“This will be dynamically handled, possibly correctly, in 4.1.”

— Dan Davison on streams configuration in SunOS 4.0

Iraq report


If this is a quagmire, can someone please mire some quags in California? Soon? Pretty please?

Chad about town


It was a pleasant three-quarter-mile walk to my neighborhood polling station, and I’m delighted to report that my chad-cutter performed perfectly. If all of the other dangerously obsolete voting machines perform as well as mine did, and people actually follow the instructions on the ballot, there will be no excuse for a Florida-style clusterfuck.

Win or lose, though, I’ll bet $20 that the mostly-anonymous accusations made against Schwarzenegger will be quickly forgotten, even by the obviously-biased LA Times. Because nobody’s actually interested in whether he did those things or not; they were just convenient dirt.

‘Yes’ on recall, ‘Yes’ on Arnold


I didn’t need much coaxing on the first part; it’s been obvious for a long time that Gray Davis is no friend to California citizens, and his recent determination to screw things up so badly that nobody can fix them was just icing on the cake.

Who to vote for was trickier. McClintock has a few gotchas, but he’s otherwise palatable. Unfortunately, he simply can’t win. Bustamonte’s pandering to the Hispanic community is most clearly demonstrated by his refusal to make even a token effort to distance himself from his racist ties. Most of the rest are in it just for the cheap publicity, and have nothing to offer a local school board, much less an entire state.

For a while, I toyed with the idea of voting for Georgy. She’s a little too fond of Clinton for my tastes, and she’d be eaten alive in office, but a strong showing would have made a few pros sweat about their habit of ignoring the tech community. Not gonna happen now, though.

In the end, what pushed me toward Arnold was the coordinated media smear campaign. He’s been in the public eye forever, and the worst dirt they can dig up is a handful of bald-faced lies (quickly disproven) and unsupported allegations of “groping”? That makes him one of the cleanest politicians in the country.

Oh, and for the record, it’ll be a ‘Yes’ on 53 and 54, too. Infrastructure is one of the few legitimate uses of tax money, and diverting it from other, “social” programs is a good thing. And since the racial data that would be banned by 54 is often used to fund some of those other programs…

Quick! More gun control!


The murder rate in the US is now the lowest it’s been in 40 years. It would be nice to think that it has something to do with the thousands of new gun-control laws that have been passed in that time, but sadly there’s no supporting evidence for that.

Which shouldn’t be surprising, since everyone in the business knows that most murders are committed by people with a history of violent crime, and career criminals aren’t in the habit of obeying laws. That’s sort of why we call them “criminals,” after all.

[note the sudden switch between rates and absolute numbers in the referenced article, without mentioning the significant increase in population over the periods compared. Even when the news is good, it’s gotta getta spin…]

Vegas road trip overview


So, two days after my LASIK surgery, my friend Dave and I headed off to Vegas for stress reduction and general amusement. Many people questioned the wisdom of mixing eye surgery with a seven-hour drive to a desert town filled with bright lights and cigarette smoke, but it wasn’t a problem. Eye drops and good sunglasses proved sufficient to the task (with occasional help from Aleve).

Dave will probably write a more detailed trip report than I will, but here’s the quick, relatively short form.

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What a country


Yesterday, a man sliced open my eyeballs, fried them with a laser, and took $3,700 out of my wallet.

And I am immensely grateful.

Courtesy of CustomVue LASIK and the Friedman Eye Center, my vision is the best it’s ever been, and it’s supposed to get even better over the next few weeks. I’m temporarily a bit farsighted, and I’ve got a touch of spherical aberration that makes it look like I’m viewing the world through an old portrait lens, but it’s still pretty darn amazing.

Twenty-two years of glasses, fixed with five minutes of surgery.

Bits, bytes, platters, and drives, how many were going to St. Ives?


Four complete and total morons in Los Angeles (redundant, I know) are suing computer manufacturers for reporting hard disk capacity using international standard prefixes. Even better, they are not suing the companies who actually make and label the disks with these capacities.

“Your Honor, I’d like to submit as evidence this disk drive, taken from a Dell computer. Note the name M-a-x-t-o-r on the label, right above the advertised capacity in gigabytes.”

“Right. Bailiff, take these four clowns out back and sterilize them for the good of humanity.”

Please, Mr. Darwin, take them away


I think this guy has demonstrated his lack of fitness for membership in the gene pool; he just failed the IQ test. His girlfriend should be put on probation for five years as well.

  1. become a youth pastor.
  2. acquire a sixteen-year-old girlfriend (you're thirty).
  3. videotape yourself having sex with her.
  4. put sex tapes in trunk of car.
  5. put girlfriend in trunk of car.
  6. drive across international border, failing to declare smuggled underage girlfriend.

Under other circumstances, I might be willing to believe that a sixteen-year-old is mature enough to be dating a much older man. Our laws on the subject are pretty arbitrary, after all, using date of birth as a convenient proxy for physical and emotional maturity. Many sixteen-year-olds are adults, and should be treated as such. Many people over eighteen, on the other hand, shouldn’t be trusted with wet matches.

These two? Not a chance. “Hey, sweetheart, now that we’ve been dating for a while, let’s take a road trip from Illinois to Alaska, and I’ll hide you in the trunk of the car to keep the Canadian border guards from getting suspicious.” “Gosh, Michael, what a swell idea. You’re sure the rest of the youth group won’t miss us?”

Still, nothing can top the bass player from Phish coaxing the 9-year-old daughter of a Hell’s Angel out to a deserted boathouse at 1am for “art photos”. Now that’s stupid.

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