look! over there!

August 14, 2007

most if not all future content will be appearing here.


OMFG (Om My Freaking God)

April 27, 2007

Om Malik, whose technical opinions and reporting I have always had little respect for, has gone corporate, and hired a bunch of people to do his writing for him.

I can’t decide whether this is an improvement, or just more of a bad thing.

um, never mind about the Dynabook

April 26, 2007


I have copied Palm Note Pad over to my Treo as well, which is fine for keeping notes as long as I don’t want to take them anywhere else. When I upload them to the Mac, the PNGs turn out to be unusable because the Treo’s display is smaller than the T|C’s. I’ve read about a third-party tool for converting Note Pad images, but I don’t have the details yet.

excessive familiarity

April 26, 2007

I’ve always thought of myself as a disorganized, messy-desk sort of person. I lose things around the house. I often forget things I don’t think I should have forgotten. My hair is long and unkempt, and in some ways I have slovenly habits.

On the other hand, I often lie awake at night worrying about things that will probably never happen. I often still feel guilt and/or remorse for stupid, presumptuous, or thoughtless things I did or said thirty years ago, to people I will probably never see again. I’m a perfectionist at my work, and I have high expectations of others I work with.

The presumptuous thing I’m obsessively self-conscious about tonight has to do with my attempt, on the verge of middle age, to resume networking with people I’ve known over the years but have lost contact with. My purpose in this is not to socialize (I’ve been through my classmates.com/Friendster/Orkut phases), but rather to reestablish professional contacts in order to revitalize a career that has navigated into a dead end. I’ve signed up on linkedin.com, and have been pleasantly surprised so far by some of the people who remember me from even 25 to 30 years ago.

On the other hand, some folks hardly remember me at all. I haven’t gotten any “who the hell are you?”s yet, but I have had email exchanges with people who apparently have only faint recollections of me.

It’s hard not to feel a little funny about this. It’s hard to resist the impulse to apologize for being presumptively familiar with people.Now, I admit I’ve had to Google-dive for email addresses for people I haven’t heard from in a long time, but I don’t feel guilty about that, because I’m not approaching anyone I don’t actually know. What I feel guilty about is remembering people – having fond memories of people who don’t remember me.

I work with a guy who makes a point of not remembering people’s names, and will tell you right up front that although he recognizes you, he doesn’t know your name, and isn’t going to learn. He’s not impolite or unfriendly (unless you consider that impolite), but it is sort of strange to be told by someone that your name isn’t worth learning.

I, on the other hand, remember lots and lots of names and people from fifteen and twenty years ago, including a lot of people I’ve never met in person. (Today, in the age of internet chat, this doesn’t seem nearly as strange as it did twenty years ago.) I’m pretty good at remembering people’s names, and I work fairly hard at greeting people – even people I hardly know – by name.

In most situations, that is. Although there are people working at the restaurants where I have lunch whom I see regularly and have friendly relations with, I’m not on a first-name basis with any of them, in large part because I’m unsure of how to introduce myself while I’m ordering a hamburger.

I feel bad about even this, though, especially every time I think of the waitress at the Chinese buffet who always remembers my Diet Coke, even though I only see her once every two or three months.

Back to linkedin.com and my contact list. I just realized a few minutes ago that I am leafing through an address book I started twenty years ago, that gives no evidence of having been added to or otherwise altered in a dozen years.

That either makes me a lot more organized than I’ve realized, or it makes me an extreme packrat.


April 25, 2007

DigiMemo A6920 (A692) and L20 (L2)- The Electronic Memo Pad of the New Millennium, Electronic Pen Pad Tablet

This looks like it might be that thing I was complaining a few weeks ago about not having. I want one!

John McCain

April 25, 2007

John McCain would have made a good president, eight or ten years ago. He probably would have prevented the September 2001 bombings, he wouldn’t have gotten us into Iraq, and he certainly wouldn’t have allowed that scumbag Karl Rove within a mile of the White House. He’s an honorable man who has done his best to do good things for this country.

Unfortunately, he’s now begging for the presidency more pathetically than Bob Dole ever did. Last night he made a spectacle of engaging Jon Stewart – JON STEWART – in a political debate. He was more aggressive, and more garrulous, than he would dare to be in an actual debate against an actual opponent. He started by antagonizing Stewart’s studio audience, characterizing them as hostile; he continued to hector Stewart on his talking points, spewing a continual stream of invective until his time had run out.

When it was over, I found myself wondering why the hell he had bothered in the first place – within thirty seconds he had made clear that he didn’t really expect anyone watching the show to actually vote for him.

This afternoon, an NPR reporter at a McCain rally interviewed a young woman carrying a McCain sign who said that she really wasn’t a McCain supporter, that she had not decided (only 19 months before the election!) who to vote for, but that she had accepted a McCain sign because his team was desperately giving them away and she felt sorry for them.

