Jeff Sexton

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Robots

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22200544/

"By the end of 2010s, we'd like to see these robots working at every street corner of the city," said Tomohiko Kawanabe of Honda's Fundamental Technology Research Center."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

CompUSA

It's amazing how few electronics stores there are anymore...

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/12/08/BU3ETQI3S.DTL

"Consumer electronics retailer CompUSA said Friday that it will go out of business after the holidays following sale of the company to Gordon Brothers Group LLC, a restructuring firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

"CompUSA of Dallas operates 103 stores, which plan to run store-closing sales during the holidays."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Everett Sexton

Born in The Dalles, Oregon in 1914, Everett Sexton was the youngest of the three sons of Lowry and Priscilla Sexton. As a young man he attended the Elgin Watchmakers' College, married and moved to Coeur D'Alene, Idaho for work as a watchmaker in a shop that he later came to own. He raised two children in Coeur D'Alene.

He was respected and well liked in the community for honesty and integrity in his personal and business life. He was an outstanding watchmaker of some reputation, and was known for his intelligence and sense of humor.

Everett Sexton passed away the morning of December 3rd, 2007. He leaves behind his daughter Carol, his wife of 70 years, Veda, and his grandchildren, great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.

He was 93 this November.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

$200

http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/linux/everex-200-linux-gpc-hits-wal+mart-bowls-rednecks-over-317284.php

"Second-tier PC maker Everex teamed up with a startup called gOS to build the gPC TC2502, a $199 VIA-powered Ubuntu 7.10 Linux system with an Enlightenment E17 interface. Although they assure us that the "g" doesn't stand for Google, the PC's productivity will be almost solely derived from Google apps accessed through Firefox: Mail, Calendar, News, Maps and Documents & Spreadsheets. It will also come with OpenOffice.org 2.2 and some other freeware Linux faves."

No Microsoft tax, no RIAA music goof-ware, no video card with more RAM than the PC just to run Word... It shows what's possible. I expect we'll see a lot more PCs like this.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Giant Tabs in a JTabbedPane

Here's how to create a Java Swing JTabbedPane with over-sized tabs. The most basic method is to extend JTabbedPane with a new class that replaces the tabbed pane UI. The replacement UI in turn can override the methods that control the tabs size. The font used in the tabs can also be replaced in the new tabbed pane constructor.

Here's a tabbed pane class with over-sized tabs (50 tall and 140 wide).



public class GiantTabbedPane extends JTabbedPane {
public GiantTabbedPane() {
setUI((GiantTabbedPaneUI)GiantTabbedPaneUI.createUI(this));
setFont(new java.awt.Font("Arial Unicode MS", 1, 18));
}

static class GiantTabbedPaneUI extends BasicTabbedPaneUI {
public static ComponentUI createUI(JComponent c) {
return new GiantTabbedPaneUI();
}

protected int calculateTabWidth(int tabPlacement,
int tabIndex,
FontMetrics metrics) {
return 140;
}

protected int calculateTabHeight(int tabPlacement,
int tabIndex,
int fontHeight) {
return 50;
}
}
}

Monday, October 22, 2007

Subversion, Fedora, PAM, winbindd, Apache and NT4 Authentication

In order to get a Subversion source control server running via Apache HTTP server on Redhat/Fedora Linux, with no separate user authentication, I had to get the Apache server on the box to authenticate the Subversion svn URL against a Windows network. In this case that meant an NT4 Windows domain. There's a few tricks to this that took awhile to figure out. Here's an outline of the process to get Apache to protect the resource using Windows network login and passwords...

0. Install the Apache module mod_auth_pam.

1. Connect the Linux host to the Windows domain. From the menus, select: Administration -> Authentecation -> Authentecation -> Winbind

Configure winbind and and click the "join" button. Note that this required the Windows administrator's username and password.

2. Edit the system's services and enable winbindd to run on startup

Now these commands should work:



wbinfo -u
wbinfo -g
wbinfo -a \\%;

For example:


wbinfo -a XYZ\\jsexton%my_password

should successfully authenticate jsexton against the NT domain XYZ.


3. Setup PAM's http configuration. Here's the use of pam_permit.so. Without this, PAM will check for a valid local account and fail. You'll find references out there to having to make /etc/shadow readable by the httpd for this reason. But using the permit option avoids this problem. This took awhile to figure out because I was using myself as a test and I do in fact have a local account. What I didn't realize was that it was not smart enough to deal with the leading Windows domain on the username. User "jsexton" existed on the linux box, but "XYZ\jsexton" did not. Not having to enter the Windows domain with the username when logging in would also solve the problem, but I don't see how to make that happen in the winbindd setup, for an NT domain.

File /etc/pam.d/http



#%PAM-1.0
auth sufficient pam_winbind.so debug
#account required pam_winbind.so debug
account required pam_permit.so

4. Set Apache to load PAM:

File /etc/httpd/conf.d/auth_pam.conf



LoadModule auth_pam_module modules/mod_auth_pam.so
LoadModule auth_sys_group_module modules/mod_auth_sys_group.so

5. Protect a sample directory:

File /etc/httpd/conf/http.conf



Alias /test/ "/test/"
<Directory "/test">
AllowOverride None
Allow from all
Order Deny,Allow
AuthType Basic
AuthName "AUTH TEST"
AuthPAM_Enabled on
Require valid-user
</Directory>

Now loading http://localhost/test/ should ask for a name and password and authenticate against the Windows domain (note the trailing slash on the URL). Enter the Windows domain in the username with one back-slash, ie "XYZ\jsexton". Watch /var/log/messages and /var/log/httpd/error_log for information. The exact location of some of these files may vary on your system.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Colbert

http://tv.msn.com/tv/article.aspx?news=279894&GT1=7703

"Stephen Colbert announced his candidacy for president on "The Colbert Report" on Tuesday night, tossing his satirical hat into the ring of an already crowded race.

"In a guest column for Maureen Dowd in Sunday's New York Times, Colbert wrote: "I am not ready to announce yet — even though it's clear that the voters are desperate for a white, male, middle-aged, Jesus-trumpeting alternative."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Paulsen

http://www.paulsen.com/
(Have a look at the editorials section)

Now that we don't have equal time rules, it's a lot easier for comedians to run for high office, and Colbert is definately funnier then the rest of the candidates (except for John McCain, that guy cracks me up!).

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Shocking Story! Vista is Junk!

http://vista.blorge.com/2007/10/12/dutch%E2%80%99s-consumers%E2%80%99-union-asks-free-copies-of-xp-for-vista-victims/

"In a recent meeting between the Dutch Consumers. Union (Consumentenbond) and Microsoft Netherlands, the consumer organization asked for free copies of Windows XP for members who were having problems with Vista. Microsoft, of course, refused.

"The refusal has led Consumentenbond to call on consumers to explicitly ask for Windows XP when purchasing a new computer and for shops to provide free Windows XP packages to those dissatisfied with Vista."

Changing the Message Displayed on HP Printers

http://kovaya.com/miscellany/2007/10/insert-coin.html

"This little perl program allows you to set the "Ready Message" on HP printers to whatever you'd like.

...

"You can think up your own funny, confusing or scary messages. My personal favorite is "INSERT COIN" which fits perfectly on the small LCDs. You can even sit in sight of the printer and change the message while watching the reaction of your victim."

Everyone should do this. Right away.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

So When's the Big Sale on Wallstreet?

I was thinking about the stock market...

What they call a bull market has officially entered a 5th year. The average length of a bull market is 3 1/2 years, so it's doing well. I think, as many do, that '08 is going to be good - really good. But what worries me is that after that, beginning sometime in late '08, I have no idea what could happen. I'm thinking at some point I'll move a lot of money out of stocks.

I think what Alan Greenspan has said is ture. Bull markets (bubbles if you like) end naturally for internal reasons at any moment. Whatever happens to be happening in the world at that moment will get blamed for it.

http://www.pbs.org/nbr/site/onair/transcripts/071010_gharib/

"The issue is once you get to the point where the speculative fever breaks, which it does on its own for internal purposes, what happens to be standing there at the point of the break, whether it be somebody making a speech, whether it is a weather change, whether it is some form of event, it will become the cause of the next decline. But the cause is essentially internal. It`s the internal dynamics of booms and busts or bubbles and bursts. It`s human nature. It`s not something which we can do very much about."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

DRM and Record Labels

Speaking of bad ideas, get a load of this:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=19&entry_id=21013

I just can not believe eBay. I really can't. A couple weeks ago I got another slick "catalogue" in the mail from Macy's - er - I mean eBay. This one was personalized with my ebay login. "Hello jsexton", or some such. Gee, they know my name, I'm sooo impressed. Then it goes on to hype merchandise that I have no interest in what so ever. My eBay rating is nearly 1,000. I've bought and sold on eBay a lot over many years. And yet the best they can do with this information is use my login name to try to sell me brand new, name brand goods that have nothing to do with my interests - which they know! It's frustrating watching eBay waste their market leading position.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Clouds

I think this is much bigger news than it appears on the surface. I think this is the beginnings of the future of technology, er, I mean the Googture of technology.

http://www.informationweek.com/research/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=202400042

"Google(GOOG) and IBM(IBM) on Monday announced an initiative to advance large-scale distributed computing by providing hardware, software, and services to universities.

