February 18, 2010

Where was I?

Mid-February, catch-up edition with (mostly) restaurants:

  • Last night at Serpas for Fat Tuesday dinner. Cold cold cold out with a second line leading us to our table. The fried oysters are even better than when Scott Serpas was the chef at Mitra in Midtown.
  • Sunday the 14th - Valentine's dinner at Anis in Buckhead. I'd been wanting to go back to Basil's across the street from Anis (we'd been once, probably 10?!? years ago), but we decided to try something new. Paid off. Anis is a cozy little French bistro with suprisingly good dishes. I had the Escolar and Lisa the steak.
  • Saturday the 13th - house party at Jennifer and Snehal's. Beautiful house with rotating art collection (my plan for our place since we're just about maxed out on the art : wall ratio). Hundreds of candles leading up the walkway and driveway. Talks with old friends and new acquaintances (whose names I will never remember).
  • Friday was the snowpocalypse in Atlanta!!

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  • Thursday was District 13: Ultimatum at Landmark [ 3/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]. Watched the first one last June on a whim and loved it. This was more light-hearted but just as much fun.
  • Previous Saturday the 6th - Long day with Mickey at The High for da Vinci then lunch at Table 1280 (finally trying the menu there). Excellent. Evening was Bacchanalia Mickey+Mason+Danice. This was another place I hadn't been for prolly 10 years and it far surpassed my fond memories. Every. Single. Item. Was perfect. Flavor!!



  • Friday was Elevation Chophouse OTP with all (Lisa and Mickey had lunch at Flip w/out me). Met M&D's cute new puppy Dooley beforehand.
  • Previous previous Sunday, January 31st - Lazy day (natch) with dinner at Baraonda.
  • Saturday I picked up a top hat of sorts from the costume shop and that became my admittedly lame 20s outfit for Stacie's b-day party at the top floor of The Park Tavern at Midtown. Shenanigans and dancing till late.

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  • Friday the 29th was our 11th anniversary (observed) with a phenomenal performance of The Rite of Spring at the ASO. Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and Osvaldo Golijov's Suite from Youth Without Youth. Both beautiful pieces. First complete Golijov I've listened to and much more tonal than I expected (for some reason). Dinner afterwards at Oceanaire. Second time there and recommended.


posted by sstrader at 12:48 AM in Cinema , Concerts , Where was I? | tagged beetle | permalink

February 15, 2010

The Windup Girl; Paolo Bacigalupi

Heard about this via the io9 book club and so purchased the hardback of it and his short story collection Pump Six. TWG has been praised by Time Magazine as one of the top ten books of fiction for 2009 and by the American Library Association as the best SciFi of 2009. Halfway into the story thus far and it feels very of-a-time with Naomi Klein's and Michael Pollan's ideas, along with (in a more minor fashion) Fukuyama's somewhat older book Our Posthuman Future.

Other links:

Continue reading "The Windup Girl; Paolo Bacigalupi"
posted by sstrader at 1:09 PM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | tagged fukuyama, io9, posthuman, the windup girl | permalink

February 13, 2010

Info wars 2010

Articles on or related to cyber attacks/security:

I had read about Barrett Lyon a few years back when his CSO story was linked around on Slashdot etc. At the time--and this is five years ago--a big enough bot net could take anyone down. Lyon built one of the first (*the* first?) DDoS firewalls to protect gambling sites from, what turned out to be Russian, extortionists. The CSO article ends wryly, noting that companies now pay around $50,000 to protect themselves from having to pay protection. Insert joke here about virus scanners slowing down your machine so that viruses can't.

The fact that Google can be attacked, and that they'd partner with the NSA, illustrates the gravity of the current threat. This time, it's not just thugs but government sanctioned thugs. I've read in Slashdot threads that Russia has the same tactics: leverage their hackers to disrupt Western corporations and governments. It's nice to know that the US doesn't stoop to such measures (insert joke that when *we* do it, it's not torture).

Lyon's company started protecting Scientology sites after Anonymous started their Project Chanology raids in January 2008. Since Anonymous employs multi-honed attacks (DDoS, black faxes, picketing, information) a firewall offers only partial protection. And, as had been shown with the Marblecake hack, sites can be subverted without being taken down. The True/Slant article references a Neuromancer quote as prediction of the decentralized, directed mob that is Anonymous. They're doing what any activists do: bring attention to an injustice. Reading the inevitable panic-stricken comments denouncing Anonymous, it's interesting to note the difference between "activist" and "terrorist".

The internet is at that awkward age of being both fragile and essential. Small groups like Anonymous are leveraging that fragility as much as are governments. Grab some popcorn; watch the show.

[ updated 25 Feb 2010 ]

US unable to win a cyber war [ via Slashdot ] reaffirmed that the US's extra-connectiveness increases its weaknesses. One proffered solution is to give the Pres access to the on/off switch of the internet (Reminding me of a two-panel cartoon I saw on the internet years back showing the difference between defending a cyber attack in the movies and IRL. The movie scene has the hero spewing 24-style techno-babel that barely makes sense in the fictional world. The real scene has the pimply tech grab the router and pull out the network cable. The Slashdot thread has an oddly compelling comment on what will happen when shit gets real.

