Jeff Sexton

Monday, July 30, 2007


Google trends can now compare the trends of two searches.

For example,


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

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 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!


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

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


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

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!

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

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.


Jeff Sexton

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:

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.

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


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

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


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

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


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


Dangerous Java flaw threatens virtually everything!,39044215,62028389,00.htm

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

Microsoft, Here to Help!

When will people learn? Never?

"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


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.

"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.


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

Now according to this:

"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


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:

Monday, July 02, 2007

Now With Photos!

Added this page: 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.


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.

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...))

3D modeling Advertising Air Canada Airline Alfa Romeo Spider Touring Gran Sport Analog signal Android Anomalies and Alternative Science Apache Apollo Astoria Asus Augmented reality Aurora Famous Fighters auto-awesome Automobile Autos Backups Barack Obama Batman Battery Beards Beer Bell System Berkshire Hathaway Bigfoot Bird Food Bird Toys Birds Birthdays Blogger Books Build Management Business and Economy Business Process Execution Language Byte-order mark Canadian Carrot Cats Christmas Civil Defense CNN Cockatiels Collections Crows Dear Jane Debian Diabetes Digital Living Network Alliance Digital television Disney Doll House Dow Jones Industrial Average Duesenburg SJ Roadster Durham University E-mail address ebauche Economics EJB Energy development Enterprise JavaBean ESP Facebook Fedora Filesharing Finance Ford Fossil fuel Garfield James Abram Garfield Minus Garfield Glassfish Global warming Golden Arches Goofy Google Google Buzz Google Docs Google Lively Google Photos Google Reader Google Wave Google+ Greenhouse gas Half-Life 2 Helbros High-definition television History Hybrid electric vehicle IBM Inner city Instagram Insulin Investing Irony J.C. Penny Jane Austen Java Java Architecture for XML Binding JDBC Jeff's! Jim Davis joe the plumber John McCain Karma Kay Thompson Kermit the Frog Kids and Teens LA Auto Show Larry King Laser Logging Lowry Sexton Mark Cuban Market trends McDonald Meier and Frank Microsoft Microsoft Windows Models Monkey monsters Moon MOUNT HOOD Music Music industry Muxtape MySQL NetBeans Netflix Nintendo Nissan Cube Norm Coleman Nuclear fallout Nuclear warfare Office Depot Open ESB Oracle Corporation Pacific Ocean Packard Boattail Pearl District Pearl District Portland Oregon Philip K Dick photography PlayStation 3 Pocher Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver Politics Portal Portland Portland Development Commission Presidents Pride and Prejudice Programming Projects Radio Recipes Recording Industry Association of America Renewable energy RIAA Robot Chicken Rock-paper-scissors Sarcasm SATA Science fiction film Serbia Service-oriented architecture Shopping Slide Rule Social Security Social Studies Society6 Spirit of St. Louis SQL Stanford Hospital Star Wars Starbucks Stock market Strip search Sun Microsystems T-Mobile Tablet TechCrunch Technical ThinkGeek Toaster Total Recall Transportation Security Administration Unicode United States United States Department of Homeland Security Universal Plug and Play Unknown Primates USB Vegetable garden Video game Vintage Images Vintage Vintage! Virtual world Volvo C70 Wall Street Warren Buffett watches We Can Remember It for You Wholesale Web service Web Services Description Language Wii Windows 7 Windows Phone 7 Windows Vista Windows XP X-Files X-ray vision XML XML Schema YouTube Yugo Zima