"The two companies aim to reduce the cost of distributed computing research, thereby enabling academic institutions and their students to more easily contribute to this emerging computing paradigm."

Monday, October 08, 2007

Google.com

GOOG is over $600/share and just going crazy.
Everyone says the sky's the limit and I'm inclined to agree. The company is doing everything right and they completely dominate their market. And here's a sign Google is strong - the MS-FUD machine. Me-too, late to the party, no meaningful product on the table, Microsoft is attacking Google. Ballmer is saying that Google reads your email! Shocking!

http://www.crn.com/software/202300583

Ya, well Microsoft Vista reads your hard drive. Whatever...
Maybe it's just the "New Economy".

Har!

http://www.reuters.com/article/internetNews/idUSL2779608320070927?feedType=RSS&feedName=internetNews

"The Internet is killing off the art of telling jokes and now the average Briton only remembers and recycles the same two jokes, a new survey showed on Friday.

"Up to 75 percent of those surveyed by Loaded Magazine admitted they spent up to an hour a week at work sending humorous e-mails."

Friday, October 05, 2007

Bikes on Hawthorne

http://bikeportland.org/2007/09/27/pdot-releases-latest-bike-count-report/

Bicycles represent 18% of all vehicles on Portland's Hawthorne Bridge and 11% of vehicles on the four bicycle friendly Willamette River bridges.

Bicycle traffic in Portland has more than doubled since 2001.

Energy

http://www.wired.com/science/planetearth/magazine/15-10/ff_plant_4tech

Wind

Geothermal

Solar

Synfuel

http://www.wired.com/science/planetearth/magazine/15-10/ff_plant

"Unfortunately, passing chemistry class doesn't mean acing economics. Scientists have long known how to turn trees into ethanol, but doing it profitably is another matter. We can run our cars on lawn cuttings today; we just can't do it at a price people are willing to pay."

http://www.wired.com/science/planetearth/magazine/15-10/ff_plant_renew

"We've got only a few decades to save the world: Somewhere between 2030 and 2050, if current trends persist, atmospheric CO2 levels will hit 500 parts per million, temperatures will rise 2 degrees, and the Greenland ice cap will begin turning to slush, causing sea levels to rise 20 feet."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/25/washington/25nuke.html?ex=1348372800&en=ac936439741767c7&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

"In a bid to take the lead in the race to revive the nuclear power industry, an energy company will ask the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday for permission to build two reactors in Texas.

"It is the first time since the 1970s and the accident at Three Mile Island that an American power company has sought permission to start work on a new reactor to add to the existing array of operable reactors, which now number 104."

Thursday, October 04, 2007

!

Oh for gosh sakes Bush is an idiot!

http://duggmirror.com/celebrity/NO_your_other_right_hand_pic/

The man has armies of handlers and trainers, the best, this should never happen - Cripes!!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Skype

http://www.reuters.com/article/internetNews/idUSN0128731720071001?feedType=RSS&feedName=internetNews

"NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - EBay Inc said on Monday it would cut as much as $1.2 billion off the $4.3 billion potential price it agreed to pay for Web-based phone-calling service Skype two years ago.

"The writedown on the value of the deal came as eBay said Skype co-founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis had resigned as executives, and marks a tacit admission of lackluster returns from Skype since eBay acquired it two years ago."

Not long ago I started using Skype. Although its functions overlap with those provided by many simular systems, it works well, and I like it. I've used eBay for many years as a buyer and a seller. It has some problems, but it works OK.

Whoever thought eBay should aquire Skype and start operating an IP phone company should really be looking for another job. It makes no sense at all, and eBay has proved this by finding no synergy, at all, and now by making little money on the whole thing. It never did make any sense.

File under "duh"...

Monday, October 01, 2007

14,000

DOW 14,000 today. Will it close over? I doubt it... But it should be a good day. This is the start of the 4th quarter. Q4 is frequently good. We have the "Santa Claus" rally coming up, and an election where people know we'll be getting rid of an idiot (money doesn't play ideology). Plus, the economy is fundamentally strong. It'll take off as people realize that the housing hype is 90% just the whining of a single industry looking to be bailed out.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

phone

I want one of these RAZR2 V8 phones.

http://www.linux.com/feature/119159

"This summer, in a perfect storm of activity, the cell phone suddenly became a full-fledged wireless computer. Those prime-time TV commercials promoting the iPhone downplay the telephone application to emphasize data-rich Internet media capabilities -- email, Web surfing, GPS navigation, music, photos, and video -- all on a cell phone. Hard on Apple's heels, a blitz of new handhelds is beginning to vie for attention, led by Motorola's US launch of the Linux-based RAZR2 V8, now taking place. Has Linux become a contending competitive platform, pushing open source to the front of the stage in this market?

"It appears so. Market research firm ABI Research, in a late August press announcement entitled "Linux to Be the Fastest-Growing Smartphone OS over the Next 5 Years," predicted a compound annual growth rate "in excess of 75%." By 2012, this growth rate means that Linux will "account for nearly 31% of all smart devices in the market ... representing more than 331
million cumulative shipments over the same period." Research Director Stuart Carlaw said, "Serious initiatives from the likes of Intel and Access are gathering pace and momentum, whilst the carrier community continues to identify Linux as one of the few operating systems that it intends to support in its long-term plans.""

Google at 9

Google is 9 years old today, and what a 9 years it's been. There was a time when I had seen every public web page there was. It seems like only yesterday that "what's new" web sites were manageable, I even had one for awhile. I remember to first time I saw something funny on the web, the lunch pages, the coffee maker, the other first web cams and early hints at the copyright fire storms to come.

It wasn't long before HTTP become what people meant when they said "internet". It exploded. Internet news, commerce, interactive sites, Java, the browser wars, the dot-com silliness... And through it all Google did something simple that we all needed - it helped us find things. Google never made a browser. Google never made a web site that required it's software. Google never tried to lock people out and charge fees. It just provided a useful service, and sold unobtrusive ad space.

It worked, but Google didn't stop there. As one of the very few companies that "get it", Google has continued to provide new and (more importantly, useful) services. Today, an iGoogle page, Google mail, news, a few "portlets",web albums and you've got a window on the internet world that's hard to beat. And in fact, no one is beating it.

But there's more to do, and we all know it. Here to the years to come, and the products and services to be invented...

What I take away from this is that you don't need to be complicated to be successful. You don't need to sue people. You don't need tricks designed to herd customers into platform lock-in. Just create something that works, that does something people need and enjoy. A product that doesn't fight its customers, alone, may not assure riches, but a product that's in our way, that fights us, that sues us, that deliberately doesn't work with our other tools and refuses to fit in with our lives is sure to fail.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Cure for a Common JAI Exception

The Java advanced imaging framework (JAI) will throw a confusing and harmless exception if hardware specific classes are not available;

Error: Could not find mediaLib accelerator wrapper classes. Continuing in pure Java mode.
Occurs in: com.sun.media.jai.mlib.MediaLibAccessor
java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: com/sun/medialib/mlib/Image
at com.sun.media.jai.mlib.MediaLibAccessor$1.run(MediaLibAccessor.java:248)
at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
at com.sun.media.jai.mlib.MediaLibAccessor.setUseMlib(MediaLibAccessor.java:245)
at com.sun.media.jai.mlib.MediaLibAccessor.useMlib(MediaLibAccessor.java:177)
at com.sun.media.jai.mlib.MediaLibAccessor.isMediaLibCompatible(MediaLibAccessor.java:357)
at com.sun.media.jai.mlib.MediaLibAccessor.isMediaLibCompatible(MediaLibAccessor.java:315)
at com.sun.media.jai.mlib.MlibScaleRIF.create(MlibScaleRIF.java:67)
at sun.reflect.NativeMethodAccessorImpl.invoke0(Native Method)
at sun.reflect.NativeMethodAccessorImpl.invoke(NativeMethodAccessorImpl.java:39)

...etc.

