zen.org Communal Weblog

December 30, 2005

Is arachnophobia a genetic thing?

Filed under: — brendan @ 19:09 IST

P’s decided daddy-long legs spiders are okay. He asked me to keep him company in the bathroom because of a spider in the corner. When we got there, I explained they’re like Grampy Spiders who are just fishing for bugs.

He looked me right in the eye. “Does it have a fishing rod?”

I told him the web was like a bunch of fishing poles all out waiting for bugs to show up. He nodded in agreement as he put further thought to the brilliance of this approach, and continued back into the dining room to play. At the time, I wondered if he’d use the bathroom by himself next time now that he knows old Grampy’s not the swiftest.

About half an hour later, he got up and went back to the bathroom, peed, flushed, and came back into the room. Not a word spoken.

I hope this sort of thing sticks…

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Help with mobile phones

Filed under: — elana @ 11:04 IST

I’d like to get a new one. I don’t like the Motorola interface, really. I do like Nokia’s, but I haven’t played around with many other phones. I can get an upgrade from Vodafone now…

I was looking at the Nokia 6820 (aka E70). I like to text, but I like querty more :-). A good camera is helpful. MP3 option…eh. No biggie for me. Sync’ing with OSX would be good (but I have to research more on that). I don’t want a PIM, cause I have a Filofax that I love.

What are your favorite phones? Why? Help me out here!!

Elana

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No RFID attack on my wallet!

Filed under: — brendan @ 09:26 IST

A fun bit of craftsmanship: handy instructions on how to make a RFID blocking wallet using duct tape, helping the passionate privacy advocate fend against the RFID‘s own pervasive version of a pandemic. EPIC has a similar fix on a postcard, theirs involving aluminum foil to protect your passport.

Why worry about your passport? Check out Bruce Schneier’s recent article in Wired, where he points out a fatal flaw in how the U.S. State Department will be issuing passports containing RFIDs starting in October 2006. The chip in the passport could be readable by someone up to 69 feet away from you.

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December 23, 2005

Sven Heinicke's Work Page

Filed under: — Sven @ 19:29 IST

I don’t think any regular Zen.org readers need/should to visit this site, I thought I would want search engines to start finding it and this seemed the fastest way. Even though I have no home page yet, I put up a work page. Enjoy at your own risk.

P.S. It probably sucks in IE.

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More Mac Peeves

Filed under: — Sven @ 18:48 IST

First of all, X11 on the Mac sucks. It crashes form time to time, unlike on Debian. Its full screen mode sometimes killed my entire system! I don’t use Mac’s X11 in full screen mode anymore.

My X11 applications include locally run xterm, remotely run GNU Emacs built from CVS, and a few remote programs running from Mac servers. They go on the left side of the screen. On the right goes Safari, FireFox, Mail, iTunes and any other Mac applications I need. As my fingers do act up from time to time I try not to use the keyboard when I can; it bugs the hell out of me that I seem to be forced to use the Copy and Paste keyboard bindings when in the Dashboard.

Most of the time I do stuff from within X11, it’s great! Left click to copy, center to paste, no menus or keyboard. I will admit that on the Mac it’s cool that you can highlight text you want to blow away without clobbering your clipboard. Then I have to copy something from a Mac application on the right side of the screen. Apple’s Edit menu is on the left. Miles roll off my mouse’s odometer going up to that edit menu.

So, I thought, lets switch. X11 or the right, Mac on the left. As I said, most of the time I’m in X11. When composing long SQL queries, or viewing the results, it’s quite nice to make the terminal wider. I don’t want to full screen this thing as that would cover up my Perl code in Emacs. With X11 on the left side of the screen things work great as Apple places the drag resize thingy on the lower right of the window. Now with X11 stuff on the right side of the screen I have to move the window between resizing it.

