Lee's Journal

Current Journal
Mar '04 --> Apr '04
Jan '04 --> Feb '04
Oct '03 --> Dec '03
Aug '03 --> Sept '03
Jun '03 --> July '03
Apr '03 --> May '03
Mar '03 --> Mar '03
May '02 --> Feb '03

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Also check out my Flying Journal

 

6-29-04

Spam Stopper Idea

Run potential spams through a grammar checker.... like MS Word's grammar checker. That will surely differentiate  the gibberish spammers insert into their emails from legitimate emails that use real sentences. It might be computationally expensive but not THAT expensive...

6-28-04

Rail Guns are Cool

Cool snippet of the day:

Rail guns require a pulse power system to convert prime electrical power to the instantaneous current pulse necessary for electromechanical launch. The most advanced pulsed power systems use rotating alternating current machines, called pulsed alternators, to supply electromagnetic current pulses to the rails

"I'd like a phased plasma rifle in the forty watt range"

Escape velocity from earth is about 11 km/sec. This doc says 2.5 km/sec is being done right now experimentally and could be in the field, firing on targets 250 miles away. 6 km/sec is doable,  not enough to break orbit but still pretty darn cool. To power one of these rail guns and fire it at 6 rounds/minute, you need something like 40-80 megawatts. Just the dissipated kinetic energy of the impact of one of these mach 7 projectiles is enough to..... it's enough; no explosives needed.

6-26-04

Symantec's Stupid Legal Department

The email I sent Chansonette Connolly on the 22nd bounced. I'm going to send a paper letter shortly.... and start pirating Symantec software as prolifically as I can.

In Other News

I've been Match-ing for a couple days... It's quite stressful.

We bottled our wine a couple days ago.

I've been ComputerGuying at a pace. I'm very worried that there isn't enough money to be made in the residential market though. I'm joining the Hackettstown Rotary Club. That might help. I sure hope.

Construction on the Projeti plane continues. It's all over the dining room table!

I'm lonely.

I'm going to try golfing and hiking a bit. Allamuchy State Park looks like it could make for some nice walks.

My Burning Man ticket arrived in the mail! I'm so nervous!

The NYC Burning Man group looks very very active. The NJ group.... well, I had to write to the administrator to be sure I was on the list after a week because I couldn't tell if I was on it or not. I'm caught (again) with the option of making friends that live over an hour and a half away from me.

Meetup.com is..... there's nothing going on in Northern NJ. Nothing that would even remotely interest me. I signed up for like 10 groups and couldn't find a single group with more than 4 legit members.

 

6-22-04

Match.com Relented

They let me use my username of choice :-)

Symantec's Legal Department

At the request of a client, I contacted Symantec about some suspected pirated software I bought on Amazon zShops. I sent the Symantec legal department a juicy info packet on my purchase.

From: Chansonette Connolly [mailto:ccon.don't spam her.nolly@symantec.com]
Sent: Monday, June 14, 2004 4:03 PM
To: [Lee]
Subject: Re: Report of Suspected Piracy of Norton AntiVirus 2003 from a Third Party on Amazon.com 4/21/04 - [removed] (zShop)

Dear Mr. Sonko,

Thank you for submitting to us the CD you purchased from [removed] (zShop) marked “Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2003” for evaluation, together with your documentation. We have examined the CD you submitted and believe it to be counterfeit. Therefore, and as I am sure you can understand, we will not be returning the CD to you. Our records show that this entity is not an affiliate or authorized partner of Symantec.

You may wish to contact your credit card / financial organization and find out what options you may have in a situation like this. We appreciate your taking the time to send us documentation relating to your purchase, which will assist us in continuing to investigate this matter further.

We appreciate the faith you have shown in Symantec’s products by purchasing legitimate software to replace any counterfeit software you might have had. Please be assured, you have made the right decision given the risks associated with counterfeit software, be it faulty operation, leaving your computer open to cyber attack or possible damage to your computer. Furthermore, legitimate software gives you the right to obtain updates generated by Symantec for that software. Updates are necessary to help protect your system from cyber attacks, which evolve on a daily basis.

We look forward to serving you as one of our valued customers and hope to make your cyber experience as safe and enjoyable as possible.