A good cure for this is to get the stuff it would like to have installed. But if you can't do that, or can't predict something about the target hardware, there's a nice way to get the exception ignored.

JAI includes a listener for imaging errors. Create an instance of such a listener and add it to your JAI default instance like so:


public class MyErrListener implements ImagingListener {
public boolean errorOccurred(String arg0,
Throwable arg1, Object arg2,
boolean arg3) throws RuntimeException {
// Do nothing.
return false;
}
}

and then...


JAI.getDefaultInstance().setImagingListener(new MyErrListner());
Here's the relevant documentation:

http://download.java.net/media/jai/javadoc/1.1.3/jai-apidocs/javax/media/jai/util/ImagingListener.html

http://download.java.net/media/jai/javadoc/1.1.3/jai-apidocs/javax/media/jai/JAI.html#setImagingListener(javax.media.jai.util.ImagingListener)

Clockmakers

People are always asking me about mechanical clocks, because I work on mechanical watches. I can't help them. Clockmaking is a completely different thing from watchmaking. However, one thing that they do perhaps have in common is that it is, strictly speaking, a completely impractical
skill.

Here's a nice piece about a local clockmaker and his shop.

http://www.kgw.com/lifestyle/stories/kgw_091607_lifestyle_clockmakers.dd1cf4f6.html

MP3

Amazon has launched a new music download service with no DRM and variable pricing, both things Steve Jobs has resisted (particularly a variable price structure).

http://www.amazon.com/gp/blog/post/PLNK1GR94T4PJ38D6

If anyone can challenge iTunes, it's Amazon. Amazon already has a well established customer base for books, CDs and other merchandise. Selling music for download is for Amazon the equivalent of placing impulse buy items next to the cash register at the grocery store.

Meanwhile...

AnywhereCD is shutting down. It's founder, Michael Robertson, writes here with his views on what went wrong.

http://www.michaelrobertson.com/archive.php?minute_id=245

Interesting stuff, and indicative of a retail entertainment and media industry that still just doesn't get it, and a high-tech industry still struggling to find a way to co-exist with those big media companies.

In other news, we can also add Virgin Digital to the long list of services that have not worked out. Maybe Richard Branson will have better luck with his airlines.

http://www.virgindigital.co.uk/Message.aspx

It's been many years now since since digital media and the internet came together. And we still don't know what we're doing.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sony's New Smile Cam

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20773324/

"Using face-detection technology, the 8-megapixel, DSC-T70 and DSC-T200 Cyber-shot cameras won't snap a high-definition picture until a selected subject smiles."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Java on Fedora 6

Here's another reason to avoid Fedora. I don't know exactly what sort of Java comes installed with Redhat's Fedora 6 Linux, but save yourself some grief. Head over to Sun,

http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads/index.jsp

and get a current JDK/JRE.

For one thing the JVM Redhat is including with Fedora 6 is 1.4.2, which is pretty old in my opinion. I've already been doing things that require 1.6. Secondly, the GNU Java maybe more open, true, and you may heve some feelings about that, but the Sun JVM is the reference implimentation. So, if you're wanting to get real work done, it better run on the Sun JVM.
At the very least, there's significant benefit in having more than one JVM available.

Note, you can switch JVMs by simply changing your PATH (and CLASSPATH if you've got one). Or, what I like to do is make an /opt/java a symbolic like to whatever Java install I want to use at run-time.

Eclipse can be configured to know about multiple Java installs and so you can switch between them at will. You can also run Eclipse with one Java, but run and debug your application with other Java. Situations where this is needed come up more than one might think. I do it all the time.

The Java Commandline on Windows

I hardly ever have to do this so when I do, it's always a struggle for a minute: running a java program, from a jar file (on Windows). Also online I see question frequently asked about the java command line. Here's a brief run-down.

There are two forms the command line can take.

1) java.exe -classpath ;; com.newpackage.MyClass

Each jar file is a full path to the file including the ".jar". The class to run is given at the end without a ".class" of course. The class of course needs to be in one of the jar files. "-cp" may be used instead of "-classpath".

Here's the part that always throws me. On crappy Windows, you separate your jar files on the command line with a semi-colon, ";", not a colon, ":" as it would be on a grown up operating system. In addition, on Windows, it doesn't handle drive letters well, as in "c:\my_jars\xyz.jar". Escape those, or use a different arrangement.

Here's the other form of the java command line.

2) java.exe -jar myfile.jar

In this form, the jar file should contain everything needed and the "main", or class to run, has to have been designated when the jar was created. When using the "-jar" option, classpath options are ignored.

Complete documentation is found here:

http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/docs/tooldocs/solaris/java.html

Have fun.

Whew!

So this morning I saw in my Google Reader that Moss had posted a new Google Shared item!

http://www.google.com/s2/sharing/stuff?user=100511491322054142276

So I checked it out, pretty interesting... I clicked "Share" in my reader so the item will show up on my blog and on my stuff to read web page.

http://blapandsuch.blogspot.com/

Then it occured to me that I should add links on my stuff to read page to my Shared Stuff, and to Moss's Shared Stuff to the stuff to read too.

http://www.rdrop.com/~jsexton/reader.html

That done, I added Moss's shared stuff link to my Shared Stuff.

http://www.google.com/s2/sharing/stuff?user=104405056094644812060

Then I posted this:

http://blapandsuch.blogspot.com/2007/09/whew.html

Open Source Says "We will bury you"

"You can try to avoid open source, but it's probably easier to get out of the IT business altogether. By 2011, at least 80% of commercial software will contain significant amounts of open source code..."

-- Gartner research vice president Mark Driver

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2007/092007-open-source-unavoidable.html

In nearly every sector of software technology, open source solutions are no longer just an alternative, they are now the superior alternative. In coming years, organizations that realize this advantage will prosper. Those that do not, will not. It's as simple as that.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Shuttle Photos

These are some of the best space shuttle mission images I've ever seen.

http://www.texasjim.com/NASApix/NASA%20pix.htm

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Things Google Should Do

* I'd like a way to email, or otherwise transmit, photos from my phone to my Picasa web albums.

* It would be nice to use adsense on the web albums site, and anywhere else content is shared (such as things created with the Google office web applications, and the calander).

* I find Google maps a bit tricky to use on a phone. The interface could use some work here and there.

* I can't seem to get an RSS feed from gmail into Google reader. It seems like it should be allowed, but it doesn't work when you set it up.

* I'd like to be able to control caching on a mobile device for Google applications. I'd like to add storage, and reduce network access.

* I'd like more control over the appearance of text-based adsense ad units. I can come close to matching the look of my own content, but not exactly (maybe this is deliberate?).

* I'd like to be able to configure Google to "permanently" exclude selected domains from my search results.

* I'm not Windows user, I'd like a full-featured and stable linux version of Picasa.

* A Google calendar view that tied to photos in the web albums would be nice.

* More photo storage. Perhaps Google could offer more storage for photos that include tags, so the are more easily indexed.

* I'd like to see Google create a tiny linux distribution that booted from a "live CD" (or better yet a flash memory device) and included simple and direct access to the Google applications suite, and very little else. Google could give away thumb drives that did this. It would be open
source naturally, and people would very quickly port it to all sorts of unconventional devices.

* I'd like to see Google Earth tied into various live web cams, where they exist, to show live images of places.

* Perhaps Google could create some sort of identity/reputation management/search system that would allow a signed-in user to pull together identities from social networking sites and other sites that include reputation, like eBay.

* If Google creates a hardware device of any sort, it should it include a biometric sign on.

* Wouldn't it be interesting if Google Earth included a time dimension, are an as-of date in the search options?

* Google just added something called "shared stuff", with a toolbar button to automaticly create a link to the current page on a "my shared stuff page". Here's mine:

http://www.google.com/s2/sharing/stuff?user=104405056094644812060&aoff=true

Ok, this nice, there's a way to subscribe to the RSS feed and it does a nice job of integrating with gmail. But what's the difference between this new feature and this, the shared items from the Google reader?

http://www.google.com/reader/shared/08377747788536767911

Google, what are you doing here? I don't get it. The reader's shared stuff has a nice way of appearing on the blog page. Does the new "shared stuff" do that?

Google is doing an outstanding job of providing valuable tools and services. I hope they keep up the good work!

DIY Guillotine

Determination? Madness? Or just a sense of drama?

"The body of a 41-year-old man was found in a wooded area next to a guillotine he built and used to kill himself, police said."

http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/14099445/detail.html

"I can't even tell you how long it must have taken him to construct," he said. "This man obviously was very determined to end his life."

"According to investigators, the man had to make several trips to carry the wooden and metal parts to the area in the woods."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Yum!

