December 30, 2004

December 28, 2004

Does anyone still need Gmail invites?

Just curious, I have a few, but giving them away is not really what this is about, I thought that everyone who really really wanted an account had found one? Am I wrong and simply wrapped up in my own world? I sometimes wonder if the user base of Gmail vs. the number of active accounts is better or worse than a service like Hotmail or mailblocks (now owned by AOL, natch). I wonder how many gmail accounts are lookie loos, gmail drive users, etc...

Yes, sure, I could go and find out, but that would mean driving to work and stuff.

This random post brought to you by the letter C and my left speaker's tweeter, whom I call 'Tom'. Maybe I shouldn't post this early in the morning.

Oh, also, Catwoman played on the plane from Atlanta to Sacramento, and all I gotta say is this after suffering through the first 45 minutes on it before disconnecting the headphones desperate for non-suckage: "What? Who greenlighted this stuff? Do they really think the movie going public is that stupid." Then I notice that the movie made 40m which I think maybe covers the catering costs for the film, but for me is a lot of scheckels. It makes me think that all the advertising blitzes in the world can't save a bad movie from sucking, either. It isn't even a laughably bad movie, it goes stright past bad to embarassing, lame, pitiful and then pathetic. Who knows, maybe it became a really good movie after I stopped watching it, maybe, just maybe, there is a universe where Catwoman is really good, and maybe, just maybe, I'm a chinese jet pilot.

It does make me think I should write screenplays, as the quality bar is a bit, shall we say, low. I know that I can do equally as bad. (note I didn't say better or worse, as that likely doesn't matter).

Happy Holidays!

December 26, 2004

Time Travel

Time is funny when you fly. We were on our way from Tampa to Tallahassee on our way to Sacramento (don't ask) and the pilot or attendant got on the PA as we sat on the tarmac: "We may be delayed up to 30 minutes ,feel free to use your cell phones or other electronic blah blah blah." some 20 minutes later (I checked) we took off. After landing in Tallahassee, I sat sown while my wife took our daughter on a walk through the airport while we waiting for our next connection, thought I'd log in, check mail/etc... (all hail pdanet) and I heard a person say, into his cell phone "Yeah, we sat on the runway for almost an hour, stupid *&^% airline.". Now, I've traveled a lot, I know the airlines deserve the reputation they have, but it is always interesting to me when peoples time sense is skewed by anger and not by pretty lights or something. Anyway, just a random thought as I sit waiting for our next connection.

December 16, 2004

I can't be the only person this annoys...

I'm not annoyed that Howard wrote about it, but that the topic even freaking exists to be written about: Smart Mobs: Do You Wear 'Airport Friendly' Clothing?

I remember when flying was a lot of fun. Get the the airport, get your ticket, hop onto a groovy plane, get where you are going, see some cool stuff from the air. Nice people doing a fun job, seeing the world. When I was a pup, shortly after de-regulation, I really liked being able to fly without a cavity search.

None of this stuff works, it's all voodoo, smoke and mirrors. Quick ! Quick! Get through security into the safe shopping zone! Don't think! Don't protest your treatment! Shop, slave, shop! Don't forget to watch CNN-airport, as the Scott Peterson trial special is coming on. You're either with us or against us! Hey, you there! Those aren't ILLEGAL MP3s you're listening to on your ipod is it? Hey! Buy! BUy! BUY! BUY! Hey, you there.....Sorry, your flights been cancelled due to the fact that our union is getting screwed by an executive staff making 5000 times what the average line working is getting so we're doing a work slowdown...I mean....uh....Weather in Arizona is causing a cascade of late planes in the system, would you mind being routed through Alaska? What? You're going to Alaska? I meant dulles international. You know, where drunk idiots in customs will fling your bags off the carousel for you into the middle of the room! No cameras or cell phones in the customs area please, we wouldn't want your family to know you've arrived, you terrorist.

Christ. This is why I love southwest...They know that the whole point is to get you there with a minimum of bullshit, and a caste based seating system is largely inefficient bs. Serving meals that both resemble and likely taste like cat vomit is largely inefficient bs. Routing flights through ridiculously poorly planned airports like SFO is largely inefficient BS (2 landing strips, unless it's foggy, then just one....oh...who ever heard of fog at SFO.)

Can you tell I have a flight coming up? And I'll shut up with everyone else so I can get to the other side of the country to see my family, as that's the payoff, I don't have the money, lawyers or balls that John Gilmore has, at least not yet. (I am donating a freaking car to the EFF though. You should to.)

That said, Not everything about flying is bad, but we've just gone batshit insane here in the United States. It sure is faster than swimming. Want efficient security? Hop over to 'old Europe'. When I was in Vienna earlier this year, everyone, and I mean -everyone- got patted down, brown, black, white, old and young. And when I say patted down, I mean patted down, it was thorough as all hell and very business like. I almost admired it in a weird way as they don't profile, they patted down everyone. They know that white people. Can be as batshit insane as brown and yellow people. Something we've forgotten here in the fabulous melting pot that I call home. Don't forget to wear your airport friendly clothing! Maybe I'm just getting crotchety or something. Happy Holidays.

December 15, 2004

Overnight Spam kills.