Sincerely,

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chansonette Connolly
Manager, Worldwide Brand Protection
Legal Department
Symantec Corporation
Office: (408) 517-8045
Interoffice: 6 [408] 8045
Fax: (408) 517-8121

Email:
chanso.don't spam poor Chansonette.nette_connolly@symantec.com

www.symantec.com

Any my response

When I wrote to Drakes (the company that makes Devil Dogs, Ring Dings and Yodels supermarket pastries) telling them about some bad Yodels I bought last year, they at least gave me a coupon for some free Yodels. When I wrote to them, all I included was a photo of some sorry-looking Yodels and a short explanation. When I wrote to you, I included a lengthy description that puts me on the spot vs. Amazon and vs. an Amazon seller, packaging material, and the actual product. You now have all the incriminating evidence you need to stop a major American pirate of your software.

For my trouble, all I got was a pat on the back. You can be sure that I won’t ever be bringing potentially pirated software to your attention again. You could learn a lot from a Yodel.

 

6-18-04

Match.com Stupidity

Match.com doesn't want me to use my real name as my username, so they shut down my account. The real crime here is that I'm not a wa-, a wa-, a wacky weatherman named Harris K. Telemacher.

The Name of my Band

Last weekend, Noni, Bamfa, Julia and I went to the Cole Brothers Circus in Hackettstown (just across the way from where the Merry Go Round picture was taken). It was a pretty darn good show! On our way out, Julia got a mermaid balloon. When we were in the car on the way to dinner, I noticed that the mermaid wasn't the ubiquitous Ariel. I asked Julia what the mermaid's name was. She eyed the blow-up fish and promptly declared, "Her name is Lola Paralyze!" I think that rolls off the tongue pretty well, don't you?

Hear it

Marlboro / Marlborough Massachusetts

As I was driving around Marlboro 2 weeks ago, I ran across the weirdest thing... Some of the OFFICIAL signs in this town read "Marlboro" and some read "Marlborough". I thought that spelling differences like this had been done away with in the seventeen hundreds!

6-15-04

eBay to the Rescue: Pocket PC

The Pocket PC I ordered on eBay came in. I opened up the box, reset the device, set it in the cradle, followed the on-screen prompts to register it with my computer, and it instantly replaced my ailing Pocket PC. I love it when a plan comes together.

[grin] something "just worked"!

Today's Quote

"You never drink the blood."

eHarmony

I was talking to TJIC and two other friends of his tried eHarmony and both were hopeless like me. Of course, TJIC is easily categorized so he can use the service. ;-)

Squat

Submitted for your approval

from http://naturesplatform.com/

Projeti

The plane and parts arrived today. See my flying journal

6-14-04

Burning Man Polls

From Burning Man Polls

(I'd better practice my DanceDanceRevolution for endurance ;-) )

Trance music on the playa: what's your take?
I go to those camps once in a while 37.9%
BEATS BEATS BEATS! I dance 24-7! 34.2%
Ugh! Makes me wish I had no ears 14.6%
Don't like it, but don't hate it either 12.0%
No opinion 1.4%


Total votes: 1101
 

 

(Most people are on the playa ALL week. Wow.)

When will you arrive on the playa?
Pre-event. We've got special contstruction to do. 33.8%
Monday - Tuesday 27.2%
12:01 am, Monday morning! 18.8%
Wed - Thursday 16.6%
Friday - damn my job! 3.0%
Saturday - I'm only into the burn. 0.5%


Total votes: 728
 

 

0.166 / (0.166 + 0.366) = a rather encouraging 0.318

Love on the playa. Romance! or romance? Did you come to the playa...
Single, and are still single 36.3%
With my significant other, and we're still together 25.4%
Single, but started something new and special 16.6%
With someone important, and we survived the ups and downs of the playa 9.8%
With my significant other, we “polyamorized” together 9.1%
With my significant other, and the relationship busted up 2.8%


Total votes: 968
 

 

(bring a bike!)

How do you plan on getting around the playa this year?
I will pedal the playa on my trusty tricked-out playa bike, of course! 69.7%
I'm going the old fashioned way ... foot power! 12.8%
I will dazzle my fellow participants with my fabulously decorated mutant vehicle! 8.1%
I shall rely on the kindness of strangers! 4.9%
I like to get around on a gussied-up (but muffled) scooter. 4.5%


Total votes: 595

 

 

Lighting The Projeti

from http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?t=3890

 

I'm Going Blind

Yesterday I said that I thought the eHarmony site was broken.... well, that's not the case. I just didn't read the letter they sent me. (which is kind-of out of character for me, hence the title of the entry). It actually says that my personality profile is too non-standard for their system.

