Undelete Me

I just did what is sadly a not terribly uncommon screwup for me, trying to change a filename I typed “rm file1 file2”, thereby deleting the first file. Quick like a bunny before something else was written on that space, I looked for an undelete type program and found recover, which worked just fine. I gave it some specs on the file, like earliest and
latest possible dates, max and min filesize, what user would have owned it, and voila, it found it and fixed it. I was quite pleased with that, and the whole thing, from mistake to being fixed was like 6 minutes.

Set Me Free

Today is far too pretty to be at work. I feel dumb for sitting in my cubicle when there is a shining sun to be soaked up, trees to be sat under, birds to listen to. What am I thinking?

Jukebox Social Engineering

The other night I ate dinner at our local pub
Fox and Hounds
, close enough to walk to for when one might have a couple. I like the food, I like the proximity but mostly I go there to dominate the jukebox. I didn’t play
it this time, but sometimes I play a social engineering jukebox game that a friend and I inadvertantly invented there one night. I call it “What is this shit?”.

Here’s how you play. Take a seat where you have an unobstructed view of the jukebox and get comfy, order a drink. Take a reasonable amount of money with you to the jukebox and pick a lot of songs, 10 would be the bare minimum but more is better. The goal of the game is to alter the energy of the room in a way that is bothersome to the patrons. The way this is measured is by the number of people who put money into the
jukebox during the time period your songs are playing. For bonus points, you can watch a while and try to establish the baseline before you start. The nature of the alteration isn’t always the same, so you need to get a feel for the zeitgeist in the place before you start. If it is a good time, frat boy, couples on dates crowd I play a lot of slow downer songs. They have Jeff Buckley’s Grace, so his version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is good for that. Alternately, if it is a dour Goth type crowd, I go for lots of peppy powerpop, “My Sharona” and “Walking on Sunshine”, etc. It can be really fun, if you are in a mood to screw with people. The game could be played in the reverse, where the metric is the number of people you see singing along/tapping feet/dancing. The fun part to me is to use the jukebox to control the general feeling of the place.

Brain Gender

Have I really not made an entry in two days? My wife is out of town, which always makes everything topsy turvy. Routines are gone and nothing seems quite right. After raging storms Friday that put our power out for hours and hours, this weekend has been beautiful weatherwise. I need to shortly get out and trim some trees and bushes and then turn my borrowed pressure washer on the front porch.

I read about these
tests for “brain gender”
on Teresa Nielsen-Hayden’s blog Making Light. I took both tests and scored a 43 on the Systemizing Quotient (male average 30, female average
24). I’m actually in the Asperger’s range, as they put it. On the empathy quotient, I scored 33, the bottom of the range for average (male average 42, female average 47). I found both of these answers kind of perplexing because as I took the test I thought I could tell the obvious high scoring questions and didn’t feel like I was giving non-empathic or highly propellorhead answers. Oh well, there’s a little insight into me. Maybe that’s why I’m a software developer – I am good at systemizing and bad at dealing with people.

AudioScrobbler

Another dorky thing I’m trying out is Audioscrobbler. This is a collaborative filter (ala Alexandria Digital Literature) that is a plugin to one’s MP3 player. It pushes out to a server the song you are listening to, and then can do statistics on the co-occurrence of bands. This lets them recommend groups based on the combination of the musicians that you have listened to. It’s an interesting concept, so I’ll see how well it works. The weak point is the ID3 tag – badly tagged MP3s and wrong CCDB entries will push bad data into their DB.

One interesting thing to look at is the currently playing songs web page. A cursory glance at that will reveal considerably more diversity than anyone gets on commercial radio. While there is going to be a skewing based on the type of person who will be a user at this point in its development, still one notices that people seem to like a lot more different stuff than the big machine would think. Hmmm, this smells like an undertapped market opportunity to me. Rather than hooking listeners in with national
playlists from ever narrowing lists, try playing them as much different stuff as possible by as many different bands as possible. This would be the “throw it all against the wall and see what sticks” philosophy.

Sci-Fi Overdrive

I saw a reference to Sci-Fi Overdrive, a science fiction radio talk show, on Usenet. I’d have to check my mail to be sure, but I seem to recall these guys (guy?) e-mailing me a while back about Reality Break. I need to listen to the streams of their show. Hell, I should see if they ever need guest hosts. I need to keep my radio reflexes sharp.

Lonely Boy

I put my wife on a plane back to the Research Triangle area. I’m already sad and lonely and I miss her. I can tell that the one way I will not be consoling myself is by throwing myself into my work. I suspect I’ll watch a lot of the gangster and martial arts movies. I
might go see the Rob Zombie film House of 1000 Corpses. I’ve been listening to Hellbilly Deluxe which is a lot like watching a horror movie.

