Swimming with the Razorfishes

Friday, January 16, 2004

I mentioned that GarageBand is great fun, right? I just spend some time goofing around with it, and created my first little loop. It was inspired by Lord of the Rings. I'm so proud.

Now I have to get a USB keyboard.

For the record, GarageBand is way too much fun to play with.

Another reason that Google rocks:


It understands FedEx and UPS tracking numbers.

On another note, today might be declared the "Day Of Screenshots," as FedEx just delivered a box containing a number of new Apple applications (iLife '04 is shipping).

I'm really starting to like this Exposé feature Apple introduced in OS X 10.3


I changed the settings so that all application windows are zoomed when I stick the mouse in the lower-right corner of the screen, and all apps are hidden when I stick the mouse in the lower-right corner of the screen.

I'm starting to get used to this, and I'm actually using it for something other than amusement.

More great spam:

"For two reasons, my dear, the woman's voice answered

The dama-fruit is the most delicious thing that grows, and when it makes us invisible the bears cannot find us to eat us up As soon as he had reached a sufficient elevation to admit of good speed he turned the indicator once more to the east and began moving rapidly through the air, the shipwrecked sailors dangling at either side

But now, good wanderers, your luncheon is on the table, so please sit down and eat as much as you like .

This is aw--aw--awful! gasped the little one."

I think all the spammers have gone insane. They aren't trying to sell anything; they're just sending us all sorts of absurd mail.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Accents of the world:

"This site examines the accented speech of speakers from many different language backgrounds reading the same sample paragraph. Currently, we have obtained 297 speech samples."

[via Derek Powazek]

E-Week: "Hewlett-Packard Co. on Thursday will announce that it earned a record-breaking $2.5 billion Linux-based revenue in fiscal 2003, with its Linux services and solutions business posting a 40 percent rise over fiscal 2002."

Wow -- that is a lot of money made from Linux. Unfortunately, H.P. isn't breaking out those revenue numbers, so I'm not sure how much came from "products" and how much came from "services." Still, big numbers.

This may be the best bug report I've read this year. Very funny.

[via Brian Jepson]

Received in a spam this morning:

"necrosis urbane cornstarch. desperado destine dwindle? finn Halt chateau these incursions on my e-mail! assure unary - attract: ascendant christendom malcolm..... cedric absorb breathy. hyperboloidal cowhide bridgeable. discreet basemen collision. tulane cowman scattergun.bulk flask accord."

Well said, Mr. Spammer. Necrosis urbane cornstarch indeed.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Hardcore stick figure porn.


The server hosting bitpuddle.com is back up, BTW.

"My worry is that any pissing match requires two dicks."

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

The server hosting bitpuddle.com is down, down, down right now. I don't know if it is crashed, or just unreachable.

Mail to me won't work for a while, and images won't load. Such is life on the web.

I'm watching the second Austin Powers, and I'm finding all the jokes terribly funny. I think I'm oxygen deprived.

"Try the Hot Pockets. They're breathtaking."

Strange moves at the gym.

It is crowded. All the tradmills, stairmasters, and elliptical trainers are being used. Muscle-Guy gets off of a stairmaster and walks away. Tall grey-haired guy with a belly gets on said stairmaster and starts his workout.

A few minutes later Muscle-Guy returns with paper towels pilfered from the men's locker room. He steps around to the front of said stairmaster, now being actuated by Tall grey-haired guy with a belly. While Tall grey-haired guy with a belly is pumping away, Muscle-Guy proceeds to wipe the stairmaster's handles with the pilfered paper towels.

Muscle-Guy then looks at Tall grey-haired guy with a belly, now in full stride, and says, "its all you."

That was odd.

Even Scoble thinks that Microsoft's (David Fester's?) message about music downloads has been weak.

John Robb has a whole bunch of amateur photos of the Saddam Hussein capture.

Quick Quiz:

C Style

public void foo() {

Pascal Style

public void foo()

Weak. At least call it something different.

Prepare yourself for an entirely random Geek rant.

I'm reading through a crappy review of Apple's new in-ear headphones, when I trip over this sentence:

"Before I get started, let me answer a question that's always being asked. "What's the deal with these "In-Ear" headphones?" Believe it or not, that's actually easy to answer. Bass frequencies are rather loose, which makes them the least directional of all sound frequencies."

I'm really not sure what the reviewer means by "loose," so I'll leave that alone. What really bothers me is the (quite common) idea that low frequencies are somehow "less directional" than high frequencies or that they are non-directional.

