July 26, 2003

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory

I have nothing interesting to say today (do I ever?), so...

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is one of the world's premier research facilities for radio astronomy. NRAO operates powerful, advanced radio telescopes spanning the western hemisphere. Scientists from around the world use these instruments to probe fundamental questions in astronomy and physics.

And they have some great pictures. Check out their gallery.

I plan to visit someday.

Posted by jzawodn at 11:55 PM

July 25, 2003

About that Mini-Bubble...

Yes, this mini-bubble.

It seems that eBay has announced a stock split.

EBay's stock has one of the highest valuations of any company in the United States -- far greater than Microsoft Corp. and other technology titans -- and it has remained impervious to the dot-com stock market bust. The stock's ascent this year, 71 percent, prompted eBay's board to announce a two-for-one split effective Aug. 28, for stockholders of record on Aug. 4.

Here we go again...

Posted by jzawodn at 10:12 AM

July 24, 2003

Hung like the Hulk

This isn't something you see every day. Apparently the Hulk is not only quite angry sometimes, but he's also rather excited by little girls!

SHOCKED six-year-old Leah Lowland checked out a mystery bulge on her Incredible Hulk doll and uncovered a giant green WILLY.
Curious Leah noticed a lump after winning the monster, catchphrase ""You wouldn't like me when I'm angry," at a seaside fair.
And when she peeled off the green comic-book character's ripped purple shorts, she found the two-inch manhood beneath them.

I'm not sure what this says about the Hulk, but he's clearly comfortable with his sexuality. And it's hard not to laugh at that picture.

(Thanks to Ray for the link.)

Posted by jzawodn at 09:57 AM

July 23, 2003

Uhm, no.

I just don't get some people.

From: "Dan" <dan@stockmarketyellowpages.com>
To: <Jeremy@Zawodny.com>
Subject: Question about zawodny.com
Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2003 16:42:40 -0700
I emailed you a couple weeks ago regarding our site and was wondering if you had time to get to it. I see your link to finance.yahoo.com on your page http://jeremy.zawodny.com/ and am wondering if my site, www.StockMarketYellowPages.com , would also be useful to your visitors. It allows you to search for public companies based upon their descriptions. If you want to link to us you can place your site in our directory. You also can put our search on your site and make it look as if people are still on your site.
I wonít bother you again if you donít get back to me. Please email me if you have any questions.

Sorry, Dan.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:46 PM


This is a little unexpected. We actually had a moderate amount of mid-day cloud cover today.

I'm not saying that's bad or anything. I rather like it. Unless it's a flying day, of course.

That reminds me, I really need to get back up in the air.

My friend Lance flew last Friday over the Tahoe area. He had a 280km glider flight and was over 16,000 feet a few times.

I've gotta get me some of that.

Posted by jzawodn at 05:03 PM

July 22, 2003

The Book has a Cover

This isn't really news, but hey... better late than never.

In case it isn't obvious, some images just don't scale well. So until I ask O'Reilly for a thumbnail image, it's probably best to look at the full-sized one on the book web site: HighPerformanceMySQL.com.

If you can do a better job, grab the original and show me. I freely admit to having no graphics (or design) skill at all.

There isn't a lot on-line there yet. Once most of the writing is done, there will be news, an RSS feed, and other good stuff. For now, you're probably asking yourself "what's this book about?" In case the name isn't relatively obvious (don't get me started on how difficult it is to name a book), here's the Table of Contents--subject to changes before this thin appears on shelves somewhere. But it should be sufficient to give you an idea of what's covered.

  1. Back To Basics
  2. Storage Engines
  3. Benchmarking
  4. Indexes
  5. Query Performance
  6. Server Performance Tuning
  7. Replication
  8. Load Balancing
  9. Backup and Recovery
  10. Security

If there's a topic you think is missing, let me know. I doubt we can do much about it, but you never know.

"We?" you ask. Yes, I recruited another fool to help get the book out the door. That's why there are two names on the cover. :-)

Oh, and for those of you wondering about the book known as "Advanced MySQL", this is the same book. The old title was really just a working title. Yeah, that's it.

Update: Thanks for all the scaled covers! You can stop sending them now. I've used one from Jon Abernathy, simply because he was first and it looks good.

Posted by jzawodn at 01:46 PM

Productivity Loss

I just discovered another way to sink my productivity for the day.

My iPod just ran out of power. Damn. I've switched over to the Walkman, but the commercials are likely to make me want to channel surf when I should be typing something or other.

Damn, I type a lot.

Posted by jzawodn at 01:29 PM

A case of the Wendesdays

For whatever reason, both yesterday and today have felt like Wednesdays. It's as if the week is always half over before I get a chance to realize that it's not.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring... maybe a case of the mondays?

