“​‘You’re the System Administrator?’ Yes. I’ve been asked this before, and I think it mainly is because my head is shaved and I wear jeans and t-shirts to work everyday.”

“Who else would you be?”

— Jeff Blaine vs. Joshua Geller

“And I don’t mean good musicians, I mean jazz musicians.”


A short history of drug prohibition in America, with choice quotes from the legislative literature. Fun reading, and it should ring a few bells for people familiar with the criminalization of alcohol use and firearm ownership.

Garmin Forerunner 201


Garmin Forerunner 201

This is my latest toy, a GPS-based pedometer with calorie counting, lap timers, pace and distance alerts, interval training support, basic waypoint navigation, and even an animated “virtual partner” to compete against in a session. It tracks up to two years of workout data, with daily and weekly breakdowns, runs for up to 15 hours on a charge, and can be connected to a PC through the supplied cable.

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Test, ignore


Hmmm, looks like updating OpenBSD may have broken MT posting through Ecto.

Ah, I think it’s just a version mismatch in the chroot environment.

Sigh, that solved most of it, but not all. It looks like I’m going to have to reinstall a bunch of Perl modules, and then rsync them into the chroot.

No, wait, it seems Ecto allowed me to insert an invisible character into a blog entry, that it subsequently refused to translate into something that could be uploaded via XML-RPC. Blech.

[clarification: thanks to its NeXT roots, the standard OS X text widget supports a limited subset of Emacs editing keys. Unfortunately, while it lets you use Control-Q to insert literal ASCII characters, it doesn’t know how to display all of them. While typing my mini-review of the Forerunner 201, I somehow managed to type Control-Q Control-N, and Movable Type’s XML-RPC interface coughed up a giant furball when Ecto sent it this unescaped control character.]

Update: The response from Ecto support is “Should be fixed in next version.” Cool.

Update: And, indeed, it’s now fixed.

What political caricature are you?


Short poll at Harvard to chart your politics in comparison to current college students. Based on the short list of questions (at least two of which merited a “yes, but not the way you mean it”), I’m a Secular Centrist.

Basically this is a less-reliable version of the “What ‘Buffy’ character are you?” quiz.

What political caricature are you?
You are a Secular Centrist. Secular centrists like you tend to be:
  • Strongly supportive of gay rights.
  • Believe strongly in the separation of church and state.
  • Less supportive of affirmative action than most college students.
  • Less likely to be concerned about the environment than most college students.
  • Less likely to believe in basic health insurance as a right than most college students.

It smells like… victory


Last July, I knocked together a small perl script to monitor my Apache logs for virus probes, rude robots, and other annoyances, and automatically add their IP addresses to my firewall’s block list.

Today I spotted a very unusual entry at the bottom of my referrer report. I was morbidly curious what someone at a commercial web site devoted to she-males would be linking to, but it turns out the answer is “nothing”. Someone in China was running a robot that pretended to be a Windows 98 box while recursively downloading my site, no doubt to encourage My Loyal Readers (all six of them) to visit this fascinating site.

Unfortunately for my hopeful new friend, his robot tripped my log monitor and triggered a block, preventing him from getting more than a few hits. Even more unfortunately, I don’t display recent referrers anywhere on this site, so I’m the only person who knows what site he’s being paid to direct traffic to.

And I’m not going to tell. But it’s registered to someone named Dmitri Kukushkin in Delaware, who owns at least one other fetish domain.

Survey spam: nice try, Satmetrix


Found this one in my Quarantine folder (“things that make it past my spam filters but come from people I’ve never corresponded with”). It claims to be a survey conducted for Yahoo! over a recent Customer Care case, and even includes a case number.

The tip-off? It was sent to the phony email address I publish on the home page of this site, which changes every month. So, not only have I never used this address to send email to anyone, but it’s addressed to last month’s address. Satmetrix appears to be legit, but a quick Google turned up several examples of them sending this exact same message to mailing lists (over at least a year and a half).

It looks like Yahoo! is forwarding viruses, spam, and other forged email to them as legitimate customer care cases, and they’re not detecting it, which significantly reduces the value of their service and likely puts them both in violation of various spam laws.

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Truth in advertising?


Apparently these came out a few years ago, but I just saw them for the first time in a local Safeway:

Homemade cookies for Dummies

I guess the instructions on all of those other cookie mixes were too complicated for some people…

Another stupid “smart gun”


Implanted RFID tags to make sure that nobody can use a handgun, including the owner.

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