Saturday, December 31, 2005

I just got this bit of spam sent to me: "The Body Bouncer, taking the gravity out of sex!"

The diagrams are highly amusing, though probably not safe for work. I wonder at the mind(s) behind this sort of oddity.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Fifteen minutes

I am completely exhausted and am on the verge of burnout. I'm also very annoyed that I managed to send out exactly zero cards to people, but I might still do that -- they just won't be Christmas/Chanukah/Festivus cards.

Tamara and I have been in San Diego since Saturday night, but that doesn't mean I haven't been working. Quite the contrary; in fact, I got to participate in another all-night conference call on Monday night and have been answering e-mails and phone calls every day (yes, including Christmas).

I have been working ~100 hours/week for the last four weeks. If I were paid hourly, this would be great. Alas, my base salary covers all hours worked.

This is just nuts. I can't believe that I've only been at Amazon for four months and have already become so seemingly essential that people need to reach me 24x7.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Making a list, checking it twice...

If you've moved and haven't sent me your address (or I've never gotten your address) and you would like a card...

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Strange voicemail

I got this on my mobile's voicemail last week. I'm not entirely sure what to make of it -- it's a bunch of random sound snippets and some music. If anyone knows what the deal is with this, please let me know.

600k MP3 file, 5:03

Assuming the caller ID wasn't spoofed, it's from (571) 723-6732, which is in the DC area.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

I'm watching the snow fall over downtown Seattle from my seventh floor office window. The top of the Bank of America Tower (BoAT) down the street disappears in the clouds.

It's quite pretty, and I wish I had a camera.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Amusing story from the back office...

I haven't had a chance to describe what it is I do for Amazon, and this story needs some background, so here goes.

I'm a software development engineer (read: "Code Monkey") in a group which variously goes by the names Customer Master Systems/Service and Identity (you might say we have a bit of an Identity crisis, but you wouldn't because we'd have to hurt you for such a pun). We're basically responsible for all of the core customer information (names, addresses, etc., though not credit cards or bank accounts) -- storing it reliably, making it available to the various applications inside the company that need it, and enforcing things like privacy policies.

The last bit is surprisingly non-trivial -- keep in mind that Amazon runs a number of third-party sites like Target, The Bombay Company, and the NBA store, whose privacy policies may state that they won't share personally identifiable information with third-parties. It's up to us to make sure the bits associated with, say, your Target account information never mix with the programs running for Bombay or even Amazon itself (!). At the same time, we're constantly monitoring for suspicious activity -- we're often able to shut down hacked accounts before the real owner even knows they were hacked. Multiply this by a few million users on the site at any given moment and you have a lot of bits that need to go from point A to point B without crossing points C, Q, or Z.

So many bits, in fact, that, even though we have some of the fastest network equipment in the world, we're always looking for ways to reduce the load. One of our other engineers implemented a way to offload a significant chunk of this traffic while maintaining all the other features and constraints. We tested it, beat on it, stomped all the bugs we could find out, and declared, "This is good. Let's deploy it."

So we pushed the new software live. We watched the traffic on it grow, and it seemed stable. Things went this way for 12 hours or so, and nobody noticed a thing.

Then a bug was filed. It said, "Hey, 1-click isn't working!" Worse, the bug was from Jeff Bezos.

For those who don't know, Jeff is the founder and CEO of Amazon. He's one of the inventors of 1-click (where you just click on a single button next to each item you want and they magically appear on your doorstep -- you don't need to explicitly check out, fill out payment info, etc., if you already have an account). Whether 1-click is a significant contributor to our bottom line is irrelevant. The rule is: Thou shalt not break 1-click. The corollary is: If you do break 1-click, you scramble to fix it.

You definitely do not leave 1-click broken for 12+ hours and let Jeff (no, he doesn't need a last name inside the company) find the bug for you.

(We did actually test this, incidentally; it's one of those cases where it was only intermittently broken and happened to work in the test case. These are usually the worst kinds of bugs.)

Anyway, I was one of the three engineers on the call fixing it. I was finding reproducible cases where it was broken and transcribing the phone call. Another engineer was actually doing the fix. The third was verifying the fix -- that is, he was going around to all of the broken cases I found and making sure 1-click did work.

Today, he came into the office and said: "Hey, Dave, remember the 1-click bug from last week?"
Me: "Yes..."
Him: "You know how I was testing and making sure it worked?"
Me: "Yes..."
Him: "Well, last night I had about 40 items show up on my doorstep."

The office pauses, then bursts out laughing.

Monday, November 14, 2005

For those who are fans of MythBusters, I have located the video of the water bottle jet pack from the Japanese game show which inspired last week's episode. (2 MB Windows Media Player file)

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Today marks a monumental point in my employment at Amazon:
On Tuesday, November 8, 2005, I got my first "They're all top priority" message.
Thank you, thank you. The Dilbert calendars will be appearing momentarily. Don't forget to tip your server.

Ok... so it wasn't quite that blatant. The actual phrasing from my director was, "I'm not sure that 'best effort' support is suitable here." But it qualifies.

I'm getting wiser (and mellower) in my old age, though. My reply was to outline the consequences for the other project I'm working on and to confirm that he understands and accepts this.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Cat lost... cat FOUND!

Robin has been found!

He somehow made his way down the hill to some folks who live in the woods across the way -- just beyond our search range, and a fair bit farther than I thought he would have gone. Now, what the hell prompted him to travel so far is a bit of a mystery (and will remain so until he learns to talk)... but we're just glad to have him back.

Nice family he stayed with, though somehow I doubt that he and their Yorkshire terrier became good friends.

Ah, relief. I can sleep easy tonight. (I haven't the last two nights.)

Sunday, November 6, 2005

One of my kitty cats is lost. I haven't seen him in 18 hours. :-(

This worries me because my cats don't spend much time outdoors, so if he's just wandering out there...

