Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Difference Between Career and Hobby?

Right now, not so much, and I couldn't be happier.

I've completed the installation and configuration of free wiki software at work, at least sufficiently enough to gauge feedback on it. If you're interested, go here to download it and try it out for yourself. ASPs running macros. Super easy. The built in page editor is super-klugy, at least when using the built-in macro tags, but once I configured the wiki to accept raw html, it became as easy as, well, a blog post editor in html mode. Upload image files? No problem. Attachments on the page? All too easy. Seriously, I'm being paid right now to do something that I already do in my spare time. As a hobby. Something I'm doing right now, in fact.

Yeah, work is totally teh 5uXX0r when you're having too much fun.

The boss came to me today and asked if I knew anything about installing and implementing web-based forum software for our userbase. I smiled a little smile. Sure, it's not like I'm an administrator for a forum right now or anything. Oh wait, yes I am. Nobody in my company knows PHP right now, so I again went for something using ASPs running macros. Easy enough. So that's what's on tap for the rest of the week. As with everything else in my company, you propose it, you own it. Oh Noes, administering a wiki and a forum, how will I ever...yeah, yeah. Too easy. Best part is, all of it is open source and free, which is important to a small company like where I work.

Anyway, when work is this much fun, it means less time to read the news at work. Oh well. I'm totally getting my geek on. Less status bar and more analysis, please.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

ICANN Haz Lawsuit?

...against RegisterFly.

I couldn't resist the lolcat-style headline. GoDaddy.com will benefit from its competitor's complete meltdown by taking up its domain name registry, which will allow customers to renew their domain name registration. RegisterFly's customers have been in complete limbo web-wise, watching their domain name registrations lapse and not being able to do a thing about it while the company sorted out its myriad troubles, after ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) decertified it.

Airbus Execs Accused of Insider Trading

More bad news for Airbus and its parent company EADS, who have been charged with knowing that the A380 project was facing massive delays and cost overruns for 3 months prior to the announcement. According to the story:

EADS’ Web site shows that Forgeard and other executives exercised stock options within two weeks following the March 6 meeting. In fact, La Tribune said, some 85 percent of the company’s 800 top officials exercised options soon after the meeting, despite a March 8 announcement of record profits in 2005.

When EADS finally made public the A380's problems, the company's stock plummeted some 25%. If these charges hold, the damage to EADS and Airbus will be of Enronic proportions.

UC President Says Fire Churchill

The president of the University of Colorado, in a ten page letter, has recommended the firing of Ward Churchill for plagiarism and fabrication in his scholarship.

Churchill's reaction to the news is rather telling:

"I've got more faith in almost anything (than in the university process)," he said. "A random group of homeless people under a bridge would be far more intellectually sound and principled than anything I've encountered at the university so far."

Funny, it sounds to me like President Hank Brown is suggesting precisely that Churchill join this august group there.

MSM Bias on Bush and Kyoto

President Bush did not reject the Kyoto Protocol in 2001. The U.S. Senate, in a 95-0 vote, warned Clinton and Algore that it would not ratify the treaty if they dared to sign the U.S. onto it in 1997.

This is a historical fact that is easily verifiable by the simplest of internet searches, yet some AP and Reuters reporters (and their editors) don't seem to employ the barest of fact-finding skills when vetting a story. My bro has been following this phenomenon, as have bigger bloggers like Instapundit, among others. Still, I believe Joe is the first to suggest we actually contact Reuters and AP in a concerted effort to point out that the MSM, whose alleged journalistic standards are supposed to be better than bloggers because they have larger resources for fact-checking, are, at best, not using these resources, and, at worst, turning a blind eye to the biases of their reporters to swipe at President Bush whenever a story even tangentially mentions Global Warming.

Follow my bro's links to make your voice heard at Reuters and AP.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Political Views Have Genetic Component: Twin Study

A new study is out on how genetics might play a role in determining political views, based on the politics of fraternal twins vs identical twins:

Research by John Hibbing, a University of Nebraska political scientist, showed that identical twins share more political beliefs than fraternal twins. They also, of course, share more genes.

"Forty, perhaps 50 percent of our political beliefs seem to have a basis in genetics," said Hibbing, whose studies were included in Jost's analysis.

