Hibernate Performance

Here’s a post from In Relation To about how to improve performance of Hibernate. The session management stuff sounds interesting. I’ll think that what I’m currently doing works out to session-per-request but I need to verify that. There is also an interesting post about locking that mentions a phenomenon I observe all the time: every developer has enough hubris to think they can hack together something like a locking scheme in 30 minutes that will be better than what other people have spent 25 years thinking about. I know that hubris is one of Larry Wall’s virtues of a programmer, but most of the time the people that think these things are just fooling themselves. I’ll admit that although I’m pretty decent, even my best ideas and my most elegant code are not as road tested as products and code that have been in service for years or decades.

Spirit Rover May Have Crashed from an “Out of Memory Error”

BBC reports that big log files might be the problem with the Mars rover.

Nasa scientists say hundreds of computer files that have accumulated on the Mars rover Spirit may be the cause of problems that have crippled it.

These “cruise files” will now be deleted from the second Mars rover Opportunity before it rolls on to Mars to begin its science mission.

Could zipping the log files have prevented this problem? Could it be this simple?

More Music and RIAA

The two links below sum it all up quite well, a nice contrast. One one hand, the yin of creative people trying to both monetize and increase artistic control via downloading music. On the other, yang of the scorched earth, customer-is-enemy, litigious strategy. Good lord, just when you think you’ve heard it all, these boners come up with something more ridiculous than the last absurdity. Let me throw out one of my pet theories that I can’t recall if I blogged before. Suppose these RIAA lawsuites are a red herring, and they are not ultimately trying to discourage the infringing downloads of RIAA members music. What if this is all about stopping consumers from downloading legitimate, freely distributable music? The RIAA member labels are the big losers in a world without Big Media gatekeepers, so perhaps all this nonsense is really cover for them to associate all downloading of digital music with crime, corruption and badness. I download all kinds of music all the time, but none of it infringing (well, except for that Charlie Brown Outkast video). I’m actively seeking out new bands who put music up on their web pages. What if that is really what the RIAA wants to stop? That certainly would explain a few things that otherwise look completely nonsenical.

And now the links. Via BoingBoing comes this link to MUDDA, or “Magnificent Union of Digitally Distributable Artists.” It was founded by Brian Eno and Peter Gabriel. Not that much at the website yet.

Via email from a hitherto unknown to me reader named Lisa comes this story about the RIAA’s new tactic – suing IP addresses. They seem to not understand or not care about the court of public opinion. Do they think that this lawsuit business is a great idea, they just haven’t hit upon the optimal strategy for suing the masses yet? I hope the Pepsi folks paid each one of the kids in those ads at least what the RIAA took from them.

Deciphering Chicago Traffic Reports

The first time I drove into Chicago as I was moving up here, it was mid morning but there was still bad traffic with backups. I turned the radio to a news talk station just as a traffic report was starting, and proceeded to listen to 60 seconds of unintelligible gobbledygook. After having listened to the whole thing, I had no idea whether they had just talked about the backup I was in and couldn’t have told you one thing about the current traffic. Well, the fine folks at Gapers Block have a handy guide to deciphering the nonsense that is Chicago traffic reports. It still doesn’t make listening to the rapid fire cattle auctioneer delivery any easier, but armed with this knowledge there is some chance that you might be able to tell what is going on.

CDs Extinct

I see the Shifted Librarian is reporting on this story that says the CD will be an obsolete format in 5 years. That’s kind of a bold statement, but the “five years” as a time horizon has a familiar smell to it. Sure enough, if you look you’ll see the claim is being made by a researcher at Forrester Research. I can remember back five years ago when I was working in the ebook industry and they were predicting that in five years the ebook would be the predominant format for books and would be a multibillion dollar market. They are only off by a factor of 100, which is pretty good for them.

Why does anyone buy their expensive ass reports when they are correct on their predictions less often than a monkey with a dart board? Their pronouncements always have a five year window, I’m assuming because that’s far enough away that a lot can happen, so it is harder to immediatly call bullshit on them. Also, it’s long enough that by the time the prediction has been shown to be completely erroneous, no one remembers. I want to be an “analyst” too – make some crazy assertions that seldom if ever pan out, and charge people lots of money to hear my nonsense. I guarantee I could make predictions no less accurately than Forrester.


