This is to funny:
Write better emails. Make more moneys.
Where do I sign up?!?!
I found a magazine from August of 1997. The inside back cover was an advertisement from Micron. Here was the top-of-the-line machine:
Total price: $4,199.
Don't even ask about the notebooks in the ad.
Amazing. 5-6 years later and CPUs are 10 times faster, we're using 8-16 times the RAM, and our disks are 10-80 times larger. Oh, and not only is everything today that much better, it's probably half the price.
I wonder what their next response will be.
I just realized that it's getting really warm in the apartment. Guess what. It's 91 degrees outside according to the Weather Underground. The cats are all stretched out on the floor for their 6-hour long afternoon nap. They look pretty warm too.
Perhaps I haven't selected the optimal time to stay at home and work on the book. There's air conditioning at work that usually works--except for a few days last week.
Let's just hope it cools off before July gets here.
Okay, enough distraction. Back to chapter 2.
For my first two years living in the Bay Area, I was thrilled to find that my annual fall allergies no longer held me captive for the months of August and September. Back in Ohio, as soon as the local news began to report pollen counts I'd be sneezing my ass off and generally miserable (or medicated) for 6-9 weeks.
It seems that Mother Nature has decided to correct this oversight. Now we have high pollen levels in the Bay Area. And I'm really feeling the effects. I'm back to popping Benadryl every few hours. It's great. Clears me right up. Expect that it also makes me drowsy. So I picked up some Claritin at the store last night. Time will tell if it does the job without knocking me out, 'cause it's really hard to write this way.
My Dad, a long time DOS and now frustrated Windows user, is looking to experiment with Linux. He'll probably try Knoppix, Mandrake, and maybe Lindows (after version 4.0 is out).
However, he'd also like a good book--one that doesn't assume he's a complete moron but also doesn't assume any knowledge of Unix. He gets directory structures, text vs. binary files, and so on. He's not a programmer. He wants to use e-mail, browse the web, use his printer, scanner, and camera. He'll need to organize pictures and perform other "normal people" tasks. Despite what neighbors and relatives think, he's not a computer expert (anymore).
Since I'm clearly not the target audience for such a book, I'm seeking recommendations. Ideally the book would focus more on concepts and low-level skills rather than being distribution specific. Then again, if the only good books are about a specific distribution (RedHat), we'll have to go with that.
What should I suggest?
I spent most of Sunday at the 39th Annual Watsonville Fly-In and Air Show. I was officially there as a "crew member" for the Hollister Gliding Club, which was displaying their Duo Discus glider. Drew Pierce, the club owner, flew a demo flight in the Duo.
(As a crew member, I got to help launch and retrieve the glider.)
I had a good time at the show. I got to talk to a lot of people about flying gliders, see some great performances, and generally enjoy the day.
I used my brand new Canon PowerShot S400 to take these pictures at the show. I haven't had time to put in captions yet.
I'm definitely going again next year!
What a surprising thing to see first thing in the morning!
I really hadn't expected this.
Heh. I wonder if I'll hit #1? I bet I could. Come on, help me out! All I need is a link from your blog to my PageRank entry.
Oh, wait. That'd be cheating. Don't link to me. Really. Google might further punish my PageRank.
Ok. Make up your own mind. Yeah, just pretend I never mentioned it. Instead, think about how getting on to DayPop is likely to further propel one up the DayPop list.
Always looking for new ways to spend less time reading blogs, I think that Jim is on to something when he suggests Feedster + Bayesian algorithms to create a new type of aggregator.
Anyone working on this?
I ran an upgrade recently on family.zawodny.com. It was the usual apt-get dist-upgrade to bring things current.
Well, it upgraded a bunch of stuff, including Perl to 5.8.0. That cause MoveableType to die in mysterious ways. So after 2 hours of messing with it, I've migrated my data to MySQL (yes, I was still using Berkely DB, sue me).
If this posts, I guess it's working again.
What a waste of time. As if I didn't already, but now I have a renewed appreciation for why someone might want to use TypePad.
More importantly, it has stirred up some interesting discussion on my blog and elsewhere. Check out the comments and TrackBacks.
Let's just say I'm staying inside today.
Later I'll post pictures from yesterday. I had a good time.
I'd like to talk a moment to mourn the passing of PageRank, the secret sauce that made Google the spicy search engine we once knew and loved.
Some might argue that blogs killed PageRank. But the fact is, the online world goes through pretty impressive changes every few years. And, believe it or not, PageRank is old. In Internet time, PageRank may have been well into middle age.
Its death hasn't been announced yet, but the time is near. The signs have been around for quite a while.
You see, PageRank was a brilliant yet simple idea at the time: use the structure of the web itself to determine what is and is not popular. But that's behind us. Google is no longer concerned solely with what's popular. Like most companies, they also care a lot about what sells or what advertisers want. Many speculate that Google is responding to various pressures to keep blogs from tainting their results. Perhaps.
With all the recent discussion of Google removing (or not removing) blogs from their index, people have been barking up the wrong tree. Google doesn't have to remove them. The simply need to identify them in a reliable way. Then they can be penalized (given a lower PageRank). And, believe it or not, that's not terribly difficult to do if you have a good web map and a few blogs to use as starting points.
It has already happened. And the results are less than ideal. A Google search for "jeremy" now [sometimes] yields something far different than what it used to. Notice that Google now believes that my home page is more important than my blog. That is, for lack of a better term, retarded.
(It seems that Google has only partially deployed this. If you play around long enough, you can get the old answer from one of their search clusters. That's how I got both of those screenshots. So far it seems to be a 50/50 chance, at least from the West Coast.)
The fact that I'm no longer the first result isn't the issue. I never expected that to last.
Let's be honest. My home page sucks. Nobody links to it anymore. Sure, there are a lot of old links, but let's look at what Google can tell us. There are roughly 600 links to my home page while there are over 1,800 links to my blog. There are three times as many links to my blog, and I'd argue they're more significant. They're newer. They're often more than mere pointers because there's commentary about me or what I write.
