All posts by Shawn

Numa Numa (Mai Ai Hee)

This isn’t new (someone sent it to me about a month ago), but it’s pretty damn funny. I was reminded of it today when I was coming home from playing frisbee golf, and the XM Radio was playing the song. All I could think about was this guy lip synching the song, so I had to find it again when I got home.

The name of the song is Mai Ai Hee (handy that XM can tell you that). If you want to buy it in the iTunes Music Store, click here.

I guess the guys name is Gary Brolsma… someone should start a fanclub for this guy, because he rocks! (Update: oh wait, it looks like someone did.)

I also found his site here.

$15 Per Gallon Gasoline

Remember a few years ago, when gasoline “spiked” up to around $1.75 and everyone started freaking out? People actually started stealing gas from other people’s cars, and filling up their tanks at gas stations, then leaving without paying.

Well now I’ve seen gas over $3/gallon, and people don’t really seem to care. They got used to it I suppose.

I think we need gas to be $15/gallon overnight (like add a 500% tax to it or something). At $15/gallon, people would start using public transportation and get rid of some traffic, pollution, etc. Making it a tax could keep the actual gas costs down, so airliners and public transportation would be inexpensive still (make them tax exempt).

There are other benefits as well… the US consumes roughly 130,000,000,000 gallons of gasoline in a year. If we jack the price to $15, let’s say gasoline consumption gets cut in half (or so). That would drive down the raw price of oil (airliners could get gas for probably $0.50 or so per gallon). But… here’s the biggie. 65B gallons of gas, with a $14 per gallon tax works out to nearly a trillion dollars/year ($910B to be exact) in gasoline tax revenue. That would solve the budget deficit problems that Bush gifted to the United States. Although, maybe they should wait until Bush is out of office before something like that went into affect, because somehow the administration would spend it all (and more) I’m sure.

With that kind of money, we could build fiber to every home with 100Mbit Internet connections. That would let most people telecommute to work (and they wouldn’t need gas to commute then).

I should run for office, because I’m full of good ideas. heh

BTW, this is coming from a guy with a car that gets crappy gas mileage.

Vioxx vs. Celebrex

Until today, I had no idea what Vioxx was. I only knew that I see Vioxx lawyer ads everywhere (online, TV, etc.) so I decided to see what the hell it is, and what’s the deal with it (normally it’s not something worthy of blogging about, but there is something interesting I found). It’s basically a prescription medicine for arthritis. Last summer it was voluntarily pulled by the manufacturer because there were studies that showed users had a 100% increase in heart attacks.

Okay, so now all these people no longer have their arthritis medicine… so what do they do? Most switched to another medicine called Celebrex. Well guess what? Some studies were just finished that shows Celebrex causes a 150% increase in heart attacks. More interesting is that Celebrex is still on the market, while the “safer” Vioxx isn’t.

If you ask me, that’s just retarded… but even more retarded are all the lame people suing Vioxx. Personally, I think if you tale medicine or get surgery or anything else, you need to sign a waiver that you understand that things might not go as expected, and you are willing to take that risk. If you aren’t, then maybe you shouldn’t do whatever it is, or better yet, you could visit a doctor in Tijuana.

Gimme Bluetooth God Dammit!

I have a cool bluetooth enabled phone now, and it’s handy for being a wireless Internet gateway for my laptop when I’m traveling, but I also want to be able to use it handsfree in my vehicle. Can someone tell me why there are no good after-market options for this?

I heard through the grapevine that Alpine is coming out with integrated bluetooth support in some of their after-market stereos this fall, so I guess I’ll have to wait. Just really annoys me. Maybe they will actually come out with a double-din sized touch-screen deck too, but that’s probably too much to ask.

Michael Jackson Begs To Sleep With Boys

This was kind of funny (in a weird way). The mother of a boy who alleges that Michael Jackson molested him, testified that she allowed her son to sleep with Michael Jackson after Michael Jackson begged and pleaded (also sobbed and cried for the record) with the boy’s mother to let him sleep with him. She initially said no, but she finally gave in and let Michael Jackson sleep with her son.

Seems to me that the boy might want to also name his mother in his lawsuit against Michael Jackson. Or maybe child protective services should step in.

I’m pretty sure that when I have kids, if a grown man cries and begs to sleep with my 13 year old kids, not only will I say no (and not give in), I would feel the need to give that man a beating as well. But hey, that’s just me.

