Sunday, December 31, 2006

Random Airport Madness

There’s something about airports that brings out the lunacy in many (all?) of us. Two example from today:

My flight from SJC was delayed by over an hour. No communication from Alaska via the notification phone number or e-mail address I had provided them during the process of purchasing my ticket on-line. To kill a few minutes, and a few brain cells, I wandered into the travel themed bar (Flights and Bytes?) and sat down to await a waitperson. The gal behind the bar stared at me occasionally while she busied herself with the very occasional patron. After about five minutes it became very clear that there was to be no table service. I debated continually staring at the bar tender to see how long it would be before she confirmed said “no table service” status. Hunger and thirst overtook me. I grudgingly levered myself out of my seat and stepped up to the bar. It was like the bar tender was seeing me for the first time. “What can I get you” she said. I paused a fraction of a second debating internally if I should pass comment on the lack of recognition and her inability (lack of desire?) to communicate with anyone past the border of her bar. As I began to respond “Corona and Tuna Sandwich” she wandered off. Clearly a fraction of a second being too long a period beyond which she should waste her valuable time on me. She eventually drifted back and took my order. She seemed confused that I wanted to pay for my food and beverage at that time (rather than wait a second eternity to get the check….). That troubling chasm crossed, she asked me where I would like my food. “At my table” I replied as I gestured to the table where she had watched me sit, un-tended, for five minutes. As I moved back to my table I overheard her placing my order with the fellow who tended the kitchen. Very impressively, he was back not two minutes later with my order – which he then preceded to place on the table next to mine, that table being empty and me seated at the table next to it being the only other patron within spitting distance. Obviously the bar tender had given him a table number and gosh-darn-it he was going to deliver the meal to the table to which he had been directed. No matter that there was no one sitting there – a trifling element of data that was not to sway him one whit.

I retrieved my meal and ate. The sandwich was more suited for scouring a floor clean than for human consumption. However I was hungry.

Later, as I exited the security check point I overheard a conversation between a TSA employee and a family traveling to the Pacific Northwest. As the TSA employee waved around two jars of what appeared to be home-made jam, she explained to mom, dad and assorted children that such items are not permitted on the plan. Mon, dad and assorted children looked pretty put out upon hearing this news. “But that’s grandpa’s jam!” exclaimed mom. The fact that it was a gift from grandpa, or perhaps was intended as a gift for grandpa, made it no less lethal in the eyes of the TSA. Interestingly mom, dad and assorted children had walked past three signs explaining the dangers of moist items, had responded in the negative to two TSA agents when asked if they had liquids with them, and had failed to hear a repeatedly broadcast announcements about the terrors that could be unleashed in the skies if they took liquids, jells or similar with them aboard a plane. Clearly they have no TV at home nor do they read newspapers or listen to the radio. They were completely unaware that grandpa’s slightly watery-looking jam could be such a potentially dangerous munition. Perhaps the worst it could do in their eyes was to give grandpa a touch of gas. In the eyes of the TSA it was potentially a potent acid or explosive accelerant. Offers from the assorted children to sample the jam (with or without toast) were derided by the TSA as the cunning ruses of skillful terrorists (or so it looked like they were thinking of saying). As I wandered away they were all arguing if grandpa’s jam could be safely dropped into a white plastic bag, wrapped with a coat and checked as luggage. I suspected not – but would have loved to have been at the arriving end to see what sort of mess came out onto the luggage carrousel (unless TSA or baggage staff had not swiped it for a touch of cream tea and scones in the afternoon….).

To cap off my day, there were no ground crew waiting for the arrival of my flight. We sat for about five minutes just yards away from the gate while staff scurried around looking for their high-tech orange glowing sticks with which to wave us forward the last few feet of our trip. Perhaps the arrival of a Boeing 737 was a big frackin' surprise to them. Little too large to miss I would venture to guess, but what do I know about the wonders of airport management? Perhaps they were busy enjoying scones and grandpa’s jam with TSA staff?


Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Last 34 Miles

Much like the telecom industry, many eCommerce travails concern the last mile (or last 34 miles in my case) - the act of getting data (or packages) the last few feet to the residential location.

I ordered an item from Amazon last week, on the 19th December to be precise. It was packaged and handed to UPS within about an hour of my order being placed. I'm a Prime member so shipping is 2 days - in fact Amazon confirmed that delivery would occur on December 21. Click on the graphic above to see a snapshot of the UPS tracking page. Bottom line here is that my package made it from Louisville, KY to Oakland CA by midnight December 20. And there it has sat. I live about 34 miles from Oakland. I could have walked to Oakland and back in the last three days. It's now late night December 24 and UPS still has my package (and still claim on their website that they will deliver it by December 21 (perhaps they have a time machine with which I have not been previously familar)). And I'm not just picking on UPS here - I also have another package, ordered the same day, that is being delivered by DHL (Prime, 2 day delivery for which the only information DHL will disclose is that it was picked up on December 19 and is "in transit" - to where I have no idea. But it sure as heck is not to my house....).

Bring on commercial grade, inexpensive 3d-printers I say. In fact, create 3d-printers and have them as their first job print other 3d printers. I can see it coming. Soon as the markets open after Christmas I'm shorting UPS, DHL, Eagle, FedEx and the rest of the bunch.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Going live on Monday 11 December, a new website from Below is the "friends and family" invitation. Please try it out and tell us what you think.

As you may be aware, we've been working hard on a new initiative in our shoes and handbag categories. We'd like to extend to you a personal invitation to to be the first to shop At's new web site,

We've built to provide you with an innovative new shopping experience for shoes and handbags. allows you to shop your way— using our easy category, brand, size, color, or price selections. Best of all, we will deliver your purchase to you overnight— FREE. (Really!)

We hope you'll take a few minutes to shop around the store, and please let us know what you think by sending an e-mail to Tell us what you like, what you don't like, and what you'd like to see done differently. We appreciate your feedback!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

JL421 Badonkadonk

We've all had those days, dreary, overcast with the high likelihood of drizzle. What you really need to banish the blues of the grey is a JL421 badonkadonk ($19,999 MSRP) available from Load up four of your closest pals, paintball guns and tube socks for all, and hit the playa in armored comfort. Clocking in at a swift (if not bumpy) 40mph, the 'donk' ensures that your and your chums can enter the fray, account well of yourself and still make it home in time for tea and crumpets with nary a stain on your "Live free or die" tie-dye t-shirts. Order now to avoid disappointment.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Iggy and the rider

Finally a concert rider that makes sense and has a sense of humor. And from no other that Iggy and the Stooges. Thought the Fark Miss GA thread was funny? This is as good. Skip through the backline requirements if you like (and if you don't know much about musical instruments and PA systems it won't make much sense. But funny, whoo!) to the dressing room requirements. I especially like the request for a Bob Hope impersonator. And the BMW. Do take the time to read what the road manager thinks about stage lighting and lighting designers. And Broccoli.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Flight Patterns

Here are a set of wonderful visualizations of air traffic as seen by the FAA. This short video time reduces air traffic to virtual con-trails. It's amazing to see a new day announced via the light of the dawn of the volume of air traffic, east to west.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Swamp Donkey?

Yes this is cruel, but good grief, what were the organizers of the Miss Georgia pageant thinking when they posted this bevy of, ahem, beauties? I thank the readers and posters at Fark for providing the only reasonable response possible. I nearly barfed up a lung laughing at the Fark thread. Thanks John!