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Outlook enhancements

When responding to a meeting invite, Outlook gives you three options:
  • Accept
  • Tentative
  • Decline
I need more than that:
  • Accept enthusiastically because I'm not missing free food.
  • Accept because I have nothing better to do.
  • Accept because I'll end up in a lot of trouble if I don't.
  • Accept because I want to look like I'm taking you seriously but I'm planning on skipping the meeting at the last second.
  • Tentatively accept because I'm too chicken to decline and I'm hoping something else comes up.
  • Decline because it's more comfortable to sleep in my cube than in your meeting.
  • Decline because the last thing I need is more meetings and I don't fear any retribution from you or your team.
  • Decline because what you're proposing is a damn waste of time.
In addition, I want a checkbox to appear if any of the "Decline" options are selected: [ ] Decline with prejudice.

Friday, October 28, 2005

I think we've learned an important lesson here.

Do not have advisers whose names are in the form "Z. Name Lixxy", where Z is an arbitrary initial and x is an arbitrary consonant.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Another interesting article -- this one real, though.

Remote Control Device 'Controls' Humans
We wield remote controls to turn things on and off, make them advance, make them halt. Ground-bound pilots use remotes to fly drone airplanes, soldiers to maneuver battlefield robots.

But manipulating humans?

Prepare to be remotely controlled. I was.

Just imagine being rendered the rough equivalent of a radio-controlled toy car.
I missed this headline last week, but it's important to bring up -- , let us know how the situation is going there.

Study Reveals Pittsburgh Unprepared For Full-Scale Zombie Attack

Monday, October 24, 2005

There are days when Amazon operates like a well-oiled machine. The gears are meshing and spinning, orders are clicking away, shipments are shipping, users are happy, and the engineers are destressed.

Alas, today does not appear to be one of those days. We appear to have a Category-4 Monday here.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Ah, those wacky Brits. They're toying with embedding MP3 players into breast implants. I guess the rectal fax machine is next...

Today was my third day of commuting to work via ferry. Still enjoying it. I've been using those ~30 minutes eastward to get a head start on work e-mail so far. The westward trip is spent admiring the nighttime view of Seattle.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Forget the odd political battles, the fact that it's overrun by old folks, and the humid weather. The fact that I'm lower on the food chain than a gator is reason enough to keep me from Florida, and yet they are now being challenged for dominance by Burmese pythons.
My ThinkPad just gave up the ghost. Looks like some kind of severe power issue -- it was making arcing noises with the battery. Without the battery and plugged into the wall, it runs for a few minutes and then just freezes.

Alas, I discovered that it's out of warranty by a few days. :-(

Fortunately, Amazon provides us with laptops, so I don't think I'll be replacing it anytime soon.

Monday, October 3, 2005

For novelty's sake, I'm posting this from the middle of Puget Sound, aboard the M.V. Wenatchee (ferry). Talk about wireless! (High packet loss, though...)

I finally won one of those free Diet Cokes today. I'm actually a bit bummed -- I had a terrific conspiracy theory going about the 8th floor US2 Coke machine, but now it's ruined. It's a conspiracy to ruin my conspiracy theories!


We're a bit annoyed because we drove+ferried over to Bainbridge (that's $13.30 each way) to sign papers to get a storage place (after Tamara called and confirmed that they'd be waiting for us), only to find them all locked up and closed. Grr. (Normally, I'll be biking+ferrying over and using a monthly pass, which is $70/month rather than $26/day.) I guess we're going to have to go back tomorrow -- but to take a lease with a different place.
Heh... Just found this old entry (thanks to a meme posted by :

Must... get... out... of... Pennsylvania... before... it... sucks... my... life... force... out...

Friday, September 30, 2005

Lucky or unlucky?

The Diet Coke bottles in the vending machine here advertise that one out of every four 1L bottles will win a free 1L bottle. At this point, I have purchased 10 bottles of Diet Coke here and none of them are winners.

Assuming that winning bottles are randomly distributed, the chances of this happening (i.e., none of them being winners) is just under 6% (0.7510 == 5.63%).

I am starting to get a bit suspicious about this contest.

Maybe such contests are void here and they've "pre-voided" the bottles for us? That would be even sneakier...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Very windy in downtown Seattle today. This isn't normally something normally remarkable until I realized: I don't think I've felt the wind once in Seattle until now. (Ferry trips, of course, excepted.)

I'm now doing some web UI coding (dynamic forms and all that jazz) for the first time (beyond toy projects). A lot of folks hype this web stuff (XML, HTML, Javascript, etc.) as being the next step in technology. What they fail to mention is that it's a step backwards. If I misspell something in C or Python, the compiler or bytecode interpreter will complain and point out my mistake. Javascript and HTML? Gah, who knows who long it will go before something is wrong, happily passing null or undef values around.

And don't get me started on HTML, XML, SGML, and their ilk. Especially XML. It combines the power of Peewee Herman and the simplicity of a nuclear reactor with the readability of a Victor Hugo novel.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Back in Seattle. The worst week of my life is now behind me. I hope I never again have to console a mother crying, "They've taken my baby!"

As awful as funerals are, they can be very beneficial. It brought us to accept that Jane is gone. For many of us (myself included), the night after the funeral was the first night of decent sleep in a week. Certainly, there's a lot of healing left, but most of our ghosts have been dispelled.

Jane, you will be forever missed.

Jane Eileen Cuthbert

Monday, September 19, 2005

Thanks for all the messages of support. It means a lot to me. I'm still doing a bit of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, one moment calm and placid, the next a bit of a basket case. I'll be better after the funeral (Friday) and the weekend are over, and there's a bit less media attention on my family.

Tam and I had an excellent time on Sunday hiking with , , and the Inimitable India, as well as their trustworthy canine companions Clyde and Shorty. It was nice to get outside on such a gorgeous day, and it was fun to get to know such like-minded (and very likable!) people. Thanks, guys!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Chicago Sun Times is full of assholes

"Maureen thinks she has an injured knee and injured rib," Martin McNicholas said. "She started to cry because people died on the train with her. She said she saw fingers, brains, and it looked like someone had exploded."

That "someone who exploded" was Jane, you jerks. The same Jane whom I was inner tubing with on a lake a summer ago. Whom I took to dinner on a trip out to Monterey a few months ago. Who got amusingly drunk with her mother at my wedding.
In lighter news...

