September 28, 2006

Mental note

One of the best vacations ever (yes, even better than the one where I solved the murder and came up with an alternative form of energy). Ubiquitous wifi access is mandatory and yet it doesn't mean that I'm going to blog at all. What does that say about blogging? Hotel, restaurant, and wine recommendations to follow, along with the many coincidences along the way. Off to dinner at Bouchon in Santa Barbara...

posted by sstrader at 10:53 PM in Personal | permalink

September 21, 2006

Time to download the patch...

You know how you look back on version 1s of software you've used and shake your head. "Primitive" and "ungainly" would be better marketing bullets than whatever adjectives were used in the ads. Or, if you look back on your first draft of something. The ideas may be there but in clumsy, Frankenstein form. If the stumbling, first intentions of any of our efforts were written in stone, life would ramble along painfully and incoherently.

Reading Salon's recent invective pointing out that, although Afghans and Iraqis have the right, Americans do not from their constitution have an inherent right to vote. The facts, laid out by the Supremes in Bv.G, read The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States unless and until the state legislature chooses a statewide election as the means to implement its power to appoint members of the Electoral College.

Our empire is creating the next versions of democracy and quietly obsoleting itself.

posted by sstrader at 8:39 PM in Politics | permalink

Where was I?

Last Friday was a post-wedding wedding celebration of sorts for airline friends who had gotten married in Thailand several months back. The festivities were at the Blackstock Winery outside of Dahlonega. I had always heard surprisingly positive reviews of N GA wineries, but I was really taken back by how good their wines were. No matter what people said, I was still expecting syrupy muscadine and this was everything but that. They had a selection of several reds and whites, but by far the best was their Family Reserve red titled ACE (after the owners' three children). Go.

Following on the heels of my birthday bash a couple of months back, we had Lisa's BB over at Alicia and Dan's last Saturday. Italian-themed to commemorate/memorialize the vacation we could have had but didn't. Instead we'll be going to California to experience the furthest reaches of the PCH. Startinggggg.... NOW!

posted by sstrader at 7:10 PM in Where was I? | tagged thailand | permalink

September 18, 2006

And yet more electronics

We're now the proud owners of an 80-hour TiVo Series 2 Dual Tuner DVR:

tivo for me

Good prices are to be had on Series 2 TiVos as they over-charge for the Series 3. I also upgraded our network with a Linksys WRT54GL 802.11g wireless router (to replace our prehistoric first generation router+access point) and so slapped on a TiVo USB network adapter.

Still waiting on the Philips DVP5140 Multiformat DVD Player with Divx, MP3, Windows Media Support to replace the somewhat less expensive Philips that died recently.

tivo for me

Oooh, sleek.

posted by sstrader at 9:57 PM in Home Network & Gadgets | permalink

September 14, 2006

So what, why is that not within the law?

fuck you

(and fuck everyone who voted for you)

posted by sstrader at 11:52 PM in Politics | permalink

Sight reading

I've decided to go through the volume of Schubert sonatas I have as sight reading execise over the next weeks and months. Slow and deliberate. I've neglected sight reading the last couple of years. The absence shows with misreading of key changes or enharmonic chords.

I'm completely unfamiliar with the material. Beethoven sonatas were not a good option because of that. The Schubert was a purchase, like so many novels, intended for some unspecified future. It's a gift from Scott-of-the-past.

Volume 1, beginning from Sonata #1.

posted by sstrader at 10:13 PM in Personal | permalink

Genius idea

Online shopping sites should have a gift receipt mode that hides prices. The receiver could browse without seeing how much the gift cost. Items could be filtered by the amount on the receipt and optionally have items that cost more shown as the difference in price.

posted by sstrader at 7:25 PM in Culture & Society | permalink

September 13, 2006

Patterns and language

The Universe of Discourse makes a simple statement: Patterns are signs of weakness in programming languages. I had made a similar-but-different statement previously where I had likened code generation to a proto-language. Code generation points out deficiencies in the host language that can be fixed either in that language or in a new one. UoD makes an eloquent argument. The concept of subroutines would have been considered a design pattern in the 1960s since they did not exist as part of (most) languages available at the time. Considered today, subroutines are assumed since they have been pushed down into the language. Similarly, the Byzantine frameworks of MFC or EJBs have been absorbed by features such as System.Windows or @MessageDriven, respectively. Knowing what WinMain() is is no longer a badge of honor, it's an AARP card.

Coding Horror asks the question: Has Joel Spolsky Jumped the Shark? My answer recently has been an irritated "yes." Denouncing new langauges because they obviate the need for existing and utilitarian knowlege is just elitist. A week ago I had started-then-abandoned an entry examining his blatant not-invented-here position w/r/t Wasabi. His mix of the two positions end up stating simply that "new is bad unless it's my new."

posted by sstrader at 8:17 AM in | permalink

September 10, 2006

John Henry Days; Whitehead, Colson

I was introduced to Whitehead through a short story from Harper's a year or so ago. This novel came mildly recommended by others.

Continue reading "John Henry Days; Whitehead, Colson"
posted by sstrader at 8:18 PM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | permalink

David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest; Burn, Stephen

A quick read (< 100 pages) with some notable insight into IJ. He points out mythological references, storyline intersections, and major themes. I would've liked to have seen a concise character outline to match the 11-page timeline of major events he provides in an appendix.

One problem with analyzing maximalist novel (Burn calls them encyclopedia novels) is that the abundance of detail offers itself up to the adoption of many different templates of intent. Still, some are stronger (and more intent-full) than others. A couple of Burn's ideas felt too fine-grained but most were a welcome insight, and he presented his reasoning with the transparent honesty of dead-ends and alternate possibilities.

It's been several years since I had read IJ, but this analysis helped bring back and organize the story as a whole.

