“The only people who would be hurt by abandoning the Kyoto Protocol would be several thousand people who make a living attending conferences on global warming.”

— Prof. Kirill Kondratyev

Tales From The Help Desk


E-mail exchange between user and sysadmin at OSU-CIS, long ago and far away…

User: I was wondering how to send mail to someone on the VAX systems.

Sysadmin: Which ones?

U: It’s the VAX 386 systems. I know the three unique letters to identify this person. Thanks.

S: That doesn’t help. Perhaps I should instead have asked whose VAX systems.

U: It is the VAX at BF Goodrich in Avon Lake, OH. Hope this helps.

S: (crycrycry)

Multiple-choice gun safety


I finally got around to acquiring California’s new Handgun Safety Certificate, one of the pointless bureaucratic hoops the state makes you jump through before you can buy a handgun. There’s still the ten day waiting period and background check, the mandatory trigger lock, the safe-storage requirements, the one-a-month purchase limit, and, of course, the limited selection created by ineptly second-guessing the manufacturer’s ability to create a safe, functional product.

No one has been able to demonstrate even a tiny benefit to society from any of these laws, but then again, who would have rationally expected one? There is very little overlap between “people who obey gun laws” and “people who commit crimes with guns,” after all, and legislators who vote for gun-control laws know this.

more...

Munitions go boom


Well, actually it’s just the DNS server, which I have no control over. It looks like the caches started timing out around midnight. IP address for munitions.com is 209.81.13.66.

Landscaping


As a happy suburbanite, I like having an attractive yard. As a mostly-nocturnal, white-collar kind of guy, though, I don’t like actually going out there and doing the work myself.

I just met with my favorite landscaping contractor (Richard’s and Adan’s Landscape - Maintenance, serving Monterey County, CA) yesterday to have him trim, weed, and replant my front and back yards. Fairly basic stuff, but the jasmine is taking over the sidewalk, one of the trees is growing so well that it’s tearing itself apart in the wind, the weeds grew four feet high while my back was turned, and about a third of the plants front and back have died from my benign neglect.

more...

“How could you not know?”


As airport-restaurant dinners go, it should have been one of the best. I was sharing a table with three friends, two of whom were former Playboy centerfold models. Good people. Reasonable food. Interesting conversation.

Then the topic turned to astrology.

more...

HTML forms suck


It didn’t shock me to discover this, but it was one of those things about the web that I hadn’t really played with seriously. Then I started trying to expose all of the parameters for my random web colors page, so people could tinker with the color-generation rules.

Not only did the form add 24K to the page size, it increased the rendering time by about an order of magnitude.

more...

Death Manga


I’ve been away from the comics scene for a while now. Indeed, I just dumped most of mine into my storage unit because I hadn’t opened the boxes in years and had other uses for the space. I still wander into a comic shop once every few months, but there’s very little that I want to buy.

This, however, I could not pass up. Death of The Endless, already the cutest goth chick in the known universe, in a breezy manga-styled graphic novel. And it’s as good as it sounds.

Color combinations for web sites


I’ve stumbled across two interesting tools recently. The first is the Mac application ColorDesigner, which generates random color combinations with lots of tweakable knobs. The second is Cal Henderson’s online color-blindness simulator, designed to show you how your choice of text and background colors will appear to someone with color-deficient vision.

I decided to try to merge the two together into a single web page, using Mason and Cal’s Graphics::ColorDeficiency Perl module. It’s not done yet, but it’s already fun to play with: random web colors.

Right now, the randomizer is hardcoded, but as soon as I get a chance, I’ll be adding a form to expose all of the parameters.