Anyway, draw your own conclusions.
Google has a really hard problem to solve. It's not unlike the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. PageRank stopped working really well when people began to understand how PageRank worked. The act of Google trying to "understand" the web caused the web itself to change. Blogs are only a recent example of that. Oddly, unlike many of the previous problems with Google (see also: search engine optimization companies; link spammers; google bombing), blogs were not designed to outsmart Google. They just happen to use the web and hyperlinks the way we should have been using them all along. Now they're being penalized for that, it seems.
It'll be interesting to see how Inktomi and Microsoft handle this "problem" too.
Oh, I should note that this could all be a bug and I'm just using it as an excuse to ramble. But you all knew that, right? My readers are smart. All three of them. :-)
There's a lot to like about the S400. Can anyone think of a better alternative for the money? Or a good reason not to buy the S400?
I've done a fair amount of research but figured a blog sanity check couldn't hurt...
Update: Thanks for all the advice. I pick up my new camera this evening! (The story of why on-line shopping really sucks sometime will follow in a few days.)
Of course, Yahoo is also hiring.
That reminds me. A friend of mine is starting her new job at Google next week. And another is trying to get hired for their New York office.
Mini-bubble or the Next Big Thing? You decide.
Both are new talks that I haven't done before. What do ya think? Interesting? Boring? Other ideas? I have a day or so to get them my title, abstract, etc.
I just didn't feel like recycling one of my older talks. Besides, I'll be needing to do those both for my new job anyway. :-)
(Oh, I should probably say more about that too, at some point.)
Anyway, go register soon.
I had a good 45 minute bike ride before work today. I felt like I could have gone another 45 but figured I should get to work. Perhaps I need to start getting up even earlier?
Damn. It feels good to be riding again.
Oh, and I put the GPS mount on my bike yesterday. I just need to download the data from last weekend's flights before I play with it again. Hmm. I haven't written up the flights in my flying blog yet. Damn. Behind again.
Morbus Iff, the illustrious creator of AmphetaDesk (my first aggregator and soon to be my aggregator of choice for the 3rd time--but that's another topic) just pointed out a bug that afflicted the Perl script I used to post to my blog from Emacs.
After a little back and forth, I learned that when I posted using post.pl, my category pages weren't updated to reflect the new post. It wasn't until a comment or TrackBack came along that it'd happen. So we were left wondering how to trigger the proper re-generation of stuff when posting.
Pretty soon he had it figured out and mailed me a code snipit. I've updated the code if you're curious. Other than the masked out password it's exactly what I use to post.
Summary: Morbus rocks!
A funny thing happened at work today. One of my co-workers said something like "I just noticed you have a Russian last name."
"Actually, it's Polish" I replied.
"In Russian," he began, "it has two meanings."
Him: "Yes. The first one is like, uhm, 'over the water' or 'across the river.' But that one's not it."
Him: "The second one is like 'stirring things up.'"
Me: "Hahahaha! That's me.
(At least it seems to be at work. I've been stirring various pots recently.)
Today was another great day. I had a good ride in the morning before work and I felt great all day. I noticed that it was one of those clear days--not clear like it is in the winter, but as good as it gets for this time of year.
(Okay, I admit. This is partly a test post but I didn't want to just write "test post" this time.)
In the process of verifying that I was still listed as the #1 result for a "penis puppets" search (don't ask), I noticed something funny near the bottom of the page. If you click the screen shot at the right, you'll notice what I did.
Google indexed the results of the same search from AOL's search and gave it a relatively high PageRank.
I wonder how long that will last.
Am I the only one who does this? I get an idea (sometimes via browsing or a suggestion from someone on IM) and don't want to lose it. But I also don't want to be interrupted by taking my hands off the keyboard. So I just send myself a quick e-mail.
I've heard of people leaving themselves voice mail when they're on the road and have a cell phone.
I dunno. Every once in a while when I do this, I hear my Mom's voice saying "You e-mail yourself! Just grab a Post-It Note and write it down."
Of course that never really stops me. And there are Post-It Notes on my desk, but I seem to only use them for phone numbers and writing down the name of someone when they call. I really hate to forget someone's name half way into a conversation.
Okay, enough of my quirks. Get back to work. Or play. Or whatever.
This weekend is the annual Watsonville Fly-In and Air Show. I'll be heading down on Sunday to see the sites and man the booth/display for the Hollister Gliding Club (HGC) and the Bay Area Soaring Associates (BASA). There will be a glider fly-by (the Duo Discus) on Saturday and Sunday. The Duo will be on display the rest of the time.
I'll take some pictures of the sites.
Anyone reading this planning to go?
Oh, the reason I thought to bring this up is that some of the WWII war birds seem to be arriving already. They've been flying around Moffett Field today. My theory is that they're flying to Moffett where they'll stay until the show. Then they'll fly down to Watsonville to make their appearances.
For what it's worth, I once landed a glider at Watsonville. That was a fun day--I got to fly a loop then too. :-)
Ah. The weather today was perfect for a bike ride. I got home at 6:30pm and was on the bike by 6:45pm. It wasn't a long ride, but it was refreshing. If this weather continues (and it looks like it will), I'll try getting back into the swing of going for a ride before heading to work each day.
The GPS mount for my bike arrived, so I'll finally know how far I'm doing and how quickly I'm getting there. Don't worry, this is just phase #1 of the Geek Bike project. More on that later.
Bruce Perens has an article on News.com titled The fear war against Linux that does a good job of examining possible motivations for SCO's recent attacks against Linux and what Microsoft's involvement may be.
According to this News.com article, Microsoft is planning to license Unix code from SCO:
Microsoft will license the rights to Unix technology from SCO Group, a move that could impact the battle between Windows and Linux in the market for computer operating systems.