Based on your answers to our Relationship Questionnaire we will not be able to provide you with matching service.

The message you received onsite is used to notify people that they fall outside the range of those we can accurately match with the eHarmony matching service. Let me explain what that means. eHarmony matches people by analyzing their answers to the Relationship Questionnaire in order to accurately match compatible types of people.

The difficulty with this technology is that about 20%, or roughly 1 in 5 people, do not fit neatly into any of these categories. When that happens we are faced with a dilemma. We can either match them anyway and hope for the best, or not match them. We are so convinced of the importance of creating compatible matches to help people establish and enjoy happy, lasting relationships that we have chosen to not provide service instead of risking an uncertain match. We feel that incompatible matches could easily lead to bad marriages; the very thing eHarmony was created to prevent.

Please do not take our inability to match you as a reflection of your desirability. We want you to feel totally welcome to spend time with us on our site. Take advantage of every other part of our service – Our Personality Profile, Q&A with Dr. Neil Clark Warren, and Enlightenment, our monthly newsletter. One thing I can promise you is that all of us at eHarmony are deeply committed to your welfare. We want you and everyone else involved with us to end up with the life he or she most dreams of having.

To access your free personality profile, please go to www.eHarmony.com. At the bottom of the screen you will see the text, "Login to complete your registration or personality profile" next to form fields with the words "Username" and "Password" directly above them. Enter your user name and your password in the corresponding spaces then click the Login button. At the bottom of the screen you will see the message referenced above ending with, "You can still receive your free personality profile by clicking here." Please click the 'here' link to access your profile.

This message is an auto-response to your inquiry. If your questions or concerns have not been addressed, please reply and a Customer Care representative will get right back to you.

Sincerely,

eHarmony Customer Care

Yesterday, I was 1/2 way through writing another rant about a problem I was having with Match.com when I realized that the problem wasn't on their site but in my head. Hmmm. Hmmmmm. I don't know what's up with me. I -feel- reasonably ok. So why are my senses off-kilter like this?

6-13-04

eHarmony

I spent 3 hours over 3 agonizing evenings filling out the eHarmony.com profile thing and this is what I got back after 30 milliseconds of thought by the mainframe.

eHarmony is based upon a complex matching system developed through extensive testing of married individuals. One of the requirements for it to work successfully is for participants to fall into our rigorously defined profiles. If we aren't able to match a user well using these profiles, the most considerate approach is to inform them early in the process.

We are so convinced of the importance of creating compatible matches to help people establish and enjoy happy, lasting relationships that we choose not to provide service rather than risk an uncertain match.

Unfortunately, we are not able to make our profiles work for you. Our matching system is not suitable for about 20% of potential users, so 1 in 5 people simply would not benefit from our service. We hope that you understand that we regret our inability to provide service for you at this time.

And their system seems to be broken... The FAQ says that I can change my profile to cast a wider net (ie, change the geographic area I'm willing to accept, religious beliefs, etc). But I don't see the button they want me to push on the web site. :-( I wrote to them.

Dead PocketPC

My Cassiopeia E-125 Pocket PC died a few days ago. :-(

The screen started getting really flaky. Sometimes it would work... sometimes when I hit the box, it would work... sometimes not. So I opened it up. And opened it up some more. And then a little more. And I didn't find anything loose. I think I have to open it even more to find the problem but I can't figure out how to do it. Hurumph.

So I bought an E-125 on eBay. I paid $500 new in 2001 or so. I bought the used on on eBay for $97, shipping included. It will hopefully arrive by Wednesday.

Friends

I went out with The Eleventh President the other night. She helped me feel better about things. Thanks.

I got an email of encouragement from TJIC. Thanks.

These things mean a lot. Thank you.

You know, right after we broke up, the dread-factor in my life decreased dramatically. I wasn't expecting that. I mean, there shouldn't be a direct link between a universal dread of waking, working, and living and not getting to see a girlfriend as often as wanted. I'm surprised I didn't see this strong correlation before.
 

6-10-04

Projeti

I just bought a Projeti electric flying wing and brushless motor set. It promises to go 3 times as fast as the Zagi, still with amazing acrobatics. I'm taking it to Burning Man in August. It's going to need a more artistic paint job than what comes out of the box. Too bad I don't have an artistic girlfriend.

