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2 December 2002
More news about Grandpa: the scans show that his cancer hasn’t spread into his sinuses or throat. He begins radiation treatment very soon.
I just read an article in Wired about the effectiveness of prayer in treating illness. You should go take a look. When you’re done, please say a prayer for my grandfather.
3 December 2002
All fixed now. Go get it.
5 December 2002
Snow snow snow snow snow!
Inches and inches of the stuff!
Of course my joy was quickly tempered by the sobering realization that I must drive through this stuff. With Washington DC drivers.
I miss snow days.
It’s a snow day (or at least a work-at-home day!)
Now if I can figure out how to work this stupid Outlook web client…
7 December 2002
You have to see this film.
We’re always shoehorned into summing films up by using other films as references, and more often than not it’s unfair to the film we’re trying to describe. All films (well, except maybe for Being John Malkovich and The Dark Backward) are amalgams of whatever inspired its author. Star Wars drew upon the work of Kurosawa, E.E. “Doc” Smith, and others while Spielberg gained inspiration from David Lean. It’s a circle, and Equilibrium is no exception. You can feel the roots of some of the classic science fiction stories making up the foundation of this film, but Kurt Wimmer’s movie does something few films achieve, let alone aspire to.
It shows us stuff we’ve never seen before.
It’s hard to find (it only opened in like 300 theaters this weekend) but if you can go see it, do.
11 December 2002
I have a friend who has championed women’s hats for years. The rest of us think she’s a little crazy, but she’s not alone:
What’s more, flappers wore comfy dresses shaped like potato sacks. They could wear whatever they liked; who the hell notices when you have that darling bell of a hat on? And so, you see, hats make life easier and loads more fun.
Unfortunately, hats have gotten a bad rap since they fell out of quotidian fashion in the late 1960s. Have you ever flirted from beneath the brim of a fedora, shaded your unblemished complexion from the summer sun with a straw hat, or sipped cappuccino disdainfully in your breton? Of course not.
People who only know one world get really smarmy, and every time they hear about the complications in the other world, it makes them think that their world doesn’t have complications. But they do. You’ve just moved beyond them because you are proficient in them. These worlds are just too big and complicated to compare any more. Lord Palmerston: “The Schleswig-Holstein question is so complicated, only three men in Europe have ever understood it. One was Prince Albert, who is dead. The second was a German professor who became mad. I am the third and I have forgotten all about it.”
A few quick tests and it looks like it works for Mozilla, too. Edit your prefs.js to include
user_pref("nglayout.initialpaint.delay", 0); and watch the pages fly!
12 December 2002
A bit of this and that:
Tim O’Reilly has a few words on the evolution of online distribution:
The web has been a boon for readers, since it makes it easier to spread book recommendations and to purchase the books once you hear about them. But even then, few books survive their first year or two in print. Empty the warehouses and you couldn’t give many of them away.
13 December 2002
Crash, bang. “Oh, ow.”
That’s all I heard before I catapulted out of bed, fully awake. I don’t remember if she said anything else; I was moving before I could think. Then I was in her closet, pulling storage boxes off of her.
“It snapped when I fell. Oh, crap.”
My wife has asthma, just like me, so I know to not make her talk too much and let her concentrate on her breathing. Furious, she was holding her ankle in obvious pain. She was sweating, her skin turning ashen gray. I was scared. I didn’t know what had happened. I didn’t know how bad it was.
“Are you cold?” I asked while looking for blood. No blood. I’ve heard it joked that guys are simple in a crisis: look for the red stuff, stop the red stuff, then treat for shock. It’s not completely bad advice. I looked at my wife’s face again - the skin around her eyes was dark while the rest was not. Her lips had no color. Shock. Treat for shock, Brett - then see if it’s broken.
“I could use some water,” she said. Right. Task. Water is over there. Get water. Bring water. Clear away more stuff so she can stretch out the other leg, at least.
