SolarHot

Here’s a small world moment. In this quarter’s Georgia Tech alumni magazine Tech Topics is a little blurb about how Dan and Jeanette Gretsch are the founders of a company called SolarHot (there is a cute little subscript “2” between the H and O for a little visual pun.) The significance of this is that Jeanette was our classmate in the GT chemistry department in the late 80’s. I’m pretty sure I was Jeanette’s lab partner at least once, because I remember going over to their house in Home Park very close to where Atlantic Station is now.

According to the blurb, they now live in Cary NC (not so far away) and run their company that sells solar water heaters. Good for them. I always liked Jeanette a lot. Not that I didn’t like Dan, but I didn’t know him as well. Jeanette had a difficult run of it when she had their first child while still an undergrad, but she managed to work through it despite the enormous difficulty. We don’t have any immediate plans this way, but we have occasionally thought about putting in a passive solar water heater. Maybe we should reconnect with our friends and get a price quote at the same time.

“Blog Like A Guy Week”

So this was originally posted during my crazy week of too much work so it is no longer that timely, but still worth note. Comedian and thinker Heather Gold has a post where she discusses the differences between the way men and women approach blogging specifically, but creativity in general.

I do think it is true that guys are more willing to put themselves out there. This is the upside of the basic male obliviousness to the feelings of others, and the practice gained by a lifetime of making jackasses of ourselves. At this point, what’s one more bad performance or blog post or videoblog or poorly told joke? 99 out of 100 guys have spent their lives to date screwing up one thing after another, and we are pretty well inured to the process. Take your best crack at it and let it ride, and don’t obsess too much over the bad ones. Girls, do yourself a favor and be willing to fail. I’ve done it thousands of times, and it just ain’t that devastating. Be like Heather, and play out.

Rev. Magdalen Achieves Victory (But at a Price)

It looks like the custody case for the oppressed Subgenius young mother Reverend Magdalen has finally been resolved in her favor. That’s the good news, and very good news it is. The bad news is that this has racked up $140,000 in legal bills in the process. I’ve given in several rounds of the fundraisers, and I can only ask those of you who enjoy the antics of the Subgeniuses or who believe that America should have a commitment to freedom of speech to give. Click the little banner below. Bob gives slack to those who give to Magdalen, and you my friend need slack. The world ends tomorrow and you may die so you need the slack more than the money, bub!

Click here to lend your support to: Reverend Magdalen Legal Fund and make a donation at www.pledgie.com !

Anthony Bourdain/Harvey Pekar Crossover

Boy, I wish I had found out about Harvey Pekar appearing on Anthony Bourdain’s TV show before it aired, rather than after. It showed last night, and while the Travel Channel replays the living hell out of most programs, they don’t seem to be repeating the episode in the next week. I’ll have to keep my eye out for it, but until then I can satisfy my curiosity by reading the Gary Dumm drawn comics about the show.

I’m with Bourdain. I passed up a chance to talk to Harvey at Dragon*Con a few years ago, even though he had no one waiting to talk to him and I’ve been a fan of his for over 20 years. I was just too nervous from the comic book image to actually go speak to him. I’m not generally nervous about such things, but I was with Pekar. Here’s hoping I get another crack at that.

Michael Butler on a Tear

I listened to all three of Michael Butler recent interviews with geezer rockers. I tally them as going two for three. I loved the interview with Howard Kaylan of the Turtles and Flo and Eddie fame, and I loved the interview with Tommy James. Both of those guys were really nice to Mike, very candid and high energy. I didn’t so much like the interview with Mark Volman, who was kind of a dick. I really expected to love it and had been looking forward to it, but when it came down it just wasn’t so much fun. It wasn’t Butler’s fault. For sure, he was working like a dog to get the energy up and bring Vollman out but it just wasn’t there. I’d have rather heard a second hour with Howard Kaylan. Maybe in the future, he can be a return guest. As Meatloaf sang “Don’t be sad, two out of three ain’t bad.”

This is just me, but I absolutely hate the Rock of Love recaps. He says that all the feedback he gets is positive, so I imagine I’m outnumbered. I just don’t care about any of the reality show recaps, be it Rock of Love or American Idol or Rock Star or any that might come along later. If his audience digs it, then he should stick with it. That’s OK, I have a good skip button on the Creative Zen that makes it easy to zip past.

Life in Normal Gear

The frenzy of last week has reduced from a crushing to a merely high workload. We are able to actually have a weekend, which is good. I was reaching a burnout breaking point where I’d be doing something at my desk and in the middle of it, forget what I was doing, why and for whom. The batteries are getting recharged. Although the dog doesn’t allow me to sleep in for really long periods, after getting up and walking him around 7 AM, I napped on and off the whole rest of the day.

