“I think of it as competing for beer money; this keeps me steady on course. My purpose is to make what I write entertaining enough to compete with beer. Not to be as great as Shakespeare or as immortal as Homer but simply to write well enough to persuade the cash customer to spend money on one of my paperback reprints when he could spend it on beer.”

— Robert Heinlein

How not to write a job description…


…1995 Edition. This is what happens when your senior sysadmin leaves, and there’s no one left with even a tiny grasp of what the job involves. It happened to OSU-CIS; don’t let it happen to you!

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Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance


As disgusted as I am by the behavior of the administrators and school board in response to this incident, it made me feel good to read the story, because the parents didn’t just roll over and let their kid get screwed.

It’s not quite as obscene as the 12-year-old in Florida who was taken away in handcuffs for the crime of splashing in puddles at school, but in both cases you have allegedly-sane adults willing to claim the actions were appropriate.

I think I know who really deserves to be removed from the public schools, and it isn’t the children.

Las Vegas trip highlights: Angela Little


So, I’ve returned from my little road trip to Las Vegas, and I bless the kind soul who let me know that Angela was the X-Mate for this month in ‘X - An Erotic Adventure’ at the Aladdin.

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good news, bad news


The good news: the Indiana Jones movies will be on DVD in November.

The bad news: the box set includes “Temple of Doom.”

Spindles and Platters and Heads, oh my!


There’s a story I love to tell, a cautionary tale about an incompetent manager, his ass-covering sysadmins, and the company that they could have destroyed together. At some point I’ll write it up here, but the short version goes like this: “two-thirds of the file servers hadn’t been backed up in six months, and they knew this.”

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Good things about Safari


Lots of folks are busy documenting the bad things about Safari (I sent in about a dozen bugs, and I’ll wait for the next beta before looking again). One good thing I noticed is that it has the appropriate hooks to make OS X’s summarize engine work. Select the text on a page, tell it to summarize, and you get a dynamically condensed version of the text. If the interface weren’t so clunky, it would be really handy for deciding if you really want to read further in someone’s site.

It would be trivial for the developers to add a button to the toolbar that selected the body text, called the summary service, and returned the results in a new window, nicely formatted. Since Safari is more-or-less scriptable, I was able to knock together a quick AppleScript that shows off the idea. Drop it into ~/Library/Scripts and run it on whatever page you’re currently looking at.

Need a cookie? Take a cookie.


So, I just got another notice about a sleazy bastard printing out my photographs and selling them on eBay. Joy. This is the sort of behavior that led me to stop posting large JPEGs a while back.

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Baby’s First Perl Module


My blushes. I’ve been hacking in Perl since version 2.0 was released. In some ways, it’s my native programming language. It’s certainly the one I use the most, and the tool I reach for first when I need to solve a problem.

But I haven’t kept up. Until quite recently, I was really still writing Perl3 with some Perl4 features, and regarded many of the Perl5-isms with horror. It felt like the Uh-Oh programmers had crufted up my favorite toy, and it didn’t help that the largest example of the “New Perl” that I had to deal with was massive, sluggish, and an unbelievable memory hog (over 9,000 lines of Perl plus an 8,000 line C++ library, and it uses up 3 Gigabytes of physical memory and 3 dedicated CPUs for its 25-hour runtime (“Hi, Andrew!”)).

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