October 31, 2004

Today's reading list

I am going to start blogging and sometimes mirroring the interesting articles I read each day. With the entries here on my site, I can more easily search for quotes ("where did I read that?") and can be sure that links don't die. This may become more trouble than it's worth, but it's still worth a try.

  • Infinite monkey theorem
  • Schenkerian analysis
  • A Schenkerian Primer
  • Camille for Kerry
  • Just say Yes
Continue reading "Today's reading list"
posted by sstrader at 5:54 PM in Today's reading list | permalink

October 30, 2004

More musical geek humor

This guy's outta control (You might be a theory geek if...). Yes on #29, but I'm actually embarrassed that I have to say no on #75.

posted by sstrader at 2:41 PM in Music | permalink

Wikis for some, tiny American flags for others

/. has an entry on Wikis. A Wiki [Wikipedia] (pronounced "wicky" or "weekee") is a website that allows any user to add content [and] allows that content to be edited by any other user. The /.ers suggest that Wikis will replace Lotus Notes. Although Notes and Wikis share the feature of document repository, Notes IIRC is also scriptable groupware [Wikipedia] used as a collaborative management tool. With Notes, documents not only are editable by the group, they can automatically be passed from person-to-person as their responsibility is completed. Admittedly, any company I've seen using Notes is using it primarily as a Wiki (and hating every minute of it).

Continue reading "Wikis for some, tiny American flags for others"
posted by sstrader at 11:26 AM in Science & Technology | permalink

October 29, 2004

I'm free!

Air smells fresher.

Food tastes better.

Even code doesn't look as convoluted as it used to!

Continue reading "I'm free!"
posted by sstrader at 3:28 PM in Misc | permalink

October 28, 2004

Musical geek humor

Yeah, there's Richard Strauss's hi-LAR-ious insturmentation in Till Eulespiegel (yawn), there's Peter Schickele's many watered-down Monty Python skits as P. D. Q. Bach (get it? the proliferation of initials when talking about Bach's sons is satirized as Pretty Damn Quick--tee hee!), and then there's the Animal House humor of Frank Zappa. Music is really wanting, and failing, in the comedy category.

So it's with caution that I pass on these Letters from camp from Musical Perceptions. They are various summer camp letters as if they were written by great composers ... great modern composers, so the humor is even more esoteric.

They made me laugh, though. Take two years of music history (or listen to these guys regularly) and you'll laugh too.

Continue reading "Musical geek humor"
posted by sstrader at 8:35 PM in Music | permalink

TiVo lockdown!

There's been more hubbub surrounding TiVo concerning its recent update that will restrict how long you can keep PPV and video-on-demand recordings. First, from my recent, rare purchase of Wired, they had an interview with a TiVo rep providing a half-hearted defense of the changes. Then, from my recent subscription to the PVR Blog feed, they had several entries discussing it.

And today, who else but /. has a lengthy, and interesting, discussion on it. They reference both the Wired article and the PVR blog. Here's a quick breakdown of their collective assessment.

Continue reading "TiVo lockdown!"
posted by sstrader at 1:04 PM in Home Network & Gadgets | permalink

Fresh Air interview with Josh Rushing

This interview wasn't broadcast today--I heard an ad for it on the way to work today and assumed that "3:00 PM" meant 3:00 PM today. Keep an eye out for it; it should be interesting.

Terry Gross will be interviewing ex-Lieutenant Josh Rushing today at 3:00 PM on Fresh Air. Rushing was the Marine CENTCOM representative in Iraq during the invasion and appeared in the amazing documentary Control Room.

Continue reading "Fresh Air interview with Josh Rushing"
posted by sstrader at 10:01 AM in Culture & Society | permalink

Why I Hate Saturn, page 107

Why I Hate Saturn, page 107

Why I Hate Saturn, page 107. Rick and Anne jokingly attempt to decipher an apparently innocuous letter from Anne's insane sister Laura.

