What's New? 2001-04-01

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What's New? 2001-04-01

 Saturday 28 July 2001
  Uncle Sam The Radioactive Boy Scout, an article by Ken Silverstein for Harper's Magazine (November 1998) is one of the most absurd tales of geekly enthusiasm gone strangely astray. It's one of those tales which floats around the 'net, but not one that you really believe. Recently I read the article, and when it came up in conversation a day later - and I didn't have a pointer to it - I decided to archive it here. (The response of the federal government, chronicled near the end of the tale, is probably my favorite part of the entire story.) When I visited the Harper's web site I found out that what I'd read was a badly abridged version; Ken's original version is presented here.
 Friday 27 July 2001
  Faced with numerous reports about Mac OS 10.1 build 5f24 (Macworld Preview), and thinly veiled pointers to their availability on the 'net, I succumbed and downloaded a 618.9 MB disk image.

This is a very early build of operating system software not due to be released until September 2001, three months down the road. It's both ridiculous and unfair to evaluate this as shipping software. This was a build put together for the Macworld Exposition / New York, held in July 2001. Complaining about what doesn't work, what doesn't look right, and what doesn't please is unfair and unproductive - since Apple hasn't committed to this feature set - and just muddies the waters with fear, uncertainty, and doubt. If one is to install pirated software, and operating systems in particular, it ought to be for a taste of what's improved, what's changed for the better, and what looks good. Evaluation and critique can wait until a final build, or at least a build much closer to the (promised) release date.

That having been said, here's what I [Macro error: There is no glossary entry named "Mac OS X: 5f24"] .

 Thursday 26 July 2001
  drive! SF Library There was a time, seemingly a long time ago, when I was working at Organic Online during the day and visiting the Mission Cliffs rock climbing center around the edges of my schedule, when I wasn't engaging in Aikido around the corner from Organic, at the Skidrow Dojo. Mission Cliffs It was a time at the very beginnings of the Internet Era, as it ought to be capitalized. The huge sums of money were just a trickle, but one large enough to make us deal with marketing, account managers, and the endless mantra of "branding". It's amazing that we got any programming done at all. Anyway, one of the first scanners at my disposal was found in Organic's art department. One day, at a whim, I scanned the contents of my wallet. They've been clunking around my "To Be Added" folder for a long time. No longer.
 Wednesday 25 July 2001
  O'Reilly & Associates produces some of the finest technical books on the market. My bookshelf includes volumes covering Java, UNIX, Palm, and the MIT X Window System. O'Reilly Practical Unix Internet Security O'Reilly Porn It was the latter, a vast improvement over the loose-leaf photocopied documentation which came from MIT, which made the company. Over the years I purchased most of the original X documentation series, and they saved me hundred or thousands of hours of software development time. Having my peers write books results in a valuable voice, indeed. So beloved is the company that parodies of its signature title layout and art circulate around the 'net. From time to time they arrive in my in-box; today I present two of them to you.
 Tuesday 24 July 2001
  [Macro error: imgFileRef: Can't continue because there is no file named tiny-demon.gif in the folder 'rosencrantz:Users:mickey:Sites:sattlers:images:'.]

I just realized that I'd left my version of Frontier in a working state (migrating from the Classic to the "Mac OS X" version), not broken, as I remembered. That's one of the downsides of working on things in the early hours of the morning. I have lots of things in the queue and will backfill entries for the last month. Mea culpa. Thanks for asking (those of you know who you are); it keeps me on the ball.

 Thursday 21 June 2001
  Every once in a while I read a story which is inspirational in a fresh, original way. A Measure of Hope, by Washington Post staff writer Dita Smith, is about a Holocaust awareness in a "white, Christian and very fundamentalist" community in Tennessee. Read why it's gotten the attention of a U. S. President, would become the subject of a book, and would become an international cause.
 Wednesday 20 June 2001
  My sister Felicia sent me a humor email about the current energy crisis (and the blackouts rolling across our fine state this springtime): Californians.
 Tuesday 19 June 2001
  Isaac is two-and-one-half years old today. It's just amazing (to me) all the things which have happened since he was born. He was born just after midnight, and the next day it snowed in San Francisco for the first time in a quarter-century.
 Friday 8 June 2001
  Okay, here's today's tale of corporate stupidity. About a week after ordering a trinket I realized that it hadn't yet arrived. So I checked the confirmation email and hit their tracking URL. I was taken to the United Parcel Service (UPS) web site and shown that my package was hung up because "Person or Company Unknown". Huh? I gave them our company address, including a nine digit zip code. The UPS guy stops by every day. How can they say they don't know us? I pick up the phone and chat with these rocket scientists. What's their solution to this problem? Well, they send a postcard to the same address. What!?! If they're telling us that the United States Postal Service can find us while UPS can't, then why not just use the USPS package service? Sigh.
 Tuesday 5 June 2001
  Aiiiiiiiii! Am I an idiot or what? I just realized that while my travelogues have been going online, my Travel page hasn't been properly updated in quite a while. Oy! My Salzburg page was munged. I left placeholder text on my 1999 Europe trip page. Sloppy. Sigh. All fixed.
 Monday 4 June 2001
  I guess I have to reconsider my opinion of Pasta Pomodoro, or at least the one in the Castro. While I wasn't looking, or perhaps while we were in Roma, they completely revamped their menu. The ravioli di zucca are tasty, and the risotto de pescatore is satisfying. Their caesar salad is miserable, but I keep on ordering it because I want it to be better than it is. And it's close to home, with outdoor tables on the sidewalk; perfect for Isaac to run around.