Does this make anyone else wonder what the SCO folks are smoking? (As if we didn't already...)
Update: It seems that /. has the story too. So if you want to read what all the morons think, head on over!
I don't have extensive evidence for this claim, but it sure feels like we're in a mini-bubble. (I'd call it a recovery, but I'm not sure it is one.)
At least here, in Silicon Valley, it sure seems like things are starting to turn around--in some industries. There are several tech companies doing quite well: eBay, Yahoo, Google. Some are recruiting all over the air waves: NVIDIA, for example. There are a lot of startups forming, getting funding, and looking for workers: There.com, Friendster, LinkedIn, IronPort, and others.
Maybe I'm just more sensitive to this than others, but it's getting difficult to ignore the signs. Things are turning around for some people and some companies. It's been a while since I've seen good financials, hiring, and startups all at the same time.
Have I missed others? Surely. Feel free to let me know what they are. I haven't been able to find anyone who's put much of a list together yet.
Are there a lot of other companies that are still trying to dig themselves out of an economic hole? Sure. That's why I'm calling this a mini-bubble.
I saw the movie. Yahoo rented out a theater and a ton of us saw it this afternoon. Yawn.
I was going to write about the whole experience, but then I found that someone else summed up my thoughts nicely.
Does anyone know what the average "burnout rate" for webloggers is? You know, if you were trying to figure how how likely someone was to abandon their blog in the first 3, 6, or 12 months. What would that number be?
Do most bloggers stick with it? Or it it more like dieting, where most people are good for the first month or so, but then if becomes more of an occasional activity?
I have no idea to begin looking for that kind of info, but suddenly I find myself wanting to know...
Well, the Comcast Monkey came today to fix my cable modem problems. It turns out that the problem was completely outside my apartment. I got a new modem out of the deal anyway. I never liked the old RCA piece of crap.
Apparently there was a 1:2 splitter outside. That was connected (improperly) to a 1:4 splitter. My line was the only one plugged in. So they ripped out the 1:4 and put be in the 1:2, all the while muttering "who the hell would have done this?"
Of course, we all know the answer: Another Comcast tech would have done it.
It's a good thing I also have DSL.
Update: As Dan and I were discussing this via IM, we relaized that these Cable/DSL techs are a lot like programmers or sysadmins. No matter what they see, they'll always complain about the guy who did the job before them. Always.
I did something today that I've done more often that most people, I suspect. I actually read the "Notice of Annual Meeting of Stockholders" document that was sent to me by my brokerage. As a shareholder of several major corporations, I get these in the mail pretty frequently. I suspect that lot of people do--anyone who directly invests in stocks does.
You can learn some pretty amazing things from these documents (and regular SEC filings). For example, an Executive Vice President at this particular company was paid an annual salary of $500,000 in 2002. And he received a bonus of $562,500. He was awarded 100,000 stock options and brought in $117,112 in "other compensation" in 2002. In that same year, the Company contributed $2,750 to his 401(k) plan and paid a $450 group term life insurance premium.
Not bad! I'm a little surprised he didn't try to max out his 401(k) contribution. The limit was $10,500/year (or something like that) and his company matches a percentage of his contributions. But, hey, that's just me. I'm saving for my retirement on some tropical island.
Anyway, it gets better! In 2002, the Company also paid $113,912 in relocation expenses (that's on top of the $58,943 in relocation expenses for 2001, it says).
He must have had a lot of books to move. I'm pretty sure my relocation was well under the $10,000 limit.
But that's not all. Let's call this mysterious executive "Bob" while I quote from the another section of the document that mentions him.
In March 2001, the Company entered into an agreement with Bob pursuant to which, Bob is entitled to certain reimbursement of relocation expenses, including a mortgage subsidy. In March 2003, the Company entered into a letter agreement with Bob amending the terms of that agreement. Under the terms of the new letter agreement, Bob's base salary for 2003 was reduced to $450,000 and, in lieu of the mortgage subsidy, Bob is entitled to a payment of $23,000 on the first anniversary, $16,000 on the second anniversary and $8,000 upon the third anniversary, of his closing escrow on the purchase of a home in the Bay Area. The payments will be grossed up with respect to taxes payable by Bob and are conditioned upon the continued employment of Bob with the Company.
Must be nice. Pulling down roughly half a million dollar is base salary and at least as much in an annual bonus. Why does a guy making that much cash need help paying for a house?
I have no idea. If I had that kind of cash, I'd be quite content to pay for my own place.
What I do know is that this is typical. (Like I said, I read these documents when they come in the mail.) And it's strange at the same time. You see, I don't know how much any of my co-workers are paid. We may be paid the same. Or maybe they make $30,000/year more than me. Or less. And they probably don't know how much I'm paid. It's a taboo subject at work. And I really don't understand why.
But it's trivial to find out how much Bob and the other's at the top are paid.
Update: I checked Bob's Company's 401(k) policy. It turns out that he did maximize his benefits.
Has anyone ever created a mailing list called reply-all? I think that'd be entertaining. I'm not sure why, but the thought amuses me greatly right now.
Perhaps it's time that I stopped looking at the monitor.
If you look, you'll see a "blog cosmos" section there. It's updated once per hour using my technorati_recent.pl script. You may notice similarities to my opml2html.pl script. I used it as the basis for this one.
Anyway, it's there for the taking. It's a quick but useful hack (for me, at least). Knock yourself out. Send patches if you do something cool--like error handling? :-)
Update: Or I could have waited a few hours and used one the new MT plug-in. Man, that was FAST.
My Dad used to joke that my grandmother suffered from a debilitating mental condition: inertia. We all thought this was funny and true. She had (and still has) a way of arguing for the status quo rather than change. In fact, she's able to spend impressive amounts of time and mental energy thinking about doing (or not doing) whatever it is she's trying to avoid--or at least delay.