Monday, October 30, 2006

A short story

"This story concerns the publisher of a stock newsletter who sends out 64,000 letters extolling his state-of-the-art database, his inside contacts, and his sophisticated econometric models. In 32,000 of these letters he predicts a rise in some stock index for the following week, say, and in 32,000 of them he predicts a decline. Whatever happens, he sends a follow-up letter but only to those 32,000 to whom he's made a correct "prediction." To 16,000 of them he predicts a rise for the next week, and to 16,000 a decline. Again, whatever happens, he will have sent 2 consecutive correct predictions to 16,000 people. Iterating this procedure of focusing exclusively on the winnowed list of people who have received only correct predictions, he can create the illusion in them that he knows what he's talking about. After all, the 1,000 or so remaining people who have received 6 straight correct predictions (by coincidence) have a good reason to cough up the $1,000 the newsletter publisher requests: They want to continue to receive these "oracular" pronouncements."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Steampunk Laptop

A most wonderful working Steampunk laptop (additional pictures). How I would love one of these. I do have a number of Corona portable typewriters from the early 20th century that could be pressed into such service. However I'm afraid I don't have the time nor the patience to build one. Default: Curta.


The newly deployed 1.84Tb server I've built over the past few weeks has been augmented by:
  • Tivo Series 2 running the Galleon open source app (adds many media-server capabilities to the default Tivo app)
  • Slingbox Av. Used to route Server and Tivo contents to wherever I want said contents. Even streaming over a reasonably poorly performing wireless network the audio and video resolution from the Slingbox is amazing. The fact that I can now access all my music, videos and images stored on the server from wherever I can get internet access is most pleasing.

Baby's for Sale on Amazon - 16% off!

I see that has a special offer on babies this week. 16% off - no limit on the number you purchase. And they come in such cute containers. Shop early. Shop often.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Speaking of Laser

From the site "Rayguns":

FMOM Industries - Wave Disrupter Gun

Are you genetically pre-disposed to not wanting to blow your face to bits? Then, by crikey, this may not be the device for you - Try a kite!

But, if you're a man, then send large money orders forthwith and procure yourself FMOM's latest and greatest. Built from the exacting plans of the famed Dr. Grordbort, and reinforced with purest Tremontium, this little tiger will turn your foes to a slurry!

Why, just in time for Christmas! Super molecular-disrupting fun for the little one's. Methinks I will take two of these and a nickle-finished Neurodistruptor with extra powerpack and sights.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Evan's 12th Birthday party is today. No suprise that he's selected LaserQuest for the event (again....). After the major effort last year creating the "LaserQuest Maze Cake" - something a little less ambitious was deemed appropriate for this year. Hence, the LaserGun Cake. Trust me, it looks better in real life. Much more like a gun than a hideous pile of brown frosting...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Damocles Still Hanging Around

Spent the weekend on the construction of a new server. Objective was to build a system with large RAID 1 space for archiving, that would also double as a fast render engine for Truespace. System was speced out to inlcude:
  • Thermaktake Tsunami VA3000BWA
  • ASUS A8N5X w/ nForce4 Mobo
  • AMD Athlon 64 processor 3200
  • Thermaltake CL-P0200 Silent 939 K8 CPU Cooler
  • Radion X1600 Pr PCIe 512M Graphics Card
  • Corsair XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200)
  • SilverStone Strider ST60F 600watt PSU w/ modular cables
  • Seagate ST3200822A-RK 200 GB ATA Internal Hard Drive (IDE Master)
  • 2 x Seagate 500 GB Barracuda 7200.9 SATA Internal Hard Drive (500Gb Raid 1)
  • Pioneer DVD R/W (Reclaimed from another system)
The 200Gb IDE drive is the boot drive. The two 500Gb Barracuda's are built into a single RAID 1 array. I went overkill on the Strider PSU. 600w is way more than I need right now. I do, however, expect to add two more 500Gb SATA drives to take total capacity to 1Tb RAID 1. I will also take the PATA drive space up to 500Gb. The lights on the the Corsair RAM are cool + I really like the ASUS mobo - it's temperature monitoring and fan management is nifty. Oh yeah - I also went overboard on the CPU cooler -- it's just that there is no way I can trust the crap cooler that AMD ships with the processor + I plan to do a little overclocking....

Oh the name of the new system is Damocles - hence the title of this post. Move along now.