You can now purchase the same dresses seen on the stars at the Emmys at Target:
Tess Smith at Emmy'sTapole Basics Yellow Gingham Drapes

Agency Blames Speed for Train Derailment

Associated Press Writer
Published September 18, 2005, 5:30 PM CDT

CHICAGO -- A commuter train was going almost 60 mph above the speed limit just before it derailed, killing two people and injuring dozens, the acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said Sunday.

Mark Rosenker said the Metra train was traveling at 69 mph and should not have been going faster than 10 mph when it switched tracks at a crossover just before jumping the tracks Saturday.

"Sixty-nine miles an hour is very, very fast when you're dealing with a 10-mile-an-hour restriction," Rosenker said.

The speed information came from a preliminary reading of one of the train's three electronic data recorders, popularly known as "black boxes," Rosenker said.

Part of the investigation included an interview Sunday with the train's engineer, Rosenker said. The 41-year-old man had been on the job for 45 days after completing Metra's six-month training program, which included at least some training along the route where the derailment occurred. He also had worked for more than five years as a CSX Corp. freight train engineer.

The NTSB will also examine records of the train signals and radio transmissions from a control tower, Rosenker said.

Investigators have determined that nothing was abnormal with the tracks, which had just been inspected on Friday, he said.

The double-decked commuter train was headed into Chicago from Joliet on Saturday morning with 185 passengers and four crew members when its locomotive and five rail cars jumped the tracks about 5 miles south of downtown.

The train began to derail as it switched tracks, striking a steel bridge just beyond the crossover. Rosenker said that collision damaged at least one rail car and likely contributed to at least one of the fatalities.

The train and the track had just been inspected Friday, said Judy Pardonnet, a spokeswoman for Metra, the commuter rail system that services the Chicago area.

The train engineer, three crew members and dispatchers were all tested for drugs and alcohol, which is standard procedure, Pardonnet said.

The train's engineer is taking three days of paid leave for "trauma debriefing." She said no decisions have been made about his future employment, although findings from the NTSB investigation could determine whether he keeps his job.

A similar derailment occurred on the same stretch of track in 2003, injuring about 45 people. A preliminary NTSB report found that the train was going almost 70 mph at the location where it was supposed to switch from one track to the other.

Pardonnet said the two derailments may have been just a coincidence. "I don't think it's anything specific to this area, but it's still under investigation," she said.

Jane Cuthbert, 22, of Bourbonnais, died on the train, Pardonnet said. A 30-year-old woman died at a hospital.

They were the first people killed in a Metra derailment since it took over commuter rail services in the region in 1984.

The injured passengers were taken to 15 hospitals and 15 of them remained hospitalized Sunday, Pardonnet said. She did not have information on their conditions.

Train service on the Rock Island District Line resumed about four hours after the derailment, and the cleanup from the accident could cause short delays during Monday's commute, Pardonnet said.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

I just found out that one of the people who died in this morning's train derailment in Chicago was my cousin Jane. She was 22.

September is not a good month for my family. My grandfather died in Sep 2002. Then my uncle Mark -- Jane's father -- died suddenly in 2003. Now Jane.

Not sure when the funeral or other services will be yet.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I think my office is telling me that I need to move around more.

Some background: Many (all?) of the offices in Amazon don't have light switches. Instead, there are motion sensors which turn the lights on for 20 minutes or so after detecting motion. Twice already this morning I've been motionless enough to cause the lights to go out while I've been diligently working. (Shocking: The "diligently working" part is true!)


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Seattle surplus

Mostly for my own reference, but thought I'd share the links since a few of you might be interested...

Mostly adapted from Bruce Lane's page

Boeing surplus
20651 84th St S
Kent WA 98032-1224
Electronic Dimensions
424 Puyallup Ave
Tacoma WA 98421
House of Science
825 NW 49th St
Seattle WA 98107
1565 Sixth Ave S
Seattle WA 98134
Seattle Laptop
7525 Aurora Ave N
Seattle WA 98103
Vetco Electronics
12718 Northup Way
Bellevue WA 98005
Call to confirm hours
Washington State Surplus (eBay)
2301 C St SW
Auburn WA 98001

Monday, September 12, 2005

Apparently, Meg Whitman got wildly drunk and woke up to find herself in bed with Niklas Zennström.

At least, that's the only explanation I can find behind the eBay/Skype merger that was announced today. Otherwise, I'm not getting it. At all.

It'd be like Amazon purchasing SmartCar to enable our customers to drive to a mall with an Internet cafe, so they can buy stuff from while getting the shopping mall atmosphere. After all, 0.0001% of our customers want to be able to do this...

I guess that I should be applauding this move, since Amazon is an eBay competitor in many respects. We love to see our competitors burn $2.6 billion as if there were no tomorrow. The only thing that would be better is if eBay bought $2.6 billion worth of merchandise off Amazon (and, sorry, but we don't accept Pay Pal).

Elevator moments

The scene: Elevator #5 in the US2 building, post lunch.
The dramatis personae: Six random Amazonians.

The six step into the elevator and punch in the floor selections (5, 7, and 8). Elevator doors close.

Then, oddly, the elevator hesitates and decides to clear our floor selections.

Amazonians start joking about how the elevator is not 1-Click enabled.


Friday, September 9, 2005

Today's Diesel Sweeties brings back fond memories of Animaniacs.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Don't read today's White House press briefing if you don't want to pop a vein in your neck.
I just got out of a code review meeting which I attended solely to find out what's going on elsewhere in my group.

About 30 minutes into the meeting I wanted to run screaming from the room: "Ok, I admit! I'm a fraud! I have no idea what you're talking about! You're using terms like 'recorder' and 'TOPPS' and I think you're talking about a musical instrument and baseball cards!" Fortunately, I managed to contain myself and sit silently.

After the meeting, I found out that I wasn't alone. Others who have been here for awhile had exceeded their level of understanding and started daydreaming or (if they brought their laptops) checking e-mail.

Whew. My secret fraud life is safe. Well, unless they read this LJ entry... :-)
For the physics/E&M geek in you (or how to visualize EE 151)...

Math, Physics, and Engineering Applets at

Found on Bunnie's blog (that's Andrew "Bunnie" Huang, Xbox and general hacker extraordinare).