Afterwards Isaac had us heading towards Ben & Jerry's ice cream parlor, but he decided he'd rather go into the subway station and look at the trains. He knows the difference between inbound and outbound trains, especially since the latter go to "Bubbie and Zadie and Pammy's house", but his favorite thing is to see the trains go into the subway tunnels as they leave the station.

 Sunday 3 June 2001
  I just don't get what the big deal is about IKEA. I'm pretty sure it's Swedish for "unimaginably long lines". I mean, I like the café, what with its meatballs, lingonberry juice, and bracing coffee, but that doesn't explain the throngs of people who fill the store, looking to buy incredibly poor-quality Chinese-made products for a low price. Most of the "wood" products seem to be particle board or compressed cat litter :-) which hardly seems like it would survive even a humid day much less a bit of abuse.

The parking situation is horrid, even with parking lots the side of most towns, the checkout lines are stunningly long, and the pack-it-yourself plastic bags are so thin as to be virtually unusable, even when doubled up. (Okay, we shoulder part of the blame: to avoid the parking woes we always visit off hours during the weekday. Today I just forgot my own survival rules.) Why do we visit at all? Well, it's a really convenient stop-off on all eastward trips from San Francisco, and Isaac loves playing on the slide on the second floor. Which is right near the coffee :^)

We do spend some of our money there: we just bought basic black table settings for eight (Thailand), drinking glasses and juice glasses (Turkey), rainbow cups and plates (don't remember) and wooden blocks (China) for Isaac. And of course the café fare (Emeryville).

 Saturday 2 June 2001
  We follow our Saturday morning routine, breakfasting on Hawaiian food at May's Coffee Shop in Japantown. (Although it's no Ma's Family Restaurant it's pretty good and a great place for Isaac.) There's nothing quite like eating a SPAM omelette while Isaac plays with his cars on the ramp (or greets the koi under the faux indoor waterfall). I love how our doodle chants for "rice and eggs" (although he's not getting his nutritionally important rice and beans; bad Papa, bad Papa).

Last weekend we took BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit, for you out-of-towners) to the East Bay, to visit a brother-in-law. Isaac, who loves trains in general, absolutely went bonkers over BART. Everyone he meets is regaled with stories: "Isaac on a BART train. When BART train come into a station it says 'wooooooo, wooooooo'." He also took the CALtrain down the peninsula (last week) with a playgroup of his to visit a park and playground, but even though that was a double-decker train, it hasn't resulted in many stories.

 Friday 1 June 2001
  It's been two months since I've stopped my regular update of this web page. Why? Primarily it's been because I've been putting a lot of time into my new contract, as the lead Java architect and programmer in the bioinformatics group of a biotechnology research and development company in South San Francisco. (You'll find out more about the company when I post photos. We were in Oakland, at Children's Hospital, for about two weeks after I started. Then we moved.)

To that end I've been allocating a lot of my free time (along with my work time) into adding several software development technologies to my "Mac OS X" installation. I have a weblet devoted to the [Macro error: There is no glossary entry named "Mac OS X: 10.x"] and another to the [Macro error: There is no glossary entry named "Mac OS X: Third-Party Software"] I'm using (including the Apache web server, the Apache Jakarta Tomcat JSP (JavaServer Page) engine and servlet container, the mySQL relational database, the Jakarta Ant build tool, the Concurrent Versions System (CVS) source code control tool, and rsync to keep my data mirrored on several machines). You'll find a complete list (and step-by-step instructions) on the page links.

 Sunday 13 May 2001
  Douglas Adams So long, Douglas Adams, and thanks for all the books. Your death comes as a complete and unexpected surprise, and is all the more shocking for it. Geeks the world over are stunned, and have vented their frustration and sadness all across the Internet.

Your books (and radio shows and television adaptations) have been greatly inspiring to the technophillic. For many of us it was the first inkling that there were others like us, questioning the absurd nature of things. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy gave us all the strength to take a deep breath and not panic.

You will be sorely missed. I hope you remembered to take your towel with you on this last voyage of yours.

 Sunday 1 April 2001
  It's a beautiful spring day here in the Bagdad by the Bay. We decide to stroll across the city, something we haven't done in a long time. I don the "big boy backpack" (our Kelty mountaineering child-carrier) and the three of us take the subway to Powell Street, from which we stroll through Chinatown to the Cable Car Museum. (Very nice, but nothing compared to London's Transport Museum.) From there we continue to through North Beach to the cable car turnaround near Fisherman's Wharf.

There we have a wonderful Irish breakfast at The Fiddler's Green, which brings back memories of our trip to St. Ives (near Land's End in south-west England). Full of good food, we walk to Pier 39 to gaze at the harbor seals and the "Bush Man" who scares the tourists. We laughed ourselves silly (again).

We finished up the day by taking the restored historic streetcars back to the Castro. We cook a nice dinner, organic vegetables in our salad, corn on the cob, and spaghetti #5 with that wonderful Golden Gouda cheese, aged two years. Mmmm.

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