How to spend a million dollars a day on meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner:

http://www.bocajoescatering.com/Miami-Florida-Catering.html

Here's a dessert:

"This sundae is made with "5 scoops of the richest Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream infused with Madagascar vanilla and covered in 23 carat edible gold leaf, the sundae is drizzled with the world's most expensive chocolate, Amedei Porceleana, and covered with chunks of rare Chuao
chocolate, which is from cocoa beans harvested by the Caribbean Sea on Venezuela's coast. The masterpiece is suffused with exotic candied fruits from Paris, gold dragets, truffles and Marzipan Cherries. It is topped with a tiny glass bowl of Grand Passion Caviar, an exclusive dessert caviar, made of salt-free American Golden caviar, known for its sparkling golden color. It's sweetened and infused with fresh passion fruit, orange and Armagnac. The sundae is served in a baccarat Harcourt crystal goblet with an 18K gold spoon to partake in the indulgence served with a petite mother of pearl spoon and topped with a gilded sugar flower by Ron Ben-Israel." It is sold at New York's Serendipity Restaurant for $1,000."

Free Beer from IBM

IBM plans to offer free desktop programs for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations; OpenOffice. They're calling it "IBM Lotus Symphony".

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/18/technology/18blue.html?ref=technology

You'd think IBM would make more of this, but then again they've always been stunningly bad at advertising.

http://symphony.lotus.com/software/lotus/symphony/home.jspa

Monday, September 17, 2007

More On Fedora 6 - Modems

I've had to give up on getting a serial modem to work with Fedora 6. The best tip I ran into on this was here:

http://www.fedoraforum.org/forum/showthread.php?t=150818

I had installed the xen kernel, just to play with it. It seems the xen edition makes the serial ports unavailable to the O/S. That makes some sense. So I tried installing Fedora without the virtualization option (since installing it with virtualization fails to install the non-xen kernel as a boot option).

However, the non-xen install gets to the point of actually formating and copying over the selected software and crashes. I tried it five times with simpler and simpler options selected. Everytime, the install just crashed.

This is the 64-bit Fedora 6, on a brand new AMD dual core, a mid-range motherboard, no extra video card or anything else fancy, a couple of big SATA drives (also new) and 2 GBs of memory.

Linux normally works really, really well these days. But Fedora is pathetic.

New!

Here's a new watch internals tour:

http://www.rdrop.com/~jsexton/watches/museum/elgin28563994.html

The Elgin Grade 315, 12 size pocketwatch.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Not Too Far Off - The Future

The living room of the future, a 1979 prediction:

http://flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=1271028593&amp;context=pool-441605@N25&size=l

Such "views of the future" are always interesting once "the future" gets here. This particular one is humorous at first glance, but actually many elements are things that have come into our lives, although perhaps in slightly different forms.

No flying cars yet though.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Taxing

I was researching how something was going to work for me this year and came across this:

http://www.fourmilab.ch/ustax/ustax.html

It's a searchable and hyper-linked on-line edition of the US Internal Revenue Code. Someone's done a lot of work! No, it's not bang-on current (it's to 2004), but it's pretty good for many purposes.

From the web site's description:

"The complete Internal Revenue Code is more than 24 megabytes in length, and contains more than 3.4 million words; printed 60 lines to the page, it would fill more than 7500 letter-size pages. Looking for something buried in that mass of verbiage can be daunting. By harnessing the freeWAIS-sf indexing and retrieval engine to the Web version of the tax code, you can search the entire Code for words or combinations of words, navigating directly to sections that matched the query by following a link. For example, entering "forfeiture AND beer" in the query box and pressing Start search locates all 13 sections of the Code containing those words, ranked in descending order of relevance as determined by the weighting algorithm in freeWAIS-sf. You can compose more complex queries using the standard freeWAIS-sf query syntax."

Nice!

This site also has a link to the text of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Patraeus

So, maybe I missed the news item where the President and commander in chief stepped down and put a general in charge of US policy?

Bush has gone from hiding behind this "wait to see what the General says" thing for months now. Now Bush seems to have taken that a step further to "we'll do whatever the General says". Um, who's "The Decider" again? Does the buck stop anyplace at all, ever? Maybe Patraeus should be running for office. Or maybe he doesn't need to.

And Congress isn't helping. The General goes up there and all the ask him about are policy and politics. They nearly all disagree with the policy, so they want a chance to say so, and try to get the General to say so.

Well, in this country, the military does what the civilian leadership tells it to. The General was ordered to settle down Iraq (I guess), and he's trying. And they ask his things like, "is this making America safer"? How is he supposed to know? Ok, he's an American, a citizen, a voter... I'm sure he has an opinion, probably a pretty well informed one too. But how about asking him something about the military actions he's taking in order to carry out his orders?

Oh, I forgot. Apparently he doesn't get orders, and Iraq is the Generals problem now. Whatever.

Goffice

http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2007/09/google-apps-gets-important-endorsement.html

AP reports that Google Apps gained more credibility as "technology consultancy Capgemini will begin recommending Google Inc.'s online suite of office software to its corporate customers. (...) Capgemini, based in Paris, France, influences the type of software used on more than 1 million personal computers in companies worldwide. Its major customers include drug maker Eli Lilly & Co. and accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers."

Meanwhile...

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/microsoft_10_reasons_against_google_apps.php

Up till now, Microsoft has been very quiet about the nascent Web Office threat from Google. But today, in response to the news that IT systems consultancy CapGemini has partnered with Google to sell Google Apps Premier Edition (GAPE) to enterprises, Microsoft issued an email listing 10 "top questions that enterprises should ask when considering the switch to GAPE." The questions read more like reasons why enterprises shouldn't choose Google Apps. This list was first published by Mary Jo Foley, who says it was an unsolicited email from a Microsoft "corporate spokesperson".

The 10 reasons make for fascinating reading - and show just how concerned Microsoft really is about not only Google Apps, but Web Office in general.

The conclusion is pretty obvious. This is a replay of the early stages of MSFT vs. Linux, and MSFT vs. [insert new and better technology here] before that. Like Linux, Google applications work. Like Linux, Google applications are way ahead of MSFT (which never really invented anything at all). MSFT doesn't like it when something better comes along, and when people *finally* realize that not only do they do not have to be tied the latest MS-Junk, but that the alternatives offer huge advantages.

So how will Microsoft fight Google in the market place? First they'll make sure Vista won't load Google web sites (seriously, they'll do that). Then they'll get sued and have to back down. Meanwhile the huge pile of cash that Micro-"what-have-you-done-for-me-lately"-soft made off Windows 98 gets smaller every single day.

Microsoft is finished. No doubt about it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

They Might Be Giants

From Dial-a-Song, to podcasts, to Myspace... An interview with John Flansburgh:

http://www.gearlog.com/2007/08/interview_they_might_be_giants.php

HD DVD 3x

http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2007/09/11/hd_dvd_51gb_approved/

"The DVD Forum, the organisation that oversees DVD and HD DVD technology, has approved Toshiba's proposed triple-layer, 51GB disc structure. The move paves the way to exceed - for now, at least - the 50GB capacity of a two-layer Blu-ray Disc."

(Guess I'll have to buy the White Album again...)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Narratives of Fatal Flaw

"Class is impossible," says Debord; however, according to Pickett[1] , it is not so much class that is impossible, but rather the futility, and therefore the absurdity, of class. Baudrillard suggests the use of the predialectic paradigm of reality to attack sexism.

In the works of Fellini, a predominant concept is the distinction between within and without. However, if textual theory holds, we have to choose between postmaterialist socialism and subsemantic socialism. The subject is contextualised into a neocapitalist paradigm of consensus that includes consciousness as a paradox.

If one examines postmaterialist socialism, one is faced with a choice: either reject textual theory or conclude that culture is part of the collapse of narrativity. In a sense, in La Dolce Vita, Fellini analyses postmaterialist socialism; in 8 1/2 he examines textual theory. Sartre promotes the use of postmaterialist socialism to deconstruct and modify society.

Therefore, a number of dematerialisms concerning the role of the writer as poet may be found. The subject is interpolated into a textual theory that includes culture as a totality.

Thus, the primary theme of Scuglia.s[2] model of postmaterialist socialism is the difference between sexual identity and class. Wilson[3] implies that the works of Gaiman are modernistic.

In a sense, the premise of precapitalist theory holds that discourse comes from the collective unconscious. Bataille suggests the use of the neocapitalist paradigm of consensus to attack class divisions.