Saturday, September 3, 2005

Best Overheard in NY quote ever:

Chick: Wait, I really did sleep with that guy? I need to update my Excel spreadsheet.
--Montien, 3rd Avenue
Overheard by: djlindee

Work is going well. Very well. My manager is excited about the results I'm getting -- I'm doing some data mining on our logs to find out why our bits are sometimes slow. I'm a tad nervous because he wants me to present this to some of the VPs, etc., at the start of next week, but I would like to spend a little more time thinking about the data. I have, after all, only been there a couple of weeks and could easily be doing something very, very wrong. Ah, well -- it's good to have a manager who is enthusiastic about your work.

Tam and I are starting to look at places to live. We've already visited Island Homestead apartments, over on Bainbridge Island, and really like it. Alas, we can't afford to buy a house right now -- it's taking a long time to sell our house in Pittsburgh.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I started to code up an elegant, generalized solution to a problem (trying to parse these damn huge log files) by stuffing various pieces of data into an SQLite database only to come to the ugly realisation: "Hey, wait a minute. I don't actually know SQL."


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I've mostly been sitting in my office reading various software engineering documents. Every now and then, though, I need to get up to grab something (usually coffee). When I do, I get a sweeping view of the stadiums and Puget Sound and think, "Wow. I can't believe I work here."

Also, I took the last cup of coffee around 4:15 and debated whether I should make a new pot so late in the day. I decided to go ahead and do so.

It was gone by 5. Heh.

Met with Tamara for lunch (our temporary housing is literally across the street from where I work) at a Korean BBQ place. Picked up some fresh roasted chestnuts on my way back to the office. Been trying to absorb an incredible amount of data in a very short time.

Life is good.
My first day at Amazon was yesterday. It's like no place I've ever worked before.

When I got to orientation, they had a backpack for each new hire. Inside the backpack were some benefits materials and information about how to log on, a laptop preconfigured for our use, and a VPN device. This is... well, definitely a company that is used to hiring people and wants to get them productive as soon as possible!

The amount of training materials for developers is incredible and a tad overwhelming, but a refreshing change from the typical case where you have to find out obscure bits from some other developer who's hidden in a corner of a remote, off-site building but usually only works from home and doesn't answer his phone or e-mail.

Contrast with Cadence, where being unproductive during your entire stay is the norm.

For any fellow Amazonians who want to stop by, my office is US2 811.A1, but my group is moving next week.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

It would appear...

... that I'm in Seattle now. Coolness! (Well, if only -- it's a tad hot here today, though not as bad as Pittsburgh.)

My temporary apartment is right above a market, all in the Japanese section of the International District. I could eat in the restaurants below and have a different style of Asian food every night for a week.

Cats are much happier to be in a place with furniture again and, more importantly, out of their cramped carriers.

House in Pittsburgh is now empty. Hopefully it will sell soon.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

There are many good reasons why one might quit his job. However, I think we can agree that "To spend more time playing computer games" is not one of them.

Saturday, August 6, 2005

We have two parties coming to see our house tomorrow. Should be interesting. I've spent the past three evenings creating a small patio and fixing brick steps to it. I wish I had done that much, much earlier...

Today was my last day at Cadence. It was bittersweet -- I won't miss the company, but I will miss some of the coworkers, even the ones who annoyed me. Five and a half years is a long time to spend at a place.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

The house is now up for sale. I guess this marks a milestone of some sort, though I'm not sure exactly what. Perhaps simply the point where the house no longer looks like we live in it -- we've removed all the magnets from the refrigerator, for example, and the counters are almost completely clear. The completely non-functional, model home look... almost as if someone took a house out from Sim City and actually built it.

Monday, August 1, 2005

Is this really appropriate?

CBS News' article on the Boy Scout Jamboree has targeted advertising at the bottom. The links read:

Power Lines
Buy "Power Lines" at Join and save $100 on an Apple iPod, take 50% off your first month of membership or get a free Muvo MP3 player.

Power Line on eBay
Find Power Line items at low prices. With over 5 million items for sale every day, you'll find all kinds of unique things on eBay - the World's Online Marketplace.

Not as bad as Google's offer to let you buy African slaves on eBay, though.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hm. We had a severe thunderstorm pass right over us, with a lightning bolt striking our house and/or the ground nearby. Talk about loud -- ouch! No damage to the house itself, but various electronics got fried. They were on surge protectors, but this was a fairly direct hit. Lost the server and TV, and had to reboot the stove (!) -- well, power cycle it, that is. (It has a microcontroller to control the oven, and time/temperature are set and displayed digitally.)

I'm sure there will be some others that I haven't discovered yet.

Up side: That much less junk to move to Seattle. :-)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Alabama invades Massachusetts. Hilarity ensues.

Edit: for those who are curious about how state route signs should appear.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

It's official. I'm Amazonified.

Looking forward to heading out to Seattle.

Friday, July 15, 2005

In Seattle now, visiting Amazon. They've put us up at the W, an ultramodern, ultratrendy place with origins in New York. I don't think I've felt as unhip in my life as I have staying at this place. (When I checked in, I asked the folks at the registration desk where the registration desk was -- I honestly thought it was a bar.) I think we both have been taken by Seattle, though, and I by Amazon. At this point, it's pretty much a sure thing.

I've put up a couple pics from Rome. First, see my brother, Myke, and his girlfriend, Lisa, in Orvieto:

Oh, and the Vatican's Swiss Guards don't like it when you stop to take their picture and don't want people posing with them, as this family found out:

Unless, of course, you're cute and female:

Sunday, July 10, 2005

And... Statesified

Back in the good ol' US of A.

Let's see... Thursday: Hung out with Maya in Rome. Visited Palatine Hill and the Colosseum, walked through Campidoglio, lunch in Piazza Competelli, saw Caravaccio paintings in the cathedral (name?) in Piazza del Popolo, had excellent gelati on via del Prefetci (check?), and located the guys who are displaying/selling her art at the festival on the banks of the Tevere. Dinner was at the academy that night.

Friday: Went to the Vatican Museums, met up with my brother, had lunch at a pizza-by-the-slice place near the S. Anna restricted entrance (he did some research at the Vatican while I was at the museums), then the Pantheon, and back to the academy for dinner.

