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LAMP, Rearranged · It start­ed in­no­cent­ly enough; some­one mailed the in­ter­nal bloggers’ list say­ing “We’ve got this Beyond LAMP ar­ti­cle on SDN, might be good blog fodder.” Which con­sti­tut­ed an op­por­tu­ni­ty for geeks to have fun with acronyms ...
Family Moment · The back porch door was open and our adorable lit­tle almost-two-year-old, all gold­en curls and pink dim­ples, was wan­der­ing in and out. One time as she was com­ing in, I no­ticed Mar­lowe the cat was sort of hov­er­ing around her; then the air was full of fe­male shriek­s: “She’s got a dead rat!” And so she did, hold­ing it up all ea­ger to please, while Mar­lowe looked con­fused and ir­ri­tat­ed. A fair-sized one too, with a good five inch­es of dan­gling tail. A few sec­onds lat­er, she was just as con­fused and ir­ri­tat­ed as Mar­lowe, for the same rea­son, and the corpse was head­ed for dis­pos­al ...
Tab Sweep — The World · To­day we have mu­sic, Chi­na, head counts, ter­ror­is­m, and tele­mar­keter­s ...
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Starving in Vegas · Un­der what cir­cum­stances should you burn a System-Wide up­grade cer­tifi­cate to get break­fast? ...
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Shorter Potter · Peo­ple who’ve read Har­ry Pot­ter and the Bat­tle of Hog­warts Death­ly Hal­lows will prob­a­bly en­joy Pot­ter­dammerung. Those who haven’t: stay away, spoil­ers from end to end. Not to men­tion coarse lan­guage, emo jokes, and a dim view of Harry’s in­tel­li­gence.
One of Everything · On the In­ter­net I mean. And ac­tu­al­ly that should be at least one. In con­nec­tion with a project I’m work­ing on, I was think­ing about mon­key nois­es and, what do you know, wel­come to the world of Pri­mate Vo­cal­iza­tions. My fave is Dian Fossey’s go­ril­la hoot­ing and Colobus abyssini­cus: Male roar.
Project Orange Box · The an­nounce­ment com­pares it to our Pro­ject Black­Box: “Lower pow­er, small­er form fac­tor, less ex­pen­sive, more ther­mal­ly ef­fi­cien­t, more en­vi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly (ful­ly biodegrad­able), or­gan­ic, and sim­ple architecture.” There’s a pho­to gallery; I par­tic­u­lar­ly like the I/O Panel.
The First Joke · We were driv­ing some­where and, apro­pos of noth­ing, the seven-year-old in the back seat said “I know a joke. Want to hear it?” He’s nev­er made this of­fer be­fore and, not ex­pect­ing much, we told him to go ahead. Here it is: Some muffins were cook­ing in the oven. One muf­fin said to the nex­t: ”Wow, it’s hot in here.“ The sec­ond said ”Gack! A talk­ing muffin!“ Wel­l, OK then.
“You Looked Better on Myspace” · Spot­ted on a young woman’s T-shirt on a Big Is­land street.
Vibrator Repairs · Re­cent­ly my Mom and I found our­selves driv­ing around in an in­dus­tri­al sub­di­vi­sion of Burn­a­by when we ran across this, which I think is worth re­pro­duc­ing ...
UCI · What hap­pened was, the new cat went in for that lit­tle op­er­a­tion to en­sure that he will be the Last of the Mar­lowes, and the vet of­fered us the op­tion of ei­ther the ear-tattoo or implanted-microchip for per­ma­nent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, rec­om­mend­ing the mi­crochip as more re­li­able (tat­toos fade). This Mi­crochip is I gath­er some sort of RFID tech­nol­o­gy, and as of now, Mar­lowe has a per­ma­nent unique iden­ti­fier. I feel a new URI scheme com­ing on: just call lit­tle Mar­lowe pet:­cat:982009102637565. My head is buzzing: Res­ource Des­crip­tion of Feli­nes... POAF... cat se­man­tic­s! The fu­ture await­s. [Up­date: It’s not that easy; I should have known, as I’ve of­ten quot­ed Phil Karlton’s wise say­ing “There are on­ly two hard things in Com­put­er Science: cache in­val­i­da­tion and nam­ing things”. In­clud­ing pets. (Thanks to Joe Pal­las for the link.)]
