Moved Over

…but not yet moved in. Right now I am mostly living out of boxes. But, priorities being what they are, I have cable hooked up.

Ecce: Through ComCast, a cable modem by itself costs $60.95 per month. If one gets both a cable modem AND basic cable, the total cost is $57.95 per month. This says to me that television these days is SO bad that they have to pay people to watch it.

Cool thing about my new apartment, #1: The leaded glass windows which, when filtering the morning sunlight, throw amazing prisms all over my dining room.

Profiting from Spam

According to the most recent unsolicited email in my inbox, I can buy an acre of the moon for $29.99.

This makes me think: For a few thousand dollars, I can buy adjoining acres across Mare Vaporum, rig them with floodlights, and use the moon as a PDA screen. With each acre as a pixel that would be…lessee… 320×240… 76800 acres, times $29.99…

$2,303,232.

Okay, a little more that a few thousand dollars. But think of the possibilities!

320 x 240 is roughly the resolution of a television.
A square acre is roughly 208.7 feet on a side.
208.7×320 = 66,784 feet, divided by 5280 =~12.65 miles by 8.4 miles.
The moon is ~238,000 miles away…

Hmm… I may need to use a telescope. And at ~186,000 miles per second, radio/light waves takes a second and a half to get there, and a second and a half to get back.

Now: the moon is 2,162 miles in diameter, so my PDA screen will be roughly .55% of its visible width. Atmospheric disturbance aside, it will be visible – sans-telescope – as a flickering point of light just north of center. Visibility will be bad during the full moon and great during the new moon.

I am hereby taking orders for advertising time on my Lunar PDA. The current rate is $1,000,000 per second. However, if you want to upload and run a game, you may do so for free. Imagine: Lunar Lander on the moon.

I need to get out more.

Too Early, Too Late

7:15 am
Arrive at work. Witness a train engineer, who’s train engine has been parked in by two SUVs, screaming at the owners of said SUVs. Owners are talking on their cellular phones while drinking expensive bottled water. Ready camera in case said engineer decides to use his vehicle to return the SUVs to the Hell from whence they came.

7:20 am
Dive into, in no particular order, email, code, and coffee. Last-second critical content changes for site which is supposed to launch at 8:00am have not yet arrived. Check news.

8:00 am
Last minute changes still not in. Website not ready to launch. Contemplate launching the damn website anyway. Client said “by 8:00 California time”. Boss says “by 8:00 Michigan time”. 8:00am Michigan time is 5:00am California time. Perhaps California, in the grip of nostalgia because of East Coast blackouts, is having a blackout.

8:30 am
Enjoy the sunrise.

9:00 am
Launch the damn website.

9:10 am
Realize that the contact form is still sending info to my email. Correct the problem.

10:00 am
7:00 am California time. Don’t expect to hear anything for at least two hours. Drink coffee.

10:45 am
Hear that there may be rolling brownouts here in Grand Rapids in order to feed some electricity to the East side of the state. Non-essential businesses are being asked to shut down for the day. What could be less essential than a web developer? Maybe I get to go home early.

Blaster Information

Begin 9:00pm update

Back at work, doing a partial upload of a client site which will launch at 8:00am. We are still waiting on “minor” last-minute content changes. We will see…

Back a couple of years ago I came across a site which stunned me with it’s simplicity, novelty, and the sheer genius of the idea. I marveled at it, admired it for a while, then kind of lost track of it in the shifting prismatic landscape that is the internet.

Well I just stumbled across it again. It is still up, it is still doing its thing. So, without further ado, and with an eye toward spreading the word to all corners of this benighted world, I present to you the Prime Number Shitting Bear .

End 9:00pm update

Those of you who are worried about the Blaster worm, go here for info and go here for the tool to use to remove the worm . Note that Symantec is a third party debugging Microsoft’s software for them, since the powers that be at M$ seems incapable of doing it themselves.

To reiterate: this problem is 100% the fault of Microsoft. Any attempt to justify incomplete or buggy software by using the x-manufacturing simile, where x = [cars, architecture, television,social engineering], is simply a non-sequitur. Cars are cars, and software is software. The one will never be the other.

That having been said, I will continue to use Microsoft products and I will continue to wish a slow and painful death on everyone who works at or is a shareholder of Microsoft, who believes anything other than that the convenience of the end user is more important than paychecks, stock prices, and indeed, the existence of the company.

Dear Microsoft: Take some fucking responsibility for your actions.

Blast! Drat! And Other Such Epithets

Yup. It hit me. Blaster, that is.

I was running an update of my firewall, and as part of the test to make sure everything is working properly, the firewall shuts itself off for about 1 second. In that 1 second Blaster got in. The firewall – which came back on immediately – said “Do you want to allow msblast.exe to access the internet?” I said “NO!!!!!!”, which effectively removed Blaster’s teeth.

So I now have a GREAT deal of respect for Zone Alarm. I had no idea it was doing such a good job. Getting Blaster the Hell of my PC will be much easier than the many horror stories I have heard have led me to believe. If it can’t access the int0rw3b it can’t do much damage.

On the other hand, I have nothing but contempt for the idjits at Microsoft who allowed the release of this Swiss cheese operating system.

News reports say M$ is spending millions to hunt down the people who write these viruses, while doing little to patch their product unless people complain. This reminds me of a standard sanity test: You walk into a room and see that a faucet is on and a sink is overflowing onto the floor. Do you (a) run to shut off the faucet, or (b) run to grab a mop? Microsoft is (c) running for the person who turned on the faucet.

Getting rid of the person who wrote the virus doesn’t alter the fact that the virus has already been written. The law does not prevent; it punishes.

Dear Microsoft: You are responsible for everyone who releases a virus which affects you software. That fact that it is vulnerable is YOUR FAULT. The fact that you released a product with HUNDREDS OF KNOWN VULNERABILITIES which cost users HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS A YEAR is contemptible beyond redemption.

Dear Microsoft: I use your product, which I paid for, and that makes me your GOD. As your GOD, I command you to, in the next 24 hours, fix everything that is wrong with every one of your products, and do not release a single line of code to the public until everything you do is 100% perfect. Your opinions, wishes, livelihood and health on this matter simply are not important.

And as for all you Mac and *nix users laughing in your sleeves: Shaddap.

52 Degrees

That was the temperature of Lake Michigan at Tunnel Park as of yesterday evening at 7:00pm. Swimming was a long, slow kick in the nutz.

The Flash Photo Album is nearing completion. 12k of Actionscript, compiled into a 3k .swf file. When I am satisfied with it I will upload a hundred or so Alaska photos. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow.

This morning I woke to the sound of a mouse in a trap. The poor little feller was trapped by his left front leg, up near the shoulder. He had been trying to gnaw himself free for some time, but couldn’t quite reach far enough to complete the job.

So I fed him to a stray cat.

I hate mice.

But not as much as I hate Internet Explorer 5.