While genetics are unlikely to "hardwire" people into being liberal or conservative, Hibbing said that genes could make people more or less likely to have certain values or react to situations in a particular way.

I can personally say that I identify with these findings. My bro and I agree on just about every political point, I think. And he went to Cal for college and I went...all over, really. A good "heh" moment reading this article today.

Monday, May 21, 2007

New Comet Theory for the Ice Age

Did a comet exploding in the atmosphere above Canada kill off the Wooly Mammoth? Sounds plausible, especially with the finding of an iridium layer in the rock strata for that timeframe, around 13,000 years ago. The smoking gun for the comet extinction theory of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was also an iridium layer. This should spur new digging expeditions to look for more evidence for a comet blast. Cool stuff.

Eco-Tourism in a Bottle

Deep sea water, desalinated, and sold as a gourmet ingredient sounds just silly, doesn't it? Didn't they used to make these kind of healthy claims about spring water in a bottle? This entrepreneur's technology for desalinating the pumped sea water right on the ship, claimed to be cheaper than currently available methods now in use for relief efforts (like during the Indian Ocean Tsunami), sounds more promising than the end product of exotic Hawaiian deep ocean water.

Gimmicky to say the least, but definitely on the bleeding edge of eco-touristy type products that will be coming to market soon. Prove your trendy eco-cred, and how alarmed you are for the condition of the environment, by the expensive vodka you swill. Almost like carbon indulgences.
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Note to my beleaguered readers: Yes, it's been more than a week since my last post. Work has been...interesting, to say the least. There are a couple of internal projects that have been hand delivered to me by my boss (you know how to install and implement an internal corporate web-based wiki database, right James?) that sound cool, if people would leave me alone for just two seconds. "But how does this affect me," I hear you whine. It means, of course, that I don't have as much time to scan my RSS news feeders during work hours, so you're stuck with me posting when I have time in the evenings. Whatever I can't get to, I send over to the bro, who is usually happy to oblige. Thanks again for keeping my little blog warm.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Differences between Japanese and American Emoticons: Study

There was a fascinating news article last Thursday on how culture affects the reading of emoticons between the Japanese and the Americans. Because Americans focus more on the mouth when attempting to read facial expressions, our emoticons have also evolved this way, :) for example, the parenthesis representing a smiling mouth. The Japanese, on the other hand, rarely use exaggerated expressions when emoting, so culturally, they focus on a subject's eyes when reading expressions. Consequently, their emoticons have evolved to emphasize the eyes, ^_^ where the carrots are smiling eyes. If you've ever been on an anime forum, you would see a whole range of these asian style emoticons.

Then, of course, there's the whole subgenre of lolcaticons. I wonder what the study would have to say about them:

Update: See here and here for more examples and explanations of Japanese emoticons.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

No Blogging Lately

More excuses, of course. I've been ill the past couple of days, and then catching up on work today. So, no blogging. I figure I need to ease back into it. I promise to be interesting really soon...heh.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Ceiling Height Affects Thinking: Study

Meh. The researchers point to vaulted ceilings in churches as historical evidence that humans have known about this effect on thinking. I immediately thought of a different kind of structure: warehouses converted into lofts and listed as "live/work spaces."

Sounds like a justification for "creative types" to keep inhabiting allegedly cool lofts, while shackling analysts into cavelike cubicles.

Not that I'm claiming to belong to one camp or the other, mind you.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Canadian Cat Scares Off Mail Carrier

So this story about a housecat in Canada unnerving the mail carrier made the rounds on Friday. The stories don't specify what cat behavior would have so spooked her, but I have an idea.


"I has a mail k thx brb"

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Preparing to Copy Windows Fun

I know I give Apple a hard time on this blog (click on the "Mac Wars" Category), but hey, it's all in good fun. By the way, have you downloaded the security patch for QuickTime yet? You know, for that hack attack at that conference on security? 10 days, that's, like, what, the fastest that Apple has ever fixed anything, right?