A Damn Fine Cup of Coffee · A lat­te ac­tu­al­ly, at Braz­za, on Lons­dale Road, in North Van­cou­ver. Pic­tured, with a fun­ny cof­fee sto­ry ...
No Niagara! · Krai­gus Sh­meg­gus (hey, he made it up, not me), ex­plains why sysad­mins should stay away from Ni­a­garas, and of­fers ad­di­tion­al wis­dom on the per­fid­i­ous­ness of pro­fes­sors.
Security Hell · Tap, tap, tap, pause... “hmph”. Tap, tap, tap, pause... "grmph". [Ten min­utes pass.] Tap, tap, tap, pause... “Hellfire.” Tap, tap, tap, pause... “Crap.” [Ten more min­utes.] Tap, tap, tap, pause... “<multiple ex­ple­tives deleted>.” Tap, tap, tap, pause... loud splat sound as the yellow-stickies pad im­pacts the far of­fice wal­l. The cat­s, sens­ing trou­ble, have left the room. Is this the sound of: Try­ing to book a flight to some­where at­trac­tive us­ing points? Multi-threaded soft­ware be­ing de­bugged? An at­tempt to write WSDL by hand? Solv­ing a re­al­ly nasty Myst-series puz­zle? None of the above. Those sounds would be me try­ing to pick a new Sun LDAP pass­word that meets the incredibly-stiff re­quire­ments of our new (SarbOx-driven, they say) se­cu­ri­ty pol­i­cy. The dic­tio­nary they check in­cludes vari­ant spellings of the names of lit­tle towns in the Le­banese moun­tain­s! I asked Lau­ren: “How am I go­ing to re­mem­ber this?” She said: “Go pick up that that yellow-stickies pad you threw across the room, write it down on one, and put it some­where safe. Bruce Sch­neier says that’s OK.” While I gen­er­al­ly ap­prove of forc­ing peo­ple to avoid easily-stolen pass­word­s, I do wor­ry a lit­tle that these hard-to-guess things can al­so be hard to type, and per­haps thus vul­ner­a­ble to pry­ing eye­s. But any­how, if you were think­ing of writ­ing a pro­gram to guess anyone’s pass­word here at Sun, well for­get about it. [Up­date: I got a bunch of sug­ges­tions on how to deal with this, some of them good.] ...
WS-Stardate 2005.10 · “How’s the WS-* field strength, Mr. Spock?”
“Steady at 783; sub-optimal, but manageable.”
“My in­tu­ition tells me something’s wrong.”
“All right, I’ll run a deep scan, but...”
“Captain! I’m get­ting a weird read­ing from three specs in the Se­cu­ri­ty sec­tor; it looks like...” [A weird shaft of bril­liant pur­ple light stabs through the bridge, fry­ing the red-shirted en­sign where he sit­s.]
“Mr. Spock! What was that?”
“Checking, Cap­tain; those WS-warbirds are Se­cureCon­ver­sa­tion, Trust, and Se­cu­ri­tyPol­i­cy. They’ve been there for years, but some­how they’re dif­fer­en­t... aaaah. They’re de­ploy­ing an OASIS-TC stan­dard­iza­tion field!”
“But that’s a friend­ly tac­tic, Spock.”
“No, Cap­tain, they’re mod­u­lat­ing the field with a locked-down char­ter de­vice; the TC has to just ap­prove them the way they are.”
“That’s fiendish!”
“And ex­treme­ly il­log­i­cal, Captain.”
[Sud­den­ly the bridge rocks and the lights flick­er.] “Engineering! Scot­ty! What’s happening?”
“Cap’n, I din­na un­der­stand it, they’re growing!”
“How can that be... Spock?”
“He’s right, Cap­tain, they’re us­ing the superseded-spec maneuver.”
“Scotty, do we have the bandwidth?”
“I dun­no Cap’n, SecureConversation’s been su­per­seded from 17 to 31 pages, and Trust from 41 to 68.”
“My God, they’re grow­ing like can­cer. Scot­ty, I need more bandwidth!”