The minutes pass in a blur; I had gone to bed early and had just fallen asleep. Merrystar apologized, repeatedly. I told her to stop. She didn’t. I examined her ankle for obvious signs it was broken; too much swelling on the foot. Get ice. Apply ice. Elevate leg. Keep talking to her, don’t let her pass out.
A brief debate about the hospital ensues, ended by her comment, “I’m the one in shock. Do you really want me to make the decision?” I help her downstairs, just in case. We learn that Merrystar really can’t use me as a crutch - I’m ten inches taller than she is. I carry her to the couch. Ice, elevation. Her leg cramps. I yank the ice off and apply heat. Ice, then heat. It looks like bad, bad bruising, but nothing out of place. Some swelling. Merrystar keeps apologizing. I give up telling her to stop. We decide it’s not broken, or even sprained. Her toes wiggle. I get the space heater and a blanket when she gets cold. The terror and adrenaline fade. I’m exhausted again. I have to be up early, she knows it and keeps apologizing.
She’s able to go back upstairs on her own power. The shock has faded. It sinks in that it’s not life-threatening and no hospital will be involved tonight. We will see how it is in the morning. She gets ready for bed. I fall asleep, three hours after a crash and a bang, a slip and a fall.
17 December 2002
The only reason I’ve ever really used IM clients has been for work; Trilogy was ICQ happy, Optimal used Lotus Sametime, and now Inphonic is AIM crazy. But ultimately I haven’t been a huge fan of any given IM client, mostly because they don’t let me talk to everyone I know. Email does.
I mean, look at how many different contacts I have to provide just to let you IM me:
Madness, I tell you.
My requirements are pretty straightforward. I don’t give a flying fig about all the special whizbangs or interfaces. I want a contact list. I want to see their status. I want to click on their name and send them a message. (Okay, I do want a whizbang - encrypt the message.) I want to view a log of past chats. And I don’t want to have to know what the other person is using. I want it seamless, and I want it all in one client.
Unreasonable, you say? Nonsense. I recently made the acquaintance of a new player in the IM game, Trillian, and finally breathed a sigh of relief. Here, at last, was what I was searching for. Interconnectivity between the five major protocols, and encryption to boot.
Take a look and give it a try.
26 December 2002
Yesterday I called my grandparents to wish them a happy Christmas and best wishes for today. Today might be Boxing Day, but it’s also they day my grandfather starts his radiation treatment.
Have I mentioned that I hate waiting?
28 December 2002
Given several recent mishaps in the kitchen (all my fault), I’m really glad my wife is laughing hysterically at “How to Repair Food”:
Stuck to rolling pin: Wait a minute — what are you doing rolling out cake dough? Well, if you must, chill the rolling pan in the freezer, and the dough won’t stick.
Loose: For hot cereal, add more cereal. For cold cereal, what in the world can you mean by this?
Not enough: Toast any kind of bread until dark (i.e., until the bread is brown, not until sunset).
31 December 2002
After reading this article in Wired about the DMCA, I thought I’d post some of my bookmarks as a bit of a primer to the whole damn mess.
The DMCA is a terribly-thought out law restricting previous rights to access digital content. Actually, it was well-thought out by the wrong people: the recording and movie companies.
- The Openlaw DVD/DeCSS Forum Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) List
- Good introduction to the DeCSS/DVD encryption affair.
- Gallery of CSS Descramblers
- An intruiging look at how the law prevents more than you might think. What happens when you express code in haiku?
- Openlaw: Open DVD
- Harvard Openlaw’s look at the DMCA.
- Salon.com Technology | Is the RIAA running scared?
- Think that the DMCA won’t be turned against academic research? You’d be wrong.
- Why the SSSCA is Bad For You
- It doesn’t stop with the DMCA, unfortunately.
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act at Google
- A sane company’s response to the DMCA.
What a way to end the year: Merrystar and I are watching Pride and Prejudice. At first, my participation was perfunctory. But now…
We’re on hour four and I’m completely, totally hooked. Aaargh! Get on with it, Mr. Darcy!
Are you happy now, dear? Your triumph is complete.