Arch your back for more security

Just got my new medical card at work. They took off the SSN for security reasons. It’s so rare to see companies actually do things like that. I’m so inspired, maybe I’ll actually use it this year! Well, I do need to get new glasses (and I’d like to switch back to contacts in general), so that one visit. I also think I’m coming up on my every-6-years dental appointment (Wait, what’s that you say? Every 6 months?!?! Oh crap…), and Lisa is anxious for me to actually get a checkup with a real doctor who might even be able to tell me what that strange rash I’ve had on my shin for… oh… 3 years is. It’s quite simply a miracle of bacon and beer that I can even get out of bed in the mornings I’m such a mess.

I’m also beardless again. I know what you’re all thinking: You grew a beard? It’s not like many people outside of work have seen it. I got lazy during the move and wound up with hair all over my face. Who knew? Anywho, since Lisa and I headed down to the beach this weekend (more on that later) I decided clean-shaven was teh only way to fly. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a haircut at the same time, so the mop on top makes my head look rather uneven. I’ll deal with that tonight.

Yes, Lisa and I did try to do some beach combing this weekend. We didn’t quite plan it (my fault), and it almost ended in disaster, but by the time we got back from Atlantic City at 3:30 am it had turned out to be a pretty good day. I don’t even want to go into all of the crappy details (one destination was closed, another locale was too busy, another too expensive, and we lost about an hour backtracking through traffic), but the end result was a nice dinner at Planet Hollywood, some fun on the slots, and a trip through Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not Museum. Thanks to the nickel slots, we even came out ahead. Hard to believe, but we turned $10 into over $60 on those things. This was aided by Lisa accidentally doing the “Max Bet” option for a couple rounds of multi-hand poker, including one in which she got some flushes (worth 200 nickels each, I’ll have you know).

Most importantly, it looks like without traffic we can hit AC in about 2 hours. Of course now that I’ve been there, I can’t really say how much I want to go back 😛 .


I forgot to mention yesterday that I actually got hit by a real comment spammer. Can you believe it, lil’ ol’ me?!?! I think putting links to your site on mine might actually decrease your page rank. For the most part any spam is quickly moderated by WordPress because I set a limit of 4 links per comment (a limit that has only caught one real comment in its trap). That lets me delete most of them before they even see the light of day. This guy (we’ll call him… fioricet), seemed to figure that out and only used 3 links. Tricky bastard. So a few actually appeared on the site before I got to delete them and ban his IP (and then the second one that he switched to).

The one thing I like about these guys is the random text that they grab to make it seem like they’re for real. This guy happened to quote Futurama:

Leela: Ah, maybe they’re right, maybe Nibbler is dumb.
Fry: Don’t listen to them, Leela. People said I was dumb but I proved them!

I almost left the comment and just deleted the links. They hit me with just over a dozen comments, so it wasn’t a big deal. Even if they all got through it would have taken me less than 30 seconds to delete them all. But it still makes me wonder, is my site really worth it? Sure, I’m still the one and only indieb0i, but that really doesn’t help my pagerank, much less anybody else’s. Probably time to look into one of the plugin solutions, such as Kitten’s Spam Words.

In the meantime, I am actually working off of the WP nightlies these day, and am seriously looking at a redesign. Most likely it will be based upon Michael Heilmann‘s wonderful Kubrick theme. In case you didn’t know, there’s a possibility that some of that design will find it’s way into the default template for WP 1.3. Sadly, a lot of people don’t think well for themselves and a near war broke out on the forums because of this pseudo-announcement. (Note: Feel free to read some of that exchange, but please don’t add to it. The thread appears to have finally, and rightfully, died.)

The plan was to write a whole diatribe about the stupidity of those involved. Well, at least those who were most responsible for the ridiculous assumptions that created the problems. But instead I think it is more important to focus on the positive, so I will simply direct those interested to Matt’s discussion of the matter. You might also find Joen’s write-up to be higly enlightening. For my part, I feel perhaps the time is coming for me to step up and really help out the community. I will be looking for ways to help out with WordPress, as soon as I take care of my own shit.

Surprise visits and spider fights

Yesterday included a very pleasent surprise in the form of Sandy and her beautiful little girl, Caitie, dropping by work (she’s the one who got me the job here before callously leaving to have her baby). So I joined her, Bhavna, and Sandhya for a nice stroll over the Steak & Ale to get Salad & Water – what’s wrong with me? It was mucho fun, and since I keep missing out on chances to see the two of them (oh yeah, and Steve), way too delayed. I took a bunch of pictures, and as soon as I decide the direction my photo gallery is going, they will be posted.
Continue reading “Surprise visits and spider fights”

How not to move a bed

More importantly, how do I tell this story? There are so many ways for me to try to convey the sheer stupidity and absurdity of just a few hours of time. I could use a list, like a real step-by-step instruction guide. Maybe some pictures would better hammer home the point. Then again, a simple storytelling is still one of the best forms of communications.

Of course, I could always just kick you in the crotch repeatedly to illustrate the process.

Let me start off by saying that one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen involved some bungee cord, a boxspring, and a minivan doing 40 MPH. Most importantly, I was in the driver’s seat.
Continue reading “How not to move a bed”

What Video Game Character Am I?

What Video Game Character Are You? I am an Asteroid.I am an Asteroid.

I am a drifter. I go where life leads, which makes me usually a very calm and content sort of person. That or thoroughly apathetic. Usually I keep on doing whatever I’m doing, and it takes something special to make me change my mind. What Video Game Character Are You?

And for Lisa:

What Video Game Character Are You? I am Mario.I am Mario.

