March 31, 2005

Politicians gone wild

Yahoo! News - Bush Says Schiavo's Death Saddens Millions

Speaking with reporters later in Houston, DeLay said lawmakers "will look at an arrogant and out of control judiciary that thumbs its nose at Congress and the President."

Asked if that included the possibility of the House bringing impeachment charges against judges involved in the Schiavo case, DeLay said, "There's plenty of time to look into that."

The whole 3 Branches of Government/Balance of Power concept was silly anyway. I mean, what's the point of government if politicians can't do whatever they want?

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My AirZooka is obsolete

MegaZooka - Science Gifts - Edmund Scientifics

Me want.

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Future Spa Pinball

Boing Boing: Excellent '70s space-porn-themed pinball machine

I remember this game. I remember it because the guy doing curls looked like he was holding the "blade" of a Star Wars lightsaber ("That guy's going lose his hands!"). I was little kid, scantily clad women meant little to me. I'm pretty sure it was at The Regency Theater in Charlotte. The Regency was a $1 admission theater for second run films. Even that was more than I was willing to pay, as I snuck into that theater many times. And then there was the time Ronnie and I got the shit kicked out of us behind it. Ahhhh memories.

For anyone who thinks there is a point to this post, I must disappoint.

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March 30, 2005

Cool game

Escape!

Fun for about 5 minutes. Longest I went was 22.09 seconds.

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Damien Idol

Once again a quick review of the stupidest show I can't stop watching, American Idol. Here it is:


  • Bo Bice - Generic Southern rocker. Bland.

  • Jessica - Sang well, but like Randy and Simon said she's not likable.

  • Anwar - Weak until the end, again.

  • Nadia - Seemed like she was shouting the lyrics.

  • Constantine - Sounded great.

  • Nikko - First really good performance. Clawing his way back into it.

  • Anthony Federov - Sang well, but he's a goober.

  • Carrie - Sounded like an absolute pro.

  • Scotty - Sounded really good, but often akward to watch. Still rooting for him.

  • Vonzell - Damn! Might win it all.

Who will leave: Jessica. Who I want to leave: Anthony

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March 29, 2005

Why I'm not a professional bodybuilder

Because some day I'll get fat and it'll make international news:

ThisisLondon - Meet the Tuminator

Otherwise I'd totally be Mr. Olympia.

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March 27, 2005

Mark Cuban puts his money where his mouth is

Blog Maverick - Let the truth be told…MGM vs Grokster

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March 24, 2005

T. Rex DNA found?

MSNBC - Scientists recover T. rex soft tissue

Man this sounds like hoax, especially given April 1st is a week away. WAY too good to be true.

But absolutely incredible if true.

via Boing Boing

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Coding Hilarity

Jeff Atwood of Coding Horror cracks me up. I love Pee Wee, so his If you like Regular Expressions so much, why don't you marry them? post tickled me. But his latest post Trees, TreeViews, and UI was brillant in its use of Gomer Pyle. Awesome. I don't even rememeber how I found him or why I subscribed, but I'm guessing it was because of something funny on his site, he's excellent writer with a great sense of humor. He writes a lot about .Net stuff, but even if you aren't interested in that his blog is well worth reading.

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March 23, 2005

Feel loved

Just type your name

via Fleshbot

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Movable Type Gripes

So far I'm pretty happy with running this blog on Moveable Type, but I'm going to gripe about it anyway. Gripe powers activate!

  • New posts have the creation date/time set to GMT. This bites because by default all my posts show as being created 5 hours in the future, and if its at night they show as being created the next day. Kind reader, I am not a blogger sent from the future.
  • The default post status is "Draft". More than once I've forgotten to select "Publish" and didn't know it. But sometimes I'm lucky and it takes exactly 5 hours before I realize it, and it saves me from having to edit that pesky GMT creation date/time.
  • Using the QuickPost feature isn't quick. When I click the QuickPost bookmarklet, it doesn't select my blog by default (even though it's the only blog in the system), I must manually do it. Then I must also manually check the "Allow Comments" box and also like a regular post I must change the default post status from "Draft" to "Publish". Quick my ass, I checked, it's less clicks to make a regular post.
  • The full title of the post isn't in the URL. It chops it off at 15 characters, which is shorter than nearly every title I write. For example "Movable Type Gripes" is 19 characters. 30 or 40 characters would be much better.
  • No WYSIWYG editor. I thought I'd miss this more, but I'm getting used to writing all the HTML in the posts manually. I'd still like the option though.
If anyone has a way around these gripes, I'd love to hear it.

Update:
David Pitkin set my ignant ass straight. The default post status and the timezone can be set from the blog config. I looked there, and I'm not sure how I missed it. Meh.

And for the quick post thing, just compose a new entry and bookmark the url. It's not quite the same a quickpost though, since it doesn't automatically generate a link to the current page. But close enough.