Everything is coming from Northeast Sailplane Products http://www.nesail.com

I'll probably be lighting the plane with something from one of these companies:

http://www.glowire.com
http://www.rcneon.com

Here is a calculator for LEDs I might need
http://www.rc-cam.com/led_info.htm

More on Lee's Hypothesis

Paypal says:

Transfer money into your PayPal Money Market account and earn the #1 Money Market prime retail yield as ranked out of 297 investment companies. Currently, you can earn 1.00%*!

I spent 15 seconds looking and CNN Money showed me 14 money market funds currently earning between 1 and 2% interest. I'm not sure I could find 297 investment companies, much less 297 offering less than 1%. Paypal is lying.

6-8-04

Ugh

One girlfriend is now just a girl that's a friend.
One girlfriend says we're "seeing too much of each other." 1.25 dates/month for 6 months is too much? :-(

Can anybody find me somebody to love
Ooh, each morning I get up I die a little
Can barely stand on my feet
(Take a look at yourself) Take a look in the mirror and cry (and cry)
Lord what you're doing to me (yeah yeah)
I have spent all my years in believing you
But I just can't get no relief, Lord!
Somebody (somebody) ooh somebody (somebody)
Can anybody find me somebody to love ?
 

Yeah
I work hard (he works hard) every day of my life
I work till I ache in my bones
At the end (at the end of the day)
I take home my hard earned pay all on my own
I get down (down) on my knees (knees)
And I start to pray
Till the tears run down from my eyes
Lord somebody (somebody), ooh somebody
(Please) Can anybody find me somebody to love ?
 

(He works hard)
Everyday (everyday) - I try and I try and I try
But everybody wants to put me down
They say I'm going crazy
They say I got a lot of water in my brain
Ah, got no common sense
I got nobody left to believe in
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
 

Oh Lord
Ooh somebody - ooh somebody
Can anybody find me somebody to love ?
(Can anybody find me someone to love)
 

Got no feel, I got no rhythm
I just keep losing my beat (You just keep losing and losing)
I'm OK, I'm alright (he's alright - he's alright)
I ain't gonna face no defeat (yeah yeah)
I just gotta get out of this prison cell
One day (someday) I'm gonna be free, Lord!
 

Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody to love love love
Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody to love somebody somebody somebody somebody
Somebody find me
Somebody find me somebody to love
Can anybody find me somebody to love ?
 

(Find me somebody to love)
Ooh
(Find me somebody to love)
Find me somebody, somebody (find me somebody to love) somebody, somebody to love
(Find me somebody to love)
Find me, find me, find me, find me, find me
Ooh - somebody to love
(Find me somebody to love)
Ooh
(Find me somebody to love)
Find me, find me, find me somebody to love
(Find me somebody to love)
Anybody, anywhere, anybody find me somebody to love love love!
Wooo somebody find me, find me love.

Burning Man

It's decided. I'm going.

6-3-04

Ugh!

AAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

On 5-24-04, I pushed the wrong button.

Tivo had been on the fritz for a couple weeks. You'd be watching a program or moving through the menus and it would make this clicking noise. If it made at least two clicking noises in a row, the screen would freeze for a few seconds or longer. Actually, I had seen this problem a couple years ago when the Tivo was younger. I shut the Tivo off for a day and it got better. I -should- have looked into the problem more thourouly then but it just fell off as a priority.

Well, just before my folks got back from Florida, it died entirely. It would click and get stuck 3 minutes after booting and that would be that. So I had to fix it myself. I was having the normal frustrating time of it... swapping hard drives in and out of my PC. Some would boot, some wouldn't, depending where they were in the IDE chain. It was a bit frustrating but nothing I couldn't handle. Until it happened.

I noticed that I had successfully put the Tivo image onto my 200 gig Maxtor drive instead of my 40 gig Maxtor drive. The two look very similar but are very different inside. One drive is a scrap, lying around from.... I don't even recall where it's from. The other is my system drive, the one everything is on. Everything. I instantly became very unhappy.

Flash forward 3 full days of recovery time and I'm finally back online. It took days to pull the backups from TJIC's computer (mini-moral: don't zip up and send a single 5 gig file as a backup. If there's an error in retrieving it, you'll have to fetch the whole 5 gig file over again... which sucks because it takes 20+ hours to move 5 gig over a cable modem.)