Apparently it runs in the family.
After very careful consideration, I've come to the conclusion that my biggest weakness (or one of them) is the ability to simply act. To get off my ass and Just Do It, whatever "it" may be. Instead of doing it, I'll think about doing it. Or I'll put it on the list of other its to do when I actually have time to do them. Or I'll think about all the reasons I shouldn't do it. Or... you get the idea.
It's not a simple matter of procrastination. There's more to it than that. Procrastination is a simple. You just keep not doing it. But I make a mental "project" about not doing it.
It's not a fear of change. At least I don't think it is.
I think I'm just really good at over estimating the amount of stress that something really will cause, time it will take, and so on. Often times I'll spend far more time and energy thinking about it--more than it takes to Just Do It.
Here's a simple example. I've been "almost done" with a chapter of the book for quite a while now. I needed to sit down and put the finishing touches on it so that I can send it to some people for review. And so they can tell me how far from being done I really am. I've been thinking about it off and on for several days now--thinking about how much time it's going to take, because this sort of thing always takes more time that it should.
Well, it didn't. And then I realized that this has happened before. Many times.
Perhaps there's a good way to overcome this problem. I'm not sure what it is or how to go about figuring that out. But maybe by writing about it I'll be just a bit more likely to think less and Just Do It more often.
(And no, this has nothing to do with Nike. Nothing at all.)
The problem reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite books:
Argue for your limitations and sure enough they're yours.
I used to think I really understood that statement. But I'm only now beginning to appreciate it.
Oh, bonus points to anyone who can name the book without the use of a search engine.
I flew a Grob 103 for about 1.5 hours. Two solo flights and one with a friend (Lance) in the back seat. Here are the pictures I took of the Grob on the ground and some from the front seat while flying near Monterey Bay and over Hollister, CA.
Lance took some pictures too, both from his flight with Mike in the ASK-21 and when we flew in the Grob.
The weather wasn't as good as expected. The sea breeze ruined most of the good lift, so I didn't get anywhere close to earning my "B" badge. Maybe next week.
I headed down to Hollister with Lance early on Sunday (yesterday). Saturday had been a truly excellent soaring day, so we had high hopes for today as well. However, on the way down we noticed that no clouds had formed yet. We figured it might be one of those late starting days. My flight reservation for the Grob was from 12:30 - 2:00pm so I wasn't too worried.
We got down, got tow numbers, and started shuffling some gliders around. Lance took 64E but we found the tailwheel was bad and needed to be replaced. So Drew dug up the necessary tools and spare wheel and we set about pulling the old one off and installing the new one.
Once we got Lance's ship ready, Mike had begun preflight checks on the ASK-21. By the time 11:15am had rolled around the guy who had the morning slot for the Grob hadn't arrived, so I took the glider. While doing my preflight, I checked the aircraft log book only to find that it hadn't been in the air since I flew it on Thursday. That really shocked me. Friday and Saturday were amazing days for soaring. If I had even thought there was a chance that the Grob would have been on the ground that long, I'd have reserved it and flown.
Oh, well. Next time I'll call.
Before long, I was pushed out to runway 24 and hoping to find some low lift so I could try for my "B" badge. I took a 2,500 foot tow and released thinking I knew where some lift was. But I didn't. So I ended up back on the ground roughly 12 minutes later with people giving me funny looks -- "Back already?"
I took a break and looked around a bit, trying to decide what to try next. I noticed some clouds forming over Fremont Peak, so I decided that flight #2 should be an attempt to stay aloft out there. Jim seemed to agree that the lift would be better there. The clouds over the east hills just weren't consistent looking.
The tow out to the peak wasn't bad. I finally felt really comfortable flying the Grob. When I arrived at roughly 5,000 feet, I was at the cloud base already, so I released and snuck under the clouds looking for lift. I found sink. Lots of 4-6kt sink and some very spotty and small patches of 2kt lift.
After loosing about 1,200 feet of altitude, I decided to head back closer to the airport. I nosed down to L/D speed and flew several miles closer to the field. I was flying roughly 60kts but the GPS told me I was going over 80mph, so I had a decent tail wind. And my computed glide ratio was hovering around 26:1.
I took a quick detour over a bit of the city to see if there was any lift. None. So I headed to the east side of the airport, hoping that the dark plowed fields would be working. I found a bit of 2kt lift and was able to gain maybe 300 feet before falling out of it. Grr. After a few more minutes, I headed in to land.
As usual, I found great lift in the pattern. Consistent 4-6kt lift for at least 30-45 seconds on downwind to base. That had me high on final, so I ended up using full spoilers almost the whole way down from there.
Back on the ground, I confirmed that nobody else was finding anything either. Only Russell, flying the Duo Discus, had any luck. He had been in the air over two hours and showed no sign of coming down.
I took a break, had some lunch and waited to see if someone else would show up to claim the Grob. 2:00pm came and went and I still had the glider, so Lance and I headed back up around 2:30. Since there wasn't much good lift, we decided to take advantage of the cloudless sky. We took a high tow (5,500 feet) toward Monterey Bay.
We found no lift out there, but we also found no sink either. It was a smooth ride of 200fpm down. I took a few pictures and so did Lance. He got to try flying the Grob from the back seat and found it to be quite easy.
Having flown another 1.5 hours in the Grob, I'm feeling a lot more comfortable in it. I suspect that with a few more flights it won't be any harder than flying the ASK-21 (in which I've logged 12-15 flights).
I also used my GPS to try logging each of my flights. Now I need to learn the software well enough to post images of my flight paths.
Hopefully the soaring conditions will be better next weekend. I really wanted to get that "B" badge. Oh, well. It was a fun day.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if the blog world completely ignored Google for a few days?
The weather today was too good to pass up. I finally got back into the swing of things. It was a short ride but quite nice. I took my GPS along to track the route but had reception problems. I need to rig up some sort of bike mounting for the GPS 'cause it doesn't do so well in my pocket.