“We’re doin’ our best, Cap’n... Aaaaaaaaagh!
“Report, Scotty!”
“Cap’n, cap’n, it’s Se­cu­ri­tyPol­i­cy, curse it... lurk­ing at 13 pages since 2002 with­out a peep, but there’s a su­per­sede; it’s up to 90. Cap’n... she can­na take any more. She’s gonna blow!

Ultra and Wildlife · When I got back from On­tar­i­o, there was a mes­sage that my Ul­tra 20 had showed up at the Sun of­fice; since I was too jet­lagged and burned-out to think very much, I drove the half-hour to the burbs to pick it up. Back home, I was hors­ing the box—it ain’t light—up the back stairs, and some­time dur­ing the last week, a re­al­ly ma­jor spi­der had built a re­al­ly ma­jor web across them, which I knocked down with my face; the big fat hairy brown arach­nid land­ed on my shoul­der and seemed to think that this was a good place to sit and reel in the rem­nants; I swear I could feel him tug­ging at the shreds stuck to my nose. I, uh, have is­sues with spi­der­s. I’m hap­py to re­port that both work­sta­tion and spi­der sur­vived. Then I stepped on the dead rat my dar­ling lit­tle cat had left on the back porch as a coming-home pre­sen­t. I’ll write some about this com­put­er, but it’s all got­ta be up­hill from here.
Out of Memory · There’s this old say­ing “You shouldn’t kick a man when he’s down”, but I’ve al­ways thought it un­sound. Ob­vi­ous­ly, nor­mal­ly you oughtn’t kick a man, but let us con­sid­er a hy­po­thet­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in which kick­ing is called for. There’s no bet­ter time than when he’s al­ready down: less work to achieve foot con­tac­t, easy ac­cess to whichev­er part needs kick­ing, and the man will have re­al dif­fi­cul­ty in kick­ing you back. What has this to do with “out of memory”? Wel­l, in this case I felt like kick­ing some soft­ware, and the same prin­ci­ple ap­plies ...
The Middle East for Geeks · There aren’t that many peo­ple who know what what the Bourne Shell is, care about Mid­dle Eastern pol­i­tic­s, and have a sense of hu­mor. But if you’re one of them, don’t miss this ver­sion of The War on Ter­ror.
Suede Bray Luthor · OK, maybe I’m not 100% com­fy with the sub­tex­t, but this thing is damn fun­ny. Here are some of the names it gen­er­at­ed for me: “Treacherous Bray Squeeze”, “Silver Tongue Tim Sweetness”, “Suede Bray Luthor”, “Silver Tongue T. Glide”, “Snake Eyes Bray Sneed”, “G. Dig­i­tal Bray Quick”, “Papa Tim Smooth”. Via Doc Searls.
Sunfunny · When we launched this blog­ging thang, I hadn’t ac­tu­al­ly ex­pect­ed much en­ter­tain­ment val­ue. But when you get a cou­ple thou­sand smart peo­ple hold­ing forth, I guess on av­er­age some of them will turn out to be fun­ny. Re­cent ex­am­ples would in­clude any­thing Tim Caynes writes (and no, I have no idea what he’s talk­ing about ei­ther) and Jeff Kes­sel­man on Sex at IBM and Sun (noth­ing to do with sex, un­for­tu­nate­ly). But you re­al­ly got­ta re­spect some­one who can be fun­ny about RMI ex­cep­tions (well, most­ly the pic­ture).
Text Encoding Progress · It’s good to see the IETF show­ing for­ward mo­tion on the vi­tal is­sues around how to store text ef­fi­cient­ly; check out the brand-new RFC4042 on UTF-9 and UTF-18. Good stuff.
Ërüdïtïön · There’s ex­haus­tive re­search and schol­ar­ly pub­lish­ing, and then there’s pop cul­ture, and some­times they meet in ëcstätïc trïümph. Oh my good­ness gra­cious, Jon Udell has built a won­der­ful mon­u­ment of mëtä-schölärshïp on this base.
Mystery Object · Here is an un­cap­tioned il­lus­tra­tion of a mys­tery ob­jec­t. Test your eru­di­tion ...
author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
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