I thought about recording a show this morning, but still felt too zombified to be coherent. Maybe this afternoon I can work one up. I have a kazillion things to talk about, which actually makes the problem worse because getting those thoughts in some kind of order is more work. Soon, though. Very soon.

Garrick on Podcast Advertising

Garrick van Buren posts a musing on podcast advertising and references this here clambake in it. I sort of agree with his basic points and don’t know what to do about it. I could have an index of every firm that has ever sponsored the show. Would that be value add or just noise?

Update: Dave Hamilton (aka my pimp) weighs in on the subject. He points out that Garrick remembered that such and ad existed and where 18 months after it ran is a wild success of the medium, not necessarily a failure.

GTD in Tatters

I haven’t wanted to blog about this because in a lot of ways, it is just downright embarrassing to have to say but it is the truth. Over a year after my first push into using GTD to get my life together, it is not together. It has all fallen apart, my GTD system is in shambles and I’m more or less back at square one. It might even be square zero.

I think I understand my weak point. I did not do the daily reviews and seldom the weekly reviews. Without that happening, I never really had the necessary confidence that my system was leakproof and that things that entered would get handled properly. Putting something in my inbox became a formalized procrastination, because nothing truly ever left it. I did and do carry around my hipster PDA, but now almost out of a weird habit. It’s kind of meaningless because I don’t really use it nowadays. If I were to look at the calendar card, almost certainly neither side of it reflects the current month. I would pull it out and verify, but there is only so much cheese I can eat at the moment.

My email inbox is back over 100 messages. My physical inbox is overrun with mail and weird bits of things. I feel as out of control as I ever have. The last week has been brutally busy from work, leaving me too busy to blog or do much of anything. However I’ve run across a number of topics that I would have blogged if I’d had more time or energy to do it. What were those? I don’t remember. This topic is one, but there have been at least a dozen. This is exactly the sort of thing that the GTD system is for, and I have a need for it and just haven’t been doing it.

I am not making promises to myself or anyone because I can’t predict what the next few days will hold, any more than I would have predicted the last few to be how they were. If it is possible, I’m going to reboot my system this weekend. I will take the time and reprocess my physical inbox to empty and my email inbox to zero. I will more formalize my review process. Daily reviews first thing in the morning just plain aren’t going to happen and if I build a plan around that, it will fail. I need to find a consistent 10 minutes in the evening to do this work and do it every single day. I believe in the system and I believe in me, and I’m willing to try again. If I gave up at everything for which my first attempt was a disaster, I would never do anything.

How to Have a Big Day

Step 1: Go in to work at 7:30 AM on a Saturday.
Step 2: Have your team do a big software upgrade that requires a frenetic attention to detail for a long time.
Step 3: Keep at it until 12:45 AM.

Bonus step: Go back in on Sunday and do it some more.

More blogging and podcasting soon. But not now.

Chicken Bog and Hummus

That title is no fooling, that’s what I had for dinner – hummus and chicken bog left over from the big party a few weeks ago. It’s a good thing this food is still edible, because we still have eight or ten quart bags of chicken bog, barbecue and coleslaw in our freezer.

If there is something that will get the thoughts of blogosphere drama out of your head, it is preparing a big software release at the day job. I’m not a natural detail person, I’m more of a bull in a china shop. It really takes it out me having to get every jot right, and having the whole magilla riding on it. I mean, I can do it and pull it off but it feels like digging ditches sometimes. Man o man, am I looking forward to pushing this out the door this weekend. I’ve been holding off upgrading my laptop from Ubuntu Edgy to Feisty because I didn’t want to have there be a problem with it right in crunch time for the release. I can’t wait. Celebrate milestones with Linux!

Social Networks and Phishing

At my day job, phishing is a big deal because we are sometimes involved in the identification and takedowns. Bruce Schneier has an interesting post pointing to two studies of phishing when you spoof headers to make it appear to originate with a friend or present the first 4 digits of a credit card (which are fixed across companies and there exists only a few combinations) and then ask for the last 4. The common theme is how easy is it to counterfeit trust. There is one dodgy bit of math in Bruce’s comments, though:

Another attack comes to mind. You can write a phishing e-mail that simply guesses the last four digits of someone’s credit-card number. You’ll only be right one in a thousand times, but if you send enough e-mails that might be enough.

Umm, no. That would be one in 10,000 my friend. The idea holds but the frequency is wrong.