Saturday: Slept in a bit (oof, was I tired). Then took a bus to the Vatican to mail a few things off, met up with my brother at the Spanish Steps, lunch nearby (ravioli with cheese and pine nuts... mmm...), Santa Maria degli Angeli just off Piazza della Republica, saw another protest, then gelati in Trastevere, and a farewell dinner again in Trastevere. Like most nights, I hung out at the terrace at the academy talking with friends and drinking excellent wines far later than I should have. Unlike most nights, I had to get up less than three hours later to...

Sunday: Woke up at 4:30 am to catch a 7 am flight from Fiumacini. Connected in Frankfurt and Toronto before heading back to Pittsburgh -- a total of 19 hours of travelling. As usual, immigrations and customs officers were polite and courteous with the notable exception of the U.S. officials.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

More from Italia

Wednesday: Ended up taking just a day trip up to Orvieto (in Umbria). Went through Etruscan caves, the cathedral there (which was fairly distinctive from Rome -- apparently, zebra stripes were the in thing back then in that region), and a couple art galleries. Had lunch at a fairly good place whose name escapes me, but the dishes I wanted were out and I accidentally ordered roughly the same thing I had last night for dinner (filet with peppercorns).

Had dinner back in Rome at an Ethiopian place. Still savoring it.

Three rolls of film left, three days left.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Quick update from Italia

Sorry, I only have a few minutes before bed. I want to jot this down mostly for my memory. No pics yet; I'm doing this trip entirely on 35 mm.

Sunday: Got here. Took train to Trastavere, seemed like SoCal at first from the vegetation and highways. Then I saw a few houses and cars and noticed that they were somewhat different. On the third stop, the accordians boarded.

Visited Santa Maria del Trastavere, San Clemente, San Giovanni del Laterno. Hung out at a barbeque at the American Academy (where I'm staying, and where my brother is a fellow).

Monday: Roman Day. Torre Argentina, Piazza Venetzia, ruins, Fora Romano, houses beneath Ss. Giovanni e Paolo. After dinner, hung out with Academy folks and drank more wine.

Tuesday: Vatican Day (on my own). Did the art tour of St. Peter's basilica, visited John Paul II's tomb, attended a mass in St. Peter's where the choir was a children's choir from San Diego. Had hoped it would be in Latin (which I can vaguely follow), but it was mostly in Italian.

Later today (Wednesday): Going up north toward Umbria/Tuscany. Probably will spend the night there.

Food: excellent. Wine: even better. Having access to crystal clean water from the various spigots installed all over Rome (thanks to the aqueducts) on my long foot treks: totally awesome.

Traffic: absolutely crazy. I'd definitely drive a motorini (scooter) if I lived here.

Could I live here? Probably, but the close quarters might get to me; I'd also have to get used to not having access to various shops on Sundays and between 3-6 pm. Those late, long, delicious dinners? Sure, sign me up.

More Thursday or Friday.

Friday, July 1, 2005

Random geekery for your amusement: U.S. map colored by ZIP code.


Hm. One curious property I've found in/near Seattle is this one on Bainbridge Island.

The house itself is tiny -- basically a one-room cabin -- but sits on 3.5 wooded acres. The price is affordable, though.

The commute to Amazon would be interesting -- it involves a ferry trip across Puget Sound. I could easily bike it (which reduces the cost significantly -- from $13.30 each way to $7.10 one-way).

The idea would be to build it up later on. We'd have to check if that's allowed, of course. But... hmm. Interesting.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Heh... came across a site which wanted information about my company before it would let me browse. I decided to have a little fun...

Kanga International is a consultation group which assists manufacturing companies in solving logistical problems. We specialize in electronics and electromotive markets, both consumer and industrial. Our clients rely on our knowledge and experience in every step of the product lifecycle, from initial concepts to finding ways of getting the product to the customer.

Key facts:
Founded in 2000 by a group of five engineers in the software and chip design industries in the U.S. northeast and Pacific coast regions.

Profitability first achieved in calendar year 2001.

Expanded to 10 consultants in 2002. Revenues reach $700,000.

Continued growth in solving our customer's toughest issues results in "most valued partner" awards from two companies, 2003-2004.

First $1M+ year, 2003.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Hm. First time I've had a chance to even look at LiveJournal today.

Everyone, go say Happy Birthday to ! She's that awesome!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Sandra Tsing Loh's (BS 83) Commencement Speech to the Caltech Class of 2005

One of my favorite excerpts:
I believe I'm on the short list of candidates for patron saint of those lost at Caltech. Junior year, I was assigned as physics lab partner classmate Sekhar Chivukula, widely regarded a genius, he's still in physics today. Of our pairing it was said: "Sekhar will do the calculations, Sandra will handle the radioactive samples." Thanks for the respect. Never mind-- By senior year, I'd developed my own law of quantum mechanics that had nothing to do with Wigner-Eckhart's Theorem or Clebsch-Gordon Coefficients-

No, Sandra's Theory was: "On any Phys 106 exam involving the spin of an atom, the answer is at least 63 percent likely to be. . . . 1/2." I don't know why but. . . You'd be amazed how often it worked: To skip the calculations and just boldly put down 1/2 and then write next to it an illegible honeycomb snarl of curlicues that vaguely resembled any of the Greek symbols--lambda, iota, zeta, tau, ampersand-- With any luck a tired Pakistani TA might just look at it, get a headache and throw you a point--!

So by the time I graduated, I had a Caltech diploma entirely made of. . . partial credit, yes-- My degree was glued together, faintly pulsing with. . . radioactivity, graded less on a curve than on a kind of wild hyperbola asymptotically approaching . . some imaginary. . . actual answer. . .

Friday, June 10, 2005

I like today's quote of the day from MyWay:
Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is a beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is life, fight for it!

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Heh... at first, I thought this document was written by a judge as a ruling over the specified case. It's an amusing read.

Monday, June 6, 2005

Is it a sign of total geekiness that, when someone mentions Maxim, I think of the chip maker and not the lad mag? (The latter is probably not safe for work.)

I had some free time today (while waiting for yet-another-sync from San Jose to complete... it's been over 5 hours now, and still not 20% finished), so I thought about designing a 6502 based system. Anyone up for writing some software for it? , I'm looking at you...

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

I received a new catalog from Omega today. It was depressing yet entertaining, as usual.

