“It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that’, as if that gives them certain rights. It’s no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I’m offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what?”

— Stephen Fry

Corporate fat cats

Why does this sound like a really bad idea? Sprint apparently deliberately designed their new corporate headquarters to force people to do a lot of walking and stair-climbing. For their own good, of course.

Sprint built the car parks a 10-minute walk from the office buildings. So much for getting to meetings on time when you’re running late. And, oh, by the way, this is in Kansas, not Southern California, so they have actual seasons:

"It's not bad, unless it's 110 degrees outside or below freezing and raining and cold."

The campus I work on wasn’t deliberately designed to encourage exercise, as far as I know, but the five two-story buildings are spaced out sufficiently that you will do some walking if you need to go anywhere. And it’s built right next to the Stevens Creek trail, which a lot of people use for exercise and one-on-one meetings with their managers.

Hmm, come to think of it, the internal signage in the buildings is so bad that it’s almost impossible to find conference rooms or offices you’ve never been to before, so maybe they did design it to encourage extra walking. Hey, Sprint, I’ve got another idea for you!

Oh, by the way, less than two weeks after we moved into this campus, there were dozens of those little folding scooters around, and electric golf carts in use by the Facilities group. I suspect similar things happen at Sprint, but it didn’t fit the spin of the story, so it’s not mentioned.

Update: interesting comment from someone at Fark:

What this article neglected to mention is that the major ring road for the campus is BETWEEN the parking garages and the offices, so just as the largest number of people are walking to/from the offices, the largest number of people are also trying to navigate their cars to the garages. Apparently Sprint was too cheap to pay for the skywalks over the ring road.

Fire good

Officially, my Weber natural gas grill (Silver B) is defective. They even came out and replaced the guts of it once, to try to bring it back into spec.

The problem? It’s too darn hot. Fantastic for steaks, miserable for anything that requires “low and slow”. The built-in thermometer gave out on medium, and with all three burners on high, I didn’t own anything capable of recording the temperature of the cooking surface. I just knew that it regularly burned the seasoning right off of the cast iron grates.

So, I picked up one of those spiffy non-contact thermometers, which even comes with a small laser sight to tell you what you’re measuring (toy alert! toy alert!). A friend came over yesterday for lunch, and just before we slapped the t-bones onto the grill, we took a few readings with it: 780° Fahrenheit.

Every time I think about having Weber come back out and fix it, I grill a steak, and change my mind. Who needs “low and slow,” anyway?

Stupidest. Smart Gun. Ever.

This is such a bad idea that I doubt that even New Jersey is stupid enough to consider it a “safe handgun”. I’m quite certain that cops would rather go unarmed than be saddled with such a piece of garbage. Not that I expect it to actually come to market, of course; like most vaporware, the press release exists to sell stock, not product.

iPod mini a victim of its own success

Apparently the worldwide rollout of the iPod mini has been delayed, basically because Hitachi can’t make 4GB MicroDrives fast enough to keep up with demand.

As the pleased owner of one (silver, by the way, and I’d have gone for a nice dark gray if they’d made one), I’m not surprised. People who viewed it as a barely-cheaper iPod with much lower capacity were missing the point; it’s not cannibalizing sales of full-sized iPods, it’s capturing the demographic that wasn’t willing to buy an iPod at all, for various reasons.

And gadget freaks like me, of course. The mini is my third iPod, and I still have the second one, which now lives full-time in the car and makes long drives more pleasant. And I spend a lot of time driving, mostly by choice. When the next round of full-sized iPods comes out, there’s a good chance I’ll buy one of those, too, mostly because Apple supposedly has adopted the mini’s excellent controls to replace the unreliable non-buttons on the 3G iPods.

Note that the success of the mini also means that as soon as the demand is met, Hitachi will be able to flood the market with 4GB MicroDrives, and that’s pretty cool, too.

Move over, Stallman!

I think we’ve just found the perfect singer to cover The Free Software Song in the manner it deserves.

I can’t really say “thank you” to Chuq Von Rospach for linking to this, but I’ll try to get even someday.

Howard Stern, freedom fighter?

Found this on a “maybe just a tiny bit slanted” site called Buzzflash:

"As soon as I came out against Bush, that’s when my rights to free speech were taken away. It had nothing to do with indecency," Howard Stern said on March 19, 2004.

On the surface, this statement is absurd, since being kicked off of half a dozen radio stations run by a private corporation has nothing to do with one’s “rights to free speech,” but in the current batch of far-Left conspiracy theories, Clear Channel is part of the Bush administration, due to their well-known membership in the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. So it’s still government censorship, and a First Amendment issue, right?

But it doesn’t actually silence him, because the VRWC apparently hasn’t consolidated its hold on the media. Not only is he still on the air in every major market, the claim that he’s being suppressed has been widely reported! No doubt the underling who allowed the truth to get out will soon be quietly executed.

Personally, I think Stern’s motives more closely resemble Larry Flynt’s than those of any honest free-speech advocate, and I look forward to the day when he really is off the air. Not through government censorship, but due to a sudden outbreak of intelligence and good taste among the general public.

“So, how does it end?”

Since he brought it up, I thought I’d give my own reaction to the endings of some of the anime series I’ve been watching. For obvious reasons, one should BEWARE OF MILD SPOILERS below.

[update: cleaned up the formatting and added a review of Please! Teacher]


“Ron Dollar”, please go away

Dear child,

You’re not clever, you’re not funny, you’re certainly not my friend, and you have nothing interesting to say. Stop spamming my comments.

And, by the way, it took me about five seconds to wipe out your latest “contributions”, so you’re not even a real annoyance, just a bug on the windshield.

Oh, and if anyone else reading this wants a good laugh, it took this wannabe-troll three hours to come up with 18 lame comments. All wiped out with one line of SQL code and a quick rebuild.

(oops, miscounted the first time; I counted all the POST events, forgetting the mandatory preview I turned on a while back. I had to go by the logs, since I’d already nuked the actual comments. :-))

(which, by the way, is done with: delete from mt_comment where comment_ip = “nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn” and now() - comment_created_on < 1;)

(oh, and for more amusement, I’ve added each of his IP addresses to my badlife PF blacklist, so he can’t even see the site until he reconnects and gets another one. If he keeps it up, I’ll just block the entire subnet for a while; it’s not like I have so many readers that I actually care about the loss of a few random Class C networks for a few days.)

(and if he ever did rise to the level of an actual annoyance, my badlife system can trivially be extended to automatically add his IP addresses to the blacklist without human intervention; I did most of the work a long time ago to deal with mass downloads of my picture site…)

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”