It could be said that the characteristic theme of the works of Gaiman is the collapse, and eventually the genre, of dialectic society. If textual theory holds, we have to choose between the neocapitalist paradigm of consensus and subtextual cultural theory.

http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

My Fedora 6 Installation Nightmare

My efforts to build a working 64-bit Fedora 6 install continue... Here's some highlights of the problems.

1. Fedora 6 is not able to correctly configure even very common graphics cards, nor does Fedora's install offer to configure a text mode boot. If you want to install Fedora 6, expect to do this stuff the hard way.

2. Some important packages are not installed in a typical install. And there is no way to install new packages on a built machine from the discs. It will only install packages using an internet connection.

3. The default install is "secured" to the point of being unusable. No obvious ways of disabling enough security to use the system are provided. It takes research.

4. The installer crashes in a couple of places. When this happens you have to start all over. Believe it or not, this is the most minor problem.

My task is complicated by the fact that I am doing this in order to save a large amount of data from a failing drive. I had to get the new box up, ftp a lot of data around, and build the new system up to the configuration I need.

Fedora reminds me of the earliest days of linux when installs had to be done over and over to get what what you need and there was a huge amount of hands on package building and configuration. It is NOT easy. It has set linux back. It's the only 64-bit distribution I have at hand.

Here's the procedure I've come up with and a few tips. There are three areas I had to work with to get the system at least usable. The video, selinux and vsftp (security).

Video

Fedora will almost certainly not configure its graphics correctly. When this happens, it will not start up correctly.

1. Boot the install disk to "rescue" mode.

2. Change the runlevel to a text boot and reboot.

3. Use system-config-display to create a usable /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. You'll find many forum posts about using "Xorg -configure" to do this. That doesn't work (remarkably it creates a config file different from the one the install creates, but just as wrong). Use the "startx" command to test the configuration out. You can change back to a graphical boot if you like.

Another note on graphics and Fedora's flaws; for whatever reason sometime X11 fails to start correctly on boot. You find yourself with a text login. Running startx will tell you that a lock file already exists (indicating that it thinks X is already running) - and it is. In this case, login, delete the LCK file, find the xorg process and issue a "kill -HUP" on it. I don't know why this happens...

selinux and "Security"

My advise would be that unless you're building a server for the NSA or something, disable selinux completely. Edit /etc/selinux/config and reboot to disable selinux.

I ran into this because I needed to use an ftp server on the box. Fedora comes with vsftpd, which is naturally configured to do pretty much nothing. Which is hard to understand since ftp is not allowed by the default firewall, and ftpd is also not activated (nor is it even installed
in fact) by default. Naturally, you get no choices about these things in the install.

Why on earth do they put up so many obstacles?

But anyway, even if you can get the ftpd configuration file correct for your use (it's in /etc/vsftpd), selinux will still prevent ftp connections from doing anything useful. I spent a lot of time frustrated, thinking my vsftp configuration wasn't working before figuring this out.

Getting Packages

You can't install software on this distribution except via the internet, or completely manually (stunning). I tried to do a re-install without reformatting in hopes that I could get more on there from the CDs. Don't bother trying this. It gets to the package dependency check and fails
claiming that what is already installed conflicts. Whatever... After the initial install, your CDs or DVD are useless.

I'm making some progress with my setup. But it's slow going. My two biggest complaints are the shockingly bad video configuration created by the install and the "security" issues. In the case of the video, there is no reason in the world that a plain-jane driver should be setup by the install if it can't detect the hardware correctly. This distribution does an especially poor job of hardware detection, but I'd except that. The real problem is that it, with no word of warning, builds an unbootable system.

The "security"... I put the word in quotes because what Fedora does for security makes the system unusable - I may as well leave it unplugged, that would be "secure" right? It installs unusable configurations, but also disables those services an two of more ways anyway. This leaves even a relatively sophisticated user with a lot of layers to unravel before being able to do some pretty common tasks (like use ftpd). All this happens with no choices offered during the install process (I can just hear someone saying teh install process should be simple, what? And then require 10 or 20 hours of googling to get NFS working?).


Whatever...

Beef

http://news.opb.org/article/e-coli-beef-infects-deschutes-mother-child/

"Oregon health officers say your ground beef may be dangerous and should be thrown away if: You bought it at a QFC, Fred Meyer, or a Safeway store. It was ground by Interstate Meat Distributors in Clackamas County. The beef was labeled as 'Northwest Finest' natural ground beef and 'Northwest Finest' organic ground beef. The sell-by dates are from August 1st to August 11th 2007."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Crime

Here's a strange crime with a local connection... This isn't surprising though. In my experience things like security systems that use any sort of IP network are usually extremely unsecured. Passwords are generally "password", there's no firewall or encryption and worst of all, they run on Windows! Ya right, real secure, sure...

"The FBI is investigating fifteen store robberies in eleven states,
committed via phone and internet. The perpetrators hack the store's security system so they can observe their victims. They then make customers take their clothes off and get the store to wire money. "

http://slashdot.org/articles/07/08/30/0321232.shtml

Local Safeway target of bizarre nationwide threat calls

http://www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_082907_news_safeway_threats.81f28c7c.html

"The first of the threats that federal investigators are aware of came last Thursday at a Safeway in Sandy, Ore."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The End of Time in California

Actually, I'm amazed that they were still doing this. Calling time was a part of learning to use the telephone for a generation. Of course the telephone as we know it is also nearing extinction.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lazarus29aug29,0,2466396,full.column?coll=la-home-center

"What that means is that people throughout Southern California will no longer be able to call 853-1212 to hear a woman's recorded voice state that "at the tone, Pacific Daylight Time will be . . ." with the recording automatically updating at 10-second intervals.

""Times change," said John Britton, an AT&T spokesman. "In today's world, there are just too many other ways to get this information. You can look at your cellphone or your computer. You no longer have to pick up the telephone."

"Indeed, time already has stopped in 48 other states, he said. California and Nevada are the two remaining holdouts."

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bolton Wine

One of the two families that still hold a part of the original Bolton land claimed in 1853 are growing grapes now:

http://www.columbiagorgewineclub.com/bolton.htm

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

How To Make Sybase ASE Non-Case Sensitive

Sybase ASE servers are case sensitive by default. This is a server-wide setting driven by the default character set and the sort order. Changing this impacts both object names and data itself so if you have to do this, expect unexpected consequences.

There is no way to change case sensitivity on a per-connection basis, or on a per-database basis. Changing it on an existing server is difficult and involves a lot more steps. But I recently had to make this change on a new install, having no databases and no data. It's much easier in that case.

To make a new Sybase ASE server install non-case sensitive (using it's default English character set), on Linux:

1. After the install, as the Sybase user with the usual permissions, run this (if you just installed the server, then the sa password is empty, specify the -P with no text after):

charset -Usa -P -S nocase.srt iso_1

2. Connect to the server as sa and change the sort order:

isql -Usa -P -S
1> sp_configure 'default sortorder id', 52, 'iso_1'
2> go

3. Shutdown and restart the server. The server will change its sort order and then shut itself down. The server output to the console will show this.

4. Restart the server again, all set.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Installing Sybase ASE 15.04 on Fedora 6

I just finished an install of the 64-bit Sybase ASE server on Fedora 6. I had to do a few things to get this to work that others might run into.

0. For some reason the Sybase setup utility refuses to run regardless of X11 security. I ran "setup -console" for a text version of the install (why everyone seems to think everything has to be GUI is beyond me anyway).

1. Sybase (64-bit) requires a libaio package that wasn't installed by my Fedora install. It would tell me that libaio.so.1 can't be loaded when trying to start the server. I managed to get this library using the Fedora add/update software GUI tool. This tool is a pain. The best bet is to use "list" and just find it. The package providing this library has an obvious name.

2. The server still won't start. A look at my server log in the Sybase software target directory, and down in "install", said it was unable to allocate the needed amount of shared memory. To correct this, I added this line:

kernel.shmmax=2147483648

to the file /etc/sysctl.conf and then ran the command "/sbin/sysctl -p". Then I went over to the Sybase install directories and started the server as I normally would. It worked.

3. The Sybase environment variables are setup in the install directory in some sample scripts. On my machine, that's /opt/sybase/SYBASE.sh for example.

A note about the Fedora software update program - it is truly shockingly awful. For one thing you can not use it if you are not connected to the internet. It will not install software from CDs or a DVD without some modification for which no help is provided (do some searches on Google to get some tips if you have to do this).

Also, Sybase does require a few other packages. But if you installed Fedora with various development options, you'll get them. It also needs a Java install.

