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Journal

on the subject of livejournal friends pages

We interrupt your regularly scheduled lack-of-posting to bring you this breaking news update:

A few people have recently noted that they have been removed from my LJ friends page. The management would like to reassure the denizens of LiveJournal that being removed from my friends list does not mean that I hate you. It does not mean that we’re no longer friends. It does not mean that I never want to hang out with you again.

My friends page is not a list of my friends. It is a list of people that I like to read. So, if you don’t post regularly (i.e., more often that I update my weblog — which, trust me. That’s not hard), or you post a multitude of cryptic one-liners that make no sense to me, I likely deleted you. If there’s some piece of information that simply must get to me, such as “I was abducted by the lizard people but now I’m back” or “I’m graduating,” the preferred method of contacting me is e-mail or IM. In more urgent cases, such as “how about some cheese” or “my favorite pet ant (you know, the one with the funny colored leg? Sammy? Who was hated by all the other child-ants?) was abducted by lizard people and I’m freaking out,” a phonecall may be more appropriate.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled bursts of silence, stupid news articles, and equally stupid ramblings.

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Journal

Florida considers law outlawing withdrawal of food and water

Appeals Court Refuses to Order Schiavo’s Feeding Reinstated: “In Tallahassee, Governor Bush worked to gather support for a bill that could force at least a temporary restoration of Ms. Schiavo’s feeding tube. A measure passed last week by the House of Representatives would outlaw the withdrawal of food and water from people in a ‘persistent vegetative state,’ as doctors have diagnosed Ms. Schiavo, who had not left specific instructions refusing artificial sustenance.”

I can’t believe this bill would gain any traction in Florida. The majority of Fl citizens are elderly, and while I have no doubt that most of them want to live long, fulfilling lives, I’d be willing to bet that most of them wouldn’t want to be kept alive in circumstances such as these. Nationwide polling seems to support this.

Clearly, the way out of this is leave clear instructions concerning end-of-life instructions. If you’re not so thoughtful, however, what do you do?

In a way, this reminds me of the anti-death penalty arguments: we shouldn’t execute people because there’s always some chance they could be innocent. Witness testimony is unreliable, and DNA evidence has been exonerating people left and right. Can we apply a similar argument to someone in a persistent vegetative state who hasn’t left instructions concerning end-of-life?

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Journal

I’ve got a date!

That might sound like a good thing, except it’s actually the date when I’ll retake the PhD Qualifier.

May 17-18 (a monday) is the day. I’ve got a wedding in Philadelphia the previous weekend (May 8).

Right. I’ve managed to get some studying done almost every sunday this year. I should be OK, right? Right?

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Pat has limits

Pat: “This is so greasy, I don’t want to put it in my pants.”

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Tracking PCs anywhere on the Net

Tracking PCs anywhere on the Net

A University of California Ph.D. Student, Tadayoshi Kohno, will be presenting research in the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy. Kohno has apparently managed to fingerprint remote devices, even if they are behind a NAT box, or behind an anonymizer service. Furthermore, Kohno’s techniques work regardless of distance: a target can be next door, or multiple hops and thousands of miles.

This is fascinating work. I’m going to add this to my stack of papers to read.

(Via Mitch Kapor’s Weblog.)

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Journal

DrunkenBlog: Inside Ranchero with Brent and Sheila Simmons

DrunkenBlog: Inside Ranchero with Brent and Sheila Simmons: “In case the name Ranchero is new to you, Brent and Sheila make NetNewsWire (RSS aggregator) and MarsEdit (Weblog editor) for Mac OS X, among other things.”

NetNewsWire is an excellent piece of software. I’ve experimented with some of the other RSS readers for OSX and linux, and found them all to be lacking in some respect. NNW benefits from having a developer (Brent) who truly listens to his users and is willing to take their perspectives and ideas into account without losing track of his basic vision for the software.

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Futurama mafia

I love Futurama:

Robot: Donbot, I beg you. I can’t make this week’s loan payment. Look into your hard drive and open your mercy file!

Donbot: File not found!

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Journal

bent fenders

On my way to campus yesterday (for a full day of heavy, exercised-related lifting; and intense, ground-breaking research), I got into an accident.

Not a big accident, mind you. It was really just a little fender bender. And, it wasn’t quite a fender bender. At least, my car was fine. The other guy’s car was also fine, except for a slightly dented front fender.

While I’m being specific, I might as well say it wasn’t quite on my way to campus. I was leaving my garage, when a car coming in from the street leapt out of nowhere. And, BAM. It wasn’t really a leap, either. See the above paragraph on the extent of the damage. OK, so, what really happened was, I saw him as I was pulling past the building (which was blocking my sight), hit the breaks, slid in the slush, hit his car.

Luckily, he was in no mood to call the cops and insurance and whatnot. He’s going to get me an estimate for the little dent in his fender, and we’re going to come to some kind of agreement.

So, it could’ve been much worse. The accident was injury-free, and the other party was a very agreeable man. Still, it could’ve not happened at all. Really, that would’ve been ideal.

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Journal

Mano Singham’s Web Journal

Mano Singham’s Web Journal

Mano Singham has a blog! I’d say something intelligent about this, but, you really should just go read it. He’s one of the better instructors I’ve ever had: intelligent, patient, and covered in chalk dust.

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Journal

hamburger helper and my total lack of updates

I’ve tried blaming my lack of updates on any number of things:

  • “writer’s block”
  • comment spam
  • the lunar calendar
  • being “busy”

But then, my dinner presented me with more plausible reasoning. My dinner you say?

I got home today, and thought “hamburger helper!” This is partially because their cheesy enchilada is tasty, but mostly because there’s little else in my larder.

So, I pulled out the ground beef which I’d conveniently forgotten to defrost and stuck it in the microwave. After some random tidying up, the beef was defrosted, and it was time to pull out the hamburger helper box (I know, I’m a gourmet). Well, it wasn’t in the cupboard where I normally keep things like hamburger helper, cayenne pepper sauce, tea, etc.

It wasn’t there. Furthermore, I know I purchased it (just last week! along with some vegetables!). So, I looked around. Did I forget to put it away? Was it under the coffee table? Behind the tv? the futon? in the papasan? the hall closet? The cupboard again? The spice drawer? The dishwasher? The oven?

No.

I looked in the cupboard again. This time with the aid of my trusty step stool. Guess what? It wasn’t there.

I thought, “damnit.” I know it’s here. I looked under the futon again. in the papasan. the hall closet. The bathroom? my closet? under the bed? under the bathroom sink? in the toilet?

I kid you not. I looked in all those places. My box of cheesy enchilada-laden goodness was no where to be found. What to do? Should I order out? Pad thai sounded nice. Should I go to the store and buy some more? Put the ground beef back in the fridge?

No. I decided I should look in the cupboard again.

Guess what I found? The hamburger helper. The rest, I imagine, you can glean from the side of the box.

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with me not updating this blog (which, no doubt, looks different). Well, the hamburger helper was right in front of me, and I couldn’t see it. Often enough, I want to update, but can’t quite find the words; or something to write about. Often enough, both things are right in front of me, and I can’t see them.

Does this mean I’ve found the magic solution? Probably not. Does it mean I’ll keep updating regularly? For a while, probably. I find that a little change of scenery does me good.

I guess I should just apologize in advance for being a poor weblogger!