Several X11 window managers offer ways to maximize terminals horizontally or vertically, usually by using a different button on the maximize button. No matter which button I click the ⊕ icon with on the Mac, it fills upt the entire screen. I guess I should use another window Manager then Apple’s, but when tried that a few months ago for a different reason it kept crashing Apple’s X11 after a few hours. I would ask about installing GNU/Linux on it but I need same Mac for some applications including Office (shudder) at work. Perhaps there is a way to reverse what’s on the Menu bar, or to put the Menu bar on the application.

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In depth chocolate coins

Filed under: — elana @ 10:31 IST

On the Bookofjoe blog, there’s a link to a story about chocolate coins that was in the Wash Post. Now, it’s quite interesting, cause those chocolate coins are really the baseline for so many comparisons.

Living over here now, I find that most American chocolate tastes like the chocolate coins of my childhood. Can you just imagine what the chocolate coins would taste like to me now?! Maybe I have become a chocolate snob, but why the heck not have the best stuff? Mars bars here (in the US, it’s a Milky Way. Milky Way here is a whole different thing. Wait. They’re called Milky Bars. Here. yeah.) are the most luscious yummy things. You can taste the milk. Mmmmmmm. They just started having Mars bar…somethings, that are like Kinder bars but have caramel inside. I mean, it’s like a mouthful of butter.

I need to find dairy free chocolate coins for next year for P (adds to list of things I forgot to do for holidays this year, including sending out cards.)

But what I’m saying is…if we all think they taste like crap, why the heck do we all keep buying them!? My brother and I got them for playing dreidel for Hanukkah, and I think they were the last chocolate we ate from the whole holiday. Leave the worst for last :-).

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Quicksilver

Filed under: — elana @ 09:23 IST

I’ve just started playing with Quicksilver, and I’m quite impressed. No more serious deep clicking to find a file on one of these darn partitions. And I was just learning about the Append To… feature, which is quite fun. I think it’s only for OSX, but if you’re a fan of 43 Folders, you’ll already know about it.

I do think the docs need a little help. I’m middling techie, and it took me a little while to figure out what the heck it does.

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December 17, 2005

Hehehehehehehehe

Filed under: — elana @ 21:01 IST

bookofjoe: Best picture of the day

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Turkeyness

Filed under: — elana @ 20:29 IST

So, I did my turkey today. We did one for Thanksgiving (finally found one at Lidl), which was deeeeelicious. And not just cause I brined it. But the turk itself was…I think B used the word rich. Rich flavor. Compared to today’s turkey (from Tesco), it was. The Lidl turkey was by far better. Amazing.

Yes, I did a turkey today. I roasted one. It’s done. Freezing it in zip top bags while dunked in chicken broth. That way, even tho we’re going to an aunt’s house for Christmas, we’ll have turkey whenever we need it (and for the killer Turkey Noodle Soup recipe that we have). Plus we needed the room in the fridge. 🙂

P wants to make sugar cookies also. I keep forgetting to make the dough, since it needs to chill for a while before you roll it out. I did find a good vegan recipe, but I just have to plan ahead. Plus we have some broken candy canes that P can have (and has been begging me for since we hung them up) that we can sprinkle on the cookies and I found some sprinkles on sale that would work. I still have powder food coloring that I’ll just toss with some sugar for other colors.

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December 3, 2005

No scissors on planes? How about—needles?

Filed under: — brendan @ 09:34 IST

More times than I can count, I’ve seen (mostly) ladies sitting in their airplane seat, relaxing not with a book or music or a movie, but instead a nice bit of knitting. To run through the rules: no Swiss Cards, no scissors, no pocket knives, but knitting needles are okay? For the paranoid, they’d be able to get through your eye and into your brain even easier than the now-plastic knives they give you for your safety while dining. But at least our in-bred fear of every object that exists in an airplane cabin hasn’t reached too much hysteria just yet. Umm…it hasn’t, right?

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has a great description of this sort of thing from the perspective of the needle-weilding terrorist and their 14″ aluminum weapons of minimal destruction. My favorite part of her story is towards the end, where you see that if she’d wanted to, she could seemingly have socially engineered herself right into the damn cockpit. 🙂

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