zen.org Communal Weblog

February 26, 2005

Spring Birds

Filed under: — Sven @ 10:03 IST

Though 余艾蕾 noticed it first, I went outside today and heard birds. It’s the first time this year my ears where full of them. Though four inches of snow on the ground, and more comming Monday, it sounded like spring.

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February 23, 2005

How greedy

Filed under: — brendan @ 21:47 IST

We’re on a holiday trip with some family members, and the place we’re staying lets you use the Net via a cable modem. So ever in pursuit of a hack, I got a linksys wireless router and hooked it up so we could all share the connection wirelessly. As an experiment, I left it unencrypted (we’re not billed for bandwidth) to see how many people would discover it and want to partake.

Up until today, it’s been a non-issue. But since this morning, we found the bandwidth slow to a crawl. None of us were doing any big transfers. (And this nearly 4Mbit link can get an awful lot before you start to feel it.) So I looked at the DHCP logs, and saw two IP addresses that were out of the range being assigned automatically. Hmmm. Turns out those two addresses were doing, together, long unending transfers. For hours on end. Sigh.

So much for that; up went the WEP (no WPA yet), and down went my hopes that people would enjoy the freeness of it but not abuse it. I know WEP won’t stop them if they’re really trying, but I expect there are easier targets now. Some jerk or jerks ate it up. Oh well, maybe I’ll try this experiment again sometime.

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February 21, 2005

Smoked Salmon

Filed under: — michael @ 15:50 IST

Just back from Nantes, where a good time was had by both, and thought I’d make a post about some smoked salmon that Jim had as a starter.

Now, smoked salmon is not a rarity in our household, and I’ve even had it fairly often when eating out, but this smoked salmon was the ur-smoked salmon – it was “welcome to the mother-fish” time.

Within its succulent walls your tongue could track the route that smoke had swirled around the fish’s body; the taste was so clearly defined, you could roll the history of the flavouring process back and taste the individual knots of wood that been used up during the smoking. It was like realising that previously you had only been eating in 2-D, and now whoosh! – here was a third dimension of flavour.

It wasn’t the strength of the taste, it wasn’t particularly strong in fact, it was more the precision and the degree of definition that it possessed. I hadn’t imagined that a taste could be like that…

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February 20, 2005

No wonder people don't want to visit America

Filed under: — brendan @ 19:41 IST

In Shannon Airport, we waited in line at US Immigration to continue our trip. There were six booths, each of which can have two INS officers working separate sides. On this occasion, there were only four INS folks working, divided between two stations. We went to the line on the right, sporting about 15 people; the line on the left was similar in length. We saw it take an average of about 5 minutes for each person to make it through. The slowdown appeared to be the requirement that every single non-US citizen (which in this case appeared to be the majority of the people) pose for a photo and offer a finger for a digital fingerprint.

Setting aside the debate about the problems in such a thing—no commitment to how long the information is held, who has access, etc—we’ll just focus on the amount of time it took for anyone to make it through immigration. We heard repeated calls for passengers to board our flight, heightening the stress as we’re convinced the airline will find a reason to take off our baggage and leave without us. It didn’t matter that we had US passports, we just had to wait like everyone else.

The two people in front of us divide up, going to each of the two INS staff. After a long wait, we saw the first immigration officer left her station with the person she’d been assisting. A few minutes later, the same thing happened with the other INS employee, leaving our side empty. About three minutes later, the second INS officer came out and told us we had to queue up on the other side. We couldn’t believe we’d just wasted all of this time, only to have to go to the other line and wait even longer. It was with great relief that we saw the first INS officer from our side materialize, and signal for us to come back. In less than one minute, she’d swiped each of our passports, given some idle chatter, and flagged us on.

While we were stuck in line, and when we got transferred to the other line, we were able to commiserate with our fellow passengers, all of whom were not US citizens and had to go through the fingerprinting exercise. Without exception, they all voiced their opinion that this did nothing at all to encourage them to want to visit the United States. Nor, they said, did it give them any confidence in the ability of the US government to treat foreign nations as anything other than second-class citizens of the world.

Sometimes this kind of crap makes you feel ashamed to be part of the land of the not-really-free.

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February 15, 2005

searchspell is too cool

Filed under: — brendan @ 16:36 IST

For a word geek, searchspell is a cool toy. For example, if you visit www.searchspell.com/sites/wordid/, you’ll find a list of the pages for a variety of words that begin with the letter “i“.

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ABBA!

Filed under: — Sven @ 09:57 IST

Maybe Brendan was excited by the Mötley Crüe tour, but Abba is reuniting! Sort of, well they are not, but they are seeing eachother again, I guess. Never mind, just ignore this post.

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February 12, 2005

Reality from a play of words

Filed under: — brendan @ 12:47 IST

Seen on a wall in Dublin, which really drives home (sic) the high prices for rental or purchase:

If you lived here, you’d be homeless by now.

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February 11, 2005

Are your ears suitable for your job?

Filed under: — michael @ 05:23 IST

“accelerated learning” outfit (whassatwhenitsathome?) The Training Camp, have determined what type of music professionals in the wonderful world of computing listen to.

Are you in the right job?

M
(currently listening to FolkAlley.com, and therefore well beyond the pale… )

Those results in full:

Job: Microsoft-certified professionals
Favoured genre: Mainstream pop

Top three bands:

Britney Spears
Dido
Beyonce
***********************

Job: Security
Favoured genre: 60s “Alt” Rock

Top three bands:

Grateful Dead
The Doors
Hendrix
***********************

Job: Linux
Favoured genre: Electro

Top three bands:

The Orb
Underworld
Kraftwerk
***********************

Job: Developers
Favoured genre: Heavy Metal

Megadeth
Iron Maiden
Slipknot
***********************

Job: Database administrators
Favoured genre: Indie

The Smiths
Haven
Suede
***********************

Job: Project manager
Favoured genre: Rock

Pink Floyd
Queen
Rolling Stones
***********************

Job: CIO/IT director
Favoured genre: Classical

Mozart
Handel
Vivaldi

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February 9, 2005

Body clock's in the wrong timezone

Filed under: — brendan @ 00:16 IST

I landed back in Ireland from California on Monday evening. We left San Francisco at a bit past 7pm PST on Sunday, and finally came into Dublin at 5:30pm GMT on Monday, making the first day of the week effectively vanish. I slept really well on the 10-hour flight, went to bed Monday night at a reasonable hour, and woke up Tuesday morning with a brief sleep-in from E. I had a full day Tuesday, and went to bed around 10pm….and found myself wide awake at 2am after only a bit of sleep.

Gahhhhhhhhhh. Now it’s 5am, and I might be tired enough to be able to fall back to sleep—for a couple of hours maybe. Perhaps I wasn’t quite as well-adjusted (open to interpretation) as I thought. The flight went so well, and Tuesday was on a good schedule, that I thought I was all set. Maybe it was arrogant of me to think it would be quite that easy. Another guy on the trip slept for 11 hours straight once he was home after resting for only one hour on the flight. Even though he suffered a lot by being awake for so long, I bet he’s not awake right now… 🙂

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February 6, 2005

Smoking

Filed under: — jim @ 04:31 IST

Just to let you know: One week, six days, 17 hours, 30 minutes and 52 seconds. 164 cigarettes not smoked, saving €51.48. Life saved: 13 hours, 40 minutes.

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