This is too funny:
A man described by authorities as a known sexual predator was chased through the streets of South Philadelphia by an angry crowd of Catholic high school girls, who kicked and punched him after he was tackled by neighbors, police said Friday.
Or, as Brandt said:
...the girls at the school were sick of his act so when he tried again yesterday twenty of them chased him down and with the help of two neighbors kicked the shit out of him.
According to TheStreet.com:
The enormously successful Google recently indicated that it hoped to go public sometime early next year. People familiar with the talks said the IPO could be worth between $15 billion and $25 billion, making it one of the biggest in history, with a 10% to 15% stake in the company up for sale.
Okay, if 10%-15% of Google is worth between $15-$25 billion, that makes the market cap range anywhere from $100-$250 billion.
According to my figures, Microsoft is worth $283 billion today. And they don't even have $100 billion in the bank, so they'd have to bust out some serious stock to buy Google if they think that's a reasonable valuation.
Does anyone else get the feeling that the mini-bubble is inflating more and more?
It's funny, in a way. Imagine how much Microsoft would be paying for a whole bunch of Linux machines.
Well, I'm back in California and mostly unpacked and the cats are very happy to see me. Now I get to figure out how my body will adapt to the home time zone again.
The first rule of Murphy's Law is that you do not blog about Murphy's Law while out of the country.
Let me repeat that.
The first rule of Murphy's Law is that you do not blog about Murphy's Law while out of the country.
It's sort of like the most important rule of Happy Fun Ball: Do Not Taunt Happy Fun Ball
I apparently taunted Murphy.
Here's what happened...
Three of us headed out a bit before lunch time to do some electronics shopping. I got a cool little video camera and some Compact Flash memory. Arturo did the same and more.
But part way through our journey, I stepped down off a curb only to find that the curb was twice as high as I thought. Needless to say, the outcome was not pleasant. My right ankle and foot are not royally pissed off.
The kicker is that this is the same injury I've had three times before on the same ankle and foot.
The only good part (aside from the cool new toys) is that my body is way more focused on my injury. So the runny nose (cold/SARS/whatever) is much less of an issue.
I'm tempted to add a "murphy" category to my weblog. Why? Because
he strikes so frequently. Take, for example, now. I'm giving two
back-to-back talks this afternoon at Y! Taiwan. There's nothing wrong
with that except for the fact that I have a runny nose from the
SARS cold I caught in either Japan or Korea.
The good news is that we fly home tonight. The bad news is that it means spending 11 hours on a plane with a runny nose. But it'll be good to be back home anyway.
Looking out a window in the Y! Taiwan office, there's a sign that says exactly that. I have to wonder what they really think about business persons.
I'm sitting in a conference room in the Yahoo! Taiwan office in Taipei. It took a bit of futzing, but we managed to get on the network. The flight from Korea was just over 2 hours and a bit bumpy.
Presentations start soon. I'm giving mine tomorrow, after Rasmus. It's gonna be a busy 1.5 days, but hopefully we'll get a chance to sneak out at night and go RAM shopping. :-)
Anyone need some cheap memory?
A novelty dog toy which breaks wind as it bends over has sparked a major security alert at a US airport. Page designer Dave Rogerson said he could not believe what was happening to him when the life-size mechanical terrier set off an explosives detector at Norfolk airport in Virginia.
I don't know what's more amusing:
Man, I need a way to run polls on my blog. That'd be cool.
Got in last night after a 2 hour flight from Japan. Now (Monday morning) I'm in the first half of our all-day session. My talks are after lunch. Early tomorrow morning we'll head to Taiwan for two days.
More good talks, good food, good drinks, and good people. Lots of fun. I don't have time to write up much more at the moment, but I've updated the pictures with the latest.
Tomorrow (Saturday) morning, some folks are heading to the Tokyo Auto Show, some to the fish market, and a few of us go to Akihabara to go gadget shopping.
Guess which group I'm in... :-)
That's all for now. Oh, here's a picture of my last post form the Zaurus. How cool is that?
On Sunday we fly to Korea and will be staying at The Oakwood. Then on Tuesday we head to Taiwan.
I am posting this from a Sharp Zaurus in the Living Bar in Japan.
This thing is attracting a lot of attention. I really really really want me one of these!!!
I will ppost a pic later.
Well, this is rather cool, wouldn't you say?
A significant extension of our groundbreaking Look Inside the Book feature, Search Inside the Book allows you to search millions of pages to find exactly the book you want to buy. Now instead of just displaying books whose title, author, or publisher-provided keywords match your search terms, your search results will surface titles based on every word inside the book. Using Search Inside the Book is as simple as running an Amazon.com search.
Lots of good talks today. From the point of view of a US engineer, it was an especially interesting day. Why? Because most of the day was taken up by representatives from each of the non-US properties talking about what they've been up to, problems they're having, and so on.
We got to hear from:
After the formal presentations were over, a group of us headed out in the rain to search for dinner. We found excellent food. And then managed to wind up in a British pub. Don't ask.
If I lived in Japan, I could have have a 26Mbit DSL connection via Yahoo! BroadBand (Y! BB). Holy crap!
What's it cost, you wonder? A bit less than my 1.5Mbit DSL or 3Mbit Cable in the US.
Think about it this way. In the 20-30 seconds it normally takes to establish a dial-up connection and get an IP address, you could have downloaded 60MB worth of data.
If you don't live close to the central office, you have to suffer with the slower DSL connections: 12Mbit, 10Mbit, or 6Mbit.
Oh, the pain...
I just saw an engineer take his watch off, untuck a small USB cable, and pass it to another. The second guy plugged the watch into his notebook.
I'm a little stunned and puzzled by this. I suddenly feel like I've been living in an electronics junk yard. What are these USB watches? Do they just store data (like a keychain "disk")? Contact lists? Porn?