Continue reading "Why I Hate Saturn, page 107"
posted by sstrader at 12:21 AM in Art , Current Interests | permalink

October 27, 2004

I got mad skilz

An aquaintance needed some email addresses that were listed on a Web site (no, no spamming involved, just business v. business) and asked me to extract them. They were hidden behind an interesting bit of encoding that had to be worked around. What to do?

I guess the skilz weren't all that mad. And maybe the 'z' is unwarranted, too, but the process was interesting. I have, however, left out most of the specific names to avoid any unlikely-but-unwanted recognition.

Continue reading "I got mad skilz"
posted by sstrader at 6:35 PM in Programming | permalink

More freedom with XM

XM is selling hardware that combines their receiver plus a hard drive to cache stations for later listening. What a wonderful future we live in! I wrote previously about how XM was adding Internet streaming "simulcasts" for their stations. If they hadn't done this, it would only be a short time before someone created something genius for it like Radio TiVo.

The new receiver, dubbed MyFi, has a 3 gig hard drive and costs $350 dollars. Ouch. Although they say 3 gigs of audio is 5 hours.

[ via /. -> XM Radio - Delphi MyFi ]

Continue reading "More freedom with XM"
posted by sstrader at 1:38 PM in Home Network & Gadgets | permalink

October 26, 2004

The sting

Cheeky monkeys. They send emails spoofing a reply-to from my own ISP and expect me to fall for their shenani ... shananna ... shannana ... their tom-foolery! No, I tell you. No!!

First, they send an email cc-ing every email combination from sstrader to sstreit (sorry, sstreit, if I just got you spammed further). Then, they hide a fractured url pointing to some Korean site at artcraft.or.kr and hiding behind an Earthlink url. The nerve. Notice the embedded null below:

Please take a moment to update your credit card information by clicking <a href=3D"http://billing.earthlink.net=01=%00@artcraft.or.kr/board_old/icon/Type08/">http://billing.earthlink.net/up=date.cgi?id=3D347182</a> and submitting your information.

I'm sick of them and thier comment spam brothers. They're all after me. All of them!

Continue reading "The sting"
posted by sstrader at 11:08 PM in Misc | permalink


Holy crap! Wikimedia is planning on starting a news site. I've gushed before about Wikipedia--it's my primary source of external reference for this site--so I'm very curious about this project. Honestly, my first response was more tentative (why move from knowledge to current events?), but I'm beginning to think it might be a perfect fit. Who better to vet news stories than the people who have access to accurate data that is globally authored and edited? They understand this concept along with its subtle concerns:

Our fourth requirement for Wikinews is therefore that there must be processes in place to ensure that original reports are accurate and legal in the country of publication (and possibly the country of the primary readership, but this is left for individual Wikinews communities to decide in agreement with the Wikimedia Foundation). We cannot rely on the wiki process to improve articles after they are published, because, unlike an encyclopedia article, a news article has a limited lifetime: it receives very high exposure for a very brief period of time. Articles must be accurate and legal at the time of publication.

Their proposal is worth reading. It should be a facinating experiment.

[ via Boing Boing -> Wikinews ]

Continue reading "Wikinews"
posted by sstrader at 3:16 PM in Culture & Society | permalink


So I recently talked about getting an SD GPS card for my phone. Right? Well what do I get today but an email from MobilePlanet with the subject line Scott: GPS Pocket PC with 128MB SD Card. Even though I'm on their mailing list, it'd be scary if it weren't useful.

OK, it's still a little scary.

Continue reading "Tracking"
posted by sstrader at 2:20 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

Genius idea #2

This is an idea I had a while back, but a Web site just reminded me how useful it would be--that's always a good sign for an idea if you keep thinking about it.

There needs to be a Web utility that retrieves and organizes all streaming schedules so that they can be searched. Many radio stations, generally classical, broadcast their playlist or at least a description of thier specialty shows. All of this information could be scraped and imported into a database so that people could search for "Shostakovich" or "Red Hot Chili Peppers" or "symphony" or even "David Foster Wallace interview." Once a reliable schedule database is set up, you could schedule songs or shows to be recorded.