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Paid to write open source

I've recently been contacted about adding some features to an open source library I wrote about 5 years ago named DbDesign. It was pretty popular, I used to get emailed technical questions almost every day, but when I left IBM and changed email address that slowed down a lot, and now it's only every few months that someone has questions about it. I'm not even sure where you can download it anymore.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I was contacted by a potential client about paying me to add some features to it for them. The features are indeed advanced and I can see why they contacted me. Up until now, it's never brought me any monetary reward whatsoever, everyone used it for free and can do whatever they want with it. The client is willing to pay my regular rate, but asked if I was willing to do the work at a reduced cost if the enhancements I did would also be released open source. In other words, they pay me to write the code, but they don't retain ownership, instead it gets released for the benefit of everyone.

Now I'm all for benefiting everyone, but I don't want to get paid less obviously. That is unless somehow I can justify a benefit to me, but I'm not sure any of that original work has benefited me until now. The client isn't pushing hard for this and my initial reaction is a "No", I need to be paid as much as I can get. But then I also like the idea of everyone benefiting, and maybe it will help me more in the long run.

Mostly I'm just interested in hearing people's general thoughts on this. What would you do?

Update:
I've decided against taking a lesser fee for open sourcing it. I must stop being so generous, it's time to start exploiting my own work.

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Screw Couch, I'm building Cosbys

House of Cosbys

via Waxy

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Lotus Notes: Add an action to the Memo form

Does anyone know a technique for adding an action to the mail memo form? This is for a shrink-wrap product one of my clients is building and they want to be able add an action to the customer's memo form.

The problem is an old one, we need to make this customization but it shouldn't conflict with other customizations and it should be simple for customer installations to upgrade their mail files to newer versions of Notes. It looks like this still isn't possible, but I want to be sure.

The other option is to install a custom toolbar with the action in it. But programmatically manipulating the tools bars isn't really supported and I don't know what the catches will be. If anyone has any advice on that I would be most appreciative.

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March 22, 2005

Damien Idol

A quick American Idol review from the world's foremost expert on musical talent, me:


  • Anthony Fedorov - Should have a fling with Anne Heche.

  • Carrie Underwood - Transcendent. How can someone singing an 80's rock tune on TV move me like that?

  • Scott Savol - Surprises me how good he is every time I see him. My second favorite.

  • Bo Bice - Impresses, yet bores me.

  • Nikko Smith - Found his niche, but not mine.

  • Vonzell Solomon - Stunning beauty, terrific performer, good singer.

  • Constantine Maroulis - I hate him. My wife loves him. Those two things might be related.

  • Nadia Turner - Cock-a-doodle-don't

  • Mikalah Gordon - Cute as the dickens, but her voice was weak.

  • Anwar Robinson - Didn't commit to the performance until the end, should be in a toothpaste ad.

  • Jessica Sierra - First performance of hers that I really liked.

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Burgled!

dashdetail.jpg

Last night the car stereo in my '97 Honda Civic wase stolen. It's not a big deal really, it wasn't even a very good stereo, I bought the cheapest receiver I could find that would power my ten disc changer, I think I paid $120 bucks a year and a half ago and the changer was around $180 4 years ago. It had nothing else, no amps or speaker boxes, everything else was stock.

But because I left the door unlocked, someone helped themselves to it. I figure it was probably a crack or heroin addict looking to make a quick cash, this seems unlikely to be a pro thief and certainly not an car audio enthusiast. How much could someone possibly get for that set? $30? At least they didn't rip out the dash, but I'm guessing stealth was important since the car is parked only ten feet from the house and we have a dog.

Fortunately my stamp collection, wife's necklace and daughter's saxophone are all accounted for.

Update:
I just found out some of my neighbors were hit the same night, perhaps this was a pro job after all. One lost $3000 worth of tools out of his truck, which really pisses me off. They took not only his possessions, but his ability to provide for his family.

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Obey Intellectual Giant

CHARLES DARWIN HAS A POSSE -- free bookmarks and stickers

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March 21, 2005

Pink Purple Polka-Dotted Ping Pong Balls

"The Secret to Songwriting"

via Waxy

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March 20, 2005

For Gabriel

Here it is:

Fantastic Plastic Machine - Luxury.zip (85 MB)

For anybody else, unless you think you might like Japanese techno-pop please save my bandwidth.

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March 18, 2005

Good advice

Many-to-Many - Why SXSW?

I loved this quote:

If you build a place that women love, the men will follow. The reverse is not true.

This reminds of some friends of mine in college who always had kick-ass parties. Their secret was to not invite any guys. None, nada, zip, zilch. Instead they would invite just girls. Any girl, they needn't be hot, they just can't be a guy. It turns out guys are going to show up anyway, especially if there are lots of girls.

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Me, parodied too

Just like Pete and Ned, I was also parodied by Mike Kudla. I meant to post this with an intelligent, witty response many moons ago, but the intelligent and witty part never came. So before I forget entirely, here it is:

I heard they got a snowstorm yesterday in Boston. Serves them self-satisfied New Englanders right. Here in NC (aka Paradise) it was an unusally mild 65 and sunny. My wife and I and my incredibly cute daughter went for a long walk and spent lots of quality time together. Forget New England anyway, they work in cubicles on crappy, imperfect software.