This speaks for itself:
A Nielsen/NetRatings survey of 36,000 Internet users found that Web surfers who download music from song-swapping sites are more likely to buy music online and in stores, than non-swappers. The research indicates that in the past three months, online music enthusiasts (defined as people who'd downloaded music in the past 30 days) were 111% more likely to buy rap music than the average Internet user. They were also 106% more likely to have purchased dance and club music and 77% more likely to have bought alternative rock than their average online counterparts. R&B, soul music and rock rounded out the top five genres favored by music fans. Greg Bloom, a senior analyst at Nielsen/NetRatings, says that understanding the preferences of online music enthusiasts may help recording executives in their attempts to promote their own, legitimate services: "The de facto standard may be a few years away, but understanding the genres of music that sell well online and offline will be crucial to generating revenue along the way."
Are you acting stupid on purpose? Maybe to lure your competitors (you know, the ones kicking your ass in the growing Linux market) into a false sense of security?
No, wait. That can't be it. Because the words you speak do a good job of matching what Sun's actually doing about Linux: not much.
In this article, I'm particularly amused by a few quotes.
"We think the big winner with Linux will be on the desktop," said Scott McNealy during a Q&A session at Forrester Research's technology and finance conference here.
Heh, okay. Do you care to explain how that's going to happen and how Sun will be taking advantage of it?
"The real challenge for Sun," he conceded, is that it was "late to x86," referring to Sun's decision last year to support Intel's x86 processor architecture with its non-SPARC processor platforms.
Yeah, right. That's your problem. Missing the x86 boat. Whatever.
Why don't you just tell people what they already know instead of shifting the focus away from your company's obvious problems? You underestimated Linux and Linux on x86. You bought a company with expertise in that area but it doesn't appear to have been given a chance to flourish as part of Sun. Sure, the LX50 is great, but it's an isolated product that was far, far too late to market.
Sun customers are all looking at Linux as a replacement for Solaris. What are you doing to help that process? Telling them "yes, you can run Linux software on Solaris!" Somehow, I don't think that's what they had in mind. It's shame that they're going to non-Sun companies for the help, isn't it?
And when are you going to wrap your brain around how important Linux is to one of Sun's more important technologies? You know, the Java programming language?
LinkedIn is focused on professionals and work. Friendster is focused on personal relationships--friends, dating, etc. I think they're both obvious uses of all this network technology we're sitting on. It's going to be very interesting to see how they evolve.
Is one of those concepts somehow a more "natural" fit for the web? I don't know, but now I'm thinking about it more.
Do these qualify as Social Software? I think so. But not quite the kind that Clay wrote about--not yet at least.
(Disclaimer: I've met the man behind Friendster and have helped out in some very small ways.)
Update: Okay, I've played with LinkedIn a bit more. Very cool. It's a cross between a job search site and Friendster and ... something else that I haven't quite put my finger on.
Is is just me, or is there suddenly (okay not so suddenly, but still) a lot of cool stuff going on out there? I thought so.
Wow, I take one day off to go flying (and catch up on some writing and not think about work), so of course some interesting headlines appear while I'm not paying any attention. Let's see...
Perhaps I should take time off more often.
I also found out that the big move at work has been postponed because we may be using a fifth building soon. Hmm.
For some reason, it has begun recording 30 minute shows in 40 minute blocks. This is very strange. I guess I'll see if it's still doing this tomorrow.
I headed down to Hollister this morning to fly with Jim in the hopes of getting signed off to fly BASA's Grob G 103. The weather was a little chaotic (changing ever 10 minutes) but it was good enough.
I spent about 25 minutes on my pre-flight checks. Jim and I chatted about my previous Grob experience and then headed up. We had a 5-10kt headwind coming almost straight down runway 24.
The first flight was short. We had hoped that the blue hole we saw earlier would still be open, but the clouds got in the way. I got off tow at 1,700 feet as we were getting close to clouds. We flew around a bit and I then tried thermaling. It was hit and miss. I was still getting the feel for the Grob again and kept slowing down in my turns. I caught a bit of lift. Jim pointed me at some clouds near a small rain storm and suggested that we might find lift there. But we were getting low--maybe 1,500 feet. I headed there but only found 6kt sink on the way, so getting low I turned back toward the airport. It was farther away than I expected. We had no altitude for a pattern, so I lined up with the runway and flew a straight-in final. The landing wasn't bad. I didn't get the tail down as far as I should have. It's hard to unlearn all that 2-32 training.
For our second flight, we headed out toward Monterey Bay and hoped to find a nice blue area into which we could climb. We did. We towed to 4,200 feet. Once off tow, we worked on stalls, incipient spins, and slips. We tried a bit more thermaling near the airport but didn't get too lucky. This time I had enough altitude for a mid-field pattern entry for 24.
For our third and final fight, we again headed toward the water and found a blue spot. On tow, Jim ran me thru a bunch of slack rope tests. The first few were rough but I got the hang of it again. That was a relief after my last attempt with Drew a few weeks ago. Once off tow, we did a few more incipient spins and slips. Jim then let me fly where I waned for a bit. He asked me to plan on an entry on the 45 for runway 24 and a no-spoiler landing. (Well, a no-spoiler pattern. I could use 'em near the ground.) I ended up flying a sloppy pattern because it was a bit more difficult than I expected to get the Grob in a good slip and hold it there. We ended up high when turning base to final, so Jim helped me work it into a really good slip. The next thing I knew, we were low off the end of the runway. When I came out of the slip, I didn't get the speed up right away, so Jim dove us down low to pick up speed and avoid any sink. Then we snuck over the fence and landed on 24.
Once back on the ground, we talked about the last pattern and landing. We discussed how I needed to slip better sooner and to make sure that I used left slips in a left pattern. Then Jim asked if I was comfortable flying the Grob. I explained that I still have to spend more brain power thinking about what I'm doing when I fly it, but yes, I am comfortable flying it.