[ updated 6 Mar 2010 ]

Slashdot posts a rebuttal and declares the concept meaningless.

posted by sstrader at 11:50 AM in Science & Technology | tagged anonymous | permalink

February 11, 2010

Importing web email from a Sent folder into Thunderbird

With my new home machine, I moved from Outlook and its 10+ year archive of email to Thunderbird. Emails and contacts were first imported to an install of Thunderbird on the old machine, then the files were copied to the Thunderbird install on the new machine. Articles in the Mozilla Wiki "Profiles" category were useful, but I forget which ones I used specifically.

My primary email account has web access that I infrequently use to send from. It goes back around seven years, so even infrequent use multiplied over that much time equates to a considerable number of emails. For the sake of consolidation and control, I wanted to get them downloaded into a folder in Thunderbird. To the best of my knowledge, this is not possible without some hackery, and may not be possible at all with some accounts.

My solution:

First, in Thunderbird, I created an inbox filter to move messages (1) from the Inbox and (2) sent by me into a separate folder (created and called "Sent from the web"). Then, in my web-based email account, I went to the Sent folder and moved the contained messages to the web interface's inbox. 60 pages of messages at 20 messages per page is a lot more than I'd anticipated. Protip: disable or filter notifications on your Blackberry so those hundreds of messages don't ¡ping! your phone to death.

posted by sstrader at 11:28 AM in Home Network & Gadgets | permalink

February 9, 2010

The ending of Stanislaw Lem's Fiasco

No spoilers, just some links to discussion pages on Fiasco:

There's a wealth of Lem criticism out there that I hadn't suspected existed.

posted by sstrader at 11:52 PM in Language & Literature | permalink

February 8, 2010


Finally watched The Hurt Locker [ 4/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ] a week or so ago and after seeing Avatar while we were in Vegas for Xmas. It's tough to compare the two films and no one would ever try if they hadn't been fated to go up against each other for awards--with Avatar winning the first round at the Golden Globes. Not having seen Hurt Locker at the time, I was angrier that the virtuosic Inglourious Basterds [ 5/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ] lost to Avatar.

What to say? With Avatar cf. The Hurt Locker, I was looking for any simple manifestation of masculine and feminine themes. What we first get is a reversal: with Mr. Cameron's Gaia-heavy world contrasting Ms. Bigelow's bomb-laden Iraq; and then a deeper alignment: Avatar is actually not a movie but a high-tech gadget fetishized by geeks and Hurt Locker an elegy to the debasement of the human spirit when confronted by an endless war. Yet ultimately it's simple-minded to play gender games with these flicks, as comparisons become forced when so simplified.

I continue to be shocked at the celluloidoclasm that Avatar is wreaking on cinema history, and it continues to be difficult not to hate it for others' overblown praise. The best comparison is to look at Avatar like the iPhone (or iPad) or Lady Gaga: the fanatics tend to create anti-fanatics, when all that's needed is simple criticism.

posted by sstrader at 10:38 PM in Cinema | permalink

Today's reading list

Rhys Paul Hovey rant about mind control:

The Wikipedia entry for Hillary Rodham Clinton is on my watch list (from edits made years back) and this little 5k rollback on the talk page showed up today. A beautiful, schizophrenic rant that starts with:

Hillary Clinton may be in danger over ANNE MARIE SLAUGHTER,. this is RELATED to Rhys Paul Hovey, and the high tech organized crime. Her name is MIND READER BAIT,. please see the RADIO CONTROLLED MEGA PIRATE story and FOREST HILL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, district 18, and MR CASE. This involves "mind control" technology, which is computer controlled psychological abuse AI and wireless long range subvocal speech recognition (see charles jourgensen NASA), and satalite sound "weapons" which are also used for ADVERTISING (see joseph Pompeii and AUDIO SPOTLIGHT).

Et cetera.

The author may be the referenced Rhys Paul Hovey [ Google Sites | Blogspot ] who has another entry on Wikipedia for his as-yet-unrealeased, surrealist video game Synth. Similar rants found elsewhere in comments at Stay Free! Daily:

I was a big Hillary Clinton fan at one time, until this fiasco started on me with the ultrasound weapons, being used on me, at my home. Not only do I have recordings for you to download at (Yahoo video) and youtube. But now people in my building are starting to talk about the "advertising mind control computer" that they can hear in the streets (Hastings street in Vancouver) they recognize that the actual sounds of the cars and such can be used as a carrier signal as well.

Resemblance to Robby Todino's time travel obsession. Both evocative and unsettling.

Michael Gordon concert at Woodruff Arts Center:

Completely worn out (and will probably regret missing) or I'd go. Postminimalist composer from Bang on a Can fame and of the group Kyle Gann often proselytizes on his PostClassic blog. Pieces I'll be missing (along with links to their MP3s on Amazon where available):

Profiling by Schneier from July 22, 2005:

This is relevant to your interests. In the article, he argues that the wide net of ethnic profiling is so wide as to be useless in catching anyone, and so unwarranted as to be harmful w/r/t ethnic relations. Imagine noting that most terrorists are male and deciding to profile males, only to realize that you can only randomly search an insignificant percentage. Then imagine the resentment you've instilled in the 99.999% of innocent males. You've irritated a large chunk of citizens with arguably no increase in safety. Profiling is pattern recognition and is useful. Wasting time on imprecise patterns is not.

posted by sstrader at 8:23 PM in Today's reading list | permalink