Monthly Archives: August 2004

Pounding streets

They have been resurfacing the street outside my office for the past few weeks … and today they are breaking up the concrete.

To do this, they are using one of those huge pneumatic sledge hammer devices … the kind that lift the weight up and then drop it down to break the pavement.

Unfortunately, this is causing our entire building to shake … which is really distracting and annoying.

I’m kind of worried that something is going to break … like a window.

Must visit Lake Wobegon someday

While I usually don’t comment on politics that often, Ginny found an article by Garrison Keillor that we both found absolutely tremendous.

How did the Party of Lincoln and Liberty transmogrify into the party of Newt Gingrich’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk?

Suffice it to say … I agree 100% with Garrison on this, and he had stated it quite elegantly and succinctly.

Blast from the past

A recent thread on MIDRANGE-L got people talking about some of the old hardware they had worked on.

I mentioned the fact that, when I was in school, I used to know how to program an IBM 029 card punch.

Ken Shields generously sent me a link to information about the 029 … just in case I need to re-hone my skills.

Dunno if I will really need to bone up on 029 card punch programming … I have enough of a problem just dealing with the differences between Unix and iSeries editors. You wouldn’t belive the number of times I click on the “X” close button on my 5250 emmulator when I’m done editing source in SEU. Heck, occasionally I’ll start editing in ‘Stream of consciousness’ mode, and look up to find a bunch of J’s, K’s, I’s, and L’s in the middle of my seu screen (J, K, I, & L, are the cursor navigation keys in VI, the standard unix editor).

Windows XP Desktop Grid

Note: I found this somewhere on the internet … but I can’t remember where.

Sometimes there just isn’t enough room for the all the text underneath those icons. Or, you maybe you are having some kind of overlapping problem. You can fix this by adjusting the space between your icons.

There is an invisible grid on your desktop the computer uses to place icons and associated text in to. This grid sort of looks like a checker board. You can adjust the size of the boxes. Here’s how:
Right click on any empty spot on your desktop. Click Properties, and then click the appearance tab. Next click the advanced button and you should find yourself in the “Advanced Appearances” window. Click on the pull-down window under “Item” and select “Icon spacing (horizontal). Note there is also an “icon spacing) vertical too. Click on the size arrows to adjust icon size. Do the same with Vertical. You will need to work at this some until you get the size/spacing you want. Click ok.

Note: You may have to uncheck and recheck the “Align to grid” option before your icons will move into place. Here’s how: Right click on any empty spot on your desktop. From the menu select “Arrange icons by” and click on “Align to grid” to uncheck it and then click to option again to recheck it. Once you do that your icons will move to your new grid settings.

Internet enabled thermostat

EnGadget has a piece on a cool Internet enabled thermostat.

I gotta say … this item is something I would really like to have. I even think I could drop the wire down the wall from our thermostat pretty easily.

I wonder how long it will be until you have to use a class B subnet for your house?

Hmmm … what other ‘internet’ enabled devices are available for home automation?

Update 11/29/04 – I heard back from the company manufacturing this unit … the list price is going to be $400 each. As cool as it would be (ha, I made a pun) , I think the price is far out of reach.

Building a box in Malaysia

I ordered a new laptop from Dell (yeah yeah yeah … I said I wasn’t going to buy another Dell).

The estimated ship date for the order is August 27th.

The order went from “Order Accepted” to “Boxing” in about 6 hours … and it’s been sitting in Boxing since then.

Of course I had horid thoughts about the box sitting on a Dell dock for 7 days just so they can meet their shipping estimate.

Turns out the computers are actually built in Malaysia … and when the order status shows ‘Boxing’, the computers are being shipped to the Dell distribution factility in Tennessee. Once in Tennessee it takes another day to be truly ‘Boxed’ up and shipped out.

Hopefully the new machine will be here by the end of next week.

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Business class is cool!

We’re taking a long weekend trip to San Francisco on some freebie tickets that Ginny got. As an added bonus, we’re taking Steve along for the ride. He gets to finally take us to The Stinking Rose (which he has been singing the praises of for years.

To add sugar to the treat … we’re flying business class on United. Now I’ve flown First Class a few times … but it was a fluke … and usually because everyone on the plane was going to the same place (COMMON) and everyone ws booked into coach… so I would get bumped up to first class because there wasn’t enough room in the main cabin. Not that I complained … but I always figured that I wasn’t getting the real “First Class” treatment because I didn’t acutally deserve the upgrade.

Anyway, Business Class is very nice … lots of leg room, nice seat amentities, reasonable food.

I need to figure out a way to finagle that kind of upgrade on a regular basis (no, I’m not going to hold my breath on that one).

Testing Meme Propagation In Blogspace

This posting is a community experiment that tests how a meme, represented by this blog posting, spreads across blogspace, physical space and time. It will help to show how ideas travel across blogs in space and time and how blogs are connected. It may also help to show which blogs (and aggregation sites) are most influential in the propagation of memes. The dataset from this experiment will be public, and can be located via Google (or Technorati) by doing a search for the GUID for this meme (below).

Please join the test by adding your blog (see instructions, below) and inviting your friends to participate?the more the better. The data from this test will be public and open; others may use it to visualize and study the connectedness of blogspace and the propagation of memes across blogs.

The GUID for this experiment is:


The above GUID enables anyone to easily search Google or other search engines for all blogs that participate in this experiment, once they have indexed the sites that participate, which may take several days or weeks. To locate the full data set, just search for any sites that contain this GUID.

Anyone is free to analyze the data of this experiment. Please publicize your analysis of the data, and/or any comments by adding comments onto the original post (see URL above) [Note that the URL has vanished at least three generations back – DCH]. (Note: it would be interesting to see a geographic map or a temporal animation, as well as a social network map of the propagation of this meme.)

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Windows XP SP2

Well, if you are one of the 5 people in the computer world who doesn’t know yet … Microsoft has released Windows XP Service Pack 2.

I’ve downloaded it … but I’m going to hold off on installing it for a while. Probably 2-3 weeks. For some undefinable reason … I just don’t trust MS to have tested it as well as it should be. Go figure.

Thanks to Mike Wills for pointing out the official download location early yesterday.