We took care of the necessary paperwork (log book and BASA check sheet), then I parked and tied down the glider with the help of Kyle (the newest tow pilot). When I got home, I called Stan (the BASA flight committee chair) to let him know. My plan is to fly it again on Sunday--either solo or with another pilot in the back.
Sometimes I worry that I'm becoming one of those grizzly old Unix geeks that gets sick of all the young kids who are invading what used to be great technical mailing lists. Some people just don't get it. There are fairly basic rules that, when followed, go a long way toward making mailing lists useful communities for everyone involved.
I'm considering setting up a standard reply to messages posted by people who obviously need help. I probably won't, but if I did it would contain a few simple suggestions.
It's really not that hard. These people just don't realize how much work they're expecting a group of strangers to do for them. In some cases it's downright rude.
Now I'm no Star Trek nut, but what the heck is with this? Borg drones on Enterprise? Doesn't this seriously mess up the story line of The Next Generation? I thought that Starfleet had no contact with the Borg before their encounter.
I mean, I'm the biggest fan of the Borg, but that's just too strange. Maybe this is how they're gonna spruce up the show.
Update: I jumped the gun. I posted that having only seen the first 10 minutes. That was one of the best episodes yet. I take back what I said. The didn't screw up the time line the way I expected.
You've been black-holed from my server. You've been fetching the same non-changing web pages over and over for no good reason. Did you think I wouldn't notice?
By reading this
story and the associated resources, you can get a reasonably good
idea of what it takes to get cash out of your favorite
If you don't have the time or energy for that, consider just having fun with them next time they call.
I'm trying to memorize the speeds I should know when flying a Grob G 103. Yeah, most of them are color coded on the altimeter, but I figure that I really ought to know them.
The front and back seat weight limits are both 242 lbs.
Somehow I ended up on Microsoft's web site. I clicked around and found some on-line quizzes.
Find out how smart you really are by taking the Faster Smarter Online Challenge. You may enter the sweepstakes once per quiz. The more quizzes you play, the better your chances to win a digital camera or other cool prizes!
Oh boy! I wanna win!
I clicked on quiz #3 (Internet) because I think I know something about the Internet--maybe even as much as Bill himself.
It required a plug-in. The window that popped up had the title Faster Smarter Internet. Click the image at the right to see for yourself.
Riiiiight. Yeah, those guys up in Redmond really do get the Internet, don't they?
I guess I failed the quiz. You win, Bill. I'm not worthy.
This might be fun as long as you don't cross the streams.
There's some stuff that I've been meaning to check out. But I haven't had a chance yet:
Well, at least I can close all those browser windows know. I'll let the blog remember.
I don't remember how I came across them, but I wish I took pictures this nice.
Always verify that the bug exists before you go looking for the cause.
I just finished tracking down a bug that boiled down to one of two things, depending how you interpret the situation: (1) wrong expectations, or (2) not understanding the algorithm.
Instead of verifying the bug, I set off looking for the cause. After quite a while I felt no closer to finding it, so I decided to attack it in reverse. In doing so, I convinced myself that the output was correct. Then I was able to explain it to the person who reported the bug to me and all was well.
In this particular case, the code was relatively young. I wrote it a month or two back to generate the "related search" feature on Yahoo Search. For example, when you search for "jeremy" you'll see several related searches at the top of the result page.
The algorithm is really quite powerful and produces some fascinating insights. I implemented and tuned it, I did not invent it.
Anyhoo, part of the problem was that the code normally works with millions and millions of lines of input (and may take days to finish). But the test case that "proved" the bug contained maybe 20 lines on input. In working with millions of lines of input, there's a lot of noise that we throw out. You see, the haystack in which the needle is buried also contains a fair amount of dung. But the dung threshold for millions of lines of input is vastly different from what you'd use for 20 lines of input.
The net result was that the 20-line run produced less data than expected, even though the code was doing just was it was designed to do.
Had I spent 5 minutes up front doing a sanity check, I'd have noticed the "bug" quite a while ago.
Lesson learned. Verify bug first, then look for bug cause.
I was running some MySQL benchmarks the other day to test performance with a small (mostly static) database and a big query cache. Imagine my surprise when I was able to get over 20,000 queries per second.
Here's the best part--the hardware is over two years old.
Yup. The MySQL box was a Dual P3-933 with 1GB RAM and some 10k RPM SCSI disks in a RAID-5 setup. (Not that the disks mattered at all.) It was running MySQL 4.0.12 on RedHat 9.0 with the 2.4.20-6smp kernel.
Now, where can I find a dual 2.4GHz machine on which to repeat the test... :-)
Update: It looks like I'll be able to run the test on a dual 2.8GHz FreeBSD 4.8 box in the next couple of days. Excellent.
In roughly three weeks I'll be changing jobs. I'd explain the story behind the change (well, some of it), what the new job entails, and what the alternatives were but I have about ten other things I ought to do first. So I'll just let you wonder for a while--if you're the wondering type, that is. If not, good--you have a life.
If you read my blog on a regular basis
I pity you
you may have noticed a disgruntled tone in recent months about work.
that was just general work
bitching that everyone does now and then. Some of
it was not. The good news is that I'll have completely new things
to complain about in a few weeks (hopefully not as many) and different
people to complain to. It's sure to be an adventure.
Oh. I almost forgot. This is sort of an experiment to see how many people at work manage to find out as the result of my blog rather than more traditional means. I sometimes think that my coworkers pay more attention to stuff I write in public (like my blog) than stuff I write on our internal mailing lists. Don't ask me to speculate about why that is.
Gee, and I thought I'd have nothing to post today. :-)
As listed on the the IGC's news page:
Klaus Ohlmann (Germany) and his co-pilot Karl Rabeder (Austria) have claimed a fantastic world record in the subclass DO (open class glider) for a flight in the waves of the Andes on January 1, 2003: 3008.8 km over a free distance round 3 turn points.