I'm still not recovered by a long shot. For example, I'm writing this blog using notepad instead of Frontpage because [deep inhale] since I was going to try out the new Office 2003, I figured it would be good if I installed it fresh on the "new" computer; all is well except that Outlook 2003 Pro apparently doesn't come with Frontpage but MS Word as an HTML editor. Trouble with that is that Word vomits all over my HTML with idiotic MS formatting shit (it vomits shit, now that's a pretty picture). I also installed VMware workstation and it works peachy except eMule won't stay online. And I've got nothing going on in my life except what I make of it and I'm sitting in my parents basement doing nothing with my life. But that's just me.

My parents arrived and prompty went to the store and bought duplicates of every food item in the house. Which wouldn't be so bad except:

I had planted several things from seed, anaheim peppers, hungarian peppers, nasturtium, Sweet 100's tomatoes, and morning glories. I asked my dad what the proper time to plant was and he replied "they have to go in the ground May 15th." So, in an effort to grow early, I put all the plants under lights starting April 6th. Well, as any gardener will tell you, I planted a month too late for planting from seed in a small garden.

There are people power washing the deck. When they came to out place, they moved all the planters that were against the railing into the middle of the deck. Of course, my morning glory vines were growing out of the pots and wrapped around the deck railing. The pots were in the middle of the deck, the vines were still on the railing. Scratch 5 of 6 morning glory plants from seed. I wanted to cry and apologize to Julie.

Update: Some of the morning glories are coming back. That would be nice but I realize I'm overly emotionaly invested in morning glories.

I got home one day last week and found that they had gone plant shopping for the outside. As I knew they would, they got all the standard annual crap. Plus hungarian peppers, something almost exactly anaheim peppers, and a few tomoto plants with unknown heredity; maybe they're Big Boys, maybe they're Sweet 100's. One tomato plant was obviously not a Sweet 100; I'm glad they're planting that.

My sister has left a lot of crap in the space I'm currently living. She was in the space before me, about 2 years ago. I found a big box of girlie stuff under the bathroom sink taking up a lot of space and asked her to remove it "from my bathroom." She came back instantly and said that it wasn't "my" bathroom. That bothered me. I didn't bite as agressively as I might have when I responded, "Well then could you remove your things from the bathroom I am currently using?" It took 3 weeks for her to finally take the box (though it might actually still be hidden in some closet somewhere upstairs)

Oh, in other computer news: I was recovering data from the newly deceased hard drive, putting it onto a 40 gig drive I had lying around. I spent a day (yes, a full day) pulling lost clusters and crap off the 200 gig drive. I was probably pulling too much off it but I knew that I had only one shot at this; after I reformatted the hard drive, everything would be lost. So I spent a day at this and I get home after going out... the drive is making grinding noises! Short story short: the drive died. Well, I always wanted to open up a drive and see what's really inside.

My $500 ad in that church newsletter has been in for about 3 weeks and it hasn't generated a single phone call.

Good news: After fiddling with Ontrack Easy Recover for 1 1/2 days, I recovered -everything- from the old 200 gig drive.

I posted a personal on polymatchmaker.com. It feels weird. But I posted it.

A client of mine, A.P. told me that he wants me to sign up for eharmony.com and run it though its paces because he has a friend he thinks could use such a service. He wants me to vet the service for him. A.P. will pay for my account and everything. Actually, I think he's just perceptive and believes I would benefit from it. A.P. has quickly become a friend. I'll sign up soon.

So this post has a lot of grumbling minutia. Sorry but that's how I feel right now.

[Grumble]

Columbine Assault Weapons Ban

In other news... an old friend from Wavexpress wrote to me to sign this petition...

Here's the petition

By forwarding this message to you sign the petition. You need to put TOM@TOMSPETITION.ORG in the cc field to be counted.

>> Subject: Six Degrees from Columbine: Save the Ban on Assault Weapons
>>
>> Dear Friend:
>> Five years ago my 15-year-old son Daniel Mauser was one of 13 people
>> killed at Columbine High School by two students. One of them used an
>> illegal assault weapon. This summer, AK-47s, UZIs, and TEC-DC9s, will
>> be legal again unless we do something about it. In this day and age,
>> nothing could be more insane.
>>
>> Using an exciting and unprecedented new Internet technology to grow
>> an online petition, join me in my effort to see how many millions of
>> names I can collect to deliver to President Bush. We will change the
>> course of this country and create a lasting legacy for my son.
>> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>> Here is how you can help:
>>
>> Please sign this petition by forwarding this email to your family and
>> friends. Make sure to add my e-mail address TOM@TOMSPETITION.ORG to
>> your list of friends in the same forwarded e-mail (don't use bcc).
>> This petition uses a new technology that allows you to see how many
>> supporters you can reach through the power of "six degrees of
>> separation."
>> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>> Sending to TOM@TOMSPETITION.ORG confirms your participation and
>> allows our petition software to map the growing support for our
>> cause. We will immediately send you a link to your personal petition
>> page, where you can see a real time map of your impact on this
>> historic cause.
>>
>> If each of us passes this message on to our friends and family this
>> will be the fastest growing petition on the Internet ever! We will
>> reach millions of people and force president Bush and Congress to
>> extend the assault weapons ban.
>>
>> For more information on how the petition technology maps your
>> support, go to: http://www.tomspetition.org/info
>>
>> Thank you,
>>
>> Tom Mauser

And my response (modified on 6-10-04 from my original email response)

>I don't usually go in for online petitions but I thought I would in
>this case. It was started by a friend of a friend and is legit.
 
I completely agree that Columbine was a terrible tragedy. But the ban wouldn't have reduced the destruction. 3 of the 4 guns used were (and still are) legal for anyone over 18 that can make it into a Wal-Mart. The TEC DC-9 machine gun used was already illegal for the killers to own before the ban. The home-made bombs were illegal as well. The manufacturer of the TEC DC-9 changed the design slightly after the ban (to the "AB-10" model) and can be purchased new with the proper license (of which, the Columbine kids still could not obtain)
 
I see where you're coming from. It's possible that the country-wide anti-gun sentiment that a ban inspires might help shape public attitude about people using guns inappropriately against other people but an "assault weapons ban" is only a tiny step in a direction toward civility, at the great expense in national safety and personal liberty.

Such legislation does not seem beneficial to our country or the kids that live in it. Much more important than attempting to make the "dangerous" guns illegal (an oxymoron if ever I saw one) is public education and community involvement.

Thanks for sending the petition along to me,
Lee

5-22-04

Lee's Hypothesis: The larger and more established a company becomes, the slimier they become

I'm buying a laptop for a client.

I'm shopping on the Dell website, trying to find out how much the laptop is going to cost with a particular feature-set and I can't do it. There's shit like:

Right now, double your memory FREE (1) when you purchase ANY Dell system or select Dell servers! OR, choose cash back instead of more memory and save up to $200 on select servers or $150 on select systems, after mail-in rebate!(2)
 
(1) Double memory offer can not be combined with mail-in rebate. Maximum memory is 256MB with Dimension 2400 desktops and 512MB with Dimension 4600, 4600C and 8300 desktops, all OptiPlex desktops, all Dell Precision™ workstations, all Latitude notebooks and Inspiron 1150, 5150, 300M, 600M, 8600 and 9100 notebooks. Maximum memory is 1GB with Dimension XPS desktops, Inspiron XPS notebooks and all PowerEdge and PowerEdge SC servers

(2) Mail-in rebate excludes Dimension 2400 and 2400 n series desktops with an Intel Celeron processor. Offer valid on orders placed between 05/20/04 and 05/26/04. Cannot be combined with free memory offer. Rebate must be postmarked within 30 calendar days of system ship date. Rebate checks are ordinarily processed within 8-10 weeks. Go to http://www.dell.com/smallbizrebates for rebate details.

When you cut through all the shit above, it comes out to: When you buy a computer, extra memory costs extra.

Of course, it also means that when you're trying to tally up the price, you get shit like what you see at the far right. How am I supposed to feel confident about pushing that Continue button when I can't tell how much the (rather expensive) item costs!? All I do know from this page is that my purchase is not going to cost $1226 or $1201. I might (or not) be eligible for any one of 7 advertised specials on this one computer. The list of specials takes up the entire right column of this journal entry! And each and every special has convoluted rules (see quote above) that has to be thoroughly understood before being embarked upon. What a nightmare.

5-20-04

More with the Backups

cwRsync cwRsync is a yet another packaging of Rsync and Cygwin. You can use cwRsync for fast remote file backup and synchronization

boxbackup has been ported to cygwin on Windows!. It's still in beta but this is looking like a real option. When I get a minute (yeah, right) I'll try it out.