I need to look into this. I also need to get out and around here to see what other cool miniature toys people are playing with. Japan always has amazingly cool and small toys.
The network connection we're using during the development conference in Japan is provided by Y! Japan BroadBand. No surprise there. The real surprise came when I switched over to a terminal and typed:
$ lynx http://google.com/
Google "helpfully" noticed that I'm in Japan and sent me to their Japanese site. The problem with this, of course, is that I neither read or speak Japanese.
The solution is quite simple:
$ lynx http://search.yahoo.com/
Using Yahoo! Search gives me an English with a Google back-end. Remarkably, that's what I was expecting Google to provide for me.
The lesson here is that IP-based geo-targeting doesn't always do what you expect. Is it really intended to be a substitute for proper branding and marketing of www.google.co.jp? Beats me. Are the Japanese too dumb to try visiting a native language site on their own? I think not. Maybe Google does?
Update: Retarded. If I accept Google's cookies it works. But when I block them I end up on the Japanese site. Why on earth are cookies necessary when a simple redirect will do? I dunno.
Day #2 went well. I did my ~1.5 hours of MySQL presentations in the afternoon. (Rasmus did PHP in the morning.) Initial feedback is good except for the fact that I spoke too quickly during the first talk. Luckily someone reminded me to slow down for the second one.
In the evening, we headed downstairs to celebrate the Y! Japan earnings announcement (they kicked some ass). All the non-Japan folks got to stand up on stage to get recognized. However, the food ran out quickly, so a group of us headed out to a local bar called the Cavern Club which had a Beatles cover/tribute band called the Silver Beats performing. Read more about them here. They were pretty entertaining.
One of the locals at a table next to us was amusing as hell. He was really getting into the show. The picture at the left is Arturo and the crazy guy.
More pics are in the gallery.
I've not been checking referer logs much this week (duh), but Tara Calishain and Anna Featherstone pinged me to say that the Sydney Morning Herald recently picked up on the announcement.
The first day of stuff at Y! Japan is over. We ended the day with a nice welcome reception/party that just ended a bit ago. And I had a few Japanese beers, which is always a good thing.
The day went well. The network flaked out once, but it was fixed pretty quickly. I'm getting a chance to meet people that I've only known by name (if at all) from various other offices, including Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and even London.
And food is good too. I really had forgotten how much flavor there is in Japanese food.
Oh, and the funniest thing that happened today--I was chatting with one of our international engineers and he told me that he'd been reading my blog since before he started at Yahoo. I don't know why that surprised me (I know of a good number of folks at work who read this junk), but it probably had something to do with the fact that it was happening half way around the world.
Okay, so it's not "ha ha" funny. Sue me.
I've begun posting pictures from the trip here. I'll add to them as the week progresses. Some of them suck, 'cause I haven't had chance to filter or rotate them quite yet. One of the best so far is this one. From the Y! Japan offices, you get to look down on the Excite billboard. Heh. That's fitting.
Oh, Rasmus has posted some pics too.
I just woke up. It's 4:45am. I don't get this at all. I went to bed at 11pm very tired.
Maybe I'll get back to sleep after checking mail and stuff?
Update: It worked. I slept until 6:30 or so. That's a bit more reasonable.
We made it. There was a long line at Customs and then an even longer ride to the hotel from the airport. But we made it. I stayed awake the whole time. It's now 10:30pm here but my body thinks it is 6:30am. We just got back from dinner a bit ago and I've done minimal unpacking. I'm way tired and heading to bed.
This hotel room kicks ass. In-room internet access works flawlessly. Notice the flood of blog postings, have you? The TV is amazing. It's so nice, new, and fancy. I really ought to take some pictures, except that my crap is already all over the room.
Oh, well. The bed is calling.
For some reason I'm completely incapable of managing my e-mail. Most of the time it's not an issue, but every once in a while I end up missing something important.
Stranger yet, the only time I seem to ever do a really good job of cleaning up my INBOX is when I'm suck on a plane for several hours (thankfully with laptop power at the seat--yeay American Airlines). So now I'm replying to 2-3 month old messages to explain that I'm lame and sorry for taking so long to reply.
Perhaps the solution to my problem is that I simply need to fly places (as a passenger) more often.
... 3.5 hours pass ...
I've managed to delete 744 of the 1,247 messages my INBOX. I've also sent 28 that exim has queued up, awaiting a network connection. Perhaps this ratio tells me that I need to better utilize the D" key on my keyboard.
I'm always amazed when I learn something new about a tool that I've been using for a rather long time. Take for example, cron. Not your run of the mill, everyday cron. I'm talking about the smarter cron that comes with most Linux distributions nowadays: Vixie cron.
(Vixie cron is named after Paul Vixie, the creator of BIND and other Unix goodness.)
While looking at the manual page for the crontab file format, I discovered a chunk that I'd never seen before:
Instead of the first five fields, one of eight special strings may appear: string meaning ------ ------- @reboot Run once, at startup. @yearly Run once a year, "0 0 1 1 *". @annually (same as @yearly) @monthly Run once a month, "0 0 1 * *". @weekly Run once a week, "0 0 * * 0". @daily Run once a day, "0 0 * * *". @midnight (same as @daily) @hourly Run once an hour, "0 * * * *".
Hmm. @reboot. Isn't that handy. There's an easy way to give users the ability to run something at boot time without root access.
Well, I'm about 4 of the 11 hours to Japan. And I finally busted out the iPod. But it did something that I've seen once or twice before. The backlight decided to just stay on until I actually turned it off. The weird thing is that since the first day I bought it, I've had it configured to automatically shut off after 5 minutes.
Every once in a while, though, it does this.
Anyone else have this problem?
FWIW, I'm running the latest software and it's a 20GB model that's about 10 months old.
