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September 2004 Archives
September 29, 2004
343,000 Feet, and one of Two

I need a category for "so cool I can't stand it." Mike Melville did it again this morning, and took SpaceShipOne past the 65.3 mile mark, and completed part one of the two parts to win the Ansari X prize. Note the Virgin logo that is now on the tail of SpaceShipOne. Who cares? This is unbelievable. Now they have to make the next flight on Monday.

[From the 'Tech Bytes' Section]
Posted by Lincoln at 10:24 AM
The Man Sarong

The four of us spent the weekend in Kenora (2.5 hours north of Emo) for the biannual Cambrian Presbytery meetings. As usual, I was a part of the youth event. We spent the weekend creating a piece as part of worship on Sunday that was amazing. The group started with the outline of a script and pumped it up to involve dance, drama, music and audio effects. We had planned to add visual effects with an LCD projector, but what the teens created was so visually stunning that it would have detracted from the piece.

One of the funniest parts of the weekend was the audio clip that we created and never used. I was working with three of the teens to create the sound effects for the piece, and an (eventually discarded) effect that we needed was a run through the radio dial. As Reid ran through the radio dial, however, he captured this clip that humoured the heck out of all of us for the weekend.

Pictures to come, and a QT copy of the worship piece, when I have a chance.

[From the 'Lincoln' Section]
Posted by Lincoln at 08:50 AM
September 21, 2004
I'm a remix

So, check this out: I'm spending some time tooling around on A9, Amazon's new search engine. It pulls results (and advertising links) from Google primarily, but has a contextual search and search history feature that's pretty neat. And, the combination of images and links on the same page is neat, too.

So, like everyone should do occasionally, I "a9-ed" (I don't think that'll catch on) my name. I see most of the typical stuff I usually find a la Google. However, I found the most bizarre link I've seen to my name yet. Apparently, I'm a remix from the UK.

Sweet -- I'm cooler than I already thought.

[From the 'Tech Bytes' Section]
Posted by Lincoln at 03:17 PM
I'm so jealous...

tyler.jpgMy good friend Tyler went and saw Lisa Loeb last night in Toronto last night, after taunting me mercilessly all day yesterday. Since I know he won't put the picture up anywhere, I figured I would. So, to get even, I just went and bought her new album from the iTunes Music Store. Boy o boy, is that one-click purchasing evil. I like so far.
Last night, after listening to me rant about how disgusted I was with Tyler for having the audacity to go and see her without me, Frances and I also discussed Lisa's position on my list of celebrities I'm allowed to sleep with, given the opportunity.
It's okay, she's got a few on her list too.

[From the 'Lincoln' Section]
Posted by Lincoln at 10:08 AM
September 19, 2004
Today is Talk Like A Pirate Day

Arrrr, ye scurvy dog. Ye'll git what's comin' to ya if ye don't honor the 19th of September, the official "Talk Like A Pirate Day."
Life online is so retarded. I love it. Now: back to the pirate talk.

[From the 'Amusing Bits' Section]
Posted by Lincoln at 01:15 PM
September 16, 2004
I hate security audits

So, I'm dealing with a security audit of our web server right now, since we have a new customer who jumped over that needs it for regulatory reasons. While there's nothing dreadfully serious about the results, I'm mad as hell at the fact that Red Hat Enterprise Server's wonderful, magical up2date utility has apparently *not* been functioning correctly. It won't even run from the CLI. Grrr.

Therein lies my biggest frigging frustration with (a) Linux, and (b) computers in general. If I had the level of reliability that these machines tend to have, I'd be fired. I know I'm committing some anthropomorphism here, but, come on. I'm in a "time to live on an island" mode at the moment. UPDATE: Apparently, it was running correctly. The security audit performed by Qualys isn't quite as comprehensive as it appears. Many of the vulnerabilities found by the scan are determined by testing version numbers, which Qualys finds simply by making a connection to the socket a program is listening on. This is not the same as testing for a vulnerability (and thank the lord they don't do that -- I'd be really pissed if they started poking into vulnerabilities, for testing purposes or not. Since RedHat back-ports patches, rather than upgrading versions, this means that what looks bad to Qualsys is actually just a version of the software that is stable, but patched.
This is what happens when automatic tools are used to perform security checks. Silly testing.

[From the 'Tech Bytes' Section]
Posted by Lincoln at 11:06 AM
September 15, 2004
Republicans for Voldemort

Too, too humorous. Via BoingBoing, I found advertising on the side for the "Republicans for Voldemort" t-shirt from Never seen the site before (mostly because I'm not really an online comic kind of guy, I'm sure), but the shirt is great. I also like the "Killer Robot" shirt, which I'm sure will horrify my parents.

[From the 'Amusing Bits' Section]
Posted by Lincoln at 01:06 PM
September 14, 2004
6200 songs...

...ripped from the collection of over 500 CDs, and I ain't done yet.