There are no special laws of physics that apply to low frequencies. They behave like sound of any other frequency.

The issue with low frequencies has to do with the size and design of the transducer, or speaker, creating the low frequencies. Often, the size of the transducer is so much smaller than low-frequency wavelengths (relative to high-frequency wavelengths) that the transducer spews sound in every direction. Once produced, the low-frequency sound travels predictably.

Speakers are non-directional, rather than the sound they produce.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Macworld UK: HP denies WMA plans for iPod.

Monday, January 12, 2004

That wacky David Fester is at it again. Mr. Fester (you have to love that name) is general manager of Microsoft's digital media division, and he has come up with memorable quotes in the past. I've mentioned him before.

Mr. Fester seems to have made some statements in reaction to the Apple / H.P. iPod deal that I've already discussed way too much.

At CES, Mr. Fester suggested that iTunes' emerging dominance would be bad for consumers, because it would limit them to the iPod. He replayed this company line:

"Windows is about choice - you can mix and match software and music player stuff. We believe you should have the same choice when it comes to music services."

Yea, we've heard that before. Then Mr. Fester claimed that the HP deal would confuse its customers because the company supports several other Microsoft media products that are not compatible with the iPod, including its Windows Media Centre software.

So choice is good, as long as you chose WMA. Or as long as you don't chose AAC. Or you can choose whatever you like, as long as your choice sends some money Microsoft's way. Something like that.

Microsoft should require David Fester to hold hands with a PR person at all times.


Walking Home

walking home

Harpers: Noodles's' Attempts at Suicide

"After 9/11, our store associates were instructed that if they see something suspicious or out of the ordinary, they're to contact their managers and local authorities," Frankel said. "It's all about keeping our associates and customers safe and this was out of the ordinary and kind of raised a red flag and they did what they thought was right."

Buying a flight simulator is suspicious? Haven't flight simulators been best selling software for, I don't know, a decade?

This is exactly the problem with our current Orwellian state of perpetual war. Everyone is "enlisted" to do their part. Of course no one knows what they are doing, so we all descend into informing on one another. The issue isn't whether or not this Staples clerk thought it was right to inform on an American citizen; the question is why was this clerk able to be an informant at all? I thought this country stopped burning witches in the eighteenth century.

With it's anxiety-producing and incomprehensible color-coded threat level, the homeland security is moving in the wrong direction. So we're at threat level red -- what can I do about it? Perhaps I should just report every "suspicious" person I see?

What kind of Pyrrhic victory would the Bush administration claim if the "homeland" was secured at the price of turning it into a Stalinesque police state, where there are no laws, but dare to break one and you end up disappeared?

Sorry about the rant.

Because Clemens Vasters pointed me there, I'm looking through questions on TechInterview.com

What will print out?

char *p1="name";
char *p2;
memset (p2, 0, 20);
while(*p2++ = *p1++);

These are exactly the kind of questions I avoid during interviews. I have never, ever been asked to write software that spewed text out on the console, and I don't think this kind of question really gauges ability. Anyone could spend a few days with a Learn C++ in 21 Days book and answer most of these questions.

If I wanted to hire a language lawyer, I'd ask stuff like this. If I wanted to hire a software developer capable of making good decisions, I'd ask quite different questions. These kind of questions tend to be asked by geeks who are really excited that they know the answers, not by people trying to hire great people.

Slashdot is running a story pointing to a story at Connected Home Media claiming that HP will be adding support for Windows Media format files to the iPod. That would make an odd situation even odder.

And, like any Slashdot story, the crazies, zealots, and those in a perpetual state of opposition to everything come out of the woodwork. It seems that the Ogg Vorbis crazies have become the Mac weenies of the digital music world.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Standing in the cold; train station, looking around.


How can the height of civilization be so empty?

  1. Go to Amazon

  2. In the product search box, type "old fart"

  3. Hit enter

  4. Giggle

CNet has some video of Carly Fiorina revealing the HP iPod. It looks like one of the standard model iPods, not the mini.

Ms. Fiorina claims that Apple approached HP because HP are "innovators" and have the "engineering prowess to make complex systems simple," and that HP are focusing all of their "innovation to make the iPod and iTunes fit into their whole digital entertainment experience."

Does that make anyone else giggle? All of that "engineering prowess" came up with the idea to resell Apple's iPod? Maybe HP should reconsider the return they are getting from their R&D.

Michael Dell and I still don't know what to think.