Damn. I get to San Jose airport at 9:30am for my 12:15pm flight to Tokyo. I'm thru security and checked in at 10am. But there's no WiFi signal down here near gates A1-A, A1-B, and A1-c.
Oh, well. I'll just post this really late.
I don't have a seat on the plan either. They oversold business class so I have to wait for a ticket/gate agent to see if they can either bump me up or knock me down.
On the plus side, there's nobody here yet, so I had no trouble getting a seat near power.
Update: Oh, the ticket agent showed up way early. I now have seat 14H (isle). Excellent.
For as long as I can remember using procmail, I've been keeping a complete archive of my incoming e-mail that's separate for my working copy. Essentially, what I have is a rule like this at the very top of my ~/.procmailrc file:
# Backup all mail before processing... :0 c $HOME/archive/mail/ARCHIVE-`date "+%Y-%m"`
I did that so that I'd always have a copy of my mail in case something went wrong in the filtering process. Every month I'd go thru and compress the monthly archive for safe but compact keeping.
I just compressed the mailbox for September 2003. The original size was 817MB. The compressed size is 447MB. Yes, I'm getting a bit more mail than I used to (thanks, spammers!) but that's barely a 2:1 ratio! I used to see between 8:1 and 10:1.
$ du -sh ARCHIVE-2003-* 41M ARCHIVE-2003-01.bz2 29M ARCHIVE-2003-02.bz2 35M ARCHIVE-2003-03.bz2 35M ARCHIVE-2003-04.bz2 71M ARCHIVE-2003-05.bz2 60M ARCHIVE-2003-06.bz2 63M ARCHIVE-2003-07.bz2 186M ARCHIVE-2003-08.bz2 447M ARCHIVE-2003-09.gz
Ah, yes. Notice the dramatic increase in recent months? I suspect this is largely due to the gibberish that spammers have introduced in their messages to throw off the bayesian filters.
Also, notice that I used gzip this time rather than bzip2. I tried bzip2 but killed it after it wasn't done 90 minutes later. gzip, of course, finished the job in under 20 minutes. No surprise. I've learned this lesson before.
As of 10 minutes ago, I've moved the "keep a copy of every message" procmail rule so that it's run after SpamAssassin and SpamBayes have their chances to weigh in on the likelihood that the message is spam.
Okay, Tim Bray has posted one of the more amusing entries I've read in a while: Debbie Does BitTorrent.
So I clicked "Go" and BitTorrent connected to fifteen "peers" and began to slog through Debbie at an average of about 30K/second, and pretty soon began to upload to others at about twice that. Then it did the time estimate and told me it would be done in six hours or so, so I went to bed. When the alarm went off it was just finishing up, and the numbers were consistent, it'd downloaded a gig and uploaded about twice as much to my PornoPeers. Foggy-eyed and pre-coffee, purely in the spirit of experimental verification I clicked on DDD.avi and Quicktime emitted some incomprehensible gibberish about the wrong coder or the wrong version and sorry 'bout that, and shut down.
You learn something new every day.
On Saturday, I'll board a 777 at San Jose Airport bound for Japan (11 hours, 20 minutes). I'll be in Japan for about a week, mostly visiting Yahoo! Japan. I'll be at the Grand Hayatt Tokyo Hotel in Roppongi. The Y! Japan office is in Roppongi Hills (as is the hotel). Drop by the hotel if you're bored. :-)
I hope to have a bit of down time to check out some local stuff. Any recommendations? Can I bring anyone back some cool electronic toys? (Err, don't answer that.) After Japan, we head to Taipei, Taiwan for about 2 days and then to Seoul, South Korea for a day. We have offices there too. Finally, we'll fly back to the Bay Area, landing in San Francisco.
Yeay! I get to be an international man of... err, ... uhm... hm.
I visited Japan in 1999 but have never been to either Korea or Taiwan. This should be an interesting trip. I'll take pictures. And maybe blog while gone. I'll have some net access, but who knows how much or what I'll do with it.
Thursday is "assemble MySQL presentations for Japan, clean my apartment, and get everything ready" day so that I can use Friday to finish what I don't get done today.
Update: Aww, crap. I'm gonna miss the California International Air Show in Salinas this weekend. Damned Murphy. I'm also missing the chance to meet with some interesting people who will be in town... Murphy sucks.
Update #2: Kick Ass! They've got 802.11 WiFi. :-)
I was psyched when Dan passed me a link to this Yahoo! News story. After all, the title is "Sixteen Candles," 16 Years Later.
Pull out the yearbooks, throw on the varsity letter jackets--it's high school reunion time for the gang from the 1984 John Hughes comedy. 32 Candles will update the lives of Sam Baker, Farmer Ted, Long Duk Dong and the rest of the gang.
"Holy Crap!" I thought, "This will be a big hit at the box office."
But then I read on:
The original film was based around Samantha Baker's (Molly Ringwald) 16th birthday, a day that went unobserved by her family. The made-for-television special will pick up the story around Sam's 32nd birthday.
What the fuck?!
I had to re-read that few times to make sure I wasn't seeing things.
A made-for-television special?
What kind of way is that to treat fans of the great 80s John Hughes movies?
I can't believe this.
Please let it be a sick joke.
What next? An after school special remake of The Breakfast Club? A Saturday morning cartoon based on Pretty in Pink?
If you had the chance to direct some money toward a handful of Open Source projects, which would you choose and why?
If your company had the chance to direct some money toward a handful of Open Source projects, which would you suggest it choose and why?
Are the lists different? Why?
Yeay, they've finally announced it:
MySQL AB, developer of the world's most popular open source database, today announced that it has acquired Alzato, a venture company started by Ericsson in 2000. Alzato develops and markets NDB Cluster, a high availability data management system designed for the telecom/IP environment.