I think of it as Radio TiVo.

Continue reading "Genius idea #2"
posted by sstrader at 11:21 AM in Science & Technology | permalink

October 25, 2004

300th entry

I really enjoy these anniversaries. 100 entries ago, I was just beginning to get comment spam and was considering anti-spam measures. They really hit me hard today (around 30 or so), but I still have done nothing to protect myself. I'm such a procrastinator. And yet 200 entries ago I was just getting organized, so at least my OCD has paid off!

I've since moved to more personal entries and, ironically, have subsequently gotten some non-spam visitors, including an old college friend! And I finally succumbed to a site tracker to see who-what-where is getting into my site. Thus begins the even greater aspect of self-absorption. I also began appearing on Google, albeit for odd and very specific searches. Just as I go on a series of self-pitying rants, the world gets smaller.

The next one hundred will be--if I haven't already mentioned this enough--the era of the sabbatical. Finally learning how to spell it will be, I'm sure, only the first trial.

Continue reading "300th entry"
posted by sstrader at 11:11 PM in Misc | permalink

More robots

A recent Wired article discussed the findings of a United Nations report on world robotics. /. also picked up on the story this week, and someone there made the connection I did with Marshall Brain's Robotic Nation essays (I wrote about them a few months back). Oddly, he has not added this article to his Robotic Nation blog--apparently inactive since August of this year.

Quoting the report, the Wired articles says that [b]y the end of 2007, some 4.1 million domestic robots will likely be in use. Sure, that includes the Roomba [Amazon] from the iRobot Corporation, but combine those with lawnmowers, pool cleaners, automatic checkout, and low-level factory robots, and the economic fears become, although not completely justified, somewhat understandable. Where's our invisible hand?!?

What is the forecast for 2007? A conservative forecast points about one million units worldwide, of which 350,000 in Japan, 326,000 in the European Union and 145,000 in North America.
Continue reading "More robots"
posted by sstrader at 10:47 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

Currently Listening To

I added the Glass arias to the Radio from the Ether playlist. Ripping audio from a stream and converting it to MP3s is ... hypothetically, mind you ... is tedious. Even unemployed, I think my time is worth more than that.

Continue reading "Currently Listening To"
posted by sstrader at 8:22 PM in Music | permalink

October 24, 2004

I to the D

Wired has an article on the attack on teaching evolution in schools. In 2002, the Ohio Board of Education was considering allowing Intelligent Design to be taught next to evolution. I've recently heard some very endearing stories about personal faith, but when events like this occur it nearly nullifies any tolerance I have for religion. The Centrifuge gets fed up when presented with religious hatred. My limit is when people try to bastardize science.

It really angries up my blood.

Continue reading "I to the D"
posted by sstrader at 9:42 PM in Science & Technology | permalink


I picked up the November issue of Wired in the airport on my way back from Las Vegas on Friday. It had a multi-page ad that presented around 20 gadgets with feeble semi-reviews. It was a cheap blur of ad and content (where's their ombudsman? do they even have one?), but it contained a couple of cool gadgets. Let's have a look, shall we?

Continue reading "Gadgetology"
posted by sstrader at 7:03 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

Cryptonomicon; Stephenson, Neal

I had no clean segue from Fermat and the OED, so I decided just to go back to fiction. It will probably have some heady math-stuffs in it to tie it in with Fermat--and it'll be a good way to start my sabbatical (one week to go!).

Continue reading "Cryptonomicon; Stephenson, Neal"
posted by sstrader at 6:55 PM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | permalink

October 23, 2004

Oh drat, part 5

Two problems: Eb maj 7, and G# to A.

Continue reading "Oh drat, part 5"
posted by sstrader at 12:59 AM in Misc | permalink

I'm number 3!!

As of right now, I'm number 3 when searching for Messages from the Ether (without quotes), and number 6 when searching with quotes. And for you numerological itentity thieves out there, multiples of three are prevalent in my birth date and social security number. Neat.

posted by sstrader at 12:03 AM in Misc | permalink

October 22, 2004

What to do?

