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.