It is said that the 32-bit version on ASE can run on a 64-bit Fedora install too, but to do that you must collect up some 32-bit libraries by, get this, installing the 32-bit version of Fedora someplace and copying off the needed files. Here's a tip on this:

http://www.petersap.nl/SybaseWiki/index.php/Running_a_32_bit_ASE_executable_with_a_64_bit_chipd

I am not at all impressed with Fedora. I would not recommend it. Its "out of the box" configuration is all but unusable, and it is deeply flawed with regard to hardware identification, particularly for graphics systems. There's no excuse. Other distributions are vastly superior in this area.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cuba

Here's a great internet rumor - Is Fidel dead?

http://reddit.com/info/2gfh6/comments

"Fidel Castro is dead. I have a relative called me this morning and
said something is a big is going on. Military vehicles everywhere etc."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sim-Bernanke

http://www.reuters.com/article/internetNews/idUSN0925619220070816?feedType=RSS&feedName=internetNews

"Players want standardized data about Eve's economy to help them track prices and make investment decisions as they battle to control interstellar space on behalf of mega-corporations whose size and power would make any real multinational blush."

Lunch

http://www.blogthings.com/whatkindofsandwichareyouquiz/

Here's mine:

You are have a big personality. It's hard for anyone to ignore you!
You dream big. You think big. And you eat big.
Some people consider you high maintenance, but you just know what you want... and when you want it.

Your best friend: The Tuna Fish Sandwich

Your mortal enemy: The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Googlebot

Today Google's web tools show that Google last visited my site August 11th. Finally! However a few quick searches show that July's additions to the web site, specifically this:

http://www.rdrop.com/~jsexton/watches/museum/

still do not all come up correctly in search results (some do). What's more, the pages that I moved under that URL, still come up in the search results in their old locations, and so are now bad links. That's what I really don't like about this, and the real downside about moving things around. It did need to be done though before I add additional "Elgin Watch Word" material.

It's strange that some of the material comes up correctly in search results and some does not. Updates to the Google index appearently don't happen all at once.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Opps

I got this from my Google home page today...


#
# An unexpected error has been detected by Java Runtime Environment:
#
# EXCEPTION_ACCESS_VIOLATION (0xc0000005) at pc=0x6c342afe, pid=2816, tid=4060
#
# Java VM: Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (1.6.0-b105 mixed mode, sharing)
# Problematic frame:
# C 0x6c342afe
#
# If you would like to submit a bug report, please visit:
# http://java.sun.com/webapps/bugreport/crash.jsp
#

--------------- T H R E A D ---------------

Current thread (0x00691000): JavaThread "main" [_thread_in_Java, id=4060]

siginfo: ExceptionCode=0xc0000005, reading address 0x6c342afe

Registers:
EAX=0x229d594a, EBX=0x00000000, ECX=0x00000000, EDX=0x00000002
ESP=0x0032f100, EBP=0x0032f108, ESI=0x229d5948, EDI=0x229d59e0
EIP=0x6c342afe, EFLAGS=0x00010202

Top of Stack: (sp=0x0032f100)
0x0032f100: 229d5974 0000006e 0032f148 6d80d2f9
0x0032f110: 229d5974 229d58dc 0000006e 011e700d
0x0032f120: 229d58dc 229d5974 0000006e 006910e8
0x0032f130: 0032f140 0128f311 006910e8 0032f140
0x0032f140: 229d57a8 00690a44 0032f188 01227956
0x0032f150: 00000037 229d5968 00000000 012f9ecd
0x0032f160: 229d5548 00000000 0000002e 00000003
0x0032f170: 00000037 229d5950 00000006 2b767e38

Instructions: (pc=0x6c342afe)
0x6c342aee:
[error occurred during error reporting, step 100, id 0xc0000005]

Stack: [0x002e0000,0x00330000), sp=0x0032f100, free space=316k
Native frames: (J=compiled Java code, j=interpreted, Vv=VM code, C=native code)
C 0x6c342afe
V [jvm.dll+0x4d2f9]
J java.lang.String.concat(Ljava/lang/String;)Ljava/lang/String;
J java.net.URLClassLoader$1.run()Ljava/lang/Object;
v ~StubRoutines::call_stub


--------------- P R O C E S S ---------------

Java Threads: ( => current thread )
0x04a21c00 JavaThread "Timer-7" [_thread_blocked, id=3448]
0x03b3b000 JavaThread "Timer-6" [_thread_blocked, id=3836]
0x03b35800 JavaThread "TimerQueue" daemon [_thread_blocked, id=2720]
0x03b0b800 JavaThread "Timer-5" [_thread_blocked, id=2040]
0x00789000 JavaThread "Timer-4" [_thread_blocked, id=2360]
0x0346fc00 JavaThread "Timer-3" [_thread_blocked, id=3108]
0x00786400 JavaThread "Timer-2" [_thread_blocked, id=3036]
0x03a7d000 JavaThread "com.mchange.v2.async.ThreadPoolAsynchronousRunner$PoolThread-#2" daemon [_thread_blocked, id=3012]
0x03a7c400 JavaThread "com.mchange.v2.async.ThreadPoolAsynchronousRunner$PoolThread-#1" daemon [_thread_blocked, id=1140]
0x03a8e000 JavaThread "com.mchange.v2.async.ThreadPoolAsynchronousRunner$PoolThread-#0" daemon [_thread_blocked, id=1500]
0x03a7f000 JavaThread "Timer-1" daemon [_thread_blocked, id=3724]
0x039cf400 JavaThread "Timer-0" [_thread_blocked, id=2976]
0x039b5400 JavaThread "Image Fetcher 2" daemon [_thread_blocked, id=2608]
0x03927c00 JavaThread "AWT-EventQueue-0" [_thread_blocked, id=4044]
0x03926800 JavaThread "AWT-Shutdown" [_thread_blocked, id=920]
0x03925000 JavaThread "Image Fetcher 3" daemon [_thread_blocked, id=3648]
0x03923c00 JavaThread "Image Fetcher 0" daemon [_thread_blocked, id=2312]
0x03918800 JavaThread "Thread-3" [_thread_in_native, id=3556]
0x033bb800 JavaThread "AWT-Windows" daemon [_thread_in_native, id=2900]
0x033ba000 JavaThread "Java2D Disposer" daemon [_thread_blocked, id=2556]
0x006bcc00 JavaThread "Low Memory Detector" daemon [_thread_blocked, id=3944]
0x006b8000 JavaThread "CompilerThread0" daemon [_thread_blocked, id=3892]
0x006b6c00 JavaThread "Attach Listener" daemon [_thread_blocked, id=2392]
0x006b6000 JavaThread "Signal Dispatcher" daemon [_thread_blocked, id=2228]
0x006b1800 JavaThread "Finalizer" daemon [_thread_blocked, id=3736]
0x006ad400 JavaThread "Reference Handler" daemon [_thread_blocked, id=3772]
=>0x00691000 JavaThread "main" [_thread_in_Java, id=4060]

Other Threads:
0x006a4000 VMThread [id=536]
0x006be400 WatcherThread [id=4028]

VM state:not at safepoint (normal execution)

VM Mutex/Monitor currently owned by a thread: None

Heap
def new generation total 960K, used 539K [0x22960000, 0x22a60000, 0x22e40000)
eden space 896K, 53% used [0x22960000, 0x229d6dc0, 0x22a40000)
from space 64K, 100% used [0x22a40000, 0x22a50000, 0x22a50000)
to space 64K, 0% used [0x22a50000, 0x22a50000, 0x22a60000)
tenured generation total 9452K, used 9134K [0x22e40000, 0x2377b000, 0x26960000)
the space 9452K, 96% used [0x22e40000, 0x2372b990, 0x2372ba00, 0x2377b000)
compacting perm gen total 12288K, used 10201K [0x26960000, 0x27560000, 0x2a960000)
the space 12288K, 83% used [0x26960000, 0x273564a8, 0x27356600, 0x27560000)
ro space 8192K, 62% used [0x2a960000, 0x2ae5b9c8, 0x2ae5ba00, 0x2b160000)
rw space 12288K, 52% used [0x2b160000, 0x2b79e348, 0x2b79e400, 0x2bd60000)

