Archive for June, 2007

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First iPhone post

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

I have simply to say that the iPhone rocks! I picked one up today and although the learning curve is steeper with this thing than I usually like, but it’s hands down the best phone, browser, and media device I have ever used!

Posted from my iPhone.

Update: Now that I’ve had my iPhone for about 24 hours I’m still very impressed (particularly with the Safari browser experience), but I find myself wishing they had already released the API. A few select features are missing and those could be met (for me at least) by adding an SSH client, Adium, and MP3 ringtone support. Still – big concerns given how impressed I am with the rest of the device and it’s high level of integration of features and ease of use for switching between them.

Doombride

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Doombride 2

Today at work I found a creepy cake topper in a dusty little corner. Somehow I feel sorry for the couple who’s marriage was sealed with a cake with this creeperific duo. I don’t know what it is about them that fascinates me so much – it may be their soulless black eyes, it may be the concept of an inch tall bride, or it may just be that I’m tired and easily amused. A different take on the same subject can be viewed here.

Doombride 2” by sparktography

A bump in the wire

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

I just had my million dollar idea and I’m all but giving it away in an effort to make the web safer – just give cut if you make your fortune on it. While plugging in a network cable I realized that the cable itself needs to be smarter and able to help filter and protect its user from network attacks.

For a long time software firewalls on computers have been problematic for many reasons. While they can be helpful in keeping malware and hackers out of a computer once something has breeched the firewall in even the tiniest of ways it’s possible to disable or subvert a software firewall to enable further attacks or malicious use of the machine. This is the reason most businesses put their trust in hardware firewalls – a hardware solution is much more difficult to remotely disable and can do a much better job of filtering both incoming and outgoing traffic.

While businesses with IT professionals can manage and maintain a hardware firewall with little muss or fuss it’s often beyond the average consumer. Many consumer grade routers offer firewalls and in addition offer a level of security by putting users behind NAT (Network Address Translation) which helps mask them from the Internet as a whole. These routers help, but not everyone has a router at home, and even a router can be tricky to set up.

What is needed is a smart network cable with a simple built in firewall. Imagine a cable with a “bump in the wire” which contained a small embedded OS which performed simple firewall and content filtering duties. It of course would be difficult to offer an enterprise grade solution from something this simple, but even the most basic filtering would make helping secure a computer as easy as plugging it into the wall. Because the cable would offer a hardware solution it would be far easier to not only prevent incoming attack vectors, but also if the attached computer does become compromised common outgoing ports used by malware could be blocked.

To take this kind of solution to the next level the cable could be offered as a managed service. The bump would be automatically updated by a server side component which could manage ports for their users and adapt the firewalls rules to new malware that has been identified in the wild.

Simple and transparent to the user, and yet another layer of security in this wild west we call the Internet. Am I a genius for coming up with such a simple but effective idea, or is the idea flawed in some way that’s escaping my exhausted mental state right now?

Insomnia sucks

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

It’s 1:30 in the morning, I need to wake up in about five hours, and I can’t seem to sleep. I’m having one of those frustrating nights where I am quite tired, but unable to actually cross that mystical barrier that separates the land of the wakeful and the land of dreams.

Update: I did finally manage to fall asleep at roughly 3:30, only to enter a land of strange dreams indeed. I dreamt that one of my product launches at work all but blew up in my face when our servers were literally swallowed up by the earth. To make matters more bizarre in my dream I was also trapped at a mall for the entire episode and working on my laptop remotely because I had given my precious car to Brien’s roommate Steve for street racing in Olympia.

I wonder what Freud would have to say about that one…

Don’t like gay marriages?

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Don’t like gay marriages? Then don’t get one!

I saw that quote on a bumper sticker while driving in to work this morning and it started me thinking about being gay and what it means to me on pride weekend: not that much. Last year Brien and I celebrated pride with a Silence of the Lambs marathon, and this year in similar suit I managed to avoid pride in a far more solitary fashion by spending time with Scot and Brien then playing Civilization 4 (and conquering the world) much of the weekend.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m gay and “proud” of it, but to me the gay pride celebrations that occur world wide every June have nothing to do with pride, and instead focus on making it into a homosexual freakshow of sorts. I’ve ‘been gay’ (or at least been old enough to know it) for more than 15 years now, and the older I get the more I realize that my sexual orientation is pretty much meaningless. Sure I’m gay, I date men, am emotionally attracted to men, and find (some) men’s bodies highly sexually attractive, but to sum up my entire being as nothing more than a primitive urge to breed (although a slightly misguided one from an evolutionary standpoint) seems to trivialize all of my other qualities that I value like my intelligence, vision of the future of humanity, wit, charm, outlook, adaptability, and all sorts of other qualities that seem far more important than merely being gay.

Being gay or straight is such a small fraction of what makes a person who they are – it’s not even something you have a choice about – it makes that throwing a parade about being gay is almost offensive. Why not have a red hair parade, a left handed celebration, a jubilee for the tall, a gala for the short? Heck, let’s ditch the gay pride parade in favor of things that people have a choice about – something you can be proud for: a parade for computer programmers, a festival for lovers of the color teal, or a cavalcade for Scrabble lovers world wide.