Not because I dislike Omega or anything. They just have Dilbert cartoons in their catalog -- 96 of them, in fact. Dilbert is painful because it is a biography of my job.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Is it a sign that I might be too geeky if I can check e-mail and browse the web in my house even though the power is out in my neighborhood?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Amusing quote about Pennsylvania: "Pennsylvania has been geographically described as Pittsburgh in the west, Philadelphia in the east, and Alabama in the middle." (On how Santorum manages to get reelected.)

And what's up with the Carl's Jr/Hardee's Paris Hilton commercial? I actually haven't seen it on T.V., but I did visit their Internet site to see what the fuss was about. Very effective commerical if you're trying to sell sex, cars, or car-washing equipment. The hamburger, though, was thrown in as an afterthought. It's almost like Carl's Jr was embarrassed to be associated with the commercial.

Not getting it. Then again, I don't get the appeal of Paris Hilton either. Skanky just isn't a turn-on.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I'm not smart enough...

... to be deciding who should be the judges, school board members, and coroner for my area.

Today was a primary election day in Pennsylvania. The most important parts, in my opinion, were referendums to eliminate some of the elected row offices here and allow the state to borrow $625M for environmental improvements.

However, there were also (in my district) various offices being decided. Now, of course I want the best people in those jobs. For a judge, however, that's a question of which candidates have a good understanding of and can apply the law fairly and won't bring the office into disrepute. I might be capable of deciding this by examining their criminal records and administering an exam written by the local bar association -- but all I have are their written statements. As for the school board, I'm happy with the way the district is being run and am content to leave well enough alone. Coroner? What the...? Do I look like a medical board? Does it matter whether the coroner is a Democrat or Republican?

Just how far do we want this to go? "Hi, I'm Dave Cuthbert, I'm a Republican running for Member of the Consulting Staff at Cadence Design Systems, I'm tough on software bugs, and I'd appreciate your vote today."
What's going on with my vision?

I don't really feel headache-y, maybe a bit tired, but I'm finding the light level in the office too bright. It's no brighter than normal, from what I can tell... but I'm still squinting like crazy. This is making it difficult to concentrate and get work done...

Monday, May 16, 2005

You know how various groups (e.g., Amnesty International) will recite the names of people killed or missing in certain events? (World Trade Center, Iraq war, political prisoners, etc.)

I propose that we get a group together to recite the numbers from A Million Random Digits With 100,000 Normal Deviates. Hmm... do you think we could get funding from the NEA for this?
Google has a job opening for a Software Engineer/Programming Instructor. A teaching position. At a company.


Friday, May 6, 2005


I'm stuck in a telecon until 7pm, the people in San Jose are not talking into the phone, most of them have Indian accents, and they're talking about subjects I don't care about and using acronyms I don't understand.

Sunday, May 1, 2005

On Thursday, I had both a letter and (nasty) phone call from the bank which holds my home equity loan, telling me they've turned it over to collections for non-payment, docked my credit rating, and will (eventually) initiate foreclosure proceedings.

WTF? Not only am I not late on my payments, I've been prepaying the loan and was paid up through July.

I called, and they looked over the records. Oh, they said, it looks like there might be an error from when they acquired the old bank back in October. But that's not their fault, they said, the problem lies in the old bank's records.

After much yelling with the asshole in collections, I got them to review the records. I later got a phone call stating that they did me a favor by correcting them. (Yeah, screw you, too.)

On Monday, I'm signing paperwork to transfer the loan to my normal bank (National City), where I keep my checking and savings accounts and where they actually know me. It'll cost me about $30 extra per month, and there's a chance I might have to pay some closing fees, but you know... it makes me feel so much better to not be doing business with an unethical bank.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Been incredibly busy, hence this space has been empty. But we have finished our downstairs bathroom! It no longer looks like it's missing everything except the basics (toilet, sink, soap, and towel).

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

I worked from home yesterday, which was nice. Far more productive than a day at the office; amazing how that works.

I came in today, though, to find out that someone here abruptly quit yesterday. The whole thing is kind of shrouded in mystery. I suspect he actually gave two weeks notice, but since he's apparently going to work for a competitor, he was asked to leave immediately -- this is actually a company policy.

He was fairly high up, too -- director level.

Too tired to think now. Need more sleep.

Saturday, April 2, 2005

From my brother, who is spending a year in Rome on a fellowship at the American Academy in Rome:
Just wanted to send along some photos I took from St. Peters where they were reading the rosary after the Pope's death just a bit ago. As soon as we heard the city bells signaling the death, Lisa and I jumped on my motorcycle and went to the square where there were already tens of thousands. I didn't want to use flash since it was a service, but I wanted to give some sense of the scene there.

Photo credits: Michael Cuthbert
Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Trogdor was a man...
He was an... LR(1) man!

Alas, OpenOffice, you are becoming a bloated pigdog which is more annoying to use than your evil twin.

If I could, I'd cut your code down to size using highly lethal martial arts techniques. It'd be like kung fu on a cracker!
Heh... it still strikes me as a tad unusual to see a stock reported as being "up $400":
AIG shares dropped $1.25, or more than 2 percent, to $56.95 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Berkshire Hathaway shares were up $400, or 0.5 percent, at $87,400, also on the Big Board.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I saw the headline: "Jackson Prays With Terri Schiavo's Parents"

My immediate thought was: Michael Jackson is out there now? Can this get any weirder?

Monday, March 28, 2005

Now killing you with three square+ meals a day!

Because they're not about to be outdone by Hardee's Monster Thickburger (1,420 kcal, 107 g of fat), Burger King is rolling out their Enormous Omelet Sandwich (730 kcal, 47 g of fat) for breakfast.

Note that a Whopper comes in at a comparatively modest 700 kcal/42 g.

I think I'm going to start a chain which sells slabs of deep-fried lard (maybe with some beef boullion cubes for flavoring) in between two slices of bread. Or are they already doing this?

I'm no health nut, but.... gaaaaaak.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Total size of my tax returns this year? 90 pages.

Ok, if I, say, owned a sole-proprietorship business which dealt in foreign securities and was trying to hide income in various places, then this might be acceptable. Alas, my life is nowhere near as exciting -- except when it comes to taxes.