Dynamic libraries:
0x00400000 - 0x00423000 C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0\bin\java.exe
0x7c900000 - 0x7c9b0000 C:\WINDOWS\system32\ntdll.dll
0x7c800000 - 0x7c8f4000 C:\WINDOWS\system32\kernel32.dll
0x77dd0000 - 0x77e6b000 C:\WINDOWS\system32\ADVAPI32.dll
0x77e70000 - 0x77f01000 C:\WINDOWS\system32\RPCRT4.dll
0x00800000 - 0x00817000 C:\Program Files\Common Files\Logitech\LVMVFM\LVPrcInj.dll
0x77d40000 - 0x77dd0000 C:\WINDOWS\system32\USER32.dll
0x77f10000 - 0x77f56000 C:\WINDOWS\system32\GDI32.dll
0x7c340000 - 0x7c396000 C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0\bin\msvcr71.dll
0x6d7c0000 - 0x6da07000 C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0\bin\client\jvm.dll
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0x06330000 - 0x06338000 C:\Program Files\ImageWare Systems\EPIBUILDER\6\EN\EPICapFileIWSRes.dll

VM Arguments:
java_command: C:\Atlantis\application\lib\atlantisui.jar
Launcher Type: SUN_STANDARD

Environment Variables:
PATH=C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0\bin;C:\Program Files\Micro Systemation\XRY;
USERNAME=Administrator
OS=Windows_NT
PROCESSOR_IDENTIFIER=x86 Family 6 Model 9 Stepping 5, GenuineIntel



--------------- S Y S T E M ---------------

OS: Windows XP Build 2600 Service Pack 2

CPU:total 1 family 6, cmov, cx8, fxsr, mmx, sse, sse2

Memory: 4k page, physical 2087344k(1121028k free), swap 4029316k(3187392k free)

vm_info: Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (1.6.0-b105) for windows-x86, built on Nov 29 2006 00:48:48 by "java_re" with unknown MS VC++:1310

Potential for Comedy

http://www.reuters.com/article/internetNews/idUSN1441417520070814?feedType=RSS&feedName=internetNews

"NEW YORK (Reuters) - Comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, whose programs were once among the most viewed on YouTube, were requested by the video site to give testimony in legal proceedings as it fights a $1 billion lawsuit by Viacom Inc, according to court filings."

What? Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are comedians??!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Googlebot? Hello?

About three weeks ago I moved some web pages and set up a new more centralized page, pointing to various new things under a single directory. As a result some links returned in Google search no longer exist.

http://www.rdrop.com/~jsexton/watches/museum/

Google's web crawler can be monitored using their webmaster tools (which I highly recommend).

http://www.google.com/webmasters

Today is August 13th. Google has not indexed my pages since July 8th. This is in spite of there existing at least four regularly updated blogs containing references to my pages, posts in USENET news groups, my having brand new pages on the past two Googlebot scans, and my entering the new page here:

http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl

I realize Googlebot has a lot on its plate, but it's very frustrating watching days go by and knowing that links to no place are turning up as high as the first and second pages of search results. I light of how I know it would be abused if Google offered some way to request a rescan more directly, there's nothing to do but wait.

The Microsoft search engine and Yahoo have already updated themselves weeks ago. Yahoo in particular seems to come through quite frequently.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Making the Grade 55

Making the Elgin grade 55 J. T. Ryerson vintage pocketwatch...

http://www.rdrop.com/~jsexton/watches/museum/elgin250834.html

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Phone Review

I just replaced my phone with one of the most popular phones around; the
Motorola 3xx. My old phone was an obscure NEC model that I've had for at
least two years. I bought the NEC because of it's advanced features at
the time. It was rough around the edges, not well documented, and hard to
set up, but it was an early phone to include a usable camera, a java VM,
and internet capabilities like web browsing and real SMTP email via POP.

Pro:

* It's nice and loud and clear. It's easy to hear, and other hear me well
when I use it.

* It uses G3 networks and gets great reception everywhere I need it to, so
far.

* The display is remarkably bright and sharp.

* Sending an SMS email from the phone is remarkably fast compared to my
old phone. I assume this is because of the G3 network.

* Speaker mode. My old phone didn't have that and I frequently wished it
did.

* 1.3 mp camera.

* The new phone has a mini USB port and will charge itself from any USB
connection.

* An SD card installed in the phone can be used as general removable media
via USB. This can used to move MP3 files, phones and other files to and
from the phone.

* Google's java applications work fine. I can access gmail for example
even though the phone doesn't offer that built in.

* The voice dialing interface on this phone is interesting. You don't
have to pre-record yourself saying a voice command. It actually dialed a
person that I had in the phone book simply by "reading" their name. I only
tried this a couple of times, and I had to say the name 3 or 4 times, but
it worked.

Cons

* The menu system is a mixed bag when compared to my old phone. For
example, one of the things I didn't like about the old one is that is that
it took too many key clicks to change the ring mode. On the Motorola,
that's much easier. On the the other hand, on the Motorola, it takes too
many clicks to activate the camera. On the old one it took just button.

* This new phone can not act as a POP client. It's locked down to
read email only from AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft and a couple others, none of
which do I use. With the old phone I could access any email system via
a plain old POP server.

* The much hyped media capabilities of the phone are no so great (shocking
I know). Crippled, as usual, the device and service channel the user into
a restricted set of locked down providers, like AT&T Music Service (ya,
I'll get right on that...). The phone will play general MP3 files
however, if one buys an extra SD card for the phone.

* MP3 files have to be less then 128 bit sampled.

* There's no audio jack on the phone. To play an MP3 file, you need some
Blue Tooth enabled headphones.

* The camera takes remarkably color-poor photos. It's become increasing
obvious that phone cameras skimp on things, like the lens, in order to
increase the mega-pixel number, at a fixed cost.

* Minor point - the camera lens is at the bottom (hinge end) for the phone
lid. There's a tendency to cover the lens with one's fingers while taking
a photo.











Monday, July 30, 2007

vs.

Google trends can now compare the trends of two searches.

http://www.google.com/trends

For example,
http://www.google.com/trends?q=coal%2C+nuclear

Nice!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Laurelwood Brewing: Response

Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2007 13:57:54 -0700
From: Desiree Riscol
Subject: RE: Laurelwood Brewing

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the feedback, whether good or bad we do need to hear from our
clients.

We do advertise that we are Portland's only family friendly brewpub, and as
you mentioned, that is a big bulk of our business. Lots of people love the
fact that they can come to a place where they feel at home and bring their
kids, and at the same time enjoy their food and brew while the kids play.

On the other hand, lots of people are not so fond of the family friendly
environment....it can be loud and disrupting during certain prime hours and
we understand how those clients feel.

We tried hard to design the new place on 51st and Sandy to segregate the
play areas (where most of the parents and kids prefer to sit) from the adult
areas. For the most part the feedback is positive for that, still we have
guests that would prefer like you, less children. All opinions are always
taken to heart by us.

We always recommend certain hours to avoid the plethora of children that
bring their parents. Afternoons are usually pretty mellow kid wise and very
much so heading towards 9pm every evening. We also have another section on
our rooftop that we are hoping to open in the next few weeks...that has no
play area! So it might not attract too many kids.

Thanks again for your input and compliments on our beer!

Cheers

Desiree Riscol

Charlie Brown in Anime

If it weren't for copyrights, I could see a pretty interesting Adult Swim
show in this. Imagine the Peanuts specials re-written around drawings like
these...

http://stage6.divx.com/Refuse-Life/blog/8825/









Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wow

I read today that the on line game World of Warcraft is now played by nine
million people world wide. Apparently, if these players peopled a
nation, it would rank as the 90th most populous country, just behind
Sweden.

I've never played World of Warcraft. But I have watched others play it.
I make the following observations. 1) It is extremely repetitive. 2) The
graphics are mediocre, to be generous. 3) It requires only limited
creativity and problem solving skills to play (what it most requires of
players is time, and lots of it).

This is not actually intended to be critical. I think it's fascinating
that WoW has reached this level, given what it is. What I draw from the
popularity of WoW is that, simply, all of the above can be easily improved
with a little effort using technology already available. In other words,
we haven't seen anything yet.

Virtual worlds are here to stay.

More Woot Than Ever!

http://shirt.woot.com/

An Open Letter to Laurelwood Brewing

Laurelwood -

First of all, congratulations on the new location on Sandy. I have no
doubt that this will prove to be a good choice for business expansion.

I am what you'd call a beer snob, and myself a brewer. And I have long
enjoyed the food and beer selection offered by Laurelwood. The beers are
outstanding, and the food has always been very good and reasonably priced.

However, over the past few years, on each visit to the Hollywood location,
I have had a mixed experience. The time passing between my visits, and
those of all my friends, has been getting longer. None the less, I was
looking forward to visiting the new location, and I did so yesterday; or
at least I tried to. My friend and I didn't even stay long enough to
place an order.

I'm baffled. I don't understand why this is, but each time I have visited
Laurelwood's NE location, a trend has been increasing - the place is
overwhelmed with young children. Now, I have nothing against kids in
"pubs". I think that a family atmosphere is one of the best things about
Portland's rich microbrewing scene, of which Laurelwood is a key part.