Innovator’s Dillemma

Before the trip to North Carolina, I was listening to the audiobook of Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen. As it turns out, he has a website for his work . Interesting stuff, but I’m not sure I buy all of it. The central premise is that successful companies are stymied by paradigm shifting technologies, because all the mechanisms that made them succeed in their present business subtly prevent them from succeeding in the new market.

Returns

We’re back home. The drive from Goldsboro NC to Atlanta GA from 5:30 PM to 1 AM last night wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had, but it’s over for now. I’m back at work which also isn’t the most fun.

Chesterton

I’m in North Carolina for a family emergency. With any luck we can get home tomorrow or best case scenario, later today. I’m not holding the breath on that last, but it’s not impossible.

I’ve been reading G. K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Would Be Thursday, which I bought from AlexLit a long time ago but am just now reading. I bought it as the highest rated book on my personal recommendations that they had available for sale. It’s pretty
good. Some of the cultural things escape me a little, like the description of the eccentric family (paraphrased) “some of whom went about without a hat. One went about with a hat and nothing else.” I think the era of finding the lack of hat a sign of madness is long
over.

Bad Work Day #172

I remain surprised by how wrong I am when I think things at work have gotten as bad as they can get. Everytime I think that, a new low is set. I should stop thinking about that, it gets too depressing too fast. As Ben Grimm the Thing says when he’s tired of the rest of the Fantastic Four, “It’s Badge Slamming time.”

Bad Day All Around

I am at the bottom of my barrel. I am drained and depressed and I just want to nap for a month. I feel like getting a baseball bat and smacking everyone who is on my nerves. I’m sick and I’m tired and I’m sick & tired. I’ve been hoping so hard for better days and I’m still waiting.

Tax Day Cliche

I’m at work and I’ve spent the whole day wondering if it was a mistake coming in. Last night on Fox5 news in Atlanta, they reported the tax story exactly as I said they would. This year, the poor schmuck doing a standup at the Hapeville post office was Roy Hobbs. He must have drawn the short straw.

Grab bag

Separated out a few entries from the political ones earlier today. Here is a link to a Gestural pad for GUI actions.

John Gregory Betancourt posts that some of his stories have been adapted as audio plays that are freely streamable on the internet. I need to listen to those, as well as some of the Poe, like “Cask of Amontillado”. I love that one. “For the love of God, Montressor!”

Political Grab Bag

Here are a bunch of links I had been saving in DM.net or SFF.net newsgroups and finally mailed to myself.

A guy got fired from his production company after backlash to his remarks that Americans support Bush because of fear. Exactly what part of this is controversial? I thought this was a matter of undisputed fact. From the article:

Gernon gave an interview to TV Guide in which he said that fear was behind the German public’s acceptance of Hitler’s policies.

Gernon also said Americans were supporting President George W. Bush’s Iraq policy “because of the fear of what will happen if they don’t.” He was not quoted directly linking Bush to Hitler.

In Portland OR last weekend, writers and library workers protest the Patriot Act. If I was in town, I’d have been there.

Here’s a graph of the data for President Bush’s Disapproval ratings. It collects data from a number of polls since his presidency began. Pretty stark when you look
at it this way.

Here’s an article about how President Bush is growing more explicitly fundamental Christian in his speech.

Here is an interesting editorial from Roger Ebert about how President Bush should not be invoking God as rationale in Iraq.

Here is a New York Times article (free signin required) about the fact that the military is getting more and more working class. This article also points out that they are disproportionately southern as well. From the statistics (early on in the war), it seemed like a big chunk of the fatalities were of Georgians.

Not a link, but a quote I have seen a number of times recently

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
-Theodore Roosevelt, 26th US President (1858-1919)

Dreading Tax Day News

I’m home sick today, feeling all stopped up and logey. Tonight is the night to see my annual least favorite local news reportage – the story at some local post office at 11 PM, as they interview dumbasses just mailing their taxes. Every city in this nation will carry the same story they do every year, and every one of them will include at least one person standing up in the PO filling out the forms at 10:30 PM. I’ve said that what they should do is to record the story once, and then keep it on file and just digitially alter the hairstyles once a decade. The substance of the story hasn’t changed in my adult lifetime.

Republicans Eat Babies

At the mall for lunch I stopped in a bookstore. I didn’t know this, but apparently the greatest problem America faces today is liberalism. I saw a number of books in the new section with subtitles like “How liberals are ruining this country”, “Why God hates the ACLU” and stuff like that. I looked for the equal but opposite ideology but I didn’t see it in that section. Maybe I should write one and title it “Republican Satanists: How right-wing fuckheads are burning your children to heat their pools.”

Turturro Love

I can’t tell if I have a cold or the pound and a half of pollen I breathed yesterday just gives cold like symptoms. I feel like crap, though.

From my brother in instant message comes a link to “Who elected you leader of this outfit?”, the John Turturro worship page. I’ve really liked him as an actor since Do the RightThing.