The previous month is:
The next month is:
5 May 2006
iPod Playlist: 2006-05-05 Shuffle
6 May 2006
So, my gallery software signed its death warrant tonight.
I recently upgraded (when will I fucking learn that this is not a worthwhile activity???) the gallery software to fix some bugs and “improve performance.”
Lies, lies, lies. I fixed some of the display problems — but at the cost of being unable to upload files in batches. All of the various upload tools are broken, except for the single-file HTML upload. And it can’t find ImageMagick anymore, even though nothing had changed. Brilliant.
Did I mention today is my son’s birthday? I had over 50 pictures to upload tonight, with grandparents awaiting with bated breath. Still not done. Seriously started looking at other solutions, including rolling my own scripts, because you know what? Screwing around with photo gallery software that people don’t bother to QA is a serious fucking waste of time.
I’ve been on the fence about Gallery since I installed it; I like a lot of the features (particularly the EXIF data and random image block) but there are other things that are just plain awful. It’s overengineered, too hard to modify, and strange things break all the time.
And I’m not just taking about the upload applets and remote gallery applications.
Well, right now I am talking about them. But don’t pick nits.
It’s too bad, because I had someone look at the gallery just last week and comment how cool it is. It is cool, but when it breaks, it breaks hard. Time to find a better way to share photos.
(Suggestions on new gallery options gratefully accepted.)
Okay, let’s kick this off with an old favorite. This is the sort of cake that makes people who don’t like cake like cake.
Noodle on that for a bit. Enjoy the cake while you do.
- 1 3/4 c. boiling water
- 1 c. uncooked oats (quick or old-fashioned)
13/4 c. lightly packed brown sugar 12/3 c. granulated sugar
- 1 stick (1/2 c) margarine
- 2 eggs
- 1 3/4 c. unsifted all purpose flour
- 1 package (12 oz) chocolate bits
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1/2 t. salt
- 2 T. cocoa powder
- (Optional: 3/4 c. walnuts)
Okay, ready? Turn the oven to preheat at 350 degrees and:
- Pour boiling water over oats and let stand 10 mins.
- Add both sugars and margarine.
- Stir until margarine melts.
- Add eggs and mix well.
- Sift together flour, soda, salt and cocoa.
- Combine flour and sugar mixtures. Mix well.
- Add half the choclate bits and pour into a greased and floured 9/13” pan.
- Sprinkle walnuts and remaining chocolate bits on top.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven ~40 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean.
While we usually want to start gobbling this cake as soon as it comes out of the oven, it’s a good idea to cover it and let it cool down a bit (an hour or two) before serving.
Serves a whole bunch.
7 May 2006
Oooo! The X-1 kicks serious electric ass. 0-60 in 3 seconds.
3 seconds! And it’s totally electric!
8 May 2006
Now open: the blue lamp cafe.
(Yes, I’m trying out WordPress. Yes, I’m now running three weblog tools. It’s all in the name of research. Really.)
Update: Moving these articles back into the main weblog.
Merrystar makes this fairly often: it’s a one-skillet job, simple to throw together after work, and (fairly) easy to do with Trip underfoot. (The trickiest part is when you’re removing the casings from the sausage. That’s the only messy part of making this one.)
I’ve seen her do it enough that I can do it basically right, but I always - ALWAYS - screw up and put the wrong tomatoes in. (Tonight, I used stewed, not diced.) It didn’t surprise me that there was no recipe, or at least no recipe that we have in our files.
Here’s what you need:
- One package of sweet italian turkey sausage (Shady Brook Farms or similar, but really any type of sausage will work)
- One medium onion, diced
- Three or four fresh medium-sized zucchinis, diced
- Two cans of diced tomatoes, no salt, drained (Del Monte is the usual brand we have on hand)
* Shredded cheese (omitted when I’m eating.)
Grab a large covered skillet and:
- Chop up the onion and put into the skillet on medium-low heat.
- Remove the casings from the turkey sausage and add to skillet. Separate into chunks with a fork while browning.
- Add the zucchini after the sausage is browned. Cover the skillet and let everyting cook for 15 minutes or so.