Now don’t get me wrong – I realize that throughout history gays have been downtrodden and outright persecuted against , but so have almost every social group at one point or another; regardless of if the groups difference is a chosen one or not. Women, black people, Hispanic people, Jewish people, the Gypsies, all sorts of people who didn’t choose their lot in life have suffered from society in recent times. We as species need to become more open and embracing of every living being regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other minor differences, but part of being open and embracing of someone different is to treat them the same as you would treat yourself – no differently. Just because someone is different does not mean we need to celebrate that difference and throw a parade for that difference, just be aware of the difference and move on to the goal of uniting humanity through progress and technology before we wipe ourselves out and become just another historical blip in the cosmic history book.

We’re here, we’re queer, who cares!

I are smart

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

To my sister Janet,

Sorry to say but the New York Times reports that I’m likely smarter than you (login required for link). From the article:

The eldest children in families tend to develop higher I.Q.’s than their siblings, researchers are reporting today, in a large study that could settle more than a half-century of scientific debate about the relationship between I.Q. and birth order.

Family Influence The average difference in I.Q. was slight — three points higher in the eldest child than in the closest sibling — but significant, the researchers said. And they said the results made it clear that it was due to family dynamics, not to biological factors like prenatal environment.

Researchers have long had evidence that firstborns tended to be more dutiful and cautious than their siblings, and some previous studies found significant I.Q. differences.

Family dynamics or no I’ll just take it as gospel that I’m smarter because I came first ;)

Love,

Sparky

Interaction denied

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Touching can harm the art
Taken at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, WA.

Touching can harm the art” by sparktography

Skype is feeling much better & Erica is still heartless

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

I’m pleased to announce that Skype is feeling quite well today. Last night was a little rocky with getting him comfortable and sleeping soundly, but today he’s pretty much back to normal. He’s fairly low key which is good – our veterinarian says he should take it easy for the next five days.

Skype is drinking tons of water (which is good), but it involves a larger than normal number of walks. Since I have to keep him low energy they have to be short so I’m feeling a little like I did the first week I brought him home when I had to take him outside once every couple of hours day or night.

On the topic of dogs one of The Strangers writers is obviously an insensitive and heartless soul: Erica Barnett posted a rude commentary on this story in the Seattle Times about an act of unbridled kindness.

From the Seattle Times story:

The fundraiser for Rhonda at a Fremont tavern netted about $2,300 for Dave DiStefano, who said he was overwhelmed by the generosity of those who were moved by his dog’s plight.

“It was an amazing night,” said DiStefano, whose dog is now in a Lynnwood animal hospital recovering from major esophagus surgery after she ate some brittle bones. “I figured I’d get $1,000 if I was lucky. I didn’t have any crazy fantasy, but this little piece is really nice and will take the edge off things.”

DiStefano racked up $15,000 in medical bills for his dog’s surgery.

Erica’s commentary basically boils down to: if you have the money to spend on charity do it on something other than ‘a freaking dog’. This strikes me as a frightfully horrible thing to say. I know for many people their pets are their children. I myself being a single guy regard Skype as a full member of my family and I do everything possible to ensure his good health. I would spend nearly any amount of money to ensure Skype’s health and well-being. I can understand why Dave would put as much love and effort into ensuring Rhonda’s health as any loving parent would for their human children.

While I will be the first to admit there are many great charities out there (the comments on the Slog post point out starving children and slowing the AIDS epidemic in Africa) I can think of none more noble as the pure act of kindness to help a stranger keep their family whole.

Parenting

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

Parenting is a most difficult trial of love at times, but the rewards are unimaginable. Today I dropped Skype off at the vet’s in the morning to be put under anesthesia so they could get a biopsy to help diagnose his ongoing skin condition and clean his teeth while they were at it.

As usual while he was there I was a bit of a nervous wreck, and the moment they called me at 2 in the afternoon I raced to Broadway Veterinary Clinic to pick him up. He’s doing well – he has a few sutures and is still rather groggy from all the drugs they gave him.

He curls up next to me on the couch whimpering momentarily (it’s frighteningly easy to feel like a bad father every time he whimpers), and occasionally stands up, half wanders/half staggers around the room for a moment then comes back to sleep some more on the couch. Every time he wakes up I can tell there is a slight tinge of panic in his face until he looks up and realizes I’m there.

I can tell he’s coming out of the drug haze more and more each time he makes a round, and I’m not sure if I want to smother him in love for having gone through it, or laugh slightly when I see a big lumbering Pit Bull stagger. I think both is probably the best answer to that question. Let the loving ensue.

I’ve got a ton of painkillers, antibiotics, and steroids to give him for the next month so hopefully the sutures will heal up within a week, and after diagnoses comes back on the biopsy we can hopefully get his skin condition under control. I have to wait for him to start drinking water voluntarily before I can give him his medications for the first time, but hopefully he will start getting thirsty soon – he hasn’t had a thing to drink last night (as per the vets orders prior to the surgery) and I would think he would be rather thirsty by this point.

And yes mom and dad – It was a true “parenting moment” by your definition – having Skype under partial anesthesia has involved cleaning various bodily excrement from unusual places. I think this is lives way of getting me back for all those diaper changes you guys went through all those many years (oh god – almost 26 now) ago!

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