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Fri, Jul. 22nd, 2016, 08:56 am
Thursday Night Injury Report

I've been wondering if I should make this a weekly feature...

Last night while sparring — Bartitsu, in case you didn't get the memo — I managed to:
a) go down to the floor, not the mat, while throwing someone. This is not a big deal if you land correctly;
b) land incorrectly;
c) managed to drop the other person on my leg

But no damage done.

Wed, Oct. 21st, 2015, 02:32 pm
Bad driving, 2015-10-21

Today as I was crossing the street, I was nearly run down. A DeLorean appeared out of nowhere, doing maybe 90 MPH, and I was barely able to get out of the way.

The driver was a tall man, white, with wild white hair and some sort of goggles. I couldn't make out the passenger's face.

Wed, Sep. 16th, 2015, 10:45 pm
Mysticism and MD5

During New Year services yesterday, I noted in my usual despair the mysticism inherent in certain parts of the services.

In particular, gematria, a Jewish version of numerology. I'm not a fan, to say the least; the last time I spoke on the subject in synagogue, I pointed out that the Hebrew for "State of Israel" had the same numerical value as "tomato sauce" and expanded on the topic from there. (It was a pre-Purim lecture, which is how I got away with it, but it did capture my attitude.)

Then on Tuesday at services I experienced an epiphany. Instead of comparing the straightforward computation of numerical value of the letters, we should compute an md5 one-way hash of the word, phrase, or section of text under discussion. Then we compare the hashes: if they match, it's a certain indication of divine intervention. After all, people fiddle with the gemetria to make it come out "right," that is, consistent with their desired message; clearly, we need a stricter way to compare in order to guarantee origin from On High.

Of course there's no guarantee that md5 is the One True Hash. We might need SHA-x instead.

I understand from a now-sleepless friend that he's currently on track to turn out an md5 version of the Old Testament, both word by word and sentence by sentence. Next comes exploitation of this glorious new investigative tool.

Mon, Sep. 7th, 2015, 07:59 am
Terminator Dialog

Years ago (2007?) the TV show The Sarah Conner Chronicles took the Terminator franchise to TV, and I admit that I enjoyed it for the most part.

I've just come across one of my favorite bits of dialog. I'd remembered the first two lines, but not the next two. The characters are discussing an initiative by Skynet to boot itself (using time-traveling agents) by influencing the city of LA to develop and install certain software.

John Connor: "I guess when they say 'you can't fight City Hall' they really mean it."
Derrick Reese: "Whoever said that didn't have as much plastique as we do."
Sarah Connor (calmly): "You can't blow up City Hall."
Derrick Reese: "It's really not that hard."

Thu, Aug. 13th, 2015, 05:18 am
Transporter Beams

1) When it comes to transporter beams I am not signing up for the beta release; I'll wait until release 1.3 minimum, and stay home on the major point releases (2.0, 3.0, etc.).

2) I just had a vision of what the stack of bug reports would look like for transporter beams; if you've heard my riff on self-driving car bug reports, no need to hear it again. And I also had a vision of just how many mice tech support kills on any given day as they replicate errors and verify fixes...

Sun, Jul. 26th, 2015, 02:38 pm
Credit Cards

I'm about to get what is probably my 4th credit card in the past 18 months.

Someone used a copy of my card in the US state of Delaware this morning. The credit card company declined the transaction but called us. They will send a replacement card eventually.

Chip and PIN has not yet really come to the US, aside from perhaps some stores somewhere of which I have never visited. That would cut down substantially on fraud.

Sun, Jul. 5th, 2015, 09:25 pm
Office Desk Drawer

I suspect my two office desk drawers have a more eclectic assortment of items than most.

Included, in a brief survey:

  • Litmus paper in test tubes

  • 1/4" audio adapters

  • Chop with my name in Chinese, as well as traditional red ink

  • Solid ink for use with Japanese brush pens

  • Sealing wax, and seal

  • Lockpicks

  • Number 14 welders glass plate for viewing eclipses

Like I say...

Wed, Jul. 1st, 2015, 08:15 am

The editorial staff at the industry magazine have finally recovered sufficiently from their inner management turmoil, and the "newish managing editor" contacted me to ask if I sent in my column already.

I replied that I hadn't started it, figuring "that was that" after they failed to contact me after my usual editor left. I'll see if I can brainstorm something, but do wonder if it's worth my while. Well, maybe the post-turmoil magazine will work better...

Tue, Jun. 16th, 2015, 10:26 pm
The Way We Talk

Spouse: "I'm not so certain that a zombie apocalypse is imminent."

Me: "It's people like you who get eaten first."

Tue, Jun. 2nd, 2015, 05:59 am
Road Trip Assassins

I think I'd enjoy road trips more if the other drivers would just stop trying to kill me.

Back in January when I drove to Detroit, as I was headed into downtown Chicago I headed into the Hubbard Street Tunnel. I heard a crashing noise in the right lane, and a car spun out of control across 2 lanes to enter mine.

As I drive a sports car, I managed to evade easily. Still...

On Sunday as I drove on "West Interstate 94," i.e., north, past Tomah on my 800+ mile road trip, I checked the road (no cars) and then looked at my phone GPS for a moment. When I looked back again I saw a sofa in my (middle) lane blocking the left half of the lane. I had to evade swiftly.

While I have to give the perpetrator points for using the "no car, hard-to-spot color, drop it just around the curve" technique, I must say that I'm getting ticked off at these amateurish attempts.

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