If you use LiveJournal, check out this feed.

I realize a large portion of the folks who read my blog are actually on Livejournal, reading via the syndicated feed.. That’s cool, that’s what it’s there for. But if you use LJ as your aggregator, you should ABSOLUTELY add the Boing Boing Blog syndicated feed.
Boingboing is one of the best blogs out there – I have it added to my feed list (the rough equivelent of a friends list) in Sage, and it always has something fascinating available.
Tidbits from today’s postings:
Bed Saferoom – A bed that folds up into a saferoom, able to stop bullets, etc.
A history of watches – a link to a pictorial review of geek watches through the ages.
Enjoy πŸ™‚

http://www.pasta-recipes.com

Firefox silliness.

As folks are well aware, I’m a big fan of Firefox – to the point of being of the belief that there’s no reason not to run it, and zillions of reasons to run it.
At any rate, I was noodling around with the privacy settings, looking to clean out my cookies cache, when I noted the… interesting comment in the dialog for the definition of ‘Cookies’.
Those guys crack me up πŸ™‚

Coding Nirvana!

Okay, maybe not quite nirvana, but I had a couple hours tonight to continue working on some code I had started yesterday. I’ve been so bogged down in dull aspects of the business, it was nice to actually -create- some stuff for a while.
Many new functions added to the CONGO appserver and client libraries that’ll make things like Coconut (the PHP client class) a heckuva lot more useful.
Yesterday (and I mean Friday with that) – my chosen work environment was the Wendy’s near where I picked up my car. Not too bad actually, foundan outlet, put the headphones on (music of choice was Pink Floyd Wish you were Here), and got the basic changes in place.
Tonight I went through my normal library, then settled into Beethoven’s 9th symphony. I tell ya, that’s one seriously powerful piece o tunage. Hard to NOT focus on the music and get the coding going – but somewhere through the third movement I totally clicked into Flow mode, and cranked out the last couple modules I needed. Committed them back into the repository, and started testing. Twuz great.
Denoument is accomplished with Delerium – Poem, another fantastic piece of music, and great for working – a nice wind down from Ludwig’s bit o fun.
Anyway, I’m feeling pretty accomplished. Off to bed now.

Freecycling and Reuse

While Cat and I were driving up to Maine tonight, I heard a story on NPR about this ‘new concept’ that was sweeping the mid-west.
The idea was ‘Freecycling’. The idea was that if you had something you didn’t want anymore, you could post it to this list, and if someone wanted it, they’d come and get it. The only rule was that NO money changed hands. It was a free giveaway.
“Waiddasec”, sez I. “New concept? What the heck?!?”
The MIT Reuse list has been around for ages; a free forum, limited to MIT affiliated folk, for giving away ‘stuff’. Reuse was and still is a great resource for getting rid of -anything-. If you were in Cambridge, and you had something, if you posted it to reuse, it was -gone-. (we once even got rid of an old car this way).
The MIT Reuse list is targeted specifically at MIT-related folks and environs, so another list, called the Greaterboston-Reuse list was created to handle…er.. the greater boston area. The traffic is low, the content is high, and if you want to unload stuff, this is the place to be.
Since we’re in the process of cleaning out our house and unloading tons of stuff, this list has been invaluable. The rule of thumb is “Here it is, come and get it. It’ll be sitting outside”, and, as in Freecycling, ‘for sale’ or ‘for trade’ postings are verboten (though some slip through).
I was a little miffed at the whole “This is new!” bent on the NPR story. Here’s back atcha, net-folks. Boston’s been doin it for a while πŸ™‚

GM puts out a full size hybrid pickup

There’s been a lot of noise about Ford finally putting out the first Hybrid SUV, the ‘Ford Escape’. I’ve looked at these, and to me they’re sort of toy SUV’s. THey have poor towing capacity, poor cargo capacity, and are basically just stretched up small station wagons. What’s the win?
Then I noticed that GM has a full size Hybrid pickup. This is going in a great direction – this is a full size V8-based pickup that has an electrical assist / hybrid system within it. It does the same thing the Prius does (shuts down the engine at full stops, uses the electric motor for startups, etc). This also coupled with a full towing package, no reduction in cargo capacity or seating (it has a full extended cab).
One of the coolest things is the electrical system provides a 120v 20amp set of outlets that are available fulltime. If you have a need for onsite power, this is enough juice to run a house in low-use conditions (water pump, lights, etc). On a full tank, in theory it’ll run for about 32 hours (and automatically turns itself off before it runs the tank dry, so when you need to go to the store to get more gas, you have a small reserve πŸ™‚
The mileage still isn’t earthshattering. Empty, this truck will do 13-15mpg. With the Hybrid system, they’re talking 12% improvement in mileage, which only raises things to 14.5 – 16.8 mpg. Better, and worth it, but until trucks get over 25mpg with the ability to occasionally tow big loads and carry cargo, I’m not going to be doing any handstands.
On the gripping hand, if I continue with my current endeavors, I’m not commuting anywhere (since I work at home or at a nearby office), the only time I need to drive anywhere is to move equipment to a show, or to haul any of the various trailers / boats we do, or to do work on the house. One of the houses we’re looking at it < 15 minutes from Zach's school, which is a tolerable drive in the truck on a regular basis. For longer trips up to Maine, we still have the Golf, which gets 42+ MPG.
Or maybe I’m just trying to talk myself into a new toy. Nahhhhh.