All I can say is "holy crap!" That's too cool.
Whlie at the airport today, I booked some time with Jim to hopefully complete my checkout in BASA's Grob 103 "15Mike". I have something like five flights in it already but some were a bit low and brief. And two of them were poorly exectued slack line tests. Very poorly.
I've since thought a lot more about slack line and am ready to try again. Hopefully all goes well.
I do need to study the flight manual a bit more and commit some of the critical speeds to memory.
Anyway, Thursday is the day. I'm hoping the weather will be decent. But it's a bit too soon to tell now.
Today I didn't fly but I did head down to Hollister for a 1.25 hour class. Russell Holtz taught a class of 10 about Thermaling Basics. He covered the four basic skills that every good glider pilot needs to thermal successfully.
The bulk of the time was spent on the last item. We went thru many examples to show how the simple thermaling algorithm presented in the SSA books actually works. And it does.
While little of the material was new, I enjoyed having it all in one does. Russell and Hugo (a DG-800 pilot who was in the class) dispensed some good tips and wisdom along the way.
Yes, I've bitched about this before, but it's still happening and it's still stupidly annoying.
Apple, are you listening?
Nope. Didn't think so.
My "Software Update" just suggested I install QuickTime 6.2 because "This update is recommended for users of iTunes 4." Huh? QuickTime (video software) used with iTunes. That's not terribly intuitive. But if they want to bundle AAC audio support with QuickTime rather than iTunes, so be it. But don't tell me I must reboot in the process. That's just plain stupid. This is Unix under the hood, right? Is this an AAC kernel module, or what?
Now I understand why people have a love/hate relationships with their Macs. Apple drives them nuts often enough to make it happen.
I love iTunes and the new Apple Music store. Yes, I complained about it but I've actually used it a bit more and am very fond about it. I plan to do a small write-up on it soon. But right now I'm pissed at Apple. Last night I was in love with Apple and how fucking brilliant the music store is.
One more note, Apple. Please make URLs that are easy to guess. I first tried music.apple.com only to find that I didn't exist. I had to use www.apple.com/music instead. It's not hard to make both work. Really. Having things work on the first guess is part of what makes Apple stuff cool. Please extend that to your web site.
A few weeks ago when I was in New York and stayed at Derek's place, he did a very, very bad thing. He demonstrated is Oster breadmaker by making some bread. And I loved it. (I think that Kasia had some too, but I ate a lot of it.) I've always liked fresh bread, and I probably ate 1/2 the loaf myself.
So now I want a breadmaker. I've heard a lot of good things about Oster breadmakers (that's the brand Derek had too), so I did the obvious thing: check Amazon. There are two models they carry right now (5834 and 5838). The reviews are both are generally positive.
I don't want to necessarily limit my hunt to Oster and especially not to just two models. I'm sure some of the folks reading my blog have breadmakers they really like. I know that Josh does.
So, what do you recommend? What features are most important in a breadmaker?
While we're on the topic, what are your favorite brands and varieties of bread mixes? Do you have a favorite recipe or ingredient that you toss in the mix?
Many months ago I went looking for a solution that'd work with Exim and Courier to provide POP before SMTP mail relaying for an ISP with 15,000 accounts. After a lot of searching, I stumbled upon exact and am glad to report that it works most excellently. There were a few bugs to iron out on Solaris, but the author was very responsive and helpful.
This was difficult enough to find that I figured I should blog it. Doing so may increase someone else's change of finding it in the future.
Last September, I wrote entry that became quite popular. In FreeBSD or Linux for your MySQL Server? I detailed some of the reasons that led me to recommend Linux over FreeBSD for MySQL servers at Yahoo. You may have also noticed my Solved: MySQL, FreeBSD, and LinuxThreads post back in October. Many people have e-mailed me recently to ask if the old posting is still accurate. A lot has changed since then and I'm writing this as a brief follow-up.
MySQL now runs very well on FreeBSD. I'm no longer steering people toward Linux. There are two important things you should do to make the FreeBSD/MySQL combo work well: (1) build MySQL with LinuxThreads rather than FreeBSD's native threads, and (2) use MySQL 4.x or newer. For more details, keep reading.
By building MySQL with LinuxThreads support (easy to do with the mysql40-server from the ports collection), you'll end up with a recent version of MySQL that doesn't suffer from any of the problems I described in my previous notes.
Many months back, one of Yahoo's uber-hackers contacted me to volunteer his time toward making MySQL run as well on FreeBSD as it does on Linux. After a few weeks time of tracking down a few bugs, we reached that goal.
The problem of MySQL threads not "noticing" that they were killed turned out to be bug in the FreeBSD kernel. That bug has been patched in FreeBSD 5.0. There's a work-around in the MySQL 4.0 source and beyond. It was never back-ported to 3.23, but it wouldn't be hard. Simply look for "Yahoo!" in the vio/vio.c file of MySQL's source tree to see what was necessary. I think the same bug was responsible for the wait_timeout not working correctly when using LinuxThreads.
The problem of MySQL occasionally thinking that all databases had vanished resulted from FreeBSD's non-threadsafe implementation of realpath(). The solution, as mentioned earlier, is to compile MySQL with the -DHAVE_BROKEN_REALPATH option. MySQL's configure script has been updated to do that automatically on FreeBSD systems. And a new implementation of realpath() was recently committed to FreeBSD's CVS repository.
About two weeks ago, I was contacted by Ian Failes (email@example.com), who was conducting some e-mail based interviews about blogging. He asked me a series of questions and I responded. I asked him if he minded me posting them to my blog. He said he didn't mind, so here are his questions and my responses.