Fortunately, not all of these are pages to be mailed in. Some are for auditing purposes. But still...

Oh, and electronic filing? I don't use it. It saves the government money, sure. But they charge $16 for it. Huh? Sorry, but if it saves you money, you'd better be passing some of that back to me. For $16, you're getting the ol' paper returns.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Not a Starbucks every block

In today's business briefs, it was revealed that Pittsburgh ranks incredibly low on the number of coffee shops per capita.

#1 was Anchorage, with 2.8 per 10k people.
#2 was Seattle, with 2.4 per 10k.

Pittsburgh was #142, with 0.5 per 10k.

Now, if they had done the number of bars and pubs per capita, I'm sure the story would've been considerably different.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Why you shouldn't use bad file sharing programs...

My cable modem was on the fritz over the last few days. Comcast came out today and found out that:

  1. Another crew had installed an amplifier on the line in my neighborhood.
  2. The amplifier I had was no longer necessary -- in fact, it was overloading the signal on the cable modem.
  3. My cable line had a (fairly old) block on it, making us all wonder how the modem ever worked.

Anyway, after they left, I found the response to be a tad sluggish. I pulled out a network analysis program... and found that my line was being barraged with requests from Gnutella (think Napster) clients.

This pissed me off. There's no way I could block them, either. So I decided to write a program to accept their requests and send garbage back. Then I discovered that Gnutella has this "server discovery" feature -- a server can say, hey, you might try this other server over here, it probably has good stuff, too. At the suggestion of some guys on IRC, I implemented this feature -- except my version returns the addresses for the Recording Industry Association of America and Motion Picture Association of America. I'm sure they'll be interested.

Moral of the story: don't steal my bandwidth.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Graphic headline which pretty much tells the entire story:
Shark splits snorkeler

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Just yesterday, I was remarking to coworkers that, despite being here for almost ten years, I have yet to get jury duty.

In the mail today, I received a summons from the U.S. District Court for jury duty.

In case you haven't seen it (I hadn't, until today):
Flying lawnmower

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Since many of you are dorks yet don't subscribe to (and shame on you!), I'm crossposting this...

[E-Mail to Gorton's Seafood customer service of Gloucester, Mass.]


Please forward this to the person(s) in charge of tuning the process control mechanics -- this might be valuable feedback. Thanks.

I just purchased a package of Gorton's Beer Batter/10 Crispy Battered Fish Fillets (net weight 18.2 oz), lot #5025G2. Upon opening the package, however, I found only 9 fillets and one... well, battered fish bit. (See attached image).

However, realizing that the product is sold by weight, I decided to weigh the fish fillets. My setup isn't the greatest -- I used a postal scale, since it's the best apparatus I have in my house -- but, being an engineer, I found the results interesting. (Your process engineer will, too. I promise.)

First, I weighed the box (see image). It came out to 1 oz and a small fraction.

Then I weighed the box plus the fish (see image). To my surprise, it came out to ~20.5 oz. That's ~19.5 oz of product in a box claiming 18.2 oz!

This is a bit alarming, because most consumers will be annoyed at getting only 9 fillets -- when, in fact, Gorton's is providing them with more fish than promised.

The fish, incidentally, was very tasty. We had it with some country-style french fries and tartar sauce. I am very pleased and will continue to purchase Gorton's products. (Incidentally, would it be possible to get a tour if I'm ever up in the Gloucester area?)

Thanks, and regards,
Dave Cuthbert

The nine fillets and ... nugget?

The weight of the box

The weight of the fish and box

Into the obscure parts of TaxCut...

Why I'm glad I don't write accounting or tax software...

Post-October 22, 2004 Attorney Fees And Costs Related To Certain Unlawful Discrimination Claims
Enter here attorney fees and court costs paid after October 22, 2004, for actions settled or decided after that date involving certain unlawful discrimination claims, but only to the extent of gross income from such actions.

For more information, see IRS Publication 525.

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

I got bored while waiting for e-mail replies today. So I wrote a program which lets you change the default "READY" message on the printers here. I then mentioned it to a few coworkers.

One printer is now displaying the current CDN stock price.
Another says, "Paint it black."
The last compliments you with, "Nice pants."

The interesting thing is that this will also work on the printers in San Jose. Hmmm...

Monday, March 7, 2005

Boeing has ousted their CEO (at right) for having an affair with a younger exec (who did not report directly to him).

My question is: What the hell was she thinking?! I mean, c'mon -- the whole point of having an affair is to have a "fling with some hot thing" or sleep your way to the top. This is like being your own personal sexual welfare system for rich, old, wrinkly guys.

She ought to be arrested for having criminally bad taste.

(Yes, in case you're wondering -- this is with tongue firmly in cheek)

Saturday, March 5, 2005

I am tempted to take a road trip. In particular, I'd like to see the burning mines in Centralia, PA and various abandoned tunnels and road bits on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

As a kid, I had fantasies of digging in my parents' backyard and finding an underground cave or tunnel, either natural or manmade and abandoned. This was not exactly likely in SoCal, given that most development there is new and on granite rockbeds. In Pennsylvania, though, this could very easily happen.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Back in Pittsburgh.

Holy cow... have you played with Google Maps? It's a lot closer to what I've wanted in an interactive map. You can pan by dragging the mouse on the map, and it loads the new pieces right on the map -- no clicking on directional arrows to go to a new page.

They suggest trying searches like "Hotels near San Francisco." Here's the result for Brothels near Essex Junction, VT.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

On a whim, I decided to buy two computers today.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Yes. Let's have an hour-long meeting first thing in the morning and agree to do nothing.


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Ah, you must visit

These pranksters sign their credit card receipts with interesting names. They leave IOUs to the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority from Mariah Carey. They got U.S. Senators to send jokes to them.

You could easily kill a couple hours at work on this site.

Monday, February 14, 2005

The corporate online directory is not the way one should find out that he reports to a different manager.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

There's a piano in my living room now. Weird.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Drunk birds crash into building's glass
Forget Amazing Grace and Ave Maria. I want John Deere tractor noises at my wake.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Grr. ETrade won't let you transfer funds from one account to another without jumping through some hoops and waiting n days. I somehow have two accounts -- one is in my name only for the Cadence employee stock purchase plan, the other is a joint account.