29 October 2006 Update: Added 2 x 320Gb SATA drives last week. Configured as RAID 1. System is now 720Gb RAID 1 (give or take a Gb). Total disk space in the cabinet is 1.84Tb. And to think, the first PC I had with a hard disk was an IBM PC XT with a whopping 10Mb drive.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Must be seen to be believed....

An aircraft carrier made out of Lego to minifig scale i.e. rather big.
File under the categories of (1) Wow! and (2) Too much time on one's hands.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Lovelab Farewell

Found in the Seattle Stranger newspaper and online:

Friday, September 08, 2006

Laugh? I nearly bought a round!

From the pages of, this review:

Twenty-Nine! TWENTY-NINE!!!!!, June 11, 2006
A Kid's Review
I told my mother, Mrs. Fran Stalinofskavichdavitovichsky, to go to the store and get me 30 Tagger Micro Darts for my Nerf the Smurf Rocket Launcher. She came home, and I opened the bag, and it only had 29! It was supposed to come with 30! Upon seeing this my mother tried to flee for cover, but I easily caught up with her fat pig legs. I bit her! Bit her deep!

(and yes - the url does reference Obidos - which be gone...., don't worry - redirects save all)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Gin and Vimto

There are some things that pair well: fish n' chips, assault n' battery, stuff like that. But Gin and Vimto fills me me with such wonderus dread that I have to try it. One of my cousins (who will not be identified to protect the guilty....) IM'd me about this amazing concoction. Couple of problems prevent me from trying it: (1) you can't buy Vimto in Seattle and (2) you can't buy Vimto in Seattle. Now, that's strictly only one problem, but it's such a massive one I thought I'd mention it twice.

Mom, Dad - next trip to the US, please bring a large bottle of Vimto (and Iron Bru while you're at it). And a stomach pump. Thanks.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

FON up and Running

Router configuration was completed last night. I now have a "Bill" access point serving those around the junction of 4th Ave and University in downtown Seattle. Buy me a beer and I'll give you free access.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Toonfest 2006 Update

News from Disney's Toonfest 2006 held this past Saturday August 26:
  • Support for Safari and Firefox browsers is underway ("the new guy from Pixar wants us to support his browser...."). The Disney management team confirmed that other browsers apart from IE will be supported. Work is actively underway;
  • Confirmation of "gardening" as the new, large upcoming addition to Toontown. Plant Jellybeans to grow flowers, pick them and sell them in the market. Plant gags to grow gag trees (with a whole range of bigger and better gags). Trees and plants need watering (at the time of the demo the watering can animation was not complete)
  • Wedding Cake gag - attacks *all* cogs you are fighting at the same time.
  • Daisy Duck will be coming back to Toontown (after all, the Garden is named after her. Goofy was just looking after it while she was away).
  • Disney ToonTown runs on "about 40" servers in Seattle. Linux is the OS of choice (couple of distro's)
  • Cog HQ is under construction. No details from the Disney team regarding release date.
  • Disney is lookig into how to allow users with single accounts to play multiple toons at the same time (their stated largest fear was "additional characters being sold")
  • Trolly games in development
  • Account packages that will combine accounts for Toontown and the upcoming "Pirates of the Caribbean" online game.
  • ToonTown pins were given out at Toonfest: Three Cogs and five characters (the blue monkey being my favorite). I've asked Evan to scan them for me + will post a picture. (Some are already for sale by others at ebay)
  • If you collected six out of seven stickers around the evnet you received a set of magnets with each of the ToonTown land names + a special "ToonFest" magnet. I've seen two sets of these for sale on ebay.

"Snacks on a Plane"

My new concept for airports: "Snacks on a Plane", serving tasty morsels to to famished passenger.
Movie tie-in possibilities are almost endless.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Linksys WRT54G Upgrade to DD-WRT

Spent this afternoon upgrading my Linksys WRG54G to DD-WRT in order to run a FON access point. Since I had the V6 version I had to jump through a few additional hoops, removing vxworks and installing a micro Linux binary on the router. Very useful pages at bitsum. I plan to complete the FON installation and configuration next weekend. Will update then.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

So Sue Me......