1. Why did you start a blog?
Jon Udell suggested it last year during a conference call. I no longer remember the details but it was somehow related to Linux Magazine. I'm good friends with Adam Goodman (the owner and publisher) and I've written for LM regularly for a while now. He got me and Jon on the phone to talk about blogs or something related to blogging.
2. Do you know how many people visit your site and blog, and what types of people they are?
I have a guess. I'd say that on a weekly basis, roughly 400 people read my blog (or parts of it). A lot more people read it on a less regular basis. I suspect that most of them are techies or friends of mine (or both).
3. What kinds of things do you put in your blog (ie. are they personal things or things you would like to share with others, or are they observations about the world you live in)?
I tend to blog about a variety of stuff. Some days it's technical tips about MySQL, other times it's a rant about work, still other times I'll just write to say I'm doing laundry. I do draw the line at some personal things, of course.
I started with the intent of blogging about techie stuff but quickly found it natural to write about whatever I felt like saying.
4. Why do you think bloggers are prepared to be personal in their blogs?
It's hard to say. Some people are just naturally open about themselves. Others like talking to a semi-unknown audience. They'll tell things that they don't even discuss with the close friends and family. I'm sure that some of them just want attention.
5. Why do you think readers of blogs read them?
Sometimes I wonder. :-)
Seriously, my friends read to find out what I'm up to. Everyone else probably reads because they find some percentage of what I say useful, interesting, entertaining, or otherwise worthwhile. At least that's my hope.
6. What kind of blogging sites, if any, do you like to visit? Why?
I subscribe to and read between 100 and 150 blogs every day. Many are other tech blogs, friends of mine, or people who've linked to me in the past. The blogroll on the right side of my blog home page is usually up-to-date.
7. Do you think that blogs will remain an individual and person thing or do you think it will become a way for companies or professionals to express themselves too, or is this already happening?
I'm not sure. I've been anxiously awaiting the evolution of "corporate blogging" but it's difficult to know how it will unfold. Jon has done a good job of tracking CxO (CIO, CEO, CTO, etc.) blogs. He ends up adding new ones to the "CxO bloggers" box on his blog when they surface. Right now they're mostly from tech companies. That's no surprise.
The big issue is whether or not corporate PR organizations are willing to the the CxO speak frankly and directly to the rest of the world. I suspect that most PR folks will fight it. Like many things, we'll need a critical mass of adoption to showcase the real benefits of corporate blogging.
8. Are there any problems that you foresee with blogging happening now or in the future?
There are many problems with blogging today, some technical and some social.
The technical problems center around making blog tools more accessible to non-techies and providing clean and simple mechanisms for cross-blog communication, like TrackBack. As time goes on, both will get better and better.
The social issues are a bit more interesting. What's safe to blog about and what's not? Why? Can you be fired for saying something bad about your employer or co-workers? Do you blog differently if you know your Mom is reading your posts?
I wrote about this a while back and got some interesting responses. Unfortunately, the best ones were via private e-mail and will remain that way. Suffice it to say, some companies and some families aren't as receptive to blogging as others.
9. What do you think blogging will be like in the next 2-5 years?
Blogging will have become mainstream. AOL and Yahoo will have blogging integrated (to some degree or another) in their services. Search engines may very well deal with blogs differently than they do now. Scott's Feedster is a preview of what's to come.
Expect to see blogging and annotations appear on popular news sites.
Beyond that, who knows. Those are the things I'm expecting to see. Maybe it'll become integrated with popular instant messaging systems too?
10. Is blogging just the modern version of 'dear diary'?
Not at all. Blogs, by nature, are both public and linked. Their power and popularity come from the human need to form communities. Some people think of their blog as an "on-line diary" but it's so much more than that.
NetFlix sent me the two Bill & Ted movies recently. Why? They were on my list. I like watching stupid movies once in a while. They're rather entertaining to have on as background noise when I'm doing other stuff on a rainy Saturday.
Next up: Shadowlands. I don't remember who recommended it anymore. But that's the great thing about NetFlix. Every time someone suggests a movie I just stick it on my queue.
Wow, it's raining like mad right now. Very cool. I like rain (and thunder) storms in the spring. To bad we don't get many thunderstorms around these parts.
Why is today moving so slowly? It feels like I've been at work for 18 hours. And I'm tired. It doesn't feel like a Friday at all.
A couple weeks ago I took some friends flying and they brought along a kick ass little Sony DV camera. I borrowed the camera to suck the 44 minutes of video onto the TiBook and play with iMovie a bit.
After a visit to Fry's to buy a 120GB external FireWire/USB drive (I ran out of space), I had 8.5GB of video sitting on the Mac. So I messed around with iMovie long enough to figure out the basics (but not much more).
Just for fun, I've created a movie of a glider takeoff. I was flying the glider. Jeffrey Friedl ran the camera and his wife, Fumie, and her Mom were in the back seat of the glider.
I call this creation "Glider Takeoff" because that's exactly what
it is. Here it
is. It's a little big (
16MB52MB), so if you're not on a high-speed
connection, don't bother. I'll do a low-bandwidth version if anyone
really wants to see it.
Don't go too hard on the filming technique or the my lack of iMovie skills.
I have over 44 minutes of video, so I'll try to do something a little more interesting for my next movie. Most of the film is in-cockpit flying, so that could be fun.
Update: My updload failed. The whole movie is not there. Fixing that now, but it'll take time.
Update #2: The whole movie is on-line now.
Well, a month and a half later the eagerly awaited (cough, cough, gag...) innovation contest winner was announced.
It amuses me greatly.
No, I'm not going to reveal the winning idea. That'd be a Bad Idea. I will say that I know someone who has been working to build a business around it for 2-3 years now and it's finally picking up some steam. But I won't spoil the fun and tell anyone at work that it's not really "innovative" if someone else is doing it (and has been for quite a while).
(Oh, wait. I think some of my coworkers read this.)
At least they found a way to get rid of that stereo. :-)