So I'm trying out a new set of procmail filters alongside spamassassin, as a last gasp before giving up completely and .forwarding all mail to gmail. Last night about 20 got through and 260 were interned, so that's pretty good. In short, I'm combining whitelisting and a crapton of rules that I've assembled. I'm pretty happy with the results, I've been dialing it forward and back over the last 2 days to get the right mix email delivered. I don't mind a spam getting through once in a while, but it was getting out of hand.

I'm such a fanboy...Ben Browder to Join SG-1.

From Sci Fi Wire. This makes me happy. This is not enough to make me forgive them for canceling farscape, but whatever, Stargate makes me happy. And this is a big step up for Crichton, who's last non-farscape show was the odius, awful, terrible, vomitfest, CSI:Miami

December 14, 2004

Compilers are cool.....and duff's device is part of it.

I was reading Evan Martin's post about how compilers are delivering not insignificant performance gains over time and that reminded me of the coolness that is Duff's device, which Tom Duff writes on here, which exploits some very cool unrolling tech around switch. It's one of those hacks that , once you understand it, gives a great a-ha moment.

Posted From: San Jose

December 10, 2004

Google Suggest: Instant Zeitgeist..

As seen on slashdot, in the comment stream: The ABC's of Google Suggest:

    A is for Amazon
    B is for Best Buy
    C is for CNN
    D is for Dictionary
    E is for Ebay
    F is for Firefox (yay!)
    ...

I remember when I first saw this demo, how I hoped it'd be launched. Working at Google makes me happy.

Chris DiBona
Posted From: Mountain View, Ca

December 9, 2004

Large Scale Film Camera is pretty cool, but the resolution isn't the story.

The blog-o-sphere is all agog over Clifford Ross's super camera, but they're not really talking about the important advance that his camera represents. For background, check out the NYTimes article: The Tom Swift's New Camera, Ready for Space and Spies. Yes, the resolution is cool, and I've seen the output from the actual gigapixel camera (the keyhole guys have some lightjet prints from one), but the real story is the depth of field. Being able to resolve a shingle of the barn in the picture in the new york times while still being able to resolve a foreground blade of grass is the real advance here.

There has been a lot of talk about dof-free cameras of late, and its really cool, imagine having control over multiple levels of focus, so you could, for example in a picture of a basketball game, have a sharp focus on the face of the player getting a point and his teammate under their own basket cheering him on, and blurring the players between. Or consider the movie Citizen Kane, where Welles would combine multiple shoots to keep multiple subjects in sharp focus. This is the important advance.

Chris DiBona
Posted From: Mountain View

December 8, 2004

Lenovo, please don't unfabulize the ThinkPads.

Regarding Lenovo acquiring IBM's PC business, I gotta say, I love my ThinkPad (I even have the proper capitalization!). I've had ThinkPads reaching back beyond my 701cs and I'm been very happy with them. Yes, I had a brief dalliance with a Sony Vaio, but that came to a bad end. I really liked all my ThinkPads. I'm writing this on my T41p and the keyboard, video and generally quality are very very high.

At home, I have a Compaq keyboard, my dad has an hp, and I've got ample experiences with the chembooks/sagers and dells of the world. The ThinkPad series has always rated much higher than any of these brands over the last decade. And don't even talk with me about Toshiba. I stopped caring about Toshiba after some time spent with a T1000se (although I loved the gas plasma one I had, even if it was 10 lbs and slow as hell....it was plasma though, fabulously red plasma. Tres' cool.

So, in short: I like ThinkPads, so I ask this of Lenovo: Please don't suck. Thanks.

Chris DiBona
Posted From: San Jose

December 7, 2004

Museum Sandwich

Reading about the wacky "Creationist Museum" that is opening in Kentucky, where the state motto is : "Encouraging unemployable idiocy since emancipation", I thought that it might be funny if you place that particular museum next to, say, oh, I don't know, The Natural History Museum in D.C.. That said, for my money a better pairing would be if it was next door to the "History of Contraception Museum". Imagine the lines intermingling.

Chris DiBona
Posted From: Mountain View, CA

December 2, 2004

This site hurts my brain and makes me learn over to the right.

It hurts my brain but it is neat what Hicksdesign has done.

Chris DiBona
Posted From: Mountain View

Breaking and Entering...or...a Story from My Youth

When I was living in Salt Lake City as a youth, there was a golf course not far from my house, and in the winter it was covered a few feet deep with snow, so we'd often walk through there, have fun, etc.

There was a Tennis complex there covered in a massive, inflated dome. One of those things where you'd go through a revolving door so as to not let all the air out. I thought this was cool. Sadly, mother nature, in a fit of pique, decided that inflatable tennis domes were verboten one winter.



Late one night, the winds powered by the rush of air coming out of Emigration Canyon got so fast and powerful that they caused the collapse of the dome. This was some 15 years ago, so the picture you see here, from keyhole (click for the kml file), shows the tennis courts sans dome.

While a shame for the dome owners. It was pretty cool for us kids. I remember we went in though a damaged portion of the wall and it was like walking through the infrastructure for a giant white muffin. With the collapsed fields cloth flowing over and across the damaged support members like waves of icing.

We eventually made it all the way to the our eventual goal, the coke machine, where we considered if it could give up some cokes, but alas, it was not to be. We had hoped for some dystopian coke machine, dead, with coke cans lying after being ejected by the force of the dome coming down. The machines won that time.

Chris DiBona
Posted From: Mountain View, Ca