An interesting factoid that I had never realized before, is that speed of ripping from CDs is constrained not as much by your drive speed, but more by the distance from the center of the disc, and, hence, the spin speed at that point on the disc. Further distance from center, faster speed spinning, apparently.
I guess that's the result of bailing on as much science as possible at grade 11. (Thank you, Biology 11. All I remember is fighting with the teacher over her use of a "Far Side" comic on the exam to identify a paramecium.)

[From the 'Lincoln' Section]
Posted by Lincoln at 11:45 PM
September 11, 2004
Help me and my Altec Lansing 2.1 System

Through a monumentally-stupid episode of "using-the-left-channel-speaker-for-a-non-approved-purpose," I'm now looking for a left channel midrange 3" driver (and possibly the tweeter too) of a set of Altec Lansing ACS48 speakers. Anyone who reads this and has one moldering in their closet, let me know. I love this speaker set, and can't really afford to replace the whole damn thing right now.

(Note to self: Never use good speakers to test a powered mixing board from a garage sale.)

[From the 'Lincoln' Section]
Posted by Lincoln at 09:48 PM
Be still, beating heart...

...I'm trying mightily to keep from bidding on the opportunity to have a non-speaking, walk-on part on the "George Lopez" show.

No, I'm not. But apparently 44 other people are, and someone's willing to spend $1,000 to work for free, and be not-famous for a fleeting moment. Great idea on the part of the production company though. "Why pay extras, when we can SELL them the opportunity to do what others usually get paid fairly well for?"

Can anyone else hear the union lawyers' collective apoplexy?

[From the 'Miscellany' Section]
Posted by Lincoln at 08:01 PM
September 09, 2004
Apple and My Education in the Markets

As anyone who knows me is aware of, I'm an advanced Mac user. I've been using them since my high school computer courses with Gord Devito at Sentinel Secondary School in West Vancouver (warning: web ugliness ahead). I fell into the category of one of the MacEvangelists (a la the inimitable Guy Kawasaki, who ran the Apple Mac EvangeList for a couple of years) for several years -- from about 1995-1999. I suffered through the "Dark Days" of Apple, as asshats like Michael Spindler and Gil Amelio drove Apple to the brink of bankruptcy. A side note: I can't believe that no one bought out Apple in 1998. It was like seeing a gold nugget lying in a mound of horse droppings, and not wanting to get dirty in order to take it home.
Tangents aside, what I did learn as a result of my rapt attention to the (mis)fortunes of Apple during that period, was how the market economy works. No more blank looks at the concepts of P/E ratios, market capitalization, EPS and EBITDA.
The realization that this was how my education in economics began was today, when I was checking my portfolio (which includes stock in Apple, bought at 17 9/16, thank you very much) and breezed through some analyst opinions, and saw that Bear Stearns downgraded Apple today because of inflated valuation concerns -- and I understood exactly why, since Apple's stock has taken a fairly meteroric climb in the last 4-5 months, based partially on the success of the iTunes Music Store, but also the success of the iPod.
My concern with Apple's stock is that the iTunes Music Store is now about to deal with a significant competitor, and that the iPod, as cool as it is (I'm trying to figure out how I can afford a new one, so I can, um, "give" the old one to Frances), is a positioning product for future product diversification (home media/wireless entertainment), not one to base the company's future on at the expense of their traditional products. Although, from what it sounds like the profit margins are comparatively on the eMac and the iPod, they're better off selling the latter.

[From the 'Tech Bytes' Section]
Posted by Lincoln at 01:18 PM
September 08, 2004
Finally, some pictures from Newfoundland

newtown_sunset.jpgWe spent 10 days in Newfoundland, attending Gareth's godmother's wedding (Frances was an attendant). A little lag time, but here are some shots from the trip. Gorgeous scenery, and the most generous people I've met in a long time. As I remarked to Frances, I'd live there, if it wasn't at the ends of the earth.

[From the 'Imagery' Section]
Posted by Lincoln at 11:55 AM
CD ripping morality flowchart

From BoingBoing, I saw this chart, a cool visual of the moral flowchart suggesting whether to rip a CD to mp3/OGG/AAC files on your hard drive.
I'm in the push at home to get all our CDs ripped to MP3s -- I'm at over 28GB, 5500 songs, and about 50% of the way through -- so I found this quite funny. I also am a proponent of the iTunes Music Store. Yes, I know that copy protection sucks, but I think FairPlay is better than any other copy protection, and I can live with it. Yes, I wish that their AAC files were ripped at more than 128k, although I find the 128k files to be at least as good as 160kbps mp3 rips. Yes, I wish it were available in Canada (athough, for some reason it thinks I'm an American citizen, and takes my Canadian credit card. Yay me! Boo, my credit card balance.).
In the mean time, I'm now searching for another hard drive at home, since my 60GB media drive is getting full, what with the 25GB of home videos still to finish editing, and the 28GB of tunes. The iTunes streaming feature is, by the way, the best thing ever. No more having to refresh the playlists and library on the upstairs iMac to get all the newest music. Cool.

[From the 'Tech Bytes' Section]
Posted by Lincoln at 10:12 AM