New CSS

I stole the CSS from Boxbackup. It's journal6.css in my random cycling. Perty, ain't it?

Bidding on a Project and Cleaning House

I'm bidding on a $20k project as Computer Guy. That is, if I can take a minute to actually write up the bid. I've been running ragged with people that call me saying "Oo oo, you gotta help me right now! It's am emergency! And I had a cleaning person over a few days ago. We worked together to clean the house before my folks got back from Florida for the summer.

5-19-04

Paypal is Getting Very Yucky

Every month, Paypal's policies become nastier and nastier. I've read many stories at NoPaypal and a couple other sites. Now I'm starting to believe them. Freenet just reported that Paypal cut them off because they didn't like them.

17th May, 2004 : Paypal suspends Freenet donations account
Paypal has frozen the account we use to accept donations over the web, they refuse to give any reason other than "use of an anonymous proxy", which suggests that someone at Paypal took a dislike to the goals of our project, since I have never used an anonymous proxy to access Paypal (this being the activity I assume they sought to prevent). It is fortunate that Johann Gutenberg did not rely on Paypal to fund his work on the printing press, which also allowed anonymous publication of information, since his account would probably have been frozen too.

If you are concerned about whether your account might be at risk due to your political opinions you may wish to speak to their PR contact Hani Durzy at (408) 376 7458. If you are an investor and you would like to see what other political opinions Paypal doesn't like, you may want to speak to their Investor contact Tracey Ford at (408) 376 7205.

They have said that they will refund our outstanding balance ($550) by check, but all of the projects subscriptions have been canceled which is a significant setback. Other means of accepting donations, including E-Gold, are still active. Anyone wishing to make a donation by check should email me directly. Unfortunately neither of these methods are as convenient as Paypal, but we will do our best to find an alternative ASAP.

E-Gold and the somewhat related digital monies are starting to look pretty darn good. E-Gold fees are about 1% of the transaction while Paypal is about 3%.... a 66% discount.

5-17-04

Archives of your site

If you have ever accidentally deleted your web site, you might find it cached on the web with one of these tools

(thanks to Uptimebot and Google for that second pointer)

5-16-04

Random Sounds from my Pocket PC

I've been keeping these sounds on my Pocket PC for a long while now. It's time I put them someplace 'useful'

First, some foreign language profanity

Shysa by Laura Hanna

Stragna by Jasna

Merde by Shara

Tim Reynolds with his classic Wavexpress line

John Tesorio's classic line, and the other one.

Simon Tidman really wants to know...

Backups with Computer Associates

CA has this big ad in eWeek Magazine for their backup software. So I asked them

I am looking for a backup product capable of backing up from a Win XP computer to an untrusted Win XP or Linux machine on the internet. It should be possible to access the data on the untrusted machine in a random access manner.

We'll see what I get for a response.
 

Billionaires for Bush

Ok, this is funny. A great guerrilla protest concept.

lifted from the site:

Chants

The full Billionaires For Bush DIY Manual

 

5-13-04

Anti-Spam Haiku

http://habeas.com/ I still don't totally understand how this company uses the power of haiku to defeat spammers. But I think I like it.

I think it works thusly:
- If you promise not to spam people and sign up with them, you get 8 points subtracted from your SpamAssassin score when you use the Habeas header in your emails.
- If you (illegally & inappropriately) use the Habeas header in your email, then when the Habeas people catch you, they'll tell SpamAssassin that the IP address that sent the email gets 8 points added to their spam score.
- If you illegally use the Habeas header, they'll sue your ass off, but quick, for copyright infringement (the poem), defamation (their header would never voluntarily associate with spam), and license infringement (you didn't sign up for the Habeas service).

Nice. Of course, a distributed offshore email relaying scheme can probably get around it. Forged headers might also be able to get around it. The battle continues...

(For reference, using the phrase "WIN FREE VIAGRA!" in the subject field of an email costs the message only about 4 points. A difference of 8 points will almost definitely make or break an email's spam threshold in SpamAssassin. I've only every been marginally happy with SpamAssassin's performance. I set it to a threshold of "8" and it catches about 10 spams a day (that's 40% of the spams I receive recently). If I set it any higher, it starts catching legitimate mail. Still, SpamAssassin from my email hosting company and Cloudmark Spamnet on my client have been working together to do an excellent job recently.)