Bahhh. Bahhhh.

(this will most likely come as a shock to no one)
Take the quiz: “WHAT RELIGION BESTS SUITS YOU?”

Atheist
You are Godless! You could care less about religion. As far as you’re concerned, if you can’t see, touch and kick something, it’s not real to you. You’re day-to-day activities consist of eating, working, sleeping and the occasional Internet or coffee shop debate. Lastly, if anyone chooses to preach at you otherwise, you will either leave or debate them until they finally shut up.

As you slowly slip into madness

I have great respect for Kuro5hin, a blog that was a blog before blogs were blogs. (?). Anyway… there’s a neat tidbit today regarding a non-parents glimpse into the world of children…
You will wake up one day and say to yourself “You know, it’s been ten years since I’ve had sex in my kitchen.” And then you’ll realize you’ve got ten more years to go.
The entire article is available here.

I have to echo Mr Byrd.

When the Bushies were pushing for an all out offensive against Iraq, Senator Byrd, in the congressional debate, kept using the phrase ‘Why now?’ – to ask the administration why it was so critical that the US attack Iraq immediately.
The answer back from the administration was that Iraq posed an ‘immediate threat’ to the US with it’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. Neither the immediate threat, nor the WMDs were ever found, and in fact, if you ask anyone in the administration now why we went to war and overthrew a foreign power, they will say “To combat terrorism!” or “We had to remove a dangerous dictator from power” – they’ll be guaranteed to trot out the phrase “Do you think Iraq would be better off with Saddam still in power?”
I find myself harkening back to Senator Byrd’s comments nowadays. Over the last 24-36 hours, Tom Ridge has raised the security alert in the US. The reasoning is that Al Qaeda is purported to be ramping up the threats against US targets.
Why now?
I find it funny that this heightened alert happened mere days after the DNC, when Kerry is in the ‘bubble’ that follows any convention. This gets more interesting when it turns out that much of the information is not new. It is YEARS old. It has only come to light because of recent interrogations of captured individuals in Pakistan who (so we are told) mentioned things that are in these documents. Note that nothing has changed, it’s just that we just captured some folks, and they said the same things that are in these YEARS OLD documents.
Why now?
Quick! MY GOD! Someone rememberd something they wrote 2 years ago! We have to plaster the media with more unidentifiable, non-specific, absolutely WORTHLESS security alerts! Yeah baby!
Why now?
Because it’s good politics. Pure and simple. Raising the terror threat alert does nothing to help the US. It doesn’t help the military prepare for an attack (they theoretically already know about it). It doesn’t help the investigative or intelligence agencies any (they already know about it). It sure as SHIT doesn’t help the public (now we know about it, thanks. Now what?). The only reason this is done is politics.
Owait, that’s right. The police and civil agencies are supposed to do something too. Do you know they still don’t have the money, manpower, or guidance to do ANYTHING? And what exactly are they supposed to do anyway? “We might or might not have an attack on an undisclosed location, somewhere in the US, sometime this year.
Sometime this year.
Golly. And lets tell everyone about this the week after the DNC, when the campaign for the presidency is really getting rolling.
If I’m wrong? Great, I’m wrong. Are my words going to make one whit of difference one way or another? No. Because there is no defense against this kind of threat that is possible in this world, other than assuming everyone is a terrorist. Owait too late.

The well equipped Golf

I have to say, I love my car.
It’s a 2003 Volkswagon Golf TDI that now has about 36,000 miles on it. Having a Turbodiesel engine that gets around 43 MPG during the last couple months with skyrocketing fuel prices, this has just been a big win all around. Diesel stayed below $1.80 a gallon.
Anyway, the problem has been moving the bicycles around. Zach and I do a lot of riding, and I wanted a way to haul my Haluzak recumbent as well as Zach’s bike around without needing to use the station wagon.
The Brother in law to the rescue! I now have a complete (if someone frankenstein-like) bike rack system that holds both bikes perfectly. We used this to bring the bikes up to Maine this past week, and gosh what a win.
So, this brings my total accoutrements to a new level of geekery in this car. Not only does it carry bikes up on the roof in style, but the internal electronics include GPS, Ham Radio, CB radio, and a pretty decent CD/Stereo system (though yea yea, it’s going into the shop this week to fix an antenna problem. OTHER than that!).