MySQL will integrate NDB Cluster technology into its product offerings as a high availability clustering data management engine for systems that require maximum uptime and real-time performance, such as telecom and network applications and heavy-load Web sites. MySQL AB will offer NDB Cluster technology as part of a future MySQL database version targeted for next year.
From what I've seen of the technology so far, MySQL will have some kick ass clustering. This is most excellent.
Though I've never actually seen the mythical "bottom line," I've managed to contribute to it in a tangible way this year--or so I'm told. Apparently a project I worked on earlier this year (one I never blogged about) has been tweaked and put into production by the person who inherited it from me. It's actually making money. And now some of our international groups are interested in using it too.
It's been a while since I've been able to point at something specific and say "this makes money for us" as opposed to "I help us save money by doing..." To me there's a big difference there.
It's the little things sometimes...
Tim has written up the idea we discussed after dinner on Saturday: Pay to Send.
Granted, this is not a new idea. But the more we talked about it, the more I realized that it's really not rocket surgery. The trick is getting a few decent sized organizations (Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo, Earthlink) to start recognizing the service.
It may not work. The economics could be all off. But hell, it seems like it's worth a shot to me.
Now, how do we get started...?
Update: It's worth pointing out that I know this idea isn't perfect. Viruses that send e-mail via Outlook would end up costing you money. And spammers may resort to stealing credit cards.
Update #2: If you're the type that takes this stuff way too seriously, please stop.
Mark writes to tell us of his new policy:
I have a new life policy: "All other things being equal, avoid empowering lunatics."
Excellent policy, Mark.
I was reading Andy Oram's second blog entry about Foo Camp and came across something interesting:
Nat Friedman of Ximian presented his nifty search tool Dashboard, which he had shown at the O'Reilly Open Source conference last July, but which now sports a couple new features like an index for everything on the desktop. He is leaving tomorrow for India, where he will meet with a large number of programmers employed by Novell, the company that bought Ximian recently. He will recruit 30 to 60 of these programmers to work on GNOME and help them learn the social conventions of working in a free software environment.
My first reaction was along the lines of "Damn! I missed the Dashboard presentation." But then I realized, "Holy crap! Novell's throwing a lot of muscle behind Open Source."
It's a shame the O'Reilly blogs don't grok TrackBack.
I didn't have the time at Foo Camp to blog much about what I was doing, who I was meeting, and what we were discussing. I was too busy and interested to tear myself away. I went to bed each night very tired.
Luckily, a few others provided some on-line notes and such:
I'm sure there will be more as people return home.
The drive to Foo Camp was a pain. I should have known this in advance. I got stuck in traffic on 101 for a while so it took about 3 hours to get there. The return trip was no better. I really need to get that power license to I can fly to stuff like this. On the plus side, I got to watch the Blue Angels flying around San Francisco for Fleet Week.
I arrived unsure of what to expect. I ran into Andy Oram (our editor on the book) at the check-in desk, dropped off my stuff, and headed to the back lawn to find out who was there. I quickly found myself in a sea of interesting people. Chris DiBona brought bread and cheese, others brought wine. Dinner was soon served.
After dinner on Friday night, we were asked to gather upstairs to get things rolling. We did some introductions so that everyone had a [brief] chance to put names with faces. Then they brought in some very large grids (schedules) so that we could start filling in sessions. We had 1-hour time slots on Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday to fill.
It was good chaos.
The rest of the weekend was an excellent mix of food, interesting people, discussions, impromptu sessions, and hackery. There was music, a natural sound presentation, water bottle rockets, portable showers, and more.
I think that Dori Smith (of Backup Brain) summed it up well:
Most frequently heard comment at Foo Camp: "I have no idea what I'm doing here--everyone here is so much smarter than me."
It's pretty damn cool to be around 200 people who're all thinking that.
I left a bit early (noon) on Sunday to head back, but not before a meeting in which we managed to hammer out some RSS stuff that will be discussed quite soon. More on that later.
I hope I didn't miss much. Was there any sort of closing event?
Here's a partial list of all the people I either got to meet face to face or at least hear speak:
I'm sure I forgot a bunch of others. There were so many that I began jotting down names. I got a few funny looks for pulling out my slip of paper now and then to jot 'em down, but I really don't trust my own memory for stuff like this.
In no particular order:
It's no wonder I was tired every night, huh?
And still, there were a lot of people I did not meet but could have, given more time.
I put some pictures up here. There are some pictures linked fro the Foo Camp Wiki here. Doc's pictures are here.
One of Doc's pictures features me sitting next to Dave Sifry. It was around midnight and we were listening to an excellent presentation about Rendezvous.
Well, okay. Not really. I'll probably have more to say as some of the stuff we discussed at Foo Camp becomes reality.
Ben is not sure if he's geek enough to be at Foo Camp.
Derek pisses on Foo Camp.
Tim Bray is here too.
Matt too, blogging about Rendezvous and stuff, including social software, bluetooth security, AMD's Opteron, and more Rendezvous.
The FooCampWiki is back.
So much catching up to do now...
Tim Bray just put a bottle of Tequila on the table. And there about 15 people sitting around with notebooks, working on our hack for the night.
At least that's what Tim O'Reilly told us. I've been so busy talking with interesting people that I haven't had a chance to read blogs since I got here. So I don't know who else is writing about it--aside from some TrackBacks.
I'll be heading to Foo Camp later today and in Sebastopol most of the weekend. Who else will be there? Have a look.
I don't know what to expect there, but it should be an interesting weekend.
Update: Apparently the first rule of Foo Camp is that you don't blog about Foo Camp. Too late, I guess. I noticed that Dan linked there too and figured it was okay. Oh well. Apparently "invitation only" means "secret--don't blog this."
Perhaps someone should have mentioned that earlier to the 150 bloggers that are gonna be there.
Update #2: Ah, Scoble says that Dave outted the outting. How amusing.
