Archive for October, 2004


Back in Saint Paul

Here’s some overdue big news: we bought a house! After a way-too-frigging-long but in-the-end-worthwhile sojourn in Plymouth, we’re back in Saint Paul, are homeowners for the first time, and are thrilled to death about it.

The house is a two-bedroom 1954 rambler, in a wonderful, kid-filled neighborhood not far from where I work. The kids are such a delight. Where we lived in Plymouth (a suburb of Minneapolis, where both Kiara and I grew up), there are rumors of children, but rare evidence that they actually exist. It’s eerie, walking around and scarcely seeing a soul. If there are kids, they’re most likely off living their overprogrammed lives. Not so where we live now: they’re all at home and outside, living their overprogrammed lives. :-) I asked a neighbor what to expect for Halloween, how much candy to buy. She showed me what she’d bought, enough to fill a tall kitchen garbage bag, and seemed nervous that it wouldn’t be enough.

That’s a lot of kids. I’m glad that Owen gets to grow up here.

I now enjoy a 15-minute walk to work instead of a 90-minute bus ride. At first I was afraid to lose out on 3+ hours reading time every day. It became clear how important that time is to me during a bus strike last year, where I drove to work nearly every day for a month and hardly read at all. I nearly went mad. However, the lack of in-commute reading has been more than made up for by the fact that I can come home for lunch and see my family — and since I’m not getting up at insane hours of the morning, I can stay up long enough after Owen’s bedtime that I can still read.

We’re very happy to be back in Saint Paul. This is where our hearts are.



For those who haven’t noticed the subtle changes in my out-of-date blogroll, I mention this here: Kiara now has a weblog.

We’re trying to get her friend Leo to blog, too, to encourage him to write more regularly, but technology gets in the way. It seems that Blogger doesn’t work so well with the older version of IE/Mac that he’s using. This necessitated explaining to him what a browser is, and that yes there are different ones. Hm, maybe it’s time we sat him down to install OS X…


That’s Rogue Demon Hunter, er, Taxidermist

I honestly don’t know whether to be horrified or rolling in the aisles. The Bunny of the Month Club is nasty enough. An exhibition of work by the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists pushes it one step further. Think I can convince Kiara to go see it? Nah.

I can’t wait until their web site is fleshed out a bit.

Ouch. Sorry, couldn’t resist.


Stewart to Crossfire: "Stop hurting America."

If you haven’t seen Jon Stewart’s appearance on Crossfire, you owe it to yourself.

BitTorrent is your best bet. There are also plenty of links from Daily Kos to alternative download sites. Reading the transcript of the segment just isn’t the same but it’s a start. iFilm is streaming Daily Show coverage.

I think Kiara’s a little mystified why I left a copy of the video on her desktop to remind her to watch it. To understand why I think it’s important, dear, see commentary on Salon and the New York Times.



My new favorite Firefox extension: FoxyTunes, which lets you control a startling range of media players from the browser, with a subtle addition to the status bar:

FoxyTunes screen shot

I listen to music (or IT Conversations) quite a bit at work and am of course using a browser all the time, so FoxyTunes is a welcome addition. Nice work.


RFID in passports. Not a good idea.

U.S. Passports are getting RFID chips to make them not only machine-readable, which is a good thing, but remotely readable, which scares me. Bruce Schneier explains why in his latest Crypto-Gram:

RFID chips can be read by any reader, not just the ones at passport control. The upshot of this is that anyone carrying around an RFID passport is broadcasting his identity.

Think about what that means for a minute. It means that a passport holder is continuously broadcasting his name, nationality, age, address, and whatever else is on the RFID chip. It means that anyone with a reader can learn that information, without the passport holder’s knowledge or consent. It means that pickpockets, kidnappers, and terrorists can easily — and surreptitiously — pick Americans out of a crowd.

Great. Just frelling great.


S5 Released.

Eric Meyer has released the slide-show tool S5. Hallelujah!

There are two things about which I’d like to die in complete ignorance: how to use PowerPoint beyond the absolute basics, and how to score bowling. I’ve get better things to do with my life than clutter my brain with that sort of trivia, thank-you-very-much.

The problem is that I do presentations a few times a year — not enough that it’s worth taking time to learn more about PowerPoint, but enough that I care about creating effective slides. Since PowerPoint is geared toward doing truly mundane presentations, it was starting to look like I’d have to knuckle under and learn how to do more than the basics.

I’ve used Keynote and found it much more pleasant to work with than PowerPoint, but it still feels limiting, especially when I want to produce presentation notes (I object to putting slides on the web but am usually pressured to make handouts and notes available). Too, I know how to do things in XHTML and CSS that may be possible in PowerPoint but not without learning to use it well. Which, as already explained, goes against my goals in life.

S5 looks like it fits my needs. I’m eager to use it soon. My thanks to all involved.


Where’s DevEdge?

Did I miss something? Netscape’s developer’s site ( disappeared recently. I understand that they weren’t updating it, but I used the developer sidebars all the time, for CSS and JavaScript reference. I can use ZVON sidebars or a DOM reference from the W3C, but I’ll really miss the ones from Netscape. I knew I should have grabbed ’em while I could!

Oh. This did not pass unnoticed and someone’s working to get the content over at Mozilla. So yes, it seems that I missed something.