- When the zucchini has started to soften up, add the drained tomatoes. (If you’re busy, don’t bother waiting. Dump the tomatoes in at the same time.)
- Simmer on low heat. If a lot of liquid forms, remove the cover to let it boil off.
- (Optional: add the cheese a little before serving to cook it into the mixture.
There’s no absolute time limit here - I usually can get this done in 30-45 minutes, Merrystar is a bit faster with her prepwork and can do it in 30 minutes.
Merrystar notes: It’s actually easier to use non-link sausage; the sausage I like just happens to come in links. For faster prep, the link sausage can just be sliced up, or (I suppose) even cooked whole. And in summer it’s nice to use fresh tomatoes, not canned.
A nice variation is to use spinach instead of the zucchini: cook the sausage; add undrained tomatoes (and a pinch of sugar); let it simmer for awhile (the longer the better really) and then dump in a whole bag of baby spinach to wilt a few minutes before serving. Eat with crusty bread to mop up the broth.
11 May 2006
13 May 2006
I really hate spammers.
Starting in April 2006, my domain (brettpeters.org) was picked up by spammers who began using it as a From: address in their spam. People all over the world started getting emails from addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org, which I only found out about because of the bounce messages/out of office replies that started pouring in. I’m now getting flooded with these bounces, which tells me that there’s a pretty heavy load of spam out there with my name on it.
I am not sending these messages, and am more than a little upset that someone appropriated my name to do so.
So: if you are receiving these spam emails and don’t know me, I suggest filtering all email coming from this domain (not my ISP or host, though, since that won’t stop them) away from your inbox with a local rule in your mail client. If you are getting them and do know me, blacklist the domain and whitelist my email address.
17 May 2006
Slowly returning to the land of the living today. Came down with a fever on Friday, spent the next four days in bed. (18 hours of sleep on Saturday? Whamanama?)
Today came the antibiotics and resumption of coherent thought. Catching up on email, though, may take a little longer. (Sorry if you’ve been waiting a while; first things first.)
iPod Playlist: 2006-05-17 Shuffle
iPod Playlist: 2006-05-17 Shuffle
Still looking at new photo gallery options, because, you know, if it ain’t broke, I gotta fix it.
(Please reference the gallery’s death warrant as to why it must die.)
Stick with Gallery, because it’s too much damn work to upgrade?
pros: no more upgrading work, EXIF data already there. cons: lots of uploading work, need to manually rotate photos, bitter about upgrade woes.
Export from iPhoto and rsync to web host?
upside: simple, forces me to tag photos before putting them into iPhoto, potentially more space available if I keep it off the web host. downside: forces me to keep photos in iPhoto, with the attendant database hell.
Write my own perl script to generate the code manually?
good: perl or python, I could use more experience. bad: hello, time? EXIF data hard part.
Move to Flickr?
+: popular, lots of features, privacy controls. -: popular, public, none of my family actually uses it, so privacy controls are worthless, limited bandwidth.
Choices, choices. Hmmmm.
(Did I mention that I figured out a way around Gallery’s uploading wonkiness? FTP/rsync. Good old fashioned file transfer. Duh.)
18 May 2006
Have you seen the trailer (and related mashup contest) for A Scanner Darkly?
Very cool! A pity that now we’re going to see all sorts of duplications.
19 May 2006
iPod Playlist: 2006-05-19 Shuffle
21 May 2006
Merrystar: “You know I don’t measure any of this, right?”
Of course! Still, this white chicken chili is one of my favorites.
It started off life as an unassuming chicken casserole, got modified for Merrystar’s use on a stovetop in Holland, and further modified here in DC. You’ll need one pot, a stovetop, and:
- 1 package boneless chicken breasts (about 1-2 lbs)
- 2 cups of chicken broth, or water and chicken bullion
- 1 big can of chickpeas
- 1 big can of cannellini beans
- 1/2 package of frozen corn
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 small can of diced green chilies (which we never seem to actually add)
- Cumin and garlic to taste
- Dice the chicken into 1-inch chunks.
- Add the onion and chicken and spices into a large soup pot on medium heat.
- Cook the chicken. Stir regularly to prevent sticking.
