Archive for May, 2009


May 31, 2009

I’ve been playing Whack-a-Skeeter, a variant of Whack-a-Mole, at home. Starting last Wednesday and continuing through Friday, I had new windows installed on my house. During and since, my place has been in disarray. I suspect it will continue to be into next weekend because I’m not likely to get anything inspected before this upcoming Wednesday and I need to install blinds. My desk has been striped of its monitors, and I’m wondering if I’ll start up my main computer without them to do some software maintenance.

I also moved my PS3 to my living room and connected it to my old CRT TV so that I could watch a DVD I wrote before all this began. My old DVD player didn’t like the disk part way through. I even played Wipeout HD in SD. It lacks some of the graphical wow factor, but it is perfectly playable. Maybe tomorrow I’ll hook up my big monitor in the living room and watch a movie in HD, or just watch it on on my TV in SD because I can. Either way, it’ll be nicer on a couch than the office-style chair in front of my desk, and it’ll benefit from the fine speakers I have in the living room.

Anyway, while the windows were being installed, my house was very open to the outside. Plenty of sawdust from a table saw the crew used on my porch made it into the home, and I’m still cleaning it up. It also rained, so the crew tracked in mud over the floor. Bother. I was cleaning the floor, at least partially, every day until Saturday.

Dead mosquito

Dead mosquito

A fleet of mosquitoes would follow me around outside, so it’s no surprise an armada found its way in. I decided to stalk them for a while. Thanks to the new windows, it is quieter in my house now, and at its quietest I can hear a mosquito in flight a few feet from my ears. I just don’t have a good sense of the direction to the mosquito without seeing it. Most of them I squash with my hands, a few I bagged with my Dust Buster type tool, and I stomped on one. A few times I’ve gotten two in a row (quick successive successful attempts), and once I got two with one blow. Sometimes its a bloody mess, but I’m not tasting them back. Hunting them is enough for me.

I think I might be getting good at this game. I hope so, anyway. There hasn’t been a shortage of mosquitoes for me to go after yet, and I’ve still got plenty of itchy spots. At least I’ve got more motivation for this game than Whack-a-Mole. I always thought that one was rather dumb.

— Jeff, Mosquito Hunter (not to be confused with an exterminator)

Expend Your Imagenation

May 27, 2009
Expend Your Imagenation

Expend Your Imagenation

Use up your nation of images now!

The manual was validated really well. In addition to the slogan, their directions wouldn’t attach the CPU cooler on the two boards I’ve used it with. It left no room for the CPU and its socket. Some hex standoffs fixed that.

Botnets give you three strikes

May 12, 2009

France is about to pass a law to allow (force?) the disconnection of a person’s Internet link after three copyright violations (update: the Cour de cassation struck down the law). Any guesses as to how long it will be before a botnet is used to make unsuspecting peoples’ computers download the forbidden data? I’d be surprised if someone doesn’t try to implement such a botnet. It would make for quite the protest if ISPs lost half their subscribers to the law. It could give rise to mesh networks with data being distributed in a modern P2P variant of the BBSs of yore. Maybe they’ll get rid of unlicensed radio frequencies next.

I think the best long-term outcome will result from having a highly successful attack by a botnet or something similar, but not because the proliferation of copyrighted material. If ISPs lose so many subscribers that they can’t sustain their business, then some pro-business groups may be forced to reconsider their pro-copyright position. If ISPs going out of business isn’t enough, maybe having no home Internet connections available will. Or, maybe having personally operated wireless mesh networks feeding these homes for free outside the control of corporations will. I should think that ought to scare the pro-copyright groups, but they haven’t considered the possibility yet; they are too reactionary. If groups like the MPAA and RIAA could see such future possibilities, they would have already realized that its time to rework their business model.

Of course, they could just accept that computers can copy any data they can read and outlaw computers. Instead, they’ll probably just try to make it illegal to have computers that run software that isn’t authorized by the government, but that will just bring on a resurgence of hobbyist made and modified computer hardware.

If such laws do become a major burden on ISPs, then it will be seen that these laws can cause a loss of profit, or business. Never having the laws in the first place would be better, but demonstrating they cause financial harm will do more to stop them from spreading further. Still, I’m not advocating the botnet approach. I just figure that the people who would and can do it are probably already thinking about doing it.

False Steps

The Space Race as it might have been

You Control The Action!

High Frontier

the space colony simulation game

Simple Climate

Straightforwardly explaining climate change, so you can read, react and then get on with your life.