I am hoping to buy a share of Berkshire Hathaway class B stock. I'd prefer to get a class A share, but at $90,900 per share I can't exactly afford it. :-\ (Heck, class B shares -- the "inexpensive" shares -- are at $3,033 today.)

The price is so high because Warren Buffet refuses to allow a stock split. I agree with his philosophy behind this, but the impracticality behind it is a pain.

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Carly's reign of terror has come to an end.

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Oof. Authored an eight page spec today from scratch, ideas and all. That meant I was pretty much cranking away at the keyboard for nine hours straight. I was amazingly productive, though, and it felt good to get so many words and diagrams onto paper (err... well, onto electrons and then magnetic domains, at least), even if it's just a draft.

I'm especially happy because it's eight pages of meat. I blatantly disregard our formal spec templates because they're full of verbiage that nobody reads and simply distracts from what's real.

The main reason I cranked out so much so quickly, though, was that the presention of this was suddenly moved to tomorrow morning (from Friday). Or so I thought. Only after I had gotten it out and sent it for review did I find out that the meeting is a week from tomorrow. Oops. Still, though, it's a good feeling to know that I still have what it takes to grind this stuff out.

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Watching people go into the VP's office, coming out, and then cleaning out their desks.

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Monday, January 31, 2005

Verily, I am enjoying my time off. I don't know if I can go back to work (well, at least at Cadence, anyway) at this rate.

Today, I paid various bills and taxes, had Chinese food from the real Chinese menu at the Lucky Chinese restaurant (a favorite haunt of my Chinese coworkers -- and now I understand why), and cleaned my office (at home) a bit.

Tomorrow, I'm going to start on my taxes, though I don't expect to finish; I'm going to have to review the finer points of capital gains tax laws. Ugh. (I'd feel less bleh if the capital gains were actually anything substantial, but it's just the Neolinear stock I bought back in 2000.)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

I can't deal with work anymore. I'm taking tomorrow, Monday, and Tuesday off.

I'm also trying to use up my three floating holidays because they don't pay those out if you quit or are laid off. The latter is a real possibility -- basically, the animosity between myself an my manager was reflected in my performance review. (This actually pleases me in a sick way... I'm hoping to get laid off so I can get the severance package.)

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Can anyone make heads or tails of the Levitra couches?

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Stuck in Chicago. My 2:30 flight was canceled, rebooked on a flight at 10:20 tomorrow morning.

My cats are going to be pissed.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Thanks for all the well-wishes and condolances. It means a lot to me. My grandmother's wake is set for Thursday, funeral and burial on Friday. I'm flying out on Thursday, returning on Saturday.
In lighter news, I thought I'd share an exchange at work outside my cube:

Coworker 1: Did you see that e-mail I sent?
Coworker 2: I don't check my e-mail every five minutes. I have work to do.
Coworker 3: Not for long!

(Yes, it was intended as humorous, not malicious.)
My grandmother passed away at 6:30 this morning.
I find it incredibly amusing that "god uses emacs" and "god uses vi" both produce exactly one hit.

(No, not a Googlewhack, because I used quotes and three words.)

Monday, January 17, 2005

How spooks saved Ukraine

The New York Times has an excellent article on how Ukraine's spy agency averted a civil war [6 pages] in the recent election.

If this weren't in the NYT, I'd swear it were an excerpt from some fictional Tom Clancy work. I also can't believe that they were able to get this information.
I'm not sure why I invest the time in doing stuff like this, but here's the start of my latest project...

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Some links to entertain you:

Do you use Firefox? Take a look at this serious bug.

Like riding ferries? Like Norway? Let MSN Maps help you. Or, if you'd prefer, you can see more of Europe on your trip.

Via , some nerdy LOTR humour.

And, lastly, a page with some funny/interesting/bizarre movie clips.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Monday, January 10, 2005

Wow. CBS has posted the complete independent panel investigation report [PDF, 234 pages] which led to the ousting of four CBS executives and, possibly, Dan Rather himself.

Apparently, blogging substantially accelerated the questioning of the documents. Interesting.

I'd like to know how to go about making a living doing this sort of investigative work. I'm very impressed by it; it's not the typical regurgitated bullshit that you would get by hiring a consulting firm.

I mean, doing this in a way other than ignoring my normal work and blogging during work hours. :-)

I spent a few dollars yesterday to pick up a copy of SimCity 4. Aww yeah. I've missed this game. This version, though, is a bit more complex than I'd care for. In particular, I don't care for the interactive dispatching of police and firemen (what city has the mayor doing that?) and the interactive missions that pop up allowing you to gain karma and/or money. SimCity is not an action game, and should not strive to become one.

The soundtrack, though, is superb. They even allow you do download it.

Sunday, January 9, 2005

There's a report that Texas improperly spent Homeland Security funds on a trailer to take lawn mowers to lawn mower drag races.

Yes. The National Drag Racing - Lawn Mower Association has more details about this event.

Friday, January 7, 2005

I feel like I've now seen the entire Internet.
National Watermelon Promotion Board

Bonus points if you can figure out what Google search resulted in getting to this page.

Thursday, January 6, 2005

For those who haven't heard, LiveJournal was acquired by Six Apart, the makers of MovableType and TypePad. I'm somewhat baffled by this; I guess I still think of LiveJournal as a hobby-slash-community-project thing rather than a business. From a business perspective, I can't see how this benefits Six Apart unless they make substantial changes to LJ, contrary to 's claims. Either make it a showcase for your technology (move it all to MT and integrate LJ-specific features into MT/TP) and/or consolidate LJ and TP to reduce your costs.

Having been through an acquisition myself with many promises made and broken, I think Brad is being terribly naive here. Ah, well. It's his company, not mine.

In unrelated geek news, I have strung together a set of filters which now copies any non-spam mail sent to my normal e-mail address to my cell phone. We'll see how well this works.

Wednesday, January 5, 2005

I happened to come across a page describing surgical debriedment of abscess subsequent to self-envenomation -- with pictures.

In other words, the page documents the lancing of an abscess. Now, this is commonly-performed technique in a doctor's office -- the catch here is that the patient was a cobra snake.