Expand the image below to see an e-mail message that was sent to a web site admin. This really happened!

August 19: Open Source & Amazon Video

Just found a CM Journal article that was published last year entitled Open Source Development Community Drives Processes Benefiting Enterprise Applications. Length-wise it's little more than an abstract. I'll dig out the full paper on which this was based and post it.

Friday morning Arstechnica ran a story about screenshots of Amazon's new video web store.
Story was picked up by Slashdot, Digg and others:
News is getting kinda 'same-y' these days...

Oh, and read the reviews for Tuscan Whole Milk on Amazon. But don't be drinking said milk at the time unless you want it to be ejected from your nose at high velocity. You have been warned.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

More Numbers.....

Seems like the "paint a number - make a sale" business model is being pursued by more than one artist. Anthony White also has a number series. I'm not overly excited by Anthony's artwork - looks like the daubings of a chimpanzee on crack, however you can buy it in varying currencies and it is multi-colored. The fact that he's created his own "secondary market" is quite impressive - even though it appears that he's buying back his own artwork for more than for which he sold it. Smart move there Anthony.

Update: 17 August. Seems like Anthony White is a little tetchy. At least I didn't liken his artwork to that which is created by elephants in Thailand - but wait, maybe I should look again? I'm working on my own wonderful business opportunity to sell plastic and metal scuptures of numbers based on some wacko bit of 2nd grade math. Get those credit cards ready..!

Update: 18 August. I had a call this morning from the legal representatives of the Elephant Sri-Siam, currently in residence at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center. They cautioned me about comparing the primitive splotchings of Anthony White to the elegantly executed paintings of their clients, especially Sri-Siam. Below is an original elephant painting created by Sri-Siam on elephant dung paper. It's entitled "Daawk Sunng" ("Tall Flowers") (actually 'Daawk Sunng' translates on Babel fish as "bean sprouts, pad thai and rice", so I'm not really sure). I'll leave the decision regarding which artist is the better, elephant or Anthony, to the reader....

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Boomzilla as a Graph

Created this image of Boomzilla using a cool applet that lets you see the HTML structure of your blog or website as graph. People who have created them for their websites are posting them on Flickr and tagging them websitesasgraphs. Here are a few examples, including CNN, Apple and Yahoo.

The Beast of a Number

....So what you get is a painting, which is a canvas, 30 cm * 30 cm, 4 cm, thick. It's white and it has this blue number number on it. That's it. It's signed, of course, and it has an "up to 19 digits" number on the back, which is sort of a password for that specific number.

...the "value" of a painting, i.e. the full price of a painting, is simply 1000 USD minus the number...the lower the number the more expensive it is...

Number 1 - if it was still available - would go for $999... initally, you just had to pay 10% of this amount. And then, after a 100 paintings are sold, you have to pay 20%, and after another hundred, it's 30%, and so on. And the last hundred numbers that are sold will go for the full price. So, it's a bit like the stock market: The more people buy, the more expensive it gets.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Criss Angel reveals his levitation trick

Check out the video at - Awsome video of Criss demonstrating how he levitates several feet into the air.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Amazon "R" Us and Toys R Us have finally parted ways. Toys R Us has chosen GSI Commerce to provide a new e-commerce platform, and Exel to supply supporting logistics solutions for its new online strategy. On 1 July launched its new Toys & Games and Baby stores which it is running itself, along with selections from Target and eToys. Given the significant problems that Toys R Us has had in the past with fulfilling orders, it’ll be interesting to see how each company fares.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Survivors

Survivors of the query Log clickstream era will gather at Craig Woods house later today to mark the evolution to Event Driven Clickstream. In celebration I've made a pinata in the shape of a pager -- somthing that we expect to be using less of in the coming months. It will be beaten to a pulp and small children will be showered with treats for no good reason. (And yes - I know it's "All your base are belong to us"......)

