Friday, August 01, 2003

Several of you have hounded me for some time to implement a commenting system. You had great things to add, one said. I need comments so you can post your caustic wit, said another.

Be warned, I fully expect you to live up to those expectations now that I've provided you with a means. :)

The crowd has spoken. You can now comment merrily away.

Here's to HaloScan for making a quick, easy, and painless commenting system, and here's to Brian for pointing me to it.
Go to CBS New's page of On Demand Video and click on "IBM's Day In Court":

That's my mother.

And in the background, my father. And the kitchen, living room, and garden of the house I grew up in.

Very strange seeing that all on a national broadcast.

I'm glad for my mother, though. Things have been going well on the cash-pensions front.
Artistic Robots Augment Human Art

. . ."Since 9/11 happened it's been a daily struggle for me to not hate people in the Middle East," said Nancy Havel, an ArtBots visitor who lost a brother in the World Trade Center attacks. "I didn't want to draw with the robots, I was afraid of what my art would say about what I've been thinking. But the robot translated my confusion into spirals that reminded me things always change."

"Looking at the art created by people in the UAE and New York helped me remember that underneath it all we're all human beings and mostly decent," said Katherine O'Connell, who was in Tower 2 when the hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center. "How weird that it would take a silly little robot to remind me of something that big.". . .
It sounds sorta crazy, but cool.
FBI targets Net phoning

. . . According to the proposal that the FCC is considering, any company offering cable modem or DSL service to residences or businesses would be required to comply with a thicket of federal regulations that would establish a central hub for police surveillance of their customers. The proposal has alarmed civil libertarians who fear that it might jeopardize privacy and warn that the existence of such hubs could facilitate broad surveillance of other Internet communications such as e-mail, Web browsing and instant messaging. . . .
Ack! Not cool.
I like Howard Dean more and more, the more I read about him.
Nettika: What do you think of Howard Dean?
Icktharus: who's that?
Icktharus: oh, the pres candidate.
Icktharus: (context switch... i was trying to think of a dancer named howard dean...)
Icktharus: er... i haven't followed the democratic primary races really.
Icktharus: i tend to like candidates that are more left-leaning than centrist, though. on the other hand, i'd be willing to compromise to get bush out of office.
Icktharus: i think that i liked dean's opposition of the war.
Nettika: i like his thoughts on technology too
Nettika: he was featured on lawrence lessig's blog for a week a little while back
Icktharus: i don't know what his thoughts on technology are.
Nettika: he thinks fast internet access should be avialable and affordable everywhere in the states, to everyone
Icktharus: he has a proven track on health care, too, which i like.
Icktharus: cool! :) equal opportunity internet access!
Nettika: :)
Icktharus: i agree... the internet should really be treated like a utility like the water and sewage is, and not something only rich kids have.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Being a contractor can be pretty sweet. If this job were full time, it would suck - high priority bugs would come up and we'd just have to deal with them.

But my company bills for my time by the hour. And the small group I'm in has a limited budget -- they can cover 40 hour weeks for the next year, but not much more than that. So my manager tries very hard to balance "high priority" against "balancing the budget", and the budget usually wins out. I get to work a 40 hour week, generally normal business hours, regardless of what heat is coming down from on high. And if the heat did get too hot and they did have to pull me in for extra time (unlikely, but could happen), I would get paid overtime. Kick ass!

(Yes, a high priority bug came in just this afternoon. Yes, I am leaving work now regardless, and I am just going to deal with it in the morning. Yes, everyone all worked up over the bug is just going to have to deal until then.)

I'm off for the day!
Got to do my first bout of real work today. There was a bug in a product I hadn't yet used or looked at - got to install, figure out the product, find the bug, look at the dev's fix, point out how it wasn't fixed, give it back to him, repeat - fun, fun, fun.

And now I'm waiting for another fix for the same bug. Just waiting.

Also waiting for lab staff to finish wiping my servers so I can actually start using them. Just waiting.

Waiting sucks. It's boring as ass.

I'm hungry.

I want to go eat.

Why am I here?

Where is my sugar daddy?

Why do I need to make money for myself?

Along similar lines, Illegal Art, a museum exhibit. "Copyright holders have threatened and sued many of the show's artists for sampling, remixing, and recontextualizing other people's artistic creations without permission. Featuring audio and visual exhibits, a full length CD, and several films, the show highlights how copyright, typically considered an engine of creativity, can stifle art and free speech."
I read today, for the first time, about the Eric Eldred Act. Good stuff. The site "serves as the focal point for information about the campaign to restore balance to copyright laws by expanding the public domain. Founded as part of Eldred v. Ashcroft, the legal action to overturn the Copyright Term Extension Act (Phase I), it now houses all the documents from that case, as well as new and up-to-date information about advocacy efforts to reclaim the public domain through legislation."

It also links to a petition to reclaim the Public Domain.

Here's to the Public Domain.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

You never realize how much you'll miss something until you don't have it...

Today is the third day of my job.

My manager on the Company_A end has yet to procure badges or net-ids for myself and my Dev counterpart.

There are work arounds - we're "borrowing" net-ids, and we call up every morning when we get to work for him to come down and sign us in - but man, this sucks. There's work to be done, and it's hard to do it without any real access anywhere.
It's getting easier and easier to get up in the mornings.

Unfortunately, this comes at a price; I'm a bear at night when I'm getting tired. I feel sorry for the poor folk who have to put up with me then.

Monday, July 28, 2003

I'm at work, by the way, if you hadn't guessed that already from the time stamps on these posts. Went through some paperwork, installed software on my machine, read through all the materials I got from HR, and now I'm waiting for someone to bring me over to Company_B (the company I'm contracting at) and introduce me around there. Waiting sucks. I want to be doing things.

I get to bring my own box (read: a box that Company_A (the company who is contracting me out) is sending with me, not one from my home) with me to Company_B. This is apparently a new condition on the contract that Company_A hasn't seen before. They gave me a pretty nice box to take along with me - not top of the line, but better than 3 of the 4 boxes I had at Company_B when I was last there. And it's mine, all mine, all mine.
I have the sweetest sisters ever.

I'm talking right now about Mary and Laurie. This isn't to say that Sue isn't sweet -- she's awesome, too. But she's not a key player in this story. One more quick tangent; Laurie isn't technically related to me, but she might as well be. She's family in every sense of the word outside of "sharing the same bloodline". Heck, she was in our family photos this last Christmas.

Anyhow, I took a shower this morning and got out to find that Mar and Laur had gotten up early to make me waffles.


I've been craving waffles for a long time. It's been my intention to buy myself a waffle-maker eventually, but it just hasn't been in the budget up until now. Mary and Laurie knew this, bought me one as a thank you present for letting them stay with me this summer, got up early on my first morning of work (those of you who know them know that this would not have been easy for them -- neither of them are "morning people"), and secretly made me waffles while I showered.

So sweet. I'm very lucky to have them around.
Bob Hope passed away Sunday evening. Bummer.

I hadn't realized he spent so much time and energy on entertaining American servicemen. "From 1941 to 1948 he performed nearly all his 400 radio programs at military bases. And at an age when most performers curtail their activities, Mr. Hope continued to make his annual tours during the war in Vietnam, playing to the sons of the servicemen he entertained during World War II and the Korean War." That's really cool.