I like to jump around, and would lead a fairly serene and aimless existence if it weren’t for my friends always getting into trouble. I love to help out, even when it puts me at risk. I seem to make friends with people who just can’t stay out of trouble. What Video Game Character Are You?

That’s a pretty good summary, I’d say.

(Thanks to Steve)

Free at la… Wait, didn’t I already use that title?

Today marks a very important victory in the P2P battles. Grokster has won its case in the 9th District Court of Appeals. The government may just be starting to understand this whole software deal. The ruling provides that de-centralized software that has legitimate uses should not be held accountable for the illegitimate uses. I haven’t had the chance to read through all of the information starting to pour in, but Boing Boing has a short write-up and Andrew Raff gives us a nice breakdown of the meaning. Hopefully this points to more sensible legislature down the road.

(Thanks to Links)

Too many hard drives

My server has a lot of storage space. Most people seem to be happy when they have 80 gigs on their desktop. Heck, that’s just my secondary drive with another 60 gigs for the primary. My server, on the other hand, is filled with several hard drives of varying capacity from 120 GB to 250 GB. But my sporadic storage purchasing habits (“Hey, look. Another sale on 160GB hard drives. I can always use another”) has left me with several large capacity drives with no particular use. That is, until now.

My (former) roommate Brian once mentioned the idea of getting an external USB enclosure. Last I had checked they were in the $150 – $200 range, but he assured me that you could pick one up for $20 these days. As with all of my purchases, I made up my mind immediately, but took months to look at all the possibilities anyway. That’s led to a great deal of wasted bandwidth transfering gigs of mp3s between work and home, not to mention never having the pictures I want on my person at any given time.

The other day, however, I started sorting through various drives at work to put into a machine being reassembled. Unfortunately I wasn’t sure what was what and couldn’t install the new OS until all the data was definitely backed up. Since ripping apart yet another machine just to check out the contents of the drive was out of the question, everything just sat around in a state of lifelessness. Then it hit me – why not pick up one of those devices for work? Sure $80 unit on the shelf the other day seemed to pricey, but this would be pruchsed by work, and I could simply use it at home, too, until I found the perfect unit for myself (I was hoping to get a USB-powered enclosure for starters). Besides, the usefulness at work would easily justify that expense.

This time around, though, CompUSA had one of their self-branded, repackaged devices for $40 that was even sleeker looking than the more expensive unit from the other day. And guess what? It works! I’m now going through hard drives with great ease. And after a simple disconnect, I can power down the unit, swap in another drive, and keep on working through the stack. Even better still, I held onto a 120 GB drive Mike picked up for me out of a vendor’s “as is” pile for $25. I never got it to work in a computer, but it’s working in this thing. Now I have a whole assortment of storage units for backing up and transfering gobs of info wherever I need it. It’s like a technological revolution of the geek kind (wait, isn’t that redundant?).

A stylistic reality check

Ok, I know that Wired hasn’t had anything technologically reasoned to say in about… a decade, so don’t yell at me for the link. In an attempt to once again buck trends and show their cluelessness, Wired has changed their style to ‘internet’ with a lowercase ‘i’. In typical wannabe techno-geek fashion, their editors have decided that proper nouns are passé. Afterall, since the Internet is not owned by a company, how can it be capitalized? The matter is slightly up for stylistic debate, but the fact that they say “there is no earthly reason to capitalize any of these words” (also lumping in web and net) shows how technically inept they truly are.

Internets are all around us. Anytime you use a router, you are creating an internet. My intranet here at work is also an internet. The term simply refers to any collection of multiple networks. Once you combine 2 or more networks – voilá, instant internet. However there is only one Internet. Just as dirt is also called earth yet we all live on a planet called Earth, a generic term can be capitalized to signify a particular unique instance or entity. The Internet was not capitalized as a marketing scheme. It was capitilized to differentiate it from the thousands of little internets all over the globe, many of which happen to be part of the Internet.

After reading this article I feel that it is necessary for me to correct my own style. Therefore effective now, anytime I reference wired it will be with a lowercase ‘w’. Don’t think of this as “some kind of symbolic demotion”, rather a relevance reality check.

(Thanks to Links)

GoMeme 4.0

There are by some estimates more than a million weblogs. But most of them get no visibility in search engines. Only a few “A-List” blogs get into the top search engine results for a given topic, while the majority of blogs just don’t get noticed. The reason is that the smaller blogs don’t have enough links pointing to them. But this posting could solve that. Let’s help the smaller blogs get more visibility!

This posting is GoMeme 4.0. It is part of an experiment to see if we can create a blog posting that helps 1000’s of blogs get higher rankings in Google. So far we have tried 3 earlier variations. Our first test, GoMeme 1.0, spread to nearly 740 blogs in 2.5 days. This new version 4.0 is shorter, simpler, and fits more easily into your blog.

Why are we doing this? We want to help thousands of blogs get more visibility in Google and other search engines. How does it work? Just follow the instructions below to re-post this meme in your blog and add your URL to the end of the Path List below. As the meme spreads onwards from your blog, so will your URL. Later, when your blog is indexed by search engines, they will see the links pointing to your blog from all the downstream blogs that got this via you, which will cause them to rank your blog higher in search results. Everyone in the Path List below benefits in a similar way as this meme spreads. Try it!

Instructions: Just copy this entire post and paste it into your blog. Then add your URL to the end of the path list below, and pass it on! (Make sure you add your URLs as live links or HTML code to the Path List below.)

Path List
1. Minding the Planet
2. Luke Hutteman’s public virtual MemoryStream
3. geek ramblings
5. (your URL goes here! But first, please copy this line and move it down to the next line for the next person).

(NOTE: Be sure you paste live links for the Path List or use HTML code.)