What's New? 2001-08-01

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What's New? 2001-08-01

 Friday 31 August 2001
  The Euro banknotes were unveiled today. I remember when I was a young child who thought the "United States of Europe" was an inevitable future, in some very distant time. I used to think it was a good idea, but with the dissolution of national currencies I'm feeling that something ineffable is being lost, never to return. Are we going to see the commercial homoginization towards mediocrity and consumerism which grips the US?


Oh, and while I'm on the topic of Europe, I'd like to toss out a stray comment on the recent violence at the economic conference in Genoa. While it seems that the Carabinieri overreacted in the general scheme of things, I'm amazed at the outcry regarding the hoodlum who was shot by a police officer at point-blank range while throwing a fire extinguisher at his squad car. Has the death of common sense become so widespread that we're reduced to reminding "protesters" that it's a bad idea to throw very heavy objects at armed persons backed against the wall.

I didn't have a list of things written down to tell Isaac and Lila, but maybe I need to start. Kids, don't do that, even if it seems like a good idea at the moment. Now what was that thing about not putting honey on your hands so that a bear can lick it off and look cuddly for a photo...?

 Monday 13 August 2001
  Lila Ariela Seraphina Sattler is born in San Francisco today at 1710. Vital statistics: black hair, brown eyes, 1310 grams (6 pounds, 13 ounces), 47.5 centimeters (19 inches).

She's keeping us very, very busy. Even though we expected it. Parenting: the hardest job you'll ever love. It's so great. More photos to follow, as I have a free moment to download from our digital cameras.

 Friday 10 August 2001
  While it's true that the planetary corporate trend is toward mediocre pap, sometimes there exist small islands of love and quality. The Resurrection of KPH, the wireless giant of the Pacific is a tale of some folks who are trying to return a bit of history to the present day. I wish them the best of luck.
 Thursday 9 August 2001
  Just when I thought there were no good ways to make money: first the The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation thought I'd be a good canditate to get thirty per cent of $25,000,000. Then the The Diamond Dealing Secret Unit of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) of Sierra-Leone wants to concede some percentage for my logistic and material involvement for laundering $12,500,000. This week Flyeagle Travel & Tours of Lagos, Nigeria wants to give me a commission on each credit card transaction I undertake for them. I'm flattered, really I am.
 Monday 6 August 2001
  nu·mi·nous (nm-ns, ny-) adj.
 1. Of or relating to a numen; supernatural.
 2. A sense of a supernatural presence: a numinous place.
 3. Spiritually elevated; sublime.

Sublime, that's what I felt when I read this:

A team of astronomers said it has found evidence of the period billions of years ago when starlight first began streaming through the universe. The announcement comes just after another scientific team reported that it had discovered the cosmic "dark ages", a time before stars and galaxies began shining. The findings appear to strengthen the case that telescopes have been able to look back far enough in time to glimpse the period when stars and galaxies first formed, scientists said. Both sets of findings focused on a "fog" or haze that's thought to have pervaded the universe before it was dissipated by light from the first stars, galaxies and other celestial structures.

 Monday 6 August 2001
  A client of mine, Renovis, has continued my services for another three months. Up to now I've been coding a Laboratory Information Management System for their bioinformatics efforts. The "Java" & Java Server Pages (JSP) project is almost done, speaking now to the corporate Oracle database. (It had been working with the MySQL database on my PowerBook.)

Now I'll be doing some UNIX system and network administration, including some security work, and lending a hand to the bioinformatic computational needs of the researchers (one of whom actually went out and purchased a book on "Perl"). Expect some more technical notes to percolate up to the "Geek Times" front page.

