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:: Saturday, September 30 2006 ::

Well, I made it back from Memphis just fine, but I was exhausted. I got home around 11pm Friday night, and crashed, and slept 'till noon, then took a two hour nap. Now I'm planning on heading to the aut bar here in town for some sort of festivities (a friend is working the bar). Lots of other stuff to put up, like my underwater pics and the swanky new camera I got and so forth.
:: David (21:40 in Michigan, 3:40 in Paris) - Comment


:: Friday, September 29 2006 ::

What a flippin' day! I got up early, worked all day, and then when I was settling down to go to bed someone called to tell me one of our apps had been hacked. I had to log in and restore from backup, then fix the holes that allowed the person in. And, as always with a hack, you're never sure you closed the hole, so maybe you wake up tomorrow to find the jerk came back and screwed it all up again. Fun.
:: David (0:48 in Michigan, 6:48 in Paris) - Comment


:: Thursday, September 28 2006 ::

I broke a personal record this morning, waking at 3:57 for my flight. I'm curious how long I'll go before running out of steam. Hopefully, long enough to not look like a complete idiot - I hate it when I'm trying to have a complex conversation and my blood sugar levels don't cooperate.
:: David (5:57 in Michigan, 11:57 in Paris) - Comment


:: Monday, September 25 2006 ::

The joys of returning from an extended holiday - lots of unread email, an empty fridge, and too much unfinished business at work. It was overall a very busy day. But that said, things should settle down in the next week or so, and then I can get started on some of my big projects, or at least some medium sized ones. This week is set to be pretty hectic, with plans for tomorrow, a French class starting on Wednesday, and me headed to Memphis, Tennesee for Thursday and Friday. Thankfully I'll be back before the weekend officially begins, but it's still packed pretty tight.
:: David (23:52 in Michigan, 5:52 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[6]


Well, we made it safely back from Bermuda. We seem to have gotten married while we were there. We also did a lot of snorkeling. Photos will be forthcoming.
:: David (0:43 in Michigan, 6:43 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[10]


:: Friday, September 15 2006 ::

I took my computer in, after Windows XP failed to install. Of course, the technicians couldn't find anything wrong with the hardware, but the install is still corrupted. Microsoft doesn't seem to be able to help, either, so I've given up and installed a copy of Windows Vista. It seems to be doing the job so far, but I figure I'll probably be erasing the computer soon anyway. Of course, for the next week I won't be doing anything with a computer - certainly not this one!
:: David (19:30 in Michigan, 1:30 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[3]


Well, today was my last day of work before heading off to the wild blue yonder of Bermuda. Tropical Storm Helene seems to be well on her way to disrupting the end of our holiday, but the first half looks good, and so long as we have a few days it's all good. And, of course, there's the fact that the weather service isn't so great with the predictions. We'll just wait and see. And heck - if nothing else I get a great story out of the deal!
:: David (19:06 in Michigan, 1:06 in Paris) - Comment


:: Wednesday, September 13 2006 ::

Well - thank goodness - it looks like the weird musical selection in my head has settled down to a single, repeated theme. And who doesn't like 'Benny Hill'?

It could be a very long morning...
:: David (8:19 in Michigan, 14:19 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[4]


Holy cow, the capers and smoked salmon must have done something funky to my head. Finding myself singing John Denver's 'Oh Lord, It's Hard to be Humble' is one thing, but when the 'Hee Haw All Junk Band' theme song appeared, I became mightily concerned. If this keeps up for too long, I'm gonna need to get a spoon.
:: David (7:37 in Michigan, 13:37 in Paris) - Comment


:: Monday, September 11 2006 ::

I thought it appropriate, and probably about time, to write down my memories of September 11th, 2001.
:: David (23:34 in Michigan, 5:34 in Paris) - Comment


Just in time for our trip preparations, Hurricane Florence is over Bermuda. While the island itself appears to take the storm quite seriously, Elizabeth Roberts of the Associated Press doesn't sound so concerned for them:

HAMILTON, Bermuda - Hurricane Florence barreled toward Bermuda, forcing some residents of the wealthy British enclave to abandon their yachts and championship golf courses for the shelter of their thick-walled homes.
The storm is expected to pass today, and hopefully by Saturday (the day we arrive) will be nothing but a windy memory.
:: David (8:56 in Michigan, 14:56 in Paris) - Comment


:: Sunday, September 10 2006 ::

If it's Sunday, it must be World of Warcraft. Sasha's character is now at level 40, and going strong. Me? I watch, and do Japanese homework. It's good.
:: David (22:23 in Michigan, 4:23 in Paris) - Comment


:: Saturday, September 9 2006 ::

A funny thing happened a few days ago. Apparently Google Images (UK) changed their formula, and now a search for 'Paris pictures' returns my France section on the first page. I discovered this when I noticed my traffic had shot up better than tenfold (and when I started getting bills from my hosting service). So I've put some google ads on the front page, and we'll see if it pays for the traffic - so far today it looks like 1000 people have been to the page.
:: David (12:46 in Michigan, 18:46 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[4]


:: Friday, September 8 2006 ::

I had lots of exciting emails in the past few days. Folks from random places, random pasts, und so weiter.