First off, David Jeske (formerly of eGroups, now Yahoo! Groups) has a suggestion stopping the forgery of e-mail. He calls it SMTP Sender Authentication.
My proposal is to do sender authentication at the SMTP level, with a compatible extension to the implementation.
I don't think it's a complete solution (like many of the other proposals out there), but it's better than nothing, that's for sure.
Next, my "spam your own blog" idea seems have been picked up by a number of folks.
Excellent. Thanks for all the TrackBacks.
Finally, I figured out how to fix PageRank today. It happened while I was looking at some recent blog comments and trying to decide if they were spam or not. I decided they're not quite spam but are more like wearing your company's logo shirt everywhere you go. In-your-face advertising that may or may not cross the line, depending on the situation.
You know you want 'em CHEAP, right?!?!
As noted here, I've decided to play the spammers' game for a day to see if we (bloggers) can out-spam the spammers.
Low Price, Fast Delivery, PRIVACY! FDA Approved Medications online. SOMA, ADIPEX, Viagra, and MUCH MORE. Go Online. Fill out your Prescription Request. Your request will be reviewed by a Licensed US Physician. If Approved, your medication will be dispensed by a Licensed US Pharmacy. Requests received by 2:00 PM EST will arrive the very next business day.
Won't you join the fun? Post a entry with a similarly spammy subject on your blog. TrackBack this entry. Link to it. I'll link to yours. Let's abuse our PageRank in a way that'd make the spammers jealous.
Attend a Free Online Product Sales and Acquisition Conference. To make money on eBay and the Internet you need to get the source product at deep discounts. In this free online conference you will learn how to acquire thousands of products directly from the manufacturers -- (cut the middlemen and buying clubs) at wholesale or less - including overstocks and discontinued items for pennies on the dollar.
Just don't forget to disable comments on your entry.
Oh, YEAH!!! You *need* that Phentermine, don't you? Come get it!!!
Remember a few months ago when Yahoo launched News RSS Feeds? I wrote about it then and am here with more cool news on the Yahoo RSS front.
The News RSS Feeds are great if you want to follow a particular category of news. For example, you might want to read the latest Sports (RSS) or Entertainment (RSS) news in your aggregator. But what if you'd like an RSS News feed generated just for you? One based on a word or phrase that you could supply?
You've got it!
I've been playing with this at work for a month or so now and I'm now told we can even talk about it. This is really quite handy. For example, if you'd like to follow all the news that mentions Microsoft, you can do that. Just subscribe to this url. And if you want to find news that mentions Microsoft in a financial context, use Microsoft's stock ticker (MSFT) as the search parameter like this.
(Of course, if the Finance RSS Feeds hadn't been pulled, you could have been doing this a year ago. But let's not rehash that decision. Yeah, yeah, it was a beta test. *sigh*)
Anyway, here are just a few examples of what you might try:George Bush
You may have noticed that the URLs used to do this are a bit funky. So I've decided to help you out in constructing them. You can either go to this page directly or enter your keyword(s) in the form below.
Maybe if this becomes really popular we'll see a more easily typed URL.
Update: I've fixed the wrong URLs on the XML buttons.
Update #2: Welcome /. readers. Thanks for dropping by. My there's actually no "e" in my last name and I only produced the tools to make URLs.
Update #3: Apparently some people have concluded that I wrote the RSS feeds. I did not. I never claimed to have done so, but I apparently didn't write anything that would lead you to believe that I didn't either. So I'm coming clean.
I've been thinking more about the problem of blog comment spam recently. In fact, I've implemented some very basic techniques in an effort to stop the spam and they've been quite effective so far. But I'm not happy yet.
I got to thinking about the techniques I've seen spammers use (often Google searches that help them find their targets) and their real motivation: PageRank. It may be broken but the spammers see that we have it and they want a piece of the action.
What does this tell us?
We have the power.
We do. Bloggers, collectively, have so much more Google Juice than these scum spammers that we ought to consider using it as a weapon in this battle. No, it's not necessary, but it might just be fun to try. And we all deserve a bit of fun.
For example... What if I said that this Thursday I'd post an entry titled "Cheap Viagra, Vicodin, Prescription Drugs, and Penis Enlargement Pills" and that'd I'd challenge other bloggers to post similar entries (making sure to TrackBack as appropriate) and to link to me. I would, of course link back. I'd be sure to disable comments on that entry. (Duh!)
What would happen? We'd stand a good chance of elbowing ourselves into the Google results for the very things the comment spammers are trying to sell. Our entries of course would have nothing to do with the products and services that spammers are pushing. Instead, we could write about how stupid people are that actually respond to spam and order those damned pills.
Who knows? Some of us should give it a try. Or a lot of us!
I mean, shit... we're not really doing anything else with all this PageRank anyway. Well... other than proving that PageRank needs help. :-)
What say you? Should we try? I think so.
Update: Silly me. I forgot all about Phentermine!
Tivo upgrade phase #1 has been completed successfully. Given how darn cheap 120GB disks are, I replaced the 18GB disk in my 14 hour Phillips unit with a 120GB disk.
This means that when I'm in Asia for 2 weeks later this month I won't have to worry about anything being prematurely deleted.
Next phase will be to add the web interface, enable telnet, add the ethernet card, and so on... After the trip.
I just got word that BASA has received sufficient member pledges to purchase Charlie's DG-1000 (which I wrote about test flying) in roughly one month.
It'll be interesting to see what sort of flight restrictions and checkout procedures the flight committee put together. No matter, I look forward to flying it for years to come.
Now begings the process of selling one or two of our other ships to help pay back the members who are loaning money to the club for the purchase.
Anyone wanna buy a pair of Grob 103s? Or a Pegasus?
The forecast was for no lift around Hollister, but we headed to the airport anyway. Lance wanted to work on his Grob landings and I wanted to work on my back seat flying it the Grob. So we took turns flying, him in the front seat and me in the back seat.
