30.May 2000

The Center for Democracy and Technology looks like "the good guys" to me. They've organized an Opt-out site that's just what's needed to defend against the new wave of ad attacks. As a bonus, it shows a wonderfully effective use of frames. I had a great time clicking down the column of online opt-outs.

29.May 2000

Jakob's latest Alertbox was more full of gas than usual. Medicine's not supposed to taste good, I guess.

28.May 2000

My calculation on my return on Social Security reinforces Paul Krugman's observation that the system is more than just a retirement annuity. It's an insurance plan. And a political football. The next day, the Times ran an editorial, "Campaigning on Social Security", pointing out that things are well short of desperate.

They also noted that "Social Security provides the majority of income for most retirees and all the income for about a fifth of the elderly."

Two days later, and Krugman's at it again, with famous quotes from W. and all.

25.May 2000

One of our lavender irises

In the lush peak of spring, irises, big red poppies, one little bunch of California poppies, bachelor buttons, cow parsnip as tall as me, purple and white (and green silicles of) Lunaria, cheat grass flowering with the raspberries, chard bolted, Delphiniums on the verge, bee balm, sweet cicely heavy with fruit, and more irises - Pale yellow with gold tongues, white, deep golden, burnt dusky yellow, pale blue on blue lavender, old-fashioned blue and white, copper beech, lavender, "root beer," root beer float.

Pyracanthus flowers and berries (from last year) both, tea roses, white and yellow columbine, comfrey, phlox, yarrow, chives, yellow snapdragons, catnip, zinnia, the bittercherries already eaten by something, wild roses ready, lillies coming the honeysuckle showing no hint I trimmed it hard.

And over it all, sweet suffusing of Russian olive.

21.May 2000

My wife and I learned how to stand up together on our tandem, flattening out those nasty little rises. We sang Brahms' Liebeslieder Waltzes in a choir concert. And I wrote perl code to create a keyword index of the pages on this site. A fun and varied weekend.

19.May 2000

REAL Networks takes the next step in online behavior data collection: "...it had silently linked itself into my Web browsers to take over all downloading operations--*without* my having taken any specific actions to install or enable it... Only later did I discover the much less obvious "feature" of the Download Demon--for all files you download, from *any* sites, the Demon sends details (e.g. file names and URLs) to RealNetworks/Netzip! Surprise!"

-- Lauren Weinstein; PRIVACY Forum Moderator

This is fun - rocket software: Software for Grown-Ups.

"...Then and only then at T-minus zero seconds, if the computers are satisfied that the engines are running true, they give the order to light the solid rocket boosters. In less than one second, they achieve 6.6 million pounds of thrust. And at that exact same moment, the computers give the order for the explosive bolts to blow, and 4.5 million pounds of spacecraft lifts majestically off its launch pad...."

Meanwhile, on the dark side, "When paper clips attack". (I asked that thing a long time ago how I could make it go away and never come back, but it wouldn't give me a straight answer.

18.May 2000

Search is hot, in case you didn't notice. Raging search is trying to be, rather shamelessly imitating Google, without "getting it." I never liked Altavista's habit of returning tens of thousands of pages for what should give a limited return.

One sample search with 3 words gave 400 hits on Google, with the first one ("I'm feeling lucky") sufficient to get me where I wanted to go. Raging returned 694,122 pages. To its credit, the first couple were adequate, too. But more than half a million pages? What good does that do anyone? The "results from this site only" pick is good, but you do have to be able to see a good site in the URLs.

And if you want to search in any of the 24 non-English languages that Raging lists, you'll like the "customize" options. None of 'em wound my clock, though.

17.May 2000

The thing I like about the web is that you don't have to take second-hand news anymore. The SJ Mercury News had a piece about the "Who doesn't want to be a millionaire" story, and someone else passed me the URL to a CBS story. Guessed www.aarp.org, and found the original story.

Interesting, but the hype's overblown. The vast majority still want to be wealthy. Older folks don't care as much, unsurprisingly. I was surprised to see that only a third said "have more free time" in answer to "why do you need more money?"

16.May 2000

Forecast 15 to 30 mph wind this afternoon, I thought about loading the van and driving to work for the first time in more than 2 months, to be ready for sailing. Then I heard a reminder it was "bike to work day." It wouldn't be right to miss that...

J's been high-grading the incredibly rich refuse down here. This morning I tapped a half-full can of Edge gel to shave, instead of my trusty brush and soap-in-a-cup. Green gel foams and expands to a slimy white coating. It works OK, but somewhat distasteful to have the stuff all over my fingers as well as my face.

Riding in the rain-washed mid-California jungle, the plant smells struggled to get through the cloud of Edge-scent that surrounded my face and mostly lost. Eucalyptus and fresh-cut grass at Park Closed did penetrate, thankfully.

I picked up my prizes at the Bike-to-Work table at the train station, an orange and a bottle of water.

15.May 2000

Came out the gate and saw the light would be ready for me at Hanover, dumped it into high and stood down the hill, blasting by the line of stopped and then creeping cars.

As they came up to my speed, I eased in behind a pickup truck, tracking his right taillight and ready to bail into the wide bike lane if needed.

When the long line started to bunch again, I returned to "my" lane and resumed passing, made the lights at Hansen and Ramos easily, missed El Camino as usual. My heart pounded while I waited, grinning from the "race."

14.May 2000

This is what those thousands of years of evolution were all about: being able to share our thoughts with a million other humans.

Tom von Alten      tva_∂t_fortboise_⋅_org


Thursday, 08-Mar-2001 20:43:03 MST