From two different sources, I get: I'm voting for Bush because he's been successful with the war on terror.

No, stay with me here, I'm serious.

Continue reading "What to do?"
posted by sstrader at 11:23 PM in Politics | permalink

Two lines that made me laugh

Watched Around the World in 80 Days [IMDB] on the flight back from Las Vegas (don't you make the same mistake). It actually had a couple of classic slapstick lines that made me laugh. One had Phileas Fogg quipping as he was threatened by a Chinese ninja with a spikey wrist-band: "Your threats do not frighten me, nor does your silly bracelet." When the ninja flips his wrist and a daggar extends from the "bracelet," Phineas replies: "OK, it's not that silly." (Timing is everything. The shift from expecting him to say "OK, maybe I am afraid." and his emphasis of "bracelet" had a keen, Groucho sensibility about it.)

I just saw and ad for Comedy Central's Drawn Together, a cartoon reality show with vaguely familiar cartoon characters living in a house together. A Little Mermaid character reacts to a sassy insult from a (possibly) street-wise Valerie character (a la Josie and the Pussycats) with: "She’s attacking me like I’m the English language."


Continue reading "Two lines that made me laugh"
posted by sstrader at 11:20 PM in Misc | permalink

October 20, 2004

The Professor and the Madman; Winchester, Simon

A year or so ago, I had read and enjoyed Simon Winchester's The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology. In it, he documents the life of the father of modern geology, the Englishman William Smith. Winchester told the drama of his story with engaging details and, perhaps, very British fastidiousness. This other book, The Professor and the Madman, seemed equally appropriate for his style of writing.

Pip pip.

Continue reading "The Professor and the Madman; Winchester, Simon"
posted by sstrader at 6:50 PM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | permalink

October 18, 2004

Review: Fermat's Enigma (4/5)

What an epic story. Andrew Wiles spent seven years creating a 200-page proof of Fermat's last theorem--plus an eighth, tense year fixing a hole in the proof--and within it all redefined math and number theory with several discoveries that would have been Earth-shattering if they were given just on their own. The math is beyond us all (trust me), yet author Simon Singh provides enough for our understanding, and enough drama to make modular forms and elliptic equations seem sexy.

Continue reading "Review: Fermat's Enigma (4/5)"
posted by sstrader at 10:29 PM in Language & Literature | permalink

Kabao show

Robert Bao of Kabao fame will be performing at Django on 19 November with DJ Chris Coleman. Here's some of Kabao's music to sample.

Django's a cool, shotgun bar in Midtown. We had gone there only once before to drink with Robert as he was scoping out the joint and to enjoy a 4-piece jazz ensemble (sax, keyboards, bass, and drums). Looks to be a good venue for both music and food--and they had a fortune teller out front!

Continue reading "Kabao show"
posted by sstrader at 5:56 PM in Music | permalink

October 17, 2004

Trying to keep focus

Over the past month or so, there have been many (many) stupid news stories about the presidential candidates. Well, I thought they were stupid, and I avoided adding to the noise. Was I wrong?

Continue reading "Trying to keep focus"
posted by sstrader at 12:01 PM in Politics | permalink

October 15, 2004

Audio Culture

Reading the editorial reviews of Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music [Amazon]. The Rambler tossed off the recommendation without comment, but I think he's got something there. From Amazon:

Via writings by philosophers, cultural theorists, and composers, Audio Culture explores the interconnections among such forms as minimalism, indeterminacy, musique concrète, free improvisation, experimental music, avant-rock, dub reggae, Ambient music, HipHop, and Techno.
Audio Culture includes writing by some of the most important musical thinkers of the past half-century, among them John Cage, Brian Eno, Glenn Gould, Umberto Eco, Ornette Coleman, Jacques Attali, Simon Reynolds, Pauline Oliveros, Paul D. Miller, David Toop, John Zorn, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and many others.

Hello, Wish List!