We did five 2,000 foot pattern tows (2 for me, 3 for Lance), landing on runway 31 half the time because 24 was busy. Then I flew high tow and lance flew a high tow (both to 6,000 feet). No lift to be found really. A few bumps and zero sink here and there, but that was it. The clouds down south (Panoche and beyond) looked quite tantalizing. Very high and distinct. Probably 8-9,000 feet.
After those, Lance and Darren took 64JJ up for some Acro. Mike and I followed in 15M. Mike got a chance to fly the Grob from the back seat while we looked for 63JJ. We eventually found 'em and got to watch a wing over. After that, we headed back together because the sea breeze was blowing.
Though there was no lift, it was a fun day. My back seat landings are quite getting better.
After being far behind, I finally sat down to catch up on the last month's worth of posts to my flying blog.
In chronological order:
Check 'em out if you're into that sort of thing.
It feels good to be caught up. Let's see if I can keep it this way.
This my report from Friday, September 26th. Lance and I intended to take the Grob and 1-34 down to Panoche. But the weather didn't cooperate.
The low clouds around Hollister didn't clear until well after noon, so we gave up on heading to Panoche. Instead, Drew suggested we get used to landing at other airports. So Lance and I sat down to pick some airports, get the important details (frequencies, runways, elevations, etc), and so on.
That took an hour or so because we over-prepared. But it was a good exercise, to dig thru the books, stare at the charts for a while, and to write it all down.
We had planned to hit South County, Watsonville, Salinas (oooh, class D), and then Bikle (no "c" in Bikle, we're told). However, it was getting late, so we decided that South County and Bikle were the logical choices. Bikle is useful heading to/from Panoche, and South County is useful if you get low on the way to or from Mt. Hamilton.
Lance and Russell flew in 9KS while Brett and I flew in 15M. Alan towed us each roughly half way to South County and we flew right traffic for runway 32. After landing, Lance and Russell flew a second pattern at South County. We followed them in for our one and only stop at South County.
Then we towed back over Hollister, releasing above the airport and glided to Bikle. Finding Bikle from the air wasn't as hard as I thought. Given the utterly crappy visibility, Brett provided one simple hint and then it was easy.
Again, 9KS went first. After one landing, Alan towed them to 6,000 feet for some acro fun while we landed. I came in a bit too high for my first landing there and decided to do another to refine the practice. The second one worked quite a bit better. We then towed back thru the valley and glided back to Hollister for my first back seat landing in the Grob.
It turned out to be a good way to spend an afternoon when there was *zero* lift and very poor visibility. Now I'd be comfortable landing at either airport and probably many others I haven't seen. Drew's slowly pushing us farther and farther from Hollister. :-)
Speaking of seeing... Brett snapped some close-up shots of Bikle (and probably South County) with my camera and I took a few on the ground there. I'll get 'em on-line over the weekend.
If the weather this weekend is like it was today, there's not gonna be much of a contest. It'd be fine to practice landings but not much else.
Brett took some great pictures from the back seat: South County and Bikle.
On Saturday, September 13th, we had excellent local soring conditions around Hollister. A bit after noon, I took a 6,000 foot tow in the 1-34 and released over the 2nd ridge by the Tin Roof. There was nothing.
What follows is the flight report I posted that night on the HGC Yahoo Group.
The lift was strong on the first ridge today--mostly around Three Sisters. I took the 1-34 up for an early (around 1pm) flight when several gliders launched on Panoche toes. I towed to 6000 over the second ridge, since that's where the local lift always is. But it wasn't. The air was very smooth. No lift, no sink. I listened to the guys struggling at Panoche as I waited to lose some altitude, assuming that the lift must be a bit lower. It was. Eventually I made my way to the tree sisters and the "bowl" nearby. I didn't find anything until I got below 5000, but between 4000 and 5000 it was good. Three or four times I got low and climbed back up to 5000. Meanwhile, the guys in Panoche were calling for Alan to head down in the Pawnee. How odd. I stayed up about 1.4 hours. About 20-30 minutes before I headed back, Lance and Darren arrived in an ASK-21 to prove that the lift was still there and quite good. Hopefully they'll describe their flight. They got higher than I did and stayed up as least as long. After 30 minutes or so, I got too low for my comfort in the 1-34 and headed back (and found lift on the way!). I'm still experimenting with how low I can be and safely return in the 1-34 on a windless day. When I landed I noticed a real absence of gliders on the ground. After a break to eat and hang out, Darren and I launched in Grob 15M around 3pm and headed back to the same spot. The lift was even stronger than before. The extra 2 hours to let the rocks heat up made a real difference. There were good 4-6 knot thermals and an occasional 8 knot. Lance and Joyce came along in 63JJ after flying some loops and found good lift with us. Steve headed back from Panoche (the only one who didn't need an tow back, I believe) in Pegasus CA and joined us in a thermal long enough to out-climb us. We experimented a bit on the way back (took a few detours) and found that every group of exposed south, west, or southwest facing rocks were producing lift. It's not often that local Hollister lift is better than Panoche! In total, we flew for an hour or so before heading back to call it a day at 4pm. But it wasn't for lack of lift. We flew 70 knots back to the airport and found lots of zero sink and 2 knot thermals along the way. How unusual. 63JJ followed not far behind. The sea breeze didn't arrive until 4pm or so. And even then it wasn't very strong. Did anyone try going west? Maybe out toward Fremont Peak? We discussed it early in the day, but I don't know if anyone tried it. Anyway, the BLIPMAPs for tomorrow look very similar so far. Get down to Hollister and enjoy it. :-)
It was a good day to fly indeed.
On September 13th, several of us got together for a ride in Brian's Cessna 182. He took us on a tour of the typical 300km X-C flight out of Hollister. It was excellent to see the area from a power plane. We also found and photographed a few new airstrips. I took a number of pictures.