I am a truly crap correspondent. I am now so tardy with some mails I have given up hope of ever responding. I like the concept of email bankruptcy, but I am too much a product of my culture - hopelessly in email debt, but unable to face the shame of being unable to support my electronic family, so I try ever harder to catch up (or bury myself ever further in denial) while the past-due notices from my e-creditors piles up. Perhaps this should be the true goal of artificial intelligence - to create a program which can keep up with our correspondence for us. Of course, the idea of robots writing letters to each other without the need for human intervention does tend to lead me to be a bit concerned for the human race....
:: David (0:11 in Michigan, 6:11 in Paris) - Comment


:: Wednesday, September 6 2006 ::

A little bit of excitement today - a major rainstorm outside the office led to a major rainstorm inside the office. Good thing the computer wasn't in its usual place or there could have been some serious equipment losses. The rain was nice, tho - very exciting, and complete with small hailstones.
:: David (18:20 in Michigan, 0:20 in Paris) - Comment


...and so Smart cars made of sand... fall in the sea... eventually.
:: David (7:17 in Michigan, 13:17 in Paris) - Comment


:: Tuesday, September 5 2006 ::

There was a creepy article in this week's Business Week, dicussing new and improved 'loss prevention' technologies being introduced in retail stores:

The number of video cameras installed in stores is expected to grow by 20% over the next year, according to J.P. Freeman. "It won't be long before retailers link their store data to crime reports and statistical analysis to predict losses... and deploy the right technology and people to stop them," says LaRocca of the National Retail Federation. Already, tech startups are working on even more promising -- or intimidating -- systems to track customers through the entire shopping process. There's even talk of stores installing facial recognition programs and license plate readers to catch repeat offenders. You're not likely to notice much of a difference at your favorite shopping haunts. But make no mistake -- they're noticing you.
In general, I find the idea of 'suspicious behaviour' problematic - suspicious to whom, exactly? But facial recognition moves it right into that 'invasion of privacy' area - no longer would you need a frequent shopper card - now they could track your purchases by looking at you. Creepy!
:: David (13:30 in Michigan, 19:30 in Paris) - Comment


:: Sunday, September 3 2006 ::

Google mail has this bizarre bar at the top of your email which gives you on line blurbs, either news stories, quotes, or whatever. I have mine set to Reuters' 'Oddly Enough' stories, from whence came this:

Hedgehogs have finally humbled burger giant McDonald's after years of campaigning, forcing the company to redesign its killer McFlurry ice-cream containers.

Up to now the opening in the container has been large enough for hedgehogs to get their heads into for a lick of the left-over dessert -- a trap they have then been unable to withdraw from, so dying of starvation in untold numbers.

I remember hearing about this story before, which probably says something about my reading habits. It's good news, though - I'm all for designs that are animal friendly. I do wonder about the fact that these cups are apparently being thrown away in hedgehog habitat, but I guess I can't really be surprised....
:: David (12:28 in Michigan, 18:28 in Paris) - Comment


:: Saturday, September 2 2006 ::

Sasha subjected me to Step Up yesterday, a new 'boy who hip-hop dances meets girl who ballet dances, sparks fly' movie. Yeah. It was as entertaining as you would expect it to be, and not quite as painful as it could have been.
:: David (15:09 in Michigan, 21:09 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[3]


A report was released by the pentegon on the Iraqi security situation, the New York Times is reporting. According to the article, "The document notes that, based on initial reports, Iraqi casualties among civilians and security forces reached nearly 120 a day, up from about 80 a day in the pervious [sic] reporting period from mid-February to mid-May. About two years ago they were running about 30 a day."

The graph at right is drawn from the report (I changed the font to make it a bit more readable), and seems to indicate at least one reason Iraqis might be unhappy with their country right now. If the best you can hope for is electricity for two thirds of your day, there's something wrong. The graph may also be overgenerous, as another report in the New York Times about why Iraqis are moving to Kurdistan (!) states "Ms. Abdul Qadir, 30, said one of the biggest boons was the relative abundance of electricity — Sulaimaniya [in the Kurdish North] usually has 15 hours a day, while Baghdad sputters along with 6." You will note that on the map, that would be red (which doesn't appear anywhere). By the same token, 15 hours per day would not be green, which appears to be the color of Kurdistan.

Speaking of which, does anybody mind if I call it that - it seems easier than saying 'the Kurdish North of Iraq', and surely nobody would mind if they just got together with their friends in Turkey and Iran and formed a little country, would they?
:: David (1:13 in Michigan, 7:13 in Paris) - Comment


Well, my laptop has a little bit of a problem - it seems the hard drive has become unstable, and the whole thing is dying. Now, as it happens I have the extended warranty (after my last laptop died I decided this was the best course of action), so next week I'm getting the hard drive replaced.

When I decided I was going to replace the disk, I also decided to install ubuntu linux as the operating system. If it didn't work, no loss - I'm wiping the disk anyhow. But I'm finding it pretty darned easy to use. There have been moments - badly written help files and obscure phrases that mean nothing (what the heck does 'make sure you have a universal repository selected' mean?) - but overall the process has been great. Everything worked on my laptop on the first boot (including my windows networking - and tell me there isn't irony in using windows networking to connect a linux box to a mac!) and I was able to get a video player with all the obscure codecs in short order. So this evening we watched a movie.

I'm fairly sure I won't stick with it - in the end, I'm pretty lazy when it comes to my computer - I don't want to think about it, I just want it to work. But that said, that seems to be what happened here - it just worked.

If you're feeling fiesty, you can head over to the ubuntu download site and grab a copy of the live CD. The whole thing runs off the CD, so you don't have to install anything - just reboot with the CD in the drive. It's pretty cool, and you don't have to send one thin dime to Microsoft - it even comes with OpenOffice (think Microsoft Office) and gimp (think Adobe Photoshop), so you can roll straight out of the box.
:: David (0:04 in Michigan, 6:04 in Paris) - Comment


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