Al Franken, in a recent book, relates what happened to John Kerry in his race against GWF:

By slapping Kerry around continuously, the President was sending America the message that “Kerry is my bitch.” Kerry, by focusing on his positive, nuanced agenda (including a modest, but eminently sensible health care plan that involved the word “reinsurance”), rather than fighting back with equal or greater ferocity, was whispering the opposite message: “I am Bush’s bitch.”

For years,¬† GWF and his buddy Rove have been smearing McCain at every opportunity and in every way imaginable,¬† among other things characterizing¬† McCain as a homosexual and his wife as a drug addict.¬† McCain’s sudden abandonment of long-held and long-advocated opinions in favor of positions that just happen to coincide with Bush’s communicates the same message: “I am Bush’s bitch.”

It’s a shame. It really is.


April 25, 2007

Iraq is not a war. There is no identifiable enemy, and we’re not “losing” to anyone.

Iraq is a police action. Our objective in Iraq is not to defeat anyone; it’s merely to keep the various native factions from killing each other.

There was a time at which it seemed that the only way we would be able to keep the Shia and the Sunni from killing each other was by killing both of them before they had a chance to kill each other, but these days it seems that the primary objective is to just be there, to pretend that what we call the Iraqi government is actually on the verge of assuming the responsibilities incumbent upon a government, to do the policing while we pretend that any day now, they will be magically endowed with the will and the ability to do their own policing.

They will not. We have now learned the lesson that I predicted five years ago we would learn from Iraq: why it took a Saddam Hussein to run the place.

Don’t get me wrong. Saddam Hussein didn’t make Iraq the mess it is; we did. The United States (unfortunately, not just the bumbling fools in the executive branch who got us into this, but all of us) has a lot of ‘splainin’ to do, about how we took a world that was kindly disposed toward us after September 2001 and proceeded to piss it off across the board.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean we can fix it. Like Yugoslavia, and like a lot of the American states, Iraq is an artificial state – created by arbitrarily drawing crayon lines on a map. By demolishing the Iraqi dictatorship, we triggered a civil war like the one in Yugoslavia that followed upon the death of Tito.

We are not fighting that war. We are not fighting any war in Iraq. Instead, having discovered that we have started a war, we are now attempting to keep it from happening – to simply deny that it is happening, if we can get away with it.

We can’t get away with it. There is a civil war going on in Iraq, and we started it by toppling Saddam Hussein. That much should be transparently clear to anyone who follows the news.

To claim that we have lost a war in Iraq, or even to claim that we are fighting a war in Iraq, is a gross misunderstanding of the meaning of the word “war”. The Bush administration calls Iraq “a war” so that they don’t have to call it “a police action”, which is what it really is, or “a fuckup”, which it also certainly is.

Why is Bush afraid to call this what it is? Because police actions are the kind of thing the Canadians and the French do. The Canadians are very good at peacekeeping; wherever you see a UN peacekeeping force, Canada has a strong presence.

On the other hand, Americans are not very good at peacekeeping. As a nation, we are temperamentally unsuited to it. If Bush were to admit that Iraq is a frantic effort to stifle a war that we caused, he would lose the last shreds of public support he’s managed to hold on to.

So why is Harry Reid saying silly shit like “we have lost the war”? That’s merely playing into Bush’s hands. That’s propping up the bullshit excuse the administration has been using to justify the killing and maiming of thousands of American soldiers, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

What we should be doing is not wringing our hands about having lost a war, or fondling Nancy Pelosi at press conferences. A real leader with a sense of responsibility would go to the United Nations with hat in hand, admit that we made a serious mistake in Iraq, and ask for a consensus on what we should do to fix it –

and then follow that consensus.

As soon as possible, also, we should start getting our combat forces out of Iraq, and get them back out after that Bin Laden guy.

((litefeeds)) mobile post

April 24, 2007
link: USB-powered gun turret for real
posted: www.litefeeds.com

open source telephony

April 19, 2007

link: Great List of Open Source Telephony Projects

posted: www.litefeeds.com

Rubberwood – a greener way to make furniture

April 14, 2007

Rubberwood on Squidoo

I’ve been to the import stores and admired the rubberwood furniture. It tends to be pretty much the style of furniture I like – heavy, robust, the kind of thing you expect to be around in a couple of hundred years.

I’ve always thought, though, “gee, that sure looks cool. Too bad they’re cutting down the jungle to make these.” I never realized that rubberwood is actually more environmentally responsible than other hardwoods, in that they don’t cut down the trees until they’ve gotten old enough that they no longer produce latex, at which point they would be cutting them down already.

It’s like making oak furniture only from trees felled by storms or other natural causes – or even like making furniture from cornstalks!

Too bad I’m not getting a tax refund this year, or I’d be on my way to Birmingham to World Market.