April 2005 Archives

Living Space, The Final Frontier

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Well, the summer apartment I thought I had fell through, leaving me homeless for the summer (temporarily). Time to hit Craigslist again…

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

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From the internets:

Darth Vader Has A Blog.

It’s called, unsurprisingly enough, The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster.

Casting About

A post at the Global Voices blog points to this fascinating radio show (13 mb, 29 minute mp3 here) about international bloggers. I’m not just pointing this out because I’ll be working for Global Voices (and several of the fine folks interviewed in the piece) this summer; it’s a really interesting listen.

Check it out.

File Under Truth, Stranger than Fiction

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Exploding toads plague Hamburg.

Hundreds of toads have met a bizarre and sinister end in recent days. According to reports from animal welfare workers and veterinarians as many as a thousand of the amphibians have perished after their bodies swelled to bursting point and their entrails were propelled for up to a meter.

Seriously. Any coverage from our Germany correspondant?

I, For One, Welcome Our New Robot Overlords

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What’s your cyborg name?

handyvac-PAUL.jpg

I know, Positronic Artificial Utility Lifeform isn’t very exciting… (and if you’re wondering, there’s a 11-character limit, so “Frankenstein” is too long)

Boston

So I charged up my camera, packed the charger, packed the card reader, and forgot to actually bring the camera.

Well, the weather here’s been lovely, I can tell you that much…

ZZ Top

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So, there’s this site that has tangential relation to a month-old post; not to mention that they’re both related to this from a friend. Yes, you have to click the links to figure it out.

Found here.

$24.95 for Free

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I have two one zero free Flickr Pro accounts to give away. The biggest advantage to the Pro account (as opposed to the generic free account) is the upload limit is 2GB instead of 200MB (which, if you're uploading high-quality full-sized images, really isn't that much); there are a bunch of other enhancements, too.

So if you want one, drop me a line.

That was fast (<1 hour). Congrats to Linus and Zeebah on their new Flickr Pro accounts!

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Letter From The Ombudsman

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We would like to apologize for the lack of humor in the “Pope Dirk Benedict” joke. Those responsible have been sacked.

Das Neue Schloss des Papstes

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The Times on the new Pope, Benedict XVI:

[The cardinal said] that he had “a certain hope” based on the choice of the name Benedict. Benedict XV, who appealed for peace during World War I, “was a man of peace and reconciliation,” Cardinal Danneels said. But, he said, “We have to see what’s in a name.”

I think that “Pope Benedict XVI” is a really rather boring choice of name. What if he’d really bucked tradition and gone with, say, “Pope Dirk Benedict I”?

Dave Hyatt is looking for rendering regressions in the new version of Safari. I got one here:

In Safari 1.2, the gray bars in the title field had a few extra pixels of padding on the top and the bottom, due to a line-height: 120% line specification (as seen here in a Firefox screenshot):

firefoxbars.jpg

However, in the new version of Safari, that extra padding has vanished entirely:

safari13bars.jpg

It’s unclear what happens when the title of an entry extends over two lines. Update: Bad news:

safari13titleslong.jpg

That sure don’t look so good. Here’s the offending style:

.title { font-family: didot, bodini, palatino, georgia, times new roman, serif; font-size: large; color: #111; font-variant: small-caps; text-shadow: gray 2px 2px 2px; background: #efefef; font-weight: bold; line-height: 120%; }

Past History

Given yesterday’s news that Adobe is buying Macromedia, I thought that this Flash presentation about the history of Macromedia was worth checking out.

It’s also been noted that this is the second time that Adobe has purchased Freehand.

Comeback

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Well, the Yankees are leading 15-2 in the third inning as I type and well on their way to winning after yesterday’s tongue-lashing by the boss (they are playing the hapless Devil Rays, though). I just thought that the fact that Tino Martinez (a guy they signed for his glove) had 5 rbi in a single inning was fairly impressive.

First The Coca-Cola With Real Sugar

Now, apparently, Viagra is kosher for Passover.

Well, that’s a relief.

This is Why I Need A Cameraphone

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Getting of the subway this afternoon to go to school (yes, it’s Sunday) I noticed a couple wearing matching Baby Bjorn-style carriers… except they weren’t carrying babies, they were carrying small white fluffy dogs.

In Theory, Everything's Working Now

Had a bit of fun “upgrading” to MT 3.15 last night. To make a long story short, stuff got b0rked pretty badly. Fortunately, it looks like everything’s back to normal, more or less (in the process I ended up slightly modifying the commenting procedure—no more pop-up winders).

Now to try some other stuff. Hopefully this won’t break anything…

Update: OK, so comments (and trackback pings) on older posts are automagically moderated now, thanks to the MT-Moderate plug-in. Also, trackbacks should be working again. This should, at least, help slow the trackback floods. In theory.

Smooth Criminal

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I can’t be the only who was amused by how much Michael Jackson the DJ was playing at the Barrister’s Ball last night.

