May 29, 2008

Over capacity

twitter.whale

And in case you think it's just you that's seeing these messages, High Scalability has an essay asking the question whether Twitter's solution should be to throttle users' tweets-per-day. Not crazy considering the quality of service they're now providing. Here comes some real competition...

posted by sstrader at 7:54 AM in Science & Technology | permalink | comments (0)

May 28, 2008

May 27, 2008

Where was I?

Friday we got to leave work early, so I got some piano in before meeting the wife and brother-in-law at the Cypress Street Pint and Plate for a few drinks ... who am I kidding? We were there until an undetermined time when somehow we walked the two blocks back home and scarfed on a take-out box of their delicious meatball sliders.

Saturday was exercise and coding, and then an evening of crawfish at Tedra and Bill's XXth annual Crawfish Boil. Sunday was a cookout at Alicia and Dan's (delicious lamb burgers filled with feta and spinach), then to Eddie's Attic with A & D & Jonelle & Theresa for a fun set of music by The Bonaventure Quartet (with Amy Pike of the long defunct Lost Continentals).

We cut out just before midnight to get Lisa home and rested for her Monday morning 10k at North Point Mall where I hung out at the only Starbucks in the world that doesn't offer wifi, free or otherwise. OTP is barbaric. We kicked back until noon and then headed up to Liz and Matt's to relax around the pool. For the rest of the day. Drinks and snacks that we really didn't need at the Vortex after we got home, resisting the end of the long weekend.

Two days out in the sun and no sunburn. A first, and a good omen for summer.

posted by sstrader at 2:44 PM in Where was I? | permalink | comments (0)

May 26, 2008

Two graphic novels

Finished reading the Ghost in the Shell GN and Palestine by Joe Sacco.

Ghost in the Shell

Palestine

GitS was well-drawn if a bit dense at times. In contrast to the spare clarity of the Star Wars Manga (unfairly compared with Chaykin's Marvel version), GitS's pages are crowded with imagery, image styles, and meta-textual references. Although arguably appropriate for seminal cyberpunk, when paired with the alienating foreigness of face faults it feels uneven. It may require a re-read. I was also swimming in an effort to discern what parts made it to the movie, what made it to Stand Alone Complex, and what made it to 2nd GIG. That was an unnecessary exercise on my part, and only added to the chaos since references had no thematic or temporal organization.

Palestine had a similar flaw with frequent "meta" comments from the author examining his impulse to examine the Palestinian's occupation. Although the stories were fascinating, his over-examination of self was nothing more that increased self-absorbtion. Still, it's shocking to see what those people go through and are put through. The capacity for man to inflict suffering on his fellow man, etc. Palestine looks like, I'm sorry, a German prison camp.

posted by sstrader at 11:10 AM in Language & Literature | tagged ghost in the shell | permalink | comments (0)

May 24, 2008

Followers

Reddit's comments, for political stories, will often turn aggressive when praise or defense of Obama is posted. Decrying the blind acclaim of Obama "fanboys," many posters will drop whatever the discussion at hand is and instead bring up his more lackluster moments. Certainly Obama has a passionate following, but it's not nearly as intense as Ron Paul--a Reddit darling--and not nearly as arrogantly optimistic as when the Republican field was still mutable and Ron Paul had a chance.

That being said, you don't see any Hillary fanboys in those comments. Nature of the environment, I guess. When I hear her defenders interviewed on NPR, I'm a little terrified. A certain segment of her followers say they will vote for McCain if Obama gets the nomination, repeating the accusations of sexism, a persecution that Hillary has passionately nurtured. The attempt to punish their own party for imagined sexism perpetrated by ... who? ... is like Bush invading Iraq for the sins of others. And, with the supposed similarities of Clinton and Obama, to choose the Bush disciple McCain over Obama is equally Bush-like and childish.

Admittedly, I've heard Obama supporters puzzle over the Hillary-or-McCain question if Obama doesn't get the nomination (a question asked more and more infrequently, given the recent results). Are they--myself at times included--being as petulant as the disgruntled Clinton supporters? Part of me is not so sure, and part of me reads the dutiful enumerations by Olbermann of Clinton's deceitful gaffes and sees the comparison as apples and oranges. Read for yourself:

We have forgiven you your insistence that there have been widespread calls for you to end your campaign, when such calls had been few.

We have forgiven you your misspeaking about Martin Luther King's relative importance to the Civil Rights movement.

We have forgiven you your misspeaking about your under-fire landing in Bosnia.

We have forgiven you insisting Michigan's vote wouldn't count and then claiming those who would not count it were Un-Democratic.

We have forgiven you pledging to not campaign in Florida and thus disenfranchise voters there, and then claim those who stuck to those rules were as wrong as those who defended slavery or denied women the vote.