When we got back, I took the 1-34 up for a flight over the east hills. The lift wasn't great, but I was able to stay up for a while. We got back kinda late because of a mechanical problem with the 182's engine, but it was well worth the time.
On Saturday, September 6th (after my Duo Discus flights the day before), I headed down to South Lake Tahoe Airport to meet up with some BASA guys and test fly the DG-1000 based there giving rides. BASA is considering a DG-1000 purchase and wanted to get some members to test fly one again.
BTW, I took a bunch of excellent pictures on the drive from the north end of Lake Tahoe to the south end.
I was the newest pilot to fly the DG-100. What follows is the flight report I sent to Harry Fox, BASA's president. We were all asked to submit one after our flights.
I had an annoying headache the day I flew but have since had a chance now to review my flight more clearly. When I flew with Charlie in the DG-1000, he flew the takeoff and first 500 feet or so of the tow. We had quite a bit of slack early on but by the time I got the controls things were a bit calmer. I found it easy to fly on tow. It didn't seem much more difficult to control that the Grob or an ASK-21. I was careful not to over-control it, so having thought about it in advance may have been all that was necessary to prevent me from doing it. Off tow (in lift) I got a chance to thermal up over Heavenly before we did a stall, turning stall, and an incipient spin. Thermalling was relatively easy. I had to keep turning the glider into the thermal as it tried to kick us out. But I attribute that mainly to my lack of experience in stronger thermals. Speed control in the thermal was easier than in the Grob. In the Grobs, I have trouble flying slowly enough when there are two of us in the ship. I had no such problem in the DG-1000. And, having flown the Duo Discus the day before for 3+ hours, I found the DG-1000's speed control a bit easier while thermalling. After a bit of that, we finally brought the gear up. I don't think Charlie helped with that. The gear was no harder to raise and lock than that of the Duo (the only other retractable gear ship I've flown). In fact, it seemed to require less effort than the Duo's. The stall was so graceful that Charlie had to tell me that we were actually stalled the first time. I expected it to be more obvious and was waiting to really notice it when he told me. There was very little buffeting. Knowing what to expect, the next stall and the turning stall were fine. The ship didn't drop a wing and recovery was easy. The incipient spin surprised me. The nose dropped quite far and the glider picked up speed very quickly. Even so, we never flew faster than 85 knots during the recovery, but compared to the 2-32 (where all my spin experience comes from) it seemed like a lot. It was a bit disorienting too. After that, Charlie let me do whatever I wanted to, so I flew straight and level, shallow turns, and practiced speed/pitch control and played with the trim. Nothing fancy. In my flight, I never really got a good feel for the trim. I used it but just felt like it wasn't quite doing what I'd expect. Other things I noticed... It's quite quiet inside. Very easy to talk compared to the Grobs. Like the Duo, the glider will pick up speed very quickly and bleed it off very slowly. Turn coordination was easy. Much easier than the Grobs. And the ailerons were heavy, but not nearly as bad as I expected. When it was time to land, I lowered the gear and got us in the pattern. The gear was pretty easy to get down and locked, *but* it took me about 5 tries fumbling with the handle to get an initial grip on it so I could rotate and move it. I wouldn't want to be rushed doing that. On downwind, Charlie noticed that I hadn't tested the spoilers. In retrospect, I think my brain confused my hassle with getting the gear down with a spoiler check. Doh! When I did, the gear alarm went off. Charlie asked me if I heard it and what it was. I said it was the gear alarm and that it didn't make sense because I had opened and locked the gear. I was sure of that. He told me that he purposely unlocked the gear when I was busy doing other things just to demonstrate the gear alarm. With that, I was glad for the gear alarm! The only other noticeable difference in landing was the effect of the spoilers. Unlike the Grob (but *like* the 2-32 or 1-34), the spoilers to require a more nose-down attitude to maintain airspeed. The resulting attitude was a bit lower that I'd have expected. That's it for the flight. I mentioned that I didn't think it'd require much more time to learn compared to the Grob but it would require an emphasis on different things. Having thought about that and my transition to the Grob from the 2-32 and ASK-21, I think they are: 1. Pitch and trim control. The DG-1000 is a slick ship and will go fast quietly, so there's a lot less audio feedback if you're flying too quickly. In the 2-23 and even the ASK-21, I relied on that more than I realized. (The previous day's flight in the Duo helped me to unlearn some of that.) This affects not only "normal" flight, but probably landing too. Speed control is obviously very important then because it's easier to become distracted. 2. Another result of being slick is that it'd probably easier to get out of tow position and/or to get slack line. In the mountains that's expected, but it could happen pretty easily at Hollister, I'd guess. Imagine towing behind the Citabria. 3. Tail/nose weights. I didn't think to ask about this that day, but Charlie did move the weights from the tail to the nose when he flew with Johnathon. When installed up front, the weights are well hidden. I'd want to better understand the weight & balance for the ship and make very sure I checked the nose and tail during pre-flight and than again before takeoff. I did watch him remove the tail weights. He showed me how to unlock and remove the little pole that holds the weights and then reinstall and lock it. It seemed pretty simple. Physically, I was quite comfortable with a parachute on. It's the most comfortable ship I've flown. I found the controls easy to use except for the initial grab to get the gear back down. Visibility was excellent. The extra cockpit room compared to the Duo is great. My only real complaint is the poor placement of the pouch mounted on the right side. It was about 6-8 inches too far back. I mentioned this to Charlie and he suggest that it probably wouldn't be hard to relocate. As for me, I'm roughly 6 feet tall and weigh about 205lbs. Oh, the rudder control was a little funky because of the shoes I wore. They felt like they got caught a few times on the upholstery. That's easily solved by wearing different shoes, of course. Finally, I'm posting all the pictures I took that day: http://jeremy.zawodny.com/pics/dg1000/ That's it...