Longhorn Delayed

Microsoft’s “next generation” operating system (Longhorn) has been pushed back again… this time to sometime in 2007. If memory serves me correctly, it’s now 3 1/2 years behind schedule, and truthfully, I would be surprised to see it before 2010 a this rate. πŸ™‚

Virtual Girlfriend

When I was waiting for my lunch today, I was flipping through a magazine and saw a little blurb about this… I guess it’s a “game” for 3G cell phones. Basically a virtual girlfriend… But the thing I thought was hilarious (genius actually) was you need to buy her things to keep her happy. The catch? The things you buy her (which are virtual of course) cost real money. Why the hell didn’t I think of that? πŸ™‚

//www.v-girl.com/

Write Code To Mimic Evolution In Nature

I had an idea this morning.. Why not write code to mimic evolution where needed?

For example a search engine… their algorithms are constantly being changed and updated to fight spam and whatever else comes along.

It wouldn’t work as well on a small scale, but if you have a large number of end users (like a search engine), I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

Have the system make hundreds or thousands of small random iterations of the existing algorithms (small enough that it doesn’t destroy the results). Then have it feed end users with a random version of the algorithm and keep track of how well it was received. You could say the deeper the user needed to look in the search results, or if they immediately needed to do a different search, then it wasn’t that good of an algorithm change. Then give the “good” changes more weight than the bad, and repeat the process.

It’s survival of the fittest, and becomes an semi-automated way to evolve their algorithms.

My First Yahoo API Use

Mucked around with the Yahoo API a little bit, and I must admit it’s pretty nice. I wish the Google API was as fast and had as much features.

My first useful thing I did with it was I added to the keyword tracker so it can track historical search engine rankings for Yahoo (I also added MSN while I was at it).

Turned out pretty cool… now you can see ranking changes for all three search engines over time on a single chart. Weeeeeee…. πŸ™‚

Disc Golf

I played a good round of disc golf with my dad today. Missing my best score by one, and he played the worst game I can remember him playing. I beat him by 15 strokes (I ended up 4 under par, and he was 11 over. This one was cool because I did not get any bogies for the first time in my life.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
My Score 2 3 3 3 3 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 3 3 3 3 3
My Dad 4 4 4 5 4 3 4 4 4 4 5 4 3 3 2 2 4 4 4
Par 3 3 3 3 4 3 4 3 3 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

Mac OS X Server Wish List

I’ve spent a few weeks now with the new Xserves (I’m going to put them physically into the data center tomorrow BTW).

For the most part, Mac OS X Server 10.3 is a very nice server platform (especially when you are using Xserves). But maybe someone at Apple will read my little wish list, so here goes…

  • Make a system-wide shutdown script option. There is a bug in MySQL that prevent the mysqld process from shutting down with the normal kill function, so you end up with corrupt databases on a reboot or shutdown. This could be prevented with a shutdown script that shutdown the mysqld process with mysqladmin.
  • Actually USE the shutdown scripts in /Library/StartupItems/ (this could also solve the mysqld problem).
  • Server Monitor application should be able to monitor the health of the disk RAID when using hardware RAID (not just software RAID). I wrote a cron job that runs every 5 minutes to do this, but still… it should be standard I think.
  • Something should notify me about high loads on the server. I wrote a cron job that runs every 5 minutes to do this as well, but still… it should also be standard I think.
  • IP Failover is nice, but if the backup machine doesn’t give back the primary IP fast enough when it comes back online, you end up with NEITHER server utilizing that IP address. I run a script to do some clean-up before it relinquishes the IP address, which can take a little bit. The primary machine thinks another machine as the IP, and stops checking to see if it will give it up at some point. I solved this by making a script that executes after the IP is relinquished, that essentially shuts off the Ethernet port on the master, then turns it back on. This one could be catastrophic if you just assume it took back it’s IP address.
  • Give me an API to the Server Admin application. Would be nice to get the nifty graphs and stuff for MySQL transactions for example.

Yahoo API

Today at the SES show, Yahoo announced they are following Google’s lead and allowing people to utilize an API for making automated queries without violating their terms of service.

In some ways it’s better than the Google API because it allows you to do more than just web search (you can search images, local, news, video and web). If nothing else, maybe it will be the incentive that Google needs to come out with a new version of their API (the Google API is “beta”, but has not been updated in over 2 years).

One thing I don’t like about the Yahoo API is it’s limited to 5,000 queries per day, per IP address. Google’s method of 1,000 queries per day, per person lets you build killer web apps (like the keyword tracker). But the IP address limitation does not make that practical with the Yahoo API. Either way, it’s really cool they have one now.

Check it out over here:

//developer.yahoo.net/

My Fake MySQL Cluster

Okay, so I have two new loaded (each has dual 2.3Ghz G5s, 8GB RAM, hardware RAID-5 w/ 1.2TB drive space, dual gigabit ethernet, etc.) Xserves thanks to those that donated, and I’ve been mucking around with them for a few days now.

One is going to be primarily a web server, and the other will be primarily a MySQL database server. Mac OS X Server makes IP fail-over really easy, so I setup rsync to keep a copy of the web site content on the MySQL server. If one server goes down (or maybe taken down for an upgrade), the other acquires it’s IP address and can continue to serve the requests. The tricky part is the MySQL database and keeping it in sync between the two machines in realtime.

The “ideal” option would be MySQL Cluster, but it requires your databases to be 100% memory resident, and that just didn’t appeal to me (too much memory and scary if someone decided to pull the plug on all the servers). Although I do know that MySQL is working on a disk based option for MySQL Cluster as well as asynchronous replication (that may turn out to be the same thing).

So instead what I did was setup both servers to be masters and both servers to be slaves to each other. This was in fact VERY easy. Add this to your /etc/my.cnf file on the servers (be sure to create a replication slave user named replicate):

Server 1
[mysqld]
log-bin
server-id = 1
master-host = 10.0.0.2
master-user = replicate
Server 2
[mysqld]
log-bin
server-id = 2
master-host = 10.0.0.1
master-user = replicate

So now I can send all SQL queries to the primary database server’s IP address. If that machine is down, the other server acquires it’s IP address. Once the server comes back online, it will automatically get back in sync.

The thing I didn’t like is a double master setup does not always execute the SQL statement in the same order, so there is a (slight) chance of the databases getting out of sync when the server comes back online and there is a lot of catching up to do. So what I did was setup a simple script to check every 5 seconds to see if the servers are in sync. Once they are in sync again, then it will relinquish the public IP address back to the rightful server (the MySQL servers talk on the private 10.0.0.x network which does not change).

My setup is for redundancy/fault tolerance, not load balancing. Although you could send SELECT statements to the slave db server without any problems (since there is nothing to replicate from that).

This will work for now, until MySQL finishes their native async replication. πŸ™‚

Microsoft Announces Internet Explorer 7

Today Bill Gates announced that they are going to have a beta version of IE7 available by the summer. As an end-user, I could care less. IE sucks and probably will always suck from a security standpoint.

What I *do* like about this, is *maybe*, just MAYBE they will bring it into the realm of a modern browser so people can stop doing stupid/unnecessary things to make sites work with Internet Explorer.

If they add “real” CSS support and proper PNG support (they don’t support transparent PNG images), I’ll be happy. It will give webmasters more flexibility.

Personally, I’m so sick of Internet Explorer’s stupidity, my sites will start leaving IE users in the dust if Firefox keeps gaining market share. “Sorry, this site does not support Internet Explorer. Click here to upgrade to Firefox.”

Google Maps

I’ve been predicting it for over a year now… and today Google finally has released (at least in beta form) Google Maps. It’s a pretty awesome implementation too. It uses vector graphics for one… but a really neat thing is you can drag the map around to where ever you want rather than “click to center” like other systems.

It’s tied into Google local, so you can do cool queries like hotels near balboa park in san diego and the map shows them (with the info you would want).

Now, hopefully the rest of my predictions will come true with it. The ability to overlay the maps on satellite imaging (which seems like it might happen since Google acquired Keyhole last year. My other prediction was traffic data overlaid on the maps (Yahoo seems to have been listening to my wishes because they recently added it to Yahoo Maps).

iPods Take Over Microsoft

A high-level manager at Microsoft anonymously disclosed that 80% of Microsoft employees that have portable music players have iPods (which works out to about 20,000 iPods at Microsoft’s headquarters). Microsoft executives have gone as far as to issue memos “frowning” on the usage by Microsoft employees.

Dave Fester, general manager of Microsoft’s Windows Digial Media division sent the following:

“I sure hope Microsoft employees are not buying iPods. We have great alternatives. Check out //experiencemore.”

Now Microsoft employees have started to swap the white headphones with after-market black ones to try and “hide” their iPod usage.

The anonymous source at Microsoft had the following to add:

“These guys are really quite scared. It shows how their backs are against the wall… Even though it’s Microsoft, no one is interested in what we have to offer, even our own employees.”

Kind of funny if you ask me. πŸ™‚ If you can’t win, beg your employees to use your products… Microsoft has enough employees that maybe if they all bought what Microsoft had to offer, it could yield twice their current sales. heh

Islamist Terrorist Group Threatening To Behead An Action Figure

Say it isn’t so! Special Ops Cody (a $40 action figure toy) has been captured by terrorists in Iraq and they are threatening to behead him if Iraqi prisoners are not released by the US.

One thing that really bothered me though is that the US military apparently is forcing action figures to serve in Iraq. They are helpless little pieces of plastic, and I just don’t think it’s fair for them.

This is the picture that was posted on a website by a group calling itself the Al Mujahedeen Brigade:

I thought it was a nice touch (and very clever) that they also used the plastic military assault rifle that came with the toy in the picture.

It seems that terrorists in Iraq must be on a shoestring budget these days. Unable to carry out kidnappings on personnel, they are now kidnapping their toys. Maybe if they go find Osama Bin Laden, they could collect the reward money to fund their little terrorist posse.

I just don’t know what else to say about it. It’s horrible and God will have his vengeance if they carry through with the beheading. Maybe they will make a video of it and post it on their website. hehe

I’m Getting Better At Disc Golf

It’s been a few months now since I’ve had a round where I was over par. I rule the back nine now, and today I birdied the following holes:

11

12

13

15

16

17

Okay, well technically 13 wasn’t a birdie, but I still made it in 2 shots. I had a penalty stroke because I overshot the pin on my initial drive by about 30 feet and went out of bounds. Out of bounds is lame.

Project Lightspeed – 25Mbit DSL

This news is 2 months old, but it’s the first I heard about it. SBC Communications (my local provider here in San Diego), decided to ramp up ADSL2+ deployment, and are going to deploy about 50,000 miles of fiber to everyone’s CO. Then use ADSL2+ technology to bring 25Mbit connectivity to the home (new homes will get fiber right to the home). This will allow neat things like HDTV on demand (goodbye cable and satellite), phone and of course Internet connectivity on a single pair of copper.

They are going to start trails this summer, with commercial deployment at the end of this year. By the end of 2007, more than half of all SBC customers will have access to it.

Hopefully San Diego should be one of the first cities, since we have way too much fiber in the ground as it is.

9 + 15% = 35?

Apple put out a minor speed-bump on their G5 Xserve machines (they went from 2.0 Ghz to 2.3 Ghz and nothing else in the system or architecture changed).

The dual 2.0 Xserve could yield 9 gigaflops of raw processing power (which is really fast to begin with). The dual 2.3 Ghz Xserve yields 35 gigaflops of power.

Can someone please explain to me how a 15% increase in CPU speed gives you 4 times more processing power? Seems a little odd if you ask me.

CES Show Brings New Car Audio Stuff

I was waiting for this year’s CES show to see what is available for a car stereo/navigation system for my new car.

It looks like there are some cool new things this year…

Realtime Traffic Map

Alpine and Pioneer have navigation systems that overlay realtime traffic data on your navigation map (data includes traffic speeds, accidents, etc.) and can automatically re-route you for the fastest path though it all. The traffic feeds come from satellite via XM Radio’s NavTraffic system. This is something I wanted, in fact I blogged about it a few months ago.

Alpine Finally Updates Navigation System

It’s finally touch screen compatible. As you can see here, their current navigation system requires a remote. Was totally stupid if you ask me.

Eclipse Updates Their Navigation System

I really like the form-factor of the Eclipse decks because it’s a double-DIN unit (the others are single DIN with a motorized monitor that pops out). It has a built-in 30GB hard drive with the navigation data taking 10GB of space. Which means you get 20GB to store your music. Unfortunately they don’t support XM radio, have an iPod interface or support the realtime traffic data.

Pioneer Gets iPod Adapter

Pioneer’s rumored iPod adapter arrived. Now Alpine and Pioneer both have one. It would be cool if they supported the ability to display cover art on the main deck.

Now, there are two things I want to know…

1. Why in the hell doesn’t Alpine or Pioneer come out with a double-DIN sized deck?

2. Why doesn’t anyone come out with a bluetooth phone control unit?

Have Had The RAZR V3 For Awhile Now

Okay, I take back my one complaint about the RAZR from this post. The contact manager does not require an entry for every phone number, it just works like that by default. You can change the settings to display by Primary Contact instead.

I also noticed something else cool… when I’m using the phone as an Internet gateway (also see other post), you can still send/receive voice calls just fine, and it doesn’t stop/pause your Internet connectivity. That’s neat.

Frisbee Golf

I played my best game of frisbee gold ever today. I ended up being 5 under par (my previous best was 4 under). What’s really a pisser is 5 or 6 strokes were lost just because I can’t putt worth a crap. But my drives are pretty good. πŸ™‚

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
My Score 2 3 3 3 4 2 3 3 3 3 2 2 4 3 2 2 3 4 2
Par 3 3 3 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

Motorola RAZR V3 + Bluetooth + Powerbook = Bad Ass

I picked up a new cell phone that I had a little blurb about over here. It’s a pretty awesome phone from a design standpoint, in fact my only complaint with anything about it is the address book, which requires a new entry for each phone number they have.

The day after I got it, I was traveling to San Francisco (which is where I’m writing this from). And just for fun, I decided to see if I could get it to act as an Internet gateway for my Macintosh Powerbook wirelessly via Bluetooth. Low and behold, it works! And without even needing to install anything. It just works like magic. πŸ™‚

For those of you that also have a RAZR V3 (or are thinking about getting one), this is the info you need to make it work with Cingular as a Internet gateway for your Mac via Bluetooth:

  • Download these modem scripts, unzip them and drop them into “/Library/Modem Scripts”.
  • Detect the phone with the Bluetooth Setup Assistant
  • When it asks you for the Internet settings, this is what you want:
APN/Telephone Number: WAP.CINGULAR
Account Name: [email protected]
Password: CINGULAR1
Modem: Motorola GPRS CID1 +CGQREQ
  • In the network control panel, go to the Bluetooth setup. Under the PPP Options tab, turn off Send PPP echo packets, Use TCP header compression. Under the Bluetooth Modem tab, turn off Enable error correction and compression in modem and Wait for dial tone before dialing.

Now you should be able to connect to the Internet via your Bluetooth port. Weeeeee… πŸ™‚

Use Gmail To Spam Filter A Different Email Address

I get way too much spam. To the tune of 2,000+ each day. It’s always fun to wake up and sift through 800 emails to find 3 that aren’t spam. I do some client-side spam filtering, but it’s still annoying to have to actually download the emails (especially when traveling and you have a slow Internet connection).

Gmail is by far the best web-based email system I’ve used (it’s fast, clean, etc.), but it’s not practical to use for business (since the domain is always gmail.com). Recently I noticed that Gmail allows you to access your email via POP3 (via SSL, which is really nice!). So I played around with it a little bit, and realized that stuff that gets stuck in the spam folder are not downloaded with you grab your emails via POP3. So then I was thinking, why not just forward my normal email to my gmail account, access it via POP3 like normal and then just have that account on my client setup with my real email address.

Guess what? It works brilliantly. Now I’m not flooded with spam, I don’t have to download spam for client-side filtering and when I send email, it still comes from digitalpoint.com.

The one thing that would make it even better (and make me use it from the web more) would be the ability to set the From address to my non-Gmail address. Currently you can set the Reply-To address to anything you want, but the From is always gmail.com. If that was possible, I would use Gmail’s SMTP server (it’s also SSL enabled) and I would use the web interface for Gmail more.

Social Engineering

Companies trying to sell you crap are so annoying these days. They call and make up stories/lies trying to phish information out of you.

Printer Toner?
Them: “This is so and so from ABC company and we received an order from your purchasing department for copy machine toner, but your purchasing agent forgot to put the printer model on the order.”

That’s interesting for a couple reasons. One, there is no purchasing department, and secondly there is no copy machine.

Me: “It’s uhm, SP-6200. Oh wait, maybe I’m upside down. It’s 0059-DS”

Them: “Really? I’ve never heard of such a copy machine model before.”

Me: “Weird.”

Then they hang up on me. How rude! That’s the last time I send a purchase order to them for toner.

Survey For IT Companies?
Them: “Hello, we are so and so research firm, and we had a brief survey for IT companies that hopefully you can help me with.”

BTW, I can barely understand the lady because she has such a thick Indian accent.

Me: “Uh, okay.”

Them: “Do you engage in software development and if so, do you outsource any of your work to overseas companies, for example in India?”

Me: “No, we don’t have any computers, we are a janitorial service.”

Wow, they hung up on me too. I wonder if maybe they wanted me to outsource my development to them or something?