Only thing that would have been better is if he’d also played some classic Phil Spector tracks.

And I Didn't Even Snap The Shot

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I find it amusing that this picture has become the most viewed photograph in my Flickr stream in less than 12 hours.

Professional Irresponsibility

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If only my Professional Responsibility exam was gonna be like this one.

Well, at least I don’t have to worry about it for a while.

Compromising Positions

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Last week I got a new Visa card from my bank in the mail. This a relatively quotidian matter, not worth mention, save for the fact that

  1. I did not ask them for a new card, and
  2. It came with a rather curious letter.

The letter, titled URGENT SECURITY WARNING — CARD INFORMATION COMPROMISED, said (certain details have been modified, obviously):

Visa U.S.A. recently notified GenericBanCorp of a security intrusion to a retail merchant’s database. We believe that the Visa card number associated with your account may have been compromised. While we continue to monitor your account for unusual activity, your GenericBanCorp Visa Card will be deactivated on [date] as a proactive measure.

So, working backwards, it looks like one possible chain of events was that the retailer noticed a security breach, notified Visa with the list of possibly compromised accounts, and then Visa, in turn notifies the banks of the affected card holders.

But another, more troubling, possible chain of events is that someone not the retailer (probably a bank) noticed a very large number of fraudulent charges or unusual patterns of activities, and then notifies Visa. who then works backwards and figures out who the retailer is from past charges. It’s troubling because that’d mean that they were incompetent enough to not notice a major security breach, something that’d be akin to walking out your front door and not noticing an overturned garbage truck on your front lawn.

Then there’s the matter of what kind of ‘security intrusion’ was involved. It’s written to suggest that the database was hacked into by an outside party. The problem with that idea is that part of Computer Security 101 is that you don’t keep credit card numbers on a computer that’s connected to the Internet. If that was the case, then the ‘security intrusion’ was an inside job. But if it wasn’t, and those numbers were hacked into from the outside, then the merchant was, at the very least, negligent, if not reckless, in handling their security.

The third option, of course, is that the numbers were on a laptop that got stolen, but that’s even stupider than leaving your credit card database connected to the Internet (though, unfortunately, not unprecedented).

Of course, the $64 question is: who’s the unnamed ‘retail merchant’?

More Fun With Google Maps

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First, a blog that looks at landmarks from space; second, Craigslist apartment listings cross-pollenated with Google Maps (it seems to mostly work in Safari, if not quite 100%; I haven’t gotten around to checking it out in IE yet).

Baseball's Back, Baby

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Some entirely misleading statistics from the first week of the season:

  • Brad Wilkerson is on pace collect 486 base hits.
  • 73 homers? Dmitri Young should hit 162 of them this year, one for every game.
  • Joe Randa, a guy I didn’t know was still in baseball, is on fire: he’s projected to collect a total of 378 RBI this season.
  • Strikeout king: if Pedro stays healthy, he should pick up 648 strikeouts.
  • And despite what Yankees fans may think, the pitcher who’s had the worst day of the season is not Mariano Rivera (ERA 10.80); that dubious honor goes to Seth McClung, who in his only appearance this year gave up four hits, five runs, and two walks while only recording one out for an ERA of 135.00 and getting the loss. To be fair, though, this was his first appearance since elbow surgery two years ago…
  • Future Hall of Famer John Smoltz isn’t doing so well either, with the very un-hall-of-fame ERA of 32.40 after one start; it was a game where he gave up more runs than outs.

I should point out that I’m still selling Reversed The Curse T-shirts, mugs, and stuff for all you Red Sox fans out there…

Once Was Bad Enough

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OK, seriously, once was bad enough but again? Does the girl on the other end of the line know that you’re stinking up the men’s room on the seventh floor? Can’t it (either the one or the other) wait?

And in other news, we’re slowly closing in on 3,000 comments, which means, of course, free stuff for some lucky pf.org reader…

Google This, Pal

So Google has introduced a new satellite mapping feature. What’s it good for, other than finding places you used to live or where you used to go to school?

Looking up top-secret Air Force bases, of course.

(I mean, you could use to to find directions to a restaurant, too, if you wanted, but that just seems so prosaic…)

Name That Pope

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Most popular names for popes, all-time:

  • John (XXIII)3
  • Gregory (XVI)
  • Benedict (XV)1
  • Clement (XIV)2
  • Innocent (XIII)
  • Leo (XIII)

Last Pope to take an original name: Pope John Paul I, 1978. Last pope to take a unique name: Pope Lando, 913-914.

1The second pope of the western schism was Benedict XIII, which puts the number of papal Benedicts at XVI.
2The first pope of the western schism was Clement VII, which puts the number of papal Clements at XV. Of course, the popes at Avignon during the schism aren’t generally counted as ‘official’ popes…
3Further research has uncovered the curious fact that there was no Pope John XX.

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