Thanks to Dada Mail for pointing out this Habeas thing to me.

Oh and I also just noticed....

Vispul's Razor (the source code for Spamnet) is open source. The plug-in for MS Outlook (the Spamnet service) isn't.

The Vispul's Razor / Spamnet collaborative filtering servers are located at cloudmark.com.

That's an interesting collaboration between open source and not... The unix folks are free to develop the brains of the system in an open source environment while Vispul is (hopefully) making money off the gazillions of Windows clients. If you had unix at home, you'd be able to get the service for free. But hey, Vispul is only charging $2.00/month for the service. It's well worth it for any individual client to buy the service. Everyone wins. Open source seems to work.

5-12-04

Car Keys

I was parked in a parking lot on the NJ Parkway on Feb 23rd. As I was walking toward my car, I pushed the button on my keychain to unlock the door. To my surprise, that caused the alarm on a car just across from mine to start beeping. I unlocked my car again and the alarm stopped. BEEP BEEP BEEP. BEEP BEEP BEEP. I'm thinking that there aren't enough radio code keys out there!

And that reminds me of a story a friend told me recently. (Gosh darn it, I can't remember who told me this story! It wasn't PPG.... so who was it? AAARRRGGG My memory!

My friend gave her car keys to an attendant to fetch her car from the lot. A few minutes later, the attendant drives up with the wrong car. Some discussion ensued. It turned out that her car had been parked in the wrong space. But the kicker is that her car keys fit the car that was in her space! Not enough key combinations!

Tony Floramo's

I've never been to the place and I haven't heard the radio commercial in years now but the radio commercial is STILL stuck in my head!!

"At Tony Floramo's, the meat falls off the bone!"

Listen

Floramo's
213 Everett Avenue, Chelsea, MA 02150-1816
(617) 889-1330
Tommy Floramo is well known for RIBS with Meat that falls off the bone
Directions: From the North: Take route 1 south to the last exit before the Tobin Bridge, Carter Street.
Keep to the right and turn left at the lights.
Located next to gas station on the left.

 

5-9-04

Acoustic cryptanalysis: On nosy people and noisy machines

Cool

A powerful method for extracting information from supposedly secure systems is side-channel attacks: cryptanalytic techniques that rely on information unintentionally leaked by computing devices. Most side-channel attack research has focused on electromagnetic emanations (TEMPEST), power consumption and, recently, diffuse visible light from CRT displays. The oldest eavesdropping channel, namely acoustic emanations, has received little attention. Our preliminary analysis of acoustic emanations from personal computers shows them to be a surprisingly rich source of information on CPU activity...
 

On Breaking RSA-1024

This is from the same author. It looks like RSA-1024 is safe for now, but not for too much longer!

...Using this hypothetical device (and ignoring the initial R&D costs), it appears possible to break a 1024-bit RSA key in one year using a device whose cost is about $10M (previous predictions were in the trillions of dollars)...

 

5-7-04

Car repairs

Grrr.. My front brakes need replacing. $227.

Grr*3.9 My air conditioner died, the compressor isn't compressing. $895. Jeez, for that much I should just buy a lot of dry ice and leave it in the trunk.

Grr*.44 It'll cost about $100 to fix my tape player... I'll hold off on that expense 'til next month.

And the worst part is, I bought a 50,000 mile extended warrantee on the car. Things didn't start going wrong until 52,000 miles.

at 52k, there was an overheating problem
at 59k (now) the front brake pads and rotors need replacing (the rotors not from wear but rust), the a/c needs serious repair, and the tape player is sick.

Moderately good news: The people at Johnson Chrysler rotated my tires going front to back. But the manual says to cross-rotate the tires. I raised my eyebrows at this discrepancy. I've asked around and gotten mixed answers. The guys at the oil change place though it was wrong. Mike at On The Move Auto said that front-to-back rotation was fine and that 1 in 1,000 tires fail when cross-rotated. So I guess I'm not so unhappy about Johnson Chrysler not cross-rotating.

5-1-04

The revitalization of the dot-com economy

The Pets.com sock puppet, out of work for so long, found a new job doing commercials for 1-800-bar-none.

The Photo at the Top

This is a photo of Julia B. Boolia on the Merry Go Round at the Hackettstown Spring Festival. Nice photo, eh?


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