Monday, August 30, 2004

Die with T

I've been off Coca-Cola for ten days now, so the diet begins in earnest. The fruit and other heathier food is in the house, and I'm weaned from the vending machine at work. I hope.

Now a little cooler weather would be nice so I enjoy walking ...

Friday, August 27, 2004

CD Hubris

You gotta love some recording artists.

Emptying an entire disk wallet of ~ 24 CD's, I found one CD with no artist, no title, no nothing, just a white piano etched in an orange background. I think it was a Ben Folds Five CD, and I had no other cases left over.

Let's see, if everyone did that, and if I didn't rip the whole collection onto MP3's, I could be there for days everytime I took 5 CD's out of the changer. (Or more likely, do lots of Sharpie Marker doodling.)

Don't you love people who think they are special?

Thursday, August 19, 2004

A Quart Low

I've only had one can of Coke today (so far), and only two yesterday. Great for my caloric input (relative to my daily hacking run input of 5+). Not so great for my head, when I drop down the caffiene level I get a lovely throb. But dropping Coke completely is a cornerstone to dropping weight overall.


Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Be careful what you ask for ...

Real Networks set up a petition asking Apple to open up the iPod. The results are not what Real expected.

This is not a shock to me, given Real's heavy handed Internet marketing of the past several years and their general tin ear. My (least) favorite example of Real's handwork is the monthly subscription fee to use their software for ripping your own music as MP3s, whereas iTunes does it for free.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The Hobbit Hoof

Katherine asked if I was doing litter boxes tonight. I told her I didn't have any choice, aside from annoying her. She said all I needed was a suitable bribe.

I came up with a good one, a higher priority task in the form of a 2 mile walk. This is the first I've been walking since my last posted hobbit hoof. Let's just say my average is down from January, when I got exercise 65% of the days in the month, not to mention March, when I was exercising ~ 75% of the days.

Hopefully, with the SSL done I'll move the focus around to my weight as I threatened to do before.

(Merely that I did three blog posts in a day says I am getting more spare cycles for a change.)

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

I finally finished SSL, and I figured out why I originally thrashed around it.

Basically, I'm a top-down kind of developer.

If I designed a house, I'd consider what its requirements are (2 people, 6 computers, and 3 cats), and turn that into specifications (four bedrooms, one computer room, six litterboxes), and the specifications into a design (the litterboxes do NOT go in my office).

The SSL project, as presented, was more of a bottom-up problem -- how do you plumb this weird thing into an existing foundation? This took me out of my normal thinking "how should this work?" mode and left me poking at the edges. Once I sat back and decided I needed a proper interface to the new SSL code, that gave me a "top" to drill down from and then plug into the existing environment.

Of course, then I had to work six days a week for three weeks and be left wondering about a weird bug with PFXImportCertStore not working in a GUI program on Windows XP (it does work from a command line program, on other versions of Windows, or if I run it under a program debugger!), but that's programming for you.

SHA-1 broken?

There's a rumor circulating at the Crypto conference ... that somebody is about to announce a partial break of the SHA-1 cryptographic hash function.

As the quoted link describes, SHA-1 hash functions are critical for password protection in many, many computer systems.

Sunday, August 8, 2004

Intel 64 bit Extensions - Spin Cycle

The nice people at The Register (be careful, those people have the one true Bastard Operator from Hell) have an article on how Chipzilla is rolling out 64 bit extensions quietly. Really quietly, because their competitor AMD did it first.

My favorite part is not the technology, but the spin:

...the usually brash Intel has shied away from direct comparisons between its 64-bit extension line and competing processors from AMD. In press materials, Intel benchmarked the new 3.6GHz Xeon chip to its own, older Xeon processors. When asked about this, an Intel representative briefly stood by the line that "Intel does not compare its product to those of competitors in this type of presentation."

Really? What about all these slides reporters receive showing how the Itanium processor beats out Power, UltraSPARC, PA-RISC and Alpha chips on benchmarks?

After being reminded of this, Intel later admitted it does compare its own server products to those of competitors. Just not the new Xeons, apparently.

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Dancing in the Dark

I finished a day of hacking SSL about 10 PM last night, and jumped in the Miata to head home. Nice night, warm even that late, in all in an easy way to relax.

That is, until I needed to left turn off Route 2 to Afewife Brook parkway at the triquatra that is the Route 2/Afewife Brook Parkway intersection, and the traffic lights were out. Traffic was just light enough to be get a stream of oncoming traffic doing 35 MPH in a 25 zone around the sweeping curve.

It was like a game of Frogger, but you only get one life.


Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Consult an adult if you don't know how to post ...

Someone likes certain a Boston Globe columnist less than I do. Unfortunately for her, she regretted her crude hyperbole, especially when Boston Common pointed people to her post and she suddenly had her 15 minutes of fame.

All of which reminds me of why I try avoid cursing in print, and always avoid venting in any way when writing code comments. (Comment should be insight for what the code does. Not what it did last week, but why it does what it does now, and perhaps the occasional suggestion as to how to make it better.)

My gift and my curse is that I try stick to the truth, to the point of bluntness. Not that it improves my professionalism, but at least it's an easy story to stick to.


The point of this post is that we are responsible for what we say in public, and that the Internet, at heart, is a very public place with a long memory. The scribe at Boston Common didn't go searching for her post; the Internet served it up on a platter because she had told it to.

The author of the post which started this requested I delete the link to the post. I have done so, leaving to a generic pointer to her blog. I've also edited out the magic word from her comment (hey, this a family blog, more or less).

I'm not deleting her comment or the link to her site; she's welcome to secure the site if she doesn't want anonymous visitors.

Sunday, August 1, 2004

The Hobbit Hoof

Programming can be a real park your butt in a chair kind of job.

Having lost ~ 25 pounds between Christmas and Easter by those old standards of more exercise and less intake, I've proceeded to put 15 of it back on since then.

The putting on is as straight forward as the taking off was, no exercise and too much junk. Taking a month off was fine after hitting my first goal. However, I lost my good habits, and things like the new cats and work being priorities are excuses, not reasons.

I am working today on a Sunday, but I at least I got off my butt and walked up to the local Togos for a French Dip, milk, and a donut. Obviously not perfect with the donut, but getting out and walking in this weather is certainly a first step.

My new goal is drop the reaquired 15 by October first, quite possible when I have good habits. However, my original goal for the year (17 pounds after the 15) may be out of reach now.

Be prepared for more eating babbles as the summer continues.

No writer polluted the clubhouse more ...

In response to a Boston Globe column by Dan Shaughnessy on the departure of Nomar from Boston, a letter to the editor...
"That was Nomar. The ultimate downer. The wonderful talent who hated playing in a place where people cared too much."

I think the ultimate downer is named Shaughnessy, who hates writing in a place where he's been bored since the Curse of the Bambino was published. Dan's only good columns are the ones where he bothers to leave MLB and the other top tier professional sports behind. In those columns, he leaves stereotypes and athlete baiting behind for real commentary on the issues and people of sports.

Just as the team may be better without Nomar, the Globe coverage of the team would be better without Dan on that beat. Then, thank the baseball god, we would no longer have to read Dan's columns that pretend that he cares about the fortunes of the Boston Red Sox.
As you can tell, I just love ole Dan.

p.s. Lest you didn't see the original column and the link has expired, my letter to the editor was mostly updating Dan's prose about Nomar to comment on Dan himself.