Anyway, oh yeah, Mac OS has fans for user-friendliness. Windows isn't known for garnering any fans when head-scratching quirks of the file-copy command have been around since, oh Windows 2.0. Go read the whole thing for Dvorak's archness, but I'll quote the fun:

1. The Time-Fluctuation Phenomenon
You try moving a folder from here to there, and you get the Preparing to Copy message—followed by an estimated completion time of 5 hours! Okay, it's a big folder, so you decide to go downstairs to watch some TV. The copying begins. It looks good. In fact, it's going pretty fast. Then the time drops to 2 hours! Then it jumps to 3 hours! Then back to 2 hours and 10 minutes! What's so difficult about estimating the time? Can't they do some normalizing?
2. The Delayed-Query Syndrome
So you've got the 5-hour copy going, and you leave to watch TV. Then you come back 4 hours later, and nothing's been copied! There's a query box asking if you really want to move some read-only file. So you click Yes, and there's still 5 hours left to go.
3. The Long-Filename Anomaly
There you are, copying a folder, and near the end of the process, the whole thing aborts because you've got a filename that's too long to copy. What? How did the file get there in the first place if it's got a name that's too long to copy? I've never understood this one. And why doesn't the copying function just finish the job and leave the one file behind?
4. The Drive-Full Abort
This is a major baffler. The Preparing to Copy message appears, and the machine seems to be doing something. Then it aborts out of the blue because your drive is full. Hey, Microsoft jerks! I have an idea! How about checking to see if there's space on the drive BEFORE you start copying? What exactly is the Preparing to Copy function supposed to do anyway? Cripes.
5. The Multiple-Folder-Slowdown Paradox
You try to copy one folder and get an estimated completion time of an hour. Then you slide a second folder over, and Windows says that one will take 30 minutes. But now the first one stalls, and its estimated completion time leaps to an hour and a half. With each additional folder, each completion time skyrockets. But if you copy all the folders at once, the total time is significantly reduced. So that miserable Windows multitasker isn't copying the folders one at a time. Like an idiot, it's copying a little bit from this one and then a little bit from that one and then a little bit from—how hard can this be to fix?
6. The Yes-to-All Baffler
You get a query during a file transfer asking if you want to overwrite an existing file with the same name, and you know there's a bunch of them to overwrite, so you check the Yes to All box. This should mean that you're answering yes to all such queries, and you can go downstairs to watch some more TV. But no! The box reappears shortly with the same question! How many times do you have to say Yes to All for it to mean Yes to All??
7. The Cannot-Erase-File Gotcha
Then the whole process is halted by a file that's somehow been locked. It might even be a virus, and you can't erase it no matter how hard you try. Let me get this straight. Some program can install a file on my machine and then lock it down, but I, the owner of the machine, can't remove the file? Does this make any sense to anyone?

Throughout the course of my workday, I must see almost every one of these gotchas. Meh, you get used to it. We've got testing going on with Vista in the office now. I wonder if the file-copy behavior is still the same.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Blogging Pitfall

Geh...you actually have enough free time at work to look at your RSS news feeds to figure out what you want to blog about when/if you get home after work, and what happens? Your bro steals your thunder and blogs about the fuel cells from brewery waste water story that you thought was oh so cool.

Freakin' cloned brain waves...whatever. I scoop him sometimes. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Rice Cultivation Now a Target: IPCC

I had just stated as recently as yesterday that environmental policy politicos were going to start targeting sources of methane very aggressively. While Euro ecocrats decided on livestock emissions, it looks like their counterparts in Asia are eyeing methane emissions from rice cultivation.

For the same reasons that peat bogs and wetlands are large contributors of methane in the atmosphere, rice paddies that stay flooded all year round exhibit a similar cycle of bacterial decay with similar results.

Representatives of the IPCC are in the final stages of drafting the section of the report that details plans for mitigating the effects of global warming. I find it quite interesting how they are now talking about methane, when all the Global Cimate Models (or at least how the MSM has reported on them) were highlighting increasing concentrations of anthropogenic sources of CO2 as the tipping point in the theory of global warming. What do the GCMs do when sources of methane abate by whole percentage points over a relatively short period of time, like the recommended targets of twenty years? Could this be why alleged global warmening denier David Evans is actually betting on global cooling?

Livestock? Rice paddies? This all sounds suspiciously like Roger Pielke's arguments for better land use policy, rather than the narrow focus of CO2 emissions. If the IPCC is finally taking a more expansive view on climate change, shouldn't we go back to the climate modelers and see what happens when they adjust for sources of methane?

H/T Tim Blair.