Archive for September, 2005

Europe Bound

Friday, September 30th, 2005

It’s on!

In roughly one week’s time I’m off to Europe with Dan. We’ll be hitting Eastern Europe, as Dan served in the Peace Corp, and wants to head back to his host country, Moldova, and I want to brag about capitalism defeating communism. Moldova, in particular, apparently hasn’t gotten the word, as they are still communist.

It should be a fun trip, with a bunch of bouncing around. I won’t actually be following Dan all the way to Moldova, as it takes an entire day of travel to get in & out of the country. Instead, I’ll be doing a quick stop in Rome before heading home.

Here’s the rough agenda:

Oct 9: Arrive in London
Oct 10: London
Oct 11: London
Oct 12: Travel to Prague
Oct 13: Prague
Oct 14: Budapest
Oct 15 (my birthday): Cluj
Oct 16: Brashov
Oct 17: Bukarest
Oct 18: Dan to Moldova, me to Rome
Oct 19: Rome
Oct 20: Rome
Oct 21: Rome
Oct 22: Rome
Oct 22: Head to LA

Obviously, due to the bouncing around in Eastern Europe, I’ll need to pack somewhat light. Any advice on what to take? Any “must sees” along the way?

Discover Card Doesn’t Get Redirects

Friday, September 30th, 2005

I got a mass email from Discover Card today:

Dear WILLIAM REARDON,

Within the next two weeks, the address of Account Center will be changing. At
that time, if you access the Account Center Log In page at its previous location,
you will be able to click a link to be directed to its new location. Your user ID and
password will not change. Please update your Account Center bookmarks or
favorites when you see this change.

You can still expect the same security and service in the Account Center—only
the location has changed.

If you have any questions about these changes, please contact us at
1-800-DISCOVER (1-800-347-2683).

Thank you for choosing Discover Card.

I like how big companies try to personalize things to you, like say “Dear so-and-so” and but then lose it all by screaming your name in ALL CAPITALS. Anyway…

So basically, they emailed me to tell me they couldn’t figure out one of the simplest web technologies out there: a redirect. In fact, somewhere along the line there had to be a meeting where a product manager or someone said “Look, if we change the location we’ll either need a redirect or we’ll have to email every single discover card customer” and the IT guy in the room went “Well, that’s a no-brainier. We’ve got to email everyone.”

I tried to think of a plausible defense, and thought, hey, maybe they’re using IIS, or something that makes 302s really hard. I know it’s trivial in Apache, but maybe they’re not using it. Checking what they run via Netcraft, nope, they’re running Apache.

Morons.

I submit the following open letter to Discover

Dear DISCOVER CARD,

I humbly suggest that you consider adding something like the following to your httpd.conf file, so that your customers are not impacted by the upcoming change to your site:

Redirect permanent  /old_location http://discovercard.com/new_location

Please note that you will need to restart the server after the change. I’d assume the restart is obvious, but having not done a one-line tweak to your config from the start, I’ve learned there isn’t much that I can assume.

Speaking of your IT department, I suggest you fire them all for inflicting their stupidity on your entire costumer base.

Regards,
WILLIAM REARDON

Most Inaccurate Movie Trailer Ever

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

I’d really hate for someone to see this trailer and go see The Shining.

x2vnc & OSXvnc lag

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

If you’re doing a linux/mac dual-screen hack using x2vnc and OSXvnc and notice some lag, the following may help:

sudo /usr/sbin/sysctl -w net.inet.tcp.delayed_ack=0

Anyone know how to make this permanent on a mac? It seems to be ignoring /etc/sysctl.conf.

Misses Brady Thinks I’m a Gangsta

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

On today’s My Fair Brady, Christopher Knight (aka Peter Brady) had Florence Henderson (aka Misses Brady) meet his girlfriend, Adrianne Curry (aka America’s first Top Model):

Florence: Where are you from?
Adrianne: Joliet, Illinois
Florence: Where all the gangsters are from.

I tell you, your town gets one shout-out from Ice-T on a single album and you never live it down. Although, what the hell would Misses Brady be doing listening to Ice-T? If she does, I wonder if she knows all the words to “O.G. Original Gangsta.”