- Add the stock, cannellini beans, chickpeas and corn.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer.
- Leave on a simmer for at least 30 minutes, if not a little longer. It’s chili, you can keep it warm for a long, long time.
- Optional: add the green chilies about 5 minutes before serving.
Merrystar notes: One of the few recipes I can make completely without looking it up. In theory one is supposed to use a can of white corn (thus making it “white” chili all the way around), but I always forget to buy it. Sort of like the chilies. I like to drain/rinse the beans, but my mom doesn’t bother.
22 May 2006
Wil Wheaton: your earth moves beneath your own dream landscape.
25 May 2006
iPod Playlist: 2006-05-25 Shuffle
26 May 2006
Daring fireball: confidence game.
I offer this juxtaposition between Apple and Microsoft simply as an interesting contrast.
Confidence can lead to arrogance, both in individuals and in organizations, but I don’t see that happening with Apple today. It was arrogance in the ‘80s when the Sculley regime maintained almost absurd profit margins on Macintosh hardware. Today, Apple’s confidence is leading them to lower their prices, not raise them.
It’s also leading them to simplify their product line. The new MacBooks replace both the entire iBook line and the 12-inch PowerBook.
Maybe the lesson here is that you can’t make a billion dollars a month in profit with a simple line of simple products. What I’d like to think, though, is that the lesson is that good design can be good business.
Microsoft, in contrast, plans to offer Windows Vista in seven different editions: Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Small Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate. The names read like something out of The Onion.
Can anyone explain how this seven-tiered edition plan is good for anyone other than the managers within Microsoft’s bureaucracy?
28 May 2006
My original list, as of 2005:
- Socialize the Idea
- “You can attend the party for free, but your wife has to pay $20.”
- The Next Level
- Shock and Awe
Exegesis is an interesting case. I was in St. Louis for a wedding, visiting some high school friends when one of them busted out (apropos of what?):
“Does anyone know what exegesis means?”
Now, I hadn’t seen this person in 10 years. I rarely go to parties. Surely, they could not be baiting me like this. And they were not. They had a friend who had started up a document scanning company called Exegy (or something similar) and wondered if anyone in the room knew what it meant.
So, I didn’t leave that party, so apparently it’s not really a word that will make me leave the party. But all the rest of them are.
All sorts of problems with the photo gallery this weekend; if you want pictures off of it, I would download them now. Probably going to switch to Flickr in a little bit.
30 May 2006
I received an odd email today from google about one of the semi-private sites I manage.
Subject: [#59761910] Google needs assistance to crawl #####.org
Date: May 30, 2006 12:38:02 PM EDT
Google is currently blocked from crawling your site by the robots.txt file that your server uses to control access by search engines. As a result, users who are looking for your site are not able to find it using Google. As you know, a large fraction of internet users use Google as their starting point and over 50% of search engines referrals come from Google. Google’s mission is to deliver the best search experience on the Internet
by making the world’s information universally accessible and useful. We would like to include your site at www.###.org in Google’s index to make it easier for your users or customers to find your site.
To allow Google to crawl your site, add the following lines to the
Once you have allowed Google to access your site it can take between 4-6 weeks for your site to appear in our index. For additional information on getting your site included in our index, please see: http://www.google.com/webmasters/.
To help Google to crawl your site more effectively, you can create a Sitemap. For more information, please visit our site at
If you do not wish to be contacted regarding inclusion in the Google index again, please send us an email so that we can remove you from our mailing list.
The Google Crawl Coverage Team
Here’s what I don’t get: I’ve gone to the trouble of placing a robots.txt file telling them I don’t want the site indexed, which would seem to indicate that this was an intentional, deliberate act. I even specifically excluded googlebot.
But they’re asking me to take it down. Why?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m pleased as punch that they continue to abide by the robots.txt standard, unlike so many other crawlers.
But where is the money in this?
Yah, Flickr it is.
Other site changes in the works, so posts will be sporadic — er, even more sporadic — for a while.
31 May 2006
logjam will be moving soon; this will be the last post at this URL.
Reports of the death of this collection of weblogs were somewhat exaggerated.