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Thoughts for Evan's Graduation

Well, I have three years to prepare for Evan's graduation. Thoughts thus far (based on what I learned during the building of the cable car):
  • Drive-in movie - Large screen on which is projected old 50's movies, concession stand (popcorn, hot dogs, soda etc), car's (real cars cut just behind the front seats, engine removed + other junk necessary to reduce weight).
  • Space Theme - Tall (30 foot+) rocket ship. PCV pipe, white, flexible card (requires no painting), gantry made from PVC pipe.
  • Midway Roller Coaster - Old wooden style coaster on which a small (12inch x 4inch x 3inch) car runs backwards and forwards. Lights, sounds etc.
I think the rocket ship would be straightforwad to build. Gantry is easy, just PVC pipe, fittings and orange paint. Ship framework is PVC pipe and flexible "hoops" around which the white card can be attached. Three stage rocket that is topped off with an escape rocket to remove the crew capsule in case of problems. Fins and engine bells would also be needed.

Time to start lobbying the PTA for one of these themes....

eBay this!

I have the cable car listed for sale on ebay. Will be interesting to see who bids and for how much (if indeed at all). Please feel free to bid without fear of winning as I will be taking the auction down before it is scheduled to end :-)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Couple More Cable Car Shots

A few different angles. Click on the images for larger views.

Cable Car Complete!!

Monday 12 June at Emma's 8th Grade graduation saw the unveiling of the finished cable car. It appeared to be a success - students were dancing inside the cable car (evening swinging from it). After three or-so months of construction it took only an hour and a half to reduce it to a few piles of wood and plastic tubing. For Evan's graduation I'm planning a scale replica of a Saturn V rocket....

(Click on a picture for a larger view)

Cable Car under construction. A number of people helped with painting (Emma, Heather, Cindy), putting on decals and generally running around for me. Thanks!!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

To Live and Die in Seattle

Well I'm finally here in Seattle drinking from the firehose. It goes thus:
Week 1: "This is cool. No problem. Nice folks. Projects going well. Easy....."
Week 2: "Holy crap!"
Week 3: "Screw-it - down to business"

Wonder what week 4 will hold.....?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Doing time in Cabo

In Cabo this week. If you need me -- cbodell at will reach me. WIll be checking e-mail once a day or so, between margaritas....

Monday, April 17, 2006


I don't know about the grass being greener on the other side of the fence, but I certainly do know that greeen semi-gloss paint is a bitch to get out from underneath my fingernails....

As you can see from the shots below, the cable car is now regulation San Francisco Cable Car green (or as close as I could get by eye-balling the color from a second rate photocopy of a picture of a cable car). Next: the red trim!

And yes, that is a Commodore PET in the bottom left of the picture. Don't ask.....

Shopping List: Welding lessons and a spray gun!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Worms on a Blog (WonB)

What's better than Snakes on a plane? How about Worms on a blog. The BlueSfeare worm is a digital art worm created by the artists at Blue Sfear with the goal of creating the largest graphics worm on the internet. As of 16 April the worm is 4.26Mb, includes 92 images and is 63.88 ft (based on 72 pixels = 1 inch). The project is realtiavly forgetable, however the art work submitted thus far contains a number of well executed and interesting graphics. Will it get big or will it fizzle???

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Max Headroom?

Actually MaxVista. Cool and inexpensive. Allows you to link up to four, network-connected PC's or laptops to create on large, single display. Don't throw away that old, barely working laptop. Recycle it as an additional display for your primary system. The MaxVista site has a cool video showing the system working across four laptops.

My brain is Wracked

"I'm racking my brian" -- we've all used it, and I confirmed today that "rack" (derived from the torture device) is the correct spelling. However, I believe in the seldom used phrase "my brain is wracked" the correct spelling of "wracked" is with the leading 'w', which means ' damage or destruction', and is related to wreck and wreak.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Color TV

Color TV. Better than black and white TV. More to see than radio.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Even more Cable Car

Continuing to make good progress on the Cable Car. Windows have all be trimmed out. Below is a view from the rear of the car looking forward.