Fletcher Penney has rewritten and expanded the functionality of the blosxom writeback plugin with his writebackplus. He says it should be a drop-in replacement for writeback, seewritebacks and recentwritebacks. So far so good. He purports it to have better handling of the combined email/url field that so bedevils writeback leavers, records IP addresses, has anti-spam comment measures and generally is an improvement. Thus far, I know that it seems to work with my old writebacks. We’ll see how it works with leaving new ones.

Week two of Jon Kincaid Crisis

We’re entering the second week of Jon Kincaid’s medical crisis. He’s been through his quintuple bypass and now is recuperating. I continue to do all that I can, which is help with the website and try to raise cash for his medical expenses. Thus far, we’ve raised over $1100 via PayPal, maybe enough to pay for his ambulance ride. We’re making around $100 a day, which ain’t even close to staying even with just the room fee. If you are a fan of WREK, if you ever listened to Jon’s shows on Sunday night, if you yearn for the kick that only ironic post-punk thunder can provide, please go to his site and donate via PayPal. The big man is counting on us all.

More from the Party of Values

The Boston Globe reports on the GOP staffers that hacked Democrat file servers.

Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media, Senate officials told The Globe.

From the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic communications without a password. Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to read talking points and accounts of private meetings discussing which judicial nominees Democrats would fight — and with what tactics.

Hemp for Victory

On the Internet Archive is this propaganda film from 1942 entitled “Hemp for Victory”. It is an exhortation to American farmers to apply to their county administrator’s for a “marihuana license” so that they too can join the war effort by raising American hemp. At the time, the Japanese controlled most of the sources of hemp importation, so in order to make the ropes, canvas and thread needed by the American war effort a far greater production from American’s was needed. Wow, 60 years ago it wasn’t “The War on Drugs” but “The War with Help from Drugs”.

Dean on the Defensive

The take on the Dean battle cry from Poppy Brite and Adam Curry mirrors mine. For someone who hasn’t heard the speech but all the media and talking heads hoopla, you expect this crazed meltdown. When you actually see the speech, you see a standard rallying speech from a politician to his loyal supporters. This is not news, there is nothing of note about it all, yet the media is treating this like something huge. At least one Dean supporter has the riht idea, setting up a webpage collecting the Dean remixes and collecting donations from the site. That’s a pretty deft job of getting out in front of this and perhaps steering it a little.

This is the point in the race where Dean gets the received wisdom treatment that Gore got in 2000, where “everyone knows” these things that in fact aren’t even true. One interesting take on the phenomenon is from Escapable Logic, with a post on the “punditocracy”. It also includes this insight on the flightiness of some of the Dean faithful:

The capriciousness of some Dean supporters really threw me off. Unbridled enthusiasm melting into terminal gloom in 3 hours. Yet we all know it just doesn’t work that way. It’s as if Dean had let them down, failing to maintain the crescendo of hope and optimism they’d been investing in for 6 months. Where’s the conviction? Where’s the gumption?

I’m sick to death of the way the major talking heads – who demonstrably are full of shit if you go back through their records of predictions – drive what we all think. This is another form of Big Media that I’m completely tired of. A few idiots in the echo chamber make a pronouncement and suddenly all America nods their heads knowingly. If I have any hope in the blogosphere and alternative media, it is as an antidote for this received wisdom. Like the wise say, look to the money. What makes more money for Big Media – a rational race with candidates debating the issues of import or a jello wrestling drama with a lead change every few days and candidates going from cinderella story to has-beens in a week and standard speeches used as evidence of insanity? Fight the power, think for yourself, if the talking heads tell you the sun rises in the east go outside and check before you repeat it. That’s the only way to break their sleeper grips on us.

RIAA, the Consistent Counterexample

I hope all the other trade organizations are taking their lessons from the RIAA in how not to treat customers. Here’s a passel of links I’ve been saving up to blogl

If you need evidence that the RIAA has become an anti-brand, how about the fact that Pepsi is running ads featuring kids sued by the RIAA. This is for their cross-promotion with Apple’s iTunes where Pepsi is giving away free iTunes downloads. When your trade organization is commonly known to be so scumbaggy and rapacious that the multinational corporations run ads during the Superbowl to show they aren’t as bad as you, you have fucked up.

Joi Ito writes about the racial sterotyping used by the RIAA, namely that Hispanics need special treatment because “Today hes Jose Rodriguez, tomorrow hes Raul something or other, and tomorrow after that hes something else. ” Wow, high ranking leaders of this group actually believe this.

Here’s an interview with Richard James AKA Aphex Twin, which includes his conflicted take on the issue.