However, at Laurelwood Hollywood, the past couple of times I have gone
there, my fellow diner and I have been, quite literally, the only table in
the place, aside from the bar itself, that did not bring young children.
For quite some time now, the place has had more children than adult
customers.

I had thought my experiences might be unusual - a fluke. But people I've
spoken to report the same. With sincere regret, I think I'll be joining
them in staying away from now on.

The new location on Sandy was quite nice. However, it was so much like
being in a Chucky Cheese's that we simply had to leave. There were not
more than two or three parties without children in the entire place,
again, leaving aside only the bar itself. The room was loud. We felt
like we'd walked into a day care - definitely not conducive to enjoying a
meal and a pint.

I am a little curious as to whether Laurelwood has somehow done this
deliberately, or if it has strangely evolved this way on its own.
Regardless, I don't doubt that it may be a profitable business model.
But it will have to be profitable without people such as myself. I hope
there's been forethought in this strategy, because I'm speaking here for
many like minded frequenters of brewpubs and restaurants that I know.
It's deeply disappointing.

I hope to continue to enjoy the NW location, and Laurelwood's outstanding
beers at other independent locations, along with, as always, Portland's
many, many brewpub options.

Thanks

---
Jeff Sexton
jsexton@agora.rdrop.com
http://www.rdrop.com/~jsexton/

Monday, July 23, 2007

New and Improved

I've been updating and upgrading various old web features lately, as well
as adding new ones. Here's the latest updated page:

http://www.rdrop.com/~jsexton/cd/six/

Friday, July 20, 2007

eBay News

It's interesting that eBay (and PayPal) is making more money than ever,
but the "size" of eBay, in number of items, is falling. Competitors of
eBay are slowly catching on. Some investment analysts are starting to
talk about dumping eBay shares.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/07/19/business/ebay.php

Meg Whitman, chief executive of eBay, has repeatedly vowed to improve
usability of the auction site by redesigning its home page, being more
aggressive in combating fraud and improving the usefulness of search
engine results.

But while profit was up 50 percent and revenue growth was strong in its
second quarter, the company revealed in its most recent financial report
Wednesday that it was still struggling to draw more customers.

The number of listings on eBay fell 6 percent from last year, and the
number of active users is stagnant at 83.3 million, the same as last
quarter.

1400

A record high on the Dow Jones Industrial Average is getting a lot of news
today. The index has reached 14,000 for the first time. In reality, this
is not important for several reasons.

First, this index is not an overall indicator of the economy, or even the
New York exchange, that is suitable for any sort of general use. It is an
index calculated from the trading values of the shares a small handful of
companies selected by relatively arbitrary means. It's not a useless
number, but it is not meaningful as the sort of general, universal,
indicator of, well, anything at all, that one might think it is given the
media coverage.

Secondly, a record value on this index is not in and of itself significant
of anything. Due to inflation, the prices of everything gradually
increases over time, including the value of stocks. The index is an
absolute value, just like the amount of dollars printed each year, or the
number of dollars StarBucks charges for a cup of coffee. And like the
amount of dollars printed each year and the number of dollars StarBucks
charges for a cup of coffee, the price of stocks goes up. So, adjusted
for inflation (and other factors) and stock market is no where near a
"record high". Likewise, "record highs" are inevitable.

In addition, this index, even if it was truly "high", is not an indicator
of the health of the market. One could argue that the market was
certainly not healthy in the late 1990's when such records had been broken
with great frequency.

Lastly, 14,000 is just a number. I doubt we'll see a media frenzy when
the market index reaches 14,021.38 even though 14,021.38 is just as
important as 14,000.

So it's easy to see that the market index has just about nothing to do
with reality. In fact, much of the mechanism by which investors succeed
of fail in the stock market has little to do with the values of real
assets.

In reality, the index is not important. But we're not talking about
reality here. And that is of course exactly the point of the stock
market, and exactly why it works, as exactly why 14,000 is important after
all.

Woot

Today is a woot-off. I dare everyone to buy something.

http://www.woot.com/

If you have not looked at Woot before, be sure to look at their forums
section (click "Discuss this product" to the right of the product image).
These people have way too much time on their hands.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Oil

I got my oil changed at the Jiffy Lube on SE Hawthorne (I guess it's
technically on 39th) on the 10th. This morning I drove to work and my oil
light started coming on. When I got to work, I checked it and found it
bone dry.

As soon as they opened I drove to a Jiffy Lube near by on 82nd. I hadn't
driven a whole lot since the 10th but I was pretty worried that it had
been dry. The fellow at the Jiffy Lube was surprised and apologetic. He
found that the oil filter gasket was not installed properly. That's good
news since it means that the oil had leaked out slowly rather than being
dry the whole time. It must only leak under pressure since the oil isn't
in my driveway.

It's all fixed up now. Hopefully no damage done. Hopefully...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Threat

Dangerous Java flaw threatens virtually everything!

http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/security/0,39044215,62028389,00.htm

(Is this a software problem or a Doctor Who episode?)

Microsoft, Here to Help!

When will people learn? Never?

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Forget-about-the-WGA-20-Windows-Vista-Features-and-Services-Harvest-User-Data-for-Microsoft-58752.shtml

"Are you using Windows Vista? Then you might as well know that the
licensed operating system installed on your machine is harvesting a
healthy volume of information for Microsoft. In this context, a program
such as the Windows Genuine Advantage is the last of your concerns. In
fact, in excess of 20 Windows Vista features and services are hard at work
collecting and transmitting your personal data to the Redmond company."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Runbot

Researchers are finally figuring out robotic walking! By sure to look at the video in this story. It's uncanny how natural this walking robot looks.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6291746.stm

"Getting a robot to walk like a human requires a dynamic machine," said
Professor Florentin Woergoetter.

Runbot is a small, biped robot which can move at speeds of more than three
leg lengths per second, slightly slower than the fastest walking human.

Bridge

Portland's Burnside Bridge will soon be closed for three weeks to auto
traffic (open to pedestrians and bikes though) for repairs. Built in the
1920s, the Burnside is a lifting bridge having two hinged spans (photos
here:

http://www.portlandbridges.com/00,D300CRW07960,14,0,0,1-portland-oregon.html

Now according to this:

http://bikeportland.org/2007/07/11/update-on-burnside-bridge-closure/

"The closure will allow a contractor to replace parts of a hinge that
attaches the 3.8 million pound counterweight to the lift span. The
original parts have worn and broken so that the hinge cannot turn freely
when the bridge opens for river traffic. If the hinge were to fail, the
east lift span would not be able to open.

Replacement of the pin and bearing that form the hinge is technically
challenging. The contractor will need to detach the counterweight and
lower it to replace the parts. A complex rigging system will support the
counterweight while it is detached. The bridge closure is needed to ensure
the safety of the public, workers and the bridge itself. Vibrations from
traffic could impact drilling operations and other work."

Impressive! I'm sure repairs to a hinge with a 3.8 million pound
counterweight will be "challenging" indeed.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

New!

Having gotten some reasonable OCR working of late, I've started adding
civil defense and related items to the Virtual Atomic Museum. These old
web pages need a lot updating... Here's a new one:

http://www.rdrop.com/~jsexton/cd/AandPC/

Monday, July 02, 2007

Now With Photos!

Added this page:

http://www.rdrop.com/~jsexton/reader.html

...to try out Google's shared links and web photos slide show. Not bad,
but I wish the slide show could do a random order. And I wish there was
an easy way in Google's web album application to select multiple photos
and copy them to another album all at once. That would make it easier to
bulk populate a special album for a slide show like I have here.

Still, this is a great way to show a set of pictures on a particular
topic from a stand alone web page.

iPhone

What blog would be complete without something about the iPhone?

Well here it is! I don't want one.

The Great Pyramid Web Page

This old web page shows up as a 404 sometimes on my web site logs.

http://www.rdrop.com/~jsexton/pyramid/

I have no links to it anymore, but apparently others out there do. So I
put it back. The surprising thing is how much email I used to get about
this page. Once every three or four months someone would write, usually
to denounce or "correct me" on the information quoted (the conversion from
English to metric units is just plain wrong for example, you don't have to
tell me, I know).

This pyramid stuff is a quote from a book written in 1935. I have a small
collection of odd old books and pamphlets along these lines. I find it
funny and interesting that this sort of superstition and pseudo science is
not unique to our own time.

It is of course, when taken at face value, ridiculous. Persistent
believe, or desire to believe, in the ridiculous is, however, fascinating.
Or maybe that's just what "they" want us to think.

(Just kidding (or am I...))

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