Okay, I'm posting this about a month late, but better late than never...
On Thursday September 4th, I headed up to Truckee again. On Friday morning, I awoke to a surprising amount of fog and low-level clouds. My plan was to meet Steve Ford at Soar Truckee around 10am so that we could fly together in the Hollister Gliding Club's Duo Discus (9DD). (I had flown there for the first time just a week before.)
I got to the airport, found Steve, and asked what was up with the weather. There had been quite a bit of rain the day before and there was a lot of moisture in the air. They said it'd be gone within an hour and it was.
While waiting for the weather to clear, we sat down with a sectional to talk about typical X-C flights out of Truckee. Steve said suggested that we either head north or east/southeast. The BLIPMAPs seemed to indicate that it might be stronger to the north (and possibly there'd be thunderstorms), but both seemed quite doable. So we decided to just wait until we got in the air to see how things looked.
It began to clear, so Steve and I spent some time getting the glider ready and then I gathered up my stuff and hopped in to get used to the Duo. It was my first time flying in the Duo, so I wanted to get comfortable with the controls and whatnot. There's really not a lot of room in the front seat for carrying extra stuff.
We launched a bit after noon with cumulus clouds popping all over the place. From the ground it looked great. We could head in any direction and find good lift.
Steve flew the tow while I got my oxygen equipment on and adjusted. We released at roughly 8,900 feet and Steve got us centered in a nice 6 knot thermal. I then took the controls and didn't give them back for about 2.5 hours. In fact, I was so busy flying and having so much fun that I never thought to take any pictures (doh!).
We talked about cross country decision making, cloud selection, and looking ahead to try and read the sky. Within a few minutes, I had picked my fist cloud and pointed the Duo at it. We arrived and found strong lift: 8 knots. I stopped for a few turns and then headed onto another cloud that was actually the beginning of a cloud street. The on-board computer told us that the thermal was averaging a whopping 13 knots, so we climbed to the cloud base rather quickly! Once we got there, I flew along the bottom of the clouds to the end of the cloud street. Even at 85 knots we were still getting about 4 knots of lift. It was amazing. I couldn't believe the conditions. I decided to head north.
Before I knew it, we had left the vicinity of Truckee. Each time we got out of range of an airport, Steve would call out our next safety airport (he was navigating, I was flying). Over the next two hours, the airports went by and we hopped from strong thermal to strong thermal. I spent quite a bit of time flying at 80 knots between thermals.
At one point we flew bast the Black Rock Desert--the home of Burning Man. I should have taken a picture. Oh, well. Next time.
About an hour and a half into the flight, Steve asked how much farther I wanted to go. He suggested that we use a well known turn point to mark our maximum distance from the airport. Spalding was the closest, so he put it in the flight computer and I got us there. I lost a lot of altitude along the way, probably 5,000 feet. So I spent some time looking for a way to refuel. Eventually we got back to a reasonable altitude and I decided to fly just a few more miles. I wanted to get 100 miles from Truckee before heading back.
Roughly 2 hours into the flight, Steve put Truckee back in the flight computer so that I could navigate back. I turned us around and discovered two troubling things:
The ride back was more challenging. Lift was harder to find and I wasn't flying aggressively enough--because I felt like crap. But we pressed on. At the 3 hour mark, we were getting a bit low and I was struggling with lift along a ridge. Steve suggested a few strategies for working it and they helped, but it was slow going. I was still feeling bad, so we discussed our options.
Steve noted that we were near Nervino airport. We could land there and get a tow back to Truckee. I decided to use that option. The only problem is that the airport was about 12 miles away on the other side of a mountain ridge. We had to gain some altitude (which we'd been trying to do for a while) to climb over it and make it to the airport safely. I gave Steve the controls and let him work us back up and over to the airport. He did an excellent job.
On our way in, Steve called Truckee to get a towplane headed our way. We landed and had a bit of time to stretch our legs. I felt better after being on the ground for a few minutes. The towplane arrived and towed us back to within a safe glide of Truckee.
Off tow, I got the controls again and worked us toward the airport. I had to actually look for sink in order to get us down to pattern altitude. I think I even cracked the spoilers at one point.
We landed uneventfully and put the glider away.
Total time in the air was about 4 hours. 3:20 on our first leg and 0:40 on the way back. Other than feeling like crap after the first 2 hours or so, I had a great time. I look forward to more dual X-C practice next year--after I've figured out how to stay in the air longer than 2 hours without feeling sick.
The windows version of Yahoo! Messenger has the ability to use Yahoo-developed plug-ins known as IMVironments (or IMVs for short). It's been there a while (a year or two now), but I've never really cared because (1) I don't use Windows much and they only work on Windows, plus (2) most of them seemed to either aimed at media brainwashed teens (the Lizzie McGuire one is a good example of this), were outright advertisements (Purina Dogs, Friskies, T-Mobile, Panasonic), or comics (Dilbert, Garfield).
But recently a useful one was added to the mix: The Yahoo! Search IMV. It basically integrates Yahoo! Search with instant messaging so that you can search with other people in a collaborative and real-time fashion. It's one of those things that seems obvious the first time you see it. Now I wonder why everyone hasn't done it.
So if you end up in IM conversations that often generate the need to search for something on-line (I always seem to), this could be quite useful. And if you're not a Windows user, well, pester to folks at Yahoo! to add IMV support to the Mac and Unix clients.
Hey, JR even likes it.
First, the good news. Morgan wrote to inform me that the #1 result on Google right now for "pure evil" is my blog entry about VeriSign. Apparently we've managed to convince Google that I'm an authority on pure evil. Heh.
Gotta love the power of weblogs, no? :-)
Maybe, just maybe, the Register was on to something. Maybe.
Second, Russ tells a tale of Google AdSense that's not encouraging.