Despite the rushed release of Drukqs and the reasons behind that, he thinks “having music for free is a good thing, because I don’t think music should be a commodity. I’ve changed my opinion to and fro over the years, but I really do think there shouldn’t be any copyright on art.

“But the thing is, some kid somewhere might be really poor and think, ‘If I make the best music in the world, I can get some money and buy a house and some equipment’, which is what I thought. So that is a good motivation, as well. You would lose that.”

The Aphex Twin label Warp Records is using a download service without DRM or copy protection, and they explain why in their FAQ.

Secondly, Bleep music has no DRM or copy protection built in. We believe that most people like to be treated as customers and not potential criminals – DRM is easily circumvented and just puts obstacles in the way of enjoying music. Apple has even privately stated that they decided to use a weak form of DRM solely to get major labels onboard.

Finally, buying music through Bleep means that you are supporting the artists work, and in some cases you are getting mp3’s encoded by the artists themselves. After the bandwidth charges and Bleep running costs are subtracted, the artist gets half of the album or track price.

That ratio is I think the same as Maganatune pays their artists. I played around with the Bleep store and thought it was the most amazing, easy to use digital music setup yet. The preview of the music directly from the webpage is highly cool. I like to see labels that choose to spend their cash figuring out how to monetize the download phenomenon, rather than lining lawyer’s pockets by suing their customers.

Writer’s Almanac

Speaking of Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, I should post a little how much I like this short show. From the premise to the signoff of “Be well, do good work, and keep in touch. ®” I just like it. (And yes, the trademark symbol is part of it on the webpage.) One of the things I like is that he treats genre writers no differently than those from the stuffiest portion of the mainstream, talking about all of them as equals.

Driving around over the holidays we heard an episode with a poem that knocked us both out. It was the December 30, 2003 episode with the poem “My Agent Says” (full text at the above link) by R.S. Gwynn. Good stuff.

Christopher Lydon

As I was shopping for a new public radio MP3 stream for Writers Almanac that would be a little more consistent on start times, I came to WPSU, the Penn State station. Looking at their schedule grid for tonight Jan 25th, they have special called “Blogging of the President” on at 9 PM EST. It is hosted by Christopher Lydon and now I see a blurb about it on his site.

Although I like Lydon and I’m going to record and listen to this special, because I’ve listened to a lot of his interviews recently I think I have an idea of how it will go. He has this way of talking about blogging that is the opposite of the “when did you stop beating your wife” question. His question is “The internet and blogging will transform life and bring about an infotopia. How long do you think this will take?” The biggest disconnect thus far was listening to him ask much of his standard line of questioning to Gore Vidal who was having none of it.

It was also weird to hear him interview Tim Berners-Lee. Berners-Lee had to continually reign Lydon back into something resembling reality. Faced with questions like “The web is transforming our lives, isn’t it” he would answer “The web is a set of protocols. People effect the change, the web can’t do anything in and of itself.” In many ways, the zeal of Mr. Lydon for all things internet reminds me of the way converts are the biggest zealots for any cause. He is so hyped up on what the net can do that he isn’t bounded by reality or pragmatism, even when faced with the guy who invented it and who knows way more about what he’s talking about. He had a very Terry Gross-like approach to this interview, knowing what he wanted to hear and asking the same question until he got it. I think he is bordering on being a “devangelist” on the subject.

New Orleans

Last night on Trading Spaces I heard a dude give the most accurate and succinct summary about New Orleans that I have ever heard:

New Orleans is a city that embraces decay and longeivity.

How true it is.

Miscellany from Localfeeds

Here’s some random links I had been saving to blog from Chicago Localfeeds. I’m dropping the feed because of the pain in the ass the truncated RSS causes me.

Two from Aaron Swartz’s “Shorter” series – the shorter version of the state of the union speech and the shorter version of Paul O’Neill’s appearance on 60 minutes. Aaron also has a post about how the ridiculous creationist “intelligent design” stuff doesn’t explain why species went extinct.

Via In Apprehension comes this link to a congressman who is pushing for impeachment hearings for VP Cheney.

Jenny the Shifted Librarian points out the hypocrisy in the Library of Congress’s stance on copyright.

Via GS-7 is this link to an article about how the suicide rate of American troops is rising in Iraq.

Goodbye, Localfeeds Chicago. I’ll miss you.


My brother recently started weblogging and has been writing a series of reminisces of our father. We’re approaching the one year anniversary of his death. I do my best to try to avoid knowing the actual day. It would be easy to find out but when people tell me I try to forget. It’s not something to commemorate and I don’t even want to acknowledge when it happens. I know that soon we’ll be having the one year retrospective on the space shuttle explosion. I found out about it as I was checking out of the hotel on the way to my father’s funeral.