Anatomy of a Joke Gone Wrong

Chuck Olsen dissects the timeline of him making a joke that was then taken seriously by people (including me.) I saw Andrew Baron’s original post, and made a post that basically said “WTF?” About an hour later I reread Drew’s post and noticed that it originated from a Twitter, at which point I posted an update that said “Uh Oh.” An hour or two after that, Scoble left me a comment saying it was bogus at which I posted an update that said “Oh Shit.” I apologized to Robert for my part in the whole thing, both on the original post and via email. The low point of the whole deal is two part: I had my name mentioned in Valleywag and I was tricked into opening Valleywag in my web browser. Now I can no longer stick with my claim that I’ve never once looked at it. Like Olsen says, if it were not for Valleywag, the whole thing would have been up and over in a few hours but now it got fanned into something more. Boy, I’ll be glad when my Technorati vanity search stops turning up the quote “Andrew Baron and Dave Slusher are full of shit…”

As I read Chuck’s explanatory post, his basic point is “People should have known from the context it was a joke.” I’m not a Twitter user, and in fact that message from Chuck is the very first Twitter I’ve ever looked at. As a novice to the whole thing, it was news to me that Twitters even have a context. I sort of thought the whole point was the opposite.

Chuck also runs through the reasons why people should have known it was absurd that John Furrier would tell him such information. I know John well enough to say hi and shake his hand whenever I see him, and I know Chuck from his work but not personally. That he was the person who had the info first seemed odd to me, but not impossible. How do I know that Chuck isn’t John’s best friend from college or something? If your joke in an ephemeral medium requires lots of context and personal knowledge to even understand that it is a joke, you might be in trouble. I do like Eric Rice’s comment (the first one on that post) that this whole kerfuffle is a dry run for someone who really does have malicious intent injecting some crap into the blogsphere via Twitter. Time to think this through while the stakes are pretty low.

As an aside, having now finally loaded the Twitter website and gotten a glimpse of what it’s all about, I am even more perplexed that people care so much about it. Personally, there is no one on this planet that I’m that interested about the minutiae of their moment to moment life that is not already in my house. All I could think about as I was looking at the Twitters or Tweets or whatever they are was this thought: “They abandoned Odeo because of this piece of dreck? Holy christ, that is one sad statement.” The probability that I’d sign up and use it has dropped from low to zero.

Weekend Recap

So, despite my best efforts we actually did go to the grocery store and do a few productive things (me the least in the household.) We watched a little TV and I farted around some. I played a 90 man sit-n-go on Full Tilt Poker and moneyed for the first time in a month. I haven’t been playing much with the busy times, and my game has really suffered. I think I had 8 tourneys in a row without moneying, which is about as bad as I’ve ever done.

Note to self: late in a tournament and a few people from the bubble, do not call an all in raise for most of your stack with a pair of queens. You might make a raise with it, but don’t call such a raise with it. QQ is just not as strong a hand as it seems. Even an Ace-two off-suit has too much chance to beat you and chances are pretty good that the guy making the raise has either a better hand than you or one that has a good draw for beating you. My main strength as a poker player is patience and waiting for my spots to get frisky, typically either in position or with a good hand or a good bluffing situation. I need to be disciplined enough to only get my money in when I’m making the move, not responding to someone else’s move unless I’m pretty sure I’ve got the nuts. Of course, every hand like that where you win makes you brilliant and every one where you lose makes you an idiot.

Lazy Day

This is the first weekend in months without something urgent happening – painting or party preparation or work or something. My response is to get lazy. Real lazy. I don’t even feel like going to the grocery store like we need to. I just want to lie on the couch and do nothing.

Yesterday, the weather broke some and instead of 100 degrees, it was merely 90. We took the dog to the dog park and picked up some furniture in Murrels Inlet that barely fit in our cars. That was too much industry for me and my goal today is to just recharge. I had thought about doing another episode of the podcast today, but in the time I would have done it instead I laid on the couch and napped. I think I might go back to that well for a little more, and very soon.

Need Fortran Help

I have a lazy web request. Can anyone point me to an example Makefile for the Lahey LF95 compiler? I’m helping someone out with a Fortran project but I know nothing about it. I can’t figure out what bits to flip to have GNU make build the objects and link them together and for the life of me I have not been able to Google up an example of a working project. Help!

The Back is Back

After several days of pain, I woke up Friday and my back felt OK. It wasn’t great, but it didn’t hurt. It just felt generally sore and tired, but not excruciating when I moved at most angles. At this point, I’m ready to take that as a step up. For the time being, I am not doing the Fred Sanford walk but I still am keeping the BenGay handy.

EGC Clambake for August 11, 2007 – “Friends, Parties, and Shared Experience”

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for August 11, 2007.

I play some submitted music from Rob Szabo; I discuss the dog and the summer and work and the party and why it has taken so much out of me and left me doing few podcasts lately; I play a promo from Darusha Wehm’s new podiobook Beautiful Red; I play clips from Berkeley Breathed on the Bat Segundo show and discuss my disagreements with his positions on mass media; I play another song by Rob Szabo and then hit the linaments and the steam room.

You can subscribe to this podcast feed via RSS.

To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5.

Links mentioned in this episode: