Computers and Internet

Smart-ass is the First Word in Smart-ass Designer

This was fairly early on in a design:


Then Brooks made DCR #1, so I helpfully obliged. Note the recesses in the bolt heads, I thought those were a really nice touch.


Then Brooks added more engineering requirements into his DCR, creating DCR #2. I obliged that as well with what I thought was a very elegant solution:


Pippa raised marketing concerns about the new design, which in hindsight I probably should have thought of. Based on that I proactively did DCR #3 to accommodate branding:


When I looked up the specs on the solar panel that Brooks had added in DCR #2, I realized we’d need even more space, so I added that in DCR #4.


It’s nice being recognized as a genius.

Computers and Internet

Augmented Reality meet Modified Perception

This is, once you think about it, a total no brainer. As are most good ideas.

And it’s really freaking awesome.

The time has already come where it’s increasingly easy to fake things in video post production FX so that you can make videos appear to be “real” when they aren’t. Augmented Reality technology lets us apply things to the reality we are viewing, typically through glasses. If I’m wearing the glasses I can see the augmentations while if you aren’t wearing glasses, or you don’t have my exact same augmentation system and parameters, you can’t.

This projects a new reality onto the real world *for everyone present to witness* in real time.

This can make the reality you witness with your own eyes suspect. This doesn’t just augment reality, it can modify everyone’s perception of it.

Computers and Internet

An orchard of fanboys

A shire of hobbits.
A playset of swingers.
A mash-up of hipsters.
A captain’s table of foodies.
An escort of hookers.
A bowel of proctologists.
A noun of English teachers.
A chalk of white people.
A mope of teenagers.
A brace of dentists.
A palate of painters.
A rack of playboy models.
A candle of waxers.
An absence of eligible bachelors.
An orchard of fanboys.

Computers and Internet


She was in prison – a dungeon almost unfathomably bad by your standards – 3 times. Each time was for speaking up, protesting war & practicing a religion that was at best frowned upon by an extremely oppressive government that was deeply enmeshed with the established church. He was a shoemaker, the son of a shoemaker, who was the son of a rural peasant who spelled his last name differently the few times he ever wrote it down.

Together they lived in a disease-ridden slum next door to huge pits of unmarked graves. This, they knew, was the ultimate future they could look forward to. But it was better than where they had lived before – a small town in the countryside they left to escape the severe religious and social persecution they were facing. A place where an errant blasphemy could lead to the misery of having your “tongue bored throug with a hot iron” or even death.

This society was not forgiving of the different.

At some point, huddled together at the kitchen table, they decided they’d had enough. There was no room for them in this terrible country. This was no place to raise a family. The best their children could hope for would be more of exactly the same. Most of their children would die before adulthood and if they were extremely lucky those that lived would be shoemakers or wives. When they died? Perhaps they’d get a headstone. Perhaps not.

You can’t escape fate by staying put.

So they left. They got on a ship with what little they had and departed for a new beginning. They were refugees, fleeing oppression and religious persecution, casting their lot into an unknown that simply had to better than what they had known so far.

Together they went to America. A few generations after arriving, a grandson grew up to not be a shoemaker, nor a rural peasant: he became the president of a national bank. A few generations after that another family son created this blog.

Who do we think we are trying to keep out of this wonderful country?

Computers and Internet

Cory on the Truecrypt meltdown

“Truecrypt’s own warning suggests that users try Bitlocker, the proprietary Microsoft full-disk encryption tool that relies on the on-board Trusted Computing Module to attain a high degree of security. Microsoft itself has a deservedly poor reputation for standing up to government demands to weaken its products’ security, but Peter Biddle, one of the architects of Trusted Computing and Bitlocker, has previously told me that he was repeatedly approached by frustrated federal agents who couldn’t decrypt Bitlocker partitions, and I believe him, based on my personal knowledge of his character and work.” 

Thanks Cory! 

Computers and Internet

A beginners guide to infusions

So, you’re getting an infusion. Chances are that’s because you’re pretty gosh darn sick – you may have cancer, or Spondylitis (that’s what I have) or something else chronic. That probably sucks. But going to the infusion center doesn’t have to completely suck.