Posted by jzawodn at 11:41 AM

July 21, 2003

Shirky on on-line Groups

I finally got around to reading Clay's A Group Is Its Own Worse Enemy piece. And I'm still not done. But I can already tell he's done a very good job of explaining what's revolutionary about all this stuff (blog, wikis, instant messaging) that many of us take for granted.

It is now possible for every grouping, from a Girl Scout troop on up, to have an online component, and for it to be lightweight and easy to manage. And that's a different kind of thing than the old pattern of "online community." I have this image of two hula hoops, the old two-hula hoop world, where my real life is over here, and my online life is over there, and there wasn't much overlap between them. If the hula hoops are swung together, and everyone who's offline is also online, at least from my point of view, that's a different kind of pattern.

"I never really thought about it that way." I find myself saying that over and over as I read.

Check it out.

Posted by jzawodn at 03:16 PM

Exim on the TiBook

Jon Udell points to a GUI tool (Sendmail Enabler) for making sendmail work on OS X.

Yet another reason I'm glad I installed Exim on the TiBook last night. It took all of 10 minutes (including compile time). And now I have secure (thanks to OpenSSL) and authenticated relaying to my favorite mail server. It works from anywhere in the world.

Of course, it was Exim version 3.36. I really need to get on the Exim 4.0 bandwagon one of these days.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:41 PM

Thinkpad in the Shop

IBM tech support rocks.

Earlier this year, I picked up a Thinkpad T21 from eBay. It was one of those corporate off-lease refurb deals from a reputable dealer. I got a good deal. It was roughly $600 for the machine with on-board ethernet, 256MB RAM, 20GB disk, etc. The battery was even in good shape.

But then I tried to add memory to it. I installed a second 256MB SO-DIMM to max it out at 512MB. But the machine wasn't happy. It locked up a lot. So I figured the DIMM was bad and swapped in an older 128MB DIMM that I knew was good. Same problem.

I busted out a copy of memtest86 and verified that both DIMMs where bad.

Then it hit me. Rasmus had described a very similar problem with his T21. He had to send it back about 6 months ago because "it kept frying memory."

After some digging, I found the number for IBM's Thinkpad support (1-800-772-2227) and talked with Ron. I explained the problem and he gathered some info from me. After he go the model # and serial # he informed me that "as far as IBM is concerned, it's still under warranty."


He had me run a few more diagnostics to make sure nothing else was wrong and then agreed to send out a box so that I could ship it to IBM. He asked that I leave the hard disk out but install the bad memory and mark it as such. Airborne Express picked up the box today at work. I hope to have it back by Friday.

This is cool. IBM never hassled me about not having "registered" the machine, or the fact that I bought it used, or the fact that I installed "non-IBM" memory in it.

Hopefully they'll do what they did for Rasmus, swap the system board, and ship it back to me without further trouble. If I'm really lucky, maybe they'll even replace the fried 256MB DIMM.

We'll see.

This is one of four Thinkpads I've owned (380D, 600E, T21, and T23). I love Thinkpads. I hope IBM doesn't let me down.

Meanwhile, I'm using the TiBook while it's out. I got the latest Developer Tools and Fink installed last night. Then I built and installed mutt and Exim. So I can at least keep up on e-mail... Well, sort of. That implies that I was caught up before this happened.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:51 AM

July 20, 2003

Tim Bray on Technology Adoption

As usual, Tim's got some great stuff to read:

People, on average and in the long term, aren't stupid and aren't patient and aren't cowards. When there's an obviously better way to get the job done, they go out and get it, and management can't stop them, and Forrester and Gartner can't stop them, and Accenture and EDS can't stop them, and not even Microsoft can stop them.

His commentary reminds me of the stuff the "IT Services" organization at my previous job tried to pull off. The standardized, locked-down, centrally controlled desktop plan comes to mind.

I was always amused, as an IT Services employee, how you heard a completely different story when you talked with actual users instead of IT Services project managers.

Posted by jzawodn at 09:17 AM

Opt Out, for real!

It really does work.

A few weeks back, before a meeting got started, I was talking with Brian and Michael about physical spam--the stuff that fills your real-world mailbox.

Michael was extolling the effectiveness of the Operation Opt-Out site which he blogged last year. You simply generate the forms, send them in, and wait. I thought it was too good to be true, but I tried it anyway. After all, it was only $3-$4 worth of postage.

You know what? It really works.

It's only been a month or so, but I'm already getting less junk mail--noticeably less. Michael said that they get virtually none. I can't wait. :-)

Posted by jzawodn at 08:54 AM