Continue reading "Audio Culture"
posted by sstrader at 3:55 PM in Music | permalink

Two weeks

A weight has been lifted.

My resignation had been in for over a month with only the informal date of when-the-project-ships. That date may be slipping, and I realized that word-of-mouth contracts are not the best in this situation. Here's my letter that went out today:

Continue reading "Two weeks"
posted by sstrader at 11:44 AM in Misc | permalink

Hersch on the war

Why is Seymour Hersch on the fringe? Or rather: why does he appear to be on the fringe? For someone like me who despises both Bush and the war, Hersch is one of the most stalwart, informative journalists out there. Why then is his reporting only in The New Yorker or presented in locales such as Berkeley where he was recently interviewed? Both outlets have cachet, but the quality of his work should not be marginalized in liberal-land.

Continue reading "Hersch on the war"
posted by sstrader at 12:06 AM in Culture & Society | permalink

October 14, 2004

Gibson's back

William Gibson signed off his blog September of last year for eminently reasonable reasons:

I’ve found blogging to be a low-impact activity, mildly narcotic and mostly quite convivial, but the thing I’ve most enjoyed about it is how it never fails to underline the fact that if I’m doing this I’m definitely not writing a novel – that is, if I’m still blogging, I’m definitely still on vacation. I’ve always known, somehow, that it would get in the way of writing fiction, and that I wouldn’t want to be trying to do both at once. The image that comes most readily to mind is that of a kettle failing to boil because the lid’s been left off.

He's back and has opened with a bit of political wordsmithery:

[T]he creative intelligence of my friend from the DoD prevailed not at all in the face of ... a certain tragically crass cunning with regard to the mass pyschology of the American people.
One actually has to be something of a specialist, today, to even begin to grasp quite how fantastically, how baroquely and at once brutally fucked the situation of the United States has since been made to be.

Well, I never said it was cheery wordsmithery.

[ via BoingBoing ]

posted by sstrader at 11:44 PM in Culture & Society | permalink

My little google

I hate browser tool bars and add-ons. I love the concept that an application can be so open that you can plug in third party utilities and widgets, but I hate that those widgets are location-specific. I use a browser at home, work, to a limited degree on my phone, and less-frequently-but-occasionally elsewhere. It's a hassle, although small, to have to install those widgets all over or to do without. Maybe if widgets could be distributed and activated while you're browsing ... maybe.

Continue reading "My little google"
posted by sstrader at 11:20 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

October 13, 2004


[ Updated 16 October 2004, parts apparently lost during posting ]

Two odd occurrances regarding spam in the past few days--both related to grammar. But first, a grammarian's knock-knock joke (origins of which I cannot remember, but it cracks me up):

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Fuck who?
No, fuck "whom."
Continue reading "Spammar"
posted by sstrader at 12:35 PM in Language & Literature | permalink

October 11, 2004

Currently Listening To

With this entry, I've begun broadcasting the music listed and that I own over Radio from the Ether. Enjoy.

This recording of A Musical Offering [Wikipedia] is a perfect CD: superlative performers playing on period instruments performing one of Bach's most shining examples of counterpoint. Take a look at the very chromatic melody (a bitch to write tonal counterpoint for) in the short Wikipedia entry. This site displays the canons in Bach's cryptic notation and provides a short explanation of the riddles included. Such musical trickery could have turned out sterile sounding in any other hands.

Trespass is the second Genesis album, recorded in 1970. It's hopelessly quaint, but I'm a sucker for some of the arangements and continue to go back to it.

The Glass songs are arias from his three operas based on great visionaries: Einstein on the Beach (1976) [Wikipedia], Satyagraha (1980, Ghandi) [Wikipedia], and Akhnaten (1983) [Wikipedia].

Continue reading "Currently Listening To"
posted by sstrader at 11:24 PM in Current Interests , Music | permalink

October 9, 2004

GMail on windows

Someone has written a shell extension for Windows to turn GMail into a virtual file system. Someone had previously created the same for Linux. Someone's been busy.