 Sunday 5 August 2001
  Yikes! What a unseasonably clear, warm, and pleasant day! It's been an El Niño kind of summer for those of us used to heavy fog until Labor Day; just delightful. Puts a positive spin on that global warming talk :-)

We had a full day, starting with time at a playgroup, then hours at the Bon (Summer) Festival at Nihonmachi (Japantown), then two circuits of Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park with Isaac, Rose, and friends of ours who've relocated to Santa Rosa. Then a few hours at the in-laws; home at 2300. (A little too much sun on skin used to cubicles these days.)

The Bon Dance included several very melodic songs which sounded - and looked - like Hawai'ian. We'll be back next year.

 Saturday 4 August 2001
  I've always gotten a giggle over the changing Google logos the giant search engine shares with us. (More to come.)

Another nice day in the city. Japantown hosted the fifteenth annual little race-car championships, and we enjoyed zaru soba while Isaac slept. Then, the piece resistance, was two delightful hours of open-mic standup guitar music at the Skylight Café.

 Friday 3 August 2001
  Some things are interesting just for the historical record. A few years ago I was on my 1995 Eivissa and Gran Canaria trip, writing a book, communicating back to San Francisco over a 9600 kbps modem (but not getting half that much throughput). On such a setup, with a 680x0 chip in a PowerBook 520c, I was testing a new Apple operating system, plus Apple add-ons (Location Manager), and surfing the web.

how fast?

A few days ago I came across CNET's line-speed evaluation page and I fired away, hoping to get a good feel for the bandwidth I enjoy at home. I mention this because in a few years these speeds will feel slow, and if no line is drawn in the sand I fear we'll all forget the path upon which we trod to get there.

Just as our children will live in a world where LP records (and perhaps even CDs) will be relegated to the dustbin of history, next to the casette and eight-track tape, they'll enjoy the convergence of computing and wireless technologies. I just saw bits of the movie Final Fantasy, and I was blown away by how convincing the all-digital characters were. Oh sure, they don't properly turn around or have their hands hang properly, but this is just the first tests in virtual humans. Five years from now one won't be able to tell the difference. This may not be a boon to human actors, but I shudder in excitement to think of the entertainment possibilities.

Of course, I shudder in revulsion at the thoughts of the constant avalanche of commercial advertisments our offspring will have to endure, mixed in with all this wonder, but that's one of the joys of parenting.

 Thursday 2 August 2001
  Since I live on one of the coasts you can statistically conclude that I vote liberal (as did most coastal residents in the last presidential election). I try to keep politics out of this web site, along with any exhortations of religion, sex, and taxes, but from time to time something pops into my in-box which is too funny to hide.

W Dumber than the Pope thought
Damn, he's even dumber than they said.

If you voted for our current, brilliant, Commander in Chief, please accept my abject apologies.

 Wednesday 1 August 2001

Just when I thought I had a handle on all the old evils a new evil walks into town. This time it's someone taking the content which I've worked so hard to place here and coöpting it for their commercial gain. How? Well, their web browser checks all the words on my pages and places hyperlinks to clients of theirs. So if I happen to be prattling on about going to the bank, the word bank might contain a link to a bank. I like to have editorial control over what you see on my site, and I surely want to be compensated if someone else plasters their advertisments through my prose.

Evil bastards. Will the ubiquity of advertising, the rise of the corporate state, and the continued marginalization of non-commercial human experiece never abate? (Of course, those of you who have read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World know that we'll continue on this downwards spiral until we spend all of our hard-earned income on the lastest color of Centrifugal Bumble-Puppy equipment - probaly with the Nike swoosh on it.)

Usually it's the Evil Empire, Microsoft, which figures out a novel way to inflict mediocrity and extract data at the expense of privacy, but this time they've been joined (seemingly without meaning to) by some upstarts. Microsoft's SmartTags and eZula's TopText are two similar technologies which add commercial links to web pages.

So I've re-rendered the entire site to generate the

<meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="TRUE">

tags which specify that I wish to opt-out of their money-making (for them) scheme. Evil, greedy, soul-less bastards.

[Macro error: Can't get the root table of "" because it has no #ftpSite table.]   next

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