We have forgiven you the photos of Osama Bin Laden in an anti-Obama ad...

We have forgiven you fawning over the fairness of Fox News while they were still calling you a murderer.

We have forgiven you accepting Richard Mellon Scaife's endorsement and then laughing as you described his "deathbed conversion."

We have forgiven you quoting the electoral predictions of Boss Karl Rove.

We have forgiven you the 3 A-M Phone Call commercial.

We have forgiven you **President** Clinton's disparaging comparison of the Obama candidacy to Jesse Jackson's.

We have forgiven you Geraldine Ferraro's national radio interview suggesting Obama would not still be in the race had he been a white man.

We have forgiven you the dozen changing metrics and the endless self-contradictions of your insistence that your nomination is mathematically probable rather than a statistical impossibility.

We have forgiven you your declaration of some primary states as counting and some as not.

We have forgiven you exploiting Jeremiah Wright in front of the editorial board of the lunatic-fringe Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

We have forgiven you exploiting William Ayers in front of the debate on ABC.

We have forgiven you for boasting of your "support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans"...

We have even forgiven you repeatedly praising Senator McCain at Senator Obama's expense, and your **own** expense, and the Democratic **ticket's** expense.

But Senator, we cannot forgive you this.

posted by sstrader at 2:18 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

May 23, 2008

Why

Dear MetroFi User,

It is with regret that we notify you of our intentions to discontinue offering the MetroFi FREE and MetroFi Premium services in Portland. We are in the process of negotiating with a 3rd party network operator to keep the network in place, and during this time your services will not be affected. As soon as we know the outcome of these negotiations, we will provide you with further information.

Thank you,

The MetroFi Team

I told you wifi access in Portland sucked. (But, again, the city as a whole was awesome.)

posted by sstrader at 12:13 AM in Science & Technology | permalink | comments (0)

May 22, 2008

Books, movies

Lisa and I were bemoaning the great novels out there that haven't been made into movies. People bitch and bitch about themovienotbeingasgoodasthebook, but that's always been a dead arguement for me. A movie is different from the book. Period. Anyway, I think I started with how great Chabon's books would be on film or maybe she brought up the McCarthy she's read and wanted to see.

There are a surplus of good-to-great directors out there, a surplus of actors, and a surplus of script writers, so these fictions should be rich territory to mine for film. The sad truth is that the system hinders development when it should be facilitating it. Production companies buy the rights and sit on them. Executives haggle over scripts and dumb down rewrites. Directors demand expensive techniques. Studios demand blockbusters. What we need is some sort of low-budget, Playhouse 90 sort of system. That series showed weekly live and filmed dramas often adapted from books, each running 90 minutes. George Clooney did something similar in 2000 with a live broadcast of Fail Safe.

This would be a wonderful series to revive, but it'd probably end up on HBO or some other cable channel we don't subscribe to.

[ updated 24 May 2008, Chabon's birthday ]

Just heard Garrison Keillor talk about Chabon on the writer's almanac and decided to read a little about him. Surprise, the Coen's are adapting The Yiddish Policemen's Union for film.

posted by sstrader at 12:54 PM in Cinema , Language & Literature | permalink | comments (0)

Oil

My first impulse was that the executives of the major oil companies testifying before congress was a waste of time, but then I listened to them and realized that it was all for the benefit of those companies. NPR reported on the farce. They were testifyin', and I was rollin' my eyes at the meaninglessness, and then the hammer dropped: In the United States, access to our own oil and gas resources has been limited for the last 30 years prohibiting companies, such as Shell [guess, if you can, who's speaking - ed.], from exploring and developing resources for the benefit of the American people. It was OJ on the stand insisting that he'll find the real killer. Tech people always talk about the Big Money that Microsoft or Google makes and then are shut up by the absurd profits that a multi-corporation monopoly can make while pleading for more special treatment from the government to save them from the abyss of-whose-edge-they're-on.

I know, railing against the oil companies is like ... well, railing against the oil companies. They've neatly become the devil we know. But you still want to expect a limit to their shame.

posted by sstrader at 8:55 AM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

May 19, 2008

Twitter down art collection via Dembot

I've only seen a few of these. Staring into nothingness now, although how often can you say you've been 552ed? Weird ...

My favorite:

twitter.wrong

[ updated the next day ]

Coding Horror just stole my stolen image!!

posted by sstrader at 5:08 PM in Personal | permalink | comments (0)

May 16, 2008

Message sent to NPR's ombudsman

I just listened to your story on Bush's vow to give up golf out of respect for the families of the US soldiers in Iraq. The story continued with a reflection on previous presidents' relationship with golf while in office.

I was stunned that the story did not contain the more serious and salient aspect of Bush's statement: the fact that he broke that vow around two months after he made it.