[ via /. -> vicsoe.dk ]

posted by sstrader at 5:43 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

Suicide in The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point examines how ideas are passed through society as epidemics. The author develops the simile using three rules: the law of the few, the stickiness factor, and the power of context. These three rules map to the carriers of the disease, the virulence of the disease, and the environment in which the disease spreads. Examined are such disparate ideas as the Hush Puppies clothing fad in the 1990s, the children's show Blue's Clues [IMDB], and New York City crime in the 1980s. All are presented with a different emphasis on his three rules. The book is fascinating and continues to be relevant.

Chapter 7 discusses sticky concepts (those that resonate and thrive throughout society) that are also detrimental or fatal. The section on suicide was interesting.

Continue reading "Suicide in The Tipping Point"
posted by sstrader at 2:31 PM in Language & Literature | permalink

Fermat's Enigma; Singh, Simon

Long ago, I picked up this book from a discount shelf at Borders knowing that I wouldn't read it immediately. It was one of many books that go into the queue as a recommendation to the future me. Good recommendation--thanks Scott-of-the-past.

Aaaand, the copy was signed by the author!

Continue reading "Fermat's Enigma; Singh, Simon"
posted by sstrader at 1:42 PM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | permalink

Google ueber alles

Google is out of control. First they come out with an SMS search utility. You can send a specially abbreviated search to 46645 (gah! apparently not supported by my phone) and get targeted results back. Now, they're taking on Amazon, Amazon, with a full text book search engine.

Continue reading "Google ueber alles"
posted by sstrader at 1:00 AM in Science & Technology | permalink

October 8, 2004

Coincidence of the day

For the first time--possibly ever in my life--today I used the word "surfeit." Then, just a few minutes ago, I read that unlikely word on page 231 of Malcom Gladwell's The Tipping Point.

Not all that interesting, but what are the odds (rhetorical)?

posted by sstrader at 10:52 PM in Misc | permalink

October 7, 2004

The month of the Gigabyte!

I received emails from both Buy.com and MobilePlanet touting several new forms of 1GB storage. All are very affordable. The MobilePlanet 1GB SD card is out of stock, but the Buy.com offers are (currently) still available and have big discounts if you order before the 9th.

Here are the listings and discount links they sent me:

Continue reading "The month of the Gigabyte!"
posted by sstrader at 7:50 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

October 3, 2004

Gone workin'

Now I'll be out of town for a week for work. I'll have a laptop and my trusty phone, so updates will occur, but less frequently.

And my server will probably go down again.

Until then, enjoy a little Radio from the Ether. It's still spinnin' my own tunes, but I've got big plans to cycle stuff out (mimicking currently listening & such) eventually. Right now, consider it a vanity project--within a vanity project.

Continue reading "Gone workin'"
posted by sstrader at 6:34 PM in Misc | permalink

October 2, 2004

Ghost World, page 25

Ghost World, page 25

Ghost World, page 25. Enid mocks an ex-punk who's gone corporate and tries to defend her new look.

Continue reading "Ghost World, page 25"
posted by sstrader at 3:47 PM in Art , Current Interests | permalink

October 1, 2004

Split infinitives

A recent featured article on Wikipedia covered split infinitives [Wikipedia]. I ranted about those in a very prescriptivist manner a while back. The Wikipedia entry presents both sides, but their examples don't fully present the arguments against, and miss an argument for.

Continue reading "Split infinitives"
posted by sstrader at 11:37 AM in Language & Literature | permalink

Removing "Compress old files"

This is a simple search, and a simple fix, but I just had to re-learn it so I'll post it here.

When performing a disk cleanup on any machine older than two days, you'll probably be forced to wait for several minutes for the process to compress old files. If this is important to you, enjoy a free coffee break. If, however, the gain is not worth the wait, you can eliminate this step from the process.

Go into the Registry and navigate to this key:


And then delete the subkey "Compress old files". The Google search for "compress old files" registry contains more detailed articles on this.

posted by sstrader at 9:48 AM in Programming | permalink