Continue reading "David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest; Burn, Stephen"
posted by sstrader at 10:26 AM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | permalink

September 9, 2006


As Frank Miller interleaves genius with idiocy (re the embarrasingly inept concept Holy Terror, Batman), Moore is unflinching in transgressively original art. I don't really have an interest in erotic fiction (too distracting), but I think I need to purchase this just to see what Alan Moore has done with the themes. He's a master of repurposing.

Someone had recently posted on the Batman v. Usama story that Miller promised earlier this year, and I could hardly believe it. I've done the cursory search and it doesn't appear to be a joke. Despite all of the bloody-jawed fights and shapely women in his work, I would have never accused Miller of being simple or simplistic in his approach to story or character. With his only defense of this continued raping of the Dark Knight storyline being something along the lines of "Cptn. America punched Hitler," I have to re-evaluate his sanity.

posted by sstrader at 11:56 PM in Language & Literature | permalink

It's mine

My final payment just cleared on the Beetle. Woohoo, no more car payments!!

posted by sstrader at 8:54 PM in Personal | tagged beetle | permalink

September 8, 2006

Genesis; Anderson, Poul

Read this over the past few days. I had wanted a quick read, and this was one of those books sitting on the shelf for years after an impulse, discount purchase. I quickly got hooked on the epic story spanning millions of years in the future, although the affected scifi lingo felt overrefined and cringe-worthy. "Well-nigh" and "yonder" aren't words that generally come up in conversation. The ideas however were interesting, and the story presented a likely distant future of human consciousness merged with machines. Throughout, there was a dread of inevitability. Overall a ripping good yarn.

Continue reading "Genesis; Anderson, Poul"
posted by sstrader at 6:02 PM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | permalink

September 5, 2006

Happy birthday Amy Beach!

One of my first loves of American music. I was introduced to her violin sonata, paired with Arthur Foote's, in high school, and have had a weak spot for early American romanticism ever since.

posted by sstrader at 9:10 PM in Music | permalink


Senate Republicans block Clinton on expanded wiretapping back in 1996. Also, check out conservative responses from USENET at the time. Although selective, they mimic those concerns that liberals had when the (illegal) Bush wiretapping actions were revealed. I was told recently that an issue I was railing against was "unimportant" because it wasn't picked up by major news sources. Really.

posted by sstrader at 1:08 PM in Politics | permalink

September 3, 2006

Genius idea

An inexpensive observatory available from the internet. Users would buy a block of time and program the coordinates to observe. The results would be available either streaming live or as a video to download.

It would be implemented with a bank of computers hooked to basic telescopes with electronic eyepieces. Each computer would be configured with its latitude and longitude and so be able to register its time zone and appropriate sky charts with a central server.

Of interest to high schools and amateur astronomers who live in light polluted areas or simply do not have an observatory available.

Continue reading "Genius idea"
posted by sstrader at 3:19 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

September 2, 2006


I followed MoveOn's alerts for a while now and have even donated at your request. However, after reading's assessment of your TV ads on military spending, I cannot continue to support your organization.

" Caught Red-Handed Applying A Double Standard"

Please, for the sake of integrity, stop using such deceitful tactics.

Scott D. Strader

posted by sstrader at 3:36 PM in Politics | permalink

Idiocracy (3/5)

[ IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes ]

Equal to Office Space and equally uneven. Lisa and I walked out of this movie helplessly mocking others' and our own gaffes and idiocy. Suddenly the world looked--too much--like the hilariously stupid world of 2505 thought up by Mike Judge.

There were only around 20 people in the theater which is I guess understandable from the absolute absence of marketing and even some ridiculous title change. As the reviewer from AICN said of the studio's handling: now that I've seen it, I know for a fact that FOX is fucking retarded. Many of the events in the film feel not so much 500 years away but more like they're only a few years off, so the marketing snub is simply Fox devouring its children. Several of the uneven moments felt oddly like we were watching the TV edit. I'm not sure whether to fault Judge or Fox, but considering how Fox has mishandled every aspect of the film they're the likely candidate.

Overall it was light-weight, but there were many good laughs.

posted by sstrader at 9:29 AM in Cinema | permalink


I just lost a subscriber on Bloglines. Apparently, my choice of coffee makers is too controversial for you.

posted by sstrader at 12:24 AM in Personal | permalink

September 1, 2006


AKA Untitled Mike Judge Comedy, opens at Atlantic Station, Regal, and Phipps tonight. Read The Esquire article on how Fox studios f'ed him over on this one.

posted by sstrader at 1:10 PM in Cinema | permalink

More electronics

Our TiVo may be dead.

I've been pining over the Monolith Media Center ever since it was announced. PVRs are appliances, so I don't give a shit about tinkering with Linux/hardware drivers/capture cards etc. It should just work, and Monolith may be the way to go: MythTV, Asus Pundit P1PH1, 200GB Hard Drive, TV Tuner, DVD-R Drive, P4 3.0GHz CPU, with a variety of hardware upgrades available.

See discussion at Engadget. Price is $700. Ouch. Oddly, I haven't found anyone actually reviewing it. Someone must have purchased one by now...

posted by sstrader at 11:40 AM in Home Network & Gadgets | permalink

Joel v. Ruby

I stopped reading Joel Spolsky a year or so ago simply because he's a blowhard. Any slight good in an article was undoubtedly surrounded by moderate to heavy non-good or out-and-out dogma. It's good to see someone take the time to call him out on his ramblings against Ruby. The closing quote shows just what you get when you mix arrogance with malicious deceit.

[ updated 8 Apr 2009 ]

Link above dead, article only available in the Sep 2006 archives under "Was Joel's Wasabi a joke?"

posted by sstrader at 8:38 AM in Programming | permalink