If you are willing to give me a corner, window office and surround me
with people at least as smart as myself (as daunting as that task may seem), I can take nearly any piece of obscure, obsolete software and rewrite it to be no less obscure and obsolete...but...umm....better. That's right better!

Kudla, start a blog! I miss your humor and energy, you're one of the few engineers who can keep me laughing, who can make work fun even when it's not. Do it dammit!

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Play Freebird!

WSJ.com - Rock's Oldest Joke: Yelling 'Freebird!' In a Crowded Theater

I thought this was just a southern phenomenon.

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March 17, 2005

Wild idea to combat pop-ups

90% Crud: Making sure pop-ups are click fraud

Basically he's proposing a plugin that would auto-click any sneaky pop-up ads (the ones designed to bypass pop-up blockers), thereby costing money to people who clearly are disregarding the user's wishes. Good idea.

....On second thought, bad idea. This would actually provide a good way for scammers to bilk legitimate advertisers. Scammers place legitimate ads onto their pop-ups, everyones plugin bots start auto-clicking and the users are none the wiser. The advertiser now owes the scammer money for the clicks, and it came from what appears to be a legitimate users at a legitmate IP addresses. Bad bad idea.

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Happy Birthday Gwen!

gwenbirthday.jpg

My baby girl turned 1 yesterday, she's growing up so fast! She's does this stumbly walking and jabbering thing like a little Ed McMahon. And she's just started to play with dolls and stuffed animals, it's so cute I want to puke.

At Ned's suggestion, I tried to get a picture of her covered in birthday cake, but she didn't like the cake. Oh well.

We're having a birthday party this weekend for her, so maybe I'll get a good pictures then. Also, at the party I'm going to deep fat fry some more interesting things, like Twinkies and Little Debbie Star Crunches. Should be fun.

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Clicky: Instantly track all outgoing clicks

I've created a little Javascript library I'm calling Clicky (get it here), that when inserted into a page it will automatically log the external links your users click. It requires no special server, client or reporting software. Clicky logs the clicks right to your own web server log file, so if you have access to your log then you can use Clicky. And the coolest thing is it will not break the link, so you don't have to worry about things like redirect scripts breaking or servers going down, it's unlikely to break the users experience under any cirumstances.

So, for example, if someone clicks this link Poo Poetry, before loading the new page Clicky will attempt to load an image (for approx. 1 second) at the following url:

http://damienkatz.net/clicky/link:http://poopoetry.com
--text:Poo%20Poetry?stamp=1111004763457

Which will leave a record in my server's log file. I can then view this information using Webalizer, AwStats or whatever log reporting tool I wish.

Here is a bit of what the clicks for Boing Boing looks like in Webalizer:

In this example it Clicky registered 6 clicks for Boing Boing.

How to install Clicky:

Step One:
Upload clicky.js your webserver.

Step Two:
Add the following to your HTML, just before the closing body tag (</body>):

<script type='text/javascript' src='/YOUR/UPLOAD/PATH/clicky.js'></script>

You are done!

Ok, not quite. There is one more thing you probably want to do, since by default these Clicky urls will show up a 404 errors in your log file, which means the reporting tools will treat the data differently. If you are using Apache you can fix it by creating an empty file named blank.txt adding the following to your .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^clicky/(.*)$ blank.txt

The "RewriteEngine On" line is only necessary once, so if it's already in the file don't add it again. If you aren't running Apache then you can modify other variables in the library and have Clicky report to a different url path, such as a CGI script. See the script for more details.

How does Clicky work?

It simply listens for all left clicks on the page where it's loaded. If someone clicks a link that will lead offsite, Clicky will encode the click information into a special url and attempt to load that URL from your site. It waits for about a second (to give time for it to make the request) then it returns and finishes executing the event normally. In this time, it should have made a successful connection to your server to load the image, which will cause the url request path to get logged. If it fails, then the click doesn't get recorded, but the user still gets to visit the link normally.

What if the browser doesn't have Javascript?

Then the page loads normally and nothing unusual happens. Clicky simply doesn't activate and the user's clicks don't get reported.

What if the Clicky code is broken or something goes wrong?

If the Clicky code encounters any error, it will simply abort itself and let the click event continue normally. The user won't see any errors.

Credit

I got the idea for Clicky when I saw this service MyBlogLog, which basically does the same thing but the clicks get reported to them, and they track and report the information for you. When I figured out how their library worked, I decided to write my own version that logs to my server. If you can't use Clicky for some reason, then you may be able to use MyBlogLog.

Clicky is in the public domain. Have fun.

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First Picture post

131130.jpg

Just trying out the new blogware. Plus I thought this was funny.

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March 16, 2005

Toyota starts a record label

Brand Noise: Scion Launches Music Label

It's basically Toyota sponsoring bands, they won't sell the music for a profit. The interesting thing is this might become a new revenue model for recording artists in the age of free music.

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Daft Punk is playing at my house!

Got the new album, I can't stop moving when it's playing. These guys are insane.

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March 15, 2005

I've switched to Movable Type

So far so good. All the old entries are still available just as they where and all the old feeds should still work.

Posts from the previous system can be found at http://damienkatz.net/oldindex.html

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