genius if you deliver anything at all. Hints for living, I guess.

- Z

  • I'm such a n00b- is it .NET now? Didn't it used to be .net?
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Permalink: back_to_normal.html
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Category: misc

10/29/08 09:40 - ID#46411

while we're on the subject

of prostatic massage... [Are we really on the subject of prostatic massage?]

What the fuck?! It's unavailable. It's Dr. Francis Fesmire, winner of the 2006 Ig Nobel Prize for Medicine for his medical case report 'Termination of Intractible Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage,' giving the scientific community waay too much information about how he cured his ex-wife's hiccups. And isn't he dishy.

Item two: I think I made up for not making (e:dragonlady7,46402) a sandwich last night by making us chicken fried steak with country gravy and tater tots for dinner. She's got pictures. I've got indigestion.

Item three: for those who are unfamiliar with Lemonade Stand, the intro and first day's worth of business:

Hi! Welcome to Lemonsville, California!

In this small town, you are in charge of
running your own lemonade stand. You can
compete with as many other people as you
wish, but how much profit you make is up
to you (the other stands' sales will not
affect your business in any way). If you
make the most money, you're the winner!!

To manage your lemonade stand, you will
need to make these decisions every day:

1. How many glasses of lemonade to make
(only one batch is made each morning)

2. How many advertising signs to make
(the signs cost fifteen cents each)

3. What price to charge for each glass

You will begin with $2.00 cash (assets).
Because your mother gave you some sugar,
your cost to make lemonade is two cents
a glass (this may change in the future).

Your expenses are the sum of the cost of
the lemonade and the cost of the signs.

Your profits are the difference between
the income from sales and your expenses.

The number of glasses you sell each day
depends on the price you charge, and on
the number of advertising signs you use.

Keep track of your assets, because you
can't spend more money than you have!

Lemonsville Weather Report
Hot and Dry

On day 1, the cost of lemonade is $.02
Lemonade stand 1 Assets $2.00

How many glasses of lemonade do you
wish to make ?50

How many advertising signs (15 cents
each) do you want to make ?5

What price (in cents) do you wish to
charge for lemonade ?10

Would you like to change anything?no

$$ Lemonsville Daily Financial Report $$

Day 1 Stand 1
50 glasses sold
$.10 per glass Income $5.00

50 glasses made
5 signs made Expenses $1.75

Profit $3.25
Assets $5.25

What a hoot, huh?

- Z
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Category: misc

09/04/08 09:27 - ID#45576


1: WANTED: Stats geek to hang out with hot babes. Inquire within.

2: Q: When did Russians start being awesome? A: Once you click this !!!

3: The problem with me in living in the suburbs across the street from a very expensive private high school, is that I just don't have any empathy for anybody around here. A kid from the school was driving his Audi hatchback like a dickweed, and the person he cut off and/or tailgated followed him until he parked [in front of my house] and started yelling at him. Then her shirtless, shoeless husband started getting all up in the kid's grille. And as the argument got more heated, I realized I wasn't on the side of the kid or the 'adult'- I was really just hoping for mutual assured destruction, and maybe some fire. Instead, police were called and, in true Kenmore fashion, three squad cars showed up.
Moral: Don't be an asshat in front of my house, unless you have the courtesy to catch fire.

4: 'I forgot to opt out' email marketing is in some ways worse than spam. You can't mark it as spam in good conscience. I have a mailbox called Unimportant and a rule set up. The rule got so long that I had to split it in two due to a bounds error/distributed infinite loop in Gmail [good work guys]. My shit list:


5: Everybody seems to be talking about Chrome. I like that it keeps track of your most often visited sites, but I don't think that's enough to set the world on fire.

6: Cloud computing is keen but I wish it wasn't all in beta. Google App Engine is very tightly integrated and free, but how much can you do when you don't have write access to the filesystem and all your requests, responses, and database records need to be under 1MB? Amazon Web Services don't care about file or transfer size, but their database isn't totally online yet. And when Yahoo gets into the game I'm sure it will be totally awesome except that nobody will realize that it exists.

- Z
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