Until James started writing up his posts, I was in denial how hard it still hits me to this day. I’ve got a complicated mix of pain, anger, grief and serenity in my feelings. I’ve gotten used to the fact that this may never go away, that it might hurt as much in 50 years as it does today.

Mile High Hot Sauce

My father-in-law has this penchant for every so often just sending us boxes of stuff. The most recent box was from Mile High Hot Sauce. The retired Air Force pilot that runs this joint is a friend of his, so he sent us a big box. We kind of laughed about it as another of his kooky gifts, but having had some of it I do agree that it is quite tasty. I like to put tabasco on the crust of my pizza when I eat it, and doing that with this was quite good. It is not as hot as McIlhenny’s or Texas Pete, but it is tangy and flavorful. Their slogan is “It’s Zesty!” and I think that’s accurate. I suppose it is a good thing that I like it, since we have 8 10 ounce bottles. Considering that you use a few drops at a time, half a gallon of hot sauce may be at least a 10 year supply.

Artemiy Artemiev

In one of those odd happenstances, I have for several years now been corresponding via email with Russian composer Artemiy Artemiev. It all started at the tail end of my overhaul of the WREK automation system. I decided to take all the information we had in the database for albums, and use the fact that we also had email addresses for some record labels to create a program that would mail them our “add lists.” October 2001 is when this went online. The day I ran the initial trial of the program, I sat there watching what it did to verify it wasn’t runnning amok and pissing off the very people this was for. About 15 minutes into the process, I got an email from Artemiy who also runs Electroshock Records and as such was a recipient of an automated email. Although it was 6 AM Eastern time, it was late afternoon in Moscow so he was at his desk. He raved about how cool this was, and I wrote him back and that was the beginning. We have exchanged messages intermittently ever since.

He strikes me as a cool guy, in what little you can get to know someone in communiques of 75 or 100 words each. Like many of my friends, he seems to be a hyper-achiever (I’m not, but I wish I was). He’s a composer, a radio and TV producer, head of a record label and a working musician. His father is like the John Williams of Russia, a major composer of film scores. On the sites above are lots of information about both of them.

The other day I got email from Artemiy with the text of a press release. An installation art piece will be exhibited in Cincinati, and Artemiy’s music will be part of the whole affair. I got a little excited that perhaps he’d be visiting the states and come to Chicago so I could meet him in person, but alas he is not. One day perhaps that will happen. Far less likely, perhaps one day I’ll go to Moscow. My exchanges with Artemiy are evidence of what I’ve always believed – that almost all relationships and friendships are sheer luck and happenstance. It’s only by being aware that this is happening and being open that one can capitalize and make friends out of the random connections and odd occurences that make up life. I’m glad I replied to Artemiy and I’m glad he kept the ball rolling. Either one of us easily could have not and never thought about it again.

Here is the text of the press release. I looked for some link to this at the gallery website but couldn’t find any reference to it.

We want to announce that Covington, Kentucky artist, Craig Caudill and Russian composer Artemiy Artemiev will exhibit 2-hour video-audio installation at Designsmithgallery. The installation, entitled “Possible Werks”, opens Final Friday, 30 January 2004, and continues through 20 March 2004.

Designsmithgallery is located at 1342 Main
Street, in Cincinnati. Gallery hours are most Friday and Saturday afternoons, noon to 6 PM, or by appointment. An opening reception will be held on Final Friday, 30 January 2004, from 7 PM to 10 PM. A second reception will be held Final Friday, 27 February 2004.

For more information please contact:
David G. Smith, Designsmithgallery, 1342 Main Street, Cincinnati,
Ohio 45210, USA
Tel: (513)421-1397
Fax: (513)421-9303

Year of the Sheep

As we turn the corner from the year of the sheep to the year of the monkey, leaving behind my year, my wife forwarded me a description of the sheep. I have to say that this is a pretty good description of me. close to my actual personality than my astrological sign would have you believe.

Thanks to others, the Ram will generally land on his feet. So great is his talent for knocking on the right door, he will have no problems with what the Japanese call I-Shoku-Ju , the life of the senses. If you have a nice country home full of good things and good conversation, frequented by artists, don’t ever let a Ram through the door — with his love of creature comforts, you may never be able to get rid of him!

Yessir, that’s me. I am a lander upon feets (frequently my own) and I am hard to get rid of.