Here are some pointers I’ve learned over the past 9 months of infusions of Remicaid. I’m going to focus on the practical things you can do to make your experience and the experiences of those around as nice as possible.

Good nurses should rule the world
Whatever you do, you must be polite to your caretakers. The nurses in the infusion clinic are among the best, most elite caregivers on the planet. They must combine the precision engineering of phlebotomy, the care taking of oncology and the harsh reality of hospice and they crank through dozens or even hundreds of patients a week. They are a blessing and you should treat them as such, even in the rare cases when they are not as good as you’d like. Which leads me to…

Beware the substitute nurses for blood draws
Look at your nurses name tag. It should say something like “infusion” on it. If it says something like “general nursing” feel free to ask if they are infusion nurses or phlebotomists. Infusion nurses run a lot of IVs. That means they are good at that. Yes, newer nurses need practice but you don’t have to be the one they practice on it you don’t want to. They only rally bad IV I’ve gotten here at the Polyclinic was from a general nurse who missed my vein, panicked and called for help.

Pump management
My treatments take about 3 hours. I usually have to pee at least once during this time. To do this, you can ask for help, or just do what I do. First tidy up your IV line and hold it (loosely for gods sake!) in your left hand. Unplug the machine from the wall with your right and drape the cord on the giant thumbscrews on the pump so it doesn’t drag on the floor or tangle with your IV line. You might need to drape it twice if the cord isn’t velcroed up. Your IV pump has a battery so don’t worry!


You can ask for as many pillows as you want. I take two. Also ice water, as much as you want! Woooooo hoo! But the best thing (other than kick ass nurses) are the heated cotton blankets. They are great, and when they cool off, you can get another one.

Be respectful
The people around are sick, they are tired, they may be near the end of their rope. Some of them are almost certainly far sicker than you. The last thing they want to hear is you talking too damn loud on your cel phone. They don’t want you to unplug the headphones from your TV so your friend can listen to Judge Judy too (FFS!). We are all in this together, in spite of the curtains. Be nice, be thoughtful.

You’re here to heal. Hopefully – fingers and toes crossed – you’re not going to have to get really good at getting infusions because you’ll be better soon.


Computers and Internet


This article reminded me of my one of my restaurant jobs in the late 80s.

On Sunday’s I used to help grind fresh horseradish when I worked prep at the original Jake O’Shaugnessey’s restaurant (now closed and replaced entirely by the building complex containing the Metropolitan Market on Queen Anne in Seattle – I’ve searched the web and can’t find a single photo of the place, which is frustrating!). Horseradish root is fairly benign in small quantities but sticking many pounds of the stuff it into a 2 horsepower grinder aerosolizes the juice, which in turn creates a mild form of mustard gas, which I’m sure you remember from the history of World War 1 is Not A Good Thing.

Generally speaking you can’t afford to have your restaurant patrons nerve-gassed so we used 500 foot roles of commercial plastic wrap to contain the evil inside multiple air-gapped spaces. I helped on the kitchen setup and did the peeling and prep to get the horseradish roots ready to go. We then started out building up our containment system by wrapping the entire floor-mounted Hobart completely and cut out the feed hole. This is the kind of machine we were using:


We plastic wrapped a small room-within-a-room around that containing the horse, the chef and the Hobart. We also plastic wrapped the doors in the kitchen and then turned on all the hoods on high. After that the only person inside the entire restaurant was the head chef, who wore a hazmat suit, arm-pit length heavy rubber gloves, a gasmask and knee-high muck boots.

Fresh horseradish isn’t actually nearly as hot as the powdered stuff, so we liked to to power it up. For that we had a small brown bottle labelled with a skull and cross bones which actually said “POISON” on it. I have no idea exactly what it was an extract of but we were so wary of the stuff we kept it in the restaurant safe. According to the head chef the bottle was many years old and he couldn’t buy it anymore. He put a bit into every huge batch of horse we made and the bottle was still half full, which should give you an approximate idea of how powerful it was.

We left the restaurant until it was over and waited awhile for the air to clear via the hoods after he was done, hosed down all the contaminated surfaces as we pulled off the plastic and finally mopped the floor.

We then served the resulting horse-radish, ground through a meat grinder so that we’d get a rougher texture than a puree, to our patrons every night. Bon appetit!