“I am a scientist, not a climatologist, so I don’t dabble in climatology.”

— Dr. Paul Reiter, inconveniently correcting Al Gore

Dear IRS,

No, I’m not going to send you an additional $35,000 dollars for my 2003 taxes. Do you people even grasp the concept of stock option sales? Did you forget that we just went through this for 2002, and you didn’t get the money that time, either?

Love, J

[kind of makes me glad none of my options were worth selling in 2004…]

A for effort, guys, but…

…I don’t sit twenty feet away from my laptop, and the subject line gives it away as spam anyway:


Drat those domain squatters!

Alleged cat-lovers in Wisconsin are up in arms over a proposed law to allow hunting of feral cats. The web site for their campaign is dontshootthecat.com.

Sadly, shootthecat.com is a slow-loading artist’s site that has no connection to this issue, and doesn’t even seem to have any pictures of cats. Pity. Maybe some bird-lovers should buy the domain from him and highlight some of the unrealistic arguments being made against the legislation.

Personally, I’ve had run-ins with feral cats, and they ain’t the family pet Fluffy. They’re carnivorous wild animals, which makes them at least as big a pest as the gophers and skunks that are already legal to shoot in Wisconsin. More so, probably; I don’t think Wisconsin’s skunks are killing tens of millions of songbirds each year.

I love their support for “trap, neuter, and release”, by the way. If the estimate of two million feral cats in Wisconsin is even vaguely correct, the best they can hope for is weeding out the stupid ones, leaving only the cleverest cats running loose to breed. That’ll fix things for sure!

[Disclaimer: I like cats, enjoy seeing them roaming through the jungle that is my back yard, and once adopted a semi-feral cat who was in danger of being shot by a local farm-owner. I still think it’s stupid and irresponsible to allow them to roam free without a collar or neutering, so I have no sympathy for people who do so.]

GarageBand is officially a success

M-Audio has announced this custom controller for it, with matching faux-wood paneling.


I’d love to see the market numbers that drove this decision. Macs have always been big in the creative market, but making custom hardware for an application that comes free with the OS? Hmm…

Update: I’m not exactly a fan of Nine Inch Nails, but any band that releases a track from their upcoming album in GarageBand format for their fans to play with is officially cool.

Epson PictureMate 4x6 photo printer

This is a great little product with one serious, annoying flaw. It prints extremely nice 4x6 borderless prints, with excellent color, but even if you send it a picture that’s been formatted to be exactly 4x6, something in the driver or the printer itself is increasing the image size slightly and cropping about 1/8th of an inch on all sides.

This is actually the same behavior people have been getting from traditional one-hour-photo prints for decades, but when you have complete control over the cropping on your computer, it’s a damn nuisance. It’s even more annoying when you’re printing out documents with narrow margins or pictures downloaded from the web.

A quick Google suggests that their tech support folks are clueless about this issue, and don’t actually understand the complaints they’re getting about it. [Update: those complaints must be old. I got a clear, correct response within a few hours. Sadly, it’s a “working as intended” feature, and they don’t mention workarounds]

My guess [confirmed by tech support] is that they’re fudging the image to cope with misaligned paper, so that a supposedly borderless print doesn’t end up having a border on one side. I’m going to create a numbered 1/16th-inch grid in a PDF file and see precisely what ends up on the paper.

Update: Printing this PDF (created by this Perl script) at various magnifications reveals that 95% is just about perfect, but small alignment errors may produce a tiny white border around the edge of photos. The print driver has some adjustments for paper positioning, which should allow you to get perfect, uncropped, full-bleed prints at 95%. Mac OS X applications that use the standard print dialogs should all work with this, including iPhoto.

Is it Engrish if they just didn’t notice?

People familiar with Adobe PostScript will recognize the source of this label misprint.

fun with Google Maps

Looks like they ripped out my old apartment building in Columbus and replaced it with something bigger and better. Good thing, too, since it burned down at least once, while I was living there (hmm, now there’s an old Usenet post I should resurrect here; I used to use it as a great counter-example to the “ban guns because they make domestic squabbles fatal” argument).

The concrete canyon Brian and I lived in before that is still there, though, and probably unchanged. Trigger-happy towing, unsafe parking, and next door to a neighborhood pool; a bunch of kids once broke into my car just to steal the change from my ashtray so they could get in. Cute girls running around, though, and our storage closet was big enough to hide a dozen illegal immigrants in. Two dozen if they were close friends.

America’s Largest Community Of Brick Homes hasn’t changed a bit. Nearly 50,000 houses based on four floorplans, so you always knew where the bathrooms were at your friend’s houses. Not the easiest neighborhood to deliver pizza in, especially in Dominos’ 30-minutes-or-free days, but the tips were always good.

As for the first home I remember, Old Powell Road is almost unrecognizable. They got rid of the sharp curves that used to send cars into the abandoned gravel pit (that, along with date-rape attempts, was the most common reason someone would knock on our front door after dark), the formerly-toxic landfill appears to be capped and made pretty, but it’s still sparsely developed. The house is long-gone, but I knew that already.

These days home looks like this:

Home sweet home

Personal health care, Bad Haiku Edition

hole in arm closing
biopsy was negative
springtime is bike time