In semi-related news, when the hell did VH1 get into hip-hop? And not only get into hip-hop, but do a show about the great hip-hop artists?

Fuck, this must be what our parents felt like the first time they heard their favorite rock song in an elevator.

Which Member of the A-Team are You?

Sunday, September 18th, 2005

I’m B.A. Baracus. 70% crazy and 89% bad-assed.




I pity the fool who needs any explanation of who you are. You carry your entire intestinal tract on your sleeve, and children love your honesty and guidance. Though not as crazy as some, you’re still a little off, but you’ve got the brawn to back it up. Nobody can argue with you, you mountain of golden bling!

That’s right, I pity your ass, fool!

The the test here.

The Onion — Internet Oracle?

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

Fuck Everything, We’re Doing Five Blades, Feb. 18, 2004

Stop. I just had a stroke of genius. Are you ready? Open your mouth, baby birds, cause Mama’s about to drop you one sweet, fat nightcrawler. Here she comes: Put another aloe strip on that fucker, too. That’s right. Five blades, two strips, and make the second one lather. You heard me—the second strip lathers. It’s a whole new way to think about shaving. Don’t question it. Don’t say a word. Just key the music, and call the chorus girls, because we’re on the edge—the razor’s edge—and I feel like dancing.

Gillette unveils 5-bladed razor, Sept. 14, 2005

I wonder if the 2nd strip really will lather, too.

Movable Type 3.2

Tuesday, September 13th, 2005

I was playing around with the 3.2 release of Movable Type, and, wow, is it much slicker than the 2.6 series. The plugin support is sweet & there’s a bunch of default plugins to prevent comment spam (possibly the most annoying thing to a blogger). A bit back I was considering switching over to WordPress after seeing it in action, but now I’m not as sure.

The big downside is the licensing behind MT 3.x. Several of my friends host blogs here and their license no longer allows for that in the free edition. I’m not making any money off this endeavor, so I’m not much inclined to shell out cash for a publishing system. Of course, we could all just move to LiveJournal, but I don’t think we’re angsty or goth enough.

Things You Won’t See on the Daily Show

Monday, September 12th, 2005

Dave, like many others, is annoyed that firms related to connected to Bush are getting Katrnia deals:

So what’s not mentioned in either of those articles?

That, J. M. Bernhard, Jr., CEO of the Shaw Group is Chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party.

Bias? You be the judge.

Audible.com

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

I’ve been giving an audible.com a try for a few weeks now & I’m pretty pleased with it. My motivation was largely for something to listen to while trying to go to sleep at night. (My mind tends to start to race off in a thousand directions at night, making it hard to fall asleep.) It’s worked out well.

I’ve had speakers for my iPod in my bedroom for a while, eliminating to wear headphones while trying to sleep. If you stop an audio book track, the iPod remembers where you were, so when you play it again, it picks up where you left off. It also has a built in “sleep timer”, allowing you to tell your iPod to shut itself off after 60 minutes or so.

The selection on Audible seems decent, although like books on the tape, you have to pay attention to if a book is abridged or not. The integration on the PC is slightly better than on a Mac, but both work well enough. The number of computers you can “authorize” to play purchased audio isn’t as generous as Apple’s 5, but they do allow 2, letting me download it to my desktop (where I sync my iPod) and on my laptop (which I use more often).

My only real complaint is the site uses javascript to dynamically create links instead of just simple hrefs. God knows why and whoever did it, should be taken out back and shot. Hopefully they’ll fix it soon as it makes it difficult to open up books I’m interested in in the background while I continue browsing.

Right now I’m listening to Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything, a book I wanted to read a while back, but never found the time. The most interesting thing I’ve learned so far is just how much of a crazy fucker Newton was. I’d known remotely about some of oddities, including his odd forays in religion, searching the bible for secret codes, etc. but not his extensive efforts in alchemy, working to turn base metals into gold and the like, and his willingness to experiment on himself. As an example, apparently he stuck a need into his eye until he felt the back of the socket simply “to see what would happen”, and, for the same reason, latter stared at the sun for as long as he could. Neither permanently blinded him, but he did have to spend several days in a dark room to restore his sight after staring at the sun. I guess when you come up with not just gravity, but calculus, advances in optics, you’re entitled to a few eccentricities.