This may seem like a petty complaint for what was essentially a puff piece, but I believe that with this sobering fact, it should have never merited as a puff piece. Only injudicious editing of surrounding facts allowed you to play it as such.

With the furor that it caused in the online community, I'm sure I'm not the only one communicating my irritation.

I left out the "fuck you" that I said in the car after I heard the story...

posted by sstrader at 6:58 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

May 15, 2008

End game

Caught a second-hand conversation on the environment from workers at this hypothetical company. People are still pulling out the same old macho canards: "raping the environment won't affect me in my lifetime so it doesn't matter what I do," paired with "it's too difficult to recycle so I shouldn't have to." After the initial blush of anger at such short-sighted and basically infantile idiocy (this is how adults act?!?), I realized that infantile is the key word. I should maybe look upon it like 14-year-old boys telling each other they'd like to "fuck the hell out of some chick" with carelessly offensive swagger. It's sort of a group aggression in the face of a discomforting "other". The sad difference is that the former discussion results in them actually fucking the hell out of the environment; the latter merely ends in video games and who-can-punch-the-hardest competitions.

posted by sstrader at 2:13 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

May 13, 2008

Mike Norman

So one of the racist Marietta bar owner's many bon mots--displayed in the redneck businessman's version of Yosemite Sam mudflaps: the backlit plastic letter sign--was no habla espanol--and never will. Ignoring the recursive idiocy of such a statement (akin to saying "only kikes think I'm a jew-hater" or ... well, you get the idea), I'm just glad that I had Freedom Tortillas for lunch today and not those nasty, non-American ones. GOUSA!!

[ update: 14 May 2008 ]

Pharyngula teaches the controversy on our new-found Georgia racism and the masses of ScienceBlog readers tip the AJC poll from ~52% not racist v. ~48% racist to a heartening-if-it-hadn't-come-from-outsiders ~40% not racist v. ~60% racist. *sigh*. Still, the memory of the original poll results (and what will probably be increased patronage of the bar by a certain segment of the population) won't go away.

To console your despair, go play Racism Bingo over at Shakespeare's Sister...

posted by sstrader at 9:05 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

Where was I?

Lisa and I were in Portland for the Indie Wine Festival Thursday April 30th through Monday May 5th. Wineries, book store, lots of amazing restaurants and bars, and some great hiking. All documented in Twitter but not easily linkable. Photo entry and highlights to come.

[ updated 1 July 2008 ]

Photos posted here (somewhat slow) and a few random artifacts from the trip. The flight there:

portland.flight-there.1 portland.flight-there.2

And back:

portland.flight-back

The access card from the Hotel Deluxe (a classic movie themed hotel):

portland.hotel-card

And the card from a small shop in Dundee called The Dapper Frog. We picked up a couple of wine toppers when we were there for the Willamette Valley wineries:

portland.dapper-frog.jpg

[ updated 21 Dec 2009 ]

A friend was asking about restaurants in Portland, so I dug up our TripIt page for that trip to help jog my memory. Andina had crazy South American drinks (Lisa first discovered the Caipirinha there) and deliciously unusual, Peruvian recipes. Saucebox was a hip seafood and sushi joint (aren't they all?) with a crazy mural of robots and aliens and somesuch nonsense of which I wish I would have gotten the artist's name. Lunch at The Dundee Bistro in the tiny tiny town of Dundee when we went to Willamette wineries. Super-fancy dinner at Bluehour (which I think we were late getting to because of a post-Willamette nap). The service and food was absolutely outstanding.

Went to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at The Shakespeare Tavern last Thursday (runs through June 1st). One of my favorite movies and the play was outstanding. Much more bawdy than I remember from the movie, and I caught more of Stoppard's wordplay in this version, sometimes clever and sometimes vaudevillian.

movie.iron-man

Friday was Iron Man (3/5) at Atlantic Station. Without Downey and Paltrow, the movie would have only been a minor effects-vehicle. They were electric throughout (he getting most of the screentime, of course). I had difficulty getting past the silly science that seemed to stretch the bounds of even comic-book-science. Radical direction changes in a metal suit (whether in the air or hitting the ground) would be catastrophic to the body. And when Paltrow reached into the metal tube that went into his heart in order to pull out some faulty wire, well ... just silly. All-in-all a fun ride though.

Saturday was my niece Sarah's ballet recital. There were some very good dancers there and (at times overly) complex choreography. One senior was Absolutely Amazing showing off such grace and flow throughout her whole body that she can only be moving on to professional dance. I noticed the greatest sense of flow in how she used her hands and wrists in relation to the rest of her movements. Seeing such art helps you more clearly differentiate mere skill.

posted by sstrader at 12:17 PM in Cinema , Where was I? | permalink | comments (0)

May 7, 2008