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User Journal

Journal Journal: Why

OK, so this comment I made as a completely throwaway dumb joke - not even a very good joke, gets modded insightful and interesting.

Which demonstrates how I still don't get the whole message board form of communication. In a conversation, it would have been an obvious a joke. Perhaps I should have used a little winking emoticon, but I find them really stupid.

It's funny - I'm in the technology business, but I'm always behind the curve on the internet and whatever latest and greatest gadgets are out there. Somewhere along the line I've lost my appreciation for gadgets, and new and cool websites hold very little interest for me. Show me a big piece of industrial equipment, on the other hand...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Going out of business?

Well, after six years, it looks like my employer is on the verge of going out of business. Even if we survive, it's not a place I'd like to work anymore.

It's been a terrific learning experience. It's allowed me to break into the world of RF engineering. I've had a lot of good management experience. And it's been generally a good place to work.

I've got financial incentives to stay on until the bitter end, which puts me in the perverse position of hoping that the place dies sooner rather than later. I'm honor bound to do the best job I can, but I can't say that my heart's really in it.

It's kind of a "take stock" moment right now - I've got a great family, a house with a reasonable mortgage, and a lot of good prospects in the area. I've been dreaming about a shorter commute, bonuses (we've had none for a while now), perhaps stock options that are worth something.

It will be sad, though, to see the products and designs I've worked on so hard for the last few years disappear.

User Journal

Journal Journal: I2C is a pain in the ass

I just added a new device to the I2C bus on my system. It always takes an hour to figure out the damn address on the thing. You set it up, it doesn't work, and if you are inexperienced you hook up the oscilloscope. I've finally learned to go back and reread the datasheet, where on page 673 they mention, "oh by the way" that the device in the MSOP package has a different address then the SOT package. Then does the configuration software bit shift the address to the left by 1 to make room for the write bit, or does it just OR it on the end?

Arghh... at least I finally got the damn thing working this time before I pulled out the scope.

User Journal

Journal Journal: A bad portent... 3


Subject: OBTW

Msg: *All software!

even (W.indows

Vist.ta and Adobe(S3) 87% off goto:


I just received the above spam text message on my cell phone. This is the first spam text message I've received.

I called my service provider (the service provider formerly known as Cingular). First, I got them to rebate me $0.15 for the text message, which I did to both set a precendent and get my complaint into the system. I then asked about options for dealing with it if it becomes an issue.

At this point, my only choice is to deactivate my text messaging capability. TSPFKA Cingular has no way to filter text messages coming in. Now, I'm a very casual user of text messaging, but I do get updates from the city in case of terrorist attack or a hostage situation at my kid's school. Also, in times of marginal coverage/low battery/everyone calling because of terrorist attack/etc, it's the only thing that will go through. (I live in Washington DC, so I feel it's prudent to be prepared).

After I got my $0.15 refund, I got myself kicked up to a supervisor. I explained how text messages are an important part of my service, how if my cell phone spam goes the way of my email I'm looking at hundreds of dollars a month to pay for receiving spam, and so on. I recognize there's nothing the guy could do at the moment, but I wanted to get the complaint into the system.

I wonder where this will end up.

UPDATE: on 9/4/07, I received a second email spam of the stock pump and dump variety. I called Cingular for my $0.15 credit.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Just finished HP7 - no spoilers here

I just finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. My 8 year old finished it on Monday, which was 60 hours after it was released.

It was a great book, all of the loose ends were tied up. Some of the things I had guessed after book six turned out to be true, which is satisfying on many levels.

But really, I'm relieved. I've had my Slashdot filter set to screen out all comments rated less than 1 to avoid spoilers. I've minimized my looking at message boards. I heard there were a lot of spoilers on YouTube, including a video of somewith a bullhorn walking up and down a line of people waiting to buy the book, shouting out spoilers. What kind of person would want to ruin the book for a 10 year old?

Journal Journal: Mods we need to see 2

So, I've just been giving mod points, and there are some new categories I'd like to propose:

-1, bad analogy
-1, overly cynical
-1, you think you're funny, but you're not
-1, unnecessarily mean

+1, nuanced
+1, attempting to see things from another person's point of view
+1, acknowledging your own mistake

User Journal

Journal Journal: A reply to my sig

I've gotten the first reply to my sig.

I'm a little confused as to what this guys is talking about - I actually identify with the dictionary definition, which is why I posted it. Perhaps this poster thought I was being sarcastic, although I don't see why.

Also, why do people take "Naive" to mean "not cynical"? This implies being cynical is normal - who wants to be naive? - but cynicism leads to nothing but inaction.

User Journal

Journal Journal: My first foe! 1

I just made my first foe! Just minutes after I posted something critical about republicans!

When GW said he was going to "change the tone in Washington", I presumed he meant he was going to make it better.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Interesting spam

After an ever increasing deluge of spam, I just received an email for something that I actually thought was interesting. (No, not pornography, a linux controlled gizmo of some sort.) I was tempted to open it up. But it had all the classic spam tricks - random letters in the email address and subject line, as well as the message body.

In the end I decided that it's not just the content of spam that's bad, it's the deceptive techniques. And any reward of anyone who uses deception, no matter what the message, should not be rewarded. So I deleted it.

But I wonder how much this is the problem of spam. One in 10000 emails look interesting, so you follow it up - and suddenly you've justified the other 9999.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Random Thoughts from work at 9PM

I'm sitting here furiously writing a patent application (not for software - for a bono-fide, physical THING). When you write these things, you first describe what you're doing in detail (take a piece of brass, cut a square into it, etc.) then try to generalize (well, ANY piece of metal, ANY shape, etc.) So you end up making claims ranging from the very specific to the very broad.

This gets me thinking about the business of panIP. They have broad, riduculous claims. Some of the claims I'm making now I think are overly broad, but you put them in because they just might stand up.

The part of the system that seems to be broken is that, once a patent is accepted, and most are, then the threat of legal action is scary enough to most people that settling is easier. Most of the power of lawyers is the perception that they are right, and that they will win in court, or have means of harassing you until they do.

So I say, let's even up the balance of power. IT work for attorneys should cost $300/hour (including time chatting with them in the hallways.) And we should randomly threaten them with the bugbear of unfixed technology problems, network security problems, etc. Leave them in the dark and let them sweat about whether the other guy is being straight with them.

Or I may have just had too much soda to drink for this time of night.

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As in certain cults it is possible to kill a process if you know its true name. -- Ken Thompson and Dennis M. Ritchie