Next and final stage is the roof. Challange is that the roof of the cable car tops out at about 13 feet. The garage ceiling is only 11 1/2 feet high....... I've resigned myself to just making the roof cuts for final assembly at the school hall. I *may* be able to cut the roof panels before shipping the who structure to school - but I'm not betting on it. Below you see the begining of the roof frame.

All those years as a kid playing with construction sets is finally paying off. See Mom and Dad - I told you that skill would come in useful one day...

Roof frame detail:

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

As interesting as watching a plank warp

Quick. Catch it while there is still time. For your edification: The Pitch Drop Experiment.

In 1927 Professor Parnell heated a sample of pitch and poured it into a glass funnel with a sealed stem. Three years were allowed for the pitch to settle, and in 1930 the sealed stem was cut. From that date on the pitch has slowly dripped out of the funnel - so slowly that now, 72 years later, the eighth drop is only just about to fall.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


A stylish mix of form and function; scupture and light. Generate is also an alternative source for the Ambient Orb should ThinkGeek be out of stock.

Surrounded by Art

A very impressive project to emerge from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is CANVAS (Collaborative Advanced Navigation Virtual Art Studio). It’s a 3-screened, back-projectioned portable virtual-reality open-lab for research and teaching projects by faculty in the fine and applied arts at the University. CANVAS is a space for creating and presenting computer-assisted multi-dimensional projects. CANVAS is based on the University of Illinois' CAVE™ technology and runs on the SYZYGY grid-operating system. SYZYGY is open source and is downloadable here. It runs under windows, Linux, and MacOSX.

I want a CAVE. It should be very inexpensive. I also want a flying car. And a pony....

Slashdot Dicks

Check out the recent SF Bay Guardian article by Analee Newitz entitled SlashDot Dicks. It's mostly an "I'm a feminist and am not afraid to piss and moan about it over half a dozen paragraphs"* story, however she does conclude (quite rightly) that *any* topic on Slashdot brings out all sides of an argument. The great thing about the Slashdot moderation system is the fact that well thought out, constructive posts get modded up, while the trash gets promptly slammed down. You can always rely on Slashdot for a well argued set of points. You may not agree with all of the posts -- but you can learn a lot.

(* and no, I have nothing against feminists -- only about people that whine about any topic.....)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Cable Car Update Update!

Continuing to make good progress (although "good" in this context is highly relative). Windows have been cut and trimmed. I wound up using sheets of foam insulation for the curved window trim (window cap?) - made cutting them out very easy (notwithstanding the first drawing of blood...)

You can see in the picture above that the windows trim is in place. The window caps will be glued in place.

I spray-primed the first window cap to ensure it will look OK.
Looks OK to me ;-) Tomorrow the gluing of the window caps and the cutting of windows at the rear of the cable car. Then the painting. And after the painting, the roof!

Oh, and I quit my job today. Kinda anti-climactic as there was no one in the office to accept my resignation. The lady in HR was the unlucky candidate by virtue of being the only person not on vacation this week.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Cable Car Progress

The cable care frame is made from 2-inch schedule 40 irrigation pipe. Why? It's easy to work with, is almost impossible to break and comes with lots of interesting connection joints (which makes my life much easier - I know the joints will line up....)

Here we see the walls going on the frame. Since the garage where I'm constructing the car slopes, I'm "floating" the walls. They will be levelled when I install the replica in the La Entrada school hall.

Lower walls on the frame. Making progress....

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Off to

Well it's just about official (as soon as I sign the paperwork and hand in my notice...) that I'm off to On May 1 2006 or thereabouts, I become the VP Platform Operations for the world's largest on-line retail site. So yes - if the site is down or running slow you know where to complain.

Now I have the challange of getting packed, finding somewhere to live (yes -- this will be Seattle, WA based) and moving. Oh joy!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Cable Car Project

I'm now about halfway through the construction of the replica-cable car centerpiece for the upcoming La Entrada 8th Grade graduation. I'm begining to wonder, however, what